Scientists at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Uttar Pradesh have claimed that chickpeas or, "Choley" as they are known in local parlance here can cure Leukoderma, a chronic skin disease that causes loss of pigmentation, resulting in white patches on the skin.
So far there has been no knowledge of any kind of permanent and certain treatment for curing Leukoderma. Moreover, the allopathic medicines and ointments are not only expensive but also fail to cure the disease permanently.
Scientists have found that application of a poly-herbal ointment with chickpeas as its base can effectively treat Leukoderma.
"We used lot of things to cure Leukoderma, but never been successful in curing this disease. This time we are curing patients by putting chickpea ointment on their affected areas. We also recommend the patients to consume lot of chickpeas in their regular diet too," said S.N. Ojha, one of the doctors.
Amino acids found in chickpeas promote synthesis of melanin (skin pigment) formation cells, regenerate the pigment cells and help treat the chronic skin disorder.
"When we took up this project, we followed the Ayurvedic methodology to prepare an ointment to cure this disease. In Ayurveda, it is mentioned that chickpea can cure the problem of Leukoderma. The ointment made out of chickpea protein is very effective on patients suffering from Leukoderma," said Yamini Bhushan Tripathi, a scientist at the Medicinal Chemistry Department of BHU.
Although Leukoderma is not a contagious disease, it is viewed as leprosy, an object of social stigma. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body starts producing antibodies that destroy cells known as melanocytes giving the skin its normal colour.