Chinese herbal medicine for troubled skin

dr-EriksonRemember that old race between the turtle and the rabbit? You know, the one where the patient turtle beats the fast, yet lazy rabbit. Well the turtles philosophy of “slow and steady wins the race” is exactly what we need when trying to overcome a chronic skin problem like psoriasis or eczema.

Think about this way. Chronic skin disease is often a result of internal imbalances, and are not just related to the skin itself. So while the speedy rabbit-like results of a steroid cream may seem to clear up our problem, in reality the rash is only being suppressed. As soon as the cream is stopped, the rash usually returns, sometimes worse than ever before.

A vicious cycle of steroid dependance is then created. A habit that often turns into decades of use, leading to permanent thinning of the skin.

Safe, effective and long term relief of troubled skin needs to address the internal world, particularly through dietary adjustments, exercise and techniques to calm our stressed-out mind. Effective medicine for the skin needs to work from the inside-out, much like appropriately designed herbal teas.

This approach to health is often slow and arduous, with changes being seen over many weeks and months. But remember, it is this steady patience of the turtle that helps him win the race, and so longer term benefits are usually achieved.

troubled-skinA few years ago, a young woman come to see me suffering with psoriasis all over her lower legs. She had been using a steroid cream for the past 10 years, which would instantly decrease her itch and thin out her psoriasis. The steroid, however, was never able to make the psoriasis go completely away. Whenever she stopped using it, within a few days the rash returned with a vengeance.

I encouraged this woman to stay committed to the herbal medicine and lifestyle changes I recommended, even while her psoriasis started flaring up again when she weened off the steroids. Eventually her sores started to thin out and disappear in a way that she had not seen before. Basically her psoriasis was clearing from the inside out, due in part to her dedication and commitment to the process. After five months of this routine, the  psoriasis was gone. Not only that, but her other health complaints like chronic constipation and severe menstrual pain were gone as well.

Two years later, this woman informed me that her skin was still clear.  Again, it all goes to show that slow and steady effort, using the right techniques, applied consistently over time, always wins the race. Lifestyle changes and herbal medicines that work from the inside-out can be powerful tools for healing. Like the patient turtle, we just need enough dedication and commitment to see the journey through.

Dr. Trevor Erikson practices in White Rock, BC, and may be reached through his website at, or by phone at 778.886.1180.