Managing Eczema With Native Plants – Aotea Store

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Managing Eczema With Native Plants

Eczema (scientifically known as atopic dermatitis) is a condition that is characterized by red and itchy skin. It is a chronic condition which flares periodically. There has been no cure found but there are ways to treat and minimize it.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown but there seems to be a strong genetic link as it typically occurs in families with atopic diseases such as eczema, asthma and allergies. Recent research has shown mutations in the gene for a protein which is important in building a healthy skin barrier have been described in some of the more severe cases. People can have unique or specific triggers which make their eczema flare and these include allergens, chemical irritants (e.g. some soaps, household cleaning products and even the type of laundry powder used to wash clothes) and even emotional factors like stress triggering the condition.

Our skin acts as a natural barrier helping protect the body from environmental challenges.  Any factor which disrupts the ability of the skin to protect the body can result in the loss of moisture, causing dryness and allowing entry to allergens, irritants and bacteria, which produce inflammation and infection.

Some of the factors or triggers are:

  • Factors that cause the skin to become dry
  • A family history of the disease
  • A personal history of asthma or food allergies
  • Immune system disorders
  • Chemical and bacterial irritants
  • Emotional stress

Treating eczema naturally

Kawakawa is a helpful treatment for eczema because of the anti-inflammatory compounds contained in the plant. The chemical compound myristicin seeps into the skin, dulling the pain (having an analgesic effect) and destroying the toxins. 

Kawakawa reduces anti-inflammation markers, like nitric oxide, in your skin cells. So it's amazing for treating swelling and flare ups caused by eczema.  Also - eugenol, an antiseptic chemical, is an active compound existing in kawakawa that can naturally kill bacteria. Kawakawa Balm has shown to be an effective and natural way of relieving eczema symptoms, as the strong anti-inflammatory properties can reduce itching and pain.

Kumarahou contains natural saponins. Saponins form soapy lather when mixed with water. This allows you to wash off grease, grime and the associated bacteria. Many commercial hand washes contain synthetic ingredients, which don’t gel well with your skin. They can lead to dryness and itching.

The nectar of the mānuka flower contains a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, which becomes methylglyoxal during the honey-making process. Methylglyoxal is highly anti-bacterial. Much of the pain of eczema comes from bacteria infesting the wounded skin, which mānuka can naturally reduce.