Itching (pruritis) is the symptom which is instinctively relieved by scratching. It may occur in one particular place or may be generalized over a wide area of the body. Itching is caused by many disorders especially skin diseases.
Since itching may be the only symptom of a systemic condition, the best treatment is to identify and treat the underlying cause. When this is not possible, use of tranquilizers, antihistamines and sedatives, and avoiding irritating substances may be prescribed.
Overexposure to dry, cold air outdoors
Overexposure to overheated air indoors
Contact with clothes or linen washed in strong detergents
Excessive bathing and washing, causing winter itch
Skin disorders such as:
Polymorphous light eruptions
Insect bites or stings
Naturally dry skin
Parasites in the skin which cause localized itching:
Pediculosis (body lice)
Pubic lice (Crabs)
Schistosomal dermatitis (swimmer's itch)
Fungal infections including the ringworm disorders:
Ringworm of the skin and scalp
Systemic disorders such as:
Cancer, especially internal cancers and cancer of the lymph nodes
Blockage of the bile duct
Hepatitis and other liver disorders
Tumors of the thyroid
Kidney disease, especially chronic renal failure
Medications such as:
Aging, causing senile pruritis due to gradually increased sebum production.
Signs & Symptoms
Often, the only symptoms of itching is the desire of the affected individual to scratch the itchy area(s), resulting in the cycle of:
Irritation Scratching Damage Irritation
Redness Crusts along scratch lines Wheals Urticarial papules Scrapes Excoriated papules Fissures
Structure & Function:
Hair, Skin and Nail Support &
Adult Adolescent/Child Aloe vera* Bee propolis* Bromelain 5 - 10 mg 2 - 5 mg Fish oils 4 - 8 g 2 - 4 g Vitamin C 1,000 - 3,000 mg 500 - 2,000 mg Vitamin E 600 - 800 IU 200 - 400 IU
* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.
Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.
An attempt should be made to find the underlying condition responsible for the itching. Clinical treatment and nutritional management would be specific for the primary illness, rather than the itching itself.
No diet is specifically prescribed by the American Dietetics Association. Barring any underlying health condition, a Dietary Goals Diet should be followed to provide all the nutrients necessary for building a sound and disease-resistant body.
Itching can signal a nutrient toxicity in persons who chose to self-medicate with megadoses. Niacin toxicity can be manifested as itching when doses greater than 50 milligrams per day are ingested.
Itching due to vitamin A toxicity may result from taking in 25,000 IU per day over the course of several months, or 1,000,000 IU in one dose. Adult beriberi from thiamine deficiency can present itself as itching on the legs. This can be corrected by thiamine supplementation.
Dermatitis (Urticaria, Eczema)
Sulphur 15C to 1M
Hepar Sulphuris calcareum - 30C
* Rhus venenata - 15C
* Rhus Toxicodendron - 15 - 30C
* Antipyrinum- 15C
*Antipyrinum - 15C
Anacardium occidentale tinct. - 30C
Psorinum - 30C to 50M
Natrum Muriaticum - 30C to 10M
Anacardium occidentale tinct. - 30C
Psorinum- 30C use LM potency if chronic, severe
Rhus Toxicodendron - 30C
Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.
X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.
Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.
Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.
Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.
Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.
Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.
Calc. Phos. itching, as in hives (urticaria "nettle rash"), without eruptions; Kali. Phos. crawling sensation;
Slippery elm bark
Rectal burning & itching
Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
A Garlic clove may be used as a suppository. It is inserted at night, when the pinworms are active.
Horse Chestnut (Conkers) is approved for use with itching by the German Commission E, together with Butcher's Broom and Melilot (Sweet Clover).
Pau d'arco is applied as a lotion.
Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.
Aromatherapy - Essential Oils
Clove Essence, Lavender Essence, Lemon Essence, Melissa Essence.
Related Health Conditions
There are many related health conditions, some of which are:
Aging Oral contraceptives Cancer Pregnancy Dermatitis Psoriasis Diabetes mellitus Stress Eczema Thyroid disorders Hepatitis Urticaria Kidney disease Worms
Barashnev, I. & I.N. Rozova. Role of Vitamin B-6 in Treating Children with Hives. Vopr. Pitan., 4. 1979.
Beeson, P.B. & W. Mc Dermott, eds. 1975. Textbook of Medicine. 14th ed. Saunders Pub. Co., Philadelphia. 1892 pp.
Berkow, R. 1977. The Merck Manual. Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories Pub., Rahway, New Jersey. 2165 pp.
Bland, Jeffrey. Nutraerobics. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983.
Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.
Cacciatore, L. et al: S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) in The Treatment of Pruritus in Chronic Liver Disease. ACTA Therapeutica, 1989;15: 363-371.
Charlesworth EN: Practical approaches to the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Allergy Proc, 1994 Nov-Dec, 15:6, 269-74.
Cho YL et al., Uremic pruritus: roles of parathyroid hormone and substance P. J Am Acad Dermatol, 1997 Apr, 36:4, 538-43.
Grnroos M et al., Altered skin sensitivity in chronic itch: role of peripheral and central mechanisms. Neurosci Lett, 1997 Jun 13, 228:3, 199-202.
Haas, P.J. Modification of Itching and Erythema and Wheals of the Skin. Fortschr. Med., 101. 1983.
Hui, Y.H. 1983. Human nutrition and diet therapy. Wadsworth, Inc; Belmont, California. 1039 pp.
Johnson, G. & H. Gilbert. Long-Term Treatment of Systemic Mastocytosis with Histamine Antagonists. Am J Of Gastroenterology, 74. 1980.
Lim HW et al., UVB phototherapy is an effective treatment for pruritus in patients infected with HIV. J Am Acad Dermatol, 1997 Sep, 37:3 Pt 1, 414-7.
Metcalf A: Anorectal disorders. Five common causes of pain, itching, and bleeding. Postgrad Med, 1995 Nov, 98:5, 81-4, 87-9, 92-4.
Petersdorf, R.G. & R.D. Adams. 1983. Harrison's Principles Of Internal Medicine. 10th ed. McGraw Hill Pub Co., N Y. 2212 pp.
Sharma, S.C. & W.M. Wilson. Cellular Interaction of Ascorbic Acid with Histamine and the Immediate Hypersensitivity Reaction. International Journal Of Vitamin Nutrition Research, 50. 1980.
Subak-Sharpe, G.J. 1984. The Physician's Manual For Patients. Times Books Pub, New York. 607 pp.
Wang D et al., An approach to the understanding of the nasal early-phase reaction induced by nasal allergen challenge. Allergy, 1997 Feb, 52:2, 162-7.
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