Vitiligo HistoryHypomelanosis skin conditions have prevailed since ancient time in human history. The most elderly names rooted for these diseases are "Shwetakustha" and "Suitra".
The term ´Shweta-Kushtha´, in the book Atharva-Veda of the 15th century BC, is indisputably metaphrased as “shweta” into white and "kushtha" into leprosy while the in the Manusmriti the term "suitra" was used, a work of Hindu law and ancient Indian society dating between the 2nd sec. BC and 2nd AD.
Vitiligo has been misconcepted with the leprosy and with other leucoderma diseases since past times, therefore the Hebrew word 'Zora' or 'Tzaraat/Tzoraath' was translated using the Greek word "Lepros" and the Latin word "Lepra". There is a well-known example in the Old Testament. Naaman, captain of the hosts of the King of Syria, (suffering from psoriasis, Russel 1950), on the advice of Elisha, washed seven times in the Jordan to rid himself of 'Zaraath'.
The ancient Greek writers divided cutaneous diseases into three classes: psora, lepra, and lichen. The leprosy was also known to the Greeks under the name Elephantiasis Graecorum but in the early Middle Ages when the Arabic texts were being translated into Latin, the translators confused Lepra Graecorum with Elephantiasis Graecorum, making understand that all scaly conditions of the skin were due to the leprosy. Therefore to describe the true leprosy was introduced the term: Lepra Arabum.
The term "vitiligo" has been derived instead from the Latin word "vitelius" and was coined by Aulus Cornelius Celsus (ca 25 BC—ca 50) in his work "De Medicina". The information regarding this disease has actually been obtained from "Tarikh-e-tibbe-iran" during the period of Aushooryan (2200 BC). More information has been obtained from Ebers Papyrus (1500 B.C) in which two types of pigmentary loss; Vitiligo and leprosy have been distinguished.
Vitiligo has also been long introduced with the term leucoderma in ancient Greek writings. Leucoderma is a Greek word in which the prefix "Leuco" means White and the suffix "Derma" means Skin. It is also known as Phulveri or Safed Daag in laymen's language.