Polypodium Leucotomos herb review and research by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
January 20 2016

The extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos is an oral photoprotectant with strong antioxidant properties and may protect against sunburn. I could not find any research regarding this herb and lupus. It has been tested in vitiligo skin disorder and psoriasis.

Chemical composition
The major phenolic compounds include 4-hydroxycinnamic acid (p-coumaric), 3 methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (ferulic), 3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid (caffeic), 3-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzoic acid (vanillic) and 3-caffeoilquinic acid (chlorogenic).

Polypodium Leucotomos research
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015. Polypodium leucotomos extract: a status report on clinical efficacy and safety. Various extracts of polypodium leucotomos (PLE) applied topically or taken orally have been shown to have several beneficial antioxidant, photoprotectant, antimutagenic, and immunoregulatory effects. Modern studies have evaluated the efficacy of PLE orally as a photoprotective agent and for use in several photo-aggravated dermatologic disorders such as polymorphous light eruption, other photodermatoses, and melasma. No articles have been published evaluating the safety of PLE. We performed a PUBMED search for any randomized clinical trials related to PLE, or anapsos, a synonym. The primary safety endpoint of the review was any mention of an adverse event, side effect, or toxicity. Overall, 19 human and 6 basic science studies were included spanning over 40 years of research. Oral PLE was administered at daily doses ranging from 120 mg to 1080 mg. No adverse effects were reported in laboratory studies. In humans, side effects (gastrointestinal complaints and pruritus) were mild to moderate and found only in very small numbers of patients overall [2%]).

Phenolic components and antioxidant activity of Fernblock, an aqueous extract of the aerial parts of the fern Polypodium leucotomos.
Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2006.
Fernblock, an aqueous extract of the aerial parts of the fern Polypodium leucotomos is used as raw material for topical and oral photoprotective formulations. Phenolic compounds were identified as 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, 4-hydroxycinnamic acid, 4-hydroxycinnamoyl-quinic acid, ferulic acid, and five chlorogenic acid isomers.

Skin protection
J Drugs Dermatol. FEb 1 2014. Polypodium Leucotomos Extract in Dermatologic Diseases: A Review of the Literature. Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE), derived from the tropical fern of Polypodiaceae family, has properties ranging from immunomodulatory and antioxidative to photoprotective. It is these multiple mechanisms of action, in combination with a favorable side effect profile, which makes PLE a promising adjunctive treatment for several dermatologic disorders. Studies are summarized on the use and potential applications of PLE in the treatment or management of photodermatoses, vitiligo, melasma, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and more recently, in minimizing infections in high-performance athletes.

Polypodium leucotomos extract inhibits trans-urocanic acid photoisomerization and photodecomposition.
J Photochem Photobiol B. 2006. R&D Department, Industrial Farmaceutica Cantabria, C Arequipa 1 EDIF Ofic 5 planta, IFC, Madrid, Spain.
The Polypodium leucotomos (Fernblock, PL) extract inhibits UVA and UVB light induced photoisomerization of trans-urocanic acid (t-UCA), a common photoreceptor located in the stratum corneum, and also blocks its photodecomposition in the presence of oxidizing reagents such as H2O2, and titanium dioxide (TiO2). PL protects in vitro human fibroblasts from UV-induced death as well.

Oral Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases ultraviolet-induced damage of human skin.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004. Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
A total of 9 healthy participants of skin types II to III were exposed to varying doses of artificial UV radiation without and after oral administration of Polypodium leucotomos (7.5 mg/kg). A significant decrease in erythema was found in treated skin. Histologically, biopsy specimens showed less sunburn cells, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, proliferating epidermal cells , and dermal mast cell infiltration. It appears oral administration of Polypodium leucotomos is an effective systemic chemophotoprotective agent leading to significant protection of skin against UV radiation.

Predominant effects of Polypodium leucotomos on membrane integrity, lipid peroxidation, and expression of elastin and matrixmetalloproteinase-1 in ultraviolet radiation exposed fibroblasts, and keratinocytes.
J Dermatol Sci. 2003. Departments of Biology and Chemistry/Biochemistry, Georgian Court College, Lakewood, NJ, USA.
Fibroblasts and keratinocytes, respectively, were irradiated by a single exposure to UVA or UVB radiation, and then incubated with, or without, Polypodium leucotomos,  Lower concentration of Polypodium leucotomos (lower than 0.1%), may be beneficial in preventing photoaging by improving membrane integrity and inhibiting MMP-1, without increasing elastin expression. Higher concentration (greater than 0.1%) may reverse the loss of normal elastic fibers associated with intrinsic aging.

Vitiligo repigmentation with Anapsos
Int J Dermatol. 1989. Mohammad A.

2 years personal experience in anapsos treatment of psoriasis in various clinical forms
Med Cutan Ibero Lat Am. 1983. Pineiro Alvarez B.
A personal experience on 495 patients affected by several forms of psoriasis and its answer to the treatment with anapsos (Polypodium Leucotomos extract) is presented. The whitenings between 80% and 100% of the affected skin were achieved on 304 patients (61%); 46 patients whitened between 30% and 80% of their lesions, 15 obtained null results and only 11 had relapses. It is remarkable the high number of abandonments to treatment which came at 119 patients (24%) due to slowness of process and other reasons. The association with PUVA which shortens the treatment and gives other advantages is pointed out as positive. The average time of treatment was 6 months, and daily doses were from 80 mg. and 720 mg. depending on age, weight and treatment phase. Side effects appeared in two patients only: one with intense pruritus and the other one with gastric disturbances. In both cases, these side effects disappeared when the treatment was interrupted.

Q. I wonder if you have any data re use of oral Polypodium Leucotomos extract for purpura. Iíve recently started taking Rutin 500 mg and Hesperidin 500 mg. as well as increased citrus fruit and pineapple, bone broth. I have fore arm lesions; more pronounced each summer despite SPF 30 - which I just replaced by SPF 90. I also began a silicon supplement, Jarrosil by Jarrow Formulas.I hope to begin Retin A topical treatment for a few months this winter.At risk of sounding extremely neurotic, I find these lesions to be a curse. At the same time, I donít want to go overboard on the supplements, which can be equally detrimental. I have very thin forearms, and am determined to build up collagen.
   A. As of 2017 I have not studied this topic in enough detail to know for certain if these treatments would be of benefit.

Polypodium Leucotomos Kalawalla questions
My 21 yr. old daughter has systemic lupus erythematosus. Her exhaustion is extreme. If she takes Plaquenil or Chloroquine, she then has 'Lupus Psychosis'. Do you know anything about Kalawalla, from Organic Hope (organichope dot com).
   I had not previously heard of kalawalla. I looked on the internet and found it to be listed as Polypodium Leucontomos on one website. There's a company selling kalawalla 300 mg 50.1 standardised extract. I searched Medline and found no listing for the term kalawalla. Another search on Medline revealed no listing for Polypodium Leucontomos, but there were listings for Polypodium Leucotomos. Kalawalla and Rapuani are brand names? I did not find research with this herb and lupus.