• Dr A A Mundewadi

Behcet Disease – Modern (Allopathic) Versus Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Updated: Mar 16

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body’s immune system turns against itself. Behcet disease is one such, rare autoimmune disease with a classical symptom triad of oral and genital ulcers and eye inflammation. The disease causes a generalized inflammation of arteries; this in turn causes vasculitis, clot formation and aneurysms, thereby resulting in symptoms. Exposure to an infection in a genetically predisposed individual is probably the main cause of disease precipitation.

Since there are no specific diagnostic tests for this condition, diagnosis is usually made on clinical grounds, and by doing blood tests and other investigations to rule out similar-looking diseases. Symptoms usually appear between twenty to forty years of age, and tend to relapse and remit over long periods. While mild cases involve only the skin and mucous membranes, serious manifestations of the disease may affect the eyes, nervous system, heart, lungs, intestines and kidneys.

The modern system of medicine makes use of steroids, mouthwash, and eye drops to control symptoms of Behcet disease. For more aggressive symptoms, immune suppressant drugs are used to control symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of recurrent attacks. Modern medicines can thus help to control the symptoms but cannot cure the disease. Prolonged use of steroids and immune suppressants can create a host of side effects which can adversely affect the whole body.

The Ayurvedic treatment protocol for Behcet disease includes cellular detoxification of the body and herbal medicines in high doses to treat arterial inflammation, bring about immune modulation, and treat or prevent damage to affected important organs so as to reduce mortality and morbidity from this disease. Patients who are refractory to standard herbal treatment are given additional specialized Panchkarma treatments like Raktamokshan (blood –letting) and Tikta-Ksheer-basti (courses of medicated enemas).

Once the patient starts achieving remission of symptoms, other medicines are added to normalize metabolism and bring about a rejuvenation of the body systems. This allows for a gradual tapering of medicines and prevents relapse of symptoms in the long run. Most affected individuals require treatment for periods ranging from 8 – 18 months, for a complete remission of symptoms along with cessation of therapy after gradual tapering of medicines. It is pertinent to note that Ayurvedic herbal treatment can significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality resulting from this disease in patients with severe involvement.

It is equally important to avoid known trigger factors, reduce or manage stress, adapt relaxation techniques, bring about positive lifestyle modifications, and consume healing foods, mostly in the form of fresh vegetables and fruits.

Behcet disease, Behcet syndrome, Ayurvedic treatment, herbal medicines

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