Chinese MedicinePsoriasis

Indigo naturalis to treat plaque-type psoriasis

Topical indigo naturalis is a traditional Chinese herbal therapy.

In this study by researchers from Taiwan studied its use in treatment-resistant psoriasis.

First, the details.

  • 42 people with chronic plaque psoriasis applied either indigo naturalis ointment or vehicle ointment to each of 2 sites of psoriatic plaque lesions for about 12 weeks.
  • Changes in reddening, scaling, and induration (hardness) scores, and clearing of the target plaque lesions were assessed by 2 observers who were not aware of the treatment.

And, the results.

  • There were significant reductions in scaling, erythema, and induration after indigo naturalis treatment vs the control.
  • The percentage of plaque area also decreased significantly: to 39% after indigo naturalis vs 90% in controls.
  • 74% of the areas treated with indigo naturalis were cleared or near clear.
  • No side effects were reported.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Topical indigo naturalis ointment was a novel, safe, and effective therapy for plaque-type psoriasis.”

They also believe that a more potent form of the product than used in this study — one that is better absorbed and easier to use — will improve patient compliance with this treatment.

There’s limited research on indigo naturalis. Another positive report that includes favorable changes in cell proliferation and inflammation, as well as clinical response to treatment is here. It appears that all the research comes from the same group of researchers in Taiwan.

11/17/08 20:58 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.