David was a 3-year-old boy with chronic nasal allergies and a fiery red, insatiably itching eczema rash on the backs of his legs that came back time and time again, despite repeated treatment with hydrocortisone steroid cream.
After starting homeopathic treatment, David’s mother reported that his stuffy nose and allergies went away within a few days and the rash began to improve after a few weeks. Within 2 months of treatment the rash was gone. It has now been almost a year since that rash last cropped up and it hasn’t returned. David is a happy, healthy preschooler!
This success story is one of many I’ve seen in my practice with homeopathy and it mirrors some new research studies that show homeopathy is safe and effective for helping children who suffer from atopic conditions, which include eczema rashes (a.k.a. atopic dermatitis), allergic rhinitis (a.k.a. hay fever allergies), and asthma.
Atopy is a genetic tendency to develop chronic, long-standing allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, hives, or food allergies. Because there is genetic component, these allergic reactions tend to run in families.
As these conditions seem to be linked, estimates show that up to 70% of cases of eczema begin in children under the age of 5. Up to 68% of children with eczema will develop asthma later in childhood, and up to 77% will develop hay fever (1, 2).
This progression of illness is called the “allergic march”. Children typically develop the rash before they develop asthma or allergies later in life. Because of this, eczema is often considered a risk for future development of other atopic allergic conditions.
Additionally, children who suffer from eczema often have more severe asthma than children who don’t get these rashes (3). The incidence of eczema in children has risen in the last few decades. Current estimates show that it affects 10-30% of children and 1-3% of adults.
Conventional treatment generally includes topical steroids, oral antihistamine drugs and immune suppressant drugs. While these are helpful for temporarily suppressing the symptoms, such treatments can be more like a Band-Aid and do not permanently resolve the problem.
Conventional chronic asthma treatment often includes inhaled corticosteroids, inhaled cromolyn or nedocromil, long-acting bronchodilators, theophylline, leukotriene modifiers, and newer treatments that use anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies (omalizumab) (4, 5). Children with asthma may also be prescribed acute rescue inhalers, which are used during severe, life-threatening asthma attacks.
Some studies have shown that about half of all patients with atopic conditions try alternative medicine treatments (6, 7), including homeopathy. This trend will likely continue as data continues to emerge on the effectiveness of homeopathy for these conditions.
Homeopathy is safe and effective for eczema, asthma and hay fever
Homeopathy is an incredibly safe and effective treatment used by the team at Arizona Natural Health Center for chronic eczema rashes, chronic asthma and hay fever. In a previous blog I wrote about how homeopathy can help children with allergies, and has been proven effective in several scientific studies (8-11).
Several other past research studies have shown the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating allergic rhinitis (hay fever) (12-18) and asthma (19-24). In exciting news, two studies published in January 2012 showed that homeopathy helps atopic conditions.
The first study was done by Drs. Jose and Juan Eizayaga, who are both on the homeopathic faculty of the medical school at the University of Maimonides in Buenos Aires, Argentina (25). This study found an 82% positive response to homeopathic treatment — similar to the response rate from conventional corticosteroids in RCTs (80%) and much better than their placebo controls (38%) (1).
The study participants had significant improvement in the percentage of skin area affected by the rash. The size of the rashes decreased on average from 21.1% of their body’s skin area to 5.5% after homeopathic treatment. There was also a significant improvement in the four areas measured on a standardized VAS (visual analogue scale) including dermatitis/rash, itch, general well being, and sleep.
Another new study by Rossi, et al. was published in January 2012 supporting the value of homeopathy for atopic conditions (26). This study was a long-term observational longitudinal study on 213 children treated at a clinic in Lucca, Italy.
Thirty nine percent of the children suffered from asthma, 24% suffered from allergic rhinitis (hay fever), 36% had atopic dermatitis (eczema), and 1% had food intolerance. Sixty-two percent of the children in the study reported major improvement or resolution in symptoms.
Those who had atopic dermatitis were re-evaluated eight years later and 70% had a complete disappearance of their rash. Most impressive was that there was a 20% decreased progression of the “allergic march” from atopic dermatitis to asthma compared to rates of children treated conventionally. In other words, kids treated homeopathically had a reduced tendency to get worse over time and progress to getting asthma, which is often seen in the natural progression of the chronic atopic triad of conditions.
This implies that homeopathy seems to stimulate a healing response that safely balances out a child’s over-active immune system, and may have long-term positive effects on health that are not seen with conventional medicine.
This is an exciting and important area of research because atopic conditions are so prevalent and many people are searching for safe and effective natural treatments. Perhaps future research will include randomized controlled trials that compare homeopathy to placebo and/or conventional treatment.
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- Eizayaga J, Eizayaga J. Prospective observational study of 42 patients with atopic dermatitis treated with homeopathic medicines. Homeopathy (2012) 101, 21-27. Click here to link to the study abstract on PubMed.
- Rossi E, Bartoli P, Bianchi A, Da Fre M. Homeopathy in pediatric atopic diseases: long-term results in children with atopic dermatitis. Homeopathy, 2012 Jan;101(1):13-20. Click here to link to the study abstract on PubMed.