When applied to the skin, glycyrrhetinic acid (a chemical found in licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)) increases the activity of hydrocortisone.1 This effect might allow for less hydrocortisone to be used when combined with glycyrrhetinic acid, but further study is needed to test this possibility.2
In animal research, applying aloe (Aloe vera) gel topically along with a topical corticosteroid enhanced the hormone’s anti-inflammatory activity in the skin.5 No human research has investigated this effect.
1. Teelucksingh S, Mackie ADR, Burt D, et al. Potentiation of hydrocortisone activity in skin by glycyrrhetinic acid. Lancet 1990;335:1060–3.
2. Chen MF, Shimada F, Kato H, et al. Effect of glycyrrhizin on the pharmacokinetics of prednisolone following low dosage of prednisolone hemisuccinate. Endocrinol Japon 1990;37:331–41.
3. Teelucksingh S, Mackie ADR, Burt D, et al. Potentiation of hydrocortisone activity in skin by glycyrrhetinic acid. Lancet 1990;335:1060–3.
4. Chen MF, Shimada F, Kato H, et al. Effect of glycyrrhizin on the pharmacokinetics of prednisolone following low dosage of prednisolone hemisuccinate. Endocrinol Japon 1990;37:331–41.
5. Davis RH, Parker WL, Murdoch DP. Aloe vera as a biologically active vehicle for hydrocortisone acetate. J Am Podiatric Med Assoc 1991;81:1–9.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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