For many decades, natural herbal medicines, polyherbal formulations and/or decoctions of plant-derived materials have widely been accepted as alternative complementary therapies for the treatment, cure or prevention of a wide range of acute and chronic skin diseases including chronic herpes, prurigo, acute and chronic wounds, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (AD). This review was aimed to summarize and critically discuss about the therapeutic viability and clinical applicability of natural herbal medicines for the treatment of AD in human. The critical analysis of the literature revealed that oral (in the form of capsules, syrup or granules) and/or topical application (alone or in conjunction with wet-wrap dressing and/or acupuncture) of natural herbal medicines exhibit remarkable potential for the treatment of mild-to-severe AD in adults, children, infants and in the pregnant women. In this review, the clinical efficacy of various herbal formulations such as Chinese herbal therapies, Korean medicines, Iranian medicines, honey, natural herbal oils (coconut oil, olive oil and mineral oil), beeswax, dodder seeds and whey for the treatment of AD has been discussed. The clinical anti-AD efficacy of these complementary therapies has been observed in terms of down-regulation in Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index, erythematic intensity, Children's Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI), Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), pruritus and itching frequency, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and expression of AD-mediated chemokines. Conclusively, we recognized that natural herbal medicines demonstrate remarkable clinical efficacy when used alone or in conjunction with other complementary therapies for the treatment of AD in patients of all ages as well as pregnant women.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.