Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) – Causes, Symptoms and Herbal Treatment

Abstract

Acharya Sushruta in his Ayurvedic creation Sushruta Samhita had beautifully described the importance of blood by quoting “tasmaat yatnen sanrakshaya Rakatam jeevam iti sthiti” (Ref. Sushruta sutra 14) means Blood is life and its loss must be prevented by utmost priority basis. Various bleeding disorders which are responsible in heavy blood loss and may even lead to life threatening consequences. In this article, we are going to discuss one such disease, ITP in detail including its causes, symptoms, types, diagnosis and herbal treatment along with some dietary advice for ITP patients.

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Introduction

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a disorder usually with the presence of excessive bleeding and bruising as blood doesn’t clot normally due to low levels of platelets in blood. Reddish-purple rashes and purple bruises may be seen in this disease. At present, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is more commonly known as Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Normally, our Bone marrow produces platelets that stick together and form a clot at the site of the cut to stop bleeding. But, if our blood doesn’t have a required number of platelets, the process of clotting and stoppage of internal bleeding / bleeding under or on the skin becomes very slow.

Types of Itp

There are mainly two types of ITP:

  1. Acute ITP is more commonly found in children and it may persist for the duration of maximum six months.
  2. Chronic ITP Mostly occurs in adults or teenagers and will remain for more than six months.

Causes of Itp

The exact cause of the disease was not well known before that’s why the term “Idiopathic” was used in the former name of disease. But now, it comes to the forefront that the immune system is mainly involved in ITP development. Thereby, this disease is newly named as Immune thrombocytopenia.

In this disease, the body’s immune system begins to produce antibodies against platelets. Number of platelets is gradually reduced due to destruction and removal of platelets by spleen. Also, the immune system disturbs the functioning of cells playing a major role in normal production of platelets which contributes to decrease in the number of platelets.

In children, ITP usually occurs acutely following a viral infection whereas in adults it occurs over a specific period of time.

Causes of ITP can be classified as primary and secondary. In primary causes, ITP develops on its own. In secondary causes, ITP develops alongside other conditions such as cancer, pregnancy, taking several medications, chronic infections and autoimmune disorders. ITP is a non-communicable disease i.e. it can’t be transferred from one person to another.

Symptoms of Itp

Most common symptoms of ITP include:

  • Bleeding into skin which looks like Pinpoint-sized petechial (reddish purple) spots that appear as rash often on the lower legs.
  • Bruising excessively or easily.
  • Spontaneous bleeding from nose or gums.
  • Blood in the stool and urine.
  • Bleeding from the gums.
  • Abnormal heavy flow during menstrual period.
  • Profuse bleeding during surgery.
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts.

Diagnosis of Itp

ITP can be diagnosed within the laboratory. If someone feels like he is suffering from any or more of the above mentioned symptoms, he / she must consult the doctor. Here are some diagnosis methods for ITP:

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count): It is a blood test used to check the number of platelets and other cells such as Red blood cells, white blood cells and hemoglobin in our blood.
  • Bone Marrow Test: This test is performed by taking samples from bone marrow with the help of a needle. Patients of ITP should have abnormal platelets produced in bone marrow. This test is used rarely to detect ITP and bring in use rigidly.
  • Exclusion of other Thrombocytopenic Disorders : Some other tests are performed to detect disorders which contribute to decrease the number of platelets. For example- Aplastic anemia and acute leukemia.

Treatment of Itp

Lifestyle Changes

Avoid using the counter drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and warfarin which can affect platelet functioning. Avoid consumption of alcohol which can adversely affect the blood clotting. Decrease indulging oneself in heavy physical activities which can cause bleeding and injury.

Herbal Treatment

  1. As per Ayurveda, Akik pishti (Agate compound) and Akika treated with Chandana (Santalum album), ketaki (Pandanus odoratissimus) or Gulab (Rose) is one of the preferred treatments of ITP, due to its effective action in Rakta shtivana (hemoptysis), Raktasrava (hemorrhage), Rakta pitta (bleeding disorders), bleeding gums, Rakta pradara (Metrorrhagia) and Pitta roga.
  2. Shudha Sphatika (purified powder of borax) is also given to the patients due to its vasoconstrictor (Sankochna) and blood clotting (Raktastambhana) properties.
  3. Tridosha Shamak herbs or drugs such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Adrak (Zingiber officinales) and triphala etc. are well known for anticoagulation and antineoplastic activities which increase digestive fire (Agnidipana) and increase strength (Balya) also, enhance the astringent factor (Sangrahi).
  4. To reduce immunologic destruction of platelets and to enhance the immune system, classical churna like Sharkara (sugar), Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Shweta musali (Chlorophytum borivilianum), Yashtimadhu (liquorice), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) , Shtavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are bring in use because of their Balya (strength enhancing) and Rasayan (rejuvenating) properties.
  5. Burning sensation (such as in erysipelas, urticaria), hemorrhages, depigmentation of skin are treated by Durwa (Cynodon dactylon) due to its properties of healing, cool potency and hemostasis.

These all above given herbs are used in treatment of ITP, but nowadays it is not possible for everyone to have access to these various herbs from the market or other sources. That is why, Planet Ayurveda brings combination of all these herbs in a single pack i.e., ITP CARE PACK to allow a cost and time effective consumption. Let’s take a look on Planet Ayurveda’s Itp Care Pack.

PRODUCTS DESCRIPTION

  1. Immune Booster
  2. Ashwagandha Capsules
  3. Giloy Capsules
  4. Gandhak Rasayan
  5. Green Essentials
  6. Kumar Kalyan Ras
  7. Brahmi Chyawanprash
  8. Suvarna Basant Malti Ras

ITP Care Pack

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1. IMMUNE BOOSTER

These capsules are completely pure herbal preparations which contain the standardized and pure extract of certain herbs, Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), bhumi amla (Phyllanthus niruri), cow colostrum (Bovine colostrums) and grape seed (Vitis vinifera). This immune booster maintains a healthy immune system, digestive system, hepatobiliary system, respiratory system and also provides healthy skin. Due to the ingredients’ of herbal origin in this formulation, it does not give any kind of adverse effect to the body.

Dosage: 2 capsules, twice a day after the meals.

2. ASHWAGANDHA CAPSULES

Due to multiple beneficial actions and properties, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is globally used herb in the Ayurveda. Planet Ayurveda’s Ashwagandha capsules are made up of superior and standardized extract of single herb, Ashwagandha. It is very effective to balance the level of Vata dosha, also regulates Kapha dosha and supports proper equilibrium of Tridoshas. Ashwagandha capsules enhance the working of the endocrine system, reproductive system and nervous system also.

Dosage: 2 capsules, twice a day after meals.

3. GILOY CAPSULES

Guduchi or Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) helps in keeping proper balance between all three doshas of the body. Giloy capsules by Planet Ayurveda consist of pure extract of herb Giloy in a refined and standardized form. These capsules give health to the blood-vascular system, nervous system, digestive system and immune system. The formulation is independent from starch, artificial colors and preservatives.

Dosage: 1 capsule, twice a day after having food.

4. GANDHAK RASAYAN

Gandhak rasayan tablets are prepared in the Planet Ayurveda’s manufacturing plant. It is manufactured by using safe, pure and superior aspects of shuddha gandhak (purified sulfur). These tablets work by balancing Tridoshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) or body energies. It plays a major role in maintaining the blood vascular system and making our skin healthy. The cool potency of Gandhak Rasayan allows it to balance the vitiated pitta dosha in the body which will add on to its therapeutic properties i.e. it indirectly acts as a blood purifying agent.

Dosage: 2 tablets, twice a day after the meals.

5. GREEN ESSENTIALS

These capsules are manufactured by using green herbs which are rich in nutrients and in combination fulfill the daily requirements of the body. This formulation is manufactured from superior quality herbs: Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum), Green tea (Camellia sinensis), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Spirulina (Spirulina platensis) and Grape seed (Vitis vinifera). It also helps in providing a healthy body and mind to people of various ages.

Dosage: 2 capsules, twice a day after the meals.

6. KUMAR KALYAN RAS

Kumar Kalyan ras is the classical formulation of Ayurveda and to be commonly used for kumaras (children). It is assembled from various herbs and various types of minerals or their purified ashes. This formulation is manufactured by utilizing pure, safe and standard quality ingredients in the form of pills. It contains loha bhasma (iron ash), shuddha parada (purified mercury), abhrak bhasma (processed and purified mica), makshika bhasma (ash of copper-iron pyrite), Swarna bhasma (ash of gold), ghritkumari rasa (extract of aloe vera juice) and mukta bhasma (ash of pearl). It helps to promote and support the healthy functioning of the heart in children.

Dosage: 1 pill, twice a day after meals.

7. BRAHMI CHYAWANPRASH

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) is extensively used in Ayurvedic formulations linked to disorders of the nervous system. Planet Ayurveda’s Brahmi chyawanprash is the multi herbo-mineral preparation available in jam form. It is prepared by using 28 ingredients that are having a positive impact on our body. Regular use of this product maintains stability in Tridoshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Brahmi Chyawanprash is very much effective in maintaining healthy functions of the immune system and nervous system. It is beneficial for almost all body systems.

Dosage: 1 teaspoonful twice a day, after the food.

8. SUVARNA BASANT MALTI RAS

Planet Ayurveda’s Suvarna basant malti ras is a classical formulation containing various herbs and minerals. This formulation is prepared by using high standardized extracts of shuddha hingula (cinnabar in a purified form), Marich (Piper nigrum), Swarna bhasma (gold in an incinerated form), Kharpara bhasma (calamine in an incinerated form), Nimbu swarasa (lemon juice) and Mukta bhasma as bhavna dravya. This formulation regulates Vata and Kapha doshas in the body. It is named as Rasayan in Ayurveda, and helps to maintain proper functioning of the immune system and respiratory system.

Dosage: 1 pill, twice a day after food.

Dietary Guidelines for Itp

A good diet is very helpful in preventing as well as treating ITP. Here is list of some foods to be eaten and foods to be avoided while suffering from ITP:

To Eat

  1. Vegetables
  2. Eggs
  3. Whole grains
  4. Flaxseed
  5. Fatty fish (Salmon)
  6. Whole fruits
  7. Chicken breast or Ground turkey
  8. Healthy fat such as Olive oil and Avocado
  9. Nut butter and nuts
  10. Dairy products low in fat
  11. Whole wheat bread and pasta

To Avoid

  1. Onion and Garlic (blood thinners)
  2. Canned food
  3. Red meat
  4. Butter, margarine (non plant based oils)
  5. Dairy products containing saturated fats
  6. Limit intake of tomatoes (blood thinners)
  7. Fast foods
  8. Alcohol

Conclusion

As this disease is combination of complex bleeding disorders due to altered immune response, thus symptomatic treatment such as use of immunosuppressant or steroid based drugs and lastly platelet transfusion are the only modalities of treatments left with the modern medicine which have a long list of side effects and that too provide relief for shorter duration with high chances of recurrence.

But, no need to worry, Ayurvedic medicines have no adverse effects and are successfully treating the exact cause of disease from its root, also enhancing immunity rather than suppressing it. Hence, there is a better scope of treatment of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) patients with Ayurvedic medicines along with lifestyle & dietary modifications.

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Dr. Vikram Chauhan
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.