Porphyria is a group of conditions which are largely related to the skin and the nervous system due to the faulty conversion of the porphyrins into haem. Haem is an important component of the Hemoglobin protein which is responsible for the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
As a result, there is an excessive accumulation of porphyrins in the blood which start damaging the nervous tissues and skin in particular.
Symptoms of the Disease
Porphyrias have a varying degree of symptoms depending up on the system they attack:-
Symptoms Affecting the Nervous System
These symptoms occur less commonly and are usually short lived but need immediate management as they can lead to mortality if not managed properly.
- Severe pain in abdomen
- Abdominal distension
- Body ache
- Nausea, vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Mental confusion
- Respiratory problems
- Muscular pains, tingling or numbness
- Red urine. Etc.,
Symptoms Affecting the Skin Tissues
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to the sun or even strong artificial light.
- Sudden redness, erythema, blisters etc.
- Skin breaking frequently
- Scarring of skin may also occur
Visiting a doctor in case of porphyria becomes essential when the symptoms are difficult to manage on a daily basis or are acutely life threatening.
Causes of Prophyrias
It is an inherited disorder that occurs due to the mutation in the gene that controls the conversion of porphyrins into haem which later forms Hemoglobin.
Eight different types of enzymes are involved in this conversion and a mutation in each of them is responsible for different symptoms.
Porphyrias According to Ayurveda
Ayurvedic approach towards the management of metabolic disorders like Porphyrias is based on the simple fact that our metabolism, health and well –being is dependent on the following three building blocks of our health.
1. Asatmyaendriyarth Sanyoga (Inappropriate Use of the Sensory Organs)
It mainly implies to an improper use of sense organs like our eyes, ear, nose, tongue, skin etc. For example, Hearing to excessively loud sounds, watching TV, computers etc. for long hours or direct eye contact with the sun rays are equally responsible for this condition. Smelling toxic materials that may affect health, improper care of the skin etc.
Inappropriate use of these sense organs can result into a difficult condition which can derange the metabolism for a lifetime.
2. Pragyapradha (Actions That Defy A Normal Way of Life)
It is a broad term that can answer all the physical, mental and emotional problems we are dealing with nowadays. Pragyapradha implies to the major problems in our diet and lifestyle that is adversely affecting our health these days.
Ayurveda considers that all these factors lead to such disorders in our body which are often irreversible and may pass on to generations, if accompanied by genetic mutations.
3. Parinama (Seasonal Variations)
Seasonal variations can also affect the body. Whenever there is an alteration in the normal seasonal cycles, seasonal variations may occur due to which many health problems start appearing.
The importance of the above three factors in determining the development of porphyria in a person is largely fundamental. Due to the above three factors such genetic variations occur in the human body which affect the normal gene function and result in a disorder that traverses through generations.
Porphyria is a metabolic disorder that has no cure, it can be only managed by the use of certain medicines so as to control its acute attacks on the various organ systems from time to time.
Ayurvedic treatment of Porphyria aims to effectively flush out the excessive accumulation of the porphyrins which accumulate in the body in this disease and lead to complications.
The major treatment protocol should be based on the basis of the following quotation in Sushruta Samhita.
"sama dosha sama agnischa sama dhatu mala kriyaaha|
Prasanna atma indriya manaha swastha iti abhidheeyate"
Which means, the balance in the body energies, seven major body tissues and a balanced state of the body, mind and soul should be the aim while managing any disease condition affecting the body.
Herbal Remedies of Porphyria
It is a combination of herbs like Giloy, Neem, Amalaki, Haritaki, Vibhitaki, Chitrakmoola, Manjishtha etc.
It is a very effective herbal combination that is great for managing the skin problems that commonly affect porphyria patients.
It helps to detoxify the excess porphyrins also thereby maintaining an optimum metabolism.
It is a very effective herbal blend that is very effective for the management of all kinds of porphyria.
Arogyavardhini vati is one of the best herbal combinations to manage the overall health and immunity of a person.
Arogyavardhini vati is an age old herbal formula which helps the body to manage and improve up on the natural health and wellbeing. It is a great liver tonic that helps to enhance liver function and enhance its ability to control the metabolism in a better way.
These are also equally beneficial for the management of skin and digestive problems in particular. Capsules aloe vitals helps maintain an adequate balance of the digestive fire and increased digestive secretions.
For skin problems related to porphyrins, Aloe vitals proves to be a great natural substitute.
This is the best herbal medicine that is useful in the management of inflammation in the body that may involve the brain or the skin. Skin erythema, eruptions, blisters etc.
Boswellia curcumin prove to be an effective health tonic that is able to manage the condition in a better way and keep the acute symptoms of the disease at bay.
Ashwagandha capsules are a great herbal nervine tonic. These are very beneficial in such patients in especially controlling the symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, irritability etc.
Dementia, mental confusion and seizures are other common nervous problems that affect these patients. For them, Ashwagandha capsules are a fool proof formula.
Brahmi is the best herbal supplement for the management of mental stress, fatigue anxiety and depression which is commonly found associated with patients of Porphyria.
Brahmi has to be taken on a daily basis for marked relief. Together with the above medicines, Brahmi can help to maintain a stable condition and prevent acute attacks of the disease.
Apart from the above combination of medicines, the line of treatment can be modified as per the troubling symptoms of the particular patient.