Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition characterized by cracking, redness, possibly scaling and occasionally watery blisters.eczema

Causes of Eczema

The views which I have are shared by many in the natural healing community but not often not by my medical colleagues.

From my studies of oriental healing the presence of eczema always means that the person's body is out of balance and that some elements of the diet are not right for them. This may not be a true allergy but is more that their body cant digest and handle certain foods or even that they are simply eating too much of certain foods. Eczema expresses itself in at least two ways; inflammation and discharge. I would like to separate these two aspects for the purposes of discussion.

Inflammation

The red, itchy areas of skin often found on the wrists, elbows and behind the knees are the most common ways that eczema expresses itself.

Sugar and sweets in any form creates inflammation!

This means sweets including from certain fruits. It might mean that sweets need to be eliminated completely, certainly in the beginning of healing. Grapes, apples, oranges, mango, strawberries, cherries and kiwi, either raw or as juice should be avoided. Some fruits like blueberries, pears, peaches and cantelope seem to be easier to digest and usually may be eaten in small quantities.

Cow's milk and foods containing cow's milk (yoghurt, smoothies, freezies, cheese and ice cream) often produces inflammmation in sensitive people and should be avoided as one begins healing eczema. Butter in small quantities is usually tolerated.

I often find eczema to be a troubling condition for Oriental patients who frequently benefit from eliminating dairy products.

Inflammation may also result from an imbalance of the essential fatty acids in the diet. When we eat foods wich are rich in oils which have been extracted from corn, soy, safflower or sunflower, we are eating foods which, when they are digested, contribute to inflammation and smooth muscle contractions and cramping. These are the Omega-6 and 9 essential fatty acids.

Eating foods which contain oils from fish or foods which fish typically eat, like plankton or blue-green algae which are rich in these oils, or foods from plant sources, like evening primrose, flax, borage, we are consuming foods which are anti-inflammatory and which cause the smooth muscles to relax (see asthma) and can which can help women with menstrual cramping. These are the omega-3 essential fatty acid.

To be healthy we need a balance of these essential fatty acid. They are essential to our diet because we cannot create them ourselves. They are rather like vitamins. But they need to be in balance. We need both the inflammatory aspect which is extremely useful in dealing with infections. The smooth muscle contraction from the omega 6 - 9 oils is crucial for us to have normal protective mechanisms in our airways, in our digestive system and in our genitourinary system. The contractions of childbirth depend on the correct balance as well.

On the other hand, in order not to over react to infection and not to have excessive cramping with menstrual periods or the spasm of the airways which comes with asthma, we likely will benefit from increasing consumption of the omega-3 oils.pregnant

In eczema, there is an excess of inflammation which means that the diet needs to shift from less of the omega-6 and omega-9 oils and more of the omega-3 oils.

Discharge

Discharge is a concept which is familiar to those practicing natural medicine and generally unfamiliar to medical science. When we are healthy the foods which we eat go through a digestive process and are nourish and sustain the body. After the energy is used and the growth and repair to the body to which the food has contributed the waste products are eliminated by breathing, sweating, and in feces and urine. When there is no excess food and the body is able to use all it consumes, and when the elimination processes are working correctly, then the skin will be healthy.

The skin is however one of the back up systems for discharge and gets called into action when the primary discharge pathways aren't working correctly or are overwhelmed by excess.stomach balance

Almost everyone has had the experience of eating a particular food and several days later seeing a pimple emerge. When we're thoughtful we connect the two events. We could say thank you to our skin for helping to eliminate the excess.

Eczema is an expression of the skin acting as part of this backup system of discharge. To heal eczema we need to eliminate  or reduce the foods the body is not tolerating and strengthen the normal healthy discharge paths.

Foods to Eliminate

  • reduce foods that cause stagnation like bread and bread products, cheese and red meats.
  • reduce foods which cause excesses like meats and dairy products which contribute excess protein
  • reduce excess sugar which contributes to infection and weight gain. Sugars include fruit juices, vitamin drinks, energy drinks and soft drinks.
  • reduce foods containing excess oils like fried food, junk food, and chocolate.
  • although it may seem strange, too much fruit juice or fruit, especially apples, oranges, cherries, strawberries, kiwi fruit, pineapples, and grapes including wine, seem to encourage the body to produce more discharge. You will find it improves eczema to reduce these foods.

Foods to Increasecrucifer

  • increase vegetables, either raw or cooked. Cruciferous vegetables - cabbage, kale (seen to the right), Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, bok choy etc. are very helpful.
  • increase whole grains like brown rice, millet, barley etc.
  • increase certain fruits like blueberries, cranberry, pears and other stone fruit like peaches.
  • fish, especially cold water ocean fish like salmon or codfisherman
  • foods containing flax oil or flaxseed

Typical Medical Treatment

The usual way of approaching eczema is to suppress the symptoms using steroids like cortisone. On a temporary basis, making the skin look better by using cortisone or some other suppressant therapy can work. In my opinion however, this drives the excesses deeper and may contribute to the typical conditions of excess like osteoarthritis and the formation of cysts and fatty tumors.

Supplements to Considersardines

  • omega-3 oils. Those coming from fish especially sardine, cod and herring are particularly useful.
  • Blue-green algae. Not only does this supplement provides multiple nutrients including chlorophyll which enhances intestinal function and cleansing but it also is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • supplements which increase intestinal elimination which include those with soluble fiber like psyllium.
  • supplements which reduce inflammation and support liver detoxification like milk thistle, co-enzyme Q10 and dandelion.

 

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