Lichen simplex, also known as neurodermatitis or scratch dermatitis, is a stubborn skin condition that can cause the affected skin to become thick and leathery. Common signs and symptoms include a raised, rough and dark patch on the skin, a scaly texture to the skin and severe itching. This condition is common between the ages of 30 and 50, is seen more in women than in men, and is often associated with a personal or a family history of eczema, psoriasis or similar skin conditions. Stress and anxiety can aggravate the itching.
The Ayurvedic treatment of lichen simplex is aimed at controlling the itching, treating the skin patch, and reducing stress and anxiety. Medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Chandraprabha-Vati, Gandhak-Rasayan, Saarivadi-Churna and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu are used to treat the skin patch. Herbal medicines which can be used for this purpose are: Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Karanj (Pongamia pinnata), Khadeer (Acacia catechu), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica) and Patha (Cissampelos pareira). Medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) and Khurasani-ova (Hyoscyamus niger) can be used to treat stress and anxiety.
An ointment containing Manjishtha, Saariva, Haridra, Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Chandan (Santalum album) and Usheer (Vetiveria zizanioidis) is used to treat itching. Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Shatadhout-Ghrut, Yashtimadhuk-Ghrut and a mixture of equal parts of ghee and honey can also be used for this purpose. Tankan-Bhasma (Purified borax), mixed with curd, is used as a local application both to reduce the itching and to treat the thickness and leathery texture of the skin.
Most patients having lichen simplex can be treated successfully with the above mentioned medicines. Depending upon the chronicity and severity of the condition, treatment may be required for a few weeks to a few months. Individuals affected with this condition should wear smooth-textured clothing and use mild soaps to avoid irritating the skin lesions. It is important to look out for secondary infection in the skin.