Ayurveda – Natural and effective way to help prevent eczema in children
The estimates are staggering. Eczema is said to affect a whopping 20% of infants and children in the UK today. In the 1950s the figure was just 5%. So, what happened? Dr Deepika Rodrigo (B.A.M.S), who has been successfully treating infant and child eczema using Ayurvedic Medicine from her London based clinic for many years explains that modern lifestyles, changes in the food industry and environmental factors such as pollution all have an effect on our children’s immunity and ability to handle allergens.
From new-borns to adolescents, she has witnessed how eczema and its symptoms can have a profoundly detrimental impact on the life of the child and the whole family.
In her experience the ancient science of Ayurveda provides a natural, effective and complete answer to the modern day triggers of eczema in infants and children, no matter how chronic the condition may be.
What is Ayurveda?
Fittingly epitomised as the world’s oldest and most sophisticated and powerful healing systems, Ayurveda was developed in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years before modern medicine provided scientific evidence of the mind-body connection. Ayurveda means science of life and the basis that optimum health is the outcome of a balance between mind, body and spirit. More than merely a means of treating physical illness, Ayurveda embodies the dynamic wisdom of promoting wellness so that people lead happy, vibrant lives.
What causes eczema?
According to ancient knowledge the cause of eczema is impaired digestive fire also known as ‘Vishama Agni’ in Sanskrit which is attributed to unsuitable diet, lifestyle and environmental factors.
When the digestive fire is imbalanced, either too high or too low, some of the food is converted into toxins which then circulate throughout the body. When eventually deposited on the epidermis or top layer of skin, the toxins cause dryness of the skin, irritation, scaling or inflammation and infection. Like a blocked and overflowing drain, the body finds the point of least resistance to deposit toxins.
Despite being influenced by genetics, according to Ayurveda, eczema is susceptible to the right combination of topical preparations that will heal and repair skin as well as integrated diet and lifestyle shifts compatible to both mother and child.
Causes of eczema in infants and children
In Ayurveda, infancy is observed to have a Kapha or earth-based prominence coupled to Vata or air/space-based energy. This would explain why infants and children crave sweet, creamy, dairy products. However, if the digestive fire (digestive enzymes) is not strong enough, these dietary products may produce an excess of ‘Ama’ or toxins which invariably find their way to the skin and break out as eczema in infants and children. It is more than possible to prevent and eliminate this skin condition with early detection and application of Ayurvedic principles.
Nutrition offers mothers the best tool to combat eczema in their children. From an Ayurvedic viewpoint, nutrition radically differs and is in variance with the concept of modern nutritional food evaluation. Ayurveda focuses on the taste, heating or cooling qualities of food, the post-digestive effect of foods in the body and its effect on an individual’s constitution or ‘Dosha’. Through this timelessly effective method, the imbalances that constitute the causes to produce excess toxins is corrected.
Ayurvedic tips during pregnancy
An increased and informed awareness of the food a mother consumes during her pregnancy can make all the difference to effectively boost the immunity of her unborn child and prevent the development of eczema when the child is born.
When it comes to protecting your baby from eczema, the advantage breastfeeding offers mothers is second to none. A minimum of 6 months of breast-feeding is the recommended stipulation to prevent any type of inflammatory disorder in babies.
It is imperative however, that the breastfeeding mother makes conscious and suitable dietary choices in order to reduce inflammation inside her own body and in turn increase the baby’s immunity to cope with allergens and other external environmental factors. Babies and infants often have inflammatory skin reactions to allergens such as domestic pet hair, air pollutants, damp climates, dust, pollens, additives and preservatives in food and other substances. By keeping to a Kapha-based diet and breastfeeding, a mother can boost her baby’s immunity to all such external allergens.
Kapha promoting foods include milk, butter, rice, potatoes, white fish, coconut milk, warm-cooked foods, cooked green leafy vegetables, and fruits. It is important for breastfeeding mothers to learn to relax and manage stress so that their own bodies are strong and transmit loving energy to the baby. Taking the time to bond with the baby is very important since a loving connection boosts immunity in all living beings. Love, in short, is the best immunity.
If breastfeeding is not possible for any reason, formulated milks containing a lower amount of lactose is recommended. This is because of the excess Ama that can be produced from such foods if the baby’s digestive fire is too low.
It is recommended that the dairy intake of children is moderate and contain dairy products with low lactose content. Raw fruit (especially sour and tropical fruit) and raw vegetables should be avoided. Food containing yeast such as leavened bread, artificial additives and preservatives, junk food, sweets and fizzy drinks should also be avoided until such time at least while the digestive enzymes are being re-built.
Excessive exposure to cold, damp weather should also be avoided. Keep children wrapped up and warm during the winter months. Warm, cooked food such as soups, jacket potatoes and rice are ideal.
In order to help prevent break out of eczema, use an effective topical cream such as Dermaved to help draw out the heat from the affected area and soothe the inflamed skin. Dermaved is safe and gentle enough to use to help prevent nappy rash, red cheeks and cradle cap, which can also occur due to excess Ama. Dermaved is also useful to soothe sore nipples provided it is washed off before breastfeeding. It is gentle on baby skin and safe to use to soothe insect bites, burns and cuts and as well as after-sun care.
The active natural ingredients in Dermaved work synergistically with the body’s own healing system to instantly soothe itchiness, discomfort and inflammation.
Acacia, Venivel and Coral seed tree extracts along with Turmeric and Neem, provide potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties to help restore the skin. When applied to the skin, the active ingredients draw out and absorb the heat and redness from the affected area. As a result the itchiness and discomfort are soothed & relieved.