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Healing Eczema Naturally

By Hong Chen  (over 20 yrs experienced)

In the April 2000 issue of Vitality Magazine I addressed the use of Chinese herbs in the treatment of Psoriasis. In this issue I will talk about another skin disease--Eczema. With its occurrence and development very similar to Psoriasis, Eczema is a kind of fairly common allergic inflammatory dermatitis characterized by thick, dry skin, rash the polymorphic skin lesion and frequent recurrence but without silvery white scales. It is profoundly disturbing to sufferers because of extreme itching on the affected parts of skin. Although it can appear anywhere on the body, eczema emerges primarily on bend side of elbows and knees, while psoriasis emerges primarily on stretch side of elbows and knees, which benefit for identification between eczema and psoriasis. In the conventional medicine, it seems lack of effective treatment for this very itchy and unsightly skin disease. Fortunately, eczema does very well respond to Chinese herbs and have achieved a high success rate in serious cases. In terms of Chinese medical theory, eczema is not just caused by the skin itself, although it manifests on the skin. Its occurrence and development are intimately connected to the function of the body's organs such as spleen weak, as well as the toxin levels (the toxin levels of psoriasis is higher than eczema) carried by the blood (known as toxic "heat") such as liver heat and individual allergic constitution. Eczema can be caused by internal pathogenics such as heat, dampness, wind or a mixture of them because we live in natural environment. The differentiation of these causes can be distinguished by both observation and assessment on symptoms of the affected area, such as rash, itching, and dry skin, etc. The pulse is also affected as faster and deeper, while the color as red, shape as watery and the tongue with white fur and thick coating. All of these symptoms form integrated assessment to identify the disease. Based on specific causes of eczema identified for each individual, different remedies with functional herbs of relevant property are specifically employed to clear away heat, or cool blood, or remove dampness, act as anti-allergies, expel wind, or moisten dryness. This traditional Chinese medicine approach has been tested and improved over thousands of years, and also enhanced by today's technology. For normal cases, eczema can be treated successfully and rapidly by dosing with several sets of Chinese herbs. However, chronic cases may need a longer course of treatment. After eczema is cured, people still need take courses for a period so as to enhance treatment effects, strengthen immune system and maintain health, due to frequent recurrence of the eczema. Principally, if pathogenic causes of the disease can be avoided and our body system can be maintained to a reasonable health level by using the effective treatment, eczema can be controlled and cured.


 Although eczema can have different pathogenic factors, noted above, individual allergy constitution also plays a crucial role in the development of this condition. Since some foods that may cause allergies can make eczema worse, some patients should avoid take seafood, fish, milk so on in the treatment period. With Canadian patients, we usually see more wind, heat, dryness, or dampness types of eczema because of the body systems' reaction to Canadian external living environment. Each person responds differently to these environmental conditions, and also responds differently to allergic material caused by lifestyle, living hobbits, etc. This is why there are so many different pathogenic factors and combinations and so different personal reactions for them. Hence it is necessary to use different remedies and herbs to treat different types of eczema, on individual basis. The main points cause eczema as followings: 1. Family history: some eczema sufferers have obvious family history on the disease. 2. Individual allergy constitution: this type of eczema sufferers often easily get companion asthma, allergies (nose or bowel), and hives, etc., meanwhile, and have allergy on some foods, pollen, dust etc. 3. Spleen weak can lead dampness of body due to dysfunction of the spleen in transforming and transporting. Over-heated blood and over-dampness of body together look like boiling water to create a lot heat steam, and then the heat will be found being released through the skin. Any skin condition, in fact, which involves redness and itching, indicates the presence of excess internal heat and dampness. 4. Liver heat: emotional stress and depression can damage the function of the liver and leads to more blood heat. For example, chronic anger will tighten and congest the liver over time, impairing its ability to cleanse the blood. The body can be invaded by pathogenic 'wind heat' or 'wind dryness'. When too much "toxic heat" builds up, it accumulates in channels and collateral of skin, finally needs an outlet for release through the skin, so that the affected skin appears rash, which shows an abnormal redness of the skin resulted from congestion of small capillaries. This is why some herbs for strengthening circulation can tackle it. The heat and dryness of 'wind' invade the body, leading to blood dryness so that it is unable to provide nourishment to the skin. This lack of nourishment then leads to dry and itching skin along with polymorphic skin lesion. The tongue becomes extremely red and coated with white thick fur, or has no fur at all. Treatment for this type of eczema involves cleansing blood heat, wind and dampness, moistening blood dryness so as to remove blood heat, wind and dampness from skin, enhancing spleen functions, anti-allergies, eliminating emotional stress, and building up the immune system. Some natural Chinese herbs, with specialized combinations, are used internally and externally to provide relief, while other herbs are used to adjust and improve the body's internal functions so as to drive away blood heat, wind and dampness from spleen and stomach, kidneys. The body accepts these herbs in the same way as it does food, and there are no side-effects if prescribed by a knowledgeable professional practitioner. As well, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will often use acupuncture to clear the energy meridians of stagnated "Chi" and blood which in turn helps organs to return to normal functioning.

Case Histories

Case 1 Mr. Steven had been plagued with Eczema on his whole body. The extremely itching disrupted his sleep and lifestyle. He had received various western medicine treatments (including the commonly prescribed cortisone), but experienced no improvement. Following my assessment I found his body is filled with over-heat and dampness, to damage his spleen. I concluded that his spleen and immunity needed to be restored. Through the use of the herbs such as Bai Su, Cang Su etc., the functions of his spleen became stronger. To clean away heat, remove dampness to expel wind, anti-allergies, to moisten dryness and to cool the blood, he took some herbs like Fan Feng etc. The Chinese herbs, with cream helped to alleviate his suffering area, cured him completely after eight treatment sessions. But I recommend that he continue to take another eight weeks of the herb juice to enhance his well-being. Now, a few months passed, his skin is still fine.

Case 2 Daniel is one year and three months old. He had suffered from eczema since he was born. He cried, irritated and scratched on his face, arms and whole body all daytime and night. He is allergic milk. And his father had been also plagued with eczema on his whole body for over ten years. Following an assessment, I determined that Daniel and his father had extreme blood heat and dampness with wind caused by internal problems. This blood heat sought release through the skin, accumulated there, leading to blood stagnation. I used herbs such as JinJie, DanPi etc. to remove blood heat, dampness and wind from skin. I also employed herbs such as FuLin etc to drive away blood heat, dampness and wind from spleen and stomach, and some herbs such as WuMei etc. with function for anti-allergies. Daniel took herbs juice three tablespoons twice a day and his father took herbs juice one cup twice a day. Following one session, their itching was much decreased. Daniel became quit and can sleep more hours. Finally their eczema disappeared after over ten weeks of treatment. Then they had continuously taken the herbal juice for other few weeks so as to maintain their well being and to prevent eczema from recurrence. With eczema, the herbs by the knowledge and experience of the practitioner prescribing the appropriate prescriptions are used to build up and strengthen vital energy and the immune system to help the body resist eczema so as to prevent eczema from recurrence. It is also important to avoid foods such as seafood, milk, eggs etc. that may create allergies, spicy foods such as chili, alcohol, etc. that may create heat of body. Of the meats, lamb is considered the "hottest," followed by beef. On the another hand, fresh fruits and vegetables, which are cold in nature, are therefore good for sufferers of eczema.

 For more information please contact Dr. Hong Chen at the Chen Acupuncture Herbs Shiatsu Clinic, 33 Lowbank (Steeles E./Bestview(between Bayview and Leslie) /Harrington/Lowbank), North York. Tel: 416 221-9074.

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