Angioedema is a medical condition which is similar to urticaria. However the swelling seen in this condition is deeper as compared to that of urticaria. Angioedema is of a more serious nature as compared to urticaria and may sometimes have fatal outcomes. Recurrent episodes of angioedema for less than six-week duration are considered acute, whereas longer lasting attacks are considered chronic. This condition may be either allergic; hereditary; or idiopathic, in which the cause remains unknown.
Patients typically present with an acute onset of well demarcated cutaneous swelling of distensible tissues like the lips, eyes, earlobes and tongue. The face, extremities and genitalia are most commonly affected. Drugs, food allergies, local trauma, exposures to extremes of temperature, allergy to animals, emotional stress and illnesses, are usually the cause of this condition. Women tend to have more occurrences than men.
The Ayurvedic treatment of angioedema is aimed at treating the pathology of the disease and preventing or reducing the frequency of recurrence. Medicines like Haridra-Khand, Arogya- Vardhini, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Gokshuradi-Guggulu and Laghu-Sutshekhar are used to treat the basic pathology of the disease. Other medicines like Kamdudha-Ras, Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna- Sutshekhar-Ras are used on a long- term basis to prevent recurrence.
Medicines which act on the ‘Ras’ and ‘Rakta’ dhatus (tissues) of the body are used to minimize the body’s allergic reaction to offending substances. These medicines include Indrayav (Holharrhina antidysentrica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha ( Cissampelos pareira) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus).
Medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) are used to reduce stress. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), and Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba) are used to correct immune dysfunction in the body. Haridra (Curcuma longa), taken on a long term basis is a very good medicine for treating and preventing angioedema.
It should be remembered that an acute attack of angioedema can present as a serious medical emergency with severe breathlessness. Such patients should be admitted immediately to the emergency departments of hospitals. Ayurvedic treatment should be initiated after the acute condition has stabilized.