For the past ten years I have had an itch on both forearms and more recently also on my upper arms.
Before I understood the benefits of alternative medicine, I went to an Allopathic (Conventional) Dermatologist, who told me I had Eczema. I questioned that, because I had none of the classical symptoms of Eczema. But, he insisted it was possible to have Eczema with none of the symptoms. I still question his diagnosis. He prescribed hydrocortisone cream, which did help until I stopped using it.
As a conventionally trained RN I knew the dangers of long term cortisone use, so stopped using the cream and the itching came back with a vengeance. Not wanting to use the cortisone cream, I continued to suffer, while occasionally using ice packs when the itching became unbearable.
Then, about three years ago, I was talking to a Chiropractor and mentioned my itching problem. She said she had always heard that itching on the arms were related to liver issues - more specifically a sluggish liver, most likely due to all of the chemicals in our environment. When our bodies are exposed to all those chemicals, they eventually end up in our blood, and get filtered out through our liver, which eventually gets clogged, and then doesn't function properly.
I think it is important to note that I have MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). I believe I have had symptoms for the past 18 years, but only learned about MCS in 2007, from an acquaintance. At the time she told me about her MCS I thought, how awful for her!
Then one day, I went into a clothing store and got really sick with very familiar symptoms: profuse sweating, heart palpitations, light headedness, headache and weakness. I finally left the store without buying anything. Then, as I sat in my car, waiting for the symptoms to pass enough, so I could drive home, I remembered a story I had once read. It was a magazine article that talked about how some women couldn't go into fabric stores, because the finishes on the fabrics, which make them look nice, were chemicals that these women couldn't tolerate.
As I sat in my car, I had an "AH-HA! " moment! The finishes on fabrics in fabric stores were the same chemicals they put on ready to wear clothing in stores! After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I HAVE MCS!
After much research, I gradually removed all chemicals from my environment - including personal care products (hair products, bath gel, lotions, makeup, toothpaste, PERFUME! And scents of all types), air fresheners (one of the most toxic chemicals! ), cleaning products (dish soap, laundry products, window cleaner, oven cleaner, floor cleaner, etc.), gardening products, home improvement products and the most difficult one FOOD! The list is too long to give here, but an online search should help you begin to eliminate chemicals from your life. One of the biggest hurdles, with MCS, is getting family and friends to understand the importance of eliminating chemicals for both you and themselves.
After learning that the liver was the culprit, of my itching, I started doing research about the liver not functioning, due to chemical overload, and found that, indeed, this could cause the profound itching of my forearms all these years! The result of my research, was that there are herbs that help the liver to function more efficiently.
Among the most effective and well known herbs, that improve liver function are: Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, Parsley, Black Radish Root, and Burdock Root. There are also some supplements that aid in liver function: NAC (N-Acetyl-L Cysteine), ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid), and TMG (trimethylglycine). I checked my favorite online supplement company, and found that they had a combination product called Liver Essentials. If you do a web search for - Liver Essentials SWC017 - you should be able to find this product. I found that by taking twice the recommended dose, twice daily, my arms gradually began to itch less. As with almost all alternative remedies, it takes time to see a result. It has been a while, but I think after about 30-60 days, I was seeing a big improvement.
For the most part, taking Liver Essentials has made a huge improvement in my itchy arms. But, I found that there were times, that it was almost impossible to eliminate chemicals, from my life, and the itching would return.
After a while, I went looking for other solutions to my itching. I think it may have been on EarthClinic, that I saw someone mention that Peppermint Essential Oil (EO) helped their itching. I don't remember if they said how to use it, but I have experience using EOs and know that it is not wise to use EOs "neat" or full strength. So I got some of a "natural/Unscented, paraben free lotion, that I had in the house and put some Peppermint EO in it, until it had a pretty strong scent - maybe 15 drops in 2 ounces Of lotion. I found that if I put a small amount of this peppermint cream on my arms before I start scratching, and rub it in fully, it does help manage the itch. If I start scratching first, it takes a lot more effort to get the itch under control. Sometimes it takes 2-3 applications to get it under control.
I recently had to have repeated foot surgery over several months, and the anesthesia and antibiotic drugs given, brought the itching back with a vengeance! Nothing helped, short of sitting with ice packs on my arms all day.
Then, one day, I was looking at Homeopathic Remedies, in the health food store, and found Boiron SULPHUR - for "Skin Rash Worsened by Heat and Water". I was at my wit's end with the itching on my arms (which by now had moved to my upper arms as well), so I decided to try it. Imagine my surprise, when five minutes after taking it, the itching was gone! With Homeopathic Remedies, it is generally necessary to take frequent dosing in the beginning and then gradually decrease frequency. So, I started taking it once per hour for the first day, then as needed, for itching the next day, and now I take it 2-3 times daily, as I still have occasional itching. If the itching stops all together, I decrease the frequency and will eventually stop taking the Homeopathic Sulphur. It is not necessary to take Homeopathic Remedies to prevent a condition. So, once the symptoms are gone, it should not be taken anymore.