Monday, June 15, 1998 Published at 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Zulu banana skin secret hits UK
Bananas can be used to treat psoriasis
An old Zulu remedy for bad skin has been developed as a high tech treatment for psoriasis - its secret ingredient is bananas.
Exorex lotion has been launched on prescription in the UK. It was developed after a South African psoriasis sufferer, Piet Meyer, noticed that Zulus traditionally used banana peel to treat skin problems.
He experimented to see whether banana pulp could relieve his psoriasis - and found that it did.
Range of products
Mr Meyer then teamed up with a pharmacist, Steven Zall, to isolate the active ingredient - essential fatty acid. They went on to formulate the Exorex range of lotions, creams, soap and shampoo.
A total of 29 patients went into remission within the three-month study period.
"Unlike some other treatments for psoriasis, Exorex does not burn or stain the skin," said a spokesman.
"It is non-greasy, has no strong odour, and is absorbed into the skin, making it pleasant to use."
Psoriasis produces unsightly lesions on the surface of the skin and affects one in 50 of the population. It can appear at any age, and disappear spontaneously.
The condition is caused by the skin renewing itself too quickly, and is sometimes associated with triggers such as stress, infections, injury and certain medicines. Psoriasis often runs in families.