Porphyria – A Comparison of Modern (Allopathic) and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Porphyrias are a group of inherited metabolic disorders, in which deficiency of enzymes causes a buildup of porphyrins, which are required for the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells.

This abnormal buildup affects the skin, nerves, brain, and internal organs, causing symptoms like severe abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting, muscular pain, convulsions, tingling, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, high blood pressure, tachycardia, itching and rash.

Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is an acute manifestation of this condition.

The abnormal buildup of porphyrins causes urine to be typically red colored with the excretion of porphobilinogen, and this is diagnostic of the condition. Symptoms are precipitated by medications, fasting, smoking, infections, surgery, stress, alcohol, menstrual hormones, and exposure to sun.

Treatment in the modern (Allopathic) system of medicine is with intravenous glucose, simple pain killers, and oral or intravenous Hematin.

While the acute condition can be treated adequately in a well equipped hospital, modern medicine cannot prevent further episodes, other than by recommending avoidance of the precipitating factors as well as all unnecessary medications.

This complex metabolic disorder with no cure in the modern system of medicine can be treated easily by interpreting the symptoms and signs in accordance with Ayurvedic pathophysiology, which suggests the formation of unhealthy blood tissue and vitiated pitta – features of Raktapitta disease – moving in a downward direction and adversely affecting mainly the skin, brain, and kidneys.

The recommended treatment principles of this disease – as per Ayurvedic texts – involve correction of faulty pitta, normalization of blood tissue, along with redirecting vata.

This can be achieved using simple herbs and Ayurvedic herbomineral compounds. Concurrent symptomatic treatment is also given for all the presenting complaints.

Using this treatment approach, most patients get complete relief from all symptoms, including severe abdominal pain, within a few weeks. Recurrence can be prevented by meticulously avoiding precipitating factors.

Patients having severe neuropsychiatric symptoms may require prolonged treatment for about six to ten months.


Once all the acute symptoms undergo remission, it may just be sufficient to observe the patient for any further signs of recurrence or relapse, and provide treatment as and when required.

Day-to-day minor health issues can be handled by the patient or their caretakers at home, with continued supervision and advice from the Ayurvedic healthcare provider.

Most Ayurvedic single and compound medications are well tolerated by porphyria patients, in total contrast to the long list of modern (Allopathic) medicines which are totally contraindicated for such patients.


Porphyria patients can thus be comprehensively treated and managed on a long term basis with the help of Ayurvedic herbal medicines.


Dr. A. A. Mundewadi is Chief Ayurvedic Physician at Mundewadi Ayurvedic Clinic based at Thane, Maharashtra, India. He is available as an online Ayurvedic Consultant at http://www.ayurvedaphysician.com

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