One of the more rewarding aspects of natural products work is finding a viable treatment for a human malady; one which cannot be readily managed using standard pharmaceutical drugs. Thus was the case in 1990 with the discovery that a rather ancient Chinese traditional botanic formula produced noticeable improvement in atopic eczema in children. This observation was reported by J.I. Harper, MD, Department of Pediatric Dermatology, Hospital for Sick Children, London, England, in a letter published in the prestigious scientific journal, “The Lancet“. A list of ingredients employed in the Chinese tea was divulged, but not their proportions.
In 1993, a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of the Chinese eczema tea and pediatric atopic eczema was performed by Dr. Harper and fellow researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children. Most of the children who drank the “real McCoy” (the experimental group) experienced a tremendous diminution of itching, pustules, and scales, for example, while those who sipped the placebo (the control group) did not significantly improve.
A subsequent one-year study was carried out, as described in this quote from a PubMed (medical database) abstract:
“The opportunity to continue treatment was offered to the parents of 37 children who had completed a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of a specific formulation of Chinese medicinal herbs for atopic eczema. The parents elected for continued treatment in every case, and the progress of the children was monitored over the following 12 months. The aim was to achieve a substantial clinical improvement, and thereafter to reduce treatment frequency progressively while maintaining this benefit.
“At the end of the year, 18 enjoyed at least 90 percent reductions in eczema activity scores, and five showed lesser degrees of improvement. Fourteen children withdrew from the study, 10 due to lack of response, and four because of unpalatability of treatment or difficulty in the preparation of treatment.
“By the end of the year, seven of the children were able to discontinue treatment without relapse. The other 16 required treatment to maintain control of their eczema, but only four of these still required daily treatment. Asymptomatic elevation of serum aspartate aminotransferase to 7-14 times normal values was noted on one occasion in two children whose eczema was so well controlled that the therapy was stopped. Liver function tests were normal 8 weeks later.
“We conclude that Chinese medicinal herbs provide a therapeutic option for children with extensive atopic eczema which has failed to respond to other treatments. In the medium term, it proved helpful for approximately half the children who originally took part in our placebo-controlled trial.” (Sheehan MP-Atherton DJ, “One-year follow up of children treated with Chinese medicinal herbs for atopic eczema,” Br J Dermatol, 1994 Apr, Volume: 130, pp. 488 through 493).
Again, the herbs in the eczema tea were disclosed but not the amounts of each. I decided to figure this out and as part of this recruited a large number of eczema patients – children, adolescents, and adults – mixed together the botanicals in varying proportions, and then gave out various versions. (Unlike the London study, however, I opted to use an encapsulated form as opposed to a foul-tasting tea).
It took over two years working at it part-time to arrive at the most effective combination for managing eczema, but effective it is! (My results paralleled those seen in the London-based clinical trials). And it’s not effective for eczema, but for other conditions in which certain species of free radicals and highly inflammatory substances called leukotrienes and prostaglandins play a role. The conditions which have shown a significant response to the eczema formula include asthma, emphysema, psoriasis, certain rheumatic conditions, and numerous neurological maladies.
One memorable and very telltale case involved a Vietnam veteran who presented with a rash and pustules over 90 percent of his body. The physicians at the V.A. center in Dallas were unable to effectively manage the condition, despite prescribing heavy doses of oral steroids coupled with liberal application of various topical drugs. I started this gentleman on one “eczema tea formula” capsule, 3 times each day for the first two weeks; then increased the dosage to two capsules 4 times daily. Within eight weeks of commencing the course of therapy, the rash and pustules had faded and essentially dried up. After another 3-4 weeks, he had virtually no visible evidence of what had been an almost three-decade nightmare.
One need only read about various skin conditions to realize the pervasiveness of this exasperating, debilitation dermatological challenge. For me, however, there is far more than a realization of how ubiquitous eczema is. As a boy I suffered from one of the worst cases of eczema imaginable. Even the steroid hormone, cortisone, didn’t help. Thankfully, my eczema went into permanent remission after age 5 or so, but I never forgot the more than three years I spent combating this nightmarish condition. And while it took me almost 36 years to turn my attention back to this human malady, the victory is no less sweet.
Nota bene: I turned over the Eczema or E-Tea formula to a company I was consulting for at the time, Prestige Chinese Teas, in 1993. I’d known and collaborated with PCT founder and President Sunny Wong since 1986 and knew he’d so all he could to get E-Tea into the hands of medical consumers at a cost they could afford, which he did. I did not ask for and ever received any proceeds from the sale of E-Tea (as I did not want to add to its cost by doing so) and ceased to be paid as a consultant for PCT in 1999 when I left the USA to teach in Japan. As I anticipated, PCT has continued to make E-Tea available at a cost that is kind to consumer purse strings: http://www.teastohealth.com/skin.html
©2014 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.