White Deadnettle: Research Application

White deadnettle has been used in two randomized controlled trials; but yet again the results do not help in formulating recommendations. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in Israel, 49 patients with atopic dermatitis (age and sex not given) were treated for 2 weeks with a proprietary product containing Lamium album, Achillea millefolium and Eleutherococcus senticosus (dried herb, ethanolic extracts). Patients were monitored for 8 weeks and assessed using the SCORAD scale and 44 people completed the trial. Improvement was similar for the treatment and placebo groups and was maintained after the active treatment period. The trial is interesting because there was a significant response to both the treatment and the placebo. Details of the placebo were not reported. Two weeks is a very short treatment period in atopic dermatitis and this is not a formulation which would necessarily be widely chosen in Britain, although the formulation was based on the experience of herbalists.

In the second randomized controlled trial, white dead-nettle was used as the placebo in a trial of urtication in arthritis and proved not as inert as the designers had hoped, illustrating some of the problems of determining a placebo in trials of herbal medicines.

A study of six Lamiaceae, including Lamium album, Lamium purpureum and Galeopsis speciosa (commercial dried herb, methanolic extracts), used three in vitro anti-oxidant assays. Results for each plant varied between the tests, but Lamium album came out well in all three. A study of four Lamium species in Turkey found that the results varied between the species in the different antioxidant assays. The authors suggest that the phenylpropanoids may be the relevant constituents, but also argue that the range of constituents is such that this may not be the case. An in vitro study on the proliferation and viability of human skin fibroblasts using extract of dried flowers (commercial, Poland) was performed to assess whether there was support for the traditional usage of Lamium in wound healing. Only the heptane extract was associated with increased cell proliferation and the authors associate this with the triterpenes found only in the heptane extract. The relevance of this study is unclear as traditional usage is a decoction as a compress.