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| Baby’s Eczema and Wheezing |
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: February 07, 2005
I need to know something about treatment with herbs.for eczema and chest congestion at the same time. My five months old baby has eczema all over her body including scalp. She scratches herself and then bleeds. She has extremely dry skin so she could not sleep at night and used to wake up and scratch herself. She has chest congestion also. We live in the northern area which is very cold. Please suggest something which is easy for me to do as have to take care of three young children. Currently I am applying cetaphil cream and olive oil. I have tried aloe for her it worked well but I noticed that it aggravates her chest congestion. Please let me know how often I should use herbs and how? I am quite interested in using herbs but don’t know how. She is not allergic to food that I know of. The doctor gave her very strong cortizone but it has side effects. The eczema has gone in to her eyes. It is the reaction of strong cortisone. That’s why I am against of that medication.
Wheezing indicates obstruction of the bronchial tubes, in your baby’s case, probably due to inflammation caused by asthma, which has likely been caused or worsened by the steroids used for the eczema.
Both eczema and asthma are hypersensitivity reactions. In babies, they are often caused by cow’s milk formula or by soy milk formula. A child’s digestive system doesn’t fully develop until age 1 or 2. A large protein in cow’s milk products seeps through to the blood stream causing an allergic reaction. Since 60% of the immune system is located in the intestine, an unhealthy intestine means poor immunity. Soy milk is known to cause allergic reactions in children. If you are using either soy or dairy formulas, the first step in getting rid of the allergy is to eliminate these products. Usually, goat’s milk or rice milk is used as a substitute. Consult with a children’s hospital for advice. A good children’s research hospital will have seen many of these cases, and know that the diet is implicated. I also suggest that you consult with a qualified natural health practitioner, such as a medical or clinical herbalist or a naturopath, to help you to develop a diet and to follow the progress of your child.
Other causes of eczema and asthma are allergens such as animals, pollution, perfume or dust. These are aggravated by tension and cold. Food allergens other than daily and soy that may cause the hypersensitivity reactions are fatty meat, eggs, oranges and chocolate. All food additives are toxins to the system, and especially harmful to the young.
Diet changes are usually the most effective way to improve health in hypersensitivity reactions. The diet should be high in fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid all sugar because it is known to decrease immunity. Choose food that is based on whole brown rice, since rice is the most easily tolerated. Wheat can cause congestion. Pureed leafy greens, prunes and apricots provide calcium. Since dairy and whole grains are our major dietary source of calcium, it is advisable to ensure other sources are given. A baby’s vitamin formula may be necessary at this time.
Herbs that will speed the healing process are clivers (Galium aparine) to clear lymphatic toxins, plantain (Plantago lanceolata) as an antihistamine, soothing blood tonic and lymphatic, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) to calm the baby, decrease inflammation and improve the digestive system and elderflower (Sambuca nigra) to reduce inflammation. These are safe herbs for babies and children.
These herbs are best taken as alcoholic tinctures, available from a health food store. The amount of alcohol in the small dosages required is not harmful. You can mix the tincture dose with a favourite food or drink. The dosage for 4 to 6 months is 4 DROPS, three times a day, which is 4 to 5 ml per week. For the herbs recommended above, equal amounts of the tinctures would be mixed together first, then 4 drops of the mixture given three times a day. This is 4 to 5 ml a week total intake of tinctures.
It may take up to 2 months for your baby’s skin to clear once food sensitivities are removed from his diet. Washing your baby’s body with a tea made from chickweed or plantain (Plantago major or P. lanceolata) is soothing and healing. Creams made of calendula, comfrey and Aloe vera are useful for itchy, irritated skin. Calendula is anti-inflammatory, and helps to heal damaged skin. Aloe vera is soothing, healing and anti-itch. Calendula, comfrey and aloe creams are available at health food stores. Check that the creams contain no additives. Extra virgin olive oil is soothing and protecting.
When the hypersensitivity reactions have cleared and your child’s digestive system has fully developed, you may be able to slowly reintroduce your child to dairy and wheat. You would introduce only one new food at a time, including a small amount once every three days to watch for a reaction.