NOVEMBER 14, 2014 by APRIL McCARTHY
Eczema is a catch-all term for a variety of ailments that cause the inflammation and irritation of the skin. It now affects more than 20% of infants and about 5% of adults and children although those numbers appear to be increasing due to dietary triggers and environmental pollutants. The standard treatment for the medical community for eczema is corticosteroid creams which only suppress symptoms without addressing underlying causes. Chemical creams such as topical immunomodulators are also associated with cancer risks. Here are some effective natural remedies which can tackle even severe cases of skin inflammation.
Most doctors will tell you they don’t know the exact cause of eczema and they’re right because the exact causes are many (most of which they are not aware of). These include fragrances in consumer products, soaps, laundry detergent, dust, cosmetics, environmental pollutants and of course diet and processed foods.
The biggest reason to stay away from corticosteroids and immunosupressants is that they don’t resolve the problem. Patients also become addicted to them. The problem is, the moment patients stop using them, the eczema will flare right back up. Even worse is that many people will need to continually use stronger and stronger steroidal treatments on their eczema as time passes and their body develops a dependency for it.
The only way to effectively treat any skin condition is to allow your body to heal itself through the assistance of dietary strategies and natural health therapies which work with your immune system to stimulate healing.
12 Natural Remedies
1) BURDOCK ROOT
Burdock root is good for reducing inflammation and also destroys inulin which has been linked to eczema outbreaks. This herb root contains small quantities of many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin-E, and vitamin-C that is essential for optimum health. Both vitamin C and E are powerful natural antioxidants help the human body stave off infections. Furthermore, it also contains some valuable minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium; and small amounts of zinc, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus. You can make a tea from this which is easy to make and drink.
2) BENTONITE CLAY INFUSED WATER
Bentonite is made up of tiny little platelets, each with a negative and positive charge. As the clay travels, it expands like a sponge as it absorbs water as it works its way through our bodies. It soaks up as many positively charged toxins in its path as it can hold. It helps treat skin conditions by removing toxins, increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation and absorbing excess oil.
Significant improvements can be seen after using it twice a week on problem areas. Please note that some skin conditions may seem to get worse because after treatment with bentonite clay as the toxins rise to the surface. This is normal and will subside in a week or two depending on the severity of your condition. It works really well if you mix the clay with pure apple cider vinegar or an herb infused vinegar and leave on overnight.
3) FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL
Modern preparation of cod liver oil involves expressing the oil from the fatty tissues of cod fish while it is cooked. However, the cooking process and the subsequent refining will remove some of the bioactive components of cod liver oil. The traditional manufacture of cod liver oil, on the other hand, produces a more nutritious and medicinal oil. This process relies on fermentation rather than cooking to extract the oil from the tissues of cod fish.
Both EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties. By contributing to the reduction of inflammation in tissues, omega-3 fatty acids can relieve certain symptoms of eczema such as blistering and red, inflamed skin. Besides their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids are also incorporated into the skin cells. When the blood levels of omega-3 acids falls, the skin becomes dry, flaky and easily irritated. Studies have shown the omega-3 fatty acid deficiency increases the keratinization of skin cells.
Therefore, without these essential fatty acids, skin cells are increasingly destroyed and dead skin cells accumulate.
4) NEEM OIL
Neem oil, which comes from the neem tree, is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, anti-viral and anti-microbial. So it kills any bacteria and disease promoting microorganisms on the skin while reducing redness and swelling which causes itching. It’s also high in vitamin E and fatty acids, so it will hydrate your skin and can help restore its natural elasticity.
Neem contains extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants that help to protect the skin from environmental damage. It also contains carotenoids (similar to carotene) which provide high antioxidant compounds that help defend the skin against free radicals. Once absorbed, these powerful properties work to rejuvenate the skin’s cells and restore elasticity.
5) OLIVE LEAF
This plant is an excellent antiseptic which means it can help ward off infection and bacteria. And for those of you with eczema who tend to scratch that itch, if the skin breaks you become susceptible to infection. So, olive leaf can keep things clean and contained. As an antioxidant, it can break this chain of damage before it sets in and results in eczema.
Traditional remedies made from olive leaf are known for their antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties as well as their ability to stimulate the immune system.
The polyphenols of olive leaf extract are potent antioxidants. In fact, a liquid preparation made from fresh olive leaves was shown to have double the antioxidant capacity of green tea and 4 times the antioxidant capacity of vitamin C.
Olive leaf can help prevent damage to the gut caused by harmful free radicals. This ensures that foreign substances including pathogens and toxins that trigger inflammatory reactions never get into the bloodstream.
6) TRANSDERMAL MAGNESIUM
Transdermal magnesium is a powerful tool in the battle against magnesium deficiency and very effective against inflammatory conditions of the skin. Benefits reported by those who use transdermal applications of magnesium relate specifically to its therapeutic application on the skin and its direct absorption into the cells.
Though it is commonly prescribed as a treatment by holistic health practitioners, transdermal magnesium is applied easily and quickly in one’s own home, either by simply spraying directly on the skin, applying as a lotion or a gel, or even more effortlessly through the simple ritual of taking a bath.
7) GAMMA-LINOLENIC ACID (GLA)
This unusual fatty acid is found in evening primrose oil, black currant and hemp oils, but is very hard to come by in the diet. Beware of genetically modified safflower oils now promoting themselves as healthy due to their high GLA content. The human body produces GLA from linoleic acid (LA) which is found in many oils, butter and egg yolks. GLA at a dose of 500 mg twice per day for 8 weeks appears to have an excellent effect on skin, hair, and nails.
8) COCONUT OIL
Consume Virgin Coconut Oil, which contains Medium Chain Fatty Acids or medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Unlike trans fats, Virgin Coconut Oil provides good fats and nourishment to dry eczema skin. It also contains lauric acid, which makes up 50% of the fatty acids. Lauric acid has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Virgin coconut oil is very easy to apply with very little touching/rubbing. You should make sure to purchase coconut oil from sources which are organic and virgin, not refined, bleached or deodorized. Many people have found great success using coconut oil as a treatment to cure or heal their eczema or even their baby’s eczema without any medication.
9) FERMENTED FOODS AND PROBIOTICS
Fermented and probiotic foods such as kefir, miso soup, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, microalgae and many more all contain beneficial bacteria which defend against the illness and infection caused by harmful bacteria that thrive where beneficial colonies are lacking.
All these foods help prevent and treat eczema by replenishing lost or damaged beneficial bacteria, protecting the body from pathogenic bacterial infections, promoting the balance of alkalinity and acidity in the intestine and providing overall homeostasis and support to the immune system
Sea kelp, or seaweed, is a large brown algae found in ocean kelp forests. Kelp is used in many cultures both as medicine and food. For medicinal purposes, it can be found in both pill and capsule forms, as a concentrated liquid, and included in other products.
Sea kelp has a therapeutic effect on the skin and body, greatly enhancing the condition of skin. You can ingest it or apply a topical concentration of sea kelp directly to affected areas. Kelp can assist with the healing of skin cells, helping the eczema-affected skin cells rebuild and become healthier.
11) COLLOIDAL OATMEAL
Believe or not but in 2003, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that products claiming to relieve the irritation and itching of eczema had to contain colloidal oatmeal. For once the agency is acting in the best interests of the public.
When combined with a liquid, this special form of oatmeal acts like a colloid (hence its name). This means that when molecules (the tiny particles of the grain, in this case) spread through another medium (i.e., the bath water), they permanently change the consistency of that medium. The beauty of a colloidal oatmeal bath, therefore, is that the oatmeal particles don’t all sink to the bottom of the tub.
To produce colloidal oatmeal, the oats are very finely ground–pulverized, in fact. This enables the grain to readily absorb liquid. When the colloidal oatmeal is added to bath water, it almost instantly gives a slightly milky, almost slimy consistency to the water–which then coats the skin, moisturizing, softening and protecting it.
Colloidal oatmeal exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, antioxidant, and protective properties that make it a versatile cleanser, moisturizer, and buffer that soothes and protects damaged skin. These properties are a result of the vast chemical composition of oats: a high concentration in starches and beta-glucan creates a water-holding barrier on the skin; the variety of phenols makes it a strong ultraviolet absorber; the saponins act as cleansing agents; and the cellulose and fiber content of oat create emollient, or skin-softening, properties.
12) TOPICAL CREAMS AND SALVES
They should contain one or more of the following herbs to help relieve itching and burning, and promote healing. The best evidence is for chamomile (Matricaria recutita) creams. Chickweed (Stellaria media), marigold (Calendula officinalis), and licorice (Glycyrrhia glabra) may also help. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) cream can relieve itching. Liquid witch hazel can help with “weeping” or oozing eczema.
FOODS TO AVOID
Night shades- tomatoes, tobacco, eggplant, paprika, all peppers, goji berries and white potatoes. hard to eat out with this list :) night shades all contain toxins which overload our immune system.
All refined sugars (highly inflammatory):
No white or cane sugar, agave, or high fructose corn syrup. Stay away from all artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, saccharine, sorbitol and many more). Chewing gums and diet products contain all these poisons). If it says diet don’t buy it.
No shellfish, fried foods, yeast, alcohol, smoking, smoked foods, peanuts, and reduce stress.