Chinese herbal treatment has much to offer in the treatment of many inflammatory skin conditions. Psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea, hives, alopecia and herpes are some of the problems that are particularly responsive to this type of treatment.

However, the theories and methods of TCM are still quite unfamiliar to Westerners. Experience at the TCM SKIN CLINIC has shown that patient compliance and eventual success is much greater if patients understand the basics of treatment.

The key point in the TCM treatment of any of the above named skin diseases is individual diagnosis and differentiation. This means that it is not enough to agree that the patient has eczema, for example. A TCM diagnosis must be made in addition to this Western one, because TCM believes that there are very many individual variations among eczema sufferers, even ones with the same subtype, such as atopic eczema.

To illustrate further, some eczema presents with wet, weepy, crusty lesions, which in TCM is described as Damp eczema. Conversely, other cases are extremely dry, with redness and abundant flaking, an example of Hot and Dry eczema. These are simple descriptive terms of what the practitioner and patient see in front of them, but they are very important for treatment, because they require completely different herbal compositions. A Damp eczema will need to be "dried up" with acrid, slightly diuretic herbs so that the lesions can close and heal. However, drying herbs would make the Hot and Dry eczema very much worse. Instead, it requires cooling and moistening herbs.

So, whereas Western medicine applies the same treatment ( i. e. topical steroids) regardless of the presentation, TCM tries to match the prescription exactly to the needs of each case. At the same time, any accompanying symptoms which may be aggravating the skin condition are taken into account when the formula is composed. This may include digestive problems, constipation, anxiety and insomnia.