Alternatively Speaking: Vitamin C and essential oils

French Lavender in Israel 390  (photo credit: SPNI)
French Lavender in Israel 390
(photo credit: SPNI)
Dear Natalie,
My five-year-old son caught a skin infection caused by a virus called Molluscum contagiosum. It appears as red bumps on the upper layer of his skin, mostly around his legs and arms. They don’t appear to be itching him, however, they are increasingly spreading all over his body. The bumps are shiny-looking and if you burst them, a yellowish liquid oozes out. Our family doctor said they usually clear on their own, but that it could take up to 18 months to heal completely. Can you recommend any natural remedies that will help treat this condition effectively for him, and also so that my other children won’t catch it?      
Hila, Jerusalem   
Indeed, as its name suggests, the Molluscum contagiosum virus is a highly contagious skin infection that I see time and time again in my clinic. It mostly affects children and those with a slightly weaker immune system. The good news is, there are a few fantastic natural remedies that work well to combat it. First and foremost, make sure you boost your son’s immune system with a nutritious diet, have him drink lots of water and ensure he gets plenty of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen, which is the protein that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels, and therefore crucial in regenerating your son’s skin. Alongside this I recommend he try a topical treatment. There are several that I have seen work wonders.
Two of my favorites include applying tea tree oil onto a cotton wool pad and carefully applying to the infected areas. Tea tree is nature’s antiseptic and can be applied four times a day for the best results. If it stings slightly, you can dilute with a little water. Oregano oil is another good option, as it is rich in antimicrobial properties which help deal with the virus directly. Oregano oil also strengthens the immune system.
The most effective way of using this oil is to mix approximately six to eight drops of oregano oil with two tablespoons of almond oil or olive oil. Apply the mix onto the affected area and leave it on for a few hours, then rinse off with warm water. Repeat this several times a day, if possible, or at least every morning and night. The final topical remedy, which you may already have in your kitchen cupboard, is apple cider vinegar! Apple cider vinegar is lavishly rich in antiviral properties and therefore kills the Molluscum contagiosum virus.
All you need to do is soak a clean cotton ball in a cup of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and apply to the infected skin. Leave it on through the night, and the next morning, wash it off with lukewarm water. Finally, an essential addition to clearing Molluscum contagiosum is the homeopathic remedy Thuja Occidentalis in a 30c potency. This is taken orally. He can take five little tablets three times a day until his skin clears entirely. Although used for multiple conditions, Thuja’s principle use is for skin conditions and has unique properties of antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral actions. Thuja Occidentalis assists mainly in two ways; the first one is that it strengthens the immune system with the goal that it can oppose the virus, and the second is that it actually helps to kill the infective virus itself.
Since you are based in Jerusalem, a good place to purchase your homeopathic remedy is either from Oplatka Pharmacy in Jerusalem, open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Fridays 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) Their address is: Rehov Yafo 110, Mahaneh Yehuda. Telephone: (072) 322-4057. Or you can try the Many Pharmacy, 102 Jaffa Street, (02) 538-3048. There’s parking near the Mahaneh Yehuda market, and they also deliver remedies on request.
Dear Natalie,
As a teenager I suffered from severe acne which left its mark in the form of scars across my face. Now in my early 40s, I have read that using certain oils on the skin can help reduce or even totally remove scars from the skin. Is this true and if so which oils can you recommend?
Martine, Bet Shemesh
Whether we like it or not, scarring is a natural part of the skin’s healing process after being damaged by a wound. This goes for acne as well. The inflammation caused by acne damages the deeper layer of the skin – developing scars even after the acne has cleared. The good news is that yes, there are certain oils which truly have an amazing impact and I frequently prescribe essential oils with success for reducing scars. As well as having an antibacterial effect, they also promote natural healing and rejuvenate the skin. Among my favorite and the most effective are frankincense essential oil and lavender oil.
Backed by numerous scientific studies, frankincense essential oil has the ability to strengthen the skin and improve its elasticity and tone. One study in particular shows that frankincense can significantly reduce the levels of two pro-inflammatories, which as a result calms the skin and allows for cell regeneration. It is able to reduce the appearance of scars and therefore you will also find it in the ingredients of some of the best anti-aging treatments since it helps clear fine lines and wrinkles too.
As for lavender essential oil, besides the irresistible smell, it is famously known for its powerful anti-scarring properties. Lavender oil enhances cell regeneration, while at the same time decreases the chance to get acne scars in the future due to its protective, rejuvenative effects.
Essential oils are very concentrated, so to apply them directly onto your skin I recommend you mix them with a good carrier oil. Carrier oils also help scars heal faster as they provide a protective barrier that can prevent the scar from getting deeper while also moisturizing the area. Some good oils I use for reducing scars include vitamin E oil, coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba oil. The omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in these oils have been shown to inhibit keloid scar tissue and repair skin.
Begin by mixing five drops of any (or both) of the essential oils mentioned with a tablespoon of carrier oil. I would also add one vitamin E capsule to the mixture and mix well. Gently massage the remedy onto your scars two to three times a day. Repeat this process for at least two months, twice a day and you will see wonderful effects.
You can find essential oils all over Israel in most reputable natural health stores. I enjoy using Doterra’s Essential Oils, as they are ethically sourced and their oils are pure and potent. You can find their products in Ramat Hashaon (34 Sokolov Street).
The writer is a doctor of homeopathy, reflexologist, massage therapist and Reiki practitioner. Before settling in Israel in 2009, she worked in the UK at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital’s Alternative Medicine Division in London. She is a certified nurse from Tel Hashomer Hospital and specializes in both geriatrics and surgical medicine at Assuta Hospital. Her column will appear monthly. Questions may be addressed to