Eczema, psoriasis and ringworm may seem unrelated but do have some things in common. They are all skin conditions that produce red itchy patches; both eczema and psoriasis may improve with exposure to sunlight. Arnica is an herbal medication that is applied to the skin and sometimes used as an oral homeopathic remedy. Traditionally, arnica has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties, as an antifungal and to relieve the pain of arthritic joints. Don’t use arnica without consulting a doctor.
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Eczema is a chronic condition that may have an allergic component or result from an immune system malfunction, according to MayoClinic.com. Eczema causes red or brownish-gray skin patches, thickened or scaly skin and itching that may be severe, especially at night. Eczema usually starts in childhood. It can lead to skin infections and permanent eye damage if the skin around the eye is affected. Treatment usually includes corticosteroid creams, pills or injections and antihistamines to decrease itching.
Psoriasis is thought to be an immune system disorder that affects skin cells, which build up rapidly on the skin and form thick red or silvery patches that itch. Like eczema, psoriasis is a chronic condition and in some patients may be accompanied by arthritis that causes painful, swollen joints, according to MayoClinic.com. It is usually treated with corticosteroids, synthetic vitamin D creams, coal tar derivatives and a variety of other skin medications. Severe psoriasis may also be treated with oral or injected medications such as retinoids, methotrexate and cyclosporine.
Ringworm, also called tinea corporis, is a fungal infection of the skin. You will see a circular itchy red rash with healthy skin in the center. It is related to other fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and jock itch, according to MayoClinic.com. Ringworm will usually go away on its own, but may be treated with antifungal creams, and, if severe, may be treated with oral antifungal medications. Ringworm can be contagious and also affects pets such as dogs and cats.
Arnica is an herbal medication made from the arnica montana plant. It is commonly used in ointments and oils that are applied to unbroken skin. Arnica is used as an anti-inflammatory and for pain relief from aches, bruises and muscle sprains. As a homeopathic remedy, arnica is used orally for bleeding, bruising, diabetic retinopathy, diarrhea, osteoarthritis and stroke. It has also been used traditionally as a fungicide. The American Cancer Society says, however, research does not support most of the claims about its effectiveness.
Considerations and Warnings
Arnica has been promoted for use in the treatment of eczema, according to the American Cancer Society, but there is no evidence it is effective, according to MayoClinic.com. Arnica is used for arthritic pain but there’s no evidence that it relieves psoriatic arthritis. Although arnica has been used traditionally as an antifungal, there is no evidence it is effective for ringworm. Arnica can cause skin irritation and may even cause eczema, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Consult a doctor before using arnica.