There’s good news for the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition characterised by scaly red blotches which commonly appear on the elbows and knees but can affect the entire body including the scalp.
Researchers have discovered a special extract of the plant Mahonia aquifolium contains potent alkaloids that are effective in the fight against Psoriasis, Eczema and related skin conditions. Using the extract in controlled, clinical studies, the researchers went on to demonstrate that Mahonia aquifolium can effectively alleviate symptoms in 4 out of 5 psoriasis sufferers!
Mahonia aquifolium is widespread in the forests of North America, and is also known as the cultivated plant ‘Mahonia’. It is commonly found in gardens and parks growing as high as 1 – 2 metres with ever-green, leathery pinnate leaves, with a very shiny upper surface and a thorny toothed edge.
It’s yellow buds develop into blue , frost-covered berries which contain a dark-red juice and contain 2-5 shiny seeds. The berries are edible and are used to make wine and brandy. The bark of roots and stems contain alkaloids which have a number of therapeutic properties.
In North American medicine, Mahonia aquifolium has been traditionally used to treat fever, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, gout, rheumatic ailments, kidney and liver diseases, but most prominently for skin complaints. However, only in the last five years have scientists discovered how and why this herbal extract is so beneficial for psoriasis sufferers.
Mahonia aquifolium has been recommended by Medical Herbalists for many years for people suffering from Psoriasis & Eczema. It has been applied topically and taken internally and both forms have been shown to be effective.
The first study to attract media attention about Mahonia aquifolium was an open, prospective multi centre trial in 89 dermatological practices in Germany, where 433 patients with subacute and chronic forms of psoriasis were treated with Mahonia aquifolium ointment.
Of the 433 patients who entered into the study, 375 were treated over the planned period of 12 weeks, or dropped out of the study early because of total clearing of the skin, A modified PASI score fell significantly from 5.5 plus or minus 4.0 to 2.3 plus or minus 2.6.
According to an overall evaluation by dermatologists, symptoms improved or disappeared in 81.1% of patients; and according to a subjective evaluation by the patients, 79.7% improved or healed completely. The tolerability of Mahonia aquifolium ointment was evaluated as good or very good by 82.4% of patients.
There was a significant improvement in the quality of life, which was used as a subjective parameter throughout the study. While 30.1% of patients had significant or severe symptoms at the start, this was the case for only 5.6% after 12 weeks. M. aquifolium ointment is thus a well-tolerated preparation which should find a place in the treatment of psoriasis.
Later, in a multi-centred, randomised, controlled study, 93 patients suffering from mild to moderately severe psoriasis received treatment by either topical application of Mahonia aquifolium ointment or internal ingestion of Mahonia aquifolium extract. At the end of the treatment, significant improvement had occurred in more than 70 per cent of patients in both groups.
More recently, an article published in 2005 in the American Journal of Therapeutics detailed a further three studies all of which confirmed the beneficial effects of Mahonia aquifolium in the treatment of Psoriasis.
The first study was an open-label study to evaluate the safety of Mahonia aquifolium in 39 patients treated for 12 weeks. Assessments made were modified PASI, global assessment, psoriasis history questionnaire, Dermatology Life Quality Index, and Psoriasis Disability Index. The results revealed a statistically significant improvement in PASI score and Dermatology Life Quality Index after just four weeks of treatment.
The patients were followed up a month later and the positive outcomes were shown to have continued.
In the second study, a clinical trial involving 32 patients with mild to moderate bilateral psoriasis treated up to 6 months. One side of the body received Mahonia and the other standard psoriatic treatment (eg, Dovonex cream). The primary outcomes were patient ratings of the Mahonia-treated side alone and the comparison between treatments received on each side of their body.
The results revealed that eighty-four percent of patients rated the Mahonia-treated psoriasis as ‘good to excellent’ response. When compared with standard treatment, 63% of patients rated Mahonia aquifolium ‘equal to or better’ than the standard psoriatic treatment.
Study 3 was an observational study of 33 patients with mild to moderate bilateral psoriasis treated for a one month period. The results showed improvement in psoriasis after just one week of treatment. The side treated with Mahonia did as well or better than the side treated with the vehicle cream.
The report concluded that results from all three clinical trials are in agreement with published data that include placebo-controlled studies. Taken together, these clinical studies conducted by several investigators in several countries indicate that Mahonia aquifolium is a safe and effective treatment of patients with mild to moderate psoriasis.
Mahonia aquifolium offers real hope to thousands of Psoriasis sufferers and is, without doubt, the safest & most effective herbal psoriasis treatment available. No other controlled studies (even those using corticosteroids) have produced such outstanding results. And, of course, the added benefit of Mahonia Aquifolium is that it is a completely natural, herbal preparation, and unlike steroids, has no major adverse side effects. The leading & original brand of Psoriasis products containing Mahonia aquifolium is called ‘M-Folia’ and is available from http://www.taylor-jackson.com.