Wednesday, 18 September 2013

National Eczema Week UK


National Eczema Week UK
14- 22 September 2013
Eczema is a condition that makes people consult a herbalist. In the UK 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults suffer from eczema. 
Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin, and there are different types including atopic eczema, seborrhoeic eczema, discoid eczema, vascular eczema and pomphlox eczema and includes contact dermatitis and dermatitis herpetiform which are also inflammatory skin conditions. 
The commonest type of eczema is atopic eczema. This usually begins in early childhood or infancy. It has an allergic aspect and is considered to have a hereditary component where health problems like hay fever and asthma run in families. While many children grow out of eczema, it is a distressing condition for the children and their families. The lives of some families with a child with eczema are dominated by the eczema. 

Eczema is a red, itchy rash which is often found behind the knees, on the inside of elbows, on the face, scalp, neck but can occur anywhere.  In mild cases the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy but in severe cases the skin can weep and bleed, and crusts can form. The itching can be unbearable. Itching means there is frequent or constant scratching and this causes the skin to split and bleed and makes it susceptible to infection. 
You can find further information about eczema and the types of eczema from the National Eczema Society:
http://www.eczema.org/about-eczema
So how does a herbalist treat eczema? The simple answer is - we don’t, we treat the person who has the eczema. Eczema is a highly individual condition so the herbalist is perfectly placed to create a medicine for each individual. No two prescriptions will be the same because no two people are the same, even if they are genetically linked.
A herbalist will take a full case history, finding out what factors are associated with each person’s eczema - how things such as diet, weather and climate, pollen, animal dander, soaps and detergents and so on affect it. The sorts of things the herbalist will be looking to do include helping the person’s body modulate the reaction of the immune system to allergens, reduce the inflammation, improve digestion, help the organs  of elimination (liver, kidneys, lungs and skin) clear metabolic waste from the body, help the body cope with stress including the stress that having a health condition puts on the body. An individual herbal prescription will be made for you - one of the beautiful things about herbal medicines is that they can be put together in individual prescriptions according to individual needs, and because they contain many constituents, some known, some unknown, they have an array of different actions in the body. You will probably be given a cream to relieve the itching, and you will be given advice on diet - things to include that will help your skin as well as things to avoid. You will get a lot more besides - which is one reason why so many people consult a herbalist not only because they have eczema but for many other health problems.