People use alkanna for wound healing, burns, diarrhea, and stomach ulcers, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Also, there's concern that using some alkanna products might harm the liver.
Safety Safety definitions
When applied to the skin: There's a lot of concern about using alkanna as medicine, because it naturally contains harmful chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). These chemicals can harm the liver. Applying alkanna preparations that contain these chemicals to broken skin is LIKELY UNSAFE. The dangerous chemicals in alkanna can be absorbed quickly through broken skin and can lead to dangerous body-wide toxicity. There isn't enough information to know if it's safe to apply alkanna to unbroken skin. It's best to avoid use. Some retailers of alkanna products attempt to remove these chemicals. If they meet certain purity standards, these products can be labeled hepatotoxic PA-free." But there's not enough information to know if it's safe to apply these "hepatotoxic PA-free" alkanna to broken or unbroken skin. It's best to avoid use.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to use alkanna if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Alkanna naturally contains harmful chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Using preparations that contain these chemicals might cause birth defects as well as liver damage if used during pregnancy. These chemicals can also pass into breast milk and harm the nursing infant if used when breast-feeding. Some retailers of alkanna products attempt to remove these chemicals. If they meet certain purity standards, these products can be labeled "hepatotoxic PA-free." But there isn't enough information to know whether it's safe to use "hepatotoxic PA-free" preparations during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Liver disease: Alkanna contains chemicals called hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). These chemicals harm the liver, making existing liver disease worse.
- Burns. Early research shows that using an ointment containing alkanna, beeswax, and olive oil may help burns heal faster than using a regular dressing.
- Wound healing. Early research shows that using an ointment containing 20% alkanna extract helps wounds heal after removal of skin for a skin graft. But it's unclear if the alkanna ointment reduces wound pain or scar formation.
- Skin diseases, when applied to the skin.
- Stomach ulcers.
- Other conditions.
Dosing & administration
Interactions with pharmaceuticals
Medications that increase break down of other medications by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inducers)
Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Alkanna is broken down by the liver. Some chemicals that form when the liver breaks down alkanna can be harmful. Medications that cause the liver to break down alkanna might enhance the toxic effects of chemicals contained in alkanna.
Some of these medicines include carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin, rifabutin (Mycobutin), and others.
Interactions with herbs & supplements
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs)-containing herbs and supplements: Alkanna contains PAs, dangerous chemicals that can harm the liver. Using it along with other herbs that also contain this dangerous chemical might increase the chance of developing serious side effects, including liver damage and cancer. Other herbs that contain hepatotoxic PAs include boneset, borage, butterbur, coltsfoot, comfrey, forget-me-not, gravel root, hemp agrimony, hound's tongue, dusty miller, groundsel, golden ragwort, and tansy ragwort.