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November 1998

Phytotherapeutic Approaches to Common Dermatologic Conditions

Author Affiliations

From the President's Advisory Committee, Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences, Seattle, Wash (Dr Brown); and ImmunoClarity Research Associates, New Rochelle, NY (Dr Dattner).

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(11):1401-1404. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1401

In this review, we discuss some common herbal preparations historically used for dermatologic conditions and recent studies that support their use. The traditional practice of topically treating dermatologic conditions with plant-derived medicines predates the cultures of ancient Egypt and remains vital today in the industrialized cultures of both the United States and Europe. Recent scientific studies lend support to some of the claims of herbal practitioners for the safety and efficacy of many herbs. The studies also elucidate, in some cases, the mechanisms by which these herbs act. With the growing interest in alternative and complementary therapies, practitioners need more information. Clinical studies and collected observations will help define specific indications for choice of herbal treatment based on both the skin disorder and the unique characteristics of the patient involved.

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