According to a study, an effective treatment for plaque-type psoriasis can be found in traditional Chinese medicine.
Yin-Ku Lin, M.D. (Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan) and colleagues found that an ointment based on the dark-blue, plant-based powder indigo naturalis can be used to treat the skin condition.
No cure exists for the chronic skin disease known as psoriasis, but there are therapies that lead to remission of the condition.
Lin and colleagues write that, “Traditional Chinese medicine is one of the most frequently chosen alternative therapies in China and Taiwan, and psoriasis has been treated for centuries with topical and oral herbal preparations.”
They add that, “Indigo naturalis is one of the Chinese herbal remedies that has been reported to exhibit potential antipsoriatic efficacy.
However, long-term systemic use has been occasionally associated with irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and adverse hepatic [liver] effects.”
Further studying the safety and efficacy of indigo naturalis, the researchers conducted a randomized trial with 42 patients suffering from treatment-resistant psoriasis.
Between May 2004 and April 2005, participants enrolled in the study that required two ointment applications on their bodies: one was an indigo naturalis ointment applied to a psoriatic plaque on an arm, elbow, leg, or knee of one side of the body, and a second was a non-medicated ointment applied to a parallel plaque on the other side of their body.
At the beginning of the study and after two, four, six, eight, ten, and twelve weeks, researchers assess the patients and photographed the skin plaques.
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