Itching Causes & Treatments

© Copyright Bee Wilder, Revised February 16, 2011.

What Causes Itching?

Itching is one of the many symptoms unhealthy people can experience. Sometimes it is severe and intense, to the point of driving a person crazy.

However, itching is not a bad thing, since it is one of many normal healing and detoxifying reactions the body creates in order to restore or maintain its health as best it can in spite of poor nutrition, an overload of toxins, damaging foods, etc.—see the Primary Causes of All Failing Health. During this healing process the body produces histamines, which causes itching. Also read How Our Bodies React to Poisons (Toxins).

What Are Histamines?

Histamine is a chemical produced in plant and animal tissues. In Humans and animals it is created by the body itself and is produced by white blood cells, called mast cells (found mostly beneath the skin) in reaction to injury or toxins, called a cytokine reaction. Even though the medical industry claims a cytokine reaction is serious, that is not true. A cytokine reaction is a normal reaction the body produces in order to heal and detoxify itself—see Inflammation & Infection are Natural Healing Processes.

Where are Histamines Made in the Body?

Histamines are released from mast cells and white blood cells, called eosinophil and basophil cells, located primarily along blood vessels. Mast cells, eosinophil and basophil cells secrete histamines and various other substances in order to decompose, change, or minimize toxins and to help the body heal an injury— see White Blood Cells' Purpose for more details.

Mast cells are mainly found beneath epithelial surfaces and near blood vessels. Epithelial tissues form the lining of cavities such as the mouth, blood vessels, heart and lungs, and they make up the outer layers of the skin. This is why the skin can itch so badly.

The body's reaction to certain substances prompts the body to release histamines and other chemicals it needs in order to counteract or get rid of toxins.

Histamines are also produced to help the body deal with an injury. Histamines make the blood vessels expand (open up) at the site of injury in order to increase the flow of blood (with its healing nutrients), in order to affect healing.

Histamines cause small blood vessels to widen, allowing fluid to pass from the bloodstream into the surrounding tissues, which creates nose and sinus symptoms, that can include runny eyes and nose, itching, hives, and many types of skin rashes and eruptions. These are all normal body reactions that are designed by Nature to heal, isolate, decompose or get rid of foreign matter and toxic substances.

Histamines also indirectly stimulate the production of thick, sticky mucus. Mucus can be created anywhere in the body in order to get rid of toxins. It occurs mostly in the mucus membranes which include the digestive tract, nose, sinuses, eyes, reproductive organs, bladder, etc. When histamines dilate blood vessels it acts with certain types of fats to produce swelling, redness and heat, which are normal inflammatory responses.

Inflammation and swelling are created to immobilize an area so it can heal. It indicates that more healing blood and other healing substances are being brought to the area. Redness is caused by increased blood flow to the area, and heat (fever) is created in an attempt to heal and neutralize toxins or foreign substances.

What Causes Body Reactions

One of the main causes of such body reactions are toxic substances, mainly from foods or drinks, but also from environmental toxins that are breathed in or toxins in contact with the skin, i.e. cleaning and personal care products, etc. Processed foods and drinks contain additives, preservatives, and other toxic chemicals that are not natural to the body. Therefore the body creates reactions and substances to eliminate, minimize, or isolate them, in order to lessen their negative impact on the body's overall health.

Environmental toxins also cause the body to create histamines. Such toxins include molds, chemicals sprayed into the environment to control mosquitos, pesticides, chemicals from household cleaners and personal care products, perfumes, air fresheners, gases from synthetic carpets, smoke, acid rain, smog, etc.

Symptoms created by the body to deal with injury or toxins such as increased mucus, diarrhea, fever, and inflammation are natural, but very necessary. They are the body's attempts restore or maintain its health. Drugs and other invasive treatments suppress these normal eliminative processes and interfere with the body's self-healing mechanisms.

General Treatments

Diet - The most important treatment is giving your body what it needs to do its job of healing and restoring health, which is mainly consuming "proper nutrients" with the combination every Human body requires in order to be healthy—see Food Selection for Humans and Bee's Healthy Programs which are a combination of diet and supplements that provide all of the nutrients Humans need in order to get healthy.

Exercise is important for overall health, but it should not be overdone when you are unhealthy since it uses up (takes away) energy and resources the body needs in order to heal itself - see these Mild Forms of Exercise that are recommended.

Assist Detoxification—see How to Detoxify Effectively for recommendations.

Eliminate Toxins—see these sources of Toxins.

Helpful Treatments for Itching

These treatments may help but they won't stop the rash or itching since healing must come from within, mainly by consuming "proper nutrients" as noted above. In other words, reactions will only stop when the body finishes detoxifying itself in that way.

  1. Unrefined Coconut oil is one of the most effective treatments for itching. It can be applied to any areas of the skin that are itchy, red or inflamed.
    For genital or anal itching apply the oil liberally, using cotton pads from the health store to protect your clothing during the day. You can also make your own pads using 100% cotton.
    At first coconut oil increases skin rashes, itching, inflammation, and dry skin. Toxins coming out make the skin very dry. However, these reactions are part of the healing processes that will change and improve as you continue on a healthy program and keep applying coconut oil.
  2. Apply cool–water compresses – soak a small towel or wash cloth in cool water and apply it to the area(s) that itch.
  3. Do a sitz bath if the genitals or anal areas are involved. Use a container or dishpan just big enough to immerse your entire bottom, or sit in a warm bath with just enough water to immerse your bottom. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda or 1/2 cup of epsom salts to the water and soak for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Pat baking soda directly on the itchy areas. It will stick better if applied after the coconut oil.
    OR use Baking Soda and Water – Mix 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda into 8 ounces of clean non-chlorinated water. Use this in a spray bottle or apply it with cotton balls to the itching areas.
    Some people find baking soda increases itching, but others found it was soothing and calmed down the itch, so experiment with a small amount at first to see how you react to it. Baking soda is highly recommended for insect bites.
  5. Take Baths using 1 cup of Epsom salts or 1 cup of baking soda in a full bathtub. You can also use 1/2 cup of baking soda plus 1/2 cup of Epsom salts. These baths help draw out toxins and are relaxing.
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