A glimmer of hope for leprous ulcers by the use of wheatgrass
Wheatgrass has been in Indian culture for thousands of years and is known to have remarkable healing properties, in particular, wound and ulcer healing. Although leprosy is diagnosed by various symptoms, an unseen problem is the damage to peripheral nerves. Patients develop loss of sensation in the hands and feet, and because the skin patches are anaesthetised, the patient traumatises the skin easily but is unaware damage has been done. Once this happens, an ulcer forms which can sometimes last more than 30 years. Repetitive trauma (e.g. walking) can also prevent the ulcer healing.
Wheatgrass spray was used on a patient in Mumbai who had leprous ulcers on the sole of his foot and was also a non-insulin dependent diabetic. Diabetic ulcers are notoriously difficult to heal so this represented a double challenge for wheatgrass. In just six weeks, the ulcer, present for a year, showed significant signs of healing. Throughout treatment the patient had walked daily to and from work yet the ulcer continued to heal. According to medical staff this, like the healing, was an exciting observation because even after surgery, wounds frequently break down again once the patient resumes walking. Given this success, a small pilot study was undertaken.
Twenty people with foot ulcers were selected for treatment, and the process was recorded with serial digital photographs. The wheatgrass spray was applied every second day and the wound re-covered. As wheatgrass quickly softens the surrounding dead skin which tends to hold the wound open and prevent healing, calluses could be easily removed with a scalpel, which helped promote healing. Often the slough on and around the ulcer, which can be quite thick, disappeared and revealed the full extent of the ulcer’s surface. Re-covering with new skin can then commence. This usually starts from the edges, but can also develop as small islands of skin on the surface, that fuse as the healing proceeds.
The old approach to ulcer care was to cleanse the wound, keep it moist, and apply a protective dressing to prevent infection. The weeping on the wound surface contains all the growth and other factors essential for the healing process, but they are simply washed away whenever a dressing is changed. It was noted that wheatgrass in some way ‘resurfaced’ the wound – usually within 24-48 hours – with a new layer of cells. It is very thin, but sufficient to contain the fluid underneath and prevent bacterial invasion from above. The growth or healing factors in this fluid can then do their work unhindered. They also appear to stimulate localised immunity which eliminates unwanted bacteria; in other words, rather than interfering with the healing process, wheatgrass facilitates it.
The trial participants had a combined total of 30 ulcers. One has healed completely, there has been significant healing in 28, and one as yet appears not to have responded. The study will continue for at least six months when the findings will be reviewed.
Posted by admin 16:18 15.10.2009
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