Treating Eczema with Chinese Medicine

Eczema is an autoimmune condition that affects 15 million Americans. It’s a general term for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed, red, dry, and itchy. It can affect people of all ages, but it most often affects very young children. Nearly half of them outgrow it or have significant improvement as they get older. It is also most common in people who have a personal or family history of asthma and allergies.

Conventional treatments include external creams, pharmaceutical drugs, or injectable medications such as antihistamines, corticosteroids, or in severe cases immunosuppressants, which turn down an overactive immune system when skin conditions result from an autoimmune condition.

In Chinese medicine, the proper function and nourishment of the skin is derived from healthy respiratory, digestive, and immune systems. When any one of these systems is out of balance, the skin manifests signs and symptoms. Poor diet, weak immunity, erratic lifestyle, stress, genetic makeup, and environmental factors all play a part in causing skin conditions.

How does Chinese medicine treat autoimmune conditions such as eczema? Acupuncture has been found to modulate immune function within the human body. If an immune system has been hyperactive, as in the case of autoimmunity, acupuncture will down-regulate it to normal. But if the immunity is low, as in a weakened or suppressed immune system, it will up-regulate it to normal.

Certain herbs help to nourish and moisten skin that is dry, flaky, and itchy in conditions like eczema. Chinese herbs for this condition can be ingested orally as a tea or pills, applied as an external ointment, or used as an external wash.

It is essential to stay away from foods that cause inflammation. In general, for all skin conditions you should stay away from dairy, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, eggplant, bell pepper, processed foods, tomatoes, and deep-fried greasy foods.

Through my own personal experience, I have seen the power of Chinese medicine and how it has helped several of my patients either reduce their eczema symptoms or completely cure the condition. One of my youngest patients with eczema was only two years old. After seeing him for a period of time his symptoms were significantly reduced. It was so rewarding to hear his mother say that now that the eczema was almost gone he was a much happier child.