The Antiinflammatory Properties of Humic Substances: A Mini Review

Phytother Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):791-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5319. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


Humic substances are effective in the suppression of delayed type hypersensitivity, rat paw oedema, a graft-versus-host reaction and contact hypersensitivity in rats. They reduce the C-reactive protein levels of patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee and the wheel and flare reaction of patients suffering from hay fever. They have also been described as cardioprotective and pro-angiogenic. Toxicity studies have indicated that potassium humate is safe in humans up to a daily dosage of 1 g/kg, whereas fulvic acid is safe in humans up to a daily dosage of 1.8 g per adult. The antiinflammatory action of potassium humate can be contributed to the inhibition of the release of inflammatory-related cytokines, an adhesion molecule, oxidants and components of the complement system.

Keywords: fulvic acid; humic acid; humic substances; inflammation; potassium humate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzopyrans / pharmacology
  • C-Reactive Protein / chemistry
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dermatitis, Contact / drug therapy
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Graft vs Host Disease / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Humic Substances*
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy
  • Rats
  • Soil / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Benzopyrans
  • Humic Substances
  • Soil
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • fulvic acid