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Eczema eased by Chinese herbs

18th March 2008

Researchers have found that a combination of Chinese traditional herbs may help treat eczema.

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The patients in the study took a capsule containing five raw herbs: Japanese honeysuckle, peppermint, root bark of the peony tree, atractylodes rhizome and Amur cork-tree bark.

Of the 85 eczema patients aged 5-21 years, one group took three herbal capsules daily, and another group took a placebo.

The results, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, showed that the patients using the 'pentaherb formulation' reported a better quality of life, and decreased reliance on conventional steriod creams.

However, dermatologists warned that patients thinking of taking herbal remedies should first check with their doctor.

Regulatory agencies have warned that insufficient quality controls for herbal remedies could result in low quality products and adverse reactions to some supplements.

The group taking the traditional Chinese medicine, which is increasingly being regulated by professional and trade bodies in China, Hong Kong and overseas, saw their quality of life improve by a third compared with those taking the placebo, who saw no improvement.

Researcher Leung Ting-fan said further studies were needed to explore the results in more depth. But he called the study 'an interesting first step.'

British Association of Dermatologists spokeswoman Nina Goad said the findings could eventually lead to the herbal remedy entering mainstream medicine.

But she warned that some retailers of herbal remedies might not be reputable, and medical advice was needed.

 

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