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The best alternative treatment for vitiligo

MagazineMay 2004 (Vol. 15 Issue 2)The best alternative treatment for vitiligo

Preliminary research suggests that the herb Ginkgo biloba can help halt the disorder and repigment the skin

Preliminary research suggests that the herb Ginkgo biloba can help halt the disorder and repigment the skin. The herb is a powerful antioxidant and immune-system modulator, and it may be these qualities that help it to work. Ginkgo's active ingredients also soothe many inflammatory and allergic processes.

In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 52 patients with slow-spreading disease were given either Ginkgo extract 40 mg three times daily or a placebo. In around 80 per cent of the treated patients, the condition was halted (compared with 36 per cent taking the placebo), and extensive-to-complete repigmentation was seen in 40 vs 9 per cent of the treated vs placebo group (Clin Exp Dermatol, 2003; 28: 285-7).

Two of the treated group experienced nausea with the herb.

Make sure that you take an extract which is standardised to contain 24 per cent ginkgoflavonglycosides. Also, Ginkgo can, albeit rarely, cause some gastrointestinal discomfort, headache and dizziness.

Other helpful supplements include B vitamins (10 mg/day of folic acid and 2000 mcg/day of B12), copper and L-phenylalanine, a precursor to tyrosine, along with ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation treatments. Watch out for heavy-metal poisoning.

Vitiligo may also be the result of low stomach acid, so have yours checked out via the Biolab Medical Unit in London (020 7636 5959) and, if needed, remedy the situation by supplementating with hydrochloric acid plus pepsin.

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