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Psoriasis Meets its Match in Vanilla Extract

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Crack open the pantry! According to research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a synthetic form of vanilla extract, or vanillin (INCI: Vanillin), can reduce or even prevent psoriasis symptoms by targeting its cause.

Psoriasis is in part developed by the interleukins (IL) in the immune system—namely, IL-17 and IL-23. Vanillin, on the other hand, has been previously found to affect different ILs that play roles in other inflammatory conditions. American Chemical Society researchers noted this potential connection.


To learn how vanillin may affect psoriasis, researchers treated mice topically with imiquimod—a medicated cream that works with the immune system—for seven consecutive days to induce psoriatic skin inflammation. At the same time, the mice were orally treated with various amounts of vanillin at 0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 mg/kg of their body weight.

All mice treated with vanillin presented with reduced IL-17 and IL-23 levels at the end of testing, however mice treated with doses of 50 mg/kg or 100 mg/kg of their body weight had reduced symptoms compared to those who received less or no vanillin.

“In conclusion, our findings suggested that vanillin was an effective bioactive compound against psoriatic skin inflammation,” wrote the study’s authors.

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