A new topical treatment of atopic dermatitis in pediatric patients based on Ficus carica L. (Fig): A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Complement Ther Med. 2017 Dec:35:85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.10.003. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic, relapsing and inflammatory skin disease characterized by pruritus and xerosis (dry skin). Its prevalence is on the increase worldwide, particularly in children. As the pathogenesis of AD involves a complex interaction of genetic, environmental and immunological factors, its definitive treatment is difficult.

Objective: This clinical trial was designed as equivalence study to investigate the effect of aqueous extract of edible dried fig fruit on the severity of AD as measured with scoring atopic dermatitis (SCORAD), in comparison with Hydrocortisone 1.0% as the routine treatment of AD and base cream as a placebo.

Method: Forty five children aged 4 months to 14 years with mild to moderate AD (SCORAD <50) were randomly assigned, in a double blind manner, to three treatment groups in order to perform a randomised, double blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. The patients were instructed to apply their allocated creams twice a day for two weeks.

Results: The randomised, placebo-controlled trial indicates that the new treatment had significantly increased efficacy in terms of reducing the SCORAD index, pruritus and intensity scores in comparison with Hydrocortisone 1.0% (p<0.05) and the placebo failed to ameliorate the symptoms.

Conclusion: Safety, efficacy, tolerability, and symptom relief were considerable in fig fruit extract in comparison with hydrocortisone 1.0%. This clinical trial suggests that fig fruit extract can be used instead of low potent corticosteroid in mild to moderate cases of AD.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Ficus carica L.; Herbal agents; Hydrocortisone 1.0%; Scoring atopic dermatitis (SCORAD).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / complications
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ficus*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Ointments
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ointments
  • Plant Preparations
  • Hydrocortisone