Urticaria or Hives are raised itchy rashes which occur due to skin reaction. In this article learn about these mysterious Rashes that often appear out of nowhere.
Urticaria also known as hives, weals or nettle rash is one of the most common dermatological disorder. Typical urticarial rash consists of  raised  well circumscribed reddish Rash with severe itching. Sometimes they may even be associated with burning sensation and pain . They can appear anywhere on the body like face, arms, legs, lips, tongue, throat,etc. sometimes these Rashes join together to form Plaques. These Rashes are generally not fatal but in rare circumstances swelling of the tongue and throat (Angioedema) may block the airway which can be life threatening.
Typical urticarial rash lasts from 24 hrs to upto 2 days .sometimes it may extend upto weeks 
Urticaria which lasts for less than 6 weeks is called as Acute urticaria. 
Urticaria  when recurrently persists for more than 6 weeks is called as Chronic urticaria.
Causes of Urticaria include insect bites, allergy to certain foods like nuts, chocolate,milk, eggs, tomatoes,etc, certain drugs intake like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc, exposure to heat or cold, exercise, after sweating,  pressure on skin, vibration, as a consequence of chronic disease like hypothyroidism, hepatitis or cancer, hereditary , without any known cause.
The causative factors result in immune reaction of body . The antibodies which are concerned with allergic reaction (IgE) activate a specific kind of white cells in body known as Mast cells. These cells on activation release powerful chemical mediators like histamine, cytokines, leukotrienes, Heparin in the dermis which cause dilatation of blood vessels and leaking of fluid from the capillaries below the skin leading to the urticarial Rash.
In Ayurveda a disease mentioned as Sheeta pitta  explains  same clinical features as of Urticaria. Sheeta – means cold which is main characteristic of Vata Dosha and Kapha dosha.  Vata and Kapha dosha on combining with Pitta Dosha cause the disease therefore it  is called as Sheeta pitta.
 Causes according to different Ayurvedic texts can be summarized as below:
1.Exposure to cold environment
2.Suppressing the urge of Vomiting
3.Improper emesis (Vamana Karma)
4.Intake of incompatible diet or food which are allergic to the body
5.Sudden exposure to cold and heat alternatively
6.Insect bite or skin contact with poisonous insects or bugs

The causative factors lead to aggravation of Vata Dosha and kapha dosha . These both doshas get combined with Pitta Dosha present in blood tissue (Rakta Dhatu) and on Skin (Twacha) producing rashes with itching and pricking sensation manifesting as Sheeta pitta.
Pitta Dosha here can be correlated to activation of Mast cells and release of inflammatory mediators like histamine. Vata Dosha can be related to chemical messengers which start the process of immune reaction in body after the intake of causative factors. Kapha Dosha can be correlated to Antibodies IgE and IgG which activate the mast cells. Thus, Vata,Kapha and Piita dosha combine altogether to produce urticaria in body.  
Prodromal Symptoms
1.Excessive Thirst (pipasa)
2.Tastelessness (aruchi)
3.Nausea (hrillasa)
4.fatigue (dehasada)
5.Heaviness of the body (anga gaurava)
6.Rakta lochanata (reddish eyes)

Clinical features:
1.Cardinal feature– The skin marks resembling the bite of nettle sting (varatidamshtra vatashotha)
2.Itching (kandu)
3.Pricking sensation (toda)
4.Nausea and vomiting (chardi, hrillasa)
5.Fever (jwara)
6.Burning sensation (vidaha)

Ayurvedic treatment of Sheeta Pitta aims not only to provide symptomatic relief but to eradicate the disease from its root itself so that it can stop recurring again and again.
The main line of treatment  include 1) Avoidance of causative factors 2) Panchakarma procedures like Vamana (Therapeutic emesis), Virechana (Therapeutic purgation), Raktamokshana (Therapeutic blood letting)  for detoxifying the body 3) Conservative treatment   in which Vata, Piita and Kapha balancing drugs, Blood purifiers and immunomodulators drug combinations are given.
Some best Ayurvedic formulations which when given according to the patient condition provide significant relief are :
Haridra Khand, Panchnimbadi churna, Sootshekhar Rasa, Kamdudha Rasa, Swarn Makshik Bhasma, Amrita Satva, Prawal Bhasma, Arogyavardhini vati, Kaishor guggulu, Amritadi guggulu, Trikatu churna, Manjisthadi kwaath, khadirarishta

Marichyadi oil for external application

1)Application of Mustard oil mixed with 2 to 3 piches of Rock salt and 2 pinches of baking soda effectively helps to calm the inflammation and rashes in skin.
2)During the acute onset of rash take 3 to 4 pinches of black pepper powder with 3 to 4 gms of jaggery . It helps in quick subsiding of rash and itching in body.
3)Daily intake of 5 gms of gooseberry juice mixed with 10 gms aloe vera juice helps in regulating immunity and reducing the inflammation inside the body

Urticarial rash may show clinical resemblance with various other skin diseases therefore always first consult an expert doctor regarding your condition. It is always better to be aware of the causative factor which is causing the allergy, for this you can take laboratory skin allergy test which will clearly show the allergens you have to avoid.

Diet and lifestyle advices
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, include fibre rich food in your diet, Avoid nuts,milk products,fish, refined sugar and refined flour ,preserved and fermented food items, increase the intake of gooseberry, bitter gourd, Green gram and Pomegranate . Regularly Practise relaxing Yoga postures and pranayama  for distressing the body.



The purpose of Ayurvidya is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider regarding your medical condition or treatment and before undertaking any new health care regimen.