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Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei) parasites. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine System scabies can be treated using purified sulfur by using it externally on the affected area. Treatment of scabies needs several precautions as it is very contagious. Scabies is most common among household members and sexual partners of affected individuals.
In people with compromised immune systems and malnutrition, scabies can be an extensive disease of skin thickening and a scaly rash.
A local application made from Gandhaka described in classical texts of Ayurveda can check the infection and reduce the spread of scabies.
Gandhaka ointment is an effective preparation made form Gandhaka(Purified sulfur), Tila oil ( sesame oil) and Siktha (bee wax).
Siktha: Bee Wax Obtained from bees
Tila oil: Sesame oil Sesamum indicum
Process of making Gandhaka ointment
Step 1(In India you can get purified sulfur from medicine shops, so you do not need to do this step.)
- Take fine powder of Gandhaka in a ladle, add a little amount of clarified butter or ghee, melt it and pour into the vessel which contains cow’s milk. This process is repeated seven times.
- Take the purified Gandhaka on cooling to room temperature and wash with plenty of luke-warm water.
- After drying, prepare the fine powder of purified Gandhaka and preserve it for further use.
Step 2(Making of ointment)
- Take Gandhaka powder 25 grams 1/4th part, 2 Siktha (bee wax) 100 grams 1 part and 3 Tila oil 500 grams 5 parts
- Heat Sesame oil in steal vessel to 1300C and cool down to 700C
- Dissolve small pieces of Siktha (bee wax) into the oil with continuous stirring till a homogenous mixture called siktha taila is obtained.
- Siktha taila is taken in mortar and triturated(reducing particle size) with pestle adding Gandhaka powder till ointment-like consistency is achieved.
Important: Most important is heat oil to prescribed temp do not over heat. The trituration should be firm enough to avoid formation of gritty particles.
Therapeutic properties of Gandhaka ointment
Gandhaka ointment has parasiticidal, fungicidal, and antiseptic properties.
Indications and uses
Gandhaka ointment is useful in fungal infections of skin, scabies, eczema, and for application over chronic infective lesions.
Dosage and uses guideline for Scabies
- Gandhaka ointment is applied externally on the affected parts of the body once or twice daily and left on the lesions for an hour or so.
- After 1 hour the lesions should be cleaned with warm water.
- Repeat the procedure daily for 7 to 10 days or till all the lesions disappear.
Note: If the skin lesions do not heal within a few days of application, proper medical guidance should be sought.
Precaution to be taken in scabies
- Gandhaka should not be used in formulations without subjecting it to purification.
- Persons sensitive to sulfur should not use this application.
- Gandhaka ointment should not be used on open wounds and lesions.
- Persons with scabies having secondary bacterial infection should avoid the use of Gandhaka ointment.
- Persons known to have scabies should avoid having close skin to the skin contact until they have been cured.
- If a member of a family has scabies, all other household members, sexual partners and close contacts should be treated simultaneously.
- Use gloves and gowns when treating others with a suspicious rash and itching.
- Wash all clothing, towels and bed linens that were used in the last three days by the affected person, with hot water.
- Use the dryer at high heat rather than air drying. Since the mites cannot survive on nonliving objects for several days, therefore place the objects that are not machine-washable such as coats and stuffed toys into a bag and store for a week.
- Cut nails and clean them thoroughly to remove any mites or eggs.
- Try to avoid scratching and keep all open sores clean and aseptic.