novice_2009(zone 6b)May 11, 2009

Okay, asking for your input. My husband's excema has gotten really bad again-like most men he wants to act like it's no big deal-i found a few places on him and gasped.

The area is scabbed over! So, what should he do? Go to the doctor and pay $110 for a cortizone shot? Or are there any herbal remedies you know of that could provide fast relief, and/or long-term treatment? Is diet a factor in this? I have access to a lot of herbs, oils, whatnot. I'd like to your opinions and asking you for help. Thanks!

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The NYT recently had an article on this in their Health section.

It has now been reported that bathing in bath water with about a half cup to a cup of chlorine per tubful of water can be helpful to children with eczema.

I assume it might also be helpful to adults.

There is a long thread on this that has quite a few recommendations in it you might also want to check out.

As a skin moisturizer, Cetaphyl skin cleanser is pretty helpful as well.

I also found an herbal salve sold at Rite Aide that is helpful, which I think I gave id info about in the other thread.

I think the medical community is beginning to suspect that eczema may in some cases be triggered by an allergic reaction to staph aureus, the same germ that can evolve into a resistant version called MRSA. It is naturally present on the skin of most people.

There has been advice put out to not use less than a 3% solution of tea tree oil because it could provoke staph to develop such resistance. I suspect that herbal remedies in general should be used with care for that condition, especially ones with the potential to actually kill organisms.

Hope your DH's condition improves for him.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 7:39PM
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Hi novice,
I am biased, because I grow it:
Neem ( Azadriachta indica) used for centuries in India for skin
Research has isolated active anti-inflammatory compounds in it that are called "nimbin" & "nimbidin".
Seed oil has kind of pungent aroma, but it is very soothing to the skin.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:14PM
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Skin conditions are often difficult to treat successfully. Omega 3 oils taken internally sometimes help. Consider the possibility of allergies, especially to foods. Might avoid wheat, eggs, and dairy for a few weeks as they are common allergens. Eat a high quality nutritious diet including lots of dark green leafy and red/yellow/orange veggies and avoid prepared foods/junk foods/refined sugars. Avoid detergent soaps. Learn to deal with stress.

Tea tree essential oil according to my info is thot not to cause bacterial resistance to develop. I would think it safer than chlorine bleach.

All the best with this difficult situation. Not easy but can be alleviated.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:30PM
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The problem with Tea Tree is the small amounts that some have apparently been putting into everyday products, which are not enough to kill the germ but instead provoke the germ to become more resistant. The recommendation was to not use a solution with less than 3% Tea Tree oil. The Tea Tree study could probably be Googled rather easily.

Diluted Chlorine is also used in low concentrations in our water supplies to keep our drinking water safe, and some doctors are now suggesting dilutions of it be tried to assist children with the eczema problem. If lesser measures work, so much the better, but it is good to have basic information like this on hand in case things get out of control. Staph colonizes human skin rather readily, and if you are exposed to a bad strain and don't get rid of it quickly you soon find it has colonized your whole body, your pets, your house, and everyone you shake hands with.

It's actually better to try not to challenge staph too much, because it will become more resistant. Tea tree oil has been proven to be one of the things that does that. Natural products which are overused can have the same pitfalls as those produced by Big Pharma in some cases.

I suppose the Tea Tree study could have been overturned by one even more recent, but I doubt it.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 12:14AM
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Eibren, can you please link an independent study which shows what you claim about tea tree? What I have found on the internet are many very questionable studies which makes me wonder who paid for the study.

While I am fully aware of the uses of chlorine, it is not a completely safe chemical to bathe in at higher concentrations.

I'm much more acquainted with testimonials from clients who found tea tree oil very useful for a variety of infections. And I personally have not had any infections in over 10 years which did not respond quickly to tea tree. In fact I have to visit a hospital tomorrow so will be bathing with it as a precaution before entering the doors of that "germ laden" place.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 1:37AM
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I actually tried to find the link last night, but Google was too junked up by links of Tea Tree supporters discounting some other claim against it. I think it was in the NYT online, and you could go to that site and type "tea tree" into their Search function. It should be in the Health section. I doubt NYT would cite a shaky study.

The effectiveness of Tea Tree is apparently the problem with staph. If all of staph is not killed, the surviving organisms breed more. That's how resistance develops. There is some genetic variability, but partial killoffs leave the most resistant ones, which then take over.

From what I have been able to gather, staph has both a "small stage," which makes small colonies, and a "large stage," which makes large ones. Germicidals will make it stay at the small stage until they are not in use, whereupon the large stage takes over. If you are constantly using germicidals incompletely, you are making ourself into a culture medium for a worse staph.

To prevent that, the study recommended not using dilutions of Tea Tree oil of less than 3%.

I have used Tea Tree myself and think it is a wonderful product. I would hate to see it lose its effectiveness by being widely misused.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:20PM
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When I tried to find the NYT article, I used the keywords ""tea tree oil" resistance" and got, among other articles, one about MRSA which appeared to previously have allusions to several herbal oils--but the article itself did not.

Using the same keywords on google got about 44,000 hits, including this:


"Tea tree oil can lead to antibiotic resistance

  1. February 2007 05:07
    Repeated exposure to low doses of Tea Tree Oil - a common ingredient in many beauty products - can increase the chances of suffering from "superbug" infections, University of Ulster scientists have revealed.
    They discovered that exposure to low doses of Tea Tree Oil make pathogens such as MRSA, E. coli and Salmonella more resistant to antibiotics, and capable of causing more serious infections.

Dr Ann McMahon and Professor David McDowell, members of the University's Food Microbiology Research Group, said: "We have been growing pathogens such as MRSA, E-coli and Salmonella in low concentrations of tea tree oil. These concentrations are not sufficient to kill the bacteria, but can switch on their defense mechanisms. Unfortunately, these defense mechanisms have the added effect of making bacteria more resistant to antibiotics, and able to cause "harder to treat" infections."

Tea Tree Oil is used commercially in many products including shampoos, body lotions and toiletries, but there is no legislation requiring manufacturers to state the concentration of tea tree oil in these products. This increases the risks that people will use low concentrations of tea tree oil, which fail to kill bacteria, but increase their resistance to antibiotics. So, if a person uses tea tree oil products on their skin repeatedly, any MRSA on their skin could develop increased resistance to the antibiotics which are used to control MRSA infections.

"The bottom line is that tea tree oil should not be used at low concentrations - less than 4% - to make sure that bacteria are killed, not just stressed. Otherwise we are just arming the bacteria against treatment by antibiotics."

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the scientists said: "Although tea tree oil may be an effective antimicrobial agent when appropriately used at high (bactericidal) concentrations, its application at low (sub-lethal) concentrations may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens".


Since you appear to be a Tea Tree expert, I'll leave it to you from there.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 5:00PM
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About 35 years ago a fellow tried to corner the Tea Tree market, of the time, & guess he wishes now he succeeded considering the market penetration.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Google is almost useless for certain subjects because of the number of copycat sites and advertisers now...and not just for Tea Tree oil. The NYT had a score or so as well.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 1:41AM
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Here's one possibility: a cream made of equal parts beeswax, honey, and olive oil.

  • We have found that a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax was effective for treatment of diaper dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and skin fungal infection. The mixture has antibacterial properties. (


    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:25AM
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To the above salve you can add any of the following: comfrey, plantain, benzoin, myrrh, lavender, calendula, st. johnswort. Soak the dried individual herb in olive oil for 2 weeks in a sunny spot, strain & use the oil in addition to or in place of another oil. As with any herb, test on a small part of your body first to ensure you won't have a reaction to it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:37PM
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novice_2009(zone 6b)

Thanks you guys! BTW, he didn't develop excema until after we married......hmmm. With the economy he's laid off, and working with a friend who owns his own company occasionally to make extra money, and they like to go out for lunch at fast food joints. So, stress and diet are definitely a factor here. Thanks for the salve recipe, I'll try that. Gringo, I have some neem oil myself, as well as powder. I'll see how that helps. I'm also a fan of tea tree oil myself. I believe it to be a little safer than chlorine, which is already present in our water supply. But anyway. So, simplemary, why a solar infusion of the herbs and not in the oven? Do you get better results that way? I have everything you mentioned but the plantain, which if i do a little hunting out on my family's land, i bet i could find no problem. Broadleaf or narrow leaf plantain or does it matter? My myrrh is in little chunks, any idea on how to make it into a powder other than standard mortar and pestle?
apollog, sounds good. Honey is antibacterial. I'll try adding that to the salve. Thanks, you guys are great!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:09PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

As for sodium Hypochlorite (NaClO the active ingredient in Chlorox) is very safe once it has been diluted down to the levels you would get with 1-2 cups in a bathtub. I wouldn't want to get it into my eyes or lungs, but if you have enough antioxidants in your diet to not be in serious health risk you should be able to repair the very minor damage to your lungs caused my the hypochlorite ions.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 5:47PM
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I've had good luck using lotions that have 10% urea in them. I haven't found any at local drugstores, but I've found a few online. Drugstore.com has nutraplus and amazon.com has aqua plus.

I've also made my own by adding urea to just about any lotion. I buy the urea at The Personal Formulator or Soap Goods. The price at Soap Goods is better, but they have a minimum order of $25 (they'll sell smaller orders but add a small order charge).

If you're a little ambitious, you can from scratch and add the urea to it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:00PM
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Hi bpgreen,
Is the idea of adding urea like bush remedy of peeing on skin disorders?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:07PM
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I had a friend who swore wet baby diapers cured everything skin-oriented. She was rather fragrant at times, but did have beautiful skin.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 2:15AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Urea smells better

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 3:47AM
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