Do Naturopathic or Homeopathic treatments work for rosacea ?

What are the best known naturopathic treatments for rosacea, and how well have they been shown to work ? Naturopathy is a medical philosophy that tries to improve our health by helping the body’s own ability to recover from illness and injury.

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Those who practice naturopathic medicine promote a holistic approach to health and would steer away from synthetic treatments such as antibiotics and metronidazole for example.

If you ever wanted to get to the bottom of the mumbo jumbo that sometimes surrounds naturopathic treatments, then read on.

Herbs

There are now several products on the market to treat rosacea that promote their genesis in natural products. Additionally it may be possible to use some herbs in their natural form. Some of the commercially available products include the Aveeno Ultra Calming range that contains feverfew, and the Eucerin Redness Relief range that contains Licochalcone A, an extract of licorice. One other `naturally based’ topical worth considering is Rosacure which contains MSM and silymarin (Lady Thistle Extract). Although not a herb, colloidal oatmeal containing products from Aveeno are also based on a natural ingredients and my be useful in treating the itch of rosacea.

One herb that stands out (in theory at least) for me is arnica montana. This herb does have a long history of being used to treat swelling and bruising. If this can be extended to include the inflammation of rosacea then arnica might be worth exploring further. One other interesting approach is the Califlora and aloe vera based anti flushing protocol to control angiogenesis between IPL treatments.

It seems to me that products that are sourced from natural ingredients, that also have been tested and developed into commercial products, and are easily available; hold a lot of promise for rosacea sufferers.

Acupuncture

Although acupuncture has been a subject of active research since the late 20th century, accupuncture’s effects are not well understood. It is considered safe when administered by well trained practitioners using sterile needles, but probably like most of these sorts of therapies, needs more research.

See the following acupuncture thread over at the Rosacea Support Community for thoughts from other rosacea sufferers. It seems that acupuncture may be good for overall health, help you relax and might just help you cope with rosacea. Another thread at The Rosacea Forum from a member’s acupuncture trial is also worth reading, although there doesn’t seem to be a conclusion just yet.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses what are called essential oils and other aromatic compounds to affect one’s mood or health. Note that the `essential’ in essential oils only refers to the oils being concentrated from the plant they were extracted from. Thus the usage of `essential’ here should not be confused with uses of the term such as essential fatty acids for example.

According to wikipedia, the scientific evidence for aromatherapy is weak and could only be considered as mildly encouraging for a limited set of possible uses. Proponents of aromatherapy suggest that there are 2 main ways that the therapy works; firstly by the influence of the aroma on the brain, and secondly by the pharmacological effects of the essential oils.

Unlike acupuncture, aromatherapy is considered a largely Western treatment regime. The delivery of aromatherapy can be via aerial diffusion, inhalation or directly on the body. Many of the potentially interesting essential oils, like lavender oil, eucalyptus oil for eg. may also be useful as a topical treatment in their own right.

As aromatherapy preparations are often concentrated, dilution with a suitable solvent would be advised.

Homeopathy

Does homeopathy rise about the mumbo jumbo sounding statement of `treating like with like’ ?  Can it offer something useful for rosacea sufferers ? While the formal description of homeopathy; “an ill person can be treated using a substance that can produce, in a healthy person, symptoms similar to those of the illness” doesn’t sound too bad, sadly the research has never been able to escape the placebo effect. When you consider that many homeopathic remedies are diluted such that the active ingredient is undetectable in the diluent, it isn’t surprising that any benefits are hard to prove.

What about the Placebo Effect ?

For those not familiar with the placebo effect, it might be worth exploring that further here. When a new medication is trialled, researchers need to prove the efficacy of the medication when compared to placebo. The mind is a powerful influence in any treatment, especially when the patient has an expectation of improving. When trialists expect that they are receiving the active ingredient, but are only receiving the inactive placebo, and do perceive a benefit – this benefit is known as the placebo effect. Thus a blind study is more convincing; where trialists do not know if they are receiving an active ingredient, and the response can be measured objectively.

There are several theories about why the placebo effect exists. A disease may have its own natural cycle, or some people may be predisposed to the power of suggestion.

Despite being hard to prove, homeopathy is one of the most wide spread non conventional treatment approaches alongside Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and osteopathy.

There is a lot of discussion about the merits of homeopathy as treatment regime. One robust criticism of the whole approach that is worth a read Quackwatch: Homeopathy The Ultimate Fake. The author, Stephen Barrett, M.D. asserts that the FDA has not held homeopathic products to the same standards as other drugs and that at best the remedies are just placebos.

Nutrition

We all of course know that what we eat influences our health. Just how much does diet affect our rosacea though ?

Some foods are known to be common rosacea triggers. It can be quite complicated to understand one’s own allergies and food intolerances, especially if there are rosacea flareups related to intake of unknown foods. One good source for further reading is the resource page Dietary Influence.

Beyond some directly traceable intolerance to a particular food, what about a particular style of diet ? Rosacea Diets have been around for several years. Can avoiding processed foods or eating an alkaline diet help your rosacea ? Anecdotal reports suggest that this may be the case.

One paper that looks to be heading an an interesting direction is summarised here; could rosacea be caused by diet ?

Pursuing a whole foods, plant-based diet is also something worth considering when thinking about your general health and longevity. My belief is that we would all benefit from seeking the advice of a dietician for our rosacea and indeed for our general health and wellbeing. With so many chronic diseases having links to diet, it makes good sense to explore good nutrition with a dietician.

Physical Therapies

This sort of therapy includes hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, sports medicine and soft tissue manipulative therapy. While it might be hard to imagine how physical therapies can help rosacea, they may well improve your quality of life. We also know that moderate exercise may help your rosacea.

Psychological Counselling

There has been little direct research between the effects of stress and rosacea. It appears that emotional flushing in rosacea sufferers may be maintained by a combination of both cognitive and physiological factors. What comes first though ? does stress  make rosacea worse, or does rosacea induce its own stress, and feed off itself.

While we wait for more research, those who do suffer from anxiety or depression will likely benefit from meditation, relaxation, and stress management.

Another result from some recent research linking rosacea and flushing found that `The stress and fear of blushing can be mitigated by psychological intervention such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Task Concentration Training.’ These are 2 more options that may be worth exploring to help rosacea sufferers copy with flushing and anxiety.

Over to you.

OK, so I have tried my best to outline the depth of naturopathic treatments and frame them with some relevance to treating rosacea. What successes can you report ? Do these sorts of treatments hold much promise for rosacea sufferers ?

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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23 Reader Comments

  1. WW says:

    Hi,
    Very interesting article, and fun to read. The information provided by you is very good. You gave a clear What are the best known naturopathic treatments for rosacea. It is very useful and helpful for every one.

  2. Caroline R. says:

    I am very interested in alternative treatments for rosacea and you did a good job of presenting options. One thing I’d like to find out more about is the effect of an anti-inflammatory diet on rosacea. I read a brief excerpt of Dr. N. Perricone, M.D.’s book where he advised his patients with rosacea to follow such a regime with good results. (Dr. Perricone is a dermatologist who has a popular following.) Macrobiotic regimes are another interest of mine and practitioners of macrobiotics also have much to say about rosacea. Thanks for your information!

  3. Kristina Floyd says:

    We eat mostly organic food and I was very distressed to develop Rosacea across the forehead and cheeks. I can’t use the chemical treatments due to a damaged liver.

    Nothing has helped until I did the following. It has largely cleared it up, and I am so happy I wanted to share it. This can’t be marketed because there is no drug involved but it works for me beautifully!

    I get Spectrum Organic Distilled Vinegar and I wipe my skin with it (using a clean washcloth). This takes the place of soap or any other cleaner. Then I spread the Organic Face & Body Cream I get at http://www.FromTheMeadows.com on my face and anywhere else that needs it.

    The cream has zero preservatives in it and is the only chemical-free cream I have found. You can use whatever you like after the vinegar wipe/scrub, but realize chemicals have direct impact on skin and internal organs. The cream is inexpensive at $5.99 and the link is:
    http://fromthemeadows.com/item_59/Original-Organic-Formula-UNSCENTED-FACE-BODY-CREAM-1.5-oz.htm

    I found this vinegar benefit after rinsing my hair one day with vinegar. I noticed the immediate benefit to my skin and have worked out this simple combination.

    I hope this helps someone else!

  4. Kristie says:

    Kristina – What exactly cleared up? Is it redness that cleared up or pimples that cleared up?

    Thanks.

  5. Kristina Floyd says:

    Both cleared. I am thrilled that the blister-like pimples are almost gone and the red-rash crusty surface is almost cleared. I have been doing it for about 2 weeks.

  6. Kristie says:

    I have type 1 so I do not have any pimples or red rash, just redness. I’m guessing this will probably not help my case but I might give it a try just in case. Thanks for sharing what worked.

  7. Kristina Floyd says:

    Do try both items… I would think that the benefit and impact to the condition should apply to you as well.

    Please let me know how you do!

  8. Susan Summers says:

    Six years ago I found the natural solution I needed for my rosacea recovery. I had taken antibiotics and used Metrogel for two years. Then I went to a naturopath and tried many homeopathic remedies, none of which cleared my skin. It wasn’t until I had been using ThreeLac probiotic for yeast overgrowth for about 4 months, that my skin began to clear. I have continued to use ThreeLac daily and find that as long as I’m consistent, my skin stays clear. I’ve posted photos and more information about my solution on my site at newleafhealth.

  9. hongmei says:

    Hi Susan Summers, I am interested in the ThreeLac probiltic you recommended? Please tell me where I can buy it? Thanks a lot!

  10. Susan Summers says:

    Hi, Hongmei, You can call Global Health Trax (the company that distributes ThreeLac) at 1-800-305-5710. Please let them know that I referred you to them. You can also read about my experience using ThreeLac to help me recover from Rosacea- newleafhealth.com/natural_rosacea_remedy.html . There are links on that page that go to Global Health Trax’s website so you can order ThreeLac through the Internet if you prefer.

  11. amy turner says:

    has anyone had any success with natural remedies for ocular rosacea? I have chronic dry eye, bouts of conjunctivitis and then blisters on my eyelids that are very painful. After several years I was just diagnosed with rosacea–thanks for any comments–amy

  12. Rose kraus says:

    When i was younger i was told you know you have a few broken cappillaries on your cheeks, I said yes but make up covers them, reallly not noticable, at least I didn’t dwell on them nor did they effect my life style in anyway.
    when you mentioned conjunctivitis and then blisters on the eye lid, I had conjunctivitis, felt like something was in my eyes all the time, awonderful Docotr in Asheville, N.C. removed something from under my eyelids and peace was immediately obtained…but I had gone to balcon palmer eye institute in Miami, they did nothing, went to one of the best Doctors in all of Miami , still nothing, then to Dr. Isby III and he cured it, my eyes were irritated all of the time, felt like something was in them, Doctor fter Doctor, felt like I had sand in my eyes all of the time, you must find the right Doctor, a Doctor who wants to cure not have yoiu come back for a zillion visits, I only hope tht every single Doctor i saw before Dr. IsbyIII get the same thing and experiences what we experienced..
    All I can say is go to the best, I keep remembering that even the lowest grades or last man or woman in the class is still called Doctor, so I recommened that you either ask around or go to Asheville North CArolina to Dr. Isbey thethird…hes great…

    Get the blisters removed, a freind of ours had his Dr. removed them alll at one time, they not only look horrible to you but are horrible looking to everyone else..

    I beleive the secret to any successful treatment is the best Doctor, ask, talk don’t be afraid to travel to the best.. get it taken care of not treated not elimanated….thats not much to ask for if you hve a great physician or opthamologist…

  13. Jose Cuellar says:

    I am takeing Homeopathy treatment , and I got my skin clear in two months, I had mild rednesh beside my nose nad forehead, still two months teatment to go but I am happy with results, beside I exercise every other day and avoid fast or frozen food, I am 63 YO and my rosacea started two years ago, did not pay much attention at the begining, but two months ago I went for Homeophaty with great results. thanks Sulphur, calcarea fluorica, and Belladona

  14. jennifer says:

    Jose, thanks for your comment. I have used homeopathy for years to treat my family with great success, and taken classes in it, but didn’t know which remedies to try for my rosacea. Now, thanks to you, I have some idea of where to start.

  15. Jose Cuellar says:

    Jennifer, glad to hear that from you. any way I got my homeopathy pills from Monterrey Mx. they are 60% less expensive than here.

  16. ANTOONIO says:

    me han dicho que existe tratamiento con determinadas hierva que funciona muy bien para el problema de la impotencia, tengo colocado un stem en el corazon, le rogaria me informara

  17. Siri says:

    If you write informational text about homeopathy with any conditions, you should have knowledge about homeopathic medicine.

  18. lisa says:

    i recently got a sunburn on my roscea face and applied “slivadene” prescription medicine for 2nd and 3rd degree burns.. to my surprise it is clearing up my roscea!!
    looked online for slivadene cream.. it stated it also is good for clearing up candida (overgrowth of yeast) which i think is what is causing mine. thts y ppl find help with using probiotics.. it crowds out the bad yeast in our body.. let me know if anyone tries this and if it helps..:)

  19. pari says:

    what is the indian price of this homeopathic medicine…and from where i can got it….pls tell me…

  20. Laura says:

    I have been working with a naturopathic doctor for over a year, trying to help my rosacea. So far, nothing has improved much which is disappointing. I’d like to get off of doxycycline which I’ve been taking for about 5-6 years. I take a probiotic, betaine and various vitamins. I still periodically have flair ups. Rosacea stinks.

  21. Jeff says:

    To Kistina Floyd: Is the treatment you mentioned above still working? Which cream on the fromthe meadows.com website are you talking about specifically?

  22. Bill Rabara says:

    The answer is ‘no’. Homeopathoc treatments do not work other than providing hope and comfort to people that distrust evidence based medicine. If I awake with a flared face that lasts all day and then I eat a Reeses pieces and awake the next morning with improvement, what can I conclude? How about if it happens several days in a row? I cannot conclude the candy had any effect on the rosacea, of course. Homeopathy, mostly, does not work or else there would be real, tested evidence to support its effectiveness.

    • drwagnernd says:

      Why can’t people let other people use the natural remedies that work for them? Homeopathy works if the right remedy is used. with over 400 remedies in the most used remedies category, it is not surprising that people often try the wrong remedy. Also researchers do not understand this like cures like strategy. If Arnica makes swelling and bruise from an injury go away, they assume it is anti-inflammatory and try to use it for other inflammations as if it is equal to Ibuprofen. then it doesn’t work. This is not the way to properly use Homeopathics. Many people get excellent results with their kids, babies and pets, so the results are not psychosomatic. Case studies are the only way to test homeopathic remedies and research does not support the use of case studies. You cannot do a double blind placebo controlled study on hundreds of people with homeopathy because hundreds of people will not be having the same exact symptoms.

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