Ayurvedic Medicine Against Acne
Acne is a condition that takes a toll on your self-esteem. It has many different causes, and it may require a trip to the doctor to determine what is at its root. Ayurveda philosophy believes in the balance of doshas, or constitutions, of the body. They use foods, spiritual practices, and herbs to help regain and maintain balance. Ask your doctor about your acne and if Ayurvedic remedies might be right for you.
Developed approximately 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health. According to the book "Ayurveda Encyclopedia," Ayurvedic belief states that people are made up of a various combinations of elements, which make up their individual constitutions. Vata, pitta, and kapha are the three main doshas, and most people are a combination of all three. Diseases and conditions, says the book, can stem from imbalances in the doshas. On the Ayurveda Institute website, vata is associated with air, pitta with fire, and kapha with earth.
Ayurveda and Acne
The "Ayurveda Encyclopedia" states that Ayurveda typically approaches acne from both symptomatic and causal levels. In other words, it is essential to treat both the break-outs themselves as well as the root cause. Because acne is an inflammation of hair follicles, it is considered an excess of pitta, or fire. Treatments often involved topical applications such as turmeric and sandalwood, states the book, as well as internal balancing of the doshas. The pitta energy should be reduced; if left untreated, acne can reappear or manifest as another illness in a different part of the body.
Turmeric is known for its yellow color, as well as for its inclusion in curry. Indian culture has long used this spice to treat a variety of ailments. Modern research is finding that it has both internal and topical uses, including the reduction of inflammation. The Journal of Natural Medicine featured an article in January of 2010 discussing its effectiveness in treating inflammation in rats. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, reduced inflammation and pain in all experiments.
Sandalwood oil comes from trees that grow in India and other parts of Asia, states the book "The Natural Pharmacy." It has been used historically by Ayurvedic practitioners in the treatment of acne. The book also states that the oil has antibacterial properties, which might make it effective in treating the bacteria that leads to acne. A study performed at South Dakota State University in the United States discovered that sandalwood helps to prevent skin cancer. Published in Anticancer Research in January 2008, researchers concluded that mice pretreated with an extract of sandalwood oil experienced apoptosis, or cell death, of skin cancer cells.
"The Ayurveda Encyclopedia" recommends sandalwood soap, available at health food stores, as well as a topical astringent called Silver Sandalwood. Ask an Ayurvedic practitioner about this mixture, and if she recommends making it at home. To make this astringent, the book suggests boiling together one teaspoon sandalwood oil, six ounces of vegetable glycerin, four tablespoons of manjishtha, or Indian madder, and 10 ounces of silver water. The book states that this mixture can reduce pitta fire, and can be used year-round. Consult your doctor or dermatologist before using these remedies to be sure they are right for your condition.
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