Vitiligo and Chinese Herbal Medicine
23 April 2008
(1) Vitiligo treated with a traditional Chinese herb. In a new study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 47 adults with slow-spreading vitiligo were assigned to receive120 mg per day of a standardized extract of of the Chinese medicine Bai guo ye (containing 9..6 mg of ginkgo flavonglycosides per day) or a similar looking placebo for six months. Photographs of the affected areas were taken every six weeks to monitor the changes in size and pigmentation. No serious side effects were reported by the participants taking Bai guo ye.
Disease progression was arrested in 80% of all people taking Bai guo ye, compared with only 36% of those taking a placebo. Individuals with vitiligo restricted to the face who took the Chinese medicine all experienced a halt in the progression of their vitiligo, whereas no person with this form of vitiligo in the placebo group had any signs of the disease arresting. In the Bai guo ye group, marked or complete repigmentation occurred in 40% of the participants, but less than 10% of the placebo group had similar results. This is the first study in the West to show that the traditional Chinese herb Bai guo ye is an effective, safe treatment for vitiligo. Bai guo ye is a potent antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, and immune-modulating herb. Some researchers believe vitiligo is the result of free-radical damage to the skin and the ginkgo flavonglycosides found in the Bai guo ye prevents these free radicals from doing further harm.
Preliminary studies suggest picrorhiza (Picrorhiza kurroa), a traditional herb, may also stimulate repigmentation of skin in people with vitiligo. (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology (2003;28:285 7)
(2) 100 patients with Vitiligo treated according to the Chinese medical principle of regulating the liver and invigorating blood.
One hundred patient with persistent vitiligo were prescribed a standard treatment of Chinese herbs which was adjusted according to the morphology of lesions and constitution of the patient in accordance to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Treatment continued for a variable length of time ranging from 4-6 months.
12 cases had total clearing
46 cases showed improvement
10 cases showed no change
(Author Zhuguang dou Zhong yi za zhi Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2): 30, 1981)