Did you know that the appearance of a skin problem can be a sign that your body is healing deep inside? Yes, that’s something that homeopaths have often observed over the last 200+ years. I frequently see this myself in my homeopathic practice when someone is taking a constitutional remedy . Perhaps someone’s recurrent bladder infections have resolved but now a rash has returned. Or their arthritis is gone but now eczema has recurred in a mild form. I usually greet these skin issues as a positive development in the course of homeopathic treatment and explain that they are usually brief and mild. When the body heals naturally, it heals from the inside out.
On the other side of this, one can observe that when a skin problem is treated with a “suppressive” treatment, one that doesn’t allow the body to heal via it’s own process,
then other deeper conditions may result. The classic example of this is the infant with eczema. When a child’s eczema is treated aggressively with topical steroid creams it is common for the child to then develop asthma. An allergic condition of the lungs replaces one of the skin, the lungs obviously being a more vital organ and asthma a more serious condition.
We don’t want to be too aggressive in trying to get rid of the skin problem at all costs. Better to trust the body’s wisdom in healing it naturally. If needed, we can address the skin problem with homeopathic remedies to balance the immune system and heal from the inside out. Generally, this means consulting with a homeopath for an individualized remedy. I've seen many skin issues resolve with homeopathic treatment including eczema, warts, molluscum, ringworm and poison ivy. Meanwhile, we can use some gentle skin treatments to support the body’s healing response.
A favorite skin treatment is calendula. Calendula is gentle enough to not interfere with the body’s own healing process yet is effective for a wide variety of skin conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral and can be used wherever there is infection or physical damage to skin.* The only contraindication would be to avoid calendula if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family.
Calendula is readily available in a wide range of formulations as creams, lotions, ointments and rinses. Lately, I’ve taken to making my own calendula oil and cream. It is SO EASY to do that I thought I’d share it here.
If you have a garden, put in a plant or two of calendula. Trim the flowers and lay out on a towel to dry. Or you can purchase dried organic calendula flowers inexpensively from sellers such as Mountain Rose Herbs. (You can also order ingredients for making a variety of skin care products.)
To make calendula infused oil:
Fill a clean glass jar with dried organically grown calendula flowers. Then fill with your choice of organic oil. I usually use olive oil. Note that whatever you put on your skin can be absorbed into the body so it should all be food grade. Let the jar sit in the sun for 2-3 weeks, then strain through cheesecloth. Store in a cool dark spot to prolong the oil’s shelf-life and prevent rancidity. The oil can be used directly on skin or used to make other skin care products.
To make calendula body butter (cream)
1/4 cup organic cocoa butter or mango butter
1/4 cup organic shea butter
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup organic calendula infused olive oil
Combine all ingredients in top of a double boiler. On low heat, melt all ingredients, then cool in refrigerator for about an hour, until mix begins to solidify. Then use a hand mixer to whip until fluffy (may take up to ten minutes or so ). Store in glass jars.
There you go! A great all purpose skin moisturizer that combines safely with homeopathic treatments. It makes great gifts as well. In fact, the way I got started making this was that my sister Karen gifted me a jar she had made and shared her recipe.
*See Medical Herbalism, The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann, FNIMH, AHG, for more details.