Skin Diseases

A disturbed Vayu driving Pitta and Kapha dosas into the skin was thought to bring on some skin diseases, whereas other skin diseases were viewed as the work of parasites. As a group, skin ailments were generally termed Kustha. The 7 Maha (or major) Kusthas appear to be variants of leprosy, a disease existing in India from ancient times. The 11 minor Kusthas were other skin diseases that are more difficult to equate with current cutaneous orders. However, it would seem that pityriasis versicolor, pemphigus, chilblains, moist eczema, dermatitis, scabies, and leukoderma were all represented.

Leprosy or mahakushtha, as it was known in the texts, was understood to be contagious, although it was also thought to be inherited by offspring of affected parents.

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