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Wound Healing and Aloe Vera

See Also Experimental Thermal Burns

Aloe vera has a myriad of uses, but among its most common is as a salve for sunburn. Aloe vera has been used for centuries to alleviate and heal initial sun damage. But, the gel may be used for more than the occasional sunburn. According to scientific studies, aloe vera is also an effective healing agent for radiation burns and post-surgical wound pain.

Antibiotics, steroids and skin tissue graphs are often prescribed for serious wounds that prove difficult to heal. However, these treatments may prove harsh on the body and cause negative side affects. On the other hand, aloe vera offers a natural treatment method that offers nutrient-rich benefits. Aloe vera contains important ingredients for wound healing, such as amino acids, zinc and vitamin E. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and prevents free-radical damage that delay wound healing.

“Some chemicals in aloe gel seem to be able to increase circulation in the tiny blood vessels in the skin, as well as kill bacteria,” reported MedlinePlus of the National Institutes of Health. Also present in aloe vera is vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid has antioxidant properties and enhances the synthesis of collagen, according to the study, “Wound Healing, Oral and Topical Activity of Aloe Vera”. This scientific study claimed, “Aloe vera penetrates, cleanses, and dilates capillaries going to an injured site, which also improves healing.”

This controlled animal study observed the effects of both topical and oral applications of aloe vera when compared to a control group who received treatment without aloe vera. The findings of this two-month study found a 62.5% reduction in wound diameter when distributed orally and a 50.8% reduction when receiving topical treatment. “The data suggests that aloe vera is effective by both oral and topical routes of administration,” concluded the study.

Burn Wounds

Other scientific studies beget similar findings when examining the effect of aloe vera on burn wounds. In an animal study from the Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, animals were divided into four groups to evaluate the effect of aloe vera cream on thermal burn wounds compared to other creams. Based on consistent skin samples, the results showed “the wound size was significantly smaller in the aloe group as compared with other groups.”

Post Operative Pain and Wound Healing

In a similar study generated from the same university, research was done to assess the effects of aloe vera cream on postoperative pain and wound healing. It was a random, placebo-controlled trial where 49 patients (24 treated with aloe vera, 25 receiving the placebo) applied cream to the surgical site three times a day for four weeks with frequent pain assessments along the way. “Patients in the topical aloe cream group had significantly less postoperative pain at hours 12, 24, and 48 hours and at 2 weeks,” reported the study. Ultimate findings revealed that aloe vera cream reduced the pain. The study concluded that, “application of aloe vera cream on the surgical site is effective in reducing postoperative pain…compared with the placebo group.”

Sources:
-Medline Plus, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/607.html
– Wound Healing, Oral and Topical Activity of Aloe Vera
Robert H. Davis, Ph.D.; Mark G. Leitner, R.Ph., D.P.M.; Joseph M. Russo, D.P.M. and Megan E. Byrne, B.S.
Journal of The American Podiatric Medical Assoc. Vol 79, Number 11, Nov 1989, P559-62

– Effects of Aloe vera cream on posthemorrhoidectomy pain and wound healing: results of a randomized, blind, pacebo-control study.
Eshgi F, Hosseinimehr SJ, Rahmani N, Khademloo M, Norozi MS, Hojati O.
Faculty of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.

– Effect of aloe cream versus silver sulfadiazine for healing burn wounds in rats.
Hosseinimehr SJ, Khorasani G, Azadbackht M, Zamani P, Ghasemi M, Ahmadi A. Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.

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