The search for natural products with benefits for health in general and of potential for treating human disease has gained wider interest world-wide. Here, we analyse current data on the microalga Arthrospira platensis (AP), that has been used in nutrition since ancient times in Fare East and African communities, for medical purposes with a focus on dermatology. Extracts of AP have been investigated in vitro and in vivo. The alga is rich in proteins, lipopolysaccharides and gamma-linolenic acid. AP extracts, phycocyanin compounds and polysaccharide calcium spirulan (Ca-SP) have been evaluated in various models. It could be demonstrated, that AP has significant antioxidant activity, prevents viruses from entry into target cells and inhibits the colonisation of wounds by multi-resistant bacteria. Furthermore, anti-cancer activity was documented in models of oral cancer, melanoma, and UV-induced non-melanoma skin cancer.
Keywords: Arthrospira platensis; Calcium spirulan; Gamma-linolenic acid; Microalgae; Phycocyanin.