Eczema, medically known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that develops in childhood and sometimes persists during adult life. An immune response is believed to be responsible for the development of this condition, according to the Merck Manual. The areas of skin affected by eczema are inflamed, itchy, red and covered by crusts and scales. Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is an herbal Ayurvedic remedy that may help improve symptoms of eczema. If you consider taking turmeric for your condition, you should first talk to your doctor.
Turmeric belongs to the ginger family of plants and is native to India and China. It has a long history of use in oriental medicine, including skin conditions, digestive complaints, heart diseases and cancer. The key active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin, which is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, according to Drugs.com.
Research studies that evaluated the benefits of turmeric for managing skin conditions have encouraging results. According to a study published in the June 2010 issue of "Journals of Drugs in Dermatology," among other herbs, turmeric has been found beneficial in skin care due to its antioxidant qualities. Drugs.com also notes several studies conducted in vitro and in animal subjects that indicate curcumin's positive effects in wound healing, decreasing inflammation and improved circulation of the skin.
Turmeric can be used successfully for improving inflammatory conditions like eczema and arthritis, recommends Phyllis Balch, nutritionist and author of "Prescription for Nutritional Wellness."
Available Forms & Dosage
Turmeric is available in tincture, powder, capsule or tablet forms. The exact dose of turmeric for skin conditions has not been established. Daily doses of 3 to 4 g have been used in research studies, and you should not take more than 8 g a day of turmeric, as it may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, Drugs.com warns.
Turmeric is generally viewed as a safe and well tolerated supplement. There are no specific contraindications noted; however, it should be avoided during pregnancy, lactation and in susceptible individuals who may allergic to herbs from the ginger family. There is a theoretical risk that turmeric may increase the risk of kidney stones, according to Drugs.com.
You can add freely turmeric as a spice in your food. Consult a health care provider to find the optimal dosage of turmeric supplement and other natural supplements that may help your skin condition. Keep in mind that turmeric does not replace and should not be used to replace conventional drugs prescribed for eczema.