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Itching

General characteristics

General characteristics

Itching, also known as pruritus, is the tickling or irritating sensation felt on the skin or external membranes such as the vagina, anus, eyes etc. it can be confined to a certain area or be more widespread and generalised.

Itching can accompany a skin condition, such as eczema, fungal infection or sunburn for example, but can also be a symptom of an underlying condition elsewhere in the body and can indicate deeper metabolic disturbances such as diabetes, kidney problems, cancers, thyroid imbalance, candida overgrowth (itchy anus or vagina), worm infestation, liver or gallbladder disorders, adverse drug reactions and allergies, shingles and nerve damage, multiple sclerosis and can occur in the last few months of pregnancy and during menopause. Many normal waste products can build up in the body if elimination systems are under functioning, these waste products can also be responsible for causing itching.

Itching is considered a positive sign by some old style physicians, a sign that a disease process is working its way out of the interior of the body to the exterior via the skin. As such the itch should not be simply suppressed but should initiate the search for the possible cause of the itch.  Therefore it is important to understand what is causing the itch and treat it with herbs, diet and natural healing techniques. the bowel needs to be working well and regularly as constipation will inevitably cause the returning of indisposed wastes back into the bloodstream.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Many people report success in eliminating itchiness by eating 2 or 3 apples a day.

Eat plenty of plant based fibre in the form of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts . This will avoid constipation and help keep the blood clean.

For the same reasons, avoid refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated and trans fats, sugary foods and processed foods generally, all of which burden the liver and elimination channels such as bowel, skin, lungs and kidneys.

Check your alcohol intake and reduce it if need be.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is present in many sweet drinks, alcopops and sweet snacks. It is extremely toxic to the liver and causes cirrhosis in a very short time. When the liver is impaired then toxins flood the bloodstream.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

An effective ointment to soothe general itching and rashes can be made from dried chickweed, marigold, plantain and comfrey leaf with a few drops of lavender essential oil. See ointments for the recipe.
General blood and lymph cleansing can go a long way to rid the body of the causes of itching. So called blood cleansers such as dandelion root, burdock root, figwort, walnut husk, barberry root, yellow dock, echinacea and sarsaparilla root used in tincture form can stimulate the liver and eliminatory systems into action and remove the cause of the itching. Use equal parts of all the tinctures and take a teaspoon in water 3 times daily.
Oats can help to alleviate itching when placed in a bag and added to a bath or ground into a paste using water and applied to the skin as a poultice.
Drink 3 cups a day of nettle and red clover tea.
Comfrey leaf can help to soothe the irritade skin when used as a compress/poultice. Marshmallow root or leaves offer similar relieve.
Elecampagne root tea can help to clear the skin of itchy conditions.

Natural healing

Natural healing

To soothe itching skin and avoid the urge to scratch, apply cold or cool packs over the area or run cool water over the skin in the shower or bath.
Gently rub coconut oil into the skin daily after a shower to moisturise, condition, relieve itching and nourish the skin. You can also add it to a bath.
Avoid exposure to hot water as this often intensifies the itch soon after, making scratching almost impossible to avoid.
Wear natural breathable fibres wherever possible and use natural bedlinen.
Avoid the use of perfumed and harsh chemicals found in the vast majority of body, laundry and cleaning products as these can add to the irritation and itchiness.
Activated charcoal can help to clean the bloodstream.
Cider vinegar will help to alleviate constipation, cleanse the body and relieve itching if used daily. 1 teaspoon in water after meals is a good dose.
Take 1000mg daily of evening primrose oil capsules.
Add a few teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda to a bath to relieve general itching.
Regular dry brushing of the skin will remove dead skin layers, improve circulation of blood and lymph fluids and also help alleviate generalised itching. Use a gentle brush or rough cloth on dry skin.

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