As a teenager and young adult, I had eczema. Cortisone cream and other conventional medicines offered only temporary relief from this condition, which causes skin to become red, itchy, inflamed, and sometimes blistering and weeping. That’s when I first turned to naturopathic medicine. And it cured my condition!

It was this experience and my fascination with the healing process that led me to eventually become a naturopathic physician. I learned that eczema was something that I could control with my food (I discovered that I was very sensitive to chocolate and coffee)…lifestyle choices…and medicines that nourished my liver and skin.

No matter why you have eczema—common causes include food allergies, inadequate omega-3 oils…a diet high in sugar…an overgrowth of yeast in your intestines…and the use of certain medications, particularly antibiotics—a simple protocol that supports your liver and relieves itching can help you feel better quickly. My favorite natural cures for eczema…

Dandelion, burdock and yellow dock. The roots of these plants are great liver medicine. That’s why I call them “liver tonics.” They nourish the liver, which is our primary detoxification organ, and improve its function. This results in healthier skin.

Typical dose: Use a tea or tincture containing one part each dandelion and burdock, and one-quarter part yellow dock. Drink four cups of the tea daily or take 60 drops (about one-quarter teaspoon) of tincture added to two ounces of water three times per day for one month. Caution: Talk to your doctor before using these herbs—especially if you take medication and/or have liver or gallbladder disease. Do not take these herbs if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or have a ragweed allergy (you may also have an allergic reaction to these herbs).

Topical salve of calendula, comfrey, vitamin A, vitamin E and olive oil. Use this nourishing formula instead of topical cortisone. These natural medicines not only relieve dryness and itching, but also help with the growth of new skin. Apply the salve as often as desired. Good product: All Purpose Salve by Wise Woman Herbals.

Homeopathic sulphur 30C relieves eczema symptoms of severe itching, with dry scaling and watery blisters. Typical dose: Dissolve two pellets under the tongue once or twice daily, 30 minutes before or after eating, as needed for up to two weeks.

Homeopathic arsenicum 30C is useful if eczema symptoms include burning and redness along with a scaly, blistery rash. Use this if you don’t get relief from homeopathic sulphur. Typical dose: Dissolve two pellets under the tongue once or twice daily, 30 minutes before or after eating, as needed for up to two weeks.