Art Solbrig's Lichen Planus Remedies - the Dynamic Duo

Modified on Oct 02, 2020 | Deirdre Layne

Lichen Planus Remedies.

By Art Solbrig
Published September 3, 2020
Updated September 29, 2020

Lichen Planus is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects skin, mucosa, and nails. It is a challenging disease to treat, and the many remedies listed on Earth Clinic clearly reflect that difficulty. These remedies, like aloe vera, are marginal at best, and some are quite complex, making a difficult situation even more difficult.

Being a chronic disease with poor options for treatment means that you may have it for life. The cause of Oral Lichen Planus ("OLP") and Lichen Planus ("LP")  is currently unknown.

Here is a link to images of LP.

As you can see from these pictures, this is a highly unwanted disease, so remedies are very desirable!

Standard care would be steroids, both topical and oral, to reduce inflammation, antihistamines to reduce itchiness, and possibly antibiotics that have shown some benefit. The oral form of Lichen Planus can be challenging to treat as it is not easy to get topical applications in the mouth to "stick around."

Supplements for Lichen Planus

I would like to talk about a couple of supplements not currently listed on Earth Clinic for LP/OLP that may help treat this menace to the mouth and skin.

Zinc

The first supplement is Zinc and studies indicate that Zinc may be quite useful for the treatment of OLP/LP. Zinc serum level is known to be lower in LP/OLP as well as the mouth content of Zinc being lower.

The following studies discuss the use of Zinc for OLP/LP.

These first three studies show that Zinc and a few other micronutrients are lower in OLP/LP :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745238/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32533293/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4867207/

These subsequent studies show that Zinc is helpful in patients with OLP/LP :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434769/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434769/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3429954/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22991591/

Melatonin

The next supplement I would like to discuss is melatonin.

LP has shown increased inflammatory mediators and excessive oxidative stress, and melatonin has shown excellent potential to lower both of these while raising total antioxidant capacity (TAC).

Melatonin also has anticarcinogenic qualities that may be useful with this disease at the extreme.

This first study shows that OLP shows increased melatonin in the oral mucosa, and the idea is that this is the body's response to quell the inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple diseases cause increased melatonin production, but from what I have seen in studies is that this extra production of melatonin is often not sufficient to be completely effective. Add in the fact that melatonin production declines with age, and you can see where this natural response by the body is likely to be well-intentioned, but insufficient.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28189880/

The following study confirms the previous study and suggests that the known beneficial effects of melatonin may apply well to OLP's known detriments and goes further to suggest that melatonin may act as an immune modulator in OLP. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28673588/

These studies may leave you wondering whether liquid melatonin used as an oral rinse may be additive to oral melatonin capsules or pills. It also may make you wonder whether melatonin cream applied to LP skin lesions might be additive to oral melatonin pills and capsules.

Along those same lines, it may make you wonder if zinc lozenges that dissolve in your mouth may be additive to oral zinc caps and tabs and whether topical zinc ointment applied to LP skin lesions may be additive to oral zinc tabs and caps? One issue with the zinc lozenges is that some people have reported a loss of taste and smell from them, but it must not be that common because every chain drugstore seems to carry them.

Dosage

Zinc

I would start with 50 mg as stated on the bottle.

Melatonin

On the melatonin, I would start at 10 mg near bedtime.
 
For the liquid melatonin, I would swish a small amount around the mouth 3 times per day. Zinc lozenges 3 a day. There is no history with this idea, so it is mainly trial and error.

Conclusion

In any case, these two prevalent supplements with good safety profiles appear likely to be useful for OLP / LP. They could potentially be an excellent adjunctive addition to standard therapy also!

Art Solbrig

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List of Remedies for Lichen Planus, Art Solbrig