Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by irritated patches of skin which may be dry, red, and/or scaly, and weeping eczema will have additional symptoms of oozing and crusting of skin sores. Either way, it’s really no fun, and for many the condition begins in childhood and reoccurs throughout their lives. Treatment of eczema truly presents a challenge, as the exact causes are unknown. The natural health field believes the symptoms are an allergic reaction and immune response to either a specific chemical in one’s environment or the cumulative buildup of toxicity in the body coupled with weakened immune and elimination systems. Using both systemic and topical treatments together presents the most effective means of finding relief.
Many people have had great success with using therapeutic essential oil blends topically; essential oils and accompanying carrier oils can be exceptionally healing to a great variety of skin ailments, eczema included. Oils can provide short-term relief for many, though healing chronic conditions will likely require addressing the toxins in one’s environment, modifying lifestyle choices, and employing the cleansing practices of natural medicine. Here are easy-to-make topical formulas suggested by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, one of America’s leading medical aromatherapists, and important steps one can take to support their own healing from an holistic standpoint.a
The blends for eczema are simple, and can provide nearly immediate relief of symptoms. For dry eczema, use this recipe to make one ounce of your formula: 20 drops of Lavender essential oil, 20 drops of Palmarosa essential oil, one-quarter ounce of Tamanu oil and three-quarters of an ounce of Rosehip seed oil. For children under five, use only one drop of each essential oil per year of age, if over five use two drops. Lavender is a wonderful oil for the relief of itching, and is even prescribed ‘neat (undiluted) for simple relief of itchy skin. It has a gentle, soothing effect, with anti-inflammatory and regenerative actions. Palmarosa is a pleasant smelling yet potent anti-microbial and anti-viral essential oil often used in skin care. Tamanu oil is a tropical nut oil highly regarded for its ability to calm and regenerate the skin, and Rosehip seed has been extensively studied for its healing and regenerative properties. This is a powerful yet gentle therapeutic blend that can be applied three to four times daily to relieve itchiness and stimulate skin regeneration.
For weeping eczema, the therapeutic blend is modified to use Thyme essential oil, thujanol chemotype (note that there are several types of Thyme available), and Eucalyptus citradora, otherwise known as Lemon Eucalyptus. This is a more potent anti-infectious blend of essential oils, still in the soothing base oils of Tamanu and Rosehip. Again use 20 drops of each essential oil in each one-quarter ounce of Tamanu and three-quarter ounce of Rosehip seed. Again, the concentration should be reduced for young ones.
It may be worth experimenting with other oils you may find described as addressing the symptoms of eczema. There are many essential oils and carrier oils that are used both as anti-inflammatory agents and antiseptics. Tamanu by itself may be highly effective; several research reports have been published noting the efficacy of Evening Primrose oil, a carrier oil high in omega-3 fatty acids. German chamomile essential oil is a wonderful cooling, soothing oil, as is Blue Tansy. A new Thyme essential oil called “Benchmark Thyme may also be very useful as the gentle-yet-effective antimicrobial component of your formula. There is much “crossover of effects between essential oils, and sometimes the finest recipe may be one derived using your intuition.
For long-term relief, finding the true cause of the eczema is important. For many, it can be toxins in their environment they are continually exposed to. One mother reported success in healing the eczema of her seven month old by switching from chlorinated and fluoridated city tap water to distilled water. Another person whom visited a naturopath began filtering the chlorine from her water, and followed the ‘Eat Right For Your Blood Type diet (which among other things improves the immune response and lessens inflammation), again with much success. In general, natural health professionals advise the importance of reducing stress levels, improving the body’s acid/alkaline balance, supporting the immune system, decreasing the inflammatory response, and cleansing the liver, kidneys and colon.
It sounds like a lot, but many practices will promote more than one aspect of health. Cleaning up the diet, reducing processed foods and increasing intake of fresh organic vegetables will go a long way. Vegetable juice, when squeezed at home or at the juice bar (rather than bottled or canned varieties) moves the pH to a more alkaline level, and helps cleanse the system. Just drinking the juice of a single lemon in a glass of warm water first thing each morning will alkalize the blood and support the liver in toxin removal. Cleansing may be crucial to eczema sufferers, as the health of the skin is considered an indicator of the body’s toxicity level. Clear skin means a clear liver; allergic skin reaction can mean the internal organs of elimination are overloaded, and response of eczema is really the toxicity ‘spilling over to the skin. If you feel your body is in need of a real cleanse, seek the support and advice of a knowledgeable natural health practitioner to learn the most healthful and effective means to do this for yourself.
A great many additional changes and supplements can be helpful for eczema relief. The key to incorporating these into one’s lifestyle is to NOT attempt them all at once rather, try adding one or two at a time, getting them to be ‘habits over the course of a couple of weeks. Items and practices to investigate: Pro-biotic supplements, i.e. Supplements encouraging the proliferation of healthy bacteria in the intestines. These have shown to improve conditions of eczema in many people. Next, some sort of regular exercise is highly valuable, both in reducing stress and increasing overall vitality. Adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements may also be of significant importance most folks in Western countries are deficient in these particular essential fats essential fats which improve immune response, decrease inflammation and improve one’s overall sense of wellbeing. And last but certainly not least, try consciously increasing the amount of filtered, distilled or spring water you’re intaking daily; most people are chronically dehydrated, and those with eczema are exhibiting more profound symptoms of their lack of this all-important cleansing and hydrating nutrient.
More information on essential oil news and research is available through Ananda Aromatherapy – an online source for therapeutic grade essential oils.
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