Ayurveda is a form of traditional medicine that originated in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. It uses a holistic approach for treating health problems, including eczema and other skin disorders. This means it considers the body, mind, and spirit when managing health issues.
In Ayurveda, it’s believed that each person has three energies, or doshas. These doshas include vata, pitta, and kapha energies. Each dosha controls specific bodily functions. According to Ayurvedic medicine, your doshas must be in balance to maintain good health.
Eczema is thought to occur when your doshas are out of balance. Thus, the purpose of Ayurveda is to balance them through natural treatments. It also aims to purify the body, which is said to remove toxins that cause eczema symptoms.
Read on to learn about Ayurvedic eczema treatments, along with the potential side effects and benefits.
In Ayurvedic medicine, eczema is mainly treated with Panchakarma therapy. This method is also used for other skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.
You’ll need to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner to receive Panchakarma therapy. It may include treatments and procedures like:
- consuming medicated ghee for 5 to 7 days
- whole body oil massage
- inducing sweating
- inducing purging and vomiting
These treatments are meant to help eczema by removing toxins and supporting the immune system.
Ayurvedic treatment also involves consuming various herbs. You can add them to cooked food, drink them as tea, or take them as supplements.
If you’d like to consume supplements, work with your Ayurvedic practitioner to make sure you’re taking the right amount. Also, some herbs and drugs may negatively interact, so it’s important to follow your practitioner’s instructions.
Be sure to also follow up with your other healthcare providers, such as your doctor or pharmacist, about interactions with any prescription medications or supplements or herbs you take.
The following herbs are used to treat eczema symptoms:
Since stress can trigger eczema symptoms, you can also take Ayurvedic herbs that support the nervous system. Examples of these herbs include:
An Ayurvedic treatment plan for eczema also includes dietary changes. Typically, it’s recommended to eat a plant-based diet rich in whole and unprocessed foods. The ideal diet for eczema also includes foods high in:
- essential fatty acids
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
These nutrients are said to reduce eczema symptoms.
Treatment also includes drinking lots of fluids. Licorice tea and aloe vera juice are among the drinks that are recommended.
Additionally, some foods should be avoided.
Foods to avoid
- dairy products
- refined sugar
- acidic fruits
- heavy, greasy, or fried food
- salty or spicy food
- processed food
Ayurvedic practitioners believe these foods will exacerbate your eczema symptoms.
To soothe your skin, you can also try topical natural remedies for eczema:
Colloidal oatmeal is a fine powder made of ground oats. When used in a bath, it can calm your skin by reducing inflammation.
To make an oatmeal bath:
- Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, which can further irritate eczema.
- Add 1 cup colloidal oatmeal. You may need more or less, depending on the size of your bathtub.
- Gently mix the water until it becomes milky. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry and apply a moisturizer.
Coconut oil is ideal for dryness. It also has antibacterial properties, which may prevent harmful, infection-causing bacteria from entering cracked skin.
To use coconut oil, spread it on damp skin one or two times a day. If possible, use virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil, which is free of potentially irritating chemicals.
When applied topically, hempseed oil can hydrate and strengthen the skin. This could help prevent bacterial infections and provide relief.
You can also use sunflower oil as a natural moisturizer. It can reduce inflammation and increase hydration, making it ideal for eczema symptoms.
Sunflower oil can be applied two times a day, preferably once to damp skin.
Traditionally, witch hazel is used to treat inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema. You can simply dab witch hazel onto your skin using a clean towel or cotton pad.
Aloe vera gel
The cooling effect of aloe vera gel can help relieve inflamed skin and itching. To use this remedy, spread the gel on your skin once or twice a day.
Ayurvedic eczema treatment also focuses on relieving stress, since stress can trigger eczema flare-ups.
This may be done through various methods, including:
- deep breathing techniques
- guided imagery
- music or art therapy
- tai chi
Though Ayurveda has been used by many people, there are potential drawbacks to the practice.
There isn’t a lot of hard evidence to confirm its safety and efficacy. More well-designed clinical trials are needed to support its use for eczema.
Some treatments used to purify and detoxify the body might be unsafe.
Other possible disadvantages include:
- Exposure to harmful metals. Ayurvedic remedies might contain toxic levels of arsenic, mercury, or lead. They also aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For supplements, it may be harder to be sure of what’s in products without this additional verification.
- Allergies or reactions. You might have a negative reaction to certain herbs or plants. If it’s your first time using a remedy, use caution.
- Interactions with prescriptions. Ayurvedic remedies could interact with prescription drugs.
- Slow results. Ayurvedic treatments take some time to work. It’s important to practice patience when using Ayurveda.
If you prefer a more holistic approach to health, Ayurveda might fit your needs.
In addition to using natural substances, Ayurveda considers the mind-body connection so you can reflect on how this connection affects eczema symptoms, and how you can improve it.
Ayurveda methods may complement Western medicine, where eczema may be treated primarily with products like steroid creams and allergy medications.
You may opt for Ayurveda if you’re interested in alternative remedies. But take note of the potential side effects mentioned above. Since there isn’t enough research to support the safety of Ayurveda treatments, it’s important to work with a trained practitioner.
In Ayurveda, eczema is treated with dietary changes and natural remedies. It also relies on purification methods, which are said to control eczema by removing toxins from the body.
Despite these potential benefits, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support its use for eczema. Therefore, it’s not recommended to replace your existing treatment plan with Ayurveda.
If you’re interested in trying Ayurvedic treatments, be sure to work with a trained Ayurvedic practitioner. You should also consult your primary care doctor and dermatologist first.