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June 1974

Vitiligo in Ancient Indian Medicine

Author Affiliations

Varanasi, India

Arch Dermatol. 1974;109(6):913. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630060081032

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To the Editor.—  A study of ancient epic literature reveals that the disease now known as vitiligo existed in the world in the past. There are many references to descriptions of this disease and also to various formulations of its cure in classical medical literature of India.The Indian civilization and culture is the oldest in the world, and the oldest records of the human race are inscribed in the Veda books. Vitiligo is referred to in many places in these books. It is obvious that vitiligo existed centuries ago also.The Atharvaveda (1500 to 1000 BC) deals with the disease vitiligo. There are two words that are found in the original text viz. "kilas" and "palita." Whitney, in his English translation, has mentioned that "kilas" means white patch or spot on the skin, and when these spots have a yellowish tinge, this is known as "palita."Referring to the

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