Folk remedy may yield new treatment for psoriasis
(28 May 2006: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Psoriasis is a difficult disorder to treat because the severity and distribution of psoriatic plaques varies immensely, and because current medications can have undesirable side effects. This common skin disorder affects more than 4.5 million people in North America.
But according to an article in the American Journal of Therapeutics (March/April 2006, Volume 13, No. 2, p. 121-126), a natural preparation from a plant holds promise for psoriasis sufferers.
Steve Bernstein and other researchers from the Dermatology and Cosmetic Center in Rochester, New York conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using a proprietary topical cream prepared with Mahonia aquifolium.
This plant, also known as the barberry, Oregon grape, or berberis, grows wild in North and South American and Europe. It was initially used in American folk medicine as an oral medication for inflammatory skin diesases including psoriasis and syphilis.
Of the 200 psoriasis patients enrolled in the trial, 97 completed the 12-week course and 74 completed the same regimen using a placebo cream.
Bernstein and his colleagues traced a statistically significant improvement of the signs and symptoms of moderate plaque psoriasis compared with patients receiving placebo. The medication was well tolerated when applied to the affected area twice a day for twelve weeks. No significant side effects were reported by either the active or control group.
The researchers concluded that the cream containing Mahonia aquifolium extract is a safe and effective treatment for mild to moderate psoriasis.
Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 28 May 2006