Rash energies

This clinical case study features three herbal formulas created by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold. All 60 of their formulas are available from their Chinese Medicine Works herbal pharmacy in San Francisco.

(All Chinese Medicine Works herbal remedies are also available to health care providers and their patients through prescriptions online at Kan Herb.)

Chinese herbal medicine alleviates eczema, allergies, and stress

A 36-year-old man with chronic eczema complained of a red, peeling rash on his neck, forehead and scalp that had been recurring for many years. His childhood health history revealed many rashes as an infant, asthma treated with bronchodilators and inhaled steroids, and frequent infections treated with antibiotics.

Whether Toxins develop in response to allergies, accumulations from childhood illnesses, or other factors, if the usual paths of elimination are poorly functioning, the skin may become a vicarious avenue of discharge.

In the preceding year he had received a course of antibiotics for a skin infection. He felt that he had plenty of energy, tolerating hard work and rarely being ill. However, the stress of frequent work-related travel and his tendency to become overheated and over-stimulated had exacerbated his skin problems. He was clearly an excitable, passionate man who enjoyed the intensity of his work and his avocation as a singer, was trying his best to live a clean, wholesome life, and was perplexed by the stubbornness of his red, irritated skin.


His tongue appeared pale and flabby with thin, yellow fur, suggesting insufficiency of Blood and Qi and Heat in the Stomach, but hardly what might be expected in light of his complaints. His pulse did not appear to faithfully reflect the dramatic quality of his symptoms and physical appearance: it was thin, without evidence of Heat signs other than a quality of Blood Heat at the Liver position and a slight pounding quality at the Heart position along with frequent changes in intensity (force), indicating underlying nervousness and anxiety.

This man’s early health problems probably contributed to his chronic dermatitis. His recurrent rashes as a child signaled an accumulation of Heat and Toxins seeking an exit through the skin. Whether Toxins develop in response to allergies, accumulations from childhood illnesses, or other factors, if the usual paths of elimination via the bladder, lungs, and bowels are poorly functioning, the skin may become a vicarious avenue of discharge. Since the skin is the outward expression of the Lung Network – the third lung – it vividly reflects the internal condition of the Lung and Large Intestine.

His repeated use of antibiotics and inhaled steroids for asthma inhibited his body’s efforts to release Heat and Toxins, engendering recurring outbreaks of rashes. Another course of antibiotics the previous year quickly cleared the acute infection, but perpetuated the same pattern of accumulation and unsuccessful elimination of the underlying pathogenic factors.


The systemic deficiencies of Qi and Blood, the presence of Heat, Blood Heat and Toxins, the notable pounding and changing intensity of the Heart pulse, and the exacerbation of his rash under stress all represented a pattern not only of accumulation of pathogenic factors, but of Yang uprising due to deficiency as well as an instability of the Heart and Mind (Shen). His initial prescription contained the following herbal remedies:

  • FIRE FIGHTER       60cc
  • TONIFY BLOOD      30cc
  • COMFORT SHEN    30cc


Dosage: 4 squirts 3 times a day between meals and at bedtime [With the dropper unscrewed and in the bottle, firmly squeeze the bulb, and this equals 1 squirt]

Because of the Blood-Heat-Toxin expressed as eczema, FIRE  FIGHTER  was chosen as the primary formula. TONIFY BLOOD  will replenish the Blood and Yin as the Heat and Toxins are dispelled. And since his nervous and excitable nature predisposes him to generate excess Heat, COMFORT SHEN will help to soothe his hyperactive nerves, relax his mind and repress the flaring of Fire.


After several weeks on this formula, his condition greatly improved and he was experiencing only rare episodes of overheating, sweating, or over excitement. At this point his prescription was modified by deleting COMFORT SHEN and equalizing the proportions of FIRE FIGHTER and TONIFY BLOOD:

  • Fire Fighter       60cc
  • Tonify Blood      60cc

Dosage: 4 squirts 3 times a day

Not only did the herbal remedies remarkably improve his skin, but he also seemed more able to modulate his energy, activity, and excitability.

FIRE  FIGHTER  clears Heat and Toxins from the blood and activates the liver and bowel. TONIFY BLOOD  supplements Blood and Yin, nourishing the skin as well as supporting the Heart. COMFORT SHEN calms the Mind, settles the Heart and Liver Yang, and suppresses the flaring of Fire.