A study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong evaluated the effects of ‘pentaherbs formulation’ on 85 patients aged between five and 21 with atopic eczema. Half were given the herbs and half placebo.
The formulation capsules contain extracts of five raw herbs – Japanese honeysuckle, peppermint, root bark of peony tree, underground stem of the atractylodes herb and Amur cork-tree bark.
The researchers found that the quality of life improved by a third in the group taking the herbs, compared to no improvement in the placebo-treated group. They also found the remedy reduced need for topical steroids – the duration of use reduced by an average of four days per month in the herbal group compared to one day per month for placebo.
Nina Goad, a spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists, said: ‘We would warn against using Chinese herbal medications without first speaking to your doctor. Some retailers may not be reputable.’