Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an alternative method of therapy that can be administered in oral, topical, or injectable forms. It emphasizes the importance of using many herbs that are combined in different formulations for each individual patient. Among some segments of the patient population, it has become increasingly popular as a mode for treating dermatologic diseases. As a result, it is now worthwhile for dermatologists throughout the West to gain some familiarity with this method. Yet, dermatologists are largely unfamiliar with TCM and may possess some misconceptions. We attempt to give a general overview of TCM through the discussion of different clinical studies involving various TCMs. Some proposed mechanisms of action of TCM are also presented. A discussion of adverse effects, including hepatotoxic effects and the need for close monitoring is discussed. A warning regarding the possible contamination of TCMs is also included. Since it is not possible to discuss the application of TCM for every skin disorder, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are used as the prototype in illustrating the use of TCM. In the future, perhaps a better understanding of TCM will be gained through more systematic analysis and controlled studies with a placebo arm. It is our hope that this article will provide an overview of the efficacy, mechanism of action, as well as adverse effects of TCM.
Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more
Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features
Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)
Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Dermatology editors. You will be notified when your comment has been published. Comments should not exceed 500 words of text and 10 references.
Do not submit personal medical questions or information that could identify a specific patient, questions about a particular case, or general inquiries to an author. Only content that has not been published, posted, or submitted elsewhere should be submitted. By submitting this Comment, you and any coauthors transfer copyright to the journal if your Comment is posted.
* = Required Field
Disclosure of Any Conflicts of Interest*
Indicate all relevant conflicts of interest of each author below, including all relevant financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including, but not limited to, employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speakers’ bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued. If all authors have none, check "No potential conflicts or relevant financial interests" in the box below. Please also indicate any funding received in support of this work. The information will be posted with your response.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 60
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
and access these and other features:
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.