Itchy skin

by A Y Marian.

Itchy skin

Itchy skin

Itchy skin

Itchy skin can be a mere annoyance or it can drive you to distraction. It can be caused by a variety of reasons and is generally accompanied by redness and swelling. The herbal remedies mentioned below will treat most forms of itch, but be careful to find out what the originating cause is too.

Symptoms

Itching is a symptom of many different conditions. A sensation is felt on the skin that creates the desire or need to scratch. The skin may have a red rash, hives or localized swelling in some cases.

Causes

Itchy skin can be caused by a great number of causes, including dry skinallergies, sunburnallergies, anemia, dermatitis, eczema, parasites, insect bites or stings, chemicals and contact rashes like poison ivy. Itching can also be caused by viruses like chicken pox and measles. There is even a specific cause during pregnancy called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) that causes an intensely itchy rash only in late pregnancy in women often in their first pregnancy or carrying twins.

Cautions

Itching can cause great frustration and discomfort. If severe, it can lead to sleep loss, depression and anxiety. Some people will scratch their skin until it bleeds. Obviously this doesn't do the skin any good at all and must be avoided at all costs.

Herbal Treatments

Internal Applications

  • Plantain – take an extract or capsules of plantain internally for relief.
  • Chickweed – This herb is well-known for its affinity for skin. Take capsules or a tincture of chickweed to ease itchy skin. You can also add the fresh herb to your salad.
  • Yellow dock – this herb is full of minerals the body needs. Take a tincture or extract as directed on the label to get the best results.

External Applications

  • Witch hazel – this herb is astringent and can relieve the itch caused by rash, psoriasis and eczema. Apply cool witch hazel with a clean cloth and leave it on for half an hour.
  • St John's wort – well-known as a treatment for depression, this herb is also astringent and can be used to refresh and moisturize itchy skin.
  • Aloe vera – the gel from the leaf of the aloe plant is often used to treat skin problems like burns. It is also useful for itchy rashes. Aloe is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. Apply the gel directly to the affected area.
  • Mullein - apply as a compress to relieve itchy skin.
  • Chamomile – this herb is an anti-inflammatory and helps relieve itchiness. If you are allergic to ragweed, you may not want to choose chamomile.
  • Calendula – this herb reduces inflammation and stimulates the production of white blood cells. Simmer 2 teaspoons of calendula in 1 cup of water for ten minutes. Allow the solution to cool before applying to the affected area.
  • Jewelweed – this herb provides relief from the stinging and itching caused by poison oak, poison ivy, stinging nettles and insect bites and stings. Crush the fresh leaves into a ball and rub over the itchy areas.
  • Wild pansy – this little herb soothes itches associated with eczema.
  • Oats – this herb soothes irritated skin and has traditionally been used to ease itching from chicken pox and other causes. Add finely ground oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and take a long soak for the best results.
  • Neem – boil neem leaves and add to your bath water to relieve itchy skin. Neem is good for many kinds of skin ailments. Neem oil is also effective.
  • Camphor – this herb is analgesic and antiseptic. Apply a cream or salve topically to relieve itching.
  • Tea tree – for persistent itches, apply a small amount of tea tree oil. Relief is immediate. Tea tree can also be applied via a cream base.

Essential Oil

Dilute a few drops of chamomile, lavender and peppermint in carrier oil and rub onto skin to relieve itching.

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