Q: I would like to get some information about natural remedies for eczema. Both my son and my husband have suffered with the condition for years, and we have tried just about everything to heal it without success. Do you have any recommendations?
A: When responding to conditions of the skin, it is always helpful to consider the significance of the Pitta dosha in relation to the problematic symptoms. Ayurveda relates problems of the skin most specifically with the Pitta dosha, as Pitta energy is responsible for metabolizing energy through digestion; faulty digestion can lead to a decreased immune function, and decreased immune function can lead to skin complaints (allergic reactions, hives, etc.).
However, Vata and Kapha energy can be of significance as well. Given the redness, inflammation, and oozing qualities of eczema, this is a condition most predominantly associated with a Pitta imbalance. This imbalance suggests excessive amounts of heat, which leads to irritation in the body. The response, therefore, is to reduce the amount of heat through a Pitta-balancing diet and herbal regimen as well as other therapies.
For your husband and son, consider having them follow a strictly vegetarian diet, as animal protein requires significant digestive fire to be processed which of course adds even more heat and irritation to the system. They should avoid spicy foods, sour foods (like yogurt and pickles), and pungent foods (garlic, onions) as well as coffee and alcohol. Also, have them favor cooling foods, such as white basmati rice, ghee, coconut oil, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, apples, and pears. The can also apply aloe vera gel to the affected areas as well as avoid strenuous exercises that raise the body’s heat.