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Herbal Healing Week - Skin and Bones

Thursday, 20 January 2005

Skin, Bones & Glands
Our skin acts as a mirror outside face of what goes on internally in the body. If the body isn't working well, then this will generally show on the skin.

Eczema, or dermatitis as it is sometimes called, is a group of skin conditions which can affect all age groups and is one of the most common skin disorders is.  The severity of the disease can vary.  In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, whilst in more severe forms the skin can become broken, raw and bleeding.  Although it can sometimes look unpleasant, eczema is not contagious. With treatment the inflammation of eczema can be reduced, though the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.

The Herbal Cure
Chamomile tea and calendula priced at €10 each for 100g.  Available in most health stores.  You can mix these together and make a tea.

. €2 for 50g - Chamomile tea
. €2 for 50g - Calendula tea
. €8 for 50g - Chamomile and calendula cream

Psoriasis is a chronic scaling disease of the skin and is the second most common skin disorder.  It may range from just a few spots anywhere on the body to large areas of involvement. It is not contagious or spreadable from one part of the body to another or from one person to another.
There is no blood test for psoriasis.  The diagnosis is made by observation and examination of the skin.  Sometimes microscopic examination of the skin (biopsy) is helpful where the changes are not typical or characteristic.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but hereditary and genetic factors are important.  Psoriasis runs in families.  This does not mean, however, that every child of a parent with psoriasis will develop psoriasis, but it is common that somewhere down the line psoriasis will appear in families.  Psoriasis is not caused by allergies, infections, dietary deficiencies or excesses, or nervous tension.

Psoriasis normally gets worse when the body is under stress. When it is under stress it can really flare up.

The Herbal Cure
Valerian's real name is Valerianaceae-valeriana officinalis.  It's hairy root system is the part that is used for medicinal purposes, however, these days it grows in people's garden mainly for the four to five foot tall plant, with ferny-like leaves that sprout a head of pink or white flowers that have the fragrance of vanilla.

The Herbal Cure
Valeriana is priced at €10 per 100g and is available in most health stores.  It comes in tea form but is also available in tincture.  Valeriana tincture costs €10 for 50ml.

One of the most common complaints for bones is arthritis.  It effects many people in this country and can range from quite mild complaints to the more serious.

One of the herbal cures for this is nettles and they used to be thrashed against the joints to get the blood flowing away from the skin to around the joints.

Nettle tea is made from nettle leaves and nettles grow throughout Ireland.  Nettle tea costs €2.15 for 100g and celery seeds are €8 for 100g.  Both are available nationwide in most health stores.

Lymph Nodes/Glands
The term "swollen glands" refers to enlargement of one or more lymph nodes. In a child, a node is enlarged if it is larger than one centimeter (0.4 inch) in diameter.

The lymphatic system is a complex network of thin vessels, valves, ducts, nodes, and organs. It helps to protect and maintain the fluid environment of the body by producing, filtering, and conveying lymph and by producing various blood cells

The lymph system is present throughout the body.  Common areas where the lymph nodes can be felt (palpable nodes) include:
. The groin area (inguinal region).
. Armpit (axilla).
. The neck (there is a chain of lymph nodes on either side of the front of the neck, both sides of the neck, and down each side of the back of the neck).
. Under the jaw and chin.
. Behind the ears.
. Over the prominence on the back of the head (occiput).

One of the best herbal cures for swollen glands is Galium Aparine.  It is also know as Sticky Willy or Robin-Round-The-Hedge and helps clear out the lymph nodes.

Galium is widely available in back lanes and in 90% of Irish gardens.  It is not available in health food shops. Galium can be juiced.  Fresh juice or infusion is applied to skin diseases and eruptions with good success.

Call the National Institute for Medical Herbalists on 0044 1392 426 022 or visit their website to find a Medical Herbalist near you.