Vitiligo or Leucoderma is a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) in the skin are destroyed. As a result, white patches appear on the skin in different parts of the body. Similar patches also appear on both the mucous membranes (tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose), and the retina (inner layer of the eyeball). The hair that grows on areas affected by Vitiligo sometimes turns white. The most widely accepted view is that the depigmentation occurs because Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease ‚Äď a disease in which a person‚Äôs immune system reacts against the body‚Äôs own organs or tissues.
In Ayurveda, the reason behind autoimmune diseases is mostly virudh aahar sevan, that is, eating foods that are opposite in nature (such as eating fish and milk together). This results in toxin formation inside the body, which ultimately disturbs the immune system due to which the pigment producing melanocytes cells get degenerated, causing Vitiligo.
Additionally, Vitiligo is said to be associated with certain auto-immune and inflammatory diseases such as Thyroid, Diabetes, Psoriasis and Pernicious Anemia. Vitiligo may also be hereditary; that is, it can run in families. Children whose parents have the disorder are more likely to develop Vitiligo.
¬∑ White patches on skin
¬∑ Premature graying of scalp hair
¬∑ Loss of color inside the mouth.
According to Ayurveda, Vitiligo or Shwitra is caused due to aggravation of Pitta in the body. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes fire and is manifested in the skin, along with other organs. Pitta is of five types. One of them is Bhrajak Pitta, which gives coloration to the skin. In the case of Vitiligo, Bhrajak Pitta gets imbalanced, leading to the formation of ama, which consequently impairs deeper body tissues such as rasa dhatu (nutrient plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscles) and lasika (lymph). This ultimately causes depigmentation of the skin.
The disease is deep rooted and needs specific treatment that includes right diet and specialized herbal combinations to pacify Pitta and cleanse ama from the body.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
¬∑ Whole grains like porridge and whole wheat products are better than highly refined carbohydrates like pasta.
¬∑ Adequate hydration is an important component of healthy diet which should not be ignored.
¬∑ Foods rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and green tea should either be avoided or consumed in minimal quantities.
¬∑ Avoid eating non-vegetarian foods like fish and red meats, as they may be highly antigenic and may worsen the autoimmune process. Also avoid eggs, milk, and dairy products.
¬∑ Alcoholic and flavored drinks, ice creams, chocolates and any form of junk food is not recommended.
¬∑ Avoid intake of sour foods like pickles, sour yogurt, and sour strawberries.
¬∑ Neem in any form is useful. Mung dal is also good.
¬∑ Drink water kept in a copper utensil overnight. This is known to have a stimulating effect on the melanocytes and thus helps in increasing melanin production.
¬∑ Take 5 teaspoons of turmeric powder and mix in 250 ml of mustard oil and apply on the white patches of skin, twice a day. Use this treatment regularly for one year.