Medicinal herbs for eczema treatment focus primarily on the underlying causes and most herbal practitioners view eczema as a symptom of not only one but rather numerous other health-related ailments.
There are many medicinal herbs for eczema that have a great reputation as a treatment but which one to choose will vary depending on the underlying cause.
Causes such as allergies, food sensitivities, stress, poor digestion, sluggish liver, and bowel function and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to an outbreak of eczema.
Herbal remedies for eczema will usually both involve herbal preparations topically to ease any discomfort and internally to treat the underlying causes.
Topically, herbs for eczema will usually combine antiseptic herbs and herbs that soothe the inflamed area.
Internally, herbs for eczema treatment will mostly address digestion with a focus on improving the function of the liver and the gut wall to boost the body’s natural absorption and elimination by improving the digestion.
Commonly Available Herbs for Eczema
Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) resin has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
The active constituents, boswellic acids, reduce the formation of inflammatory leukotrienes.
This resin is often indicated in the natural treatment of many inflammatory conditions including eczema. (1)
By supporting adrenal function, licorice (Glcyrrhiza glabra) may help in improving energy levels and general well-being during times of stress.
In addition, licorice is also a mild laxative that supports digestion.
Licorice root is also an effective anti-inflammatory herb that will sooth eczema from within. (2)
Topically, sage (Salvia officinalis) is an effective antipruritic (relieves itching), and often combined with soothing herbs, such as marshmallow that helps to relieve irritated and itchy skin.
A good topical herbal preparation will also have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory herbs as part of a total skin preparation to ease the symptoms of eczema. (3)
Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is an effective topical antibacterial agent, mainly due to its berberine content.
When used in combination with marshmallow to soothe inflamed skin it will reduce inflammation.
Internally, goldenseal has historically been called the “King of Tonics”, and is used as an antibiotic and liver tonic.
This herb will increase bile production which acts to detoxify the body by increasing elimination. (4)
Evening primrose oil (EPO) (Oenothera biennis) is high in essential fatty acid, called gamma linoleic acid (GLA).
It is a very effective anti-inflammatory herb that, like licorice, will soothe the gut and eczema lesions as part of a total approach to treating eczema. (5)
Burdock, Yellow Dock, and Dandelion
Burdock (Arctium lappa), yellow dock (Rumex crispus), and dandelion (Taraxicum officinalis) are referred to as “blood purifiers”; working to improve digestive function by increasing bile output from the gallbladder into the small intestine.
Many traditional herbalists will prescribe these herbs for eczema together as an overall tonic for the liver and gallbladder.
Blood purifiers are also referred to as restoratives where they assist the body in healing itself and addressing the underlying cause of many conditions, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne.
Secondly, these blood purifying herbs are thought to improve the quality of digestions and efficiency of the digestive system and in combination with a low allergen diet to decrease the absorption of allergens from the diet and increase the quality of what is absorbed. (6)(7)
Calendula (Calendula officinalis), also known as pot marigold, is another plant that may be useful as a treatment for eczema.
The plant native to the Mediterranean countries and it is a popular garden plant because of its beautiful yellow flowers.
It has been used in traditional herbal medicine for centuries, mainly as a remedy for healing wounds, bruises, rashes, and dermatitis.
The plant is regarded to have anti-inflammatory properties due to its content of flavonoids and triterpenes. (8)
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is another herb that has been used for a long time as a relief for various skin ailments.
It is the bark and leaves of this shrub native to North America that is used for medicinal purposes.
The plant has an astringent effect and some studies indicate that it might be useful as a treatment for eczema. (8)
Other Natural Herbs for Eczema
- Marshmallow Root – (Althea officinalis)
- Witch Hazel – (Hamamelis virginiana)
- Slippery Elm – (Ulmus rubra)
- Pau d’Arco – (Tabebuia avellanedae)
- Chickweed – (Stellaria media)
- Black Walnut – (Juglans nigra)
- Yarrow – (Achillea millefolium)
- Agrimony – (Agrimonia eupatoria)
- Oregon Grape – (Berberis aquifolium)
- Lavender – (Lavandula officinalis)
- Calendula – (Calendula officinalis)
- Vervain – (Verbena officinalis)
- Self Heal – (Prunella vulgaris)
- Borage – (Borago officinalis)
- Amur Cork Tree – (Phellodendron amurense)
- Common Mallow – (Malva sylvestris)
- Brooklime – (Veronica beccabunga)
- Styrax Benzoin – (Styrax benzoin)
- Bergamot – (Citrus bergamia)
- Blackberry – (Rubus fruticosus)
- Great Burnet – (Sanguisorba officinalis)
- Common Figwort – (Sanguisorba officinalis)
- Bogbean – (Menyanthes trifoliata)
- Daisy – (Bellis perennis)
- Greater Celandine – (Chelidonium majus)
- Duckweed – (Lemna minor)
- Purslane – (Portulaca oleracea)
- Cnidium – (Cnidium monnieri)
- Fumitory – (Fumaria officinalis)
High Fiber Diet, Vitamin C, and E and Lots of Water for Natural Treatment of Eczema
Medicinal herbs for eczema work best when combined with a high fiber, low allergy diet. For people afflicted with eczema, chances are that the digestion and liver function are not working at their optimum.
It is often recommended to drink a minimum of eight glasses of filtered water a day and take a supplement containing zinc, vitamin C and E in a formula specially designed for those suffering from eczema. (9)
- Togni, S., Maramaldi, G., Di Pierro, F., & Biondi, M. (2014). A cosmeceutical formulation based on boswellic acids for the treatment of erythematous eczema and psoriasis. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 7, 321–327. doi:10.2147/CCID.S69240.
- Saeedi, Majid & Morteza-Semnani, Katayoun & Ghoreishi, M-R. (2003). The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. The Journal of dermatological treatment. 14. 153-7. 10.1080/09546630310014369.
- Assessment report on Salvia officinalis L., folium and Salvia officinalis L., aetheroleum. European Medicines Agency. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). 2 February 2016 EMA/HMPC/150801/2015.
- Goldenseal – IARC Monographs.
- Bamford JTM, Ray S, Musekiwa A, et al. Oral evening primrose oil and borage oil for eczema. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013;(4):CD004416.
- Chan, Yuk-Shing & Cheng, Long-Ni & Wu, Jian-Hong & Chan, Enoch & Kwan, Yiu-Wa & Lee, Simon & Leung, George & Yu, Peter & Chan, Shun-Wan. (2010). A review of the pharmacological effects of Arctium lappa (burdock). Inflammopharmacology. 19. 245-54. 10.1007/s10787-010-0062-4.
- Shenefelt PD. Herbal Treatment for Dermatologic Disorders. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 18.
- Dawid-Pać R. (2013). Medicinal plants used in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 30(3), 170–177. doi:10.5114/pdia.2013.35620
- Tabassum, N., & Hamdani, M. (2014). Plants used to treat skin diseases. Pharmacognosy reviews, 8(15), 52–60. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.125531
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