N’allonge pas ton bras au-delà de ta manche Plevani decoction for treatment of Tziotzios-Barghava’s lichenoid dermatoses in genitalia: fascinating oddities from the final results

Lorenzo Martini1,2

1University of Siena, Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies, Via A. Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy, 2C.R.I.S.M.A. Inter University Centre for Researched Advanced Medical Systems, Via A. Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy

Corresponding author: Prof. Lorenzo Martini, M.Sc, E-mail: lorenzo.martini@unisi.it

How to cite this article: Martini L. N’allonge pas ton bras au-delà de ta manche Plevani decoction for treatment of Tziotzios-Barghava’s lichenoid dermatoses in genitalia: fascinating oddities from the final results. Our Dermatol Online. 2023;14(e):e32.
Submission: 02.01.2023; Acceptance: 23.02.2023
DOI: 10.7241/ourd.2023e.32

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© Our Dermatology Online 2023. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by Our Dermatology Online.


Lichen planus is a relatively uncommon and heterogeneous cutaneous disorder that typically develops in middle-aged adults (especially females) [1].

It manifests as an eruptive inflammation generally in the oral or genital areas.

Despite the significant clinical burden associated with the disorder, little well-conducted molecular research has been hitherto undertaken, possibly because of heterogeneity impeding consistent and confident phenotyping. The multiple variants of lichenoid disease bear overlapping clinical and pathologic features despite manifesting as distinct clinical disorders [2].

On the basis of this assumption, the we have made up their mind to study the occurrence of L.P. or Lichenoid dermatoses in different phenotypes, employing a herb native to South America that, they have shown, is affordable to treat lichen planus in women who come from these lands and not useful for women who come from other lands or continents (e.g.: Africa).

Effectively the herb (Sarsaparilla) is considered an exceptional anti-inflammatory agent owing to the abundance of saponins and it is even an appreciable abstringent biological active [27].

On the world pharmaceutical market several types of Sarsaparilla come:

Sarsaparilla de Vera Cruz or de Tampico (Smilax medica Schlecht), called Mexican.

Sarsaparilla de Jamaica (Smilax ornata Lem) native to Guatemala, called Haired as roots are very thin like hair.

Sarsaparilla de Honduras (Smilax officinalis Humb) called spanish sarsaparilla, and is native to Nicaragua.

Sarsaparilla de Brasil y de Parà (Smilax pseudosyphilitica Kunth).

Sarsaparilla de Lisboa (Smilax papyracaea Poiret).

All these roots, dried and milded, contain:

Saponosydes (0.5-2%); paryllic acid; paryllin; smylacin; smylacic acid; samylasaponin (5%); sapogenines; sarsaponine and sarsapogenine; sarsapiginic acid; resins; starch; Calcium oxalate.

All these components are considered great anti-inflammatory ingredients that were used by aborigens to combat diarrhea and as diaphoretic agent in syphilis and high fever.

Silvio Plevani was an Italian pharmacist who in 1901 edited a vast Encyclopaedia for pharmacists and healthcare workers and formulated a special decoction to be administered orally as sialagogue and for curing dysentery.

The recipe forecasted:

Sarsaparilla milled roots 16

Chincona foliage 16

Porphyrized wallnut hulls 65

Water 900

The mix was to be boiled with pumice and antimony sulfide since the achievement of a coulis weighing 300 g to be administered orally, diluted in water.

Was decided to try to use this recipe topically in cases of Lichen Planus (a particular one, the Tziotzios-Barghava’s one,where the purulent phase is accentuated) in two different coetaneous volunteers, who presented indeed the same cutaneous rashes (forgive me the calembour and the oxymoron in the phrase itself).

Case A) a woman 47 y old native to Guatemala

Case B) a woman 47 y old native to Nigeria.

Symptoms were equal in the two cases: purple excrescences and sever itch.(being the individuals dark skin, the purple colour was well visible).

The experiments lasted only 9 days and itch disminished progressively in the two cases, but in Case B the excrescences did not disappear after 9 days of application of the Pelvani’s decoction.

The title of this modest contribution N’allonge pas ton bras au-delà de ta manche, signifies that every population is capable to find its natural remedies where it lives: the best example is that every nation produces its own typical eau de vie according to the vegetals the nation itself disposes (Frenchs use apples to produce Calvados, plums to prepare Prunelle; Germans use cherries to make Kirsch, Poles use potatoes or rye to make Vodka and kwass or prunes to prepare Slilowitz, Italians use wine or pomace, in Togo aborigens use Areca to produce Sodabi, in Camerun they use Camadorea to make Ondotol, in Cote d’Ivoire they use Palma robelina to make Koutoukou, in Ghana Rhapis excelsa is used to prepare Alpeteshie and in Nigeria they use Howea forsteriana to make ogogoro).

Statement of Human and Animal Rights

All the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the 2008 revision of the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975.


1. Ben Lagha I, Mokni S, Aounallah A, Guerfala M, Saidi W, Boussofara L, et al. Lichen planus occurring on radiotherapy site:a case report. Our Dermatol Online. 2018;9:431-3.

2. Tziotzios C, Lee JYW, Brier T, Saito R, Hsu CK, Bhargava K, et al. Lichen planus and lichenoid dermatoses:Clinical overview and molecular basis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018;79:789-804.

3. Trinh NB, Tran GH, Hieu HT. Penile porokeratosis mimicking annular lichen planus. Our Dermatol Online. 2022;13:109-10.

4. Challinor VL, Parsons PG, Chap S, White EF, Blanchfield JT, Lehmann RP, et al. Steroidal saponins from the roots of Smilax sp.:structure and bioactivity. Steroids. 2012;77:504-11.

5. Bimbi C. Lichenoid reactions in red tattoo:report of 2 cases. Our Dermatol Online. 2014;5:40-1.

6. Matsumura N, Yamamoto T. Linear lichen planus associated with primary aldosteronism. Our Dermatol Online. 2021;12:468-9.

7. Bastos Gomes AC, Bimbi C, Brzezinski P. Lichen planus pigmentosus inversus associated with oral lichen planus. Our Dermatol Online. 2020;11:156-7.


Source of Support: This article has no funding source.

Conflict of Interest: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

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