About two month ago I found the fairly new case report Topical Calendula officinalis L. successfully treated exfoliative cheilitis: a case report (published november 2009), and I started this new treatment trial on mars 11 with a calendula ointment 9%. I use the ointment several times a day, whenever my lips begin to feel dry.
The Case report
According to the case report "topical Calendula officinalis ointment 10% has successfully cleared the condition", in just 15 days. The article looks professional and is well written. It is also published on PubMed (National Library of Medicine's medline and pre-medline database) which gives it some credibility. I talked to my doctor about it however and she said that one documented case rarely indicates a significant result. She also said that Calendula is not used in any medication you will find in a pharmacy or prescribed by a doctor. In lack of other options she thought I could give it a go anyway.
One thing is dodgy about the article (besides the to-good-to-be-true 15 day recovery) and it is the two identical and clearly photo manipulated before-and-after pictures. I don't know the reason for this, but instead of speculating about it I am just going to try the treatment so I can cross it off.
The Calendula ointment
The ointment used in the report was a "topical Calendula officinalis ointment 10%, a preparation done as per Pharmacopoeia (1064)". According to Wikipedia Pharmacopoeia is a "book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society." I have been in contact with one of the authors of the article but she has not been able to name the specific ingredients of the ointment (she does not seem fluent in english and maybe did not understand my question).
The ointment I use is called Maria Trebens Calendula Ointment and I found it at a local health store. It consists of calendula and animal fat (pig fat), that's it. According to the retailer (which I spoke to) it's 10% calendula. However the ingredients list says 9 grams, which is 9% of 100 grams. 1% should not be a big deal any way. She also told me that animal fat is the most beneficial fat to use as it enhances the effect of the calendula (compared to oil/fats from plants). The ointment is yellow, medium thick and melts quickly on your lips. The sensation is very similar to olive oil.
Lips Status before starting the treatment
My lips have been behaving pretty much the same as the last couple of months. They get dry, the lower lip peel, the skin underneath has been a different variation of "raw" (from mild to very raw – no blod though). The skin flakes maybe have become a little thinner nowadays compared to how they were 6 months ago. I'm off the Valtrex pills since the beginning of the year and have not noticed any change from that. I have only used my bees vax lip balm to moisturize my lips.
I will make another update in 1-3 weeks. Stay tuned, and stay strong people.
Lips before starting trial.