Experiencing redness, swelling, or rash on the skin? It can be a sign of skin inflammation. It can be overwhelming for some people who are not aware of the condition. However, there is no need to panic. Skin inflammation might be alarming, but it is not something that can't be managed. Ayurveda has some calming and cooling remedies that can help soothe inflamed skin and make it look healthy and plump.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation often occurs when our body's immune system responds to any stimulus or trigger. When the immune system detects such triggers, it tries to neutralize them and defend the body. Foreign elements or triggers can be internal health conditions and physical trauma like infectious microbes, allergens, sun damage, wound, etc. Inflammation can surface in the form of redness, pain, heat, swelling, loss of function, difficulty in breathing, etc.
What is skin inflammation?
Skin inflammation may occur in the form of pain, redness, increased temperature, and swelling. Inflammation is associated with the response of our immune system. The immune response triggers the widening of blood vessels and allows permeability to reach the affected area. If our skin gets involved in such a response, we may experience skin inflammation.
Some potential causes of skin inflammation include:
- Immune system dysfunction
- Allergic reaction
- Bacterial or fungal infection
- Photosensitivity (immune reaction to sunlight)
- Some type of chemical radiations
What does Ayurveda say about inflammation?
In Sanskrit, the term Shoitha refers to inflammation, swelling, or edema, and the herbs and ingredients that have the potential ability to reduce inflammation are known to possess Shothahara properties_._
As per Ayurvedic wisdom, multiple external and internal factors trigger skin inflammation. Ayurveda suggests all three doshas are involved in developing skin inflammation. Experts highlight that vitiated Kapha causes swelling, Pitta causes redness and high temperature, while Vata is responsible for pain in the inflamed area.
Therefore, as per Ayurvedic principles, balancing the doshas will help regulate bodily functions and inflammation. In the majority of cases, skin inflammation is associated with an increased Pitta, vitiation of the Rakta Dhatu (blood tissues), and excessive accumulation of Ama (harmful accumulated toxins)
How to deal with inflammation, the Ayurveda way?
Ayurveda suggests that there are many natural ingredients that can help soothe skin inflammation.
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica): The herb in ancient texts is referred to as mandukparni or jalbrahmi. As per Ayurveda, and multiple pieces of medical research, Gotu Kola has anti-inflammatory properties
1. The herb can help reduce skin conditions that cause chronic inflammation, like eczema, psoriasis, etc. Experts suggest that the medicinal benefits offered by Gotu Kola are primarily due to the presence of Triterpenoid saponins and other active ingredients like flavonoids, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. All the active ingredients offer multiple skin benefits, including reducing inflammation and speeding up healing.
Experts recommend making a paste of Gotu Kola with water/ honey and applying it on the affected area for 20 minutes, followed by washing it off with lukewarm water.
READ MORE: Ayurveda on Gotu Kola: Benefits for Skin and Hair
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha has stood the test of time when it comes to offering anti-inflammatory benefits
2. Even according to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is known to offer great relief in treating inflammatory skin disorders. Shothahara property of ashwagandha is associated with its ability to bring down inflammation. In addition to this, its antioxidant nature helps in healing wounds and strengthening the skin barrier.
As far as doshas are concerned, ashwagandha has tridoshic properties that can help balance all the doshas and inflammation-related symptoms caused by these doshas when vitiated. Ayurvedic experts recommend using ashwagandha by making a paste and adding honey or aloe vera gel. The paste should be applied to the inflamed area for about 15-20 minutes and washed off gently. You can also try iYURA's Ashwaro Body Oleator - infused with Ashwagandha’s even-toning properties.
Shatavari: As per ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, Shatavari’s
3 cooling properties make it an excellent Pitta pacifier, a dosha that is often associated with inflammation. Ayurveda highlights the herb's Shophajit (ability to reduce swelling and inflammation) properties. In addition to that, the presence of flavonoids, saponins, and essential fatty acids can also benefit the skin by rejuvenating it.
Ayurvedic experts recommend using the herb by mixing it with honey or aloe vera gel and applying it to affected areas. After keeping it on for 15- 20 minutes, it must be washed off gently.
Manjistha: Often, inflammation is accompanied by tissue damage or is caused by it. In such circumstances, Ayurveda recommends using herbs that reduce inflammation and tissue damage
4. One such herb is manjistha. The Shotha property of manjistha has been highlighted by ayurvedic experts, which allows it to help calm down inflammatory conditions. Furthermore, its wound healing and antibacterial abilities help cell regeneration and tissue recovery. Since manjistha is a blood purifier, too, it can help reduce the accumulation of toxins in your body.
Experts suggest that regularly applying a paste made with manjistha and water/honey for 15 to 20 minutes can help reduce inflammation in the affected area. You can also try Manjish Glow Elixir - Ayurvedic Night-Time Face Oil - Natural Moisturizer for Healthy Skin
Sariva: Sariva or Anantamul (Indian sarsaparilla) is known for its potential anti-inflammatory properties
5. Ayurvedic experts highlight that sariva has Amahara (relieves toxins) and Sheetla (cooling) properties which can help deal with inflammation. Since the herb has blood-purifying properties too, it can help flush out toxins from the body that trigger skin inflammation. Furthermore, since sariva can help reduce free radicals and has anti-bacterial abilities, it can aid in reducing oxidative stress and minor bacterial infections that cause skin inflammation.
Guggulu: Guggulu (Commiphora wightii) is among the most used ayurvedic herbs for dealing with chronic skin inflammations, wounds, and infections
6. It is an essential ingredient in many ayurvedic preparations and is believed to offer significant relief from symptoms like redness, tenderness, burning sensation, etc. The Shothahara property of the herb is associated with its ability to bring down inflammation. Furthermore, it is also beneficial in making the skin look healthier and the epidermal barrier strong.
A person can take 1 to 2 tsp of guggulu powder with honey or ghee, or apply its paste on the affected areas for 20 minutes to experience the benefits of the herb.
Other anti-inflammatory herbs, oils, and remedies
Apart from the herbs mentioned above, there are several other Ayurveda-approved herbs that can offer anti-inflammatory benefits when applied to the affected area. These include tulsi, neem, sandalwood paste, guduchi, coriander, etc. Essential oils like eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and camphor oil can also offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
Similarly, cold compression, applying cool aloe vera gel, etc can also soothe and calm inflamed skin, irritation, and pain.
Dietary additions to fight inflammation
A wholesome and dosha-balancing diet can help achieve a healthy body and mind. Therefore, by adding some Ayurveda-approved herbs and ingredients to our diet, we can reduce skin inflammation. These include turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, green Tea, flax seeds, etc.
Some other daily practices that can help reduce skin inflammation include:
- Staying hydrated.
- Keeping the skin moisturized and protected from sun damage and pollution.
- Using products and herbs that are gentle on the skin.
- Having a wholesome diet that is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods.
- Having a calm and relaxed mind.
Skin inflammation is a condition that can be triggered by multiple reasons. Therefore, in order to treat it, it is significant to understand what is its root cause and address it accordingly. By including the above-mentioned herbs in your daily routine and following Ayurveda approved diet and lifestyle, we can reduce instances of skin inflammation and maintain healthy and glowing skin.