Chinese Herbal Medicine Safe, Effective in Children
As many as 30% of patients with eczema have been prescribed traditional
Chinese medicine, but there are still questions about whether it works and is
safe, says researcher Julia Wisniewski, MD, of Mount Sinai Hospital in New
There is clearly a need for alternative treatments for the skin condition,
she says, because many patients with severe allergies continue to have
flare-ups a decade after standard therapy with steroids and immune-suppressing
Wisniewski and colleagues studied 14 children with persistent eczema who
were treated with traditional Chinese medicine at Ming Qi Natural Health Center
in Manhattan between August 2006 and May 2008.
All of them drank Erka Shizheng Herbal Tea twice a day and soaked in an
herbal bath for 20 minutes daily. They also applied an herbal cream to their
skin two or three times a day and had acupuncture treatment.
At the start of the study, more than half of the participants had severe
symptoms on a standard scale that doctors use to gauge eczema severity. After
eight months of treatment, most had mild symptoms.
“Improvement in symptoms and quality of life was seen as early as three
months,” Wisniewski says. She showed before-and-after photos of several
children to document their progress: Red, scaly feet and hands appeared normal
six months into therapy.
Participants also reported a reduction in the use of steroids, antibiotics,
and antihistamines within three
months of being treated with traditional Chinese medicine.
The herbal treatments proved safe, with no abnormalities in liver and kidney function observed, Wisniewski
“Chinese medicine is a very good alternative to conventional therapy for
children with eczema,” she says.