4 amazing natural remedies for eczema July 16, 2015 12:42
After our earlier post here on what natural goodness helped cure kiddo’s eczema, there has been a lot of interest in the other natural eczema remedies we mentioned. So here, as promised, is our follow-up blog post.
Why did we prefer these remedies to commercial or prescription lotions or creams, you ask? Again, it has to do with our preference for natural when natural works just as well (if not, better!) than artificial. With delicate newborn skin already so irritated, we didn’t want to pile on more potentially irritating chemicals. And we absolutely loved that these remedies were good (and safe!) enough to eat!
So here's sharing our 4 favourite natural eczema remedies!
1. Chamomile baths
Steep your child in chamomile tea!
We all know about chamomile’s calming properties at bedtime, but who’d have known they work for soothing the skin too? Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate skin irritation and ease the itch of eczema.
We used the chamomile bath on kiddo every day – even when we went on holiday (I really didn’t want to deal with flare-ups when abroad!).
Here’s the simple recipe –
Give the flowers a rinse to reduce unwanted residue. Put them in the pot and add water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower heat. Brew for at least 15 minutes (I’d usually go for an hour). Let cool before adding to bathwater.
If you look around, advice differs on how to make the bath (whether to brew the flowers or just steep them in boiled water, for how long etc) but this is what worked best for us and is what, to us, is the most efficacious use of the flowers.
Where to buy: You can buy chamomile tea leaves or bags easily at supermarkets in Singapore. If you’re looking for dried flowers, you might need to head to iHerb.
Japanese honeysuckle (also known in Mandarin as jin yin hua) is a Chinese medicinal herb that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Now we’re no TCM expert but we were told by a wise old woman that you can’t use this everyday because it is pretty potent, so we kept this only for the occasional eczema flare-up. When a flare-up occurred, we would do this bath for 3 consecutive days (or alternate days) before stopping. And we definitely found this to give speedy resolution for the redness and itchiness!
Here’s the simple recipe –
Same instructions as for the chamomile bath!
Where to buy: You can buy Japanese honeysuckle at Chinese medicinal shops in Singapore (we used Hock Hua) but you may have to ask for it with its Mandarin name.
3. Lavender essential oil
More floral relief! Similar to chamomile, lavender calms for sleep and soothes the skin. Lavender essential oil has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and are great in the first aid kit for insect bites and burns!
As with all essential oil usage on baby, dilute dilute dilute! We add a few drops to a full dropper bottle of virgin coconut oil. And yes, this is the same bottle of VCO that we used religiously as described in the earlier blog post here.
(After kiddo’s first year, we stopped with the lavender because his eczema had already improved so much – so we know that VCO continues to work independently too!)
Where to buy: Essential oils are easily available at departmental stores or essential oil specialists.
4. Raw unrefined shea butter
Extracted from African karite trees, shea butter is rich in Vitamins A and E, and is known for its healing properties.
It is an incredibly thick and effective natural skin balm, that is solid at room temperature (and we’re talking equatorial climes here) but melts to a usable texture as you work it in your hands. It has a fairly intense smell, which I would term smoky – but frankly, I didn’t care about its scent as long as it worked. (But maybe try mixing in some lavender essential oil if it bothers you!)
To me, this was too rich to slather all over the body (that’s what the VCO is for!) so I only used dabs of shea butter on kiddo’s eczema patches.
Get it in its raw unrefined form for maximum skin-loving benefit.
(And remember what I said earlier about loving that the remedies are pure enough to eat? Well, shea butter has long been used in cooking in Africa!)
Where to buy: There is a shea butter specialist store in town, and there’s iHerb.
Now, the curious thing about eczema is that one man’s meat is another man’s poison when it comes to its 'cures' – there are some well-known natural eczema remedies that just didn’t work for kiddo. Like an oatmeal bath we tried which just made him itch more (a check with a naturopath confirmed that it happens), and tea tree essential oil which seemed to irritate his skin!
We also heard it said that a remedy may work for a while and then stop working so you may need to keep trying new things, but this hasn’t been the case for kiddo – all the abovementioned remedies worked from the beginning and continued to work throughout the mercifully-short lifespan of his eczema.
So do try these natural remedies out and tell us how they work for you!
A healthy home makes a healthy family! If you are looking to detox your household routine, check out our tried-and-tested list of effective yet natural cleaning recipes here!