Anti-inflammatory efficacy of Licochalcone A: correlation of clinical potency and in vitro effects

Arch Dermatol Res. 2006 Jun;298(1):23-30. doi: 10.1007/s00403-006-0654-4. Epub 2006 Mar 22.


Licochalcone A (LicA), a major phenolic constituent of the licorice species Glycyrrhiza inflata, has recently been reported to have anti-inflammatory as well as anti-microbial effects. These anti-inflammatory properties might be exploited for topical applications of LicA. We conducted prospective randomized vehicle-controlled clinical trials to assess the anti-irritative efficacy of cosmetic formulations containing LicA in a post-shaving skin irritation model and on UV-induced erythema formation. The clinical trials were accompanied by a series of in vitro experiments to characterize anti-inflammatory properties of LicA on several dermatologically relevant cell types. Topical LicA causes a highly significant reduction in erythema relative to the vehicle control in both the shave- and UV-induced erythema tests, demonstrating the anti-irritative properties of LicA. Furthermore, LicA is a potent inhibitor of pro-inflammatory in vitro responses, including N-formyl-MET-LEU-PHE (fMLP)- or zymosan-induced oxidative burst of granulocytes, UVB-induced PGE(2) release by keratinocytes, lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced PGE(2) release by adult dermal fibroblasts, fMLP-induced LTB(4) release by granulocytes, and LPS-induced IL-6/TNF-alpha secretion by monocyte-derived dendritic cells. The reported data suggest therapeutic skin care benefits from LicA when applied to sensitive or irritated skin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chalcones / administration & dosage
  • Chalcones / therapeutic use*
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Erythema / drug therapy*
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Erythema / pathology*
  • Granulocytes / drug effects
  • Granulocytes / metabolism
  • Granulocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / pathology
  • Leukotriene B4 / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Burst / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • Zymosan / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Chalcones
  • Interleukin-6
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Leukotriene B4
  • Zymosan
  • licochalcone A
  • Dinoprostone