Vitiligo is a stressful disease affecting the individual physically and psychologically.
Vitellos in Latin means white sheep. Leuco means white and derma means the skin. The whitish depigmented patches are seen on the cheeks, chin, lips, ears, neck and hands also. It is more common in women.
Dr Rajesh Shrotriya says that Switra has been equated with leucoderma and vitiligo. The two terms leucoderma and vitiligo are used synonymously by most physicians, but a little bit difference exists between this two terminology. The world leucoderma is composed of two words leuco and derma. Leuco means whiteness and derma means skin. Therefore leucoderma is whiteness of the skin. But this whiteness of skin is due to burn or found after healing of wounds. The white patch may remain throughout life whereas vitiligo denotes the primary lesion of the disease. Vitiligo is a skin disease characterized by milky white patches with hypopigmented border due to failure of melanin formation.
In ayurveda, this disease is called as switra beacause of the sweta varnata of twacha.
- Intake of viruddhahara – like dairy products along with meat or fish, dairy products with sour fruits – this includes milk shakes and fruit yogurt, drinking of a mixture of excessive cold water with very hot water, intake of freshly harvested rice and grains, intake of improperly formed curd
- unwholesome habits – like taking a cold shower immediately after exposure to sun, suppression of the urge of vomiting, disrespecting elders,indulging in sinful activities.
- Intake of hot spicy, sour food, sour fruits and fermented food.
- Some chemicals in the cheap cosmetic products or soaps may induce a depigmented spot or patch on the skin.
- Burns and injuries
According to Ayurveda, Leucoderma is caused due to the aggravation of Pitta Dosha. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor which symbolizes heat or fire, and is manifested in the skin. Aggravated Pitta leads to accumulation of ama (toxins) in deep layers of the skin, leading to the condition of Leucoderma.
Additional readings: How pitta gets aggravated? What is a pitta alleviating diet? Read here
- Small, white patch on the skin which may expand to other areas. The patch may be initially seen on the tip of the ears or on angles of the lip
- Premature greying of hair
- Loss of hair
- Whitish/coppery red discoloration of the hair on the patch
- Sensitivity towards cold
- Intake of sour-tangy citrus fruits, fermented food curd, urad dal, non vegetarian food.
- Do not take curd, vinegar, pickles, milk shakes and flavoured yogurts.
- vegetables like brinjals, Tamarind, Tomato, Onion, potatoes, garlic, Papaya, Green chili, grapes are strictly restricted. Fish and red meat should also be restricted.
- Avoid intake of raw food/ salads
- Bitter vegetables like methi, karela
- Take lots of green leafy vegetables.
- Beetroots, carrots, dates, raddish, turnips, squashes, gourds and melon can be taken.
- All vegetables can be taken in soup form instead of salads.
- Fruits like figs, dates, apples, pears and pomegranates help in the treatment.
- Ayurvedic text recommends Fresh figs to be taken with jaggery.
- Expose your body to 10 – 15 mins of sunlight in the morning. It stimulates the pigmentation cells.
Wholesome diet and habits:
There is a verse in Ayurveda which says that “poorva janma kritam papam vyadhi roopena jayate” which means that the disease that we suffer now is due to the effect of bad karmas of the past birth. To pacify it Vrata-pooja-patha-dana (fasting, worship, enchanting the sacred hymens, donation, etc.,), offering food daily to poor on charity basis and visit to pilgrimage places are mentioned.
- Basil leaves and lime juice: An extract of basil leaves mixed with lime juice should be applied up to thrice a day for up to 6 months for best results.
- Copper treated water: Drinking water stored overnight in copper utensils is effective in promotes production of melanin by melanocytes and is effective in toning the skin of a vitiligo affected person. Copper treated water should be taken instead of normal water by sufferers of Vitiligo.
- Fresh figs to be taken with jaggery as a part of your daily diet.
- Lemon juice mixed with tulsi leaves extracts can be used for local application.
- Application of radish seeds with vinegar is said to be beneficial.
- Bakuchi seed powder with coconut oil can be applied on the affected areas.
- 5 tsp. of turmeric powder mixed in 250 ml mustard oil can be applied on the white patches twice daily for beneficial results.
- Bakuchi seeds combined with tamarind are also useful. An equal quantity of both the seeds should be steeped in water for 3 days. They should then be shelled and dried in the shade, then ground into a paste and applied on the white patches.
- Red clay mixed with ginger juice in the ratio of 1:1 can be applied over the white spots for beneficial results.
Khadira, bakuchi, bhallataka,manjishta mulaka, daruharidra, aragwadha, haritaki are some of the single drugs recommended in the treatment of vitiligo.
Traditional Ayurvedic formulations which are recommended for vitiligo are: Avalgujadi lepa, arogyavardhani vati, gandhaka rasayana, khadirarishta.
Mechanism of action of Bakuchi:
Bakuchi causes krishneekarana of the twacha which means imparting colour to the skin. It works by correcting the agni (digestive fire) and by balancing the vata and the kapha doshas. Bakuchi oil is also known as babchi oil. It is applied externally to treat vitiligo patches. It is also applied to hair to treat grey hairs. Bakuchi herb acts on melanoblastic cells and successfully stimulates it.