Psoriasis a review of literature western and ayurvedic perspectives by: Jasmine Noble

Psora, means itch, rash, or skurf. Therefore Psoriasis can be called the itching disease. Psoriasis effects 2.5% of the world population and 30% of patients experience arthritic psoriasis effecting the joints.(7) Psoriasis is recognized in the west as an chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease caused by genetics, the immune system and environmental factors. In ancient times it was thought of as leprosy, (7)as noted in the charaka samhita under the chapter for treatments and discussion on leprosy, worms and other skin conditions,(25) which arose some time during the 1st century CE(32). Many people were mis diagnosed with leprosy when they actually were experiencing what we now call psoriasis. These people were isolated from their communities (since leprosy is contagious unlike psoriasis) and given the treatments for leprosy.(7)”The English dermatologist, Robert Willan (1757 ~ 1812) recognized psoriasis as an independent disease. He identified two categories. “Leprosa Graecorum” was the term he used to describe the condition when the skin had scales. Psora Leprosa described the condition when it became eruptive” (7) Ayurveda too has a distinction similar, according to research performed by Doctor Halpern director of California College of Ayurveda,”The term Eka Kushta applies when there is a single lesion. The term vicharachika occurs when there is extensive thickening. Kitibha applies to the rough, hard qualities of the lesions.” (Dr. Halpern 2016) It is also said that the tzaraat disease mentioned in the bible was that of likening to psoriasis. (33) It was not untill 1841 that Ferdinand von Hebra a Vietnamese dermatologist coined the term Psoriasis.(33) The separate terms like plaque, inverse, pustular, guttate, Erythrodermic and psoriatic arthritis that we now know of today were developed and discover within the 20th century. The treatments have evolved as well, in the west the treatments were composed of coal tar soaps and sunlight(33). That have grown into the vast variety of creams and types of light therapies that people have presently available.

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