There’s little research to support the use of homeopathy to treat eczema. Still, some people say homeopathic therapies like graphites or sulfur may relieve symptoms or reduce flares.
Many people with eczema find it challenging to manage the condition. Because eczema is chronic and causes intermittent flare-ups, some people seek different interventions — including alternative treatment approaches like homeopathy.
But can homeopathy treat or cure eczema?
Homeopathy is a form of complementary or alternative medicine that uses small, diluted doses of a natural substance that causes symptoms to treat those symptoms. The belief is that if large quantities of a substance cause symptoms of a disease, a small, properly diluted amount can help the body heal itself.
Some people tout homeopathy as a remedy for eczema, an inflammatory skin condition that affects an estimated 223 million people worldwide. But there’s hardly any solid scientific evidence that supports the use or effectiveness of homeopathy for treating eczema.
Read on to find out what research says about the use of homeopathy for eczema, if homeopathic products are FDA-approved, and the potential risks of using homeopathy for eczema.
One of the earliest studies on homeopathy for eczema was a
A later review of studies analyzed evidence from controlled clinical trials for homeopathic treatment for all types of eczema. The research indicated that no evidence from the controlled trials proved the efficacy of homeopathy for treating eczema.
A more recent, small
Some homeopathy advocates believe homeopathy can help relieve stress and anxiety, which triggers eczema flare-ups in some people. But a systematic review has shown
What do the experts say?
Other international organizations like the Polish Dermatological Society also
Although the National Eczema Association cautions that there’s not enough research to support alternative therapies like homeopathy, it notes that about half of people with eczema use these treatments.
Here are some homeopathic remedies some people believe can help with eczema:
Dulcamara, also called woody nightshade, is a shrubby perennial plant from the Solanaceae family. It’s a
Graphite is a carbon compound similar to coal. Some people use it to treat dry, cracked, itchy, red skin, as occurs in eczema. A 2020 case report revealed that graphite helped reduce eczema symptoms after several weeks of treatment.
Pine tar (pix liquida)
Homeopaths consider sulfur valuable for treating skin conditions like eczema and acne. A
Other homeopathic remedies with little to no scientific backing include:
- Rhus toxicodendron
- natrum muriaticum
- Arsenicum album
- Calcarea carbonica
- Mercurius solubilis
- barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
Are homeopathic products FDA-approved?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does
- allergic reaction
- widespread skin irritation
- nausea and vomiting
- skin itching
- hair loss
- sneezing and inflammation of the nasal cavity lining (rhinitis)
Also, keep the following in mind when using homeopathic products:
- No government body or agency legally regulates homeopathic practitioners. This means a person without qualifications can claim to be a homeopath.
- There’s no strong scientific evidence that homeopathy is safe or effective for eczema.
- Some homeopathic products may contain high amounts of substances that are not good for your health.
- A homeopathic product may interfere with your doctor’s prescribed medication, reducing its efficacy or causing side effects.
Some natural treatments that may help manage eczema include:
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture, part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), may help reduce skin itching, wheal size, and allergic reaction in people with eczema.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a plant rich in antioxidants that can help heal wounds, regenerate damaged skin, and retain skin integrity.
- Coconut oil: Some people with eczema may benefit from coconut oil because it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, hydrates the skin, reduces itching, and reduces the chances of infection.
- Colloidal oatmeal: Colloidal oatmeal is oat grain ground into a fine powder. It can help your body retain moisture and relieve dry, itchy skin.
Researchershave observed several properties of honey that may help people with eczema, but more research is needed.
- Massage therapy: A gentle, 20-minute massage using a moisturizer may help reduce eczema symptoms by reducing stress and encouraging blood flow.
- Sunflower seed oil: Sunflower oil contains vitamin E, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and sesamol which are all good for your skin. It can help repair your skin barrier and reduce inflammation.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil can reduce eczema symptoms because it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
The FDA and other health bodies don’t recommend the use of homeopathic remedies to treat eczema because there’s no strong scientific proof of its safety or efficacy.
Opting for clinician-approved medications like antihistamines and steroids may be safer. Consider speaking with a doctor or dermatologist before trying any new complementary or alternative therapy for your eczema.