Indigo naturalis documented as a therapy for moderate psoriasis


Indigo naturalis (known as Qing Dai in traditional Chinese medicine) has long been used as a natural treatment for inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers in the U.S. and Taiwan looked at the molecular profile of Indigo naturalis treatment and impacted pathways.

  • For the study, the research team used Indigo naturalis as topical monotherapy to treat 24 people with moderate psoriasis.
  • The participants were divided into two groups: eight of them were assigned to the placebo group, while the remaining 16 belonged to the Indigo naturalis treatment group.
  • The researchers instructed the patients to use the topical ointment twice every day for eight weeks or until the skin completely healed from psoriasis, with one week of follow-up.
  • Results revealed that the treatment of Indigo naturalis resulted in significant improvements in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores, which means that it improved psoriasis in patients.
  • In addition, the researchers found that the pro-inflammatory cytokine¬†interleukin (IL)-17 was a gene expression signature of moderate psoriasis from the baseline skin biopsies.
  • The topical administration of Indigo naturalis suppressed the IL-17 pathway. This inhibitory effect against the IL-17 pathway was exhibited by tryptanthrin, a component of Indigo naturalis.

In conclusion, the findings of the study suggested that moderate psoriasis can be improved with the use of Indigo naturalis as a topical treatment.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

To read more stories on traditional Chinese medicines, visit ChineseMedicine.news today.

Journal Reference:

Cheng HM, Wu YC, Wang QM, Song M, Wu J, Chen D, Li K, Wadman E, Kao ST, … Huang CC. CLINICAL EFFICACY OF INDIGO NATURALIS AS ATOPICAL AGENT IN MODERATE PSORIASIS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 23 August 2017; 17(439). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1947-1



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