For people with poor peripheral circulation, living in cool damp climates often creates chilblains. When circulation is reduced in cold weather, the oxygen supply to the singers and toes is restricted to the point that the skin cells are damaged and swelling, redness and itching occurs. Warmer weather improves the condition, but using radiant heat such as warming by the fire can tend to aggravate the swelling and burning itchy sensation.
Home remedies for Chilblains
Aromatherapy - Only use aromatherapy oils locally if the skin is unbroken, otherwise an inflamed reaction may be set off. Massage the affected chilblain areas with warming oils such as black pepper, Ginger or Marjoram, using a vegetable oil containing a maximum of 3 per cent essential oil. For long term treatment of chilblains during the winter months, add oils of Cypress , Juniper, Pine or Rosemary to baths or use them diluted in a base as above for regular brisk massage of the hands and feet.
Herbalism - Locally, use a footbath to which is added a decoction of fresh ginger root, using up to 15 g per 750 ml of water or add a tea made from ground ginger for maximum circulatory stimulating effect. Do not use the Cayenne if skin is broken.
Internally, teas from the above herbs will generally improve circulation. For a gentler effect on the extremities use an infusion of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium); this dilates the tiny blood vessels in the hands and feet, helping them to warm.
Homeopathy - Since treatment for chilblains may be needed for a couple of weeks or so, use low potencies such as 6c.
AGARICUS: if the symptoms are worse when cold, and there is itching and burning with redness of the skin.
CALCAREA CARBOXICA: it there is relief from cold, the feet in particular feeling damp and cold to the touch.
PETROLEUM: if, as well as burning and itching, there is chapping and cracking of the skin; typically the fingers get splits at the tips.
Naturopathy - Use alternating hot and cold foot or hand baths using warm rather than too hot water, for about 4 minutes, and then cold for up to 1 minute. Make sure the feet or hands are well dried. Repeat for 10-15 minutes, nightly for a week if needed. Giving the hands or feet a brisk friction-rub daily will also help the circulation.
Increase Vitamin C in the diet by eating more fresh fruit and potatoes: it you suffer badly from chilblains, take a supplement of Vitamin C, up to 1 mg until better, possibly together with 300-400 iu of Vitamin E to improve the elasticity of the blood vessels.