Causes and Alternate Treatment for Vitilligo or Leucoderma
Posted Apr 07 2011 11:01am
Vitiligo & Leucoderma are two different terms used for the same skin disorders. But some causative difference is there in between vitiligo & Leucoderma. Basically Leucoderma is a Latin word which literally means ‘white skin’. It is popularly known as white patch also. It generally happens due to absence of melanin pigmentation over the skin.
Wisely we call it a ‘disorder’ as no pain and symptoms can be found in Vitiligo & Leucoderma. It may start with a small spot which later enlarge into a large white patch. It may be pale in colour initially but gradually it turns white with time due to complete loss of melanin pigmentation over affected areas. The shape and size of a white patch cannot be judged. The social value of Vitiligo & Leucoderma is dominant over its medical value preferably in India and almost all over the world due to its prominence over skin which differentiates a person from others. So, it is taken more as a ‘social stigma’ rather than a medical disorder almost all over the world.
Cause of Vitiligo & Leucoderma
Cause of Leucoderma could be accidental as a cut, burn or an ulcer. With due reasons the melanocytes cells (which produce melanin pigment) become dormant or inactive. Due to this dormancy or inactivity the pigmentation gradually disappears from the skin layers and the skin converts white there resulting into a white patch.
However cause of Vitiligo could be improper hygiene, inappropriate food combinations, regular junk food intake, insecticide/pesticide treated green vegetable intake regularly, past history of Jaundice or Typhoid fever, harsh Antibiotic use etc. One important cause of Vitiligo could be sudden emotional trauma, stress. Due to mentioned one or many reasons formation of toxins happen inside human body which disturbs the human Immune system and the disturbed immunity system reaches to the condition of Autoimmunity (a condition in which immune system of body destroys its own cells & tissues). This Autoimmunity is the basic important reason of Vitiligo according to Ayurvedic as well as Allopathic system of medicine.
In Ayurveda the reason behind Autoimmunity is mostly improper hygiene which is termed ‘virudh ahar sevan’ (as eating fish & milk together). This results into toxin formation inside the body which ultimately disturbs the immune system due to which the pigment producing melanocytes cells gets inactive or degenerated and thus vitiligo is formed.
Although hereditary condition which is almost 10-15%, is also attached as the cause of Vitiligo. But this is not certain that all the kids of vitiligo affected parents develop Vitiligo. Several families can be found unaffected despite family history of Vitiligo.
Herbal remedies employ various herbal components which contain psoralens. Psoralens is widely used substance for vitiligo treatment.
Psoralens are a group of naturally occurring, substances, which can sensitize human skin to the tanning effect of UV light (Sun light), thereby enhancing pigmentation. It is for this important quality, that they have been used with success for vitiligo treatment since ages.
Psoralens are found naturally in many herbal components. There have been isolated from fig, parsley, West Indian satinwood and celery etc. but seeds of Psoralea corylifolia are the most extensively used source of psoralens in herbal as well as Indian ayurvedic systems of alternate medicine.
Oral Psoralen Therapy
It is commonly used even as a domestic remedy for vitiligo treatment, in which the plant Psoralea corylifolia is ingested in various recipes. A common example is soaking the plant parts in water over night and drinking the water in the morning.
The remedy is fairly effective vitiligo treatment when combined with sun exposure, but very few people will continue to use it because of the following reasons.
Extremely unpleasant taste
Large quantities are usually required for oral intake which is very cumbersome
intolerance and side effects in form of nausea and allergic symptoms
Unwanted pigmentation of the whole body
The pigmentation is usually temporary which is lost gradually on cessation of treatment
Precautions: Psoralen is a very potent substance, and should not be used without adequate knowledge in its use.
Application of the medicine on target skin area is a very wise and convenient alternative to oral ingestion. It can sensitize the skin even locally, which would subsequently gain color on sun exposure.
Various methods of local applications are recommended by different authorities e.g. extracts, oils and concoctions, in which the substance is used alone, or in complex recipes along with other herbal materials.
Anti-Vitiligo which is currently the most potent treatment for vitiligo contains Psoralea corylifolia in the strength of 8% W/W, along with three other constituents which modulate and enhance the action of this photo sensitizer. This combination has yielded almost permanent re-pigmentation compared with the temporary effect of oral psoralen therapy.
Homeopathic system of medicine like the allopathic medicine, believes vitiligo to be a systemic disease with localized expression. They however differ in the treatment approach, because homeopathy does not offer any localized topical remedy for vitiligo treatment. It aims at detection and restoration of abnormalities in the constitution of the body. This necessarily means that the patient has to be treated and supervised by homeopathic a professional.
Ayurvedic is an Indian system of medicine which utilizes herbal, and natural products as well as heavy metals and surgical techniques for healing purposes. The treatment approach for vitiligo is however similar to the herbal approach. Some of the experts also recommend therapeutic vomiting and purgation for vitiligo.