08 July, 2011
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin disorder. If you have eczema, you may experience itching, scaling, flaking and crusting, usually on your face, elbows or behind your knees. Many things can trigger eczema, including allergies, very hot or cold weather, stress, and colds or flu. Herbal teas may help relieve the symptoms of eczema naturally. Consult your doctor before using herbal treatments.
The herbs used in teas for eczema work in several ways. Anti-inflammatory herbs may help reduce the skin inflammation that accompanies eczema. Herbs that stimulate your immune system may help destroy bacteria on your skin that can cause infection and worsen your eczema. Alternative herbs restore balance and improve body functions, such as digestion and waste elimination, which may be contributing to allergies and eczema. Check with a qualified professional for advice about how to use and prepare these herbs.
Burdock, or Arctium lappa, is a large herb with purple flowers. Traditional healers use the roots in a tea to treat skin disorders, including eczema, psoriasis and acne. Active ingredients include arctinal, essential oil, inulin and lignans. This plant has diuretic and anti-inflammatory actions. In their 2000 book, “The Herbal Drugstore,” Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster explain that inulin is an immune stimulant that helps destroy bacteria that can worsen eczema. Herbalist David Hoffmann, in his 2003 book, “Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine,” states that burdock improves symptoms of systemic imbalance, such as skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. Avoid this herb if you have allergies to members of the Aster family.
Fumitory, or Fumaria officinalis, is a member of the Poppy family and has pale purple flowers with dark tips. The herb has a long history as a remedy for skin disorders, and herbalists use the aerial parts to treat chronic eczema, acne and psoriasis. Herbalist David Hoffmann notes that fumitory heals eczema by working through the liver and kidneys to cleanse the whole body. Fumitory contains fumarine and fumaric acid. In their 2009 book, “Medicinal Plants of the World,” botanist Ben-Erik van Wyk and biologist Michael Wink state that commercial preparations of eczema remedies include a synthetic form of fumaric acid. Check with your doctor before using fumitory if you are taking antidepressants.
Red clover, or Trifolium pratense, is a meadow plant with dark pink flowers. It has a long history as an alternative herb for skin problems and menopausal symptoms. The flowers are rich in isoflavones, volatile oil and coumarins. In their 2000 book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” Dr. James F. Balch and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, recommend red clover tea for eczema. Herbalist David Hoffmann states that red clover can be used safely to treat childhood eczema. Do not use this herb if you are taking anticoagulant medicine.
- “The Herbal Drugstore”; Linda B. White, M.D., Steven Foster; 2000
- “Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine”; David Hoffmann; 2003
- “Medicinal Plants of the World”; Ben-Erik van Wyk and Michael Wink; 2009
- “Prescription for Nutritional Healing”; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, and James F. Balch, M.D.; 2000
- Herbal Tea image by WR from Fotolia.com