Leucoderma or vitiligo is the condition in which some areas, large or small, lose their pigment (colouring matter) and become milky white. At initial stage, these spots are very small in size or area, go on increasing slowly and spread all over the body. The cause is unknown and there is no satisfactory cure except in homoeopathy.
Leucoderma or white patches appear over scalp, forehead, eyes, behind ears, over lips, neck and have the tendency to spread in down-ward direction, i.e. , over back, abdomen, thighs, knees, lower legs, arms, hands and feet. Leucoderma of old people becomes difficult to cure (due to old age weakness), or when it appears over lips, palms and soles (due to frequent rubbing action between wet lips, between hands while washing them with soap and between sole and shoe. Moreover, the skin of the sole is very thick, hard, and does not contain any blood vessel. It is commonly seen among weak children and is more common in the black races, in meat-eaters or in those who avoid eating vegetables.
Leucoderma is neither a contagious disease nor hereditary.
Causes : As already said, cause of leucoderma is unknown, but during my 15 years' practice I came to know some of the causes, while treating about some cases of leucoderma. Some of its causes are said above and others are highlighted in the following lines:
- All injuries, wounds, ulcers, boils, burnt skin with fire or hot coal, hot liquids, etc., destroy the skin and its chromatophores (special cells in the skin on which colouring matter melanin is contained). It is also found in hair and
eyes. Melanin is a dark brown or black pigment which is found in the chromatophores, hair and the choroid layer of the eye-ball between the retina and the sclera which contains blood vessels and black pigment that absorbs excess light and so prevents blurring of vision. Melanocyte (melanophore) is a cell within the epidermis of the skin that produces the dark brown or dark pigment melanin. Thus, in injuries, wounds, ulcer or in burnt skin these melanocytes are destroyed and as such they do not manufacture the colouring matter melanin and so the affected spots on the skin turn into white scars and at later stage these scars change into leucoderma.
- The production of melanin in the skin by melanocytes is increased by the action of sunlight, and when the skin is not properly exposed to sunlight or we do not have regular sun-bath, then there is less or stopped production of melanin in the
skin, thus white. patches are formed over the skin - in similar way when the boot polish is ignored for sufficient long period, and the colour of the shoe is diminished or changed into white patches from its wear and tear, and from want of colouring matter, i.e. , boot polish.
- When the skin requirement of melanin is not met well from our daily food (i.e. food without vegetables, fruits etc.), then skin becomes discoloured from the areas of the skin where the colouring pigment melanin is less supplied, and skin
becomes white in similar way as in the case of boot polish explained above. Thus proper and balanced diet is very necessary for the maintenance of skin colour.
- Excessive fried food, alcohol, meat, eggs and fish destroys the body tissues and cells and thus affect the manufacture of colouring pigment for the skin.
- Sweat glands in the skin do not function properly due to poor bathing or poor hygienic condition of the body and poor rubbing of the skin with towel after bath, and poor action of sweat glands means poor production of melanin.
- Excessive use of cosmetics over face, or use of red colour which the Indian ladies fix on their forehead in between the eyebrows produces leucoderma because the chemicals used in cosmetics and bindya are corrosive in nature-that tend to
destroy the upper skin along with its colour thus making the skin white.
- Poor nutrition etc. make the body weak and anaemic, there is lack of vital heat in the body and poor circulation of blood, which may cause leucoderma.
- Excessive of allopathic drugs or sour things, especially tamarind may cause increase in the white spots.
During 15 years' practice in homoeopathy, I have come to know that leucoderma in some of the cases has lengthy treatment and difficult cure. Moreover, 60% of the cases were cured in homoeopathy and rest of the 40% had left the treatment due to the
- Leucoderma is difficult to cure, and has lengthy treatment from 6 months to 4 years, and patient is fed up with such lengthy treatment.
- Egg, meat, fish and alcohol are strictly restricted during the treatment, but the patient prefers to leave the treatment and start enjoying fish, alcohol and meat.
- The poor patients want to be cured, but they are not in a position to pay the charges of medicines for long time.
- Patients who have taken strong allopathic drugs and injections around the white patches also fall in the uncured category of 40%.
- A government servant left the treatment when he was transferred from the place.
- Leprosy or leprous condition in the body makes cure difficult. Similarly mixed constitution has psoric, syphilitic and sycotic miasms, which create some difficulties in the cure of leucoderma. A good doctor gives miasmatic remedy in
homoeopathy for speedy cure of white patches.
- I have investigated and found that persons who have blood groups. O+ve, O-ve, or almost all O-ve groups, which are rare groups in blood, show slow cure or rather difficulty to cure. The cause of this is not known to me.
Blood groups A+ve, B+ve, etc., make the leucoderma to spread quickly and takes long time to cure. Blood groups A+ve, B+ve, AB+ve, etc., show speedy cure, especially in persons having black complexion. Blood group A+ve, O+ve, etc., may show
leucoderma over lips, palms and soles, which is difficult to cure because of thick skin and rubbing action between lip and lip, sole and shoe.
I am still busy in my reasearch work on cure of leucoderma.
Guidance for treatment :
- All persons who have black complexion and blood group A+ve, B+ve, AB+ve, AB, etc., are cured quickly when they are given intercurrent medicine, like Bacillinum or Psorinum 200, one dose every one or two months.
- A patient should be educated regarding the length of treatment and be asked to test his blood group.
- First, second and third remedies should be selected at once and each be given for 15-20 days, one after the other in the trio form, with some indicated intercurrent medicine in 200 potency till cure. This is done so, because with one indicated medicine there would be signs of proving of the medicine due to its continuous administration. In trio treatment it never happens.
- The likely intercurrent remedies are Bacillinum, Psorinum, Natrum sul, Calc c, Sul, Thuja or Tuberculinum.
- The selection of medicine should be based on totality of symptoms, esecially mind symptoms, likings, aggravation from hot or cold air, symptoms of the digestive system,
- If a wrong medicine has been selected, then treatment may cause some severe eruption of pimples, boils or pustules over the skin, especially with medicine, like Arsenicum sul flav, which is generally used by all homoeopaths as it is the only
remedy written in the materia medica.
- Eating of meat, eggs, fish, sour things prepared from tamarind, mango pickles, citrus fruits and coffee should be avoided.
- The deep-acting medicines (as given under) should only be tried if indicated:
Alum, Apis, Arg n, Ars s f, Calc c, Calc sil, Graph, Lyc, Nat c, Nat m, or Puls 30. See also above at S. No. 4. Sulphur ointment may also be applied externally over the white spots.
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