One-year follow up of children treated with Chinese medicinal herbs for atopic eczema

Br J Dermatol. 1994 Apr;130(4):488-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1994.tb03383.x.


The opportunity to continue treatment was offered to the parents of 37 children who had completed a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of a specific formulation of Chinese medicinal herbs for atopic eczema. The parents elected for continued treatment in every case, and the progress of the children was monitored over the following 12 months. The aim was to achieve a substantial clinical improvement, and thereafter to reduce treatment frequency progressively while maintaining this benefit. At the end of the year, 18 enjoyed at least 90% reductions in eczema activity scores, and five showed lesser degrees of improvement. Fourteen children withdrew from the study, 10 due to lack of response, and four because of unpalatability of treatment or difficulty in the preparation of treatment. By the end of the year, seven of the children were able to discontinue treatment without relapse. The other 16 required treatment to maintain control of their eczema, but only four of these still required daily treatment. Asymptomatic elevation of serum aspartate aminotransferase to 7-14 times normal values was noted on one occasion in two children whose eczema was so well controlled that the therapy was stopped. Liver function tests were normal 8 weeks later. We conclude that Chinese medicinal herbs provide a therapeutic option for children with extensive atopic eczema which has failed to respond to other treatments. In the medium term, it proved helpful for approximately half the children who originally took part in our placebo-controlled trial. The possibility that it may provoke hepatic abnormalities requires further study.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Emollients / administration & dosage
  • Erythema / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Infant
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Male


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Emollients
  • Immunoglobulin E