Dhanwantharam thailam and Eladi coconut oil may wreak havoc with your skin

I used to make fun of my Mom’s zeal for Ayurveda. Her panacea for any joint problem is the popular Dhanvantharam Kuzhanbu, an essential element of any Mallu household.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She considers ayurvedic medications innocuous with only beneficial effects. As ayurveda got commercialized, much like cosmetic dermatology, the packaging and the presentation also got revamped considerably. Fragrance is an essential component of any modern formula. My friend, Dr Lakshmi demonstrated the aftermath of this embellishment. A rare but somewhat severe, generalized allergic contact dermatitis following a  massage (തിരുമ്മൽ)!

Lakshmi C. Allergic Contact Dermatitis (type IV hypersensitivity) and type I hypersensitivity following aromatherapy with ayurvedic oils (Dhanwantharam thailam, Eladi coconut oil) presenting as generalized erythema and pruritus with flexural eczema. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2014 Oct 1];59:283-6. Available from: http://www.e-ijd.org/text.asp?2014/59/3/283/131402

The Institute for Postgraduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (IPGTRA) retaliated immediately to this ‘personal’ insult! Much like how dermatologists demand that only we should do laser treatments (though adverse event rate will be the same for us and anyone else out there sh…..) IPGTRA chided the illegitimate, illegal and non-certified use of Dhanvantharam kuzhambu. IPGTRA proposed the scientific rationale for this phenomena:

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the blood. Dhanvantharam is contra indicated in blood disorders. This could be the reason for the contact dermatitis. If it was prescribed for a vata (bone/joint) or kapha (phlegm) related disease, by a licensed ayurvedic practitioner, this episode of allergy would have never happened.

Please share below to see the link to their reply published in the journal.

I fully agree with them (Do you? 😉 ) and I am also happy to agree with Dr Lakshmi’s closing remarks:

“It would be wise to recommend patch testing and prick testing with the constituent oils to detect sensitization and recommend the oils which tested negative for massage aromatherapy.”

Now I know what to do when(if) I return to my homeland……. 😉

BTW did you read about homeopathic diagnostic test for psoriasis?

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