• Vol. 35 No. 11, 759–763
  • 15 November 2006

Corticosteroids are not Present in a Traditional Chinese Medicine Formulation for Atopic Dermatitis in Children

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used as an alternative in treating children with atopic dermatitis (AD) but its efficacy and potential side effects are debatable. We recently used a TCM capsule (PentaHerbs) on 9 children and observed significant reductions in clinical scores of disease severity. However, there have been concerns that the therapeutic effects of many forms of TCM are due to the presence of corticosteroids. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if common corticosteroids are present in PentaHerbs capsules.

Materials and Methods: PentaHerbs powder was analysed with thin-layer chromatography, infra-red spectrophotometry and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.

Results: Hydrocortisone, prednisolone, fludrocortisone and dexamethasone were not detected in the PentaHerbs capsules.

Conclusion: Corticosteroids are not present in the 5 familiar herbs that were earlier shown to have efficacy on AD.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disease. It has been estimated that 15% of schoolchildren aged 13 to 14 years have a history of AD.

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