Eczema is a term that denotes different types of allergic skin inflammation usually of chronic origin. The symptoms of eczema commonly include itching, reddened and dry skin. Since the skin is itchy, prolonged scratching leads to a leathery thickening of the skin. Cracking and weeping of the skin may also occur and open sore may become infected.
Though eczema is very difficult to control, allergic component of eczema can be controlled to an extent by regular internal and external use of Shirisha, which is widely mentioned in Ayurvedic classics and used in clinical practice at large by traditional practitioners. Some do’s and don’ts include:
(1) Excessive intake of sour, salty and pungent foods and drinks, curd, milk, jaggery, sesame seeds, black gram and alcoholic beverages should be avoided.
(2) If there is oozing from the eczema site, efforts should be made to keep the site clean and dry. Whereas in dry eczema it is always advisable to keep the affected area moist and smooth with vaseline or an oily preparation.
(3) Avoidance of aggravating factors of eczema, and eating simple, soft, easily digestible food helps. Edible items of bitter taste; regular use of honey and peace of mind help in management of eczema.
Dose and mode of administration
(1) Shirisha bark powder is given orally to adults in a dose of 3 to 6 g and to children in a dose of 1 to 2 g twice daily after meals with lukewarm water.
(2) The decoction is prepared by adding 16 times water to 10 g coarse powder of bark of Shirisha and then boiling on slow fire till about one fourth of water remains. The dose of the freshly prepared decoction is 40 ml twice a day after meals. For better relief add 5 g of turmeric powder in the decoction of Shirisha just before taking it. To mask the taste sugar may be added to the decoction. Fresh decoction is to be prepared for every dose.
(3) The lesions may be washed with the decoction prepared from the bark of Shirisha.
(4) The treatment may be continued for 3 to 4 weeks or till cure is achieved, if relief of the symptoms is sustained.
(5) If the condition gets worse, seek doctor’s advice and check for allergic reactions.
The following measures can help to prevent and treat eczema –
- Moisturize your skin regularly.
- Protect skin from strong winds.
- Protect skin from temperature extremes (hot or cold).
- Keep the area clean especially if skin cracks.
- Keep bathing and shower times short.
- Keep your diet healthy and add vitamins.
- Use medications strictly as directed.
- Try to reduce stress.
- Do not vigorously scratch or irritate skin.
- Do not bathe with hot water.
- Do not expose skin to harsh chemicals, solvents, vehicle lubricants, etc.
- Do not wear woolen clothing.
- Avoid wearing tight fitting clothing especially made of synthetic fibers.
- Do not apply hydrocortisone creams without medical advice for long periods.
Reference – Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care