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September 1982

Anthralin and Chrysarobin: A Reexamination of the Origins and Early Use

Arch Dermatol. 1982;118(9):625-626. doi:10.1001/archderm.1982.01650210005004

To the Editor.—  In the November 1981 Archives (117:698-700), Lowe and Breeding stated that "Anthralin was first introduced by Galewsky as a therapeutic agent for skin disease in 1916 under the name `chrysarobin.'" Historically, this statement is incorrect, and it should have read ". . . under the name cignolin." A correct translation of the title of Galewsky's article,1 (cited as reference 1 in their article) would be "Cignolin [anthralin], a substitute for chrysarobin." Because of the renewed interest in anthralin therapy for psoriasis in recent years, we thought a reexamination of the early history of anthralin and its predecessor chrysarobin would be of interest.Chrysarobin is one of the extracts of Goa powder, a substance found deposited in the wood of Andira araró ba, a native tree of India.2 Goa powder had long been used by the native population in India for the treatment of skin diseases, especially of ringworm.

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