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Visarpa (Herpes Simplex/Herpes Zoster/Shingles)

Visarpa is one of the major skin diseases (Skin diseases) which is explained in detail apart from Kushtha vyadhi in all the classics. Visarpa is characterised by quick manifestation of swelling, having their own special features, spreading to all parts of body, lesion is wide and doesn't develop swelling

According to Ayurvedic classics, Twacha Rogas (Skin diseases) are produced by the imbalance of Tridoshas-Dhatus and Raktadushti. As per conventional medical field, skin is an organ which is supplied by blood vessels, nerves and it is rich in hair follicles and sweat glands. Skin diseases occur because of any change in these components


Many skin diseases are mentioned in Ayurveda classics based on their origin. Most of the skin diseases are caused due to Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha aggravation.


Classification of Visarpa

Ayurvedic scholars have classified Visarpa into following categories:

  1. Vataja Visarpa
  2. Pittaja Visarpa
  3. Kaphaja Visarpa
  4. Agni Visarpa
  5. Kardama Visarpa
  6. Granthi Visarpa
  7. Sannipataja Visarpa


Etiology (Hetu of Visarpa)

Dietary factors such as excessive intake of Amla, Katu, Ushna and Lavana food stuffs aggravates Doshas.

Frequent and excessive consumption of Shukta, Mandaka, Sura, Kilata, Kurchika, Asatmya and

Viruddha Ahara along with vitiated Doshas affect the element of the body which results Vyadhi like Visarpa.


Vitiated Doshas result in diminished Agni which causes development of Ama in the digestive tract. Ama spreads and causes vitiation of Mamsa, Rakta and Twak. This combination of vitiated Doshas and Dushya (Mamsa, Rakta and Twak) results in Visarpa.


  1. Vatika Visarpa is the result of obstruction caused by aggravated Doshas. It shows resemblance to the acute skin infections such as Erysipelas. Its clinical features are burning sensation, fever, pain, affected area becomes oedematous and red, small blackish or reddish blisters with thin clear reddish and scanty discharge are seen
  2. Pitta dominant Visarpa causes various problems such as fever, pain, burning sensation etc. Pustules are formed in the affected part causing intense pain and burning sensation. It can be co-related with the skin diseases such as Erysipelas, Herpes and burns etc
  3. Kaphaja Visarpa spreads slowly in the body, and it shows resemblance to the Erysipelas. It causes fever, vomiting, chills etc. The affected area becomes oedematous, red with pale coloured eruptions covered by thick skin. They can leave deep seated ulcers also if not treated on time.
  4. Agni Visarpa is a very serious condition resembling septicaemia. Affected area gets covered by red coloured blisters. Person suffers from severe burning sensation and becomes restless. It spread rapidly to the vital organs, and it is considered as incurable
  5. Kardam Visarpa is caused due to Pitta and Kapha aggravating factors. The affected area looks like mud and hence the name Kardam (as in Sanskrit) is given. It is a serious skin ailment of necrotizing nature and is considered as like necrotizing fasciitis and gangrene etc
  6. Granthi Visarpa is caused by aggravated Rakta (Blood) and Kapha-Pitta Dosha. It causes glandular enlargements which are red in colour, small and painful located in the bones, muscles, blood vessels etc.


Visarpa Chikitsa (Treatment):

  1. In Vataja Visarpa, Snehana Chikitsa (using oils/fats/Ghee) preferred. Patient should be given Vamana Therapy.
  2. Jwara (fever) associated with Visarpa can be treated using Virechana therapy
  3. Agni Visarpa should be treated with Vata Pitta Shamaka Chikitsa (Pacifyting treatment) and Kardama Visarpa should be treated with Kapha Pitta Shamaka Chikitsa
  4. In Granthi Visarpa the patient is given Seka therapy (Sudation Therapy) with Raktamokshana, Vamana (Emesis) and Virechana (Purgation), here medicated Ghrita prepared of Kashaya and Tikta Dravyas also suggested.
  5. After cleansing of body from inside, removal of morbid Doshas from the Twacha (Skin) and flesh (Muscle tissues) is very necessary.
  6. Lepa therapy (External application of herbs) helps in Rakta Prasadana (Blood cleansing and enhancing), Vrana Shodhana (Cleansing of woulds) , Rakta-Pitta Prashamana(pacification of vitiated blood and Pitta Dosha) and Vrana Ropana (Wound healing).
  7. Ghrita (Clarifies Butter), if applied along with various herbs then it can help in the healing of wound.


Dietary Recommendation:

  1. Ayurveda also includes appropriate Ahara in the treatment modality as it is the main balancing factor for the Doshas.
  2. Ayurvedic scholars have suggested Rukta and Pitta Prashamama diet for treating Visarpa.
  3. Patient is advised to consume old grains which do not aggravate the Kapha Dosha. Ahara of Sheeta, Ruksha, and Snigdha qualities should be given to the patient.


Treatment Case Study



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