Originating in India thousands of years ago, Ayurvedic medicinal treatments are complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, in the United States. Typically, ayurvedic treatments are an option when standard treatments have been found unsatisfactory. Ayurvedic principles resist physical maladies by unifying an individual's body, mind and spirit, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Use of these and other alternative treatments should be discontinued in the event of any negative side effects.
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Definition of Itching
Itching or pruritus is an urge to scratch an irritated or uncomfortable sensation of the skin. Itching may occur due to an allergic reaction to food or seasonal occurrences like molds or pollen. Itching is also a symptom commonly associated with chronic conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Stress may also cause itching in individuals. Instances of itching can be widespread, affecting numerous areas of the body, or it can be localized to one specific area.
What is Ayurveda?
The term Ayurveda is a combination of the Sanskrit words ayus meaning life or lifespan and veda, which means knowledge. Sustaining a healthy and well-balanced life is the cornerstone principle of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is divided into two categories: the traditional and Maharishi. Positive emotions, cheerful outlook, and elevated consciousness through meditation are essential components of Maharishi ayurveda. Both forms of Ayurveda rely on the use of herbal treatments to balance and heal the dosha or body energy. Energy balance can be negatively effected by poor diet, stress and an individual's environment. Ayurvedic medicinal treatments can be used for preventive healthcare management.
Non-medicinal Treatment for Itching
Because itching is such a common condition, many treatments are casual and non-medical. Sufferers of chronic skin ailments find some relief from cool water or ice packs. Cool showers can offer a brief respite from some cases of generalized head-to-toe itching. However, these methods only offer temporary help. They are recognized and accepted as home remedies in western traditional medicine. Non-herbal Ayurvedic treatments that offer temporary relief of itching are plain yogurt, goat's milk and ghee, which is a clarified butter used in Indian cooking.
Popular Ayurveda Ingredients
Neem oil is an effective treatment for itching and swelling due to sprains or arthritis. Ayurvedic practitioners use neem powder to cure skin infections. Marichaida Taila is an Ayurvedic oil used to treat skin infections and itching. Gandhak is used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote skin health. Other uses include the treatment of erectile dysfunction, ringworm, scabies, abscesses and furuncles. Apamarga is a plant used to treat coughing, piles, itching and abdominal pain. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for guidance as to the appropriate Ayurvedic treatment for your condition.
It is advisable that individuals seeking alternative medicinal treatments consult with a physician before using these remedies. Continued unsupervised use of these herbal ingredients can lead to illnesses other than those initially being treated. In fact, a number of Ayurvedic ingredients have been found to contain lead and mercury. The Centers for Disease Control received reports relating to Ayurvedic treatments of symptoms indicating lead intoxication, including irritability, fatigue, abdominal pain, arthralgias and varied neurological abnormalities.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- NCCAM: What is CAM?
- NCCAM: Ayurvedic Medicine Introduction
- Ayurvedic Medicines: Ayurveda and Itching
- Karen Flam; Executive Director of the Aromatherapy Alliance; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Centers for Disease Control: Lead Poisoning Associated with Ayurvedic Medications
- NCCAM: 2007 Statistics on CAM Use in the United States