Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that manifests in thickened, red, dry patches of skin that are itchy. The condition is fairly common among teenagers and young adults, primarily affecting individuals in the age group of 15 to 35 years of age. Psoriasis does not pose any health risk, but it can cause considerable discomfort, especially psychologically.
Although there is no known cure for psoriasis, treatment can help to manage the symptoms. As most patients prefer natural methods of treatment for chronic conditions that required prolonged medication, Ayurveda has emerged as a viable alternative treatment for the condition. Dr. Gaurang Joshi, President of the International Psoriasis Foundation and International Ayurveda Physician and expert Ayurveda Dermatologist shares his insight with us into possible causes and treatment options for psoriasis.
Possible Causes And Treatment Options For Psoriasis
TheHealthOrange: What causes psoriasis according to Ayurveda?
Dr. Gaurang: As per the teachings of Ayurveda, all skin diseases are caused by a combination of internal and external factors. To be more specific, in the context of psoriasis there are 3 main factors that contribute to the condition – 1) Unhealthy eating habits and food combinations, 2) Unhealthy lifestyle with high stress levels, and 3) Hereditary or genetic factors. Today, most people don’t pay much attention to the food that they eat, with most meals being based on convenience and taste. As a result, people eat unhealthy foods and also have irregular meal times. This lack of routine can be just as harmful as eating low quality food. Most people are also unaware about good and bad food combinations.
High stress levels are also a part of our everyday life. People suffer from stress on account of work, the lack of work, family issues, relationships, and lots more. Stress also impairs sleep, further weakening your health and immunity, often triggering chronic skin conditions. The use of products containing harsh chemicals, such as synthetic soaps, shampoos, detergents, and certain medications can also aggravate or contribute to the development of psoriasis.
While modern science does not identify any known cause, it is clear that all of these factors have some kind of influence on the development of the condition.
TheHealthOrange: As you mentioned the importance of a healthy diet, could you elaborate on dietary recommendations for psoriasis?
Dr. Gaurang: Yes, of course. Diet has big role in both the incidence and management of the condition. Ayurveda always stresses the importance of getting to the root of the problem, rather than simply treating the symptoms. A psoriasis diet should, therefore exclude all foods that may be responsible for or aggravate the condition.
Rather than completely changing your diet, start by following a regular routine and incorporate these diet tips for psoriasis management.
• Avoid Common salt (you can use rock salt In smaller quantities)
• Avoid all non-veg food with a few exceptions, such as boiled eggs and certain types of fish, with the permission of the physician.
• Avoid red chilies, green chilies, chili powder, garlic, and onion.
• Avoid fried foods and junk food.
• Avoid milk shakes and fruit salads, and wait for at least half an hour to consume milk if you have just eaten fruits.
• Avoid spicy, sour tastes as well as citric foods and fruits.
• Avoid foods like sweets, food items with a dry and pungent taste, frozen foods, leftover food, and fermented food.
TheHealthOrange: Is there a cure for psoriasis in Ayurveda?
Dr. Gaurang: According to Ayurveda there are certain diseases which come under the category of ‘Yapya’, which means that they are manageable. Psoriasis can certainly be managed with Ayurvedic medicine. As I mentioned, the treatment needs to address the causes, which therefore requires a multi-faceted approach with diet lifestyle modifications, stress management, Ayurveda Panchakarma treatment, herbs, yoga and meditation. Although the symptoms can resolve with such treatment, patients need to continue to follow these recommendations for life to avoid any recurrence.
TheHealthOrange: Are there any natural remedies for psoriasis that you could suggest for our readers?
Dr. Gaurang: In addition to following the diet and lifestyle recommendations, patients can also use natural or home care methods to relieve symptoms. As the condition causes dry and itchy skin it helps to apply moisturizer, with the best natural moisturizer being virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil has been found to have several healing properties and it is one of the best topical applications for a variety of skin conditions.
TheHealthOrange: Are there any other psoriasis treatments recommended in Ayurveda?
Dr. Gaurang: Most of the approaches fall within the lifestyle and diet categories, but I shall elaborate on a few. Ayurveda Panchakarma is a technique for purification or detoxification that involves practices like blood-letting, while Shirodhara, a therapy that involves gently pouring certain liquids over the forehead, helps with stress relief. Abhyanga is similarly a form of Ayurvedic massage with herbal oils that moisturize the skin. Whatever kind of treatment you seek, it is important that you consult a qualified Ayurveda practitioner. Certain herbal remedies, yoga and meditation can also boost the effectiveness of treatment.
TheHealthOrange: Is there any parting advice that you have for our readers?
Dr. Gaurang: I do not need to emphasize the efficacy of Ayurveda for managing psoriasis again, but I should once again warn patients against unscrupulous practitioners. Make sure to only visit qualified Ayurveda doctors who have a good reputation. Do not try Ayurveda therapies at home, simply based on knowledge that you gather from videos or articles on the internet and in newspapers.
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