Internet Sensation: Yiganerjing

Yiganerjing Cream is not a licensed medicine. It has been marketed in the UK as a "natural" Chinese herbal medicine to treat a range of skin conditions, most commonly eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Please check out Vicki's follow up article on this treatment type: Yiganerjing: Two Years Later.

As an administrator for a large psoriasis group on Facebook, I've read my fair share of testimonials. I log in every day to moderate member feedback on prescription creams, oral medication, and diet attempts. On these pages, people feel safe sharing their simple remedies.

If you have frequented any psoriasis sites in the last two months, there is one particular product about which everyone seems to be talking. It's called Yiganerjing.

What's in Yiganerjing cream?

Yiganerjing cream is a Chinese Herbal Cream (CHC) claiming to treat everything from psoriasis and eczema to hemorrhoids and athlete's foot.

As a scientist wanting to understand how this cream could be effective so quickly - with some members claiming plaque clearance in as little as two days - the first prominent place to look was the ingredient list.

The ingredient list seems to be different depending on where you're looking. Popular distributors like and list other ingredients for the same product, and even members' screen captures of their product inserts are not consistent. One obvious source of confusion is the translation of the traditional Chinese herbal names into English, which will lead to errors.

However, perhaps more worrying than these inconsistencies is the fact that the ingredient lists end with "etc." or "and so on." Yes, really.

Do the ingredients improve psoriasis symptoms?

So what ingredients could be hiding in that et cetera? Given the dramatic claims of results, some people suspect steroids. It would not be the first time CHCs were found to contain unlisted steroids.

In 1999, researchers found that 8 of 11 CHCs they tested contained an unlisted but potent steroid, dexamethasone.1 A study in 2003 revealed the same worrying results,2 and in both studies the patients using these herbal creams were completely unaware they contained steroids, using them liberally on their face and skin folds.

Although fines are sometimes laid against Chinese herbalists selling these adulterated creams,3 testing CHCs for steroids is not standard practice and is a complex and costly procedure when it is performed.

Unlike prescription creams, CHCs may not have undergone rigorous safety testing, clinical trials, or dosing experiments without these quality controls. It's impossible as a consumer to know what you're buying. As a final precautionary note, CHCs may also contain banned substances or other unlisted drugs that could lead to serious medical complications.4,5

Always, always talk with your doctor

None of that is to say that Yiganerjing has any of these unlisted ingredients. In fact, some of the listed ingredients have demonstrable actions, like menthol as an anti-itching agent.

Most of the listed plant species also claim anti-inflammatory properties in Chinese herbology, and so the inclusion of ingredients like Pseudolarix amabilis, Cortex Dictamni, Rhizoma Smilacis Glabrae, and Cnidium monnieri make sense for a topical preparation to treat inflammatory skin disease.

All this taken together, the takeaway from this opinion piece is that all new treatments should be discussed with your dermatologist before use, especially if you plan on using them in sensitive areas, or on broken skin.

Even some of Yiganerjing's listed ingredients, like Cnidium monnieri, should be used with caution and only on the advice of a medical professional.6 Always remember to be vigilant with your health, medications, and safety.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?