Highlights

Plants used to treat skin diseases

Cosmetics have a lot of influence on the market, thanks  to the recognition of consumers. There is a great demand for natural products. With mapping supply and demand, MAP-Expo can identify the needs and opportunities in the market. Skin diseases are numerous and a frequently occurring health problem affecting all ages from the neonates to the elderly and cause harm in number of ways. Maintaining healthy skin is important for a healthy body. Many people may develop skin diseases that affect the skin, including cancer, herpes and cellulitis. Some wild plants and their parts are frequently used to treat these diseases. The use of plants is as old as the mankind. Natural treatment is cheap and claimed to be safe.  COMMON SKIN PROBLEMS Skin disease is a common ailment and it affects all ages from the neonate to the elderly and cause harm in number of ways.There are more than a thousand conditions that may affect the skin but most skin diseases can be categorized into nine common types. Rashes A rash is an area of red, inflamed skin or a group of individual spots. These can be caused by irritation, allergy, infection, an underlying disease, as well as by structural defects for example, blocked pores or malfunctioning oil glands. Examples of rashes include acne, dermatitis, eczema, hives, pityriasis rosea and psorasis. Bacterial infections Such infections are caused by a variety of bacteria, the most common types being staphylococci and streptococci. Bacteria may infect the topmost layers of skin, the follicles, or the deeper layers of skin. If not treated correctly, these infections may spread throughout the body. Examples include impel folliculitis, cellulitis and lyme disease. Bacterial infections are better treated with antibiotics. Fungal infections Harmless fungi are always present on surface of the skin. Infection occurs when these organisms enter into the body. These infections are usually superficial, affecting the skin, hair, nails and include athlete's foot, lock itch and ringworm. However, in people with suppressed immune system or who have been taking antibiotics for long period -, the fungi may spread to deep within the body, causing more serious disease. Pigmentation disorders The amount of pigment in the skin is determined by the amount of melanin being produced by the body. Loss of pigment (hypo pigmentation) can be caused by absence of melanocytes, malfunctioning cells, exposure to cold or chemicals, or some types of infection. An increase in pigment (hyperpigmentation) may be caused by skin irritation, hormonal changes, aging, a metabolic disorder, or any other underlying problem. Age spots, freckles and melasma are examples of hyper pigmentation. Vitiligo is an example of hypo pigmentation. HERBAL DRUGS FOR SKIN DISEASES Natural drugs from the plants are gaining popularity because of several advantages such as often having fewer side-effects, better patient tolerance, being relatively less expensive and acceptable due to a long history of use. Besides herbal medicines provide rational means for the treatment of many diseases that are obstinate and incurable in other systems of medicine. For these reasons several plants have been investigated for treatment of skin diseases ranging from itching to skin cancer. So far 31 plants have been reported to be effective in various skin diseases during the past 17 years (1995-2012) of research work, which are mentioned below. Aloe vera (Common name: Barbados aloe; Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae) Aloe vera has shown very good results in skin diseases and it is often taken as health drink. It is also found effective in treating wrinkles, stretch marks and pigmentations. It also seems to be able to speed wound healing by improving blood circulation through the area and preventing cell death around a wound. Camellia sinensis (Common name: Green tea, Chaay; Family: Theaceae) Green tea comes from the tea plant C. sinensis and may play a beneficial role in treatment of skin tumours and cancer. It contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants in the body. A specific polyphenol in Green tea called epigallocatechin gallate, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, has been reported to prevent the onset of further growth of skin tumor in the body. It can rejuvenate old skin cells to start reproducing again, keeping the skin younger looking. Cannabis sativus (Common name: Charas, Ganja; Family: Cannabinaceae) The powder of the leaves serves as a dressing for wounds and sores. Ganja is externally applied to relieve pain in itchy skin diseases. Hemp seed oil is useful for treatment of eczema and host of other skin diseases like dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis/cradle cap, varicose eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus and acne roseacea. By using hemp seed oil, the skin is strengthened and made better able to resist bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Crushed leaves are rubbed on the affected areas to control scabies. Mirabilis jalapa (Common name: Four o’clock flower, Marvel of Peru; Family: Nctaginaceae) jalapais used traditionally in allergic skin disorders and asthma. A study, employing ethanol: acetone (1:1) extract of the roots of M. jalapa, revealed that the extract (0.5 mL of 100 mg mL[-1]) inhibited histamine-induced guinea pig tracheal chain contractions non-competitively. The extract (100 or 200 mg kg[-1] i.p.) inhibited milk-induced eosinophilia, albumin-induced paw edema and protected mast cells against clonidine-induced granulation justifying the folkloric use of M. jalapain the treatment of allergic diseases and asthma. CONCLUSION Herbals have great potential to cure different kinds of skin diseases. More than 80% of people in India depend on traditional health care and use different plant based products for curing skin related problems. Compared with the conventional allopathic drugs, they have relatively low cost and can be of great benefit to the population of India in general and poor people in particular. Herbals are a rich source of active ingredients and can be safer and cost effective treatment for skin diseases ranging from rashes to dreadful skin cancer. More than 50% of plant species useful for treatment of skin diseases appear to be restricted to forests, so activities such as deforestation, habitat destruction, urbanization etc., may pose a serious threat to these species. Conservation of these plants with the help of local participation and carrying out of extensive research in this respect to broaden the prospects of herbal drugs in skin disease treatment is the need of the hour. Source (see full article): www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/ Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology Division, University of Kashmir, Hazaratbal, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India Address for correspondence: Prof. Nahida Tabassum, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology Division, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal, Srinagar - 190 006, Jammu and Kashmir, India. E-mail: moc.liamg@ku.mussabat.n