Scleroderma-Polymyositis Overlap Syndrome in Ayurveda
Thymus, lymph nodes, bone marrow and other such organs, processes and glands of the body provide strength to the body and provide resistance for toxins and infections. This ability of the body is termed as immunity and the system responsible for maintaining this immunity is known as the immune system. But due to some hereditary or acquired causes this power of the body is hampered and which lead to auto-immune conditions in which the body is failed to recognise between body’s own cells and the pathogen/antigen, thus this defense system starts affecting healthy cells of its own body. One of such autoimmune conditions is Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome. In this article we are going to discuss this disease, its clinical features, causes and the best possible Ayurvedic management of the disease.
Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome is marked by the presence of clinical and immunological features of both scleroderma as well as polymyositis at the same time. Scleroderma is a group of disorders which is characterised by the tightening of the skin as well as other connective tissues, whereas polymyositis is an inflammatory disorder in which there is muscle weakness on both sides of the body. These both rare autoimmune diseases when occur simultaneously leads to the overlap syndrome condition known as Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome or Scleromyositis.
Sign and Symptoms
The clinical features of Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome can vary from the patient to patient. Basically, most of the manifestations of this disease involve skin. Few common features of Scleromyositis are discoloration of the skin particularly affecting toes/fingers, followed by hardening or tightening of skin, along with skin rashes, painful and swollen joints, stiffness, inflammation and weakness of muscles (especially upper arms,thighs or shoulders). The patients of Scleromyositis are found with peripheral vasoconstriction (spasm of arteries) that lead to a medical condition characterised by decreased blood flow to the fingers, toes etc. This associated phenomenon is known as Raynaud’s syndrome.
Scleromyositis is the rare autoimmune disorder of unknown etiology, the exact cause of this disease is not well known. But this disease is believed to be associated with an excess production of collagen (prime structural protein which is found in the skin, bones, muscle, and tendons that holds the body together). This excessive formation of collagen and its accumulation in the body tissues is responsible for the abnormal stretching of the skin and other connective tissues and leading to thickening and hardening of skin like symptoms. This disease if persisted for a longer duration can damage several organs including heart, lungs and kidney like vital organs.
In Ayurveda, the various autoimmune diseases are believed to have formed due to the ama (endotoxins). This ama condition is formed due to the agnimandya condition, which is the state of disturbed (reduced) digestive fire, this reduced jatharagni leads to the incomplete digestion of food items and results in the formation of endotoxins that travels throughout the body through blood stream or other channels and affect the normal metabolism of cells, and forming these autoimmune conditions. This ama is the sole cause for the various diseases and vitation of tridosha, these vitiated triosha with predominance of vata dosha start altering the normal functioning of the body tissues (connective tissues), initially the rakta dhatu (blood), which results in the uttan vatarakta condition (Scleroderma) and causing various skin manifestations, when this condition progress and vitiated dosha travel to mans dhatu (muscle related connective tissues), it increases the production of mans dhatu and leading to the deformities in skin and nerves. As, Acharya Charka has specified the basic seats of mans waha stotras as
Here, snayu (nerves) and twak (skin tissue) are considered as the basic seats of mansvaha srotas (microchannels associated with mans dhatu i.e. connective tissue muscles).
Thus, with the progression of this diseased condition, affecting neuromuscular coordination causes the mansdhatu vridhi (due to overproduction of collagen) leading to the weakening of muscles, inflammation of joints and other skin stretching and hardening related manifestations. And thus resulting in this auto-immune disorder i.e. Scleromyositis.
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Herbal Remedies as suggested by Planet Ayurveda’s experts for the management of Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome.
- Ashwagandha Capsules
- Musli strength Capsules
- Boswellia curcumin
- Gandhak rasayan
- Aamvatantak churna
- Nirgundi oil
1. Ashwagandha Capsules
These capsules contain the standardized extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Ashwagandha is well known for its balya karma (providing strength and adequate nourishment for the cells and tissues), helping in reducing the muscle weakness. Ashwagandha is the one of the best herbal nervine tonic and the regular use of it promotes better neuromuscular coordinations and checking the excess collagen production, thus preventing hardening and tightening of skin in Scleromyositis condition.
Dosage- 1 capsule twice daily, with plain water after meals.
2. Musli Strength Capsules
This is a herbal formulation made by Planet Ayurveda’s experts from two herbs i.e. Musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum) and Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris). These capsules help in enhancing the strength of body tissues and also help in reducing the muscular weakness associated with Scleromyositis. Also, it promotes better blood circulation, and also boosts up the immune system.
Dosage- 1 capsule twice daily, after meals with water.
3. Boswellia Curcumin
It is another bi-herbal formulation made from the standardised extract of Shallaki (Boswellia serrata) and haridra (Curcuma longa). Scleromyositis patients are very much benefited by the use of these capsules because the herbal components can support the immune system, increase blood supply to joint tissue, promote healthy functioning of joints, improve the biochemical structure of cartilage, and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Dosage- One capsule two times a day, after meals.
4. Gandhak Rasayan
This herbomineral tablet is an ancient classical Ayurvedic formulation consisting of shudh gandhak (detoxified sulphur), along with amalaki (Emblica officinalis), bibhitaki (Terminalia bellerica), and guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) etc. Patients of Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome can benefited from these tablets because this tablet is quite effective in managing the skin disorders, reducing or calming itchiness of skin, detoxifies bloods and treats the amaj condition, reduce swelling, and balance the tridoshas.
Dosage- Two tablets twice daily, after meals with water.
5. Aamvatantak Churna
This is polyherbal classical blend which consist of Sonth (Zinger officinale), Gorakhmundi (Sphaeranthus indicus), Methi (Trigonella foenum), and Surnajan (Colchicum autumnale) like ingredients.These ingredients are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The use of the churna in Scleromyositis patients is useful because the contents of the churna contain rich amounts of phytochemicals including triterpenes, diterpenes, and tetracyclic triterpenoids. These phytochemicals provide aamvatantak churna the ability to reduce stiffness, pain and inflammation of muscles, and strengthen the muscles. Further, as the name of this churna signifies, it also treats the ama condition by improving digestion, thus helping in treating the root cause of the disease.
Dosage- 1 teaspoonful twice daily, after meals with lukewarm water.
6. Nirgundi Oil
Nirgundi oil is the oil preparation made from the liquid extracts of Nirgundi (Vitex negundo). Nirgundi is considered as the main herb for pacifying the vitiated vata dosha. This oil will help in reducing pain and inflammation of joints and muscles in Scleromyositis condition.
Method of application- Take a suitable amount of oil, heat it and make it lukewarm and then apply it locally.
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There is no particular appropriate treatment protocol defined for Scleromyositis in Allopathic medicine. They mostly focused on symptomatic treatment along with the use of immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory drugs which in turn make the body prone for several other infections and diseases. Whereas, Ayurveda with an holistic approach of herbal medicines along with dietary and lifestyle modification is the best way for managing Scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan
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