Herbal wound treatment was practiced thousands of years ago and it is still useful today

Stinging nettle

Herbal Wound Treatment

The best course of action to take sometimes is not always conclusive until you have listed and considered your alternatives to heal yourself. The following text reveals how wounds can be treated naturally with the use of medicinal herbs.

Herbs for wound treatment, common — Survey: Thursday, 22 December 2011. This is an extract from the Nigerian Tribune

Herbal remedies have been in use in many parts of the world with traditional healers employing a range of plant preparations in the treatment of skin ulcers, pressure sores, wounds and burns. Scientists have documented many of such herbs that they promote wound healing in the shortest time possible, with minimal pain, discomfort, and scarring to the patient and must occur in a physiologic environment conducive to tissue repair and regeneration.

In folklore medicine, medicinal plants have been used widely in facilitating wound healing with high degree of successes. This has inspired many researches which were aimed at validating the claims and discovering mechanisms which possibly explain the potentials of these herbs on wound repair processes.

From one community to another, different herbs are used in the treatment of wounds. For instance, at least 36 different herbs form part of preparations used in wound treatment. They included Bridelia ferruginea and Parkia biglobosa. A total of 20 traditional healers from South-western Nigeria were involved in the 2011 study documented in September edition of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. It was carried out by Adewale Adetutua from the Department of Biochemistry, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, and Ogbomosho in collaboration with Winston A. Morgana and Olivia Corcorana from the Medicines Research Group, School of Health and Bioscience, University of East London.

The researchers who carried out relevant tests on aqueous and ethanolic extracts of nine of these common plants cited by the healers, indicated that they exhibited ability to prevent wounds becoming infected. In addition, only ethanol extracts of Bridelia ferruginea and Parkia biglobosa were able to influence tissue repair (proliferation of dermal fibroblasts) significantly.

Bridelia ferruginea is known by different names in various parts of Nigeria. It is called Oha in Igbo, Ira or Iradan in Yoruba and Kimi or Kizni in Hausa. Parkia biglobosa is also known as dawadawa (Hausa), Iru (Yoruba) or African locust beans (English).

The researchers had earlier in the same journal attributed the wound healing benefits of topical use of Bridelia ferruginea leaf, a traditional medicine used to treat wounds in rural communities, to its ability to kill germs that contaminate wounds and, as such, prevent their healing.

What is more, researches conducted during the last century have expanded knowledge about the wound healing properties of many herbs. For instance, studies on an herbal ointment containing the leaf extract of Jatropha curcas indicated it was a good candidate for wound dressing.

Jatropha curcas is an annual deciduous shrub. It has thin, often greenish bark which exudes copious amounts of watery sap when cut with dark green, alternate, ovate to slightly lobed leaves. It is also known as Barbados nut, physic nut, purging nut or botuje or lapalapa in Yoruba, chi ni da zugu in Hausa, and olulu-idu in Igbo.

It is a multipurpose shrub, widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. The roots, stems, leaves, seeds and fruits of J. curcas have been widely used in traditional folk medicine in many parts of West Africa. The leaf has been used to stop bleeding in wounds.

The 2008 study carried out by Esimone CO, Nworu CS, Jackson CL, all from the University of Uyo, indicated in the International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products that incorporating the methanol extract of J. curcas into an ointment such as petroleum jelly caused a significantly higher rate of wound healing in a dose–related manner.

They wrote: "Formulating J. curcas extract as ointment is effective in wound care and should be explored in harnessing the potentials of the plant in the treatment of topical diseases," adding, that the demonstration of the effectiveness of J. curcas-based herbal ointment formulations in wound repair should stimulate commercial interest in harnessing this plant as an ingredient for the production of topical preparations. This is more so given that the plant has previously demonstrated other properties relevant in treatment of topical infections and blemishes.

Please keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest news.

My grandmother practiced herbal wound treatment

I am in total agreement with the above survey. My grandmother practiced herbal wound treatment for as long as I could remember. This was home remedy for us. Slippery elm and Aloe Vera are two top herbs that were used to treat wounds.

As children we were continuously running, whether on our way to school or just making an errand to the community shop. It was a part of our daily lives. That is one of the reasons we have so many great athletes in Jamaica.

However, accidents did happen, and we would end up with bruises, so herbal wound treatment would come into play with my grandmother who gathered special herbs to make into a poultice for the bruises and wounds. This was always welcome comparing to the harshness and stinging sensation we felt from the chemical drugs when they were administered.

Herbal wound treatment is a wise choice for treating any type of wounds.

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