Ayurvedic Treatment for Alopecia aims in improving the immunity of the body. Sudden hair loss occurring on the scalp, in some cases the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face, as well as other parts of the body is called as alopecia. If the hair loss occurs in small patches, which remain unnoticeable until they join together to form an area of noticeable size then it is known as alopecia areata. If there occur total hair loss then it is termed as Alopecia Universalis.
- Signs and symptoms of Alopecia
- Causes of Alopecia
- Pathophysiology of Alopecia
- Diagnosis of Alopecia
- Treatments of Alopecia
- Prognosis of Alopecia
- Complications of Alopecia
- Alopecia in Ayurveda
- Nidana- Causes of Khalitya
- Purvaroopam (Premonitory Symptoms) of Khalitya
- Samprapthi (Maturation) of Khalitya
- Lakshana of Khalitya
- Prognosis of Khalitya
- Chikitsa (Treatment) of Khalitya
- Commonly used medicines for Khalitya
- Diet desirable to prevent Khalitya
- Research articles link.
Signs and Symptoms
The initial symptom is the appearance of small bald areas which are normal in appearance. Hair loss occurs in a short period of time and there will be pain or tingling sensation in those bald areas. Alopecia areata occurs usually in the scalp and beard. In the rare case there will be pitting if nails are known as trachyonychia.
Causes and Pathophysiology
Alopecia is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the hair follicles are destroyed by the body’s immune system thus suppressing hair growth. The T cells cluster around the hair follicle resulting in inflammation and hair loss. In normal cases, hair follicles are protected from the immune system known as immune privilege. If this is lost the alopecia occurs. Though it is not contagious, it shows the heredity factor. It is a risk factor in autoimmune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
- The primary way to diagnose Alopecia is by analyzing the symptoms and local examination of the area of hair loss.
- Trichoscopy reveals regularly distributed “yellow dots” (hyperkeratotic plugs), small exclamation-mark hairs, and “black dots” (destroyed hairs in the hair follicle opening).
- Pull gently on the hairs at the edges of the bald patch to see if they come out easily
- Check hairs and hair follicles, if they’re abnormally shaped
- Examine the nails for pitting.
- To confirm diagnosis biopsy is taken, which means a small piece of skin is removed from your scalp and looked at under a microscope to detect the defect.
- Test the skin for a fungal infection or blood tests to check for thyroid hormone or other immune system problems.
The treatment aims to make the hair follicles healthy to restore hair growth. The treatment includes,
- Corticosteroids- these are anti-inflammatory drugs in autoimmune diseases and they are either given as an injection in the scalp or as pills. In the form of ointments, cream or foam are also used (eg. clobetasol (Impoyz)
- Topical immunotherapy- a technique in which a chemical like Diphencyprone is applied to the skin to spark an allergic rash. In about six months new hair growth is induced.
- Topical application of Minoxidil (Rogaine), is relatively safe.
- Phototherapy in which a combination of an oral medication called Psoralens and UV light.
If the disease begins with a small number of patches of hair loss, hair grows back after a few months to a year. If there is greater number of patches, hair can either grow back or progress to alopecia areata totalis or, in rare cases, alopecia areata universalis
The condition may cause psychological problems like anxiety or depression.
Disease and Ayurveda
In Ayurveda Acharyas describes a disease called Khalitya were there is hair loss. In the case of Indralupta there is hair loss in small patches like Alopecia areata.
The cause of Khalitya is said as over indulgence of Kshara (alkaline foods), Lavana (salt) and Virudha Ahara (incompatible food) have mentioned. It has been mentioned that the Virudha Ahara like, simultaneous intake of Lavana with milk in the diet induces Khalitya. Thus, it can be said that a person habituated to excessive intake of Lavana or Kshara and consuming Virudha Ahara is prone to have Khalitya. Ignorance of Pratishyaya is said as a cause for Khalitya.
Purvaroopam- Premonitory Symptoms
No specific Purvaroopa is said but occasional hair loss in very minimal number may be considered as Purvaroopa of Khalitya
The disease onset and progressed is described as, Pitta dosha along with Vata involving the roots of the hair (Romakoopa) causes fall of hairs. Later on Shleshma along with Rakta obstructs the channel of Romakoopa leading to the stoppage of the regeneration of the hair. This condition is known as Indralupta, Khalitya or Ruhya. Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha and Rakta Dushya are the main internal causative factors of Khalitya
Lakshana Signs and Symptoms
The cardinal symptom of Khalitya is the gradual loss of hair leading to baldness. Considering symptoms based on doshas, Ruksha (dry) and Pandura (pale) scalp occurring due to Vata Dosha, red and burnt scalp occurs due to Pitta Dosha, Snigdha scalp due to Kapha Dosha and with pus due to Rakta. In Sannipataja type bears characteristic of all the Doshas
Divisions based on Dosha
Considering the prognosis Sannipataja type is considered as Asadhya (incurable) and it is advised that such patient should be discarded.
In the management of Khalitya, after adequate Samshodhana (elimination of doshas) patient is subjected to Nasya (nasal instillation), massage of the head with oil, and Shirolepa (application of the paste of drugs in the head) is done. Bloodletting is done on the vein near the site of the disease followed by application of different Pralepa (paste). Raktamokshana (bloodletting) is done by scratching of the scalp either by Suchi, Kurchika or by rough leaves before application of Lepa
Commonly used medicines
The treatment of Alopecia depends on the cause and here some commonly used formulations are listed. A qualified Ayurvedic doctor helps to select the medications. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org for getting a free consultation.
- Indraluptha Lepam
- Mahathiktakam Kashayam
- Panchathiktakam Kashayam
- Malathyadikera thaila
- Kanjunyadikera thaila
- Neelibringadi kera thaila
- Calcium supplements like Pravala bhasma
- Tikthaka ghrita
- Vaidyaratnam Oushadasala
- Aryavaidya sala Kottakkal
- SNA Oushadasala, etc.
- Oil massage of the head
- Application of henna powder,Bhringaraj powder, Amalaki powder with curd or milk.
- Herbal henna
- Massage of few drops of rosemary oil with coconut oil
- Onion juice, lemon juice, aloe vera, etc. are also good
- Legumes, nuts, unpolished rice
- Vitamin E rich diet
- Leafy vegetables
- Bright colored fruits rich in antioxidants
- Protein-rich milk, egg, soya, etc.
Since psychological problems like stress cause hair fall, it is necessary to maintain a healthy mind. This can be achieved by yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
Research articles link.