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What Are The Natural Remedies For Skin Allergies In Ayurveda?

Skin allergies are caused by the reaction triggered by our immune system to external allergens. Hives and dermatitis are most common skin allergies. Incompatible diet, things not suitable for the body or toxin accumulation in the body can cause allergic reactions. Ayurveda remedies include abhyanga, herbs like tulsi, amla, turmeric, etc., treating with medicated ghee, oil massage, etc.

skin allergies ayurveda treatment
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Most of us have experienced skin irritations at some point or the other. When the irritation is due to an allergen triggering a response from your immune system it’s called an allergic skin reaction. Let’s understand how these develop and take a look at some ayurvedic treatments that can be helpful in dealing with them.

Hives (urticaria)

Urticaria which is also known as hives, nettle rash, welts, or weals is an itchy, raised rash which appears on your skin. Medically, it’s known as ‘acute urticaria’ if it clears in six weeks. In rare cases, the rash may persist or come and go for a period longer than 6 weeks. This is medically known as ‘chronic urticaria‘.

In ayurveda, shitapitta, udarda and kotha are conditions that can be considered similar to urticaria. These terms are usually used as synonyms as they’re predominantly characterized by the presence of itchy, red rashes. Various conditions like asatmya (that which is not suitable for the body is considered asatmya or unwholesome), virudhahara (incompatible diet) and dushivisha (poisons which accumulate in the body) are thought to cause these conditions. However, some differentiation can be made between them:

i. Shitapitta Features
  • Varati Damshta Samsthana Shotha (Inflammation like an insect bite)
  • Kandu Bahula (Severe itching)
  • Toda Bahula (Excessive pain like pricking)
  • Chhardi (Vomiting)
  • Jvara (Fever)
  • Vidaha (Burning Sensation)
ii. Udarda Features
  • Sotsanga Saraga Mandala (the red itchy rash having depression in the center).
iii. Kota Features

The following symptoms in the acute stage or when they become chronic:

  • Mandalani (Rashes)
  • Kandu (Itching)
  • Ragavanti (Redness)
  • Bahuni (Spread all over the body)[1]Maurya, SANTOSH KUMAR, and A. N. K. I. T. Seth. “Potential medicinal plants and traditional ayurvedic approach towards urticaria, An allergic skin disorder.” Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 6, no. … Continue reading

Hives (urticaria): Causes And Triggers

Hives develop when something causes the release of high levels of histamine and other chemicals in your skin. These chemicals cause the opening up of blood vessels in the part of the skin that’s affected. This often causes reddening of skin. The blood vessels also become leaky leading to extra fluid in your tissues which results in itchiness and swelling.

Histamine is a chemical that’s naturally available in our bodies. It’s responsible for various symptoms that we associate with allergic reactions. If you are allergic to something then your immune system mistakes the allergen to be a harmful substance causing histamine to be released into your bloodstream. Histamine can act not just on your skin but also your nose, eyes, throat, gastrointestinal tract, or lungs to cause allergy symptoms.[2][Definition: Histamine](https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/histamine.html “Definition: Histamine”). The Nemours Foundation.

What Are The Triggers For Hives?

In many cases the trigger for hives (urticaria) may be unknown. Some triggers for acute urticaria include:

  • an allergic reaction to environmental factors (eg: dust mites, chemicals, pollen etc.)
  • an allergic reaction to latex
  • a food allergy (eg: to foods like shellfish, cheese, peanuts, eggs, brinjal, etc.)
  • insect stings and bites
  • emotional stress
  • physical factors (eg: changes in temperature, pressure to the skin such as might be caused by tight clothes or sitting on a hard surface, exercise, water, sunlight)
  • some medications such as certain antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), etc.

Chronic hives may develop due to an autoimmune reaction. This is when your immune system attacks your tissues by mistake- around 33 to 50% chronic urticaria cases are considered to be autoimmune related. Autoimmune urticaria can sometimes be seen along with other autoimmune conditions like lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. It is also linked to other diseases and infections such as viral hepatitis, intestinal parasites, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Triggers can include:

  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Warm temperatures
  • Sustained pressure on the skin
  • Certain medications
  • Some food components like salicylates, which can be found in orange juice, tea, and tomatoes
  • Insect stings and bites
  • Exposure to cold, heat, water etc.[3][Causes of urticaria (hives)](https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives#causes-of-urticaria-hives “Causes of urticaria (hives)”).NHS.

When Should I Be Worried About Hives?

Angioedema

Around 25% of people with acute urticaria and 50% of people suffering from chronic urticaria develop angioedema. This is a more severe condition which is caused by a build-up of fluid. It is characterized by swelling in the deeper layers of your skin. It typically affects the eyes, genitals, lips, feet, and hands. It can be caused by:

  • An allergic reaction: for example, a food allergy
  • Certain medications
  • Genetic factors: this is a rare lifelong condition called hereditary angioedema.[4][Angioedema](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/angioedema/ “Angioedema”).NHS,UK.
Anaphylaxis

Hives can be an initial symptom for a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Other symptoms for this condition include:

  • Swollen lips, eyes, feet, and hands
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Breathing difficulties or wheezing caused by narrowing of the airways
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Loss of consciousness or collapse

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.[5][Urticaria (hives)](https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives “Urticaria (hives)”).NHS.

How To Calm Down Hives?

In some cases, your doctor may recommend medicines such as antihistamines or a menthol cream to deal with urticaria. Avoiding triggers and managing your stress levels can also be helpful.[6][Treating urticaria (hives)](https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives#treating-urticaria-hives “Treating urticaria (hives)”).NHS. Ayurveda also offers many remedies for treating urticaria. However, do keep in mind that as remedies can vary based on individual characteristics, you should check in with an ayurvedic doctor who will be able to guide you regarding the appropriate course of treatment.

What Is The Ayurvedic Treatment For Hives?

Here’s a look at some common ayurvedic remedies for this condition:

i. Abhyanga

Abhyanga is a medicated oil massage. Your ayurvedic doctor might recommend an oil massage to deal with urticaria. This can include massage with substances such as:

  • Katu Taila (mustard oil)
  • Yavakshara (Potassium carbonate) and Saindhava Lavana (rock salt) mixed with Katu Taila. A word of caution, do not self-medicate, only use them if prescribed by a practitioner.

ii. Application Of Herbal Remedies

Various herbal formulations can be locally applied on the affected area for relief. For instance,

  • Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.): Tulsi leaf juice can be applied to the affected area for treating urticaria.
  • Turmeric: Paste of fresh turmeric with leaves of neem or paste of turmeric and durva (Cynodon dactylon) can be applied to treat urticaria.
  • b (Emblica officinalis): A paste of the leaves and paste is applied on the affected area daily once till it cures.

iii. Internal Medications

  • Turmeric and tulsi: The juice of turmeric rhizome is mixed with the juice of tulsi leaves and taken orally for treating hives.
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula Retz.): Decoction of fresh bark of haritaki is taken orally for treating hives (urticaria).
  • Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L): Consuming ajwain fruit daily for a week is said to cure urticaria.[7]Maurya, SANTOSH KUMAR, and A. N. K. I. T. Seth. “Potential medicinal plants and traditional ayurvedic approach towards urticaria, An allergic skin disorder.” Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 6, no. … Continue reading

Dermatitis

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin which causes a scaly, reddish, itchy rash. Two of the most common kinds of dermatitis are contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (often called eczema).

i. Atopic Dermatitis (eczema)

This is a chronic condition which often begins in early childhood or infancy.

Causes Of Eczema

The exact cause of this condition is not known. A combination of factors may play a part in its development. It often develops in people who suffer from allergies. In fact, the word “atopic” means being sensitive to allergens. It may have a genetic component and often occurs with other conditions like hay fever and asthma. Some triggers include:

  • Soaps and detergents
  • Stress
  • Weather
  • Food allergies
  • Animal dander, dust mites
  • Sweating[8][Allergic Skin Conditions](https://www.aaaai.org/Tools-for-the-Public/Conditions-Library/Allergies/Allergic-Skin-Conditions “Allergic Skin Conditions”). American Academy of Allergy Asthma and … Continue reading [9][Atopic eczema](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/ “Atopic eczema”).NHS.

ii. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a rash caused when your skin comes into contact with certain substances. It’s of two kinds: allergic and irritant.

  • Irritant contact dermatitis develops when the substance damages the skin that it comes in contact with. This is usually more painful than itchy.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction usually characterized by red, itchy, blistered skin. For instance, the reaction that you get from touching poison ivy or touching things that have come in contact with poison ivy. Perfumes, nickel, latex products, dyes, and cosmetic products frequently cause allergic contact dermatitis. Some ingredients in topical medications can also do so.[10][Allergic Skin Conditions](https://www.aaaai.org/Tools-for-the-Public/Conditions-Library/Allergies/Allergic-Skin-Conditions “Allergic Skin Conditions”). American Academy of Allergy Asthma and … Continue reading

In ayurveda, eczema correlates as “vicharchika”. It is considered to be a kshudra kushta or minor skin disease. This condition is considered to be rakta pradoshaja, that is, blood tissue is contaminated when this condition develops. An imbalance in all the three doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha – is indicated in vicharchika though with the dominance of kapha.[11]Kaur, Mandip, and H. M. Chandola. “Role of Rasayana in cure and prevention of recurrence of Vicharchika (Eczema).” Ayu 31, no. 1 (2010): 33.

How To Calm Down Dermatitis?

Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory creams, topical corticosteroids, emollients or antihistamines to deal with eczema. If you have contact dermatitis compresses and cold soaks may relieve your rash. Topical corticosteroid creams may also be prescribed in some cases. Avoiding contact with the substance causing contact dermatitis (for instance, by wearing gloves) is important.[12][Allergic Skin Conditions](https://www.aaaai.org/Tools-for-the-Public/Conditions-Library/Allergies/Allergic-Skin-Conditions “Allergic Skin Conditions”). American Academy of Allergy Asthma and … Continue reading Ayurvedic treatment can also be helpful in dealing with dermatitis. However, do keep in mind that as remedies can vary based on individual characteristics, you should check in with an ayurvedic doctor who will be able to guide you regarding the appropriate course of treatment. The treatment can consist of various remedies such as

i. Administering Agnideepaka Aushadhi

The oral administration of medicines which promote digestion and improve the metabolic activity of cells is considered useful in Ayurveda. These medicinal formulations are also considered to be helpful in breaking down ama (toxins). Panchakola phanta is an example of an ayurvedic drug used for this purpose.

ii. Snehapana

Snehapana is the process of drinking medicated ghee. Administration of medicated ghee is thought to help remove toxins from the body.

iii. Sarvang Abhyanga

Sarvang abhyanga or whole body oil massage is thought to bring toxins from all over the body to the excretory channels. This process is usually carried out after snehapana.

iv. Bashpa Swedana

Bashpa swedana or sudation therapy involves the elimination of toxins and waste from the body through the process of sweating. This is usually done immediately after an oil massage in a steam room.[13]Hegde, Pallavi, D. T. Hemanth, S. V. Emmi, M. P. Shilpa, Pradeep S. Shindhe, and Y. M. Santosh. “A case discussion on eczema.” International journal of Ayurveda research 1, no. 4 (2010): … Continue reading

v. Administering Rasayana Medications

Guduchi (Tinospora cardifolia) and Bhringaraja (Eclipta alba) in equal quantities along with ghee twice a day is thought to be helpful in treating eczema. Do keep in mind though that in Ayurveda these rasayana medicines are administered as part of a treatment plan which includes other aspects like koshta shuddhi (cleansing of the bowels using oral herbal formulations), and application of medicinal lepa (paste) on lesions etc.[14]Kaur, Mandip, and H. M. Chandola. “Role of Rasayana in cure and prevention of recurrence of Vicharchika (Eczema).” Ayu 31, no. 1 (2010): 33.

References

References
1, 7 Maurya, SANTOSH KUMAR, and A. N. K. I. T. Seth. “Potential medicinal plants and traditional ayurvedic approach towards urticaria, An allergic skin disorder.” Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 6, no. 5 (2014): 172-7.
2 [Definition: Histamine](https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/histamine.html “Definition: Histamine”). The Nemours Foundation.
3 [Causes of urticaria (hives)](https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives#causes-of-urticaria-hives “Causes of urticaria (hives)”).NHS.
4 [Angioedema](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/angioedema/ “Angioedema”).NHS,UK.
5 [Urticaria (hives)](https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives “Urticaria (hives)”).NHS.
6 [Treating urticaria (hives)](https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives#treating-urticaria-hives “Treating urticaria (hives)”).NHS.
8, 10, 12 [Allergic Skin Conditions](https://www.aaaai.org/Tools-for-the-Public/Conditions-Library/Allergies/Allergic-Skin-Conditions “Allergic Skin Conditions”). American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
9 [Atopic eczema](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/ “Atopic eczema”).NHS.
11, 14 Kaur, Mandip, and H. M. Chandola. “Role of Rasayana in cure and prevention of recurrence of Vicharchika (Eczema).” Ayu 31, no. 1 (2010): 33.
13 Hegde, Pallavi, D. T. Hemanth, S. V. Emmi, M. P. Shilpa, Pradeep S. Shindhe, and Y. M. Santosh. “A case discussion on eczema.” International journal of Ayurveda research 1, no. 4 (2010): 268.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information pertaining to your personal needs please see a qualified health practitioner.

About the Author

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Dr. Manjula P. Badiger (KAA Expert)

Dr. Manjula has 12 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda and worked as a Consultant and General Physician for over 5 years before starting her private practice. In addition to BAMS, she also has an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Research and is trained in Panchkarma. She is an expert at diagnosis of the root cause and planning effective treatment for multiple issues.

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