A traditional Chinese herbal medicine consisting of five herbs may ease eczema symptoms, a study suggests.
Researchers found the treatment reduced the need for conventional medicines, and improved the quality of life for young patients with atopic eczema. The study of 85 patients by the Chinese University of Hong Kong is reported in the British Journal of Dermatology.
However, UK experts warned against using Chinese herbal medicine without first consulting a doctor. Eczema is a group of inflammatory skin disorders that make the skin dry, itchy, flaky, red and sore. In more severe forms the skin can become broken and weep or bleed.
The Hong Kong team assessed the effects of the "pentaherbs formulation" on patients with atopic eczema - the most common type of the disease which affects at least one in ten children.
The capsules contained extracts of five raw herbs based on a widely used ancestral Chinese concoction.
In the study, 85 patients were either given the medicine, or a placebo. Patients who took the medicine reported that their quality of life improved by a third, while those who took the placebo reported no improvement.
The researchers also found the herbal remedy reduced patients' needs for the conventional treatment of topical steroids by an average of four days a month, compared to just one day a month in the placebo group.
Source - BBC