Your skin is an amazing part of your body. It is the largest organ in your body, and as well as protecting you, it also interacts with many other systems such as the digestive system. Skin conditions can be complex and involve many factors. This page explains how a medical herbalist could help you.
Some common skin conditions treated:
How skin conditions may be affecting you
It can be frustrating when a condition such as eczema or athletes foot keeps recurring, or affects self-esteem by being disfiguring as in certain cases of psoriasis or acne.
Skin conditions can be difficult to treat using modern medicine alone as the approach is often symptomatic and can have side effects. The use of steroid creams are effective at treating the symptom of itching for example, but over time may affect the integrity of the skin it is applied to, which could interfere with the skin’s own healing process.
A medical herbalist may be able to help heal your skin condition, rather than just treat the symptoms. Their approach to treating skin conditions is specifically designed for your particular symptoms and needs. They will look into how your condition occurred, and at your diet and lifestyle. They will then tailor medicine to meet your individual needs as explained in the general approach below. You are encouraged to become involved in the healing process and learn more about the condition by asking questions therefore empowering you to help heal yourself.
Medical Herbalist’s General Approach
Taking a thorough case history
The Medical Herbalists’ general approach to treating skin conditions is to look thoroughly into the individual case, and your over-all health. They will ask a lot of questions about the condition itself; getting a real picture of how it came about, and exactly how the symptoms occur and affect you.
A detailed look at diet
Looking at the diet and digestion are an important approach as this may affect certain conditions. For example a diet missing in essential fatty acids (fats found in fish and nuts) may interfere with the body’s ability to cope with inflammation, due to conditions such as allergic reaction as in some cases of atopic dermatitis, which is an inflammation of the skin.
Seeing a medical herbalist will help to determine how your diet is affecting your skin; informing you and adding this into your specific treatment.
A look at lifestyle
Looking at lifestyle factors such as occupation and stress levels is another important aspect of the medical herbalist’s approach. Prolonged stress levels may cause or aggravate an inflammatory skin condition by its effect on the immune inflammatory response.
Treat everyone as an individual
What works for one person may not work for another; therefore a medical herbalist will approach each patient individually and treat them as such, and not simply approach the condition. The trained medical herbalist will detect the differences in appearance that the same condition can have depending on your constitution, or your body’s natural disposition to health and disease; and would adjust treatment depending on this.
For example eczema can present in one person as very hot, intensely itchy and may excrete fluid. This person may have a different constitution to someone whose eczema presents as dry, flaky skin which may be itchy but not so intense. Although both are “eczema” they will be treated with herbs and dietary advice in a different way.
Treat the symptoms and the cause
The herbalist may make up a cream for example for the topical treatment of the symptoms of itchy fungal infections, but also give an internal treatment for the fungus causing the problem. If stress were a factor causing psoriasis the herbalist would treat with herbs to help lower the affect of this.