Corticosteroids are not present in a traditional Chinese medicine formulation for atopic dermatitis in children

Kam Lun Ellis Hon, Vivian W.Y. Lee, Ting Fan Leung, Kenneth K.C. Lee, Andrew K.W. Chan, Tai Fai Fok, Ping Chung Leung

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-763
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Academy of Medicine Singapore
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Corticosteroids
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

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