Last week, I posted about an eczema flareup I had on my hands. My eczema was getting really bad (impeding everyday activities) and I was worried how bad it would get before it would get better. In the past, when it reached that point, I would have already seen a dermatologist and gotten a prescription ointment to use that would clear it right up. Treating the symptoms, not the issue. As I mentioned in my post last week, I’m determined to heal this the natural way. I’m fascinated by herbal medicine. Most health issues and diseases are due to inflammation. I truly believe herbs, plants, and flowers have the power to heal most ailments—especially skin ailments—and I know something I try will work.
I saw my acupuncturist late last week and she ordered a custom-made formula of crushed up herbs in powder form for me to pick up at an apothecary in Oakland. The formula contains different Chinese herbs that relieve itch and clear heat from eczema. Don’t ask me what’s in it because it’s all written in the Latin names! All I know is it smells like a fireplace (not complaining—I love that smell) and I think one of the ingredients is Chinese rhubarb—Da Huang.
The powder formula without water:
I was supposed to add warm water and soak my hands in the formula 15-20 minutes 4-5 times a day until the eczema cleared. I wanted to get a good jumpstart on healing, so I soaked my hands for 20 minutes, 5 times a day for the first two days. And guess what happened? Improvement! Nothing earth-shattering and I have a feeling this is going to take a loooong time to heal completely, but improvement nonetheless. My hands didn’t feel so on fire and I could see thin layers of skin growing over my cuts. The swelling went down, my skin wasn’t pulled so taught, and I gained flexibility back in my fingers. The formula definitely soothes my hands.
With water (love how it formed a heart on the right hand side):
I use a washcloth to soak up the mixture, then use it as a compress on my hands.
The herbs stain my hands yellow, so I have a perpetual yellow tint on my hands at the moment. After the first two days, I got tired of soaking my hands so much (it did take up nearly two hours of my day!), so I whittled down to 4 times a day for the next two days, then 3 times a day and now I’m down to 2 times a day. I think there’s new skin growing on my hands because they’re scaly, flaky, and peeling. I feel like a snake shedding its skin!
Still red, but not so hot and irritated feeling:
My acupuncturist also gave me a juice recipe to try with mung beans, celery, bok choy, bitter melon, and other good stuff to clear heat. I haven’t tried that yet because I don’t want to try too many things all at once and if something works, not know which remedy worked. I’ll probably try it next week though and give you an update on how that goes. Even though I’m not allowed to eat any grains at the moment, I got the go-ahead from my nutritionist to try oats since they’re the most benign of all the grains and can help soothe skin. I’ll try those sometime soon too. Like I said—one thing at a time, though. Maybe I’ll try oats before the juice because I love oatmeal and it’s been two years since I’ve had it.
In other news, you know how I mentioned my nutritionist was going off my insurance list mid-June and I was going to start seeing a gastroenterologist instead? Apparently the insurance thing only applies to new patients, not current patients—at least for the time being. That’s great news because I’ve been seeing my nutritionist for nearly two years (acupuncture 1.5 years) and I was really disappointed about having to stop treatment midstream. I contemplated canceling my appointment with the gastroenterologist, but decided to keep it and get a second opinion on my health issues.
Okay, long health update over. I’m just so happy that these herbs are working!