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Eczema

Also indexed as:Atopic Dermatitis, Dermatitis
Soothe your eczema irritation. This common skin condition is characterized by dry, itchy skin. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

SupplementAmountWhy
Calendula

(Radiation-Induced Dermatitis)
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis. Breast cancer patients who topically applied calendula had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis.
Chamomile
Apply 5 to 6% herbal extract several times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Topical applications of chamomile have been shown to be moderately effective in the treatment of eczema.
Evening Primrose Oil
Adults: 500 to 1,000 mg a day of GLA; children: proportionately less, according to body weight2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with evening primrose oil can supply anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are missing in many people with eczema.
Fish Oil
Adults: 1,800 mg a day of EPA; children: proportionately less, according to body weight2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with fish oil can supply anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are missing in many people with eczema.
Galacto-oligosaccharides and Fructo-oligosaccharides
90% galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% fructo-oligosaccharides mixture added daily to infant formula 2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, adding a mixture of 90% galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% fructo-oligosaccharides to infant formula prevented the development of eczema in babies who were at high risk of developing eczema.
Probiotics
10 billion colony-forming units daily of lactobacillus-type bacteria2 stars[2 stars]
Pregnant women and newborns who take probiotic supplements may reduce risk of eczema in early life.
St. John’s Wort
Apply a cream containing 5% of an herbal extract standardized to 1.5% hyperforin twice per day2 stars[2 stars]
A topical cream containing St. John’s wort was shown in one study to greatly improve the severity of eczema. The herb appears to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Witch Hazel
Apply 10 to 20% herbal extract two to three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
A cream prepared with witch hazel and phosphatidylcholine has been shown to be effective in the topical management of eczema.
Zemaphyte Chinese Herbal Formula
One or two packets mixed in hot water and taken once daily2 stars[2 stars]
Zemaphyte, a traditional Chinese herbal preparation that includes licorice as well as nine other herbs, has been successful in treating childhood and adult eczema in trials.
Zinc
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
In a preliminary study, eczema severity and itching improved significantly more in the children who received zinc than in the control group.
Burdock
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Burdock has been used historically to treat people with eczema. In traditional herbal texts, burdock root is described as a “blood purifier” or “alterative”41 and was believed to clear the bloodstream of toxins. It was used both internally and externally for eczema and psoriasis, as well as to treat painful joints and as a diuretic.
Calendula
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema.
Chickweed
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema.
Licorice
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Licorice may help eczema through its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to affect the immune system.
Oak
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema.
Oats
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Wild oats have been used historically to treat people with eczema.
Onion
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Onion injections into the skin and topical onion applications have been shown to inhibit skin inflammation in people with eczema, according to one trial.
Red Clover
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Red clover has been used historically to treat people with eczema.
Sarsaparilla
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Sarsaparilla has been used historically to treat people with eczema.
Sea Buckthorn
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Sea buckthorn oil contains large amounts of essential fatty acids that are important to skin health inflammation control.
Shelled Hemp Seed
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Theoretically shelled hemp seed or its oil may be useful for people with eczema due to its essential fatty acid content.
Shiunko
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Shiunko, a Japanese topical ointment, has been reported to help improve eczema symptoms, according to preliminary research.
Vitamin C
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Vitamin C might be beneficial in treating eczema by affecting the immune system.
Vitamin D
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In a preliminary trial, eczema significantly improved in people who had very low blood levels of vitamin D after supplementing with vitamin D.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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