Treatment of Eczema with Chinese Medicine


Treatment of Eczema with Chinese Medicine

 Authors: Shen Xiaoxiong, Ph.D. Professor L.Ac.

* Address of the authors: South Baylo University, School of Oriental Medicine & Acupuncture, Anaheim, CA92801


Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation, also known as dermatitis. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. However, there are many diferent forms of eczema. Eczema is often very itchy and when you scratch it, the skin becomes red and inlamed. Eczema can afect people of any age, although the condition is most common in infants. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 15 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. About 10 percent to 20 percent of all infants have eczema; however, in nearly half of these children, the disease will improve greatly by the time they are between five and 15 years of age. Others will have some form of the disease throughout their lives.

Although doctors do not know the exact cause of eczema, eczema is not contagious. But an abnormal function of the immune system is believed to be a factor. People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or a family history of other allergic conditions, such as asthma or hay fever. Up to 20% of children and 1-2% of adults are believed to have eczema. Substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat, can trigger some forms of eczema. Environmental allergens may also cause outbreaks of eczema. Changes in the weather or even psychological stress for some people lead to outbreaks of eczema.


Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that has been used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses for more than 2,000 years. Chinese Medicine is based on a belief in Yin and Yang theory, that defined as opposing energies, such as hyperactive and hypoactive, sun and moon, exterior and interior, and hot and cold. When Yin and Yang are in balance, you feel healthy and energized. Out of balance, however, Yin and Yang negatively affect your health. In order for Yin and Yang to be balanced and for the body to be healthy, Qi (functional vital energy) must be balanced and lowing freely.

Chinese Medicine has been shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of eczema with long history. A recent report in two trials indicated benefit of herbal remedy over placebo. Both trials were double-blind and crossover in design. One trial was carried out in 47 children with atopic eczema, over an eight week treatment period. Active intervention comprised ten diferent plants traditionally used in Chinese medicine for eczema  treatment. Of the 37 children analyzed, for erythema scores there was a 51% decrease with active and a 6.1% decrease for placebo. For surface damage scores there was a 63.1% decrease with active and a 6.2% decrease with placebo. he second trial was carried out in 40 adult patients, with similar methodology over an eight weeks treatment period. Improvement was the mean proportional change between the end of placebo and the end of active phase based on logarithmic values. Of the 31adults analyzed, for erythema scores there was a 46% mean proportional change between the end of placebo and active phases. For surface damage scores there was a 49% mean proportional change between the end of placebo and active phases. Same research, Department of Immunology, UCL Medical School, London, they discovered that selected Chinese herbs have a signiicant efect on the production of white blood cells and thereby affect the immune system, reducing allergic responses and alleviating inlammation.   

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* Articles Originally Published in SUN TEN Quarterly Newsletter Winter 2006

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