Treating Eczema with Chinese Medicine

Do you or your children suffer from eczema? Are there any red, itchy, dry or weeping lesions that just won’t go away? Fortunately, Chinese Medicine has several options to help heal both the internal disharmony, and resulting eczema. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers topical ointments, customized internal herbal therapies, and Acupuncture/ Shonishin (non-invasive, non-needling method) treatments that can help you and your children to naturally fight off this “skin allergy.” Eczema often runs in families, and may begin when a child is less than 6 months old. According to May Loo in Pediatric Acupuncture, Eczema is the most common chronic skin condition in children. Many children grow out of eczema by the time they reach puberty, while for others it may become a chronic nuisance, that can last well into adulthood. Western Medicine often prescribes corticosteroid creams, that may stop the itching temporarily, but will not ultimately heal the underlying problem, an imbalanced energetic body.

INTERNAL DAMP-HEAT= RED, ITCHY, WEEPY ECZEMA

Foremost, a healthy digestive system is the best way to prevent an internal disharmony from occurring. An infants digestive system is not yet fully developed, and functions best when food is both warm and dry. Thus, a naturally weak digestive system compounded with poor dietary habits that include dairy, sugar, and wheat undoubtedly will lead the Spleen to produce plenty of pathogenic Phlegm or Dampness. This viscous pathogenic fluid is then deposited into the Lungs, and may create heat. According to Chinese Medical Theory, the skin is an extension of the lungs, and any damp-heat produced in the Lung Organ may be expressed as a rash or weeping eczema on the skin. Therefore, a clear bland diet is essential for the health of their digestive and Lung meridians, and ultimately for your child’s skin.

BLOOD DEFICIENCY= DRY, SCALY, ITCHY ECZEMA

This type of eczema also occurs due to an inefficient digestive system. According to Chinese Medical Theory, Blood is formed from the essence of food and liquids, which are digested and refined by the Spleen Organ (Pancreas in Western Model), and is then turned red when it enters the Heart Organ. If the digestive system is weak, than blood will not be sufficiently produced by the Spleen. Thus, the skin is not properly nourished by blood, and dry itchy eczema results.

KD JING DEFICIENCY/ FAMILIAL PATTERN= ECZEMA + ASTHMA

The first few months of life correspond to the Water element, and thus the Kidney Zang. The Kidney’s hold a person’s Jing/Essence/Seed of Life; it takes 14 years for this Kidney Qi to fully mature. If a child develops eczema within the first few months of life, a weak Kidney energy is often indicated. Especially, if a familial history of eczema exists. Also, more than 50% of eczema cases develop asthma, which is readily explained by Chinese Medical Theory. If the Kidney energy is weak, than it is unable to fully grasp and descend the Lung Qi, which results in eczema along with asthma and other breathing problems.

HOME REMEDIES FOR ECZEMA

  1. CLEAR BLAND DIET
    ELIMINATE wheat, corn, sugar, dairy, and soy from your child’s diet for at least 40 days. Reduce, or eliminate completely foods that may cause phlegm and are difficult for your child’s underdeveloped digestive system. REDUCE/ ELIMINATE: Bananas, Orange Juice, Cow’s Milk, and Nut Butters. INTRODUCE a Clear Bland Diet: well-cooked complex carbohydrates, veggies, fruit, and a small amount of animal protein.
  2. HERBAL TEA: BARLEY, MUNG BEANS, DANDELION, AND CORN SILK
    Simmer the ingredients together for 45 minutes, strain, and drink the remaining liquid.
    Consult your local herbalist to find out the correct dosage needed for you or your child, as dosage varies depending on weight and other constitutional factors.
  3. EXTERNAL APPLICATIONS
    BODY WASH made of equal portions salt and borax dissolved in warm water, applied 2-3 times per day. POULTICE of raw grated potato, held by gauze and changed every 3 hours.
    ** It’s important not to use any oil-based applications, as this may make the condition worse by pushing the pathogenic dampness further into the surrounding areas.

Eczema is a nuisance for many children and adults, but the length and severity of eczema can be greatly reduced by a Chinese Medicine practitioner. According to Soma Glick L.Ac, she has seen patients itching diminish by 50 percent after just one treatment, and completely healthy skin return after 1 to 2 months. However, there are dietary changes that must be made at home in order for the positive results of treatment to stick. If you or your child suffers from eczema, call your local, friendly Acupuncturist today!

REFERENCES:
1. Glick, Soma. (2005). Treating Childhood Eczema with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs. Acupuncture Today, Vol. 6, Issue 03.
2. Flaws, Bob (2002). “A Handbook of TCM Pediatrics:the Diagnosis and Treatment of Commonly Encountered Pediatric Diseases.”
3. Loo, May. (2002). “Pediatric Acupuncture.”

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