Dr. Wu published a paper in 2006 on treating rosacea with herbs. This paper highlighted the properties and potential rosacea treatment modalities of licorice, feverfew, green tea, oatmeal, lavender, chamomile, tea tree oil and camphor oil.
This just published paper concentrates more on the anti-inflammatory properties of several natural products and reviews the evidence supporting their use in inflammatory skin conditions.
Many rosacea sufferers want to treat their symptoms with natural therapies. This pursuit can be tricky as many natural ingredients are not easily obtained in a useable form.
In the end it is sometimes just down to using commercial preparations that contain the active ingredient – and hopefully at the same time no other potentially irritating components. Another option is to try natural ingredients using a homemade mix.
We know from a recent rosacea news article that colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) has interesting cleansing, moisturizing, buffering, soothing, protecting and anti-inflammatory properties.
This paper especially highlights one of the active phytochemicals found in colloidal oatmeal – avenanthramides. These have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. At a concentration of 3%, avanthramides have a similar effect to hydrocortisone 1%.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) has a long history as a natural medicine and has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-irritant properties.
One point that I didn’t pick up on when previously writing about aveeno ultra calming with feverfew is that feverfew contains parthenolides which are highly irritating. Thus if you are interested in trying feverfew topically, be sure to look for products that contain Feverfew PFE (Parthenolide-free extract) – such as Aveeno for eg..
Studies show that Feverfew PFE is able to reduce UV induced redness and is beneficial for individuals with sensitive skin; offering improvement in facial redness, blotchiness, overall irritation and the feeling of rough skin and shaving irritation.
The paper cites a 2005 AAD Poster session that states that feverfew has greater inhibitory effect compared to other botanical compounds including green, black and white tea, echinacea, licorice, chamomile and aloe vera by factors of 35 to 1000-fold.
I had missed noting the (7!) posters sessions in 2005 that dealt with Feverfew PFE, but did highlight a more recent session from the 2008 AAD meeting that targeted rosacea more directly ; see Facial tolerance of a feverfew-PFE containing daily moisturizer regimen in mild to moderate rosacea patient.
suggested products: aveeno ultra calming with feverfew
The active ingredients in licorice are well known to rosacea sufferers, epescially since the Eucerin Redness Relief range was introduced by Beiersdorf. The two main actives from licorice are glabridin and licochalcone A which both have anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. The paper cites studies that show that a lotion containing licochalcone A showed improvements in facial redness for those with and without rosacea, shaving induced irritation and UV induced redness.
The dose of licorice is 5 to 15 g daily of cut or powdered roots and should contain 200 to 600 mg of glycyrrhizin. Licorice use is contraindicated in patients with high blood pressure, cardiac diseases, or liver cirrhosis.
suggested products: eucerin redness relief.
The active ingredients of interest in Aloe Vera are salicyclic acid, magnesium lactate and gel polysaccharides. Typical properties include aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipruritic (see AAD: pruritus), wound healing and anti-oxidant effects.
In clinical trials a 0.5% aloe vera cream was found to statistically improve psoriatic plaques (a symptom of psoriasis) and in other case reports is was found to be effective in reducing burning itching, and scarring that resulted from radiation dermatitis.
suggested products: pure aloe vera gel kept in the refrigerator.
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family – Matricaria recutita. The paper mentions properties of the volatile oil of chamomile as being able to inhibit cyclooxygenase and lipoxeygenase as well as the flavonoids pigenin, luteolin and quercetin which inhibit histamine release.
Topical chamomile is mostly used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis and skin irritation. One study found that the anti-inflammatory effect of topical chamomile was approximately 60% as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone.
The recommended dose of Matricaria recutita flowers is 3 g three times daily; Matricaria is available as an infusion, a fluid extract, and a tincture (1:5). Allergic hypersensitivity to this herb may occur in rare cases, and the herb can irritate the eyes if applied near them
Circumin is the active compound in Turmeric, and is responsible for the yellow pigment. Circumin has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemoprotective properties that means it is is suitable for topcial inflammatory conditions and wound healing. Sadly, even though circumin improves epithelialization and wound contraction, the colour and odour limits its applicability to topicals, especially those applied to the face.
According to Commission E in Germany (the German authority on evaluating herbal preparations), the recommended dose is 1.5 to 3 g of cut root daily; preparations of Curcuma longa are infusion powders, tinctures (1:5), and fluid extracts. The use of curcumin is contraindicated in bile duct obstruction because it enhances the secretion of bile.
Finally, here is the abstract of the paper that inspired this article.
Anti-inflammatory ingredients, Wu J., J Drugs Dermatol. 2008 Jul;7(7 Suppl):s13-6., University of Southern California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
There is a growing public awareness and concern among individuals regarding the condition of their skin, with a concomitant desire to use natural products to treat skin conditions. The increased interest in these products has spurred scientific and clinical studies evaluating the composition and clinical usefulness of natural products in the treatment of inflammatory skin dermatoses.
There are numerous natural ingredients that have been demonstrated to possess anti-inflammatory properties that make formulations containing these ingredients attractive treatment options.
This article summarizes the active ingredients, anti-inflammatory properties, clinical effects, and therapeutic potential of colloidal oatmeal, feverfew, licorice, aloe vera, chamomile, and turmeric. Potential therapeutic indications include erythema induced by ultraviolet light, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, sensitive and irritated skin, drug-induced skin eruptions, and psoriasis. These products may be particularly well suited as alternatives to pharmacologic therapies in chronic conditions for which long-term use is required.
Over to you: what related products have you tried ? please leave us all a comment below.
- colloidal oatmeal: a dream ingredient for rosacea sufferers
- Treating Rosacea with Herbs
- Aveeno Ultra Calming with Feverfew
- aveeno ultra calming with feverfew well tolerated
- ocular demodex, tea tree oil as a treatment
- golden chamomile
- lavender, arnica, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and calendula ; do they work ?
- US Pharmacist: Anti-inflammatory Herbs discussed here.