Chinese Herbs for Eczema
Can a tea made from Chinese herbs be effective in treating atopic eczema? Yes, according to a physician and group of medicinal plant experts in a letter in the British medical journal, The Lancet. The authors cite recent publicity surrounding the use of herbs by a Londonbased Chinese practitioner who has been treating "a large number" of children.
The article notes that some herbs in the formula are listed in Chinese medical publications as recognized treatments for "skin diseases." They continue, "We have seen many children with moderate to severe eczema who have been treated with this herbal tea and the response is undoubtedly impressive, with a noticeable improvement in the skin condition and a reduction of pruritus occurring within 2-7 days in all children."
The observed beneficial effects were temporary, the original condition recurring soon after treatment was discontinued. However, the patients were advised by the practitioner to use the tea long-term.
The writers conclude,"Our preliminary studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory nature of this herbal mixture. This tea possibly contains novel compounds that could be developed for the treatment of eczema. However, until more is known about the chemical nature of these herbs, there remains concern about possible long-term toxicity."
The herbs listed in the tea are: Radix ledebouriellae, Radix paeoniae rubra, Fructus tribuli, Radix rehmannia, Cortex dictamni radicis, Cortex moutan radicis, Herba lophatheri, Herba violae, Caulis akebiae, and Radix glycyrrhizae (Licorice root).
The letter was attributed to J. I. Harper, M.D. of the Department of Paediatric Dermatology, Hospital for Sick Children, London; and S. L. Yang, A.T. Evans, F.J. Evans, and J.D. Phillipson of the Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy in London. (The Lancet, Vol. 335, Mar. 31, 1990, p. 795.)
American Botanical Council.