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Eczema – get relief with homoeopathy

13 September, 2011

If you have eczema you have probably tried it all, wasted money on various creams and potions, despaired over yet another failed promise and resigned yourself to a wardrobe full of long sleeved shirts.

A whole range of natural remedies – either singly or in combination – can help. But many people find relief with well chosen homoeopathic remedies.

Eczema falls into a group of problems called atopic diseases, Atopic diseases usually run in families and one might find eczema, asthma, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and food allergies or intolerances in several members and generations of a family.

Some people can move through the diseases, for example, having eczema as a baby, which later disappears only to have been replaced by asthma or hay fever.

Atopic diseases are also known as inherited IgE-mediated diseases. IgE stands for the immunoglobulin E class of antibodies. IgE antibodies bind to special cells in the circulation and when these encounter antigens or allergens, the cells release chemicals to attack the allergens. Unfortunately the surrounding tissues are also affected resulting in the inflammation, redness and itching associated with eczema.

Why and when does it occur

Eczema can flare up when your body’s natural defences encounter allergens. An allergen can be anything that stimulates an immune response. Usually these substances are harmless but in the atopic person, an immune response is initiated, leading to allergic reactions.

The body defences persistently attack the allergens but also injure surrounding tissue as a consequence. The skin symptoms which we call eczema can appear as dry and scaly or wet and weepy. It can produce bleeding or cracked skin.

Aggravating factors can be emotional or environmental or often a combination of both. You may find you experience flare ups when going through an emotional or stressful time in your life.

Additionally a flare up can be caused by something in your immediate surroundings, such as contact with irritants like latex, detergent, animals or wool. Perhaps changes in temperature, pollen count or humidity aggravate your eczema, causing it to appear seasonal. Keeping track of your triggers can help reduce flare ups.

Homoeopathic remedies

With homoeopathy you choose the remedy that best matches your particular eczema symptoms. If your eczema seems to go through cycles of different stages, simply choose the best ‘fit’ at the time and if the symptoms change then change the remedy to the one that best covers the characteristics of your eczema at that time.

Before you do this, you might also consider taking the remedies Psorinum and Calendula as a general preparation.

Psornium 30C helps most skin complaints, particularly when of an allergic or inherited origin. It should also help with the dreaded itching and scratching that leads to tearing the layers of the skin. Put a couple of pills into a large bottle of water and sip it throughout the day. If this remedy isn’t helping within three weeks, discontinue and contact a professional.

Additionally in the beginning stages I recommend Calendula 30C taken daily to help speed healing. The main aim is to make your skin intact again and heal the damaged layers of tissue.

Once your skin is in one piece again, so to speak, keeping it there is much easier.

Choose the remedy that most closely matches your symptoms from the list that follows and take one 6c potency twice a day (one morning and one evening):

Sulphur 6c – Known for its affinity to the skin, Sulphur is excellent for eczema that is dry, burning hot and bleeds after being scratched. The patches can look denuded, as though scalded, and the itching can be intolerable, with the person being unable to stop tearing at the skin.

The eczema will be particularly sore after bathing as water aggravates the skin. Heat can also trigger the eczema, particularly on becoming too hot in bed, after exercise, wearing wool next to the skin or in hot weather. The Sulphur patient may want something cool on the eczema for relief but often any sort of pressure sets off the itching.

Graphites 6c – In this case the eczema is oozy, weepy and forming crusts that are sticky with a yellowish tinge. The fluid that weeps may be thin, gluey and seemingly never ceasing. There can also be cracking of the skin, often behind the ears, in the corners of the eyes or mouth, toes, anus, nipples and fingers.

I have often found a Graphites eczema picture to be closely linked to Sulphur and the two can alternate rapidly.

Arsenicum 6c – This remedy has rough and scaly eczema that can burn or swell. The skin may also be terribly dry and look like parchment. The eczema may alternate with hay fever or asthma symptoms producing a thin, watery, burning discharge from the nose and eyes.

Arsenicum patients are typically worse late at night, tend to be very restless, and suffer great mental anguish with the eczema. The pain they feel is of a burning nature that unusually is better from warm water or warm dry applications, (the opposite of Sulphur). They can be very fastidious and impatient, with anxiety and stress triggering a flare up.

Staphysagria 6c – The eczema forms dry thick scabs and can itch violently. An odd characteristic is that when one area is scratched, another starts to itch.

The emotional aspect to this remedy cannot be ignored as it is primarily used after anger or humiliation. The person needing this remedy may feel easily insulted, be very sensitive, and hold in aggression. The eczema can be the body’s attempt to release the hostility.

Nat mur 6c – Here the eczema tends to be in the folds of the skin and appears red and inflamed. The eczema can also be along the hairline, behind the ears and in the joints such as behind the knees and in the elbows. The lips can be cracked, particularly the lower lip.

A leading indication for the remedy can be an intense craving for salt. People needing this remedy will tend to avoid the heat of the sun, may feel better or worse at the seaside and potentially have a history of suppressed sadness or disappointment.

Rhus tox 6c – This remedy is useful for when the skin is dry, swollen, red and intensely itchy. Tiny prickly blisters can appear and either have clear or pussy liquid in them when squeezed.

There may be a tendency to suffer from stiff sore muscles or joints and lower back pain. Much like Arsenicum, people needing this remedy may find their eczema feels better with heat, especially a very hot bath or shower.

Hepar sulph 6c – If your eczema starts to look, feel or smell as though it is becoming infected, add Hepar sulph 6c three times a day along with increasing the Calendula 30c to three times a day. Be sure to drink masses of water and get extra sleep.

If you do not see improvement in three days or it becomes much worse, you must see your doctor. You will probably be given antibiotics and steroid creams. That is okay. Use the cream sparingly and then once the infection is gone, come off of it again.

Urtica urens 6c – Typically used for hives, this remedy is excellent when there has been an immediate allergic reaction and the skin starts to swell into raised red blotches. This can very rapidly turn into a patch of eczema so try and calm down the reaction before that happens. This remedy is also very good for allergic responses to bee stings and shellfish.

Be patient

Success with eczema is a process and not immediate magic. Making positive changes with your diet, reducing stress and using the homoeopathic and herbal remedies will move you towards cure.

There is no single “best way” to follow, and everyone’s process is unique. Remember that in the beginning of treatment it can seem to get worse, especially if you have decided to come off of steroid creams. Keep at it and find your triggers. As you work at curing your eczema, the flare ups will come less often and you will have the means to control them faster.

 

  • Adapted from the book Understanding Eczema: How you can use natural remedies to relieve and heal eczema by Adrianna Helmam (Winter Press, £3.50). Adrianna’s book features numerous tips for dealing with eczema naturally and is available here.
  • You can view the Neal’s Yard Remedies range of homeopathic remedies here. For a complete selection of homoeopathic remedies visit also Helios Homoeopathy.