Eczema and dermatitis are both terms used to describe inflammatory skin conditions causing itchy patches anywhere on the body. Eczema is most commonly found around the knees, elbows, neck and hands and is usually caused by an allergy. Identifying and avoiding the allergen can help to alleviate the condition. People with allergic skin conditions may find that it worsens around periods of stress, in which case drinking soothing, nerving herbal teas may be helpful. Take bitter and lymphatic herbs internally to aid the body’s elimination of wastes that may exacerbate this inflammatory skin condition.
Signs of eczema include:
- dry flaky patches
- red inflamed and swollen patches
- cracked skin
- blistered weeping skin
Topically herbal oils, salves, balms or natural moisturising creams can soothe irritation and prevent damage to the skin from scratching. Cutting out harsh soaps and synthetic skin products can also help to reduce irritation.
Herbal internal treatments include (best to use organic):
Directions: Use any of the herbs above as tea, drink hot or cold, add a bit of honey if necessary. Herbal water infusion could be also used as a compress for the affected areas: wait until the infusion cools down, take a cloth or cotton ball immerse in cool infusion and apply to the affected area. You can also make or buy a tincture of any herb above for internal use.
Safety: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please check with your healthcare practitioner first.
Herbal external treatments include (best to use organic):
- Calendula Oil
- Nettle Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Vitamin E
- Borage Oil
- Aloe Vera (gel/butter)
- Rosehip Oil
- Cocoa butter
- Shea butter
- Zinc Oxide
Directions: Massage oils onto the affected area. Butters, especially cocoa butter which has hard consistency, is best to mix with oils in 1:1 ratio.
Method: Put the butter in bain-marie, or similar, heat it up gently until completely melted, remove from the heat and add oil or combination of oils listed above, mix well and pour into the jar or container. Can be stored for up to a year.
Take an oatmeal bath: add a handful of oatmeal to a warm bath (not hot) and immerse yourself for 5 minutes. Gently pat yourself dry and apply moisturiser or oil, while skin is still damp for better absorption.
Essential Oils to help with eczema include (better to use organic and sustainably sourced):
- Bergamot (weepy eczema)
- Juniper (weepy eczema)
- Clary sage (dry eczema)
- Lavender (dry eczema)
- Geranium (dry eczema)
- Roman chamomile (dry eczema)
Directions: Never use essential oils undiluted. Dilute 1-3% of EO in the carrier oil of your choice or in herbal oil such as Nettle or Calendula Oils for extra benefits. You can also add essential oils to your DIY cream or balm.
Are you suffering from eczema, do you have some great natural tips that worked for you? If you do please share with us, in comments below.
References: “The Handmade Apothecary” by Vicky Chown & Kim Walker; “Make Your Own Skincare Products” by Sally Hornsey