Eczema - oh, the agony! I've suffered with this condition almost all of my life. I discovered the wisdom of Ayurveda many years ago and it has helped me tremendously with my eczema. Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that has been around for anywhere from 6,000 to 42,000 years. To many people, Ayurveda sounds strange and hippie-ish, but the advice is rather timeless and practical. In fact, the majority of the people who have posted on the eczema board have been using Ayurvedic remedies to clear their eczema, without even realizing it.
In ayurveda, the root of eczema is believed to be in the colon. I'm sure that most of you who are reading this are not surprised by this, because like me, you probably also have a known digestive disorder, weight problems, or slow/sluggish/incomplete digestion. It's not a surprise to me, reading through the posts on this site, that a lot of peoples' eczema responds positively to "cleansing" fasts. It is believed that when the body cannot handle digestion, toxins get released into the bloodstream, and these toxins are then eliminated through the skin, causing a variety of skin problems such as acne or eczema.
However, I see that some of the trouble that people are having is that they are not always using the correct remedies for their eczema "type". For example, one woman's son who has a kind of "vata" eczema (dry, scratchy, aggravated by cold and wind) was applying coconut oil (a cooling oil used to treat "pitta"/hot eczema) to it and not surprisingly, his condition was aggravated. But those who seem to suffer from "pitta"/hot eczema seem to have much success with coconut oil. I compiled this information for you in hopes that you will be able to correctly diagnose your eczema and use the correct Ayurvedic method for your eczema "type".
I have "pitta"/hot type eczema and can only give advice from my personal experience for people who suffer from that kind of eczema.
Ayurvedic approach to healing and treating eczema -
What is my Ayurvedic "type" of eczema? (Vicharchika)
Vata (cold, dry) type: The skin tends to be rough, dry, hard, itchy and scaly. There may be associated constipation, wind and distension, anxiety and insomnia. The skin is aggravated by cold, wind, dryness and stress and relieved by the application of oils, especially sesame.
Pitta (hot, burning) type: The skin is hot and inflamed; it is aggravated by heat and heating foods, exposure to the sun (heat rash) and application of most oils, reflecting a state of heat and toxicity in the body. There tends to be burning, redness, oozing, swelling and infection which can be associated with fever, irritability and feeling of heat. Pitta type eczema responds well to cooling oils, such as coconut oil.
Kapha (cold, moist) type: Kapha skin problems are often accompanied by mucous congestion, lethargy and sluggish metabolism. The skin tends to be cold, clammy, sticky, oozing, swollen and itchy, with a pale complexion. It is aggravated by cold, damp, application of oils and eating dairy products and sugar.
Eczema is more common with a Pitta imbalance as Pitta can overheat the blood (Rakta dhatu) and predispose to toxic conditions which are expressed through the skin. Factors causing such skin problems include poor digestion (low agni), toxins in the bowel (ama), incorrect diet, over use of sour, salty, or pungent tastes, heavy, sweet or oily foods, as well as over-use of cosmetics, perfumes, synthetic creams, etc.
OK, now I know my Ayurvedic eczema type. How do I treat it?
Vata type eczema: Follow a Vata reducing diet and lifestyle with sesame oil massage and castor oil laxative or enemas. Pungent, bitter and astringent tasting foods should be reduced, while sweet, sour and salty tastes are recommended. Nourishing and cleansing herbs for internal use include Triphala, Guggul, Shatavari, Bala, and Cardamom. Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Cardamom and Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa). Triphala powder mixed in warm water, or Triphala guggul capsules, can be given before bed.
Medicated ghee (Indian clarified butter, can be found in ethnic food stores) can be used internally and externally. Useful herbs for medicating the ghee include Triphala, Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Manjishta, Gokshura, Chitrak, Neem, Guduchi, Cardamom, Punarnava, and Vacha (Acorus calamus) root.
Pitta type eczema: Follow an anti-Pitta diet, avoiding possible allergens such as dairy produce, vegetables from the nightshade family, as well as oranges, peaches and strawberries. Sour, salty and hot spicy foods are best avoided, while sweet, bitter and astringent foods are recommended. Drinking coconut juice/water (or taking up to 1 tbsp coconut oil internally per day) is helpful, along with coriander leaf juice. Exposure to sun and heat is best avoided.
Recommended herbs for internal use include bitter cleansing herbs such as burdock root (Arcium lappa), Neem, Guduchi, Manjishta, and laxative herbs such as Dandelion root (Taraxacum off. ) and Triphala can be helpful. Also recommended are Gotu kola, Sandalwood, Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Musta, Chirata (Swertia chiretta), Aloe Vera juice, and Amalaki.
Helpful therapies for external application include cooling and soothing rose water, coconut oil, Aloe Vera gel, coriander leaf juice, Gotu kola oil, and Bringaraj oil. Sandalwood in oils, creams, or the powder made into a paste, has a cooling anti-inflammatory effect. I use a cream that contains Sandalwood, Neem and Turmeric which is effective. Baths with herbs of Musta, Bakuchi (Psoralea corylifolia) and Triphala can be useful.
**My regimen for Pitta-type eczema**: If you have pitta-type (hot) eczema, the goal here is to cool down your body, improve your digestion and remove toxins from your blood. I recommend (and use) the pitta-reducing Blood Cleanse by Banyan Botanicals, which has manjista, neem, turmeric, guduchi, and burdock. I use in conjunction with Ayurcetics Triphala, 1 tablet right before bed helps elimination and cools and purifies the blood. When I have an eczema flareup, I apply Nutiva Coconut Oil (my favorite coconut oil on the market) to the inflamed areas, and I usually see a clearing up of my eczema within 30 minutes of application. I take 1 tbsp of coconut oil internally everyday, which helps prevent my eczema from recurring. I try to sleep in a cool room, and sometimes I will leave my hair wet, apply coconut oil or brahmi/amla oil to my hair and scalp (I use either the Nutiva oil or the Brami/Amla oil by Vadik herbs), wrap it in a towel, and sleep like that with my hair cold and damp. It keeps my head and body cool all through the night (no heat = no eczema flare up! ). I try to keep as little covers on me as possible as not to get overheated. I also drink aloe vera juice and coconut water, you can find both in Whole Foods or in Asian grocery stores. I prefer the sweetened kind of aloe vera juice (the big green bottles with chunks of aloe vera floating in it), because the non-sweetened kind tastes pretty nasty!! I also try to engage in cooling/calming activities such as yoga and meditation, and try to avoid aggravating "hot" emotions such as anger, resentment, or stress.
Kapha type eczema: A Kapha reducing diet and lifestyle is recommended by avoiding all heavy, greasy and oily food, particularly cheese and yogurt. Sweet, sour and salty tasting foods should be reduced, while pungent, bitter and astringent foods are recommended.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Sunrise, Fl, Usa
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I have severe eczema on my calves, lower legs, a little on my thighs. probably due to stress and who knows what else. acupuncture helps. (i've had eczema in the past but never this bad). one thing i've learned helps speed healing and brings great relief: rubbing baking soda on affected areas in the shower, letting it sit for a minute, then rinsing off. also a cold rinse in the shower at the end helps.
i cant put any oils on, no help. WITCH HAZEL helps curtail itching when it starts, so I periodically throughout the day slap on some witch hazel. good luck everyone, I know it's frustrating! :)
I took a lotion bottle with a pump dispenser and emptied the contents. Rinsed out the bottle and used a funnel to put in some baking soda. I added regular tap water and it looks like milk. When the eczema on my face first broke out I used this twice a day on my face. It burns at first, but it really dries it up. After 2 days my face looked so much better that I wasn't ashamed to go out anywhere. By the 4th day it was completely gone! I also used Hydrogen Peroxide after washing my face in the baking soda. Just used a cotton ball to apply the HP. It burned too, but not so much that it couldn't be handled. I am still washing my face in the baking soda but only once a day now and it doesn't burn since I have no break out of the eczema. It has also dried up all my pimples. Why I didn't do this before I'll never know. This site has been a life saver, with lots of wonderful, natural cures to life's ailments. Thanks a million!
I have chonic eczema and use lots of cortisone cream that helps controll it. My skin was in very bad shape this spring, especially the neck. I tried sodium bicabornate (half a cup in the bath) and after two days,the improvement was spectacular. No more itching at night, my skin is soft, the eczema is gone almost completely. I don't think this is a cure, but it certainly helped me a lot. Good luck to all!
Baking Soda on my face cured scaliness and little bumps as well as the itchiness. I just thought it was age so I started using baking soda to gently exfoliate my face every other day. It improved my skin dramatically! I found your site researching why my scalp, arms, torso and legs are so freaking itchy and believe they are all related. As I am highly allergic to most shampoos, I will be trying tea tree oil in some very gentle (baby) shampoo free of colorants, fragrances, cones and parabens on my scalp and baking soda in my body wash followed by bit of tea tree oil in my moisturizer for the rest of my poor itchy skin. (Ironically, my diet and nutrition is already spot on to your advice). I thought about using the baking soda on my scalp but I think it would be a hassle both getting it down to my scalp as well as rinsing it back off (I have very thick hair). If I could ever remember to do the ACV rinse, I am sure things would be better still. I have done this in the past and it leaves my hair very, very soft but seriously hate the smell.
Brewers yeast flakes and a table spoon of safflower oil. ingested 2x a day. After 3 days the oozing eczema went away. It was like a miracle. The eczema was real bad. I Was under a lot of stress also. The stress continued but the eczema did not.
I bought the brewer's yeast flakes at a health food store and I sprinkled them on the food I ate at meals. Sorry I can't say how much flakes were used at each meal, they covered the food. Oh, I also took a very good multi vitamin mineral cap with each meal. ( 50 milligram strength of each vitamin except folic acid). The vitamins had a calming effect on me.
Just a note to say that I've been suffering from eczema (on the forehead) for many years. I've tried just about everything, always with some success, but never quite curing it. It seldom flairs up , but still, it does sometimes. Anyway, this is the one thing I can say has had a REAL impact on my condition : beer yeast. I eat it on toast in the morning, and on salads and in soups. When I eat some everyday, my condition gets better, systematically. It is not a cure, but it alleviates every single symptom. It makes my life better.
Thought I would share this.
I have had Eczema all my life been to many doctors and have used all kinds of medicine. Nothing ever really helped. I had one ultra violet treatment and it lasted for years. I had that done in AZ. That was about 26 yrs. ago and low and behold about 6 yrs. ago it came back! I was so sad... At first it was just a little on one finger. It came on this spring with a vengeance and I still have it. I get little bumps that itch. When they are rubbed they weep, then peel. When it is bad it cracks. The skin is very dry and draws making the cracking worse and a lot of pain.
I went to the garden several days ago and pulled a batch of BEETS. I cooked them yesterday and when they were done I skinned them the juice was all over my hands. IT FELT GOOD! Overnight the swelling is down and almost healed. I CAN"T BELIEVE it? I peeled potatoes for dinner just a bit ago and the potato juice got on me and started to itch and burn. So! I rubbed a plain cooked beet on my finger. Guess what! Instant relief. Have you ever heard of this before? It isn't totally gone but I sure feel better. The little sores are died a pretty red, but that's okay by me. What is in a beet that has this effect? Would love to know.
Hello, I have three boys (6, 5, and 4 )and all of them suffer from eczema. The oldest one has already outgrown it, the middle one does much better, and the little one is still not good. This is my second post here, the first one you can probably find back a few years ago when I found an aurvedic cream Turmeric from India, that cured my oldest son like a miracle when he was about 2 years old. You can the cream in any Indian store or I buy it online now... We still use this cream a lot for any wounds, cuts... Surprisinly, it didn't help my second and third boys... Long story short, I have been trying everything under the moon to get relieve for the kids. Those parents whose children suffer from eczema, know how painful it is to see your children suffer.... This summer I've been taking boys to the city swimming pool and I noticed that the skin of my youngest boys is so silky and healthy , like a newborn baby. I shared my thoughts with my husband, saying that chlorine cured Michael's skin and my husband only laughed at me. We spent so much money buying an expensive water filter for the whole house(reverse osmosis)... Knowing how bad chlorine is.... I had nothing to say to him.... But I felt that chlorine helped and when we stopped going for the classes, in a few weeks skin got worse... Then we had a consultation with a dermatologyst in Mayo clinic Gainsville. (it is another story and I 'll skip it) , but the doctor noticed that my son's skin is dry... " I'll tell you what to do, You need to wash him in a house bleach 1/4 to 1/2 cup to a tub of water twice-three times a week" I was shocked, so it was not only my feelings! I came home and did search on household bleach and eczema. there is science behind it! you may look thru this article, or you may search many more : http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/news/20090427/bleach-baths-may-help-kids-with-ezcema
Reading these articles you'll see the how chlorine helps to cure the skin. And I really want to hear positive results from you!
I had a terrible itchy rash on my arm for months. I tried countless things but nothing helped. I read about Borage Seed Oil on this website. I got some and took 3 capsules a day. In two weeks my rash was gone. (Improvement happened pretty quickly. ) I ran out last week and my rash started to come back. I got another bottle of Borage Seed Oil today! I have never been diagnosed with eczema, but that seems the most likely based on symptoms.
Ailments: Fibroid, eczema and Meningioma (brain tumor)
Remedy: Blackstrap Molasses and Borax Cures
Do they work? Maybe
I have had eczema occassionally for years. I'm not sure of the cause. My dermatologist used to prescribe elocon cream; however, this is no longer on the rx formulary for my health plan and too expensive to purchase without insurance. I began putting 1/4 teaspoon of borax (laundry soap) in 1 liter of water and drinking this while at work. I'm not a water drinker so I rarely finish the whole bottle and don't do it consistently (4 days on and 3 days off) as Ted recommended. Despite this, the eczema seems to be improving substantially. It is no longer itchy and seems to be fading away after about 6 weeks.
I was diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors in January 2003 and have been avoiding surgery. In 2006, a reproductive endocrinologist advised me that the fibroids had expanded my uterus to the size of someone who was 6 months pregnant. He scheduled me for a myeomectomy (abdominal versus vaginal) which I later cancelled. I wasn't comfortable with the doctor nor did I want to spend 2 months recovering. In 2007, I was also diagnosed with a meningioma on my right optic nerve close to where it intersects with the left optic nerve. Because of the location surgery wasn't possible so I did the recommended 6 weeks of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. This apparently has stopped the tumor growth but triggered a whole host of other problems (loss of taste sensation, more eczema, hair loss, exhaustion, black spots on my tongue, etc., etc) which is what led me to the earthclinic.com website.
Thanks to Ted and the other contributors to this site, I have found out that my body is acidic (5.9ph) which might explain why I had such a bad reaction to the radiation. In the meantime, I have been trying a few of the remedies with enough success to make me realize that modern medicine isn't always best for every health condition.
I have been taking Blackstrap Molasses since I first stumbled on the website about 5 months ago along with ACV and Baking Soda. I'm not very good at taking them daily since I forget, I have increased my intake of vitamins and supplements. I take a multi-vitamin (after breakfast of instant oatmeal) every workday with the ACV/BS in glass of water(before eating). My GYN prescribed Ponstal to contol the unbelievable bleading during my periods which come about every 21-24 days from the onset of one. I'm still in the phase where I only have about 5 days a month with no bleeding or discharge but I think this is improving. I went through some sort of healing crisis last November and thought I might have to be rushed to the hospital due to the uncontrollable bleeding but since then it has improved. The Ponstal must be taken with food every 6 hours so I generally do that for the first 4 days of every period. In addition, I take about 1-2 tablespoons of BSM in the morning before work and 1 after dinner at night while I'm taking the Ponstal. I seems to be reducing the bleeding and shortening my heavy flow days from 7 to about 4. It is difficult for me to say for sure that the BSM is the reason for my improvement since I'm doing a lot of cures at once. I'm also taking a garlic tincture that someone made for me which is supposed to help dissolve the fibroids (this is garlic cloves with vodka which sits refrigerated for 2-3 weeks, drained and then taken orally with a dropper). I also don't take that consistently either. You are supposed to take 25 drops 3 times a day (after the 1st month where the # of drops vary). I generally only take it in the morning and occassionally at night. To avoid smelling like garlic all day, I brush my teeth with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and floride-free toothpaste, then drink water with a teaspoon of chlorophyl. I ususally do this every morning before work but have reached the point where it seems to give me gas later on during the day so I'm currently taking a break from the garlic tincture (2 weeks so far) until my stomach can handle it again.
I would really like to know what Ted thinks of my remedy experiments to see if they should be modified in any way. If any of your readers have suggestions, I would appreciate those as well.
Please try a homeopathic cream using calendula. It seems to have healed the ezcema on my lips, eyelids and cheeks. I was recommended to take a liver support natural supplement; the one I'm taking has milk thistle.
Best of luck.
i have suffered from eczema for more than 5 years. I had chinese medicine (herbal tea of a kind) and my skin healed completely for about 4 months. Then winter came and my eczema got really bad. First it was the front of my neck then it spread all the way around. I tried using olive oil to moisturise the skin and it didnt really work. Then, a family friend whose son also suffered from eczema, recommended castor oil. I went and bought some from the chemist and applied it to my neck.
the next day I applied it to my neck when I woke up and when it dried up. I had to sleep with a towel on my pillow otherwise my pillow would soak up the oil. it worked within 2 days. my skin got softer (when my eczema was bad it would be hard), more moist, and it healed, but not completely.
the biggest setback was when I would scratch in my sleep without knowing and find blood on my pjs and hands. I found that the dead skin on my bed probably didnt help so I moved to sleep on the floor. this helped alot.
hoped this helped
I used the castor oil on some eczema and skin got very tender and swollen. It happened twice. I don't know if it was the particular brand I got off of Ebay or if castor oil is not good for eczema.
I have been having my child soak in the ocean this summer and her eczema was improving, but we were still giving her hydroxyzine every night for the itching (it's like benadryl). Anyway, I picked some cattails and rubbed the gel that's found by peeling the base of the stalk onto her worst patch and it was COMPLETELY healed the next day- no sign of eczema at all and she slept through the night w/ no itching for the first time in her life! I am going to pick some more cattails and do the other areas.
The other thing I found, after the cattails, was this post on Earthclinic.com in the coconut oil section:
My grandmother Guffys skin was as soft and smooth as a babys butt till the day she died at 94. One day, when I was a younger woman constantly on the go, she noticed how dry and ashy my skin was and elected to tell me about her method of bathing. It was the only thing she said she did to keep her body clean and soft. First, she never took long baths (and NO, she did not smell). She said bathing dried out skin. Second, she never used hot water on her skin. Third, she never needed lotions. I listened; yet, despite the evidence before me, I did not take her advise. Hot showers were invigorating, I exclaimed. Who ever heard of not bathing, I secretly thought. Why do not the young listen! For years now I have suffered with extremely dry and itchy skin. FINALLY! I recalled my grandmother Guffys bathing method for clean, itch-less, soft, ageless skin. Here it is:
1) Massage 2-3 tablespoons of (antibacterial, anti-fungal) coconut oil over your entire dry, naked body, but not your face. Be sure to include your private areas and feet - get utterly greasy with it! Let it soak 5 minutes
2) Take a clean, white, DRY bath cloth, folded in fours and scrub your entire body. When one side of the cloth gets cruddy, refold to a clean side of the same cloth. Don't forget private areas
3) Shower/rinse in very lukewarm to cold water and ONLY wash your private areas with diluted baking soda and water or an organic non-soap or as I sometimes do, diluted ACV Get out of the shower and barely pat dry.