Urticaria, also known as nettle rash or hives is a red, raised itchy skin rash which could possibly be triggered by some allergic reaction or an allergen.
In Ayurveda, this is called ‘Shita-Pitta’, involving aggravation of kapha and vayu, together with vitiation of pitta. It is considered a vascular reaction of the skin, characterized by transient appearance of elevated patches, which may be red or pale than the surrounding skin, and accompanied by itching.
Urticaria is thought to be caused due to certain foods, insect bite or sting, contact with irritant such as nettles, chemicals or latex, certain medications, extreme temperatures, sunlight, and water on the skin. However, in most cases, the exact cause of urticaria cannot be found. Urticaria is not contagious, and hence will not pass on to another person.
Ayurveda believes that apart from allergens, taking bath in cold water immediately after exercise when the body is hot, mental excitement, intestinal worms, exposure to cold wind, may also trigger urticaria.
Raised red and white patches occur in parts or all over the body surface and are accompanied by severe itching and irritation. Rarely, the patient may also be constipated, have cold or cough or bronchitis and stomach disorder.
‘Haridra (turmeric)’ is a popular household remedy. In India, it is used in curries and is believed to cure urticaria. It can be administered in the form of paste in a dose of two teaspoonfuls twice a day by mixing with water or milk.
‘Kamadugha rasa’ which comprising ‘gairika’ in large quantities are also given at 0.5gm dosage thrice a day, with honey.
Alternatively, ‘Suta Shekhara Rasa’ and ‘Arogyavardhini Rasa’ can be given thrice daily with honey. For constipation that may accompany this condition, a mild laxative may be suggested.
Some particular prescriptions that may be recommended are 80gm Rasa Sindur, with 4gm Haridra Khanda, to be consumed thrice daily with water.
3gm of Arni should be taken with 12 gm of ghee twice a day.
Neem leaves or Neem oil can be taken as supplements during this phase.
Adults can take triphala tablets at night before going to bed to help a clear bowel.
Few other ayurvedic medications recommended are Panch tikt ghrit guggul (500mg twice a day), Giloye (500mg twice a day), Tiktshatapalghrit (twice a day), Swarn Gairic (5grains thrice daily with water or honey), Kaishore guggulu (2tablets twice a day), Khadirarishta (3tsf with equal amount of water twice daily after meals).
For external application, rub the patient with mustard oil, mixed with rock-salt powder.
In case, it has been found that the cause of urticaria is due to intestinal worms, then, they should be treated first, else, the problem recurs.
As natural home remedy, consider the following:
Crush 20-25 margosa or neem leaves and make paste. Add 300ml of water and a teaspoon of giloy powder to this. Boil till water reduces to half, strain and cool the liquid. Drink this thrice a day.
Else, take half a glass each of pomegranate and Indian gooseberry juices and mix them together. Drink twice a day.
As far as possible, limit salt intake, and avoid sour food like yogurt, curd, and instead have bitter tasting food like bitter gourd. However, onion and garlic are considered to be good in this condition. Maintain a food diary so that the relationship between a food type and appearance of symptoms can be noted.
In case the above symptoms are accompanied by breathing difficulties, vomiting, variation in heart beat or blood pressure, the patient should be rushed to emergency care in a hospital.