Eczema: from Greek meaning ‘boiling over’ (2).
Skin irritation that causes dry, red, cracked and itching skin. Pustules may also develop with weeping of fluid.
A common form of eczema is Atopic eczema. Atopic means ‘sensitive to allergens’. So atopic eczema is due to contact with allergens (food allergies, soaps, detergents etc). This is also sometimes called contact dermatitis (often described as this when the skin comes into contact with a specific substance for a prolonged period of time) (1).
Other forms of eczema include;
- Discoid – forming ovals or circle patches on the skin
- Varicose – most often affects lower legs, caused by blood flow problems in veins
- Seborrhoeic – red scaly patched develop on sides of nose, eyebrows, ears and scalp
- Dishydrotic – tiny blisters form on hands, the skin cracks and peels and can become infected (1).
Other triggers apart from allergens include stress, fungal infection, sweating, environmental factors (dry, cold weather, dampness) and hormonal changes (1).
There is a genetic link to eczema as well as a broader connection to sensitivity to allergens, so people often also suffer from asthma and hayfever (1).
Treatment usually includes topical applications of emollients, corticosteroid creams and antihistamines (1). However, these treatments do not attempt to heal the underlying susceptibility to the autoimmune dysfunction (the immune system over-reacting to substances).
Homeopathy considers all aspects of the patient, from family health history to daily life (including diet and contact with potential triggers) and the individual expression of the symptoms (including mental and emotional). With a more complete understanding of how the individual body is reacting as a whole, a remedy can be matched that corresponds to the same patterns.
Like cures like (Hippocrates 460BC).
For example Sulphur as a substance causes (amongst other symptoms); redness, burning, heat, itching worse from heat, eruptions worse from water (aversion to washing), dirty appearance of skin, worse sweating, scratching until raw, skin symptoms alternating with respiratory complaints, aversion to work, irritability, peevishness (2) (4).
Therefore Sulphur given as a homeopathic remedy will stimulate the body at the same level to heal this ‘sulphur resonance’ or picture. It would not be suitable for an individual with a different set of symptoms.
as outward physical manifestations
of inner conflicts.
Sometimes the ‘causation’ of eczema maybe discovered during a consultation – a person may be able to relate what was happening in his/her life at the onset of the symptoms and their personal experience of various stressors. The triggers can also be useful indicators, what makes symptoms better or worse. The triggers or causes may be physical, mental or emotional (or differing combinations). Where triggers and causes are absent, the detail in the presenting symptoms (all symptoms not just eczema) become even more important; what, how, sensations and reactions, and mental/emotional characteristics...
eg .. reactions to weather ..thirst, appetite
..sleep patterns ..energy levels
All these factors are important in homeopathic prescribing and well matched remedies can assist a person to remove a stuck layer of dis-ease and deepen their consciousness/personal awareness and spiritual growth.
Below are some remedies with an affinity to skin symptoms commonly seen in eczema. Remedies can be used to ameliorate symptoms, but it is far more preferable to heal further at the deeper level and remove the susceptibility to your individual dis-ease, to prevent symptoms altogether. A homeopathic practitioner can help people observe their own symptoms in a new way, which can be very empowering.
The homeopath aims to objectively consider
all aspects of a unique individual and
match this picture to a closely corresponding remedy/resonance
(there are over 3000 homeopathic remedies).
It may also be possible that a person will need different remedies at various times to remove differing stuck layers of dis-ease.
Remedies are full of potential energy -
acting as a catalyst to stimulate your body to re-boot.
Brief example of a remedy’s set of symptoms, with reference to skin symptoms/eczema;
Arsenicum Iodatum (different to Arsenicum Album)
- Dry, scaly, itching, crusts and scabs
- EXFOLIATION OF SKIN IN SCALES leaves raw surface underneath
- Eczema of the beard; watery, oozing, itching, worse washing
- Discharges burn.
- Discharges like honey.
- Mucous membrane always red, swollen, angry, itches and burns
- Inability to perspire
- Stinging, burning
- Worse night
- Worse undressing, itching all over after undressing
Characteristic mental symptoms:
- Restlessness, irritability
- Anxiety (general and specifically from heat of bed)
- Aversion to answering
- Indifference to happiness
- Worse dampness, washing, water (4) and (5).
Brief remedy list below – of remedies with affinity to skin and eczema symptoms – these have been highlighted by Robin Logan in his book, The Homoeopathic Treatment of Eczema, as commonly used in the treatment of eczema:
(In choosing a remedy, the person’s full symptom list needs considering):
- Apis mel
- Arsenicum album
- Calc carb
- Calc sulph
- Hepar sulph calc
- Juglans cinerea
- Kali sulph
- Mercurius solubilis
- Natrum muriaticum
- Nitric acid
- Rhus tox
- Rhus venenata
- Viola tricolor
It may also be of interest to some people to consider the skin itself – as the largest organ of the body, it is the boundary between self and others/the outer world. The locations of symptoms can sometimes be useful indicators; a visible representation of the invisible.
(1) NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/
(2) Logan, Robin FSHom The Homoeopathic treatment of eczema, Beaconsfield Publishers, Bucks UK, 1998
(3) Gascoigne, Stephen, Dr. The Clinical Medicine Guide, A Holistic Perspective, Jigme Press Ireland, 2002
(4) Boericke, William, MD Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica, B Jain Publishers, New Delhi, 2005
(5) Complete Repertory (Vision Software)