A study published in the November issue of Archives of Dermatology has revealed an effective treatment for plaque-type Psoriasis, according to which, an ointment, made from the dark-blue, plant-based powder, indigo naturalis, could be used in treating the skin condition.
According to Yin-Ku Lin of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University, Psoriasis is being treated since ages with topical and oral herbal preparations. Indigo naturalis is one such Chinese herbal remedy that shows potential anti-psoriatic ability. However, when used on long-term it is occasionally associated with gastrointestinal tract and adverse hepatic effects.
For further studying the safety and efficacy of indigo naturalis, the researchers conducted a trial with 42 patients suffering from treatment-resistant psoriasis. The patients who enrolled for the study were given two ointment applications on their bodies – one with indigo naturalis ointment applied to one arm/elbow/knee and the other was a non-medicated ointment applied to parallel plaque on the other side of the body.
After consistent monitoring, Lin and colleagues reported that 12 weeks of treatment showed considerable improvement in redness, scaling and hardening of the plaques treated with indigo naturalis ointment, compared to plaques treated with non-medicated ointment.
The treated lesions showed an improvement of 81 percent, while the non-medicated treatment lesions showed only 26 percent improvement, the researchers reported.
Among the patients who completed the study with indigo naturalis ointment, none experienced worsening of the condition in the areas. The patients also experienced 75 percent complete clearings of psoriasis in the treated areas. No adverse effects of the medicine were reported, except for mild itching in the area of application of ointment during the beginning of the treatment in few patients.
The authors therefore conclude that use of topical indigo naturalis ointment for treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis is safe and effective.