A popular anti-inflammatory plant in Korean medicine proven to be effective in alleviating atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis, otherwise known as eczema, can be very uncomfortable. According to a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Angelicae dahuricae Radix (ADR), a plant used in Korean and Chinese medicine, could be a viable treatment for the condition.
Eczema is a condition that usually occurs in children but can afflict people of any age. Most people know it for causing itchy skin, but it could get worse. It causes the skin in the affected area to dry up and become patchy. In bad cases, bumps that leak fluid may develop. The itch that comes with the condition can be intolerable, too, especially at night.
Atopic dermatitis has no known cure. It is a chronic condition that comes and goes, usually becoming rarer as one grows older. Home remedies and ointments and creams are, so far, the only means to soothe its symptoms and provide comfort to those afflicted with it.
In their study, the authors noted the uncertainty that surrounds the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, but they suggested that inflammation is a probable factor. They offered ADR, used in traditional Korean medicine as a remedy for various skin conditions, as a potential treatment for atopic dermatitis.
The researchers used a mouse model to test the effectiveness of ADR. They induced atopic dermatitis by applying 2, 4-Dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) on the animals’ skin. ADR was then orally administered for two weeks, after which the mice were sacrificed for analysis.
They found that ADR was able to suppress the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. The redness, swelling, and other symptoms related to inflammation subsided after the treatment. This led them to conclude that ADR may indeed be used as a treatment for atopic dermatitis.
Other benefits of ADR
ADR is used not just in Korea, but also in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) where it is known as bai zhi. It is made from the roots of the Angelica, a plant with delicate, white blooms. In TCM, it corresponds to the meridians in the lungs, stomach, and the large intestine.
Known for being “warm,” bai zhi is used for a wide variety of conditions, including the common cold and sinus congestion. It is also sought for common aches and pains, such as head- and toothaches, as well as sore and itchy body parts.
Modern research indicates that it may benefit skin metabolism and promote cell function. But even before these findings, bai zhi had been used as one of the secret ingredients in many Chinese cosmetic formulations for the treatment of acne and blackheads.
Home remedies for eczema
If bai zhi or ADR is not readily available, one can use a number of home remedies for eczema. Here are some of them:
• Coconut oil – This easy-to-find oil works great as a moisturizer, something that people with eczema need. The dried patches of skin also tend to contain a lot of bacteria, raising the risk for infections with constant scratching, but the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil will help remedy even this problem.
• Exercise – Eczema can be triggered by stress and exercises is one of the best stress relievers ever. However, one needs to be sure to hit the showers after exercise to prevent the body heat that accumulates with physical activity from making the skin condition worse.
• Warm shower – But not too warm as too much heat will dry out the skin. As most commercial soaps tend to cause skin dryness, it’s best to avoid using them in affected body parts that are not visibly dirty, except for the groin, face, underarms, and feet.
• Change outfits – Rough fabrics, such as wool, can irritate the skin and trigger eczema. Instead, one can opt for smoother and more breathable options, such as cotton.
• Avoid alcohol – Alcoholic beverages cause inflammation and may trigger eczema. It’s best to avoid them, anytime.
February 11, 2020