What is eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition affecting all ages. Sufferers have either an intermittent or constant red/pink, hot and itchy rash appearing anywhere but commonly affecting the hands, behind the knees and inside of the elbow joints. The rash can be extremely uncomfortable and may become infected if left untreated.
What is eczema caused by?
It can be caused from exposure to external irritants when it is sometimes referred to as ‘contact dermatitis’. More often the cause is internal. Many herbalists view itchy red skin conditions as a result of too much heat in the body – it is an indication that, internally, something is out of balance. Perhaps the liver is overworked, maybe there are food intolerances or the elimination mechanisms may be disturbed. Stress may also be playing a part.
How is eczema treated?
If an external or dietary cause can be identified, avoiding it may alleviate the symptoms. Use of a cooling and soothing cream made from chickweed may help control the itch. Chamomile and marigold flowers are both antiseptic and promote healing – they may help nourish the skin and reduce inflammation.
For many people eczema is caused by a combination of factors and a course of internal treatment is usually recommended. Seeking the advice of a fully qualified medical herbalist may help establish the best way to tackle stubborn eczema.
Lynda Jones BSc (Hons) Medical Herbalist