Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, recurrent pruritic skin disease with repeated remissions and exacerbations. Various factors, such as allergies, skin conditions and lifestyle, combine to cause AD, making it difficult to cure completely. Although AD symptoms are suppressed with medications, this is a long-term effort and burden on patients. Thus, safer drugs and alternatives are needed. We previously found that consumption of tea prepared from fig (Ficus carica L.) leaves alleviated allergy and AD symptoms in cultured cells and animals. Therefore, here, we conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled study in patients with mild AD to evaluate the safety and AD-relieving effects of prolonged consumption of fig leaf tea. Positive effects of fig leaf tea consumption were confirmed in 14 of 15 participants. Eczema Area and Severity Index values were significantly lowered in the fig leaf tea-treated group than in the placebo-treated group. The effect weakened 4 weeks after the end of the intervention, suggesting that continued intake of fig leaf tea was effective. Further assessments confirmed the safety of fig leaf tea consumption and revealed no variations that might pose a health hazard. Therefore, we postulate that fig leaf tea is a natural and safe therapeutic option for AD.
Keywords: atopic dermatitis; Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI); RCT; functional food; Ficus carica
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