With eczema, we all know that what works for one person, may not work for another, which is one of the primary reasons I founded The Eczema Company. I am fortunate to have found some wonderful natural and non-toxic products that have helped soothe my son’s chronic eczema, but I know his “miracle” cream may not offer relief for everyone. With eczema, it’s all about trial and error – finding your unique triggers and the right products for you. The Eczema Company provides options to those suffering with eczema via a variety of creams, balms, and clothing for use while trying to determine the root cause of your eczema and your own unique triggers.
I believe in modern medicine, but I also believe in alternative medicine, which usually focuses on treating the root cause and not just the symptom. I think both types of medical practice have their place and often when used together, amazing results can be witnessed. This is why I am thrilled to announce The Eczema Company now carries a new line of topical salves formulated using one of the world’s oldest alternative medical practices, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Zi Zai Dermatology’s EczeHerbal™ Ointments are available in three formats to best match your specific type of eczema. Because Traditional Chinese Medicine can seem so very foreign, I’ve asked the founder of Zi Zai Dermatology to explain more about how traditional Chinese herbs can help eczema and how she formulates the EczeHerbal™ Ointments.
If you’re interested in a basic overview about specifically treating pediatric eczema with Traditional Chinese Medicine (including tea and herb consumption), please also take a look at this previous guest post.
Bio: Diana Hermann is the founder of and product formulator for Zi Zai Dermatology. She is a licensed acupuncturist and is nationally certified in Oriental Medicine. She received her Master of Oriental Medicine degree in 1999 from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and shortly thereafter completed an internship with the Director of the Dermatology Department of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, P.R. of China. After working in private practice for several years, Diana began to specialize in the treatment of dermatological problems. She was dissatisfied with the lack of safe and effective topical herbal products available in the U.S. for skin conditions, so in 2009 founded Zi Zai Dermatology. Diana continues to maintain her private practice, Acupuncture of the Rockies, which allows her to increase her experience in the treatment of skin conditions and additionally it serves as a clinical testing ground for Zi Zai’s products before they get to the public market.
NEW Eczema Ointments Made with Traditional Chinese Herbs
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine is the most comprehensive and well-organized system of herbal medicine known to humankind. It has developed from thousands of years of observing and recording the medicinal use of thousands of natural substances to improve human health. This ancient system of herbal medicine continues to evolve in our modern world. All of the products made by Zi Zai Dermatology are formulated according to the theories and practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Using Chinese Herbs for Eczema
Each of our EczeHerbal™ ointments contain 6 to 7 individual herbs that are excellent for use in eczema, both internally and topically. In TCM, when we compose a formula, we choose herbs that address our underlying TCM diagnosis for the condition being treated, as well as herbs that directly alleviate symptoms. Typically, I believe simpler is better when it comes to formulating topical products and so I chose to use herbs that have multiple uses. For example, Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavascentis) not only Clears Heat (reduces inflammation) and Dries Damp (dries exudate), but it is known for its ability to reduce itching. Studies have shown that Ku Shen has antimicrobial action against the Toxin Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria commonly found to be overly proliferate in eczema lesions). What a perfect herb for eczema! But Ku Shen alone is not enough to address all of the energetically imbalances involved in eczema, so we support its function by combining it with additional herbs to address the Toxins (Zi Hua Di Ding/viola and Bai Xian Pi/dictamnus) and herbs to further Dry Dampness (Huang Bai/phellodendron root and Huang Qin/scutellaria root). While each herb in each of the formulas is useful in its own way, the synergistic combination of all the herbs in the formula working together are more energetically effective than any one herb alone.
Our Herb and Ingredient Sources
We hand craft all of our products ourselves in very small batches so that we maintain the highest level of quality. We do not outsource any part of the manufacturing process and every product is made from scratch with only the finest ingredients.
The official Traditional Chinese Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists the medicinal properties of many natural substances including plants, animals and minerals. Zi Zai Dermatology chooses to use only plant and mineral substances in the making of our products. We never use any herb derived from species of flora or fauna that is considered endangered. We never use any substance that has been shown to be poisonous or harmful to human health. We purchase our raw herbs from two different U.S. companies: NuHerbs and Mayway. Each of these companies source the raw herbs from their indigenous regions and they examine all herbs to ensure correct species identification. Furthermore, each of these companies does in-house and third-party laboratory testing of herbs to check for bacteria, pesticides and heavy metals. Herbs are processed in GMP-certified facilities.
The carrier oils and other ingredients used to craft Zi Zai Dermatology products are sourced from three different U.S. companies that have strict quality guidelines. Whenever possible we purchase only raw materials that are Fair Trade Certified and/or USDA Certified Organic. The pure honey and unfiltered beeswax we use comes directly from a responsible beekeeper here in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Safety of Our Herbal Ointments
Zi Zai Dermatology’s EczeHerbal™ line of herbal ointments are safe for topical use on adults, children, babies and even pets. It is important to us at Zi Zai that our ointments are non-toxic if ingested because it is impossible to keep young kids and infants from putting their hands in their mouths; and unless you place an Elizabethan collar on your pet, they will end up licking some ointment off. So rest assured, if our EczeHerbal™ ointments end up on the inside of your child or pet, there is no need to worry. The ointments are made from food grade organic extra virgin olive oil, Chinese herbs that are safe for internal consumption, and beeswax (which is non-toxic). We do not add any artificial dyes or fragrances to any of our products. And because all of the ingredients used in our products have been safely used by humans (and even animals) for many many years, there is no need for us to safety test our products on animals.
Why We Offer Three Different Ointment Formulas
I am a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. When a patient comes to me for treatment of eczema, I must first diagnose the individual based upon the principals of TCM theory. Proper differentiation is the key to effective treatment. Once I have differentiated their condition according to TCM, then I can formulate their treatment plan, including an internal herbal formula as well as any topical treatments that may be helpful. Since every patient is a unique individual and eczema can manifest in several different ways (even at different times in the same person), every internal herbal formula I prepare is unique and custom-designed for that patient. Of course, making a custom topical ointment for every eczema patient is not very practical. But one single ointment for every eczema patient isn’t very effective either. So I decided to take the top 3 most common TCM Differential Patterns for eczema and I formulated an ointment for each of them. Again, proper differentiation is the key to effective treatment, and that is why Zi Zai offers more than one ointment for eczema. Use the one that matches your skin best.
Before I can describe our 3 eczema ointments, I need to give you a very simplified summary of the terms we use when describing the possible patterns of energetic imbalance in TCM dermatology. When we say a skin condition has “Heat”, that typically translates to redness and inflammation. Sometimes Heat can be quite severe and it will get deeper into the body, so we say this is “Heat in the Blood”. When we use the term “Damp” or “Dampness”, it usually refers to skin conditions that have weepy lesions, fluid-filled blisters, or things that ooze. In contrast to Dampness, we can also have “Dryness” which develops when the moistening and cooling factor of the body (“Yin”) is insufficient or becomes damaged. When a skin rash itches, we describe that condition as having “Wind” (because it moves around and tickles the surface). And finally, the TCM term “Toxins” or “Fire Toxins” can mean several things but typically refers to abscesses, ulcerations or skin lesions that contain pus or are infected with bacteria or virus.
EczeHerbal™ 1 Ointment: This ointment is specially formulated according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pattern known as Damp Heat (with Fire Toxins and Wind). It is designed for acute eczema that appears abruptly or is growing in size or number of lesions. This manifestation of eczema typically has more exudate (oozing) than you might see in more stable phases of eczema. Lesions can be swollen, red and itchy and crust may form. This phase of eczema is typically seen in infants and children. From the perspective of TCM, the herbs in this ointment Clear Heat, Dry Damp, Eliminate Wind and Resolve Toxins. EczeHerbal™ 1 is more appropriate for cases where Dampness predominates over Heat.*
EczeHerbal™ 2 Ointment: This eczema ointment is specially formulated according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pattern known as Heat in the Blood (with Fire Toxins and Wind). All variations of eczema will have some degree of redness and itching. But this ointment is most appropriate for cases where redness, dryness (flaking) and itching are more predominant than oozing. This phase of eczema is typically seen in infants and children or during acute exacerbation of the condition in adults. From the perspective of TCM, the herbs in this ointment Clear Heat, Cool Blood, Dry Damp, Eliminate Wind and Resolve Toxins. To compare, if your eczema has much oozing or blisters, then EczeHerbal™ 1 formula would be a better choice for you.*
EczeHerbal™ 3 Ointment: This ointment is specially formulated according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pattern known as Blood Dryness (with the presence of some Fire Toxins and Wind). It is specifically designed for chronic eczema where dryness and scaling are more predominant than either Heat or Dampness (compared to the other EczeHerbal™ formulas). Lesions are usually paler red or pink. Thickening of the skin may also be present where scratching has occurred. This phase of eczema is typically seen in teenagers and adults. From the perspective of TCM, the herbs in this ointment Enrich Yin and Nourish Blood (to moisten the skin), Dry Damp, Eliminate Wind and Resolve Toxins. If your eczema oozes or is weeping, do not choose this formula; instead choose EczeHerbal™ 1 formula. If your eczema does not ooze but is very red, and there is no thickening of the skin, then EczeHerbal™ 2 would be the best option for you.*
About Zi Zai Dermatology
Zi Zai Dermatology is a micro company that cares about your quality of life. We are based in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA and we hand craft small batches of exceptional herbal skin care products. At Zi Zai, we have put thousands of years of experience into the formulations of these fine herbal products. We hope you enjoy using them as much as we have enjoyed crafting them for you. Seek Health…Find Beauty.
*FDA DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional.