Background. Modern medicine is rooted in ethnobotanical traditions using indigenous flora to treat symptoms of human diseases or to improve specific aspects of the body condition. Herbal medicine is now used by over half of the American population. Yet the American medical community generally lacks knowledge of the function, metabolism, interaction, adverse reactions, and preparation of herbal products.
Objective. Because over 60 botanicals are marketed in cosmeceutical formulations, dermatologists need to obtain working knowledge of the major botanicals. The preparation, traditional uses, mechanisms of action, human clinical data, adverse reactions, and interactions all impact herbal efficacy and are discussed below.
Method. English-language medical journal and symposium searches.
Results. The most important botanicals pertaining to dermatologic uses, such as cosmeceuticals, include teas, soy, pomegranate, date, grape seed, Pycnogenol, horse chestnut, German chamomile, curcumin, comfrey, allantoin, and aloe. All are documented to treat dermatologic conditions. Only green and black tea, soy, pomegranate, and date have published clinical trials for the treatment of parameters of extrinsic aging.
Conclusions. Preparation of botanical-based cosmeceuticals is complex. Very few of these products are supported by evidence-based science.
CARL THORNFELDT, MD, FAAD, HAS INDICATED NO SIGNIFICANT INTEREST WITH COMMERCIAL SUPPORTERS.