Reprinted from Nature's Field Vol. 6 No. 3
by Judy Cobb
Eczema, the rash that itches, has several names. The most common ones are atopic dermatitis and neurodermatitis. It can be present anywhere on the body.
There are several types of dermatitis, including:
- Contact dermatitis, a rash that results from either repeated contact with irritants or contact with allergy-producing substances, such as poison ivy.
- Neurodermatitis, a chronic itchy skin condition localized to certain areas of the skin.
- Seborrheic dermatitis, a common scalp and facial condition that often causes dandruff.
- Stasis dermatitis, a skin condition that's caused by a buildup of fluid under the skin of the legs.
- Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as just eczema or atopic eczema, a chronic itchy rash that tends to come and go.
- Perioral dermatitis, a bumpy rash around the mouth.
Many sources indicate that eczema has a base cause of stressed adrenals. Symptoms of eczema are itching, rash, and oozing skin often giving way to scabs and and even infection. Other symptoms that are actually caused by weak adrenals but usually accompany eczema include craving sugar and/or salt, irritability, insomnia, and fatigue. This all too often comes about because off genetic tendency, stress, inappropriate nutrition experienced by the mother during the victim's gestation, stress at delivery or premature birth, multiple illnesses in the past, recent physical or emotional trauma, overwhelming allergic load. Lendon Smith, Feed Yourself Right.
Another symptom of eczema is called - Dennie's sign. - This is the presence of special lines (present at birth) under the lower eyelids.
Other general symptoms are pale skin and very wrinkled palms.
Eczema is also recognized as allergic reaction. Tired or weak adrenals play a major role in allergies. Doctors often prescribe cortisone cream and / or antihistamines. Cortizone is a synthetic version of the natural cortisol created by the adrenals. This hormone helps one to cope with stress and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Antihistamines are normally created by the liver, but often in allergic situations the liver is not performing up to snuff, either.
Because of this, many people find relief by limiting their contact with their own individual allergens. Common allergens include milk, wheat, egg, citrus, and tomato. Some women can develop eczema from taking the pill.
Eczema can also be caused by too little linoleic acid (caused by not enough or poor absorption of essential fatty acids), oral antibiotics (which kill bacteria that produce biotin in the gut), low niacin levels, B2 deficiency, and/or low magnesium. Adelle Davis, in Let's Get Well shares this study. Despite the need for improved nutrition, I found one study of a mere 32 allergic children in which an attempt was made to give an adequate diet. These youngsters, who suffered from bronchial asthma and allergic eczema, were given generous amounts of protein, no refined carbohydrates, adequate essential fatty acids, and a daily supplement of 600 milligrams of vitamin C, 32 milligrams of vitamin E, 20,000 and 800 units respectively of vitamins A and D, and moderate amounts of the B vitamins. Most of these children recovered in a single month and all within two months.
Eczema does not necessarily have to stay as eczema over the years. About 50% of all victims outgrow eczema and develop hayfever instead. In other words, the problem causing the eczema has not really been remedied and has moved in the body to be manifest in another way.
Suggested nutrients for an adult with eczema include:
Calcium (1000 mg. per day)
Magnesium (500 mg. per day)
B complex (20 mg. per day, including B6, pantothenic acid, PABA, and biotin [Nutri-Calm]
Vitamin C (5 grams per day)
Vitamin A and zinc for skin elasticity
Essential fatty acids [ Black Currant Oil or Evening Primrose Oil ].
Herbs can help. With the liver involvement in this condition it can be deduced that yellow dock, burdock, dandelion and other liver oriented herbs, including liver formulas, may be useful. For adrenal support, such herbs as licorice, hawthorn, bee pollen, along with energy, memory, and blood sugar balancing formulas could be used (Adrenal Support). Blood purifying herbs and formulas may be helpful. The hair, skin, and nail formulas would be beneficial in speeding healing.
The essential fatty acid oils can be taken internally and /or massaged into the skin with good results. Special herbal salves can be used topically. Golden Salve is just one that is available.
Aloe vera gel tends to work on many of the problems at one time. Topically it can sooth irritated skin and speed healing.
Taken as juice it can help to build digestion, provide some of the building blocks necessary to produce healthy skin, and aid elimination.
Some sources recommend that a diet loaded with sulphur, copper, bioflavonoids, and biotin rich foods may be helpful.
Sulphur rich foods include garlic, onion, radishes, turnip, horseradish, kale, watercress, cabbage, cranberries, red raspberry, logan berry, peach, apple, cherry, cucumber, grape, potato, and blackberry.
Copper is abundant in leeks, garlic, parsley, beet root, almond, beans, peas, whole grains, prunes, raisins, and pomegranates. Strawberries, prunes, buckwheat, apricots, blackberries, cherries, and rosehips are good sources of bioflavonoids.
Biotin is available in nuts, brewers yeast, egg yolk, and unpolished rice.
Other non-nutritive helps include showering in tepid water with little or no soap. Wearing soft cotton clothes may also be helpful. Synthetics often promote perspiration which aggravates eczema. Avoid overheating as this leads to perspiration which leads to itching. Keep fingernails short and clean to help prevent the possibility of infection from scratching the eczema sores. A warm, dry, sunny climate is also helpful.
Eczema is often worsened by viral infections, and for this reason it is especially important that people with active cases of eczema avoid contact with people with cold sores. Contact with people who have recently had smallpox vaccinations should also be avoided. (Included in this is the understanding that the person with eczema should avoid smallpox vaccination also.) The results of exposure include not only worsening of eczema, but also fever and serious illness.
Other critical factors in correcting this problem include keeping the blood and bowel clean, improving digestion, strengthening the liver and reversing allergies. While eczema is unsightly and has been known to ruin self esteem, it can be worked with and corrected given enough time and dedication.
Davis, Adelle, Let's Get Well.
Boston Women's Health Collective, The New Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Rapp, Doris, Allergies and Your Family.
Mindel, Earl, Vitamin Bible.
Smith, Lendon, Baby and Child Care Encyclopedia.
Smith, Lendon, Feed Yourself Right.
This information is for educational purposes only. Consult with a qualified health practictioner for all serious or persistant illness.
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