An example of this is a patient of mine who, like her mother and sister, has suffered severe atopic eczema since birth. Nothing has ever given lasting relief or control of symptoms. However, all three family members have had complete, sustained remission of symptoms after applying wheatgrass spray once or twice a day for several months. They remain symptom and steroid-free.
If eczema is genetic in origin, then why have these individuals recovered from their lifelong disorder? Why do some patients with severe, lifelong eczema recover often after several weeks' treatment with wheatgrass? I've never known this to happen with steroids or other pharmaceuticals. In fact, what we usually see in atopic eczema is a chronic relapsing and remitting course, regardless of the treatment used. To my mind, the answer is clear. Eczema is predominantly an autoimmune condition. Genetic predisposition is important, but secondary.
Chronic Eczema/Dermatitis Cure - Response to Wheatgrass Recovery Spray and Cream
|Highly unstable, generalised chronic atopic eczema since infancy in 20 y.o. female. Refractory to treatment. No response to eczema treatment except intermittent topical and oral steroids.
|Same patient after 3 months of eczema treatment with topical wheat- wheatgrass spray & cream twice daily. No further need for topical or oral steroids. No relapses since January 2003.
I've been using Wheatgrass Recovery Spray for my eczema for nearly 1 year. When I was a child I always had eczema. When I moved to Australia my skin got worse. I was taking steroid tablets and using cream for nearly 2 years and couldn't stop because my skin got worse if I did. My skin was terrible because so itchy and bleeding everyday. I was always scratching myself and it was so hard to go to sleep as well. My doctor gave me Wheatgrass (sic) for my skin. It worked wonderful for my eczema as soon as I started using it. I just couldn't believe it stopped my itchy skin. 3 days later I realized I'm not scratching anymore and I can go to sleep easier without steroid. Since that time I stopped everything and just using wheatgrass spray and cream. My skin was improved more than before. I'm very happy about my skin and my life is changed by Wheatgrass Spray and Cream. Thank you so much.
Y. Y. Melbourne. Australia. December, 2003
Wheatgrass Restores Steroid - Damaged Nails
29 y.o. female. Atopic eczema/dermatitis since childhood.
Severe nail damage due to prolonged daily topical steroid use (approx 12 years). Note pitting, deep ridges and scooped out appearance of the nail bed. The patient was unable to cease steroids because of the severe rebound she suffered whenever they were reduced.
Wheatgrass cream was applied twice daily. Topical steroids were gradually reduced and eventually ceased altogether. There was no rebound and the nails recovered completely. No further steroid use required.
The patient's testimonial:
I have been suffering atopy since early childhood. I saw many doctors but they gave me similar treatments; which was to apply topical steroids. I tried some folk medicines but did not find any remarkable effects and considering they were very expensive I did not continue with their use.
My eczema symptoms appeared on each joint, my palms and my fingers. Especially my fingers were in the worst condition and sometimes I could not sleep because of severe itching. Through the years the skin on my hands had become damaged and because of long-term use of the steroids my nails were in poor condition and my skin had become discolored. For a long time I had been embarrassed to show my hands.
Last year I visited Melbourne to study English. The strong sunshine and the dry climate made my condition worse. One day I visited Dr Reynolds at Swanston Clinic, whom my relatives and friends in Australia had recommended.
I assured myself that the wheatgrass spray was what I was looking for while I listened to his explanation. I was looking for a product that did not contain steroids and was safe, effective and economical.
I learnt the importance of developing my immune system and how to look after my skin. Through the discussions with Dr Reynolds and some trial and error I found an effective way of using the spray.
In the first month the effect was not so remarkable but gradually my skin began to improve. In the third month the skin became moistened and the skin colour was gradually getting close to normal. Four months after I began to use the spray I felt my nails were becoming smooth and on the sixth month my hands became beautiful. By this time I could shake hands without hesitation. I had the best condition in my life 7 months after I began to use the spray. My family was also happy to see my new hands after I returned to Japan.
I believe the benefits of using the wheatgrass products are that they are very safe, economical and effective. Also they do not have strict rules for their use.
I have been using the spray to maintain my condition. The turning point was when I saw Dr Reynolds and began to use the wheatgrass spray in Melbourne.
Lastly, I hope many people who are suffering from atopy can have the same experience. With many thanks.
J. H. Japan. 5 August, 2004
Recovery of Steroid-Dependent Eczema
22 August, 2003. Atopic 29 y.o. female. Inflamed, roughened skin with chronic atrophic changes due to prolonged topical steroid useage (triamcinolone). Steroid ceased and wheatgrass extract applied three times daily.
27 November, 2003 - 3 months after ceasing topical steroids. Apart from some residual dryness, skin is now visually "acceptable" to the patient. By January, 2004, skin was almost normal. Patient using wheatgrass spray twice daily only.
An interesting excerpt from Dr. Chris Reynolds' January, 2004 newsletter "Wheatgrass at Work" reads:-
This particular young woman has suffered from severe, generalised atopic eczema since childhood. Her skin has caused her great distress and social isolation over the years. When she first attended my clinic in August last year, she lacked self-confidence and was quite understandably angry at a condition that had turned her into a social pariah with never a partner. It is very gratifying to report that, thanks to wheatgrass, she is now happily enjoying her first relationship. I wonder how many of my colleagues who are unwilling or unable to remove their pharmaceutical straitjacket enjoy the privileged world of safe, hands-on healing that I do. Physical healing that is often substantially augmented by the social, psychological and emotional benefits patients experience.
How to Use Wheatgrass for Dermatitis & Eczema Symptoms
The rebound of eczema symptoms after ceasing topical steroids can be very distressing as well as difficult for doctors, patients and carers to manage.
In my experience, wheatgrass can make this so much easier to prevent and control in the majority of patients. I believe this is due to the immune stimulant effect of wheatgrass which helps the skin recover naturally.
The method is quite simple.
First, aim to reduce the steroids gradually over a period of time - say two to three weeks. For the first week, start to boost the skin's immunity by applying wheatgrass two to three times daily, but in combination with the topical steroid. Wheatgrass first, steroid on top. Use either the Skin Recovery Cream or the Skin Recovery Spray. Because the latter is all natural and contains fewer ingredients than the cream, it is my preferred treatment for eczema in infants and children.
In the second week, try to reduce the steroid by 50 percent either on a daily basis, or every second day.
By the third week it may be safe to reduce the steroid to twice weekly, then once weekly, then cease. In this way, you will build up the skin's immunity quite significantly so that the steroid may no longer be required provided the wheatgrass continues to be applied once or twice daily.
In the event of flares, which often happen in the first few months but are usually milder than before, repeat the steroid/wheatgrass combination. However, this time, reduce the starting dose of topical steroid, then continue with the reduction schedule as before. It is quite possible this period will be significanly shorter than the first 'cycle'.
I have helped numerous patients, adults and children, towards far better quality skin this way, most of whom have been able to dispense completely with their steroids. Others only need to use the steroids to help them over a flare from time to time, but only for days rather than weeks or months. It is also worth noting that many eczema patients improve if wheatgrass is given orallly (Supershots) in addition to the topical formulations.
In the more severe cases, I use daily wheatgrass application in combination with oral steroids i.e. prednisolone, usually 20mg. daily to begin with, to get control over the eczema by reducing inflammation and itch. I then reduce the prednisolone by small increments of 2.5mg every three or four days as this helps significantly in reducing rebound. The aim is to cease the oral steroids as soon as possible, but to maintain the wheatgrass application. If rebound occurs, I repeat the steroid cycle, but never return to the original dose. Usually, if the patient has commenced on 20mg. prednisolone, I return to 15mg. then repeat the gradual reduction in dosage.
This process may take three to six months, but the outcome is usually successful so that only the wheatgrass topical is required.
Eczema Flare and Dry Skin Prevention Techniques
No eczema treatment, including wheatgrass and topical (or oral) steroids, is likely to work unless simple, 'damage control' measures are also taken. Try to assist your immune system to heal your skin naturally by reducing or eliminating exposure to adverse factors such as soap, hot water and frequent shampooing which dry the skin, aggravate the condition and slow recovery. My rules:
AVOID SOAP - of any kind. This includes soap-containing shampoos, dishwashing detergents and so on. Try to find a colloidal oatmeal containing soap-free wash for body and face and a shampoo containing the same ingredient. Oatmeal appears to have a similar immune-boosting action as wheatgrass and the two appear to work synergistically.
In Australia, the only colloidal oatmeal containing product I am aware of is the 'Dermaveen' brand, available at pharmacies. In the USA it is called 'Aveno', but I hear there is an equally good but lower priced product available at WalMart stores under the 'Equate' brand.
REDUCE EXPOSURE TO HOT WATER in other words, take short (5 minutes max) showers and NO BATHS. Soap and hot water combine to remove sebum from the pores of the skin and deep into the sebaceous glands, inhibiting sebum production causing dryness and itchiness. Sebaceous glands (See Figure) are controlled by hormones and the immune system, which wheatgrass appears to strengthen naturally.
APPLY WHEATGRASS SPRAY OR CREAM AT LEAST TWICE A DAY. More often if necessary. As well as strengthening the skin's immunity, biological actives from the wheatgrass are absorbed into the body and in time, the patient's immune status becomes stronger - a major bonus. I also get them to take wheatgrass orally to further boost their immune system. Ultimately, most patients end up controlling their own eczema just with wheatgrass. The saving to the patient in time and cost can be substantial. Steroids can be gradually reduced, and in time the skin can recover naturally.
EASING THE PAIN AND DISTRESS OF TOPICAL STEROID WITHDRAWAL
WHAT IS TSW?
Topical steroids (TS), were first used for treating eczema in 1951 apparently “revolutionising” its treatment. Unfortunately it was soon realised that prolonged use atrophied the skin and caused various other adverse side effects. One estimate claims there are 250 million TSW sufferers worldwide.
Even after a few days of TS use, microscopic damage to the skin can be detected. After prolonged use though, macroscopic damage occurs and is often irreversible. There are many other potential adverse effects from long-term use. Also, the immune competence of the skin, which protects our bodies from external invaders, becomes compromised.
"Flares" or "rebound" effects, well known to TSW sufferers, can occur just hours after ceasing the drugs. The reaction can be severe, extremely distressful and difficult to control. Burning pain, weeping, fragile, easily damaged skin, constant itching, scratching, dryness, recurrent bacterial infections, patchy discoloration, disfigurement, depigmentation, cracking and tightening of the skin, and even urgent hospitalisation for treatment of blood-poisoning may occur. The unsightliness of one's skin can lead to adverse psychological effects.
HOW DO TOPICAL STEROIDS DAMAGE MY SKIN?
The skin is a highly complex organ; the body’s largest in fact. TS damage involves structural as well as functional deterioration. Even after a week or two of TS “treatment”, there is a reduction in the size of skin cells and the number of cell layers forming the skin. Reduction in cell division and growth leads to damage to the ‘microcirculation’ i.e. tiny blood vessels and nerves that control blood flow.
This compromises oxygen and nutrient supply essential for growth, and skin cells are progressively destroyed. In fact, the potency or “strength” of TS is measured and categorised “scientifically” by their relative ability to constrict capillaries. Damage to immune system cells in the skin, so vital for effective immunological protection further reduces the skin’s ability to protect itself (and subsequently, the body) from infection and malignancy. Eventually, the skin becomes thin or atrophied, and inflamed. If continued, TS can cause irreversible damage and permanent atrophy. For example see how much damage they can do to finger nails after long term use (and how wheatgrass restored them to normal).
WHY DOES MY SKIN BURN?
Based on numerous observations using wheatgrass for healing and skin recovery, it appears that the minute capillaries in the skin and the tiny nerves that control their calibre have been severely damaged. However, this does not prevent engorged, larger, deep-tissue blood vessels forcing blood into the upper layers of this damaged skin. Because of nerve damage here, the blood flow is unregulated, but some sensory nerves survive which react to the increased pressure causing pain, “red skin”, burning and weeping.
HOW DOES WHEATGRASS HELP TSW?
Being a potent anti-inflammatory and immune-modulator wheatgrass extract can help control rebound by stimulating new skin growth, reducing pain, burning and itching. It most likely achieves this by repairing the function of the tiny nerves that control the supply of blood to the skin, (see figure above) significantly aiding the healing process.
Wheatgrass has successfully helped many of my patients over the TSW hurdle. Damaged skin in time gradually reverts to normal in the majority of cases if you persevere. However, this is not a ‘quick fix’. It takes time – around 6 months – but even so-called “irreversible damage” can be overcome eventually. By comparison, because the skin structure and function has not been restored, ‘cold turkey’ patients are often left with permanent atrophy and associated skin dysfunction.
MANAGING TSW WITH WHEATGRASS (ALL AGES)
To begin with, combine every daily topical steroid application with wheatgrass Skin Recovery Spray (or wheatgrass juice, which can still be effective, but is not as potent.) The aim is to reduce TS by gradually replacing each daily application with wheatgrass extract only until you are only using wheatgrass. The combination of TS plus WG helps reduce rebound inflammation concurrently aiding recovery of steroid-damaged skin. In the early stages it can be difficult to reduce even one application of TS, but if you persevere, you will eventually only need wheatgrass to keep your skin stable and continue recovery.
Because itch is usually worst at night, eliminate that TS dose last. First reduce the morning and afternoon (or morning dose if you’re only applying TS twice daily). This process will take time and patience, 4 to 6 months perhaps - but it is important to persevere and to give the skin a chance to gradually recover while withdrawing from TS. See TS Reduction Chart .pdf to print out your copy.
If possible, combine the topical with daily oral antioxidant-rich wheatgrass extract (e.g. Supershots, or wheatgrass juice). This helps repair and maintain a damaged immune system caused by topical and/or oral steroids. Also, there is evidence that wheatgrass may stimulate growth hormone production from the pituitary gland. Growth Hormone activates IGF-1 (insulin growth factor -1) and promotes tissue growth which is what you need to help your skin overcome TS damage.
If necessary, grow your own wheatgrass, juice and drink it and apply it daily – and persevere. Too many people give up too soon, so allow at least six months to achieve significant improvement and/or recovery. Given nothing else appears to assist skin recovery, I can vouch for the fact it will be worth the effort.