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Chinese Medicine Eczema Diet

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition, also known as atopic dermatitis. While you may have tried topical creams to help calm the inflammation and itchiness, this does not get to the root cause of eczema. Dietary habits can directly affect the health of your skin and improve the symptoms of different kinds of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, nummular eczema, and dyshidrotic eczema. Although eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp.

 

Chinese Medicine’s View on Eczema

Eczema is a skin ailment that is thought to be caused by a combination of internal organ disharmony and external pathogenic factors in Chinese medicine. The root cause of eczema is said to be a weak digestive system which causes a build up of dampness-heat in the body, as a result, the body contracts external ‘wind,’ which manifests as eczema. The most common reason of a weakened digestive system is an unhealthy lifestyle such as diet. 


When there is a buildup of dampness and a blood deficiency, organ disharmony can arise. The spleen and lung are the major internal organs linked to eczema. Internal organ disharmony combined with external factors such as pathogenic ‘wind’ and ‘heat’ can trigger symptoms of eczema such as dry skin, rash, itching. 

 

  • Pathogenic Dampness: Another common pattern associated with eczema in Chinese Medicine is “dampness”. Dampness can result from a poor diet eating foods that are too raw, cold, sweet, or damp forming foods . Learn more about damp diet here. The spleen is in charge of transforming food into useful components like as qi and blood, which nourish our bodies. When the spleen is weakened by an unbalanced diet, too much cold/cold food,  nutrients are converted into internal dampness rather than Qi and blood.

 

When internal dampness accumulates in the body for a long time, it causes internal heat.

 

  • Pathogenic Heat:  In Chinese medicine, one common pattern associated with eczema is ‘heat’, heat in the lungs to be more specific. If left untreated over time this will weaken the Lung Qi which can lead to further weakness in the immune system. Heat is characterised by redness and irritation. Heat can dry out fluids that moisturise the skin, therefore causing dry, cracked and itchy skin.

 

  • Pathogenic Wind: You may find that eczema flare-ups occur more frequently or get worse in the winter and spring months. Because there is more wind in the weather during these months, chronic eczema patients are more likely to experience recurring episodes of eczema. Itching is the most common symptom of this pattern. 

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Eczema Diet : Chinese Medicine Recommendation 

Chinese Medicine views diet for eczema in a very different light. Yes, Chinese medicine agrees that increasing natural foods and limiting processed foods is good but it attributes food as medicine and takes into account the warming and cooling properties of each food. These concepts apply not just to the temperature of the meal, but also to how it moves energy inside your body.

  • Grains and beans : Mung beans, tofu, barley, buckwheat, brown rice. These can clear heat, reduce skin inflammation and detox the body. Research has shown the benefits of mung beans their contribution to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activities.
  • White Fish:  Fatty fish, such as salmon and herring. Research has shown Omega 3 in fish oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory. 
  • Fruits: Watermelon, pears, persimmons, bitter melon. These fruits with cooling properties can eliminate toxic heat and calm symptoms of eczema. 
  • Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, chinese cabbage, celery, kelp, lettuce, horseradish, button mushrooms. Flavonoid in fruits and vegetables are a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine. This means it can reduce inflammation as well as levels of histamine in your body.
  • Soups: Bone broth, miso soup. Bone broth especially can be nutritious and healing for eczema. 

Depending on the diagnosis by your Chinese Medicine practitioner, the patterns observed and the root cause of eczema such as heat or dampness the dietary advice can differ. 

 

Foods to avoid if you have Eczema : 

  • Shellfish: According to Chinese medicine, shellfish and shrimp are yang (warm) foods that easily create wind, which can cause skin itching.
  • Spices and spicy food: One of the properties of spices is the potential to absorb fluid which is the body’s supply of yin. Yin is what keeps the skin moisturized and healthy. 
  • Avoid lamb: As lamb can be too heating and will make skin conditions redder more irritated.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

2 Comments

  • Sharon McIlwaine says:

    Hello! Is the Eczema diet, the same for psoriasis?

    • GinSen Team says:

      Yes only if your condition is caused by dampness and heat in Chinese medicine. We will soon posting a psoriasis diet article, feel free to come back check on the newest article later !

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