Traditional Chinese Herbal cocktails could be 'cure' for eczema

11 June 2008

Itchy skin? Chinese herbal cures could help.

A cocktail of herbs used by the Chinese for thousands of years could combat the painful skin condition eczema, scientists claim. They say a potion containing five raw herbs reduced sufferers' need for conventional medicines and improved the quality of life for those being treated for atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is the most common form of the skin condition, affecting 10 per cent of children and around 3 per cent of adults.

Dermatologists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found the mixture — containing Japanese honeysuckle, peppermint, root bark of tree peony, underground stem of the atractylodes herb and bark from an Amur cork tree - had a dramatic improvement on eczema sufferers aged 5 to 21. During the study, 85 patients were given either a tablet containing the herbs or a placebo. Those who took the traditional Chinese medicine said their quality of life improved by a third, while those taking the placebo reported no improvement, the British Journal of Dermatology reports.

Researchers also revealed the herbal remedy reduced patients' need of conventional treatments, such as steroids, by an average of four days a month. It is thought the herbs reduced the effects of four proteins and cytokines believed to cause eczema, they added. Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists, welcomed the findings but warned against using the herbs without first consulting a doctor.  (14 March 2008)

: Herbal Medicine

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