Why Chinese Herbal Medicine is Better than Topical Steroids for Children’s Eczema

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According to the National Eczema Association, the prevalence of eczema in children in the U.S. is 10.7%. So, that’s basically 1 in 10 kids who have eczema – that’s a lot of kids, and a lot of frustrated parents searching to find answers to end their children’s’ suffering. Eczema can be miserable for children to have to endure. The endless itching and scratching. Itching can make it worse, and lead to thickened brownish patches on the skin. Eczema has been called ‘the itch that rashes,’ rather than ‘the rash that itches.’ That’s because it first shows up as just the itchy feeling, and once it is scratched, the rash will appear. Eczema symptoms in children usually appear between infancy and 5 years old. Thankfully, the symptoms usually go away on their own by the time they are teenagers.

How Chinese Medicine Treats Childhood Eczema

The standard treatment for children’s eczema is topical steroid creams and moisturizers, UV light therapy, and sometimes allergy immune therapy (allergy shots), since allergic reactions often trigger eczema. Western medicine tries to either block the symptoms with antihistamines or steroid creams, or it overloads the immune system with allergy shots, so that it ‘gets used to’ the allergen. Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a very different approach. Since Chinese herbal medicine is holistic medicine, it doesn’t just address the symptoms, but it treats the whole body. It treats both the ‘root’ and the ‘branch’ of the allergic reaction. Meaning, it treats the cause and the symptoms simultaneously. And Chinese medicine balances all of the body’s systems, so in the end, the person is healthier overall.

Merry Clinic’s Approach to Treating Childhood Eczema

At Merry Clinic, we take a multifaceted approach. For very small children (6 months up to 6 years), the main part of the treatment is the Kids’ Dermacalm herbal syrup. Kids’ Dermacalm is an alcohol-free herbal syrup specially designed to be gentle for children’s eczema or dermatitis. It is made of a combination of 7 different Chinese herbs that work together to help clear the toxins in the child’s body and skin to control inflammation and other symptoms. If the eczema is more severe, the child can be given the EcDermaid herbal capsules – the adult eczema medicine – at a smaller dosage. EcDermaid can be given to children 4 years old and over. If the child is unable to swallow the capsules, the herbal powder inside the capsules can be mixed with food or juice. For both medicines (Kids’ Dermacalm and EcDermaid), applesauce with a touch of maple syrup is a good choice to mix with in order to mask the bitter taste of the herbs. 

If the child is under 6 months old, we recommend using external treatments only – the EcDermaid herbal spray and the Herbal Bath packets. These two products can also be used on older children who are using the syrup or capsules to help control the symptoms. If the child’s symptoms are severe, a mixture of Herbal Bath packets and Dead Sea bath salts can be mixed together in the bath. You would need to mix 1 bath packet with a handful of bath salts in a small tub with warm (not hot) water (not a full-sized bath, since the medicine would be too diluted). Bathe the child in the mixture for 20-30 minutes, once per day. Do not wash off with soap, but just use warm water only. 

It may take a week or so before you start to notice significant improvement, since herbal medicine works gently and gradually. For more information, please follow the link below:

http://www.merryclinic.com/eczema/treatment_eczema_childrens.htm

 
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Teresa is a California licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco, CA

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