Doctor Herbs


Definition of Smallpox (Masurika)
Smallpox is a highly contagious disease, which is observed as a condition of the skin. The disease causes pockmarks on the skin, which may persist on the skin even after being cured of the disease. In extreme cases, smallpox can cause blindness in one or both the eyes of the affected person.

Smallpox is a viral disease. Two strains of the Variola virus, Variola major and Variola minor are the causative agents of the disease. Variola major is the more serious of the two infections.

Symptoms of Smallpox (Masurika)
Smallpox is easily diagnosed with the following smallpox symptoms:-

The first symptoms begin showing 12 to 14 days after the infection. At this stage, pimply marks appear on the skin, especially on the face, hands and legs. These marks are called as macules. This is the stage when the person is the most contagious.

Two to three days later, the condition becomes more deteriorated. The macules grow in size to form vesicles. The vesicles get filled with pus. At this stage, they are called as pustules. In general cases, the pustules remain separated on the skin. This is called as discrete smallpox. In more serious cases, the pustules may combine together to form a sheet-like surface on the skin. This would tear off the top layer of the skin from the underlying surface. This is called as confluent smallpox. Confluent smallpox is almost always fatal if left untreated.

If the pustules do not become confluent, then by the twenty-eighth day the pustules begin drying up. As the pustules dry up, they flake off the skin. Pockmarks may or may not be left behind depending on the general constitution of the person. Once the pustules flake off completely, the person is said to be cured of the condition.

Apart from the above general symptoms, pain may occur in some cases. If there is pain, it usually begins in the second week. Pains are in the form of severe aches and prostration.

There is a more serious form of smallpox known as the hemorrhagic smallpox. Hemorrhagic smallpox is characterized by the absence of any blisters on the skin. Instead, there is bleeding under the skin, which causes the skin to appear darkened. The bleeding extends to the organs. There is hemorrhage in the corneas of the eyes, which causes blindness. The mortality rate of hemorrhagic smallpox is very high, i.e. 96%.

Prevention of Smallpox (Masurika)
Since smallpox is a contagious disease, all physical contact with the infected person must be stopped with immediate effect. The following things must be observed:-

  • The infected person must be very cautious while sneezing and coughing.
  • Clothes, combs, towels, etc. of the person must not be shared.
  • Any exchange of fluids with the infected person must be strictly avoided.
  • While speaking with the person, face to face communication must be avoided.
  • Ideally, the infected person must be quarantined.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Smallpox (Masurika)
The person suffering from smallpox was externally treated with a mixture of neem, turmeric and flour. The purpose of this mixture was to create a cooling effect on the burning sensation caused by the pustules. Once the pustules were fully ripened, they were pricked with a short thorn to let the pus and infected blood flow out. Though a painful process, this was effective in relieving long-term pain in the patient.

The following herbs have been prescribed by Ayurveda to be effective in smallpox prevention.

Turmeric -It causes a cooling effect on the skin of the infected person. It is also known to delay the onset of fever by creating a blood-brain barrier.

Neem -It causes a cooling effect on the skin of the infected person. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties to prevent further infections.

Pitta papra -It prevents the buildup of phlegm in the respiratory tract of the person and thus delays the onset of colds.

Kutki -It increases the production of the bile. It also helps combat further infections.

Parval or Pointed gourd -Its extract reduces high temperatures. It helps in digestion. Parval builds up the resistance of the body and helps in recuperation.

Aroosa -Boosts the body system and makes it better prepared for combating further infections.

Sandalwood -It causes a cooling effect in the body.

Khus khus -It causes a cooling effect in the body.

A decoction of neem bark, pitta papra, parval leaves, kutki, aroosa, khus khus and sandalwood along with parh, yavasa and amla can deter the smallpox virus that causes itch. The mixture must ideally be taken thrice a day. If it is too sour to the taste, it can be sweetened with raw sugar.

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