Certain herbs taken orally or applied topically have shown to have anti-itch potential. German chamomile, peppermint, and colloidal oatmeal are examples of herbs that may help show a reduction in symptoms. In the cases of ongoing or severe itching conditions, consult with a Doctor.
Recipes to Help with Itching
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
BENTONITE / SEA CLAY
- In a double blind study of 100 infants, bentonite was more effective than calendula in treating diaper rash. From: Mahmoudi, M., Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mashaiekhi, M. (2015). Comparing the effects of Bentonite & Calendula on the improvement of infantile diaper dermatitis: A randomized controlled trial. The Indian journal of medical research, 142(6), 742.
- This study demonstrated Arctium lappa as useful in reducing dry skin and itching as an ingredient in topical cream. From: Lee, D. H., Seo, E. S., Hong, J. T., Lee, G. T., You, Y. K., Lee, K. K., … & Kim, N. K. (2013). The efficacy and safety of a proposed herbal moisturising cream for dry skin and itch relief: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial-study protocol. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 13(1), 330.
- In a review of using cannabis in a dermatology clinics, the author summarized the following approved indications included: psoriasis, lupus, nail-patella syndrome, and severe pain. The author further indicated that preliminary studies show potential for the plant in treating: acne, dermatitis, pruritus, wound healing, and skin cancer. More human studies are needed. From: Dhadwal, G., & Kirchhof, M. G. (2018). The Risks and Benefits of Cannabis in the Dermatology Clinic. Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, 22(2), 194-199.
- The possibilities of using cannaboids to treat psoriasis was reviewed. From: Derakhshan, N., & Kazemi, M. (2016). Cannabis for Refractory Psoriasis-High Hopes for a Novel Treatment and a Literature Review. Current clinical pharmacology, 11(2), 146-147.
- Cannabis extracts of CBD showed in vitro anti-inflammatory skin action. From: Fumagalli, M., Sangiovanni, E., Pacchetti, B., Piazza, S., & Dell’Agli, M. (2017). Anti-inflammatory activity of Cannabis sativa L. extracts in an in vitro model of skin inflammation. Planta Medica International Open, 4(S 01), We-SL.
- German chamomile was recommended to relieve itching and inflammation and heal peristomal skin lesions. From: Charousaei, F., Dabirian, A., & Mojab, F. (2011). Using chamomile solution or a 1% topical hydrocortisone ointment in the management of peristomal skin lesions in colostomy patients: results of a controlled clinical study. Ostomy-Wound Management, 57(5), 28.
- Oral intake of German chamomile extracts reduced the itch-scratch response comparable to oxatomide in mice. From: Kobayashi, Y., Nakano, Y., Inayama, K., Sakai, A., & Kamiya, T. (2003). Dietary intake of the flower extracts of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) inhibited compound 48/80-induced itch-scratch responses in mice. Phytomedicine, 10(8), 657-664.
- Chamomile along with conventional antihistamines could be used to treat severe itching (pruritus). From: Kobayashi, Y., Takahashi, R., & Ogino, F. (2005). Antipruritic effect of the single oral administration of German chamomile flower extract and its combined effect with antiallergic agents in ddY mice. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 101(1), 308-312.
CHAMOMILE , ROMAN
- Manzana type chamomile (Roman) was more effective than hydrocortisone cream in treating atopic eczema in this partially double-blind, randomized study. From: Patzelt-Wenczler, R., & Ponce-Pöschl, E. (2000). Proof of efficacy of Kamillosan (R) cream in atopic eczema. European journal of medical research, 5(4), 171-175.
- Colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) has been used for centuries as a topical treatment for various skin conditions and was used in a blind study on twenty-nine female subjects with mild to moderate itching on their dry lower legs. The oatmeal significantly improved skin dryness, texture, and itch intensity. From: Michelle Garay, M. S., Judith Nebus, M. B. A., & Menas Kizoulis, B. A. (2015). Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 14(1), 43-48.
- Active colloidal oatmeal moisturizer showed effectiveness in this randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical study. From: Kalaaji, A. N., & Wallo, W. (2014). A randomized controlled clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of an active moisturizing lotion with colloidal oatmeal skin protectant versus its vehicle for the relief of xerosis. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 13(10), 1265-1268.
- This overview of oatmeal (Avena sativa) shows research for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful in topically treating pruritus, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and viral and fungal infections. From: Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Kazerouni, A., & Feily, A. (2012). Oatmeal in dermatology: a brief review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 78(2), 142.
- Based on in vitro and animal studies, avenanthramides from oats were a potent skin anti-itch and anti-inflammatory. From: Sur, R., Nigam, A., Grote, D., Liebel, F., & Southall, M. D. (2008). Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity. Archives of dermatological research, 300(10), 569.
PEPPERMINT / MENTHOL
- Applications of menthol and cooling reduced skin itching. From: Bromma, B., Scharein, E., Darsow, U., & Ring, J. (1995). Effects of menthol and cold on histamine-induced itch and skin reactions in man. Neuroscience letters, 187(3), 157-160.
- A blend of guar gum hydrogel with peppermint essential oil reduced itching in patients with burn scars in this multi-center controlled study of 74 patients that had severe burns. From: Wu, J., Xu, R., Zhan, R., Luo, G., Niu, X., Liu, Y., … & Lau, J. Y. N. (2016). Effective symptomatic treatment for severe and intractable pruritus associated with severe burn-induced hypertrophic scars: A prospective, multicenter, controlled trial. Burns, 42(5), 1059-1066.
- A triple-blind clinical trial of 96 randomly selected pregnant women with itching, showed peppermint oil 0.5% in sesame oil reduced itching. From: Amjadi, M. A., Mojab, F., & Kamranpour, S. B. (2012). The effect of peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of pruritus in pregnant women. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR, 11(4), 1073.
- Fifty patients suffering from chronic itching showed reduced symptoms with the topical application of 5% dilution peppermint oil. From: Elsaie, L. T., El Mohsen, A. M., Ibrahim, I. M., Mohey-Eddin, M. H., & Elsaie, M. L. (2016). Effectiveness of topical peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of chronic pruritus. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 9, 333.
- Bathing in magnesium dead sea salt improved skin texture and inflammation in those with dry skin, compared to tap water. From: Proksch, E., Nissen, H. P., Bremgartner, M., & Urquhart, C. (2005). Bathing in a magnesium‐rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International journal of dermatology, 44(2), 151-157.
- In a review of research, turmeric applied topically or taken orally has shown to be beneficial to the following skin conditions: acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, photoaging, itching, psoriasis, radiodermatitis, and vitiligo. From: Vaughn, A. R., Branum, A., & Sivamani, R. K. (2016). Effects of turmeric (Curcuma longa) on skin health: A systematic review of the clinical evidence. Phytotherapy Research, 30(8), 1243-1264.
By: Kathy Sadowski
Last Updated: 9/30/19