As promised, here is the follow-up Q & A selection posted on the Itchy Little World WordPress site.

How are you able to convince children to drink the tea? I’ve heard it is quite horrible tasting.

Often children who are old enough to realize it know that when they feel better, their parent suffers less too.  I often find in these cases, it is easier to have the child keep taking the formula than it is to have many adults take it!

Also, children with eczema are often very willing to put up with a lot if they understand that it will take away their affliction.  By an early age, they can see that they are suffering more than their friends are.

Also, with any atopic condition, the goal is first to clear the symptoms, then to strengthen the underlying deficiency causing the symptom; treating the branch, and treating the root.  Children are happy to know that they will become ‘stronger’ by taking the herbs, and it doesn’t hurt to compare how they will feel to their favorite superhero;).

Enough cannot be said for the role of the parent in their child being compliant.  When that parent is clear that the herbs will help, they tend to elicit compliance with minimal resistance.

If the parent feels sorry for the child because of the taste, and feels that they are ‘forcing’ the child to drink the tea, it never goes well.  I have parents question what is worse:  the eczema, or the taste of the herbs?  I often even ask the child that question.  Inevitably they choose the herbs and then it becomes easier as they see the symptoms improving.

Most children will understand that the parent is in charge and knows what’s best for him/her, even if they are told to drink the ‘horrible tasting’ herbs.  Sometimes all there is to do in these cases is to try a few ‘treat chasers’ to wash it down; their favorite juice, a bit of healthy chocolate (if not a trigger of course).

Do you treat all ages including babies?

Yes.  Typically infants are administered a glycerine based tincture herbal formula.

How long does treatment take? Is it something that is taken on a maintenance basis after initial treatment?

Any chronic condition typically takes between 3-6 months to resolve.  Treatments begin as weekly visits for the first month or so as we perfect the formula designed for the individual.  Once this is achieved, we begin to stretch out visits, first to every 10 days, then to every 2 weeks.  By the end of the treatment protocol, visits are every 3 weeks.  The patient takes the herbs twice daily throughout.  Once balance is achieved and the symptoms cleared, the patient is given a formula to consolidate such that the symptoms are less likely to return.  Follow ups occur if and when symptoms reappear but typically require only a couple of weeks of treatment to resolve.

What are your tips on finding a reputable/trustworthy provider? I’ve heard stories about illegal licensing and such. Scary! Do you happen to know of anyone in the Montreal area?

In BC, the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia (CTCMA) is the government body assigned to regulate the TCM profession. On their website they have a list of all registered acupuncturists, herbalists and doctors of TCM.
I tried to google search a similar outfit in Quebec but came up empty.  I know that Quebec is regulated provincially (they are one of 5 provinces currently regulated), but I could not come up with a list of registrants there.

A patient of mine, living in Quebec, strongly recommended the following practitioners as they have helped her.  I am not aware as to whether or not they have a particular specialty, but her description of them was that they sounded very competent and effective TCM practitioners.

Chinese Herbs:
Dr. Xie Zhiang 1027 rue Clark
Montreal, QC H2Z 1K1 | (514) 874-0335 (514) 334-5474

Mrs. Jiang Qing
178 rue Choquette
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC H9A 3H1 | (514) 652-9900

And how can we be sure the herbs are non-toxic and low in pesticides? Do they sell organic herbs for chinese medicine? Everything I read these days says we are not to trust anything from China as their regulations are really terrible and organic doesn’t necessarily mean anything to them.

When it is the specific request of the patient/parent, there is an outfit in BC that sells organic Chinese herbs (

A good American source is here:

The price of organic herbs is about 3X the price of herbs found locally in Chinatown.  A group of local practitioners sourced out what we have decided was the best local herb store here in our Chinatown.  It goes through the most volume of herbs so tends to be freshest and seem to have the highest standards of testing of herbs entering Canada.

A third option is to order herbs from a local company in powder and pill form, Bema Botanical Solutions Inc. (, which adheres to the strictest of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines.

It is found that using raw form herbs is 30-40% more effective than a processed powder, but often that form helps with compliance and answers most of the safety concerns.

What sort of testing or physical is given to the child to determine the best treatment plan?

Diagnostics are determined strictly by a Traditional Chinese Medicine protocol.  With eczema, often the presentation of the skin is the best determinant of specific ‘pattern’ involved in the condition.  A history of the child’s health is always considered, digestive history is paramount.  Depending on age, tongue and pulse diagnosis helps determine the treatment protocol as well.  There are no western medical ‘lab test’ requirements and no other ‘physicals’ used in determining the protocol.

Are there any common herbs used for the topical cream or is it really on a case by case basis? I’ve been considering trying this herbal salve for my son. I’d love to know what you think of it.

Depending on the stage of the skin lesion, different topical creams/liniments are chosen.  Often no topical is required, but an herbal infused emollient cream is frequently prescribed.  As per our previous correspondence in regards to the particular salve you were wondering about, I only use products made with medicinal substances within my scope of practice and I order these as a licensed practitioner through Avicenna Center for Chinese Medicine out of the UK. (