By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
Eczema is a very common skin condition that usually involves a rash, itching, redness and flaking of the skin. Acute inflammation of the skin is known as dermatitis, and usually occurs when the body comes in contact with an irritating substance (such as poison ivy). Eczema is a chronic form of dermatitis, or in other words, a chronic inflammation of the skin.
All inflammatory diseases happen when damaged cells release histamine and bradykinin into surrounding fluids. This causes capillary pores to dilate allowing fluid and protein to enter the tissue spaces. Tissues become red, swollen, hot and painful. In both eczema and dermatitis, the skin becomes irritated, resulting in red and itchy skin.
In eczema, the skin is repeatedly irritated and inflamed which causes the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) to thicken as skin cells multiply rapidly. This creates a scaly effect on the surface of the skin. Oil glands become obstructed and the skin becomes dry.The scaly skin inhibits elimination through the skin, causing toxins to become trapped under the skin. This causes itching, which leads the person to scratch. Scratching breaks the upper dermis layer so the skin develops a broken and cracked appearance.
Eczema is caused by the body being hypersensitive to certain irritants, so it is closely related to allergic asthma, hayfever and food allergies. These conditions are actually caused by a healthy immune system that is overburdened with toxins. Simply put, the body is being overwhelmed by more irritants than it can effectively handle.
This may explain why children are extremely prone to eczema. Almost thirty percent of all newborn babies may develop this condition, which affects about one in eight young
children. It often occurs on the scalp or the cheeks, but can
spread over other parts of the body, making children itchy
and miserable. Although 75% will "outgrow" this condition by their mid-teens, we wonder if this isn't occurring
just because their immune system's become too depressed to
manifest it. Adults who had eczema as children will remain
prone to dry skin in later years and to occasional flare-ups
of skin inflammation.
Diet can be very important. A good place to start is to
avoid foods that are incompatible with your blood type.
Some of the common allergenic foods that may contribute to skin irritation include wheat, dairy, corn, orange juice, coffee, black tea, soda pop and sugar.
Eczema is often treated medically with corticosteroid
drugs that mimic the anti-inflammatory action of the adrenal hormone cortisol. People with eczema often suffer from
adrenal exhaustion (with a corresponding deficiency in the
production of cortisol). This helps explain why the excessive
inflammation is present and why eczema can flare up under
stress. Stress depletes the adrenals.
So, along with learning good stress management techniques, herbs that support adrenal function and have cortisol-like action may be helpful. Both licorice root and yucca have this effect. Licorice, however, should be avoided with weeping eczema. Other adrenal enhancing remedies such as Adrenal Support and Energ-V may also be of benefit. HistaBlock can also help because it blocks the reactions that cause the inflammation.
Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
Therapies: Aromatherapy, Drawing Bath, Eliminate Allergy
Causing Foods, Emotional Healing Work and Fast or
Herbs: Aloe Vera, Black Walnut, Burdock, Chickweed, Dandelion, Echinacea Purpurea, Gotu Kola, Kelp, Licorice Root, Nature's Gold, Pau d'Arco, Red Clover and Yucca
Herbal Formulas: BP-X, Energ-V, Enviro-Detox, Herbal CA, Herbal Trace Minerals, HSN Complex, HSN-W, I-X, IF Relief, Liver Balance, Skin Detox and Ultimate Echinacea.
Nutrients: Black Currant Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Omega-3, Pantothenic Acid, Sunshine Heroes Omega 3 with DHA, Sunshine Heroes Probiotic Power, Super GLA, Trace Minerals, Vitamin A & D and Zinc
Nutraceuticals: Adrenal Support, Hi Lipase, HistaBlock and Thyroid Support
Nutritional Supplements: Nutri-Calm and Vitamin B-Complex
Essentiak Oils:Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Helichrysum, Jasmine Absolute, Lemon, Myrrh, Rose Bulgaria, Sandalwood and Thyme
Topicals: Nature's Fresh Enzyme Spray