In my experience clients with dark circles under the eyes tend to have some kind of food intolerance or overconsumption of a particular food combined with excess fatigue. In Chinese medicine, this area represents the kidney which the Chinese believe to be ‘our battery’. If we have been overstressed, burning the candle at both ends or perhaps over-exercising we deplete the kidney which will show up as dark circles under the eye. Good quality sleep is one of the best ways to recharge the kidney and also a short lie down after lunch wherever possible. It has to be lying flat. Sitting will not rest the kidney.
In combination with rest, it is important to eliminate foods that may encourage congestion in the body. I often recommend that clients abstain from wheat for 10-20 days depending on the severity. The gluten in wheat can also cause a reaction in the sinuses. Sinus congestion will exacerbate the dark circles.
In addition to wheat, I also recommend that if people want to take the load of their elimination system it is also beneficial to abstain from dairy, tea, coffee and alcohol at the same time. The focus of the diet should be on good quality proteins and plenty of vegetables. The less one consumes in the way of sugar the better. Aside from cakes, biscuits and sweets this also includes grains e.g. wheat, barley and rye. The reason for this is that it will lower the glycaemic load reducing blood sugar fluctuations. The reason most people are uncomfortable with this is because they then really become aware of just how fatigued they really are (which makes one go and lie down and then the kidney can be recharged). Eliminating stimulants puts one much more in touch with the needs of the body.
Also important is drinking adequate amounts of water. Many people are dehydrated which makes dark circles appear even darker.
Quick fixes can sometimes help such as placing slices of cucumber over the eyes. Cucumber is astringent and has a skin lightening effect. Chilled teabags can also be beneficial. It is thought that the tannin can reduce the discolouration. Only use the teabags once, however, as repeated use even over one or two days can lead to eye infections.
By Elaine Williams, Director of Natural Therapeutics