J, female, 28. J had had eczema on and off for 10 years. It flared up badly 6 months ago in January on a school trip, when it was cold and she was stressed and eating more dairy and sugary food then. She had been given Prednisolone 30mg to take for 6 weeks, and another 6 weeks. The eczema mostly cleared. But as soon as the steroids were stopped her eczema had come back with a vengeance. It was everywhere-face, chest, back, arms, legs. The itching was so bad that she had to take antihistamines and use steroid cream. In Chinese medicine, it is the damp heat that needs to be cleared. I didn’t want to add stress for her to boil up the dried herbs so I prescribed the powder and tablets. To my surprise her skin improved straightaway and continued to improve. Her eczema completely cleared after 3 months. She gradually came off the antihistamines, which can be addictive too in my opinion. She came back a couple of times to request more herbs for minor flare ups.
Topical steroid withdrawal
K, 33, female. K had eczema as a child. It had flared up badly in the past 5 years.The increasing use of steroid creams were having decreasing effect. 6 months ago she decided to go "cold turkey" and came off the steroid creams and she was suffering horribly with bright red, burning skin, pain and itching, mainly on her face and neck. She is asthmatic too.
The reason for Topical steroid withdrawal is that one of the ways that steroids work is by constricting blood vessels, when you withdraw the steroid the blood vessels don't just go back to their normal diametre, they get even wider, which causes the redness and flushing. She emailed me from India two weeks after her first session of acupuncture and taking herbs, "within a week of taking the herbs I have seen a big big improvement!! It is still dry and red but no way near as bad and it is improving by the day." K's withdrawal symptoms completely went and her eczema cntinued to improve and only needed minial herbs to maintain.
C, femaile, 51. Four months ago C developed rosecea around her eyes, forehead and scalp. Her skin was generally dry, her energy was low and she felt anxious. After taking Doxycycline for 3 months the rosacea was still red, sore and burning. I think her skin condition and her general health symptoms are connected to her perimanopause/hormone imbalance. From Chinese medicine perspective when women approach menopause Yin becomes deficient and Liver heat increases. After taking some Chinese herbs her skin dramatically improved. She was able to go out in the sun without the scalp burning too much. She was pleased that her anxiety went too. She still comes sometimes to maintain her general health.
L, female, 34. She had suffered from acne since she was a teenager. The contraceptive pill helped to keep it under control till 2 years ago when she developed a Lupus like condition and had to stop the Pill. Her acne flared up bably 6 months ago.It was on her back, face. After 3 months on herbs and some acupuncture her acne almost cleared, including her back, which had never cleared even when she was on the Pill. She noticed stress and certain food/drinks such as alcohol, too much diary trigger the acne flare up. She comes to collect some herbs for occasional flare ups.
Itchy skin (Pruritis)
H, female, 97. H had been suffering fom dry itchy skin for 5 years. Dry cough for 6 months. She came to me after reading an article on Chinese herbs successfully treating skin conditions. I explained that her itchy skin was due to the dryness/dehydration/ undernourishment, which was caused by natural ageing process, possibly as well as her long term use of Bendroflumethiazide. She decided to stop taking Bendroflumethiazide and minitor her blood pressure. Both the itching and cough improved sooner after taking herbs. Her BP was within the normal range. She comes to collect herbs from time to time to maintain her conditions.