Published in Panorama
Curing Leucoderma with Homoeopath
About 1 to 2 percent of the world's population, or some 50 to 100 million people, have vitiligo. But the heartening news is, there is complete cure for vitiligo or leucoderma in Homoepathy, emphasizes Dr.N.Mahendra Kabra, Founder President of the Dr.N.M.Kabra Foundation and the first Homoeopathic physician from India, to receive the Global Best Scientific Contents Award of Liga Congress, the World Homoeopathic Congress which was held at Capri in Italy in 1996.
Dr. N.Mahendra Kabra
Apart from its headquarters in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, the Foundation has over thirteen branches in India and four in the United Kingdom – at London, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham and it is claimed to be world best leucoderma center anywhere in the world. Dr.Kabra who has been receiving invitations from various countries to treat vitiligo patients, visits his treatment centers in the UK every three months to treat his patients there. An added advantage of Dr.Kabra’s treatment is his tele-consulation which has become popular with patients in various countries, including patients from the Middle East. After taking complete history from vitiligo sufferers on telephone, Dr.Kabra dispenses the medicines to them through courier system to the cities in which they reside.
What is vitiligo or leucoderma?
Stated simple, leuco means ‘white’ and derma means ‘skin’. So when the skin becomes white or depigmented, it is referred to as leucoderma, or Vitiligo, as referred to in the Western world. The discolouration or depigmentation happens when melanocytes, the specialized skin cells responsible for producing the pigment melanin, stop producing melanin for some reason. This results in the commonly observed white spots or patches on a person’s skin, explains Dr.Kabra.
What causes vitiligo? Dr.Kabra explains that in most cases, vitiligo is the result of an autoimmune-related disorder. “The lack of the pigment is only a result and the cause is somewhere else. Modern science diagnoses it as an auto-immune disorder in most cases, by which the body’s own defense, disrupts the melanocytes. But in Homoeopathy philosophy, we don’t consider any skin disease as a skin disease! It is clearly the internal disorder which we call as constitutional disorder and it can be very easily explained. We all know that the skin is the largest excretory organ of the body and when the excretion is normal, it takes place without our notice. But when it is abnormal, then we call it a skin disease! Whereas it is actually the internal toxins which come out through the skin! And it is this toxin, resulting from an internal imbalance, that has got to be addressed, and not the skin discolouration per se!”
While the causes of vitiligo are yet to be fully and precisely known, there seems a certain heredity link to the disorder, though “it is not a strongly inherited disorder” clarifies Dr.Kabra who classifies the causes of vitiligo as fundamental and precipitating factors or triggers. Explaining this classification Dr.Kabre responds, “Let us take the example of pollution or ultraviolet (UV) intensity. Or take a more personal example of synthetic footwear. Millions of people across the globe use them. But why is it that only a few of them develop vitiligo? The synthetic footwear is the triggering factor in these few who have some fundamental factor for which the synthetic factor proved an excuse.”
Anything and everything can be a triggering factor, explains Dr.Kabra and this includes factors like anxiety, depression, emotional upsets, stress, climate, environment and chemical agents.
Is it true that citrus fruits and dishes prepared from tamarind juice may contribute to vitiligo or aggravate existing patches? Dr.Kabra clarifies the myth, “I have patients in over seventy countries and most of them have either been asked to refrain, or they themselves refrain from citrus fruits, just because of the medical myth that vitiligo increases after consuming citrus fruits. However, I have been asking all my vitiligo patients to carry on taking not only citrus fruits, but all other fruits and vegetables for the simple reason that vitamin C (largely found in citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables), is not toxic or harmful to our body in any way. On the contrary, it is a very important water-soluble vitamin which is not stored in the system. Imagine the havoc when millions of patients all over the world refrain from taking vitamin C which is life-saving and essential to maintain good health.
Having said that, when a person takes vitamin C by eating citrus fruits, in some cases, vitiligo does tend to flare up; I wouldn’t call this aggravation. This flaring up is not a true flaring up; it is only a coming out of the toxins accumulated in the body. It only shows that the person’s immune system is getting boosted by taking the vitamin C.”
How does vitiligo develop and at what age does it usually begin? Dr.Kabra explains “The course and severity of pigment loss differs from person to person. In most cases, vitiligo begins in a small area. Over time, other spots may appear, while existing spots may grow larger. Some people notice that their vitiligo may stay the same for years or even decades, and then suddenly new areas of depigmentation may occur. Occasionally, vitiligo patches will repigment spontaneously, all by themselves, with no treatment whatsoever. Most people with vitiligo do notice this happening at one point or another.
Majority of the individuals experience the first patch before the age of twenty years and again, in majority of cases, the depigmentation first appears on the legs, though it could start anywhere and at any age. And it affects both sexes equally though the incidence of vitiligo differs in different races of people, being more in people living in the tropics than those living in cold climates.”
These patches are more obvious in sun-exposed areas, including the hands, feet, arms, legs face, and lips. The armpits and groin and around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, navel, and genitals, are other common areas where the white patches appear. Vitiligo generally appears in one of three patterns. In the focal pattern, the depigmentation is limited to one or only a few areas. Where people are affected with segmental vitiligo, the patches appear only on one side of their bodies. However, the commonest pattern in which vitiligo appears is the generalized one where the patches occur on different parts of the body, often similar on each side of the body.
Apart from the white patch, are there other symptoms of vitiligo?
People who develop vitiligo usually first notice white patches or spots on their skin while the texture of the skin itself remains normal. Usually, no other symptom, including itching, is present. However, some people with vitiligo may have white hair growing on their scalp, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes. In extremely rare cases, vitiligo can affect eye color or the pigment of the retina, explains Dr.Kabra.
So what is the remedy in Homoeopathy for vitiligo? Dr.Kabra explains, “Since Vitiligo is looked upon by Homoeopaths as a local expression of a systemic disturbance, remedy prescribed is constitutional. This approach to selecting the remedy or remedies involves complete analysis and evaluation of the various factors affecting the particular individual’s constitution to determine the disease diagnosis and the exact treatment in turn. Totality of the patient in terms of his physical, emotional and psychological health and behavioural and personality patterns are taken into account to individualize treatment. In Homoeopathy, it is not the trigger, but the fundamental factor that we treat by medication. The homoeo remedy thus given will normalize the body functions, the vital energy which is in disequilibrium. This medicine is dynamic in nature and it takes care of the fundamental cause.”
Usually Dr.Kabra’s treatment emerges from around fifty homoeopathic remedies for vitiligo which is completely individual in keeping with each patient’s constitution. On treatment time under Homoeopathy, Dr.Kabra is forthright: “The duration of treatment depends on the intensity, chronicity and spread of the patches. The earlier the treatment is begun, better the results in a shorter period of time. However, most patients come to us when the condition has set in significantly, and after trying a host of other therapies. So the problem assumes a chronic nature and hence, treatment with homoeopathic remedies too will take a few years to bear results. This also depends on the patients’ ability to recover their immunity, how best they follow instructions and how physically active they were before treatment and even after treatment. Where heredity plays a role in its occurrence, the treatment time may a little longer. If the condition is a moderate one, it will take about 2 – 3 years of treatment for a complete cure to happen. If the condition is a very severe and stubborn one, that is, where even the lips, finger tips, joints and hair become involved, or where vitiligo occurs in association with some other disorders (as is seen in several instances), like hypothyroidism or other thyroid disorders, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, it takes more time to cure and this could involve 6 – 7 years.
Are there any diet restrictions on patients when they are on homoeopathic treatment for vitiligo? Dr.Kabra explains, “As we have two classes of causes for vitiligo, so we have two sets of instructions for treatment: instructions pertaining to the disease and instructions pertaining to the medication. These are aimed to help to support the system to recover, to reach normalcy rapidly. The only important requirement is that the mouth should be clean and odourless when the person takes the medicines and it should remain so for the next 15 minutes. In very rare instances where we may prescribe homoeopathic remedies which may get antidoted by the patient drinking coffee, we ask the patients to abstain from coffee. The only other restriction pertains to triggering factors, from which we ask the patients to abstain – as in using synthetic footwear, metal objects, foodstuffs, food additives, colour or preservatives which are known to have triggered the condition.
What about topical homoeopathic applications for the problem? Dr.Kabra rarely prescribes them for vitiligo but in some cases, he may prescribe the same remedy that is prescribed for oral purposes, to be mixed in water or coconut oil base and applied to the patches.
What is the probability of recurrence once a person is cured of vitiligo? Dr.Kabra is emphatic, “In homoeopathy, we can use the term ‘cure’ oftentimes. When the person is fully repigmented and all the lesions have disappeared, we ask him/her to continue the medication for a few months more so that the internal problem or disorder is completely rooted. Once this is done, the condition does not reappear at any point of time. In fact, I have successfully treated thousands of patients over several years and I have not yet received a report of recurrence of these cases. Which is why I dare to tell patients that I will treat them for free, should they come back with the condition after my treatment!