[Topical treatment of atopic dermatitis with Hypericum cream. A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind half-side comparison study]

Hautarzt. 2003 Mar;54(3):248-53. doi: 10.1007/s00105-002-0440-y. Epub 2003 Feb 18.
[Article in German]


Background: Recent investigations suggest an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect of hyperforin, which is a major constituent of Hypericum perforatum L. (Saint John's wort).

Objective: In a half-side comparison study we assessed the efficacy of a cream containing Hypericum extract standardized to 1.5% hyperforin (verum) in comparison to the corresponding vehicle (placebo) for the treatment of subacute atopic dermatitis. The study design was a prospective randomized placebo-controlled double-blind single center study.

Methods: In twenty one patients suffering from mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (mean SCORAD 44.5) the treatment with verum or placebo was randomly allocated to the left or right site of the body, respectively. The patients were treated twice daily over a period of four weeks. Eighteen patients completed the study. The severity of the skin lesions on the left and right site was determined by means of a modified SCORAD-index (primary endpoint).

Results: The intensity of the eczematous lesions improved on both sites of treatment. However, the Hypericum cream was significantly superior to the vehicle at all clinical visits (days 7, 14, 28) (p<0.05). Skin colonization with Staphylococcus aureus was reduced by both verum and placebo, showing a trend to better antibacterial activity of the Hypericum cream (p=0.064). Skin tolerance and cosmetic acceptability was good or excellent with both the Hypericum cream and the vehicle (secondary endpoints).

Conclusion: Hypericum cream was significantly superior to its vehicle in the topical treatment of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. The therapeutic efficacy of the Hypericum cream should be evaluated in further studies with larger patient cohorts, in comparison to standard therapeutic agents (i.e. corticosteroids).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Evaluation Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds
  • Child
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypericum*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Phloroglucinol / analogs & derivatives
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Terpenes / administration & dosage*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds
  • Ointments
  • Plant Extracts
  • Terpenes
  • Phloroglucinol
  • hyperforin