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Echinacea for acne.

Sharma M, Schoop R, Suter A, Hudson J. 2011. The potential use of Echinacea in acne: control of Propionibacterium acnes growth and inflammation. Phytother Res 25:4;517-21.

Acne, a common chronic skin disorder, is of multifactorial etiology. The two major instigators and drivers of the condition appear to be infection of the pilo-sebaceous follicle with Propionibacterium and inflammation in the area, possibly driven by the aforementioned. Host nutritional status and hormone balance are also important.

Certain Echinacea species are known to have potent antimicrobial, immune supportive and anti-inflammatory properties. They were recommended in North American herbal traditions for the treatment and healing of wounds and skin lesions. Given the acknowledged potential for bacteria to become resistant to conventional antibiotic treatment of conditions (including acne), plant preparations such as Echinacea may be an appropriate alternative.

In the current study the patented herbal preparation Echinaforce(r) was used. This is a 65% ethanol extract of the aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea (1:12) combined with 5% E. purpurea root (1:11). In vitro experiments showed that the preparation had significant, dose related antibacterial effect up to an Echinacea dilution of 1:400. Dilutions of 1:10 and 1:100 exhibited complete eradication of the bacteria. Administration of the extract also resulted in strong inhibitor of IL-6 and IL-8 release by infected human epithelial cells.

These potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities, specifically demonstrated in relation to the predominant acne inducing bacteria, suggest a role for topical application of Echinacea preparations in acne. In addition previous studies have proven the antioxidant and wound healing properties of the herb which may also prove useful in adjuvant therapy for chronic acne.

Tessa Finney-Brown MNHAA
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Article Details
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Author:Finney-Brown, Tessa
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 22, 2011
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