In attempting to cure any physiological disorder, it is necessary to possess a detailed understanding of the intricacies of the human body. The cell is the basic unit of life, and within it lies a vast collection of information, in the form of DNA and protein, that dictate the function and outcome of every single process in our body.
Cells have a variety of functions, some cells form complex structural elements such as cartilage and bone, whilst others manufacture various compounds including hormones, cytokines* (specialized proteins) and antibodies. In addition, cells such as nerves are specialized in that they transfer information from one location to another. Distinct compilations of cells also make up organs such as the kidney, liver and skin.
On the other hand despite their unique attributes, all cells have a number of elements in common, these include a central nucleus (in which DNA and Genetic material is stored) a surrounding cytoplasm (which contains the machinery of cell function), and an outer cell membrane (which receives and transmits signals to other cells and to the environment).
Cells usually communicate through
- Physical contact via the formation of channels and junctions
- Transmitting and receiving signaling molecules
- Transmission via nerve cells
Disruption of any of these communication pathways can result in disease and disorder.
The skin, being the largest organ in the body, consisting of approximately 1 billion cells, has an intricate system that that involves intercellular communication to mediate its various activities.
Based on modern medicine, the causes of skin disorder can be offset by inappropriate cell function that is usually caused by pathogens (bacteria, virus etc), environmental factors such as excessive exposure to UV, and a variety of other toxic chemicals that are easily found in a polluted environment or unhealthy food sources.
Ayurveda takes this understanding further to explain that such changes in cell function are not based solely on the effects of external stimuli, but also by subtle defects within the bodies constitution which increases ones susceptibility to these environmental risk factors. Thus emphasis must be placed on bringing the human body into a balanced state, using an active regime of herbal remedies and lifestyle of proper nutrition and exercise.
* Cytokines are relatively small proteins that are produced by mostly leukocytes (white blood cells) and some non-leukocytic cells. These proteins act as intercellular messengers to regulate the behaviour of adjacent and distant cells.