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Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema

Teas, acupuncture reduce itching, improve quality of life, study finds

SATURDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Certain traditional Chinese medicine, including tea and acupuncture, may safely and effectively help treat chronic eczema, a new report finds.

Use of Erka Shizheng Herbal Tea, a bath additive, creams and acupuncture over eight months greatly reduced the severity of the itchy, red skin condition and improved the quality of life of 14 atopic dermatitis (eczema) patients studied by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The patients received the treatment at a Manhattan center for natural health.

All but one patient saw at least a 60 percent improvement in eczema severity, based on standard rating scales to measure disease activity, after a little more than three months of treatment. All but one also experienced a 50 percent increase in a quality-of-life questionnaire after about two and a half months of treatment.

The use of steroids, antibiotics and antihistamines by the patients also greatly decreased within 3 months of starting the traditional Chinese medicine. No abnormalities of liver and kidney function were observed.

Despite such positive results, which were expected to be presented in Washington, D.C., at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's annual meeting, the researchers said people should still discuss using any complementary or alternative medicines with a physician before starting treatment.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about eczema.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, March 14, 2009

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