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Treating Eczema PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 September 2010 20:19

Question:I have had eczema off and on for many years, causing me considerable discomfort, even pain. Conventional doctors seem to have nothing to offer me except steroid creams. Is there a natural solution to eczema?

Answer: Eczema, Latin for skin rash, is a common and vexing skin disorder that severely disrupts the lives of many people of all ages. The incidence of eczema has been increasing over the past forty years; in fact, it is now considered the most common chronic disease in the pediatric population in the western world. According to western medicine, the pathophysiology—that is, the cause—of eczema is unknown, although the current theories put eczema in the category of auto-immune diseases in this case an auto-immune disease of the skin. (For reference other auto-immune diseases include Hashimoto’s which is an auto-immune disorder of the thyroid gland, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an auto-immune disease of the joints.)

Food allergies have long been suspected to play a role in eczema, although studies of the role of food allergies have shown conflicting results over the years. There is also the question of whether all eczema or skin rashes have the same cause, in that sometimes the skin will be wet and weeping, whereas in other cases the skin is overly dry and cracked. It is unclear whether these are actually the same disease or whether they should be thought of and treated as entirely different illnesses. There is also the question of whether the location of the skin disorder relates to the origin of the illness. Children typically have eczema in the crooks of their elbows, and behind their knees and ears, whereas in the teen years and twenties the eruptions are frequently on the hands and feet, and in older age the eruptions often occur on the legs and arms. All these things are unexplained in conventional medicine and in fact complicate this very difficult situation.

In trying to understand eczema on a deeper level, the first issue to address, as with all allergic and auto-immune diseases, is the fact that the antibodies that cause auto-immune reactions are made against foreign proteins that have found their way into the bloodstream. Whether we are talking about foreign food antigens (food allergies), or auto-immune reactions, the issue is not so much stopping the toxic skin reaction that results in the eczema, but rather sealing and healing the gut in order to stop the leakage of foreign proteins into the blood stream, either from food or other sources. Healing the micro-flora of the gut, healing the micro-villi of the gut, and stopping the absorption of antigenic proteins is the key to stopping the vicious cycle that results in chronic eczema. All of this points to the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet), the modified traditional diet, to start healing the gut and restoring the micro-ecology in our GI tract. From a epidemiological perspective, when we moved away from our traditional diet, with its emphasis on lacto-fermented foods, good fats, bone broths and properly prepared grains, we created the situation that has allowed chronic illnesses like eczema to flourish.

In addition to the GAPS diet as the basis of the eczema treatment, there are some natural medicines that can go a long way to relieve the suffering that often accompanies this disorder. Evening primrose oil has been shown to lower inflammation and often help with skin healing. For small children the EPO can even be rubbed into the skin. The dose of EPO should be 4000 mg per day for 6 weeks, then 2000 mg per day thereafter. The Chinese herbal medicine sophora is an anti-allergy herb that is widely used both orally and as a skin ointment with much success. Allergy Research sells a product called Dermaweed, which contains sophora, and is often very successful in helping to heal eczema. The dose is about three capsules, three times per day for about eight weeks. Fermented cod liver oil, about 1 teaspoon per day should be given to supplement vitamin A, which has been shown to heal the GI mucosa and is valuable in the treatment of a variety of skin conditions. Some people see partial success with the cod liver oil, and complete success in healing eczema when the high-vitamin butter oil is added.

Probitoics and probiotic food should be given, including a daily dose of sauerkraut, and a probiotic such as Biokult, building up slowly to a dose of 1-4 capsules twice per day. Finally the skin protomorphogen from Standard Process, called dermatrophin, which blocks the antibodies that eventually cause skin inflammation should be given at a dose of 1-2 tablets three times per day between meals.

Finally, for topical treatment, I cannot say enough about a Chinese herbal formula containing sophora—I have seen bad cases of eczema clear up in just a few days with this product. A member of the pea family, sophora contains a biopolymer called arabinogalactan consisting of two simple sugars, arabinose and galactose. Arabinogalactan functions as a signalling molecule between cells, as well as glue to seal wounds, and may also interact with the immune system in a positive way.

The sophora topical treatment is available from The product is number 49 on the website. The preparation is quite expensive—ten dollars for a small packet—but many find that it is more than worth it in the almost instant relief from itching that it gives.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2010.

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Comments (12)Add Comment
written by Laurettac81, Jan 13 2014
I have a small patch of what I believe to be recurring eczema on my right eyelid, on the inner corner. Are there any topical treatments which are safe to use near the eye?
written by Clean Queen, Nov 14 2013
I have had eczema for over 40 years.I get flare ups that last about a year and then it goes away for years before I have another one. Howeer, the flare ups are horrible and enough to make me go insane. Over the forty years I have tried every cure I could find and everything works for a while I notice, and then stops working. I also notice that stress makes mine worse and sometimes brings it on. So can this tie in with all the other information about what causes it. I can have no eczema at all and then something will stress me and it all comes back. Anyone else ahve this trouble. How can you say it's the gut if stress causes it. And if I take a sedative, (which the doctor gives me for eczema) it goes away also. I am not sure what to do. I now have the worst flare up that I've ever had. Water can't even touch my hands or they burn like crazy. I have to wear rubber gloves to do anything and sleep with cotton gloves on. It's a pain to even wash my hair. I have one year to go and then I retire. The doctor said she bets it goes away when I retire.
written by sarah tosick, Sep 16 2013
Does anyone know if any/all of the listed topical treatments/oils are safe for nursing mothers? Thank you!
written by Char Terrana, Mar 26 2013
I am now 52 and have had eczema since I was 12. About 20 years ago I figured out that as long as I supplement with GLA (gamma-linoleic acid), I have absolutely no symptoms of eczema. The one that works best for me is borage oil. I take it in combination with flax oil in some juice or a smoothy in the morning (about a tablespoon). Now I only NEED to supplement once a week to keep it away, though I do take it every other day. If I go longer than about three weeks without GLA, the eczema starts creeping back. I am SO glad I've found this solution! I hope this helps for others. Once you start taking it, give it at least a month of supplementing every day before you see results.
written by alma, Dec 24 2012
I have a 5 months old baby with terrible eczema. I wonder what would be doses of the EPO, dr's Kanga's cream, etc. I'm already giving him DHA and probiotics, although he's pediatrician just prescribe him an antibiotic called "keflex" bc he's skin is infected with Staph. I need help!
Our family's weird rash cure...
written by Cor Aquilonis, Sep 26 2012
Both my mother and sister have had occasional bouts of long-lasting skin rashes (I hesitate to say "Eczema" since it was never diagnosed by a doctor.) The rashes were quite red and dry, and lasted for several months. Both of them made their rashes go away by soaking the affected area in the ocean. It seems to take about 1/2 to 1 hour in the ocean water for the rash to be affected. In their case, the red patch healed over a few days after the ocean soak.

They live in a land-locked state well away from the ocean, so this is not a very convenient cure for them. You mileage may vary.
written by Misty Tudor, May 26 2012
How much Dermatrophin would you give a 16 month old that weighs about 20 pounds. I was thinking maybe one pill a day, but maybe divided?? Thanks!
written by rachel, Nov 06 2011
just so you know, derma weed has been discontinued
My Son's Eczema is completely gone/healed!!!
written by Anna, Oct 15 2011
I'm writing this comment 4 days after I wrote my first comment. My 3 year old's eczema is 100% gone and you can't even tell that he has ever had it!! This is amazing! So besides following a WAPF diet which he has been since he was born, he's been on 4 biokult a day (for about 6 months now), and after reading this article I put him on 4 tablets of dermatrophin a day which he's been on for only 4 days now, and I've been using Dr. Kang's formula twice a day for about a week now. I haven't received the EPO or the Dermaweed yet but as of now it doesn't seem like he needs it since his eczema is 100% gone for now! I will keep it for future use if needed. I should have taken before and after pictures! Thank you Dr. Cowan!!!! On a side note, my husband who has had Exfoliative cheilitis for the past 10 years (extreme peeling/chapped) on his lips has been using Dr. Kang's cream as well and his lips are almost healed as well. GAPS diet helped my husband a lot but the final healing is happening with Dr. Kang's cream! Amazing!
written by Anna, Oct 11 2011
I ordered the Dr. Kang formula cream for my 3 year old son. To say that the packet is small and expensive is to put it lightly, my total cost including shipping came out to $28 for a tiny tiny packet of cream (think sample size)...however it really does seem to be doing wonders on my 3 year olds skin! He has eczema on the back of his knees and inside the elbows and its already clearing up and healing after 2 days of use. I also give him 4 biokult probiotics per day and have for some time now. I am still waiting for all the other supplements to arrive in the mail. After doing some googling I found a cheaper place to by the cream with free shipping where the total price only comes out to $12!! Will have to order from there next time. Hope this helps!
written by Katie Behringer, Sep 08 2011
Thank you Thank you Thank you!! My 15 month son has terrible eczema and I ahve been looking for a solution.
written by Nicole Barrett, Jun 21 2011
This is exactly the treatment I have been looking for for my children. However, does the treatment differ for a 3 and 6 year old? Also, Any recommended brand for Evening Primrose Oil?

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Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 13:59