Q: I have been experiencing bouts of itching at different parts of the body. I feel better when I take medication but the itching recurs when I stop those tablets. Can Ayurveda help?

A: Hives, also known as urticaria, are groups of raised, red or white itchy swellings of various sizes that appear and disappear at various times. Hives are an inflammation of the skin triggered when certain cells release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream, causing small blood vessels to leak. Urticaria in Ayurveda is known as Seetha pitta.

A reaction to medication, food, food additives, insects, parasites or infection is identified as an underlying cause of hives; however, in most cases, a cause is never clearly identified. In some cases, the condition may be related to an underlying immune disorder. Many people with hives also develop swelling around the eyes and lips, hands, feet, genitalia and inside the throat.

For some people certain conditions such as heat, exertion or stress can worsen symptoms. In cases where a trigger is identified, treatment is to avoid the trigger. Symptoms may be controlled with anti-allergy medicines. Ayurveda offers good treatment for Urticaria with herbs and dietary modifications.

• Avoid known triggers. These may include certain foods or food additives, medications or situations such as temperature extremes or emotional stress.

• Keep a diary. Track all of your activities, when and where hives occur, and what you eat. This may help you and your doctor identify triggers.

• Intestinal worms are also said to cause urticaria, hence try a de-worm treatment, as also constipation.

• Minimise vigorous activity, which can release more irritants into your skin.

• May take a teaspoon of Haldi (turmeric) mixed with a glass of milk at bedtime. Or take Haridra Khandam 1 teaspoonful at bedtime.

• Try taking a teaspoon of ginger juice mixed with honey daily.

If the itching persists, consult a qualified ayurvedic practitioner who can create a treatment plan tailor-made for you.

Dr VL Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurvedic practitioner. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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