Chinese herbal formula may help relieve eczema

Chinese herbal formula may help relieve eczema

Recent research at the Royal Free Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London suggests that traditional Chinese herbal therapy (TCHT) may hold promise in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, or eczema.

According to a report of the study conducted by Dr. Zheng-ming Chen and reported on by him at a medical conference in London, the herbal remedy produced "striking results." In the study, 40 long-standing eczema sufferers were divided into two groups, each receiving five months' treatment with either an herbal decoction (made by boiling herbs in water) of 10 herbs formulated by a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, or a placebo decoction of herbs not known to have therapeutic value, which they drank each day. The therapeutic herbal formulas contained Potentilla chinensis, Clematis armandii. Ledebouriella seseloides, Rhemannia glutinosa, Paeonia lacriflora, Laphatherum gracile, Dietamnus dasycarpus, Tribulus terrestris, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), and Schizonepeta tenuifolia. During and following completion of the course of treatment, the patients taking the traditional Chinese herbal remedy showed rapid and continued improvement in skin redness (erythema) and surface damage.

While the results of this trial are encouraging, the use of TCHT is controversial. Some dermatologists report toxic side effects in their patients on the therapy, while others point out that their patients have benefited from the therapy, and that a standard treatment for severe eczema itself has a potential for toxicity. In any case, further research is being conducted that will determine if TCHT is effective for treatment of eczema. (Because the effects of the mixture are not yet known, it is advised that eczema patients not self-treat with it, but consult a medical professional versed in TCHT.)

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