The Saḿskrta word “Kuśt́ha” means “skin disease.” So in Saḿskrta prickly heat is also a kind of Kuśt́ha. But what in modern Indian languages we take kuśt́ha (leprosy) to be is called in Saḿskrta, “Bátarakta Roga.”
Leprosy comes about due to the disturbance of the seven constituent elements of the body. In other words, leprosy develops only when all seven elements of the body, i.e., the chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and shukra are defective.
Leprosy has three stages. In the first stage the patient starts getting a feeling of discomfort all over the body, suffers from pain in the joints, and feels feverish at odd times. Often he or she suffers from headaches, and sometimes sweats profusely, sometimes not at all. He or she also suffers from general debility.
In the second stage the patient feels piercing pain throughout the nervous system. Off and on small pimples come out on different parts of the body. Hair of the head and eyebrows falls out; parts of the lips, cheeks, nose and eyes become sunken or swollen. Various parts of the arms and legs also get swollen. While walking the patient sometimes feels as if some hard objects are lodging in the soles of the feet. In colloquial language this stage of the disease is called “plum-stone disease,” that is, the patient feels as if plum-stones are getting lodged in the soles.
In the third stage of the disease circular red spots appear on different parts of the body and gradually those places become numb.
Causes: When nutritious food and an adequate amount of green vegetables are lacking, and when milk, ghee and other fatty substances are lacking for days together, the blood becomes very weak. If in this condition a person continues for a long period to take those foods which are known to cause dysentery or constipation, or eats a large quantity of spoiled fish, meat, snails or shell-fish, or a large quantity of biláti, diḿle or súryi pumpkin, jhiḿge or white brinjal (white eggplant), then this disease gets a splendid opportunity to develop.
After the blood, the remaining six elements of the body gradually get contaminated, because when the blood is contaminated all the organs of the body become weak. And as a result of this disturbance of the seven elements of the body, the person’s immune system loses its strength. If in the long and bitter struggle which ensues between the white blood cells and the leprosy bacteria, the fat, flesh, blood and chyle of the body become spent, as a final result the extremities of the body will also become loosened and start falling off.
Treatment: Morning – Utkśepa Mudrá, Padahastásana, Agnisára Mudrá, Ud́d́ayana Mudrá, Naokásana, and Shiitalii Kumbhaka. Then massage the affected limbs.
Evening – Ud́d́ayana Mudrá, Agnisára Mudrá, Bandhatraya Yoga Mudrá, Sarváuṋgásana and Mayúrásana.
Diet: The patient must strictly avoid all non-vegetarian food. All sorts of nutritious vegetarian food should be eaten if the condition of the liver allows. Ghee, butter, or olive oil should be an item of the daily menu. The patient should drink a large quantity of water (about four or five seers a day, but not much at a time) and should observe the rules of fasting.
Dos and don’ts: Taking sun-baths is a must for every leprosy patient. Taking a dip-bath after applying river mud all over the body is desirable. As far as possible, the patient should live on fruits and roots, milk and vegetable soups. He or she should not succumb to eating out of greed. Crowds, too much food, intoxicants and sexual relations should be strictly avoided.
Generally leprosy is not a contagious disease, so it cannot be contracted simply by touching the secretions or blood of a patient. Unless the secretions or blood of a patient get some chance to mingle with the blood of a healthy person, or the leprosy bacteria enter a healthy person’s stomach from a patient’s leftover food or breath, there is no chance of the disease spreading.
Leprosy is mainly a disease of the poor. Unless the masses are provided with sufficient nutritious food, the spread of the disease among them cannot be totally checked.
For a patient, either the fruit or leaves of ucche – [[(bitter gourd (Momordica charantia Linn.) has fewer qualities)]] – or paltá, neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) or shobháiṋjana flowers, leaves or stems should be an item on the menu every day. Heleiṋcá, gimá, bráhmii or some other leafy vegetable should also be taken daily.
Some remedies: 1. The disease can be cured by licking a little myrobalan powder with raw sugar every day.
2. Leprosy can be conquered by taking gulaiṋca extract daily after eating three to five myrobalan seeds.
3. Drinking extracts of neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) bark mixed with paltá extracts.
4. Good results can also be obtained by covering the diseased area with a poultice of neem leaves.
5. Also by drinking and digesting gulaiṋca extracts, then eating rice with ghee.
6. One can get rid of the disease by drinking some cow’s urine with turmeric every day at dawn for one month.