Case Study: Hand Eczema and Herbal Medicine
When Kelly first came to my office, it had been over 2 years since she had seen the normal skin on the top of her hand. Her eczema lesions were open, infected, painful and of course, extremely itchy.
During the initial intake, she mentioned that the lesions had become so unsightly that she typically wore cotton gloves all day long so that people would not see her eczema. Before coming to see me, she had visited numerous doctors and specialists. Kelly had tried steroids, creams, ointments, functional medicine, dietary changes, essential oils, colloidal silver, and various other natural remedies. Nothing proved to be a lasting solution.
At one point during our one-hour intake session, Kelly broke down and started crying, exclaiming how frustrated she was, how unrelentingly uncomfortable eczema always feels and how much time, attention and self-esteem this condition steals from her every day.
As is often the case, herbal medicine is the last choice for most people on their long journey with eczema. After trying a myriad of doctors, medicines, and products, most people are exhausted from being disappointed many times over and from trekking all over to see various specialists. It is typical when someone like Kelly looks to herbal medicine for hope, but at the same time finds herself extremely guarded against the possibility of yet another failed attempt to find healing. While Kelly proceeded to work with me she was noticeably cautiously optimistic. Based upon her initial intake and presentation, I prescribed an herbal formula which Kelly took two times a day.
ONE MONTH LATER
Kelly’s hand changed quite a bit in a month. The lesions closed and the infection disappeared. But as you can see, the quality of the skin continued to look swollen, thickened and the lines of the skin on the thumb appeared deepened, wider and more exaggerated than normal. We continued forward with an adapted herbal formula that met her changing needs. We also introduced an herbal topical and herbal moisturizer.
TWO MONTHS LATER
Kelly’s hand skin looked pretty normal for the first time in 2 years. The skin is more supple, normally lined and not at all swollen. Here you can see the difference from the first day. Her hand (on the right) may appear a bit yellow in the photo. It’s just the residue from the herbal topical. Don’t worry, it washes off!
As you can imagine, Kelly is quite pleased with the results. Not only is she able to go about her day without wearing a glove and feeling self-conscious, but she can now participate in every part of her three kids’ lives and pursue all her interests without even giving her hand a single thought.
Kelly mentioned that she used to spend a lot of time on an eczema Facebook group to seek understanding and support. Since being treated, she can now focus on providing encouragement.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and sees patients all over the nation in person and via video conferencing. She holds a TCM Dermatology Diploma and a position on the internationally recognized Register of Chinese Medicine Dermatology (RCMDerm). Additionally, she received a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine (Dipl.OM) from the National Certification Commission of Oriental Medicine and is a licensed Illinois acupuncturist (LAc). Olivia earned a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from National University of Health Sciences, graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the Joseph Janse Outstanding Graduate Award.
Outside of the office, Olivia serves as the Vice President of the Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is also one of two Illinois delegates to the American Society of Acupuncturists.