Do you know what your body's largest organ is? Surprise, it's not the brain—it's your skin! That's right, your skin makes up about 16% of your body weight, and for most adults, that's a hefty 20 pounds or more. But what happens when your skin isn't at its best? Enter eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is an umbrella term for various inflammatory skin disorders, often accompanied by itching, redness, and swelling. Some types, like atopic dermatitis, come from within, while others, like contact dermatitis (think poison ivy), result from external sources. In the U.S., eczema affects approximately 10-20% of infants and around 3% of adults and children. And guess what? It's on the rise.
The Root of Skin Woes
Proponents of natural healing argue that inflammatory skin diseases are rooted in the accumulation of waste materials within the body, leading to skin irritation and persistent inflammation. But here's the good news: these conditions often respond to the same basic treatments.
Antioxidants for Skin Health
Antioxidants are the stars of the show in the world of skin health. Foods like purple berries, carrots, tomatoes, kale, squash, and pumpkin can do wonders for your skin. Ever heard of glucoraphanin? Found in broccoli, cauliflower, and mustard greens, it transforms into antimicrobial raphanin and sulforaphane—both with skin-healing benefits. Green veggies, like spinach, bring a potent anti-inflammatory punch. Spinach is packed with folate, a B vitamin that promotes cellular repair and reduces fine lines.
Meet Gotu Kola: The Skin Savior
In Asia, gotu kola has been a go-to for skin issues for centuries. It stimulates hair and nail growth, increases blood supply to connective tissues, and promotes protein growth in the skin. Gotu kola doesn't just heal; it regenerates even the most stubborn scars and painful lesions.
Scientific Support Recent studies back this up. European and Indian researchers found that gotu kola compounds promote rapid wound healing. A clinical trial involving 360 eczema patients showed significant improvements in every symptom. Triterpenes, steroid-like compounds in gotu kola, enhance collagen function and support the skin's structural integrity.
How to Use Gotu Kola
For acute eczema, brew one to two ounces of dry herb as a tea daily. To maintain healthy skin, make gotu kola a part of your daily beverage routine.
Calendula: Nature's Healing
Marigold Calendula, a simple garden marigold, is a potent remedy. The German Commission E even approves calendula flower ointment for poorly healing wounds. In a clinical trial, calendula ointment outperformed a topical eczema drug, reducing inflammation symptoms and minimizing serious skin damage. Calendula is an excellent option for preventing skin inflammation, with fewer side effects compared to other drugs.
In the journey to calm and soothe eczema, nature offers powerful allies. Explore the benefits of these herbs and discover the path to healthier, happier skin. Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore the wonders of herbal healing this Fall!
Visit the Functional Nutrition Program for Health Care Professionals at Portland Community College to learn more about our program and sign up.