When someone shares with me about a health problem they may be experiencing, I am motivated to research and try to learn what is causing the condition to see if I can shed some light on how to help our bodies to ‘heal’ from said condition.
Psoriasis / Eczema are skin conditions that can be dangerous as well as annoying, expecially if the treatment is not being helpful in ‘healing’ from the symptoms.
From The Healthy Home Economist:
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in the world with at least 31.6 million sufferers in the United States alone. Ironically, despite the high prevalence of this disease, there is a persistent lack of effective eczema treatment for moderate to severe cases.
The standard conventional treatment for eczema is topical steroids such as hydrocortisone. While this eczema treatment magically clears up the skin within a matter of days, it can drive the disease deeper into the body with more serious negative health repercussions over the long term. In addition, steroid creams have serious side effects such as blurred vision, seeing halos around lights, uneven heartbeat, sleep problems, and weight gain or puffiness.
As a result, resolution of eczema via holistic, nontoxic therapies is of paramount importance so as not to cause additional health woes through a drug based approach to illness. With this in mind, here are 7 nontoxic suggestions for eczema treatment that have worked effectively in my practice over the years.
In addition to the therapies below, Sally Fallon Morell, co-author of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care, suggests the application of raw, organic apple cider vinegar to help dry up and heal eczema lesions by restoring proper pH balance to the skin. She also suggests elimination of pasteurized dairy even if organic and switching to whole, unpasteurized grassfed milk which oftentimes produces miraculous results as a food based eczema treatment!
Healthy Fat and Probiotic Supplementation
For eczema and atopic dermatitis, the GAPS Diet along with a cod liver oil and probiotic supplement can prove extremely helpful. In addition, an oil mixture containing multiple seed oils such as evening primrose oil (for gamma linolenic acid), coconut oil and flax seed oil can prove effective for eczema treatment. The brand I recommend is YES Essential Fatty Acid Blend. The dosage is 2 capsules, 2 times per day.
An effective, holistic alternative to drug based steroid cream like hydrocortisone is Dermrash from Dr. Kang Formulas. The primary ingredient of Dermrash is Sophora, an herb commonly used in Chinese medicine to counteract allergies. This is accomplished by stabilizing the mast cells, which produce histamine in the body. I have seen severe cases of eczema clear up with this sole remedy when this cream is applied to affected skin.
Consumption of Sea Vegetables
Detoxification is important for resolution of eczema problems. Sea vegetables are helpful to this end as they bind with heavy metals and other toxins and promote their excretion through bowel movements. A good choice that is available in capsule form is the brand Seagreens. A safe and effective dosage for treatment of eczema from mild to severe is 1-2 capsules, 2 times per day.
Seaweed baths soothe and nourish the skin and provide another avenue for detoxification via the body’s largest organ. In particular, Aalgo baths are helpful as an eczema treatment as they exfoliate the skin which allows it to breathe and regenerate healthy skin tissue more quickly.
If the eczema flare-up seems to be related to one or more vaccines, Thuja Thymus Complex from Uriel pharmacy can be used. The dosage is 3 pellets under the tongue first thing in the morning for treatment of eczema and atopic dermatitis. Thuja is the homeopathic remedy for vaccine reactions. The thymus extract helps to stimulate the thymus gland to normalize the immune response to the shots. The thymus gland makes T cells, which are an important player in the immune system.
Protomorphogen of the Skin
A protomorphogen is an extract from the same tissue type as that involved in the underlying illness. For issues with atopic dermatitis, the eczema treatment suggested is Dermatrophin from Standard Process which is a protomorphogen of the skin. This remedy binds the antibodies produced and facilitates excretion through the bowels instead of eruptions and inflammation of the skin. The dosage for eczema treatment is 1 tablet, 3 times per day, ideally between meals.
Eczema Treatment for Skin Infections
Sometimes eczema lesions can result in infections. This is something to watch out for and be very careful to discourage. If, despite your best efforts, skin infections are a problem, I recommend Andographis Complex to help them clear and heal quickly. The dosage for eczema treatment is 1-2 tablets per day until the infection is resolved.
From the National Psoriasis Foundation:
Before taking any herbal remedy for your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, talk with your doctor. Some herbal remedies can cause dangerous interactions with your medications. Also, you should not take some herbal remedies if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or mood disorders. Stop using the remedy immediately should you experience side effects and tell your health care provider.
Here are some herbs/natural remedies that may help with your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Gel from the aloe plant can be applied to the skin up to three times a day. Some research shows it can help reduce redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. Look for creams containing 0.5% aloe. No benefit has been shown from taking aloe in tablet form and it can be dangerous.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Used by ancient cultures as a disinfectant, apple cider vinegar may help relieve scalp itch from psoriasis. You can buy a bottle of organic apple cider vinegar at the grocery store and apply it to your scalp several times a week. Some people report diluting vinegar with water on a 1-to-1 ratio helps prevent a burning sensation. Others say they need to rinse the skin once the solution has dried to prevent irritation. Skip this cheap remedy if your scalp skin is cracked or bleeding. If you have open wounds, vinegar will only irritate your skin and cause a burning sensation. If it works for you, you should see results within a few weeks.
Capsaicin is the ingredient in chili peppers that make them hot. Added to creams and ointments, capsaicin blocks nerve endings that transmit pain. Researchers from the University Medical Center Freiburg, in Freiburg, Germany, found OTC creams containing capsaicin may help reduce the pain, inflammation, redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. However, more research is needed to assess its long-term benefits and safety. Some people may feel a burning sensation where capsaicin ointment is applied.
Dead Sea Salts
Adding Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts to your warm (not hot) bath water and soaking in the tub for about 15 minutes may help remove scales and ease itching. Be sure to apply moisturizer to your skin as soon as you get out of the tub. You may see some improvement.
Oats are considered one of nature’s best skin soothers. There is no scientific evidence to support the use of oats to relieve psoriasis symptoms. But many individuals with psoriasis report applying an oat paste or taking a bath in oats relieves their itchy skin and reduces redness.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is from the leaves of a plant that is native to Australia. Tea tree oil is believed to have antiseptic qualities and can be applied to the skin. Some people find using shampoos with tea tree oil helps relieve their scalp psoriasis. However, there are no scientific studies to prove the effectiveness of tea tree oil on psoriasis. Use tea tree oil with care as some people may be allergic to it.
This herb is being frequently studied for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric also has the ability to alter gene expression. A 2012 review by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular biology highlights turmeric’s ability to alter TNF cytokine expression. This is the likely reason some patients find it helpful in minimizing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flares. You can take turmeric concentrated in pill or supplement form or if you like curries, adding it liberally to your food. The FDA considers 1.5 to 3.0 grams of turmeric per day to be safe. However, we suggest that you consult with a naturopathic practitioner for help in determining the correct dosage for you.
Mahonia Aquifolium (Oregon Grape)
Mahonia is a powerful antimicrobial herb that plays a role in immune response. Studies show that applying a cream containing 10% mahonia is effective in treating mild to moderate psoriasis. Because it is in the alkaloid family, mahonia should only be used topical unless under physician supervi