Stop itchy, dry, flaky skin with these natural protocols
Raise your hand if you know your body’s biggest organ. Your liver? Nope. Your brain? Wong again. It’s your skin. In total, your skin accounts for about 16 percent of your body weight. Most adults’ skin weighs 20 pounds or more.
Eczema can manifest as superficial inflammation, blisters when acute, redness, swelling, oozing, crusting, scaling, and itching. This uncomfortable skin condition affects about 10 percent of the U.S. population.
Most natural healing practitioners believe inflammatory skin disease is fundamentally a problem of accumulated waste material in the body, which irritates the skin and causes the persistent inflammation. Therefore, the treatment focus is on reducing inflammation in the skin, healing the tissue of the skin if necessary, and eliminating the source of the irritating wastes through the liver, kidneys, and large intestine.
Antioxidants for eczema
Antioxidants are the big buzz in skin health these days for anti-aging, and they can benefit eczema as well by reducing inflammation. You can get a wide range of antioxidants through fruits and vegetables of various colors.
Green vegetables in particular have a potent anti-inflammatory effect for the skin. Spinach, for example, is rich in folate, a B vitamin that promotes cellular repair and can reduce not only symptoms of eczema, but also fine lines and wrinkles. Broccoli, cauliflower, and mustard greens are high in a compound called glucoraphanin that has been shown to have skin healing benefits.
Even with the best intentions, however, most of us don’t get enough of these foods. An antioxidant vitamin and mineral formula, preferably one sourced from whole foods, helps to fill in the gaps.
Used for centuries in Asia to treat skin disease, gotu kola increases blood supply and structural constituents in connective tissue, and increases protein growth (keratinization) in the skin. The active substances in gotu kola are thought to be triterpenes, steroid-like compounds that improve the function and integrity of the collagen matrix and support the basic “glue” that holds the cells of our skin together.
Gotu kola has been shown to help to heal and regrow new skin and even fade scars. Research shows gotu kola compounds promote more rapid healing in wounds. In in a recent trial, eczema patients who took a combination of gotu kola and turmeric significantly improved several eczema symptoms including scaling and itching.
For symptoms of eczema or just to keep skin healthy, take capsules according to label instructions, or use one to two ounces of dry herb, by weight, as a tea, per day.
Calendula is a simple garden marigold that packs a punch. So much so, in fact, that the German Commission E approves calendula ointment for wound healing. A 2017 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology determined that calendula stimulates collagen, an important skin protein in the process of healing eczema. Calendula eases acute skin inflammation and is also less likely to lead to side effects than drugs tested.
A recent study demonstrates calendula’s ability to speed skin healing. In the clinical trial, 254 women ages 18 to 75 used either topical calendula ointment or trolamine, a topical eczema drug, for eight months. Inflammation symptoms of the women in the calendula treatment group were significantly less than that of the women in the drug group. Their pain scores were also better.
Use calendula ointment according to label instructions.