Review Article

Effects of Herbal Medicines on the Prevention and Treatment of Contact Dermatitis: A Systematic Review


Background: Contact dermatitis (CD) is a common inflammatory disease of the skin. CD has a complex and multifaceted treatment, and one of the main components of CD treatment is inflammation management. We summarized the clinical trials exploring the effects of herbal medicine on patients with CD.

Methods: A systematic review was performed by searching four databases. Clinical trials in English investigating the effect of herbal medicines on CD prevention and treatment published from 2010 to 2020 were reviewed. This study was conducted based on the PRISMA guidelines.

Results: Nine clinical trials examining the effects of herbs on CD were identified. A total of 450 patients participated in these studies. Herbal medicines used in the reviewed studies were in various forms. Almost all the studies showed that these herbs were useful in preventing and treating CD. Regarding the side effects of the herbal medicines, few complications such as erythema and papules as well as positive chronotropic effects were reported.

Conclusion: Evidence showed that herbal medicines were effective in preventing and treating CD by reducing the inflammation level and increasing antioxidant defense. However, the number of clinical trials was low to draw definitive conclusions. Moreover, the studies were not homogeneous and differed regarding methodology, evaluation tools, and quality. Also, in these studies, the interactions and safety of the herbal medicines were not considered adequately. Therefore, well-designed evidence is required to draw definitive conclusions in this regard.

1. Novak-Bilić G, Vučić M, Japundžić I, Meštrović-štefekov J, Stanić-Duktaj S, Lugović-Mihić L (2018). Irritant and allergic contact dermatitis – skin lesion characteristics. Acta Clin Croat, 57(4):713–20.
2. Peiser M, Tralau T, Heidler J, et al (2012). Allergic contact dermatitis: epidemiology, molecular mechanisms, in vitro methods and regulatory aspects. Current knowledge assembled at an international workshop at BfR, Germany. Cell Mol Life Sci, 69(5):763–81.
3. Usatine RP, Riojas M (2010). Diagnosis and Management of Contact Dermatitis. Am Fam Physician, 2010;82(3): 249-55.
4. De Benedetto A, Kubo A, Beck LA (2012). Skin barrier disruption: A requirement for allergen sensitization. J Invest Dermatol, 132(3 PART 2):949–63.
5. Prakash AV, Davis MDP (2010). Contact Dermatitis in Older Adults A Review of the Literature. Am J Clin Dermatol, 11(6):373-381.
6. Lachapelle JM, Gimenez-Arnau A, Metz M, Peters J, Proksch E (2018). Best practices, new perspectives, and the perfect emollient: optimizing the management of contact dermatitis. J Dermatolog Treat, 29(3):241–51.
7. Fisher DA (1995). Adverse effects of topical corticosteroid use. West J Med, 162:123–6.
8. Choopani R, Mehrbani M, Fekri A, Mehrabani M (2017). Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis From the Perspective of Traditional Persian Medicine: Presentation of a Novel Therapeutic Approach. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med, 22(8):5–11.
9. Jong MC, Ermuth U, Augustin M (2013). Plant-based ointments versus usual care in the management of chronic skin diseases: A comparative analysis on outcome and safety. Complement Ther Med, 21(5):453–9.
10. Niazi M, Mehrabani M, Namazi MR, et al (2020). Efficacy of a topical formulation of henna (Lawsonia inermis L.) in contact dermatitis in patients using prosthesis: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med, 1;49.
11. Farahani AM, Aryanian Z, Memariani Z, Mozaffarpur SA, Shirafkan H (2021). A Comparison of the Effect of Topical Preparation of Sambucus ebulus L. And Hydrocortisone on Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. J Altern Complement Med, 27(4):323–30.
12. Moher D, Shamseer L, Clarke M, et al (2016). Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Rev Esp Nutr Humana y Diet, 20(2):148–60.
13. Jadad AR, Andrew Moore R, Carroll D, et al (1996). Assessing the Quality of Reports of Randomized Clinical Trials: Is Blinding Necessary? Control Clin Trials, 17:1–12.
14. Waddington H, Aloe A, Becker B, Reeves B, Tugwell P, Wells GA (2014). Risk of bias assessment incredible quasi-experimental studies.
15. Lei D, Bo W (2019). Effect of total glucosides of paeony on interleukins 18 and 33 mRNA expressions in patients with allergic contact dermatitis. Acta Medica Mediterr, 35(2):709–13.
16. Abrams Motz V, Bowers CP, Mull Young L, Kinder DH (2012). The effectiveness of jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, the related cultivar I. balsamina and the component, lawsone in preventing post poison ivy exposure contact dermatitis. J Ethnopharmacol, 143(1):314–8.
17. Motz VA, Bowers CP, Kneubehl AR, Lendrum EC, Young LM, Kinder DH (2014). Efficacy of the saponin component of Impatiens capensis Meerb. in preventing urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. J Ethnopharmacol, 162:163–7.
18. Jowkar F, Jamshidzadeh A, Yazdi AM, Pasalar M (2011). The Effects of Fumaria parviflora L Extract on Chronic Hand Eczema: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J, 13(11):824–8.
19. Wallengren J (2011). Tea tree oil attenuates experimental contact dermatitis. Arch Dermatol Res, 303(5):333–8.
20. Trakan-Wittayarak S, Meephansan J (2019). The effect of astaxanthin on allergic contact dermatitis in response to hair dye containing p-phenylenediamine. Eur J Dermatol, 29(6) 647–8.
21. Magrone T, Jirillo E, Magrone M, et al (2021). Red Grape Polyphenol Oral Administration improves Immune Response in Women Affected by Nickel-Mediated Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets, 21(2):374-384..
22. Ebrahimzadeh MA, Rafati MR, Damchi M, Golpur M, Fathiazad F (2014). Treatment of Paederus Dermatitis with Sambucus ebulus Lotion. Shaheed Beheshti Univ Med Sci Heal Serv Iran J Pharm Res, 13(3):1065–71.
23. Olivo SA, Macedo LG, Gadotti C, Fuentes J, Stanton T, Magee DJ (2008). Scales to Assess the Quality of Randomized Controlled Trials: A Systematic Review. Phys Ther, 88(2):156-75.
24. Polat M, Dikilitaş M, Öztaş P, Allı N, (2009). Allergic contact dermatitis to pure henna. Dermatol Online J, 15(1):15.
25. Jovanovic DL, Slavkovic-Jovanovic MR (2009). Allergic contact dermatitis from the temporary henna tattoo. J Dermatol, 36(1):63–5.
26. Thami GP, Kaur S, Kanwar AJ (2001). Allergic contact dermatitis to henna. Allergy, 56:1013–4.
27. Lamchahab FZ, Guerrouj B, Benomar S, et al (2011). Henna symbolic tatoo and real dermatitis. Arch Pediatr, 18(6):653–6.
28. Knight TE, Hausen BM (1994). Melaleuca oil (tea tree oil) dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol, 30(3):423–7.
29. Hausen BM, Reichling J, Harkenthal M (1999). Degradation Products of Monoterpenes Are the Sensitizing Agents in Tea Tree Oil. Am J Contact Dermat, 10(2):68–77.
IssueVol 51 No 6 (2022) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Contact dermatitis Herbal Systematic review Prevention

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Rastegar S, Heydarirad G, Aryanian Z, Shekofteh M, Shahbodaghi A, Fahimi S, Goodarzi A, Poshtmahi S. Effects of Herbal Medicines on the Prevention and Treatment of Contact Dermatitis: A Systematic Review. Iran J Public Health. 2022;51(6):1210-1222.