Indigo naturalis for Psoriasis


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Indigo naturalis Psoriasis

Indigo naturalis is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine for treating various diseases. Psoriasis is an inflammatory and proliferative disease . Psoriasis treatment method depends on disease expansion and severity. The treatment of mild psoriasis with limited lesions is using topical corticosteroid, vitamin D3 analogues, retinoid, antheralin and phototherapy.  Salicylic acid shampoo is used for scalp lesions. Oral agents and systematic treatment would be administered in patients with severe disease. Methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine and biologic drugs are used in these patients. Retinoid agents are teratogenic. Biologic drugs interfere with T cells such as Efalizumab and Alefacept. Cyclosporine is a toxic drug, which could lead to renal failure and liver dysfunction. Methotrexate is a potent toxic agent, which is myelosuppressive agent and could induce liver fibrosis.

  Regard to serious side effects of chemical therapy in psoriasis patients, various projects were performed all around the world to find new therapeutic approaches for psoriasis.

  Some studies concluded that use of antioxidant diet could prevent disease flareup such as omega-3 and omega-6. Traditional chinese medicine introduced many herbal drugs, which were used as seasonings. These herbs included garlic, ginger, red pepper, rosemary and indigo naturalis.  Recent studies demonstrated that indigo naturalis was an anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral agent and inhibited malignant cell proliferation. Indigo naturalis is derived from stem and leaves of an herb called Baphicacanthus cusia in Chinese literature.

 This herb was administered orally in patients with psoriasis. In recent years, effect of topical extract of indigo naturalis has been shown. Indigo naturalis is a powder in dark blue. Indigo naturalis modified cell proliferation, apoptosis and cell differentiation particularly in keratinocytes. Applying this herb leaded to epidermal normal physiologic function.  In the study 74 percent of patients treated completely with Indigo naturalis ointment. Nail psoriasis was difficult to be treated. Chaing showed that topical indigo naturalis improved nail psoriasis; particularly in patients who had co-existing fungal nail disease. It is not clear whether indigo naturalis could prevent pathogen growth, improve nail conditions and recover normal protective nail layer or not. Childhood psoriasis treatment is an important issue, because its long-term complication and safety should be considered. There were some evidences that indicated that indigo naturalis was effective in childhood psoriasis, so more investigations should be performed to proof this idea. Some studies revealed that short-term remission occured in herbal drug combination with antipsoriatic pharmacotherapy. 

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