Homeopathy is a type of alternative medicine dating back to the 18th century. It’s based on the idea that a tiny, diluted amount of a substance that causes symptoms in a healthy person may be used to treat a sick person. The second idea behind homeopathy is that the greater the dilution, the more potent the substance. This goes against what we learned in chemistry class but is based on the essence of something getting stronger.
Eczema is a common skin condition that’s often seen in children but can also occur in adults. There are seven types of eczema. Each one has its own separate set of triggers. Some types are caused by allergies, while others are caused by irritants and health conditions.
General symptoms include:
- itchy skin, which may become intense
- scaly, dry skin
There are a number of different homeopathic treatments that can be used for eczema. Keep in mind that these remedies contain extremely diluted doses. Some of these treatments include:
- Arsenicum album. This is often recommended for people with dry, itchy, burning skin. It’s best used for eczema that comes in patches.
- Calcarea carbonica. This is best for people who experience eczema that’s made worse by winter weather.
- Hepar sulphuris calcareum. This may be used by people who experience chronic soreness and infection with their eczema. Some common indications include chapped skin on the hands and feet, slow-healing cracks in the skin, and irritability.
- Mezereum. This remedy is recommended for those whose eczema tends to involve blisters that crust and cause a severe itch.
- Rhus toxicodendron. This remedy may treat people who experience eczema that appears similar to blistering with incredibly itchy areas.
- Sulphur. Sulphur may be used for eczema that burns, itches, and is inflamed. It’s recommended for people whose eczema symptoms are especially stubborn. It can be applied with cleansers or ointments. It may be the most commonly used homeopathic remedy.
Homeopathy has been observed to relieve eczema and other conditions in some people. Both anecdotal evidence and clinical studies support these claims. Many people use homeopathic treatments for eczema. However, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of some treatments.
In one German study from 2008, 225 children were treated homeopathically with a variety of remedies. One in every five of these children was experiencing eczema at the time. This study found that the largest improvements were observed within the first three months. The children’s symptoms were relieved within two years and prescription medications were reduced. After the study ended, 69 percent of the participants went on to continue homeopathic treatments.
A 36-month study of 135 children with atopic eczema found no significant difference in the groups treated conventionally versus homeopathically. Researchers concluded that homeopathic results weren’t necessarily superior to conventional. They also concluded that while homeopathic treatments are effective, they’re more expensive.
While more research is needed, treating skin problems with homeopathy is not uncommon, and poses little risk if done properly.
Many people who seek out homeopathic treatments often wish to avoid conventional treatments. Eczema is often treated through corticosteroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, and immunosuppressants. These medications may produce unwanted side effects. People who use them may also develop a tolerance over time.
Homeopathic remedies may reduce the need for lotions, creams, and bandages. Alternative and complementary medicine practitioners work to identify the underlying triggers of the eczema. People experiencing eczema can then choose the best approach for their individual condition.
People experiencing eczema shouldn’t try to treat themselves at home. Instead, seek out a professional, trained homeopath to evaluate your condition and help select remedies. The wrong remedy — or even the right one given in too high a dose — can trigger a skin eruption. Always work with a professional to minimize reaction risk.
Critics of homeopathy believe there’s no scientific basis for the remedies and that some may be dangerous. Homeopathic remedies must be FDA-approved just like any other drug on the market. Research any remedies carefully and seek guidance from a homeopathy practitioner.
The decision to treat your eczema with homeopathy depends on a number of different factors. These include your lifestyle choices, financial constraints, and healthcare preferences.
While homeopathic remedies can relieve eczema symptoms, their results seem to be similar to conventional treatments. Homeopathic treatments should be administered by a licensed healthcare professional. See a licensed homeopathy practitioner to help choose which remedies are right for you.