Eczema affects an estimated 2.4 to 7 percent of the population. Eczema is an itchy inflammatory condition of the skin. It is commonly found on the face, wrist and insides of the elbows and knees. It can occur at any age, but is most common in infants. Fifty percent of infant cases will clear up by 18 months of age.
The skin is the largest organ of elimination, and its vital role in eliminating toxins is usually completely overlooked. Skin elimination can be promoted by daily skin brushing and hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy consists of alternating hot and cold showers. (one minute of each, for 15 minutes) In general, skin problems require time and patience to treat because the solution involves long term changes including internal cleansing and lifestyle changes.
Homeopathic remedies will address the specific symptoms and the constitutional makeup, as well as the inherited tendencies. Healing takes place in a certain order of priority. So, in the case of skin disease, the internal problems have to be addressed first and older unresolved symptoms may arise in the process.
The chronic use of cortisone creams leads to an imbalance in the whole body, including chronic yeast infections and adrenal gland dysfunction. These last two problems can then lead to allergies and chemical sensitivities.
There is a strong allergic component in eczema. Studies have shown that most patients have food allergies. Symptoms improve on a diet which eliminates common foods that cause allergies such as milk, sugar, corn, citrus, and peanuts. There are many ways to determine your food allergies including an elimination diet, specialized RAST blood tests, and electro-acupuncture testing.
Low stomach acid is common in people with eczema. This can be remedied by taking digestive enzymes or Swedish Bitters on your own or by using hydrochloric acid under the supervision of a practitioner.
Most people with eczema have an essential fatty acid deficiency. Treatment with oil of evening primrose is essential. It can be taken internally and also applied directly to the affected areas of skin. It is also important to increase your intake of fish and fish oils.
Other important supplements that can be used daily for skin health include vitamin-A 25,000IU's Vitamin-C 500mg and zinc pincolate 25 to 50mg. Bioflavonoids have an anti-inflammatory effect and up to 1,000mg a day is recommended.
Pizzorno and Murray, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, (Prima, 1998) recommend oral burdock root with its long history of use in the treatment of eczema. The authors say that inulin, the primary active component, tends to correct the underlying defects in the inflammatory mechanisms and immune system as well as helping control the staph infections so common in eczema.
Topical herbal preparations of camomile or licorice root have been proven effective for eczema. Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing licorice root have been tested in two double blind studies and shown to be effective.
A new supplement known as methylsulfonylmethane or MSM may be very helpful for chronic stubborn eczema. MSM makes the bonds between cell walls more flexible, and improves allergies, liver function and digestion. MSM lotion can be applied two or three times a day and taken orally as well.
Finally, it is also important to address stress and emotional conflicts which can precipitate or aggravate eczema. Meditation, visualization and breathing exercises are beneficial.
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