May 1, 2016

Polypodium Leucotomos

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What other names is Polypodium Leucotomos known by?

Anapsos, Calaguala, Difur, Fern, Fougère, P. Leucotomos, PL, PLE, Polypodium.

What is Polypodium Leucotomos?

Polypodium leucotomos is a fern from Central America. The underground "runners" (rhizomes) are used for medicine.

Polypodium leucotomos is used to prevent certain skin problems including sunburn, eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin cancer. It is also used for other cancers and Alzheimer's disease.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). Early research suggests that taking a specific Polypodium leucotomos extract (Anapsos by ASAC Pharma) by mouth might reduce inflammation in people with itchy and inflamed skin.
  • Dementia. The effectiveness of Polypodium leucotomos for dementia is unclear. Some early research suggests that taking a specific Polypodium leucotomos extract (Anapsos by ASAC Pharma) 360 mg daily by mouth for 4 weeks might improve mental function in people with mild to moderate dementia. However, other research suggests that taking 720 mg of the same extract daily might not be effective. The reason for these conflicting results is not clear.
  • Psoralen-UVA (PUVA) light exposure damage. Psoralen is a medication for a skin condition called psoriasis. Exposure to UV light makes psoralen work better in some patients. This combination treatment is called PUVA. There is some evidence that taking a specific Polypodium leucotomos extract (Fernblock by Cantabria Farmaceutica) before PUVA treatment can reduce skin redness and signs of light damage. Polypodium leucotomos also seems to decrease skin darkening that happens to some people after PUVA treatment. Early research also suggests that taking a specific Polypodium leucotomos extract (Difur by Cantabria Farmaceutica) or applying a lotion containing Polypodium leucotomos extract before light exposure might decrease skin damage in people with psoralen-sensitized skin.
  • Psoriasis. Some evidence suggests that taking Polypodium leucotomos extracts might improve symptoms of severe psoriasis.
  • Sunburn. Early research suggests that taking a specific Polypodium leucotomos extract (Fernblock by Cantabria Farmaceutica) before sun exposure can reduce reddening of the skin and signs of skin damage. Early research also suggests that taking a specific Polypodium leucotomos extract (Difur by Cantabria Farmaceutica) or applying a lotion containing Polypodium leucotomos before sun exposure might decrease sun damage. Clinical studies on sunburn and sun damage have used a specific extract of Polypodium leucotomos (Fernblock by Cantabria Farmaceutica). This extract is used in Heliocare brand name products.
  • A condition called vitiligo in which whitish patches appear on the skin. Early research suggests that taking a specific extract of Polypodium leucotomos (Fernblock by Cantabria Farmaceutica) for up to 26 weeks might return some skin color in people with vitiligo. There are also some reports that taking a different extract of Polypodium leucotomos (Anapsos by ASAC Pharma) for 5 months can have similar effects.
  • Skin cancer.
  • Other cancers.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Polypodium leucotomos for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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