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Chinese herbs may ease eczema

A traditional Chinese remedy made from five herbs could help to ease the symptoms of eczema, a new study has found.

Eczema, which is also known as dermatitis, is a group of skin conditions characterised by dry, itchy skin that can become raw and bleed in severe cases.

Up to one fifth of school-age children and one in 12 adults are affected by eczema, according to the National Eczema Society.

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have now found that the 'pentaherbs formulation', which contains five herbs including Japanese honeysuckle and peppermint, improved quality of life by a third among five to 21-year-olds and reduced the need for topical steroids.

Nina Goad, a spokeswoman for the British Association of Dermatologists, said: 'These early studies show that children with atopic eczema may benefit from a specific concoction of traditional Chinese herbs, which could eventually pave the way for this remedy to find its way into mainstream medicine.'

However, the association warned consumers that some retailers of Chinese herbs 'may not be reputable'.

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