The terms eczema and dermatitis are synonymous with these types of skin reactions. Eczema can either be acute in nature (sudden onset), or chronic (long-term). The term eczema refers to a grouping of disorders that share similar clinical features but may have different causes.
In either case, an eczematic flair may have several factors involved, these can be environmental, systemic, or potentially food sensitivity based. In addition to these reactionary standards, there are different types of eczema, the most common being Atopic, Seborrheic, Discoid, and Irritant/Allergic contact eczema (Contact Dermatitis). A short description of the types will be discussed below.
Atopic eczema is one of the most common types. It is categorized by prolonged hypersensitivity to environmental factors. This can include things such as pollen, dust, foods, chemicals, or pets. There is often a strong genetic predisposition in this type of eczema and may include other factors such as asthma, hay fever, and food allergies/sensitivities. This type of eczema has increased 2 to 5-fold since the early 1980s, and now potentially affects up to 1 in 10 individuals during their lifespan.
The reasoning behind this is not clear in standard Western medical practice. However, in natural medicine circles, it is thought to be caused by the increase of chemical usage in foods, care products, household cleaners, and so forth, all contributing to something called "Toxic Load Reaction."
Most commonly, this type of eczema is seen in children and young adults. Although onset may happen after the age of 30, it is not common unless it takes place in a pregnant individual.
Atopic eczema looks different at different ages and in individuals of different skin colors, some of the features and symptoms may include:
In addition to these classic signs, there are exacerbating factors that can also impact Atopic eczema. They are commonly:
Another common form of eczema, Seborrheic eczema, is thought to affect up to 2% of the population. This type of skin reaction is most seen in areas of the skin where sebaceous glands are most numerous, such as on the scalp, forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, ears, cheeks, and on the chest or between the shoulder blades, and can include dandruff or a cradle cap type infection. Oftentimes, this type of reaction is marked by a red or pink rash with non-regular edges and can include a yellowish, greasy looking scale. Because of this, it can be easy to mistake this type of eczema with psoriasis.
This type of eczema is one of the most common types seen in infants, usually during their first three months of life, and seen in adults between the ages of 30 and 70. The disorder is more common in men, often runs in families, and can be made worse in cold weather.
This type of eczema is also commonly found in individuals with HIV and AIDS, but is also commonly seen in individuals under large amounts of stress, and those with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
Some of the symptoms associated are as follows:
Discoid, or nummular eczema, is a persistent, usually itchy rash with inflammation that is characterized by circular-shaped spots with tiny blisters, scabs, and scales. Most commonly, this type of eczema presents itself on the lower legs, forearms, and backs of the hands. It can be mistaken for ringworm, but unlike ringworm, it does not have a red border around the outside edge. Like most types of eczema, the cause is unknown. There are two common peaks of onset for this type of eczema: young women aged 15 to 30 and middle-aged adults of both sexes.
Some of the symptoms associated are as follows:
Contact dermatitis is an acute or chronic condition with itching and inflammation. It mostly results from exposure to substances in the environment caused by allergens, soaps, detergents, organic solvents, or other substance of food-based environmental triggers. It can also be caused by such familiar things as allergies to dogs and cats or contact with some plants such as poison ivy or poison oak.
Some of the most common symptoms and causes are as follows:
When one approaches eczema from a holistic standpoint, it is important to remember that all parts of the body and individual are related. In saying this, a practitioner who is trained in holistic applications will look at the individual’s current emotional health, stress levels, nutritional habits, environmental exposure, medications, and all body systems to gain a full picture of the potential issue.
Traditionally Used Herbs
Commonly Used Supplements
Dietary and Lifestyle Modifications
As you can see, eczema is a multi-faceted condition with various types and possible triggers. If you would like to reach out to ask any questions or have a no-cost initial meet and greet to discuss your current wellness issues, please feel free to contact the office directly.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found its content useful.
In health and wellness,
Petra - CHT, Herbal Medicine
The information supplied is not to be considered as a replacement for advice or prescription drugs from your medical doctor. If you have a health issue, please see your primary care physician first and foremost.
With spring now upon us, we are coming into the time when many of our most familiar herbs are starting to become readily available!
For this Monday's monograph, we will be exploring an often overlooked and very common herb that holds a tremendous amount of healing potential for our digestive tract, skin, and mucosal membranes throughout the body.
Also, chickweed has now been clinically shown to be beneficial in the reduction of lipomas and other fatty tumours, and has been shown to help balance fats and lipids and to assist in weight loss.
There are literally hundreds of possibilities for this wonderful herb!
We hope you enjoy this downloadable monograph and enjoy reading about this powerful but common herbal ally. Click the link to view the Monograph.
In health and wellness,
Your friends at HWB
Contact an appropriate practitioner for guidance before starting an herbal medicine protocol.
Recipe: Herbal Spring Elixir
By HWB Member Karin Mecozzi
Taken from her book “Verde resilienza, erboristeria pratica nel cambiamento”, Natura e Cultura Editrice, 2020 by Karin Mecozzi.
Early in the morning, on a dry and windless day, take a beautiful walk in the countryside. Take with you a basket, scissors, and gloves, and as you walk, collect any of the following herbs you may find:
Dandelion leaves, root, or flowers (Taraxacum officinale)
Daisy flower (Bellis perennis)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Poplar buds (Populus spp.)
Bramble leaves (Rubus spp.)
Hazelnut buds (Corylus spp.)
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Mint (Mentha spp.)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Willow bark or flowers (Salix spp.)
Yellow bed straw (Galium verum)
Cleavers (Galium aparine)
Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
Hawthorn flower (Crataegus monogyna)
Blackberry flower (Rubus spp.)
Or any other springtime herb in your area with purifying and tonic effects – make certain you review reliable texts or ask a local herbalist.
At home, spread your findings on a white cloth, remove dry parts, pieces of earth, pebbles, twigs, insects. Put the leaves, flowers and roots cleaned on a cutting board, then chop them finely. Do this quickly, so as not to lose the juice or living vibrations of the plants. Arrange everything in a glass bowl, cover with equal parts of alcohol, water and honey and mix until blended with a wooden spoon.
Pour into a glass jar container and close tightly. Soak the jar in lukewarm water at 37 ° C (98.6 F) for one afternoon to help with the extraction of constituents (a crockpot on warm, or a yogurt machine can help with this). Afterwards, put the container in a warm place in the dark, soak the herbs for 10 days, and shake daily to mix.
After ten days filter contents through a cheesecloth and pour into dark glass bottles with dropper caps. Apply a label with the date and the names of the herbs you added. After filtering and bottling, let the elixir rest for at least two weeks, then you can use 20 drops two or three times a day, diluted in a little hot water.
The elixir can be kept for one year and is known as concentrate of “viriditas” (Hildegard von Bingen 11th century) - the vital and regenerating force of nature - given by the plants you encounter when you go for a walk.
This regenerative and traditional elixir can be repeated in the fall. Traditionally, this elixir is considered suitable for elderly people, pregnant women and children over 14, simply by decreasing the doses and diluting the drops a little more.
Please do not self dose, please consult an appropriate practitioner, especially if you are pregnant or if you plan to give a spring or fall elixir to a child.
Contribution by Karin Mecozzi.
Karin Mecozzi, Dipl. Herborist, lives in San Severino Marche, in the Apennines, Central Italy. She is Author of books in Italian and German “Ars herbaria, medicinal plants in the rhythm of the year” and “Green resilience, practical herbalism in times of changing.” Karen teaches herbalism and naturopathy, is a researcher and teacher in Goethian botany and landscape ecology, expert and counsellor in anthroposophic herbalism and naturopathy, biodynamic farming and wild medicinal herbs of the Apennines. www.karinmecozzi.com
Karen is also HWB Italy Coordinator.
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