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Article: Psoralea Corylifolia | Vitiligo Disease Supplement | Vitiligo Treatment

Role of Psoralea Corylifolia in Vitiligo

Author:

Dr. S. R. Rakhunde, Guide, Lecturer, Dept. of Dravya-guna
Dr. Leena R. Zade, M.D. Scholar, Dravya-guna
Shree Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur-9

Introduction

Modern lifestyles filled with competition, stress, poor nutrition, and pollution are contributing to various health issues, including skin disorders. Vitiligo, a condition characterized by depigmented areas on the skin due to the destruction of melanocytes, falls under the broader category of skin disorders described in Ayurveda as Shwitraroga.

Understanding Vitiligo

Vitiligo involves the progressive destruction of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that colors the skin, hair, and eyes. The exact cause of vitiligo remains unknown, but several hypotheses have been proposed:

  1. Autoimmune Hypothesis: The immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys melanocytes.
  2. Neural Hypothesis: Peripheral nerve endings secrete substances that are toxic to melanocytes.
  3. Self-Destructive Hypothesis: Toxic metabolites of melanin synthesis accumulate and destroy melanocytes.
  4. Genetic Influence Hypothesis: Genetic factors may predispose individuals to vitiligo, with a positive family history in about 20% of cases.

Types of Vitiligo

Vitiligo can be classified based on the distribution and pattern of white patches:

  • Focal Vitiligo: Few scattered white patches.
  • Generalized Vitiligo: Symmetrical patches on various body parts.
  • Acrofacial Vitiligo: Patches on fingers, around the mouth and eyes.
  • Segmental Vitiligo: Patches on one side of the body in a linear pattern.
  • Universal Vitiligo: Widespread patches covering most of the body.

Diagnostic Methods

Diagnosis of vitiligo is primarily clinical, based on the appearance of the skin. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be necessary to rule out other causes of pigment loss.

Psoralea Corylifolia (Bavachi)

Psoralea corylifolia, known as Bavachi in Ayurveda, is a potent herb used to treat vitiligo.

  • Botanical Name: Psoralea Corylifolia Linn
  • Family: Leguminaceae
  • Sanskrit Names: Awalguj, Krushnafala, Putifali, Kushtaghni
  • English Name: Psoralea seeds
  • Parts Used: Seeds, roots, and fruits
  • Properties: Laghu (light), Ruksha (dry)
  • Taste (Rasa): Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): Katu (pungent)
  • Potency (Veerya): Ushna (hot)

Ayurvedic Perspective

In Ayurveda, vitiligo (Shwitraroga) is associated with vitiation of the blood (raktadushti). Bavachi, with its Katu and Tikta rasa, and Ushna and Ruksha guna, helps absorb moisture (kleda) and destroys the krumi (microorganisms) responsible for blood vitiation.

Active Components

The seeds and fruits of Psoralea corylifolia contain psoralen and isopsoralen, which are active compounds that induce pigmentation. They enhance blood flow and melanin production when applied to hypo-pigmented skin. Psoralen is also utilized in PUVA (Psoralen and Ultraviolet A) therapy, where it sensitizes the skin to UVA light, promoting repigmentation.

Administration and Dosage

  • Seed Powder: 1-2 grams twice daily
  • Seed Oil: Topical application
  • Side Effects: Mild stomach disorder (mitigated by drinking ginger tea)
  • Prognosis: Positive if new hair growth in the affected area is not white.

Conclusion

Psoralea corylifolia plays a significant role in the management of vitiligo through its properties and active compounds that induce pigmentation and support skin health. Its integration in treatment regimens, particularly in combination with PUVA therapy, can be beneficial for patients with vitiligo. Proper diagnosis and tailored therapeutic approaches are crucial for effective management.