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Eczema

Eczema

Description

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a common condition. Characteristics include a skin rash, itchy blistering and scaling. Although the terms eczema and dermatitis are often used interchangeably, eczema is properly defined as chronic vascular dermatitis.

Eczema usually begins in the first few years of life and subsides for most individuals by the age of four. Nevertheless, it may reappear intermittently for several years, disappearing at puberty or remain a lifelong problem. About 1 in 10 babies is affected by this condition.

Treatment is aimed at suppressing the symptoms. This may involve avoiding anything which intensifies the problem such as "fad diets" or bathing with soap and water which can dry the skin. Doctors may prescribe creams or ointments containing corticosteroids, bath oils, moisturizing creams and antihistamines as a bedtime sedative.

Causes

Primary Factors
The primary cause of Eczema is unknown.

Predisposing Factors
Family predisposition; allergic disorders such as: asthma, hay-fever, hives, food allergies and particulate allergies; cold weather; changes in temperature and humidity; perspiration; dryness of skin; emotional stress; repeated exposure to dishwater, clothes, and babies; herpes simplex leading to eczema herpeticum which is potentially fatal; and vaccines which lead to eczema activation.

Signs & Symptoms

Itching
Blistering
Scaling
Redness
Inflammation
Dryness of skin

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Essential Fatty Acids &
        Hair, Skin and Nail Support


---------------------------------
General Supplements
---------------------------------

AdultChild/Adolescent
Biotin400 - 800 mcg 200 - 400 mcg
Brewer's yeast*
EPO 1 - 3 g 1 - 2 g
Green barley*
Lecithin 4 - 6 g 2 - 3 g
Phosphatidyl C*
Quercetin*
Rutin*
Vitamin B-6 25 - 50 mg 5 - 10 mg
Zinc 20 - 30 mg 5 - 10 mg



* 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.

Dietary Considerations

Eggs and milk may be a cause of eczema in sensitive individuals; the Elimination Diet should be used to identify the offending substance or substances. The allergen can then be excluded from the diet.

Eczema can be a symptom of glucose intolerance, in which case a Gluten Restricted Diet can be beneficial.

So far as infants are concerned, any food allergen must be related to milk. This may be something the mother has eaten, or there may be an intolerance of breast milk but more likely to cow's milk. Goat milk and soy milk are usually successful alternatives.

Other digestive aids or probiotic formulas may be added to the milk e.g. FOS or flax seed or linseed oils. These and other oils (e.g. EPO) may also be added to blended vegetables or juices.

Homeopathic Remedy

Eczema

Anacardium occidentale tinct.         - 30C
Psorinum                         - 30C use LM if chronic/severe
Rhus Toxicodendron                 - 30C
Berberis aquifolium        

Advanced , by symptom:

1. Moist, discharge (honey-like)- Graphites.
2. Dry- Sulphur.
3. Moist, cracks easily, greenish hue- Petroleum.



Treatment Schedule

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.

Legend

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.


References

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.

Tissue Salts

Calc. Fluor.eczema around anus;
Calc. Phos.albuminous (egg-white) eruptions;
Ferr. Phos.redness, heat;
Kali Mursmall, white, dry scales on the skin;
Kali Phos.scabs with offensive secretions, causing soreness and rawness of parts;
Kali Sulf.thin, yellow eruptions;
Nat. Mur.eruptions on bend of elbow and knee;
Nat. Phos.honey-like discharges, yellow crustation;



4 tablets, hourly in acute conditions, 3 or 4 times daily in chronic eczema (t.i.d., q.i.d.)

Herbal Approaches

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Herbs
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Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
Calendula
Cayenne
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

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.

Discussion:

Many topical applications are recommended, including: Aloe vera gel, Burdock, Calendula cream, Chamomile and Chickweed ointments.

German Chamomile flower is an approved herb by the German Commisssion E and a major phytomedicine on the German market, accounting for sales of over $8 million (1996). It is classified as a dermatological preparation.

Cayenne is often useful against itching. It appears to inhibit the release of substance P from cutaneous sensory neurons.

Licorice Root (specifically glycyrrhetinic acid) acts like hydrocortisone, indeed, in some trials it proved superior! 93% reported benefit compared to 83% using cortisone. In combination, the licorice derivative potentiates the benefit of cortisone.

Detoxification may be helpful, for which, Milk thistle (Silymarin) and Sarsaparilla are effective.

Some of these same herbs, in tincture form or as a tea, are recommended for children, for detoxification of both blood and the liver: burdock root, butternut, nettle, red clover and sarsaparilla.

References:

Evans, FQ: THe rational use of glycyrrhetinic acid in dermatology. Br. J. Clin. Pract. 1958, 12:269-279.

Kurkcuoglu, N & Alaybeyi, F: Topical capsaicin for psoriasis. Br. J. of Dermatology, 1990, 123(4):549-550.

Korting, HC et al., Comparative efficacy of hamamelis distillate and hydrocortisone cream in atopic eczema. Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 1995, 48(6):461-465.

Teelucksingh, S et al., Potentiation of hydrocortisone activity in skin by glycyrrhetinic acid. Lancet, 1990, 335:1,060-1,063.

Thurman, FM: The treatment of psoriasis with sarsaparilla compound. NEJM. 1942, 227:128-133.

Walji, H: Skin Conditions. Natural Health Series, Kian Press, 1997.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Benzoin Essence,Calendula Essence,
Cedarwood Essence,Chamomile Essence,
Fennel Essence,Frankincense Essence,
Geranium Essence,Hyssop Essence,
Juniper Essence,Lavender Essence,
Myrrh Essence,Onion Essence,
Rose Essence,Sandalwood Essence,





Related Health Conditions

Allergy
Asthma
Hay fever
Herpes simplex
Inflammation
Stress
Hives

Abstracts

References

Abernathy-Carver KJ et al: Milk-induced eczema is associated with the expansion of T cells expressing cutaneous lymphocyte antigen. J Clin Invest, 1995 Feb, 95:2, 913-8.

Alpers, D.H., R.E. Clouse, & W.F. Stenson. 1983. Manual of Nutritional Therapeutics. Little, Brown, and Company, Boston. 457 pp.

Berkow, R. 1977. The Merck Manual. Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories Pub., Rahway, New Jersey. 2165 pp.

Black PN & Sharpe S: Dietary fat and asthma: is there a connection? Eur Respir J, 10:6-12, 1997 Jan.

Butland BK et al., Investigation into the increase in hay fever and eczema at age 16 observed between the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohorts. BMJ, 1997 Sep 20, 315:7110, 717-21.

Chasroff, I.J. & J.W. Ellis. 1983. Family Medical Guide. William Morrow and Company Inc., Pub. 594 pp.

Ferguson JE et al., Reversible dilated cardiomyopathy following treatment of atopic eczema with Chinese herbal medicine. Br J Dermatol, 136:592-3, 1997 Apr.

Frost J: Complementary treatments for eczema in children. Prof Nurse, 1994 Feb, 9:5, 330-2.

Grimbacher B et al., Lactose-intolerance may induce severe chronic eczema. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 1997 Aug, 113:4, 516-8.

Hamilton, H.K. ed. 1982. Professional Guide To Diseases Intermed Communications Inc. Pub, Springfield, Massachusetts. 1323 pp.

Harford-Cross M: Tendency to being bitten by insects among patients with eczema and with other dermatoses. Br J Gen Pract, 1993 Aug, 43:373, 339-40.

Heinerman, John. 1982. Herbal Dynamics. Root of Life, Inc.: Publ.

Hutchinson, M. Nutrition and Cancer: Prevention and Treatment. Alas. Journal Of Medical Science, 21 (1984).

Johansen JD et al., Content and reactivity to product perfumes in fragrance mix positive and negative eczema patients. A study of perfumes used in toiletries and skin-care products. Contact Dermatitis, 36:291-6, 1997 Jun.

Kirby AJ & Schmidt RJ: The antioxidant activity of Chinese herbs for eczema and of placebo herbs--I. J Ethnopharmacol, 56:103-8, 1997 Apr.

Kirschmann, J.D. 1990. Nutrition Almanac: Nutrition Search. McGrew-Hill: New York.

Korting HC et al: Comparative efficacy of hamamelis distillate and hydrocortisone cream in atopic eczema. Eur J Clin Pharmacol, 1995, 48:6, 461-5.

Lark” O: Phototherapy of eczema. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed, 12:91-4, 1996 Jun.

Lawton S: Living with eczema: the dermatology patient. Br J Nurs, 1996 May 23-Jun 12, 5:10, 600-4, 606-9.

Majoie IM et al., Development of hand eczema in junior hairdressers: an 8-year follow-up study. Contact Dermatitis, 1996 Apr, 34:4, 243-7.

Manku, M.S. & D.F. Horrobin. Reduced Levels of Prostaglandin Precursors in the Blood of Atopic Patients. Prost Leukotrienes Med., 9 1982.

Manku, M.S. & J.L. Burton. Essential Fatty Acids in the Plasma Phospholipids of Patients with Atopic Eczema. British Journal Of Dermatology, 110. 1984.

Manning PJ et al., Asthma, hay fever and eczema in Irish teenagers (ISAAC protocol). Ir Med J, 1997 Apr-May, 90:3, 110-2.

Murray, M.T., & J.E. Pizzorno. 1991. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, Ca; Prima Publishing.

Poyner T: Know how guide to eczema/dermatitis. Nurs Times, 1997 Mar 26-Apr 1, 93:13, 30-1.

Schäfer T et al., Maternal smoking during pregnancy and lactation increases the risk for atopic eczema in the offspring. J Am Acad Dermatol, 1997 Apr, 36:4, 550-6.

Schäfer T & Ring J: Epidemiology of allergic diseases. Allergy, 52:14-22; discussion 35-6, 1997.

Sheehan MP, Atherton DJ. One-year follow up of children treated with Chinese medical herbs for atopic eczema. Br J Dermatol 1994;130:488—93.

Sheehan MP, Rustin MHA, et al. Efficacy of traditional Chinese herbal therapy in adult atopic dermatitis. Lancet 1992;340:13—17.

Subak-Sharpe, G.J. 1984. The Physician's Manual For Patients. Times Books Pub, New York. 607 pp.

Taylor MR et al., Eczema and hay fever in schoolchildren. Ir Med J, 89:229-30, 1996 Nov-Dec.

Umene K et al., Comparison of the association with eczema herpeticum in the two
predominant genotypes of herpes simplex virus type 1. J Med Virol, 49:329-32, 1996 Aug.

Walji, Hasnain. 1994. Skin Conditions - Orthodox & Complementary Approaches Hodder Headline Plc.London.

Walji, H. 1992. Vitamin Guide: Essential Nutrients for Healthy Living. Rockport, MA: Element, Inc.

Wilkinson SM: Pityriasis rosea and discoid eczema: dose related reactions to treatment with gold. Ann Rheum Dis, 1992 Jul, 51:7, 881-4.

Wright, S. & J.L. Burton. Oral Evening Primrose Oil Improves Atopic Eczema. Lancet. November 20, 1982.

Wyngaarden, J.B. & L.H. Smith. 1985. Cecil's Textbook of Medicine. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 2341 pp.

Xu XJ et al., Modulation by Chinese herbal therapy of immune mechanisms in the skin of patients with atopic eczema. Br J Dermatol, 136:54-9, 1997 Jan.

Zug KA & McKay M: Eczematous dermatitis: a practical review. Am Fam Physician, 1996 Sep 15, 54:4, 1243-50, 1253-4.

 


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