Skin

15 December 2003

Borage oil no salve for eczema

Borage oil, sold as starflower oil in health food stores, does not improve symptoms of eczema, says a study in this week's British Medical Journal.

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Borage oil, sold as starflower oil in health food stores, does not improve symptoms of eczema, says a study in this week's British Medical Journal.

The research study
The study included 151 people with atopic eczema. For 12 weeks, they received daily doses of either high-dose borage oil or a placebo. The high dose borage oil contained 920 milligrams of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid required for normal skin function.

Over the course of the study, the patients' eczema symptoms were scored using recognised scales. The symptoms and signs of eczema improved to a similar degree in both groups. Those in the placebo group actually showed marginally greater improvement than those taking the borage oil.

No useful benefit
The findings suggest GLA offers no useful benefit in treating atopic eczema, the study authors write.

GLA is also found in evening primrose oil.

An editorial in the same issue of the British Medical Journal says this finding, along with other recent developments, indicates the use of GLA supplementation to treat atopic eczema has had its day. - (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
Eczema cream may backfire
Bacteria beats eczema

 

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Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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