Pityriasis rosea is an acute and characteristic rash which usually lasts about 2 to 6 weeks. Initially, a primary plaque called a herald patch is seen, which is followed by a distinctive, generalized rash 1 to 2 weeks later. Skin color changes may follow the inflammatory stage. Itching is very common and may be quite intense. The rash may have prodromal symptoms like malaise, nausea, anorexia, fever, joint pain, lymph node swelling and headache. A predilection to skin diseases and the use of certain medications are risk factors for this disease.
The Ayurvedic treatment of pityriasis rosea is aimed at controlling the itching and treating the rash. Medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Gandhak-Rasayan, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Haridra-Khand, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Kamdudha-Ras, Suvarna-Raj-Vangeshwar-Ras and Saarivadi-Churna are used to treat the rash. Medicines like Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Chirayta (Swertia chirata), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Chandan (Santalum album) and Usheer (Vetiveria zizanioidis) can also be used for this purpose. Medicines like Haridra (Curcuma longa), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Khadeer (Acacia catechu), Trivang-Bhasma and Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras can be used to control the itching. If there are signs and symptoms of infection, medicines like Sukshma-Triphala, Triphala-Guggulu, Arogya-Vardhini and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu can be used. Medicines with a known antiviral action such as Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba) and Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri) have also been known to be beneficial in treating this condition.
Local applications can be used to treat the rash and control the itching. These include medicated oils like Chandan- Bala-Laxadi oil, Jatyadi oil, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Nimba oil, Karanj (Pongamia pinnata) oil, Yashtimadhuk-Ghrut and Shatadhout-Ghrut. An ointment containing Manjishtha, Saariva, Chandan, Usheer, Yashtimadhuk and Haridra is also very useful for this purpose.
Pityriasis rosea is a benign, self-limiting disease. However, it should be kept in mind that this condition lasts for periods up to 6 weeks, and in a few cases may persist for as long as 3 to 4 months. Water and soap may cause irritation and should be avoided early in the course of the disease.