How to Treat Scleroderma Naturally?

What is the Cause of Skin Disorders According to Ayurveda?

(Reference: Charak Samhita, Chikitsasthanam, Chapter 7, shlok no. 9 & 10)

Meaning: According to this Shlok, vitiated Vata, Pitta and Kapha Causes the vitiation of skin, blood, muscle and lymph tissues. So, vitiation of these 7 factors causes skin disorders. The vitiation of above said seven factors cause 18 types of skin disorders. None of the skin disorders is caused due to the vitiation of only one type of dosha.

What are the Signs And Symptoms of Skin Disorders?

(Reference: Charak Samhita, Chikitsasthanam, Chapter 7, shlok no. 11 & 12)

Meaning: According to this shloka, insensitivity to touch, profuse sweating or no sweating at all, loss of natural complexion of skin, urticaria, itching, prickling pain, tiredness, senses are unable to perform their functions, wounds that have severe pain, easy wounding, wounds that do not heal early, burning sensation and numbness in the organs – all these are the symptoms of skin disorders.

How to Treat Scleroderma Naturally?

scleroderma and skin problems

Scleroderma is an auto-immune disorder of the connective tissue characterized by thickening, varying degrees of inflammation, disorders in the blood vessels and associated with an impaired immune system. It is characterized by the formation of fibrosis (scar tissue) in the skin as well as other organs in the body. Scleroderma or systemic sclerosis is a rare disease which is more common in females and rare in children.

In Ayurveda, Master Charak has elaborated different types of skin disorders in Chikitsa Sthan as well as in Nidan Sthan.

In Ayurveda, a detailed description of skin diseases is mentioned. In Charak Samhita, (Chikitsa Sthanam – Chapter 7), it is explained that all persistent skin diseases are caused due to the simultaneous imbalance of all the three doshas Vata, Pitta, and Kapha with the dominance of one particular dosha.

According to Ayurveda, scleroderma is mainly a Vata type presentation because as the disease progresses, Vata dosha will be deranged.

Doshas when aggravated, cause the vitiation of ‘Agni’ (digestive fire) which leads to the production of ‘Ama’ (endotoxins) in the digestive tract. The aggravated Vata dosha carries the Ama and other toxins into the Rasa and Rakta dhatus which results in skin diseases.

These doshas further disrupt the Twak (skin), Rasa dhatu (lymph), Rakta dhatu (Red blood cells) and Mamsa dhatu (muscles).

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Scleroderma?

  • Stiffness, puffiness, and tightness of the fingers.
  • Swelling on the hands and feet especially in the morning.
  • Red spots on hands and face
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain and inflammation in the joints
  • Dryness of the mouth as well as eyes
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Ulcers on the fingertips
  • Scleroderma can affect the skin and causes local and widespread signs of inflammation such as tenderness, swelling, pain, and itching. These symptoms are mainly due to Pitta Vriddhi (aggravation of Pitta dosha).
  • There are also symptoms due to Vata Vriddhi (aggravation of Vata dosha) such as tightness and hardening of the skin which is most commonly seen in feet, face, neck, and fingers which can lead to decreased movements of fingers, jaw or toes.
  • Very rare, hard nodules can be seen at the tip of elbows or on the fingers which are again due to Vata Vriddhi (aggravation of Vata dosha).
  • Sometimes scleroderma also affects esophagus which results in heartburn, when the stomach acid flows back into the esophagus (due to an aggravation of Pachak Pitta, the subtype of Pitta dosha). Scarring of esophagus occurs that is due to aggravation of Vata dosha which results in difficulty in swallowing the food or pain in the chest.
  • Blood vessels of finger tips and toes are affected. As a result, these vessels when exposed to cold have the tendency to spasm and leads to red or blue discoloration of fingers and toes. This symptom is due to the aggravation of Vata dosha/Vyana Vayu.
  • Elevated blood pressure is also a symptom of scleroderma.
  • Scleroderma also causes inflammation of the lungs which can cause scarring resulting in shortness of breath (caused due to Rasa Gata Vata).
  • It also affects large bowel movement (colon). In severe cases, fecal impaction can result (caused due to Vata Vridhhi/Apana Vayu).

What is the Line of Ayurvedic Treatment for Scleroderma?

Since the main cause of all auto-immune disorders is the formation of Ama, thus care should be taken to help the patients to improve their digestion.

The Ayurvedic line of treatment for scleroderma in Ayurveda is based on determining the imbalanced and dominating doshas and evaluating signs and symptoms. An Ayurveda physician will evaluate everything in detail such as Apana, Pachaka, Kledaka, Samana etc. which are responsible for digestion. In Ayurveda, Dosha Shaman and Rasayana therapies are followed.

  • Treatment includes pacifying the doshas and elimination of Ama dosha from the system by balancing Bhrajak Pitta and Vyana Vayu. By balancing these doshas, ama (endotoxins) from Rasa, Rakta Dhatu and annavahasrotas are eliminated.

Some of the Home Remedies for Scleroderma are

1. Turmeric

The active compound of Turmeric is Curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which help in reducing pain and inflammation associated with scleroderma or turmeric can be applied externally on the affected areas.

How to use: Add a teaspoon of powder to a glass of water, mix well and drink the solution. For external application, make a paste of turmeric and water and apply on the affected area for few minutes.

2. Ginger

Ginger is anti-inflammatory in nature and in Ayurveda, it is mentioned that it digests the Ama dosha and also stimulates the digestive fire. It has strong antioxidant properties as well.

How to use: Add 1-2 inches of ginger slices to a cup of hot water and steep for 5-10 minutes and drink it. You can also take 1-2 slices of ginger with rock salt after every meal.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D exhibits immunomodulatory, antifibrotic and cardioprotective effects which is a great supplement to manage the symptoms of scleroderma.

4. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil can be applied externally on the skin as it contains menthol. Menthol has anti-inflammatory and soothing effect on the inflamed and swollen skin.

How to use: Add 6 drops of peppermint oil to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Mix these oils well and apply on the affected area and leave for 30 minutes overnight and rinse it off in the morning. 

5. Triphala

Triphala (mixture of Amla, Bhibhitaki and Haritaki) is a well-known Ayurvedic remedy for Skin diseases and GIT disorders. It is a very effective remedy for scleroderma as it assists in natural and internal cleansing, supports healthy digestion and absorption and acts as a natural oxidant.

How to use: Take 1 teaspoon of triphala powder with plain water before going to bed.

Diet and Lifestyle:

  • Avoid the intake of refined flour, refined sugar, tea/coffee, citrus fruits, onions, heavy and spicy food.
  • Processed and junk foods are not recommended.
  • Keep the skin moisturized.
  • Protect yourself from skin injuries.