Wednesday, June 10, 2009

STI: Stop the itch with sufficient sleep

June 7, 2009

Stop the itch with sufficient sleep

By Gerard Yeo

My five-month-old daughter has atopic eczema. Can TCM help?

Atopic eczema is an inflammatory, relapsing and non-contagious skin disease which causes itching.

The skin of eczema sufferers is usually red, flaky and itchy. It is also vulnerable to surface infections caused by bacteria. Affected areas include the head, scalp, neck and the inner sides of elbows, as well as the buttocks and the area behind the knees.

The condition is caused by heart 'fire' and a deficiency in the functions of the spleen and stomach. Insufficient yin and blood and pathogenic factors such as wind, heat and dampness are also responsible.

Chinese medicine and infant tui-na massage can improve your daughter's condition by strengthening her organs and dispelling the pathogenic factors.

Chinese herbs such as Cicada Slough (chantui) and Lightyellow Sophora Root (kushen) are prescribed to reduce itching. To reduce rashes, Honeysuckle Flower (jinyinhua) and Red Peony Root (chishao) are used.

Coix Seed (yiyiren) and Glabrous Greenbrier Rhizome (tufuling) are used to reduce dampness, while Red Peony Root (chishao) and Black Snake (wushaoshe) are used to treat more severe cases of eczema.

Common allergens include food such as nuts, cheese, eggs and wheat. Environmental factors such as dust and change in climate may also trigger eczema.

Make sure she has sufficient sleep to reduce heart 'fire'. Give her small meals throughout the day to strengthen her immune and digestive systems.

This will help prevent the occurrence of flu, asthma and hay fever, which can trigger eczema.

Information provided by Ms Lim Lay Beng, a TCM physician at YS Healthcare TCM Clinic in The Adelphi.

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