Using a variety of cumin, scientists in India have patented their innovative herbal gel for affordable, effective treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis.
The inflammatory skin disorder that causes itchiness and irritation from red and scaly rashes already affects millions of people around the world and the numbers may be up during the pandemic.
Treatments are available in the market today, but existing treatment options, including steroid and UV radiation therapy, tend to be expensive, with possible side effects.
There is still no cure for psoriasis, but scientists at Shoolini University developed a plant-based gel, which contains a natural anti-inflammatory chemical compound that could be considerably cheaper.
The invention by scientists at the Himachal Pradesh-based university contains thymoquinone, a pharmacologically active chemical found in the seeds of the plant Nigella sativa—commonly known as black cumin and widely used in Asian cooking and herbal medicine.
Dr. Poonam Negi, Charul Rathore, and Ishita Sharma harnessed thymoquinone’s known therapeutic effects into a gel that can provide instant relief from the itchy rashes and thereby improve a patient’s quality of life.
Sativa oil is traditionally used for treating skin conditions, including psoriatic rashes. But, Dr. Negi says, “This oil contains low thymoquinone levels, which forces patients to apply large amounts of it. Our developed gel, however, maintains therapeutically effective concentrations of thymoquinone at the psoriatic lesions.”
The product was shown to be more effective than the oil, and it has been tested pre-clinically for its efficacy and safety, with clinical trials yet to be completed.
Increased importance during the pandemic
It is worth noting that many conventional treatment options for psoriasis, such as steroids, work by suppressing the immune system. This is a matter of serious concern, given the current spread of COVID-19, which requires a strong, balanced immune system to combat the infection. Shoolini’s gel would relieve psoriatic rashes without compromising the immune system.
The water-based patented gel is also attractive now because of its affordability.
Global sales of psoriasis treatments are growing at approximately 7% per year and are expected to reach US$ 13.1 billion by 2025.
Dr. Negi predicts their therapy would cost under $7 per month in cases of mild psoriasis and under $15 for cases of moderate-to-severe psoriasis.
They are in stage 2 of the development of the product and they told GNN they are looking for an industry partner, and hope to get this to the market in the next 2 years. We will be sure to post an update when they do.