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Fitoterapia. 2012 Dec;83(8):1306-17. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2012.03.026. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

A review of phytotherapy of acne vulgaris: perspective of new pharmacological treatments.

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Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



This review focuses on plants currently used and those with a high potency for the future development of anti-acne products.


All relevant literature databases were searched up to 25 March 2011. The search terms were plant, herb, herbal therapy, phytotherapy, and acne, acne vulgaris and anti-acne. All of the human, animal, and in vitro studies, and reviews were included. Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-androgen effects were the key outcomes.


Studies on cell lines revealed that flavonoid, alkaloid, essential oil, phenol and phenolic compound, tannin, xanthone and xanthone derivative, and the bisnaphthquione derivative are effective in treatment of acne. Animal studies showed that diterpene acid, phenylpropanoid glycosides, acteoside and flavonoids have anti-inflammatory activity. Eleven human studies revealed that Camellia sinensis has 5α-reductase inhibitory and anti-inflammatory activities. Also anti-bacterial effect was shown by oleoresin of Commiphora mukul.


In addition to the standardization of these herbs, screening herbs as anti-acne agents may help to find new sources of therapy for acne.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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