That’s what happened with a woman I began treating 5 months ago who had quite a severe case of rosacea. I remember so clearly during her first visit — she thought that she couldn’t be healed because “this isn’t normal rosacea,” as she put it.
I was not at all surprised that she doubted she could be helped. She had tried a variety of prescription medicines and had been to more than one western dermatologist for the treatment of her rosacea. This is quite a common scenario in my practice – people come to see me as a “last resort” rather turning to herbs and natural treatment first.
Here’s what was “atypical” about her rosacea: rather than having redness that comes and goes with the tiny, spider-like veins on her cheeks, she had constant redness with swelling. She also had a lot of raised red bumps on her cheeks, chin and forehead that would come and go to a degree, but they were always there. She had two young kids at home, and as much as she tried to avoid the sun, she was often at soccer games, baseball games or the park. The sun made her rosacea much worse, but she felt as if the flares were unrelenting even when she could avoid it.
I assured her that herbs were in fact a great choice to address her rosacea, since herbal treatment is both targeted and customized. When writing a formula for her, I wouldn’t be using the same herbs as I would for someone with a more “textbook” look to their rosacea. Yes – some of the herbs (to address redness, for example) would be the same. But when you look at my pharmacy that has over 300 herbs in it, it’s easy to see: specific herbs will be chosen for specific aspects of healing the skin. There were several herbs in her formula to address the constant swelling around her nose and cheeks. Other herbs were included for the raised bumps. And many of the herbs were used to treat her underlying digestive problems that in my opinion were closely associated with her skin.
The most difficult part of her treatment (for me) wasn’t choosing the herbs in the formula. It was persuading her to be patient and give the herbs time to do their magic. I’m always telling people that healing with herbs is a marathon and not a sprint. As much as people understand that intellectually, it can be difficult to keep going when you only see minimal results in the first month of taking herbs (which is what happened in her case).
Luckily – she stuck with it. She was diligent about taking the herbs twice a day and never missed a dose. I think she felt she had nothing to lose since she had already tried so many other treatment options. But as her skin began to dramatically shift (in the second month of taking herbs), she seemed genuinely surprised. This shift was all it took to keep her motivated to continue with treatment.
Will she be on herbs forever? No – absolutely not. Most of my patients are on herbs for 4 to 6 months, and then need no further treatment. Due to the severity of her case, I think she may need herbs for a bit longer (perhaps 7 or even 8 months). But because of the successful healing that has happened already, I have no doubt that she’ll stick with it and continue to be happy with the results the herbs have provided.
Learn more about our treatment of rosacea with Chinese medicine…