Psoriasis & Eczema - Symptoms, Treatment, Homeopathic Remedies
Using Homeopathy for Psoriasis & Eczema
There are a host of diseases and health conditions which manifest on the skin, and many of them are specifically addressed in other detailed articles on this site, such as cold sores, hives (urticaria), shingles, warts, boils & blisters, etc. The homeopathic view regards these and many other skin disorders as indicative of an underlying disturbance in the human body's regulatory or "vital force." The homeopathic goal is not to suppress the symptoms (and thus shift the disease inward) but to address the whole person, including other conditions that accompany the skin problem.
We will focus here on two of the leading and most vexatious skin problems, eczema and psoriasis. Other skin problems such as acne and dermatitis will be treated in separate articles.
The most common form of psoriasis, called plaque psoriasis, can form anywhere on the body but is most commonly seen on the elbows, scalp, knees, and lower back. With this chronic condition, which is not contagious but may be inherited, the affected skin becomes red and inflamed, and silvery scaly patches often form. These patches can itch or burn, and a bad case of the disease can be disabling or disfiguring.Approximately 5.5 million people in the United States have plaque psoriasis. About 40% of psoriasis sufferers have psoriatic arthritis, which affects both the skin and the joints. Psoriasis is best understood as a disease of the immune system, rather than an affliction that is localized to the skin layer alone. Excess T cells trigger inflammation and cause skin cells to grow more quickly than they can be shed, thus forming the scaly patches.
Conventional Treatment Treats the Symptoms Not the CauseWhile there is no conventional "cure" for psoriasis, treatment aimed at reducing symptoms includes the application of cortisone creams (corticosteroids, with their attendant nasty side effects), Vitamin D, coal tar, and tree bark extracts. Additionally, some lifestyle moves are recommended, such as increased (though not excessive) exposure to sunlight, maintaining skin moisture after bathing, avoiding scratching or itching, eschewing most cosmetics, using ultraviolet units, and soaking in a bath infused with oils or coal tar. If both topical therapy and phototherapy (light therapy) fail, then drugs such as retinoids are sometimes administered. The more common drugs include Psoralens such as Methoxsalen (Oxsoralen-Ultra) and trioxsalen (Trisoralen), which are always combined with light therapy; Etanercept (Enbrel); Methotrexate (Rheumatrex); Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral); and Alefacept (Amevive). Many of these medications have significant, undesirable side effects, including the possibility of birth defects, impaired liver function, and a suppressed immune system.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a chronic skin disease that is most frequently seen in children and infants, but it can last into adulthood or first arise later in life. Eczema makes skin itchy and inflamed; the most common places for its appearance on the body are behind the knees and on the arms.
In addition to sometimes-severe itching (especially at night), Eczema symptoms include red to brownish-gray patches, thick, scaly, or cracked skin, and small raised bumps that might leak fluid and crust over when scratched. Some cases are intermittent and unpredictable, with symptoms subsiding for as long as several years.
Conventional treatment for eczema comprises several varieties of medication, such as corticosteroid creams or ointments; antibiotics; antihistamines like Diphenhydramine (Benadryl); oral corticosteroids such as prednisone; and immunomodulators such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) - as well as light therapy (phototherapy).
Conventional Treatment Treats the Symptoms Not the Cause
There are a vast number of homeopathic remedies for skin conditions. So many variables come into play when selecting a remedial treatment, including the exact nature of the skin disruption and its precise location on the body, whether it's itchy or painful, the patient's other presenting problems (is the rash accompanied by a headache or gastronomical disturbance, for example); the selection process is subtle and complex. Some of the more common homeopathic remedies for skin diseases include Graphites [Graph], Arsenicum. [Ars], Antimonium crudum, Natrum muriaticum, Mezereum. [Mez], Rhus toxicodendron. [Rhus-t], Psorinum. [Psor], Oleander. [Olnd], Ranunculus bulbosus. [Ran-b], Apis mellifica. [Apis], Hepar sulphur. [Hep], and Kali muriaticum. [Kali-m].