How to Cure Healing Problems Naturally
The wound throbs with pain. Your body's metabolism is thrown into high gear, drawing on all its reserves to move cells to the damaged tissue, produce new cells to replace those destroyed and, finally, bind the new cells together into new tissue. Vitamins, minerals, and protein, which are needed just to carry on day-to-day body maintenance, are suddenly called on to join in these emergency repairs. Your body has its work cut out for it.
You can help the work of wound healing by eating well. For example, Canadian researchers found that malnourished animals suffered twice as many complications during healing and died of those complications twice as often as normally nourished ones (Annals of Surgery). Nutrition is crucial to healthy wound healing, so if you have healing to do, you'll want to know which nutrients have been found to be particularly important for repairing your body.
Heroes of healing: protein and vitamin CAbsolutely essential for rebuilding body tissue is protein. The protein contains the amino acids necessary for the body's growth and maintenance. Without an adequate intake of protein, vitamins and minerals can't make their important contributions to the healing process. However, human beings, unlike plants, can't manufacture their own supply of this basic nutrient, so they must make sure to get their protein ready-made by eating a good diet. Your need for protein increases when you're recovering from a serious injury — say an operation or a burn that has put you in the hospital. Now is the time to fill up with milk, eggs, cheese, fish, turkey, liver and wheat germ — both for protein's own rebuilding powers and so that other natural healing aids will also be able to do their jobs.
The injury also steps up the body's demand for certain nutrients, particularly vitamin C — a little hero of healing power. According to researchers W. Marshall Ringsdorf, Jr. and Emanuel Cheraskin of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry 'A deficiency of vitamin C impairs wound healing in experimental lower animals and human beings and . . . an excess accelerates healing above the normal level. '
Vitamin C is a star in the cellular dramas of wound healing because it regulates the formation of collagen, a protein that's the main structural ingredient in connective tissue — the stuff your body uses to patch up its holes. As Dr. Guido Majno, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, explains: If a cat scratches your hand, the wound is repaired
not with the original tissue but with a material that is biologically simple, cheap and handy: connective tissue . . . a soft but tough kind of tissue, specialized for mechanical functions, primarily that of holding us together; it fills the spaces in and around all other tissues.Because the creation of collagen depends on vitamin C, a deficiency can disturb the 'architecture' of that connective tissue repair job and delay the completion of the whole healing project. In one study, vitamin C deficiency in human cells decreased collagen production by 18 per cent according to one biological measurement, and by 75 per cent according to another (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 1981).
In another experiment, designed by dentists Cheraskin and Ringsdorf, two gallant dental students with normal ascorbic acid (vitamin C) levels allowed them to remove a tiny 'plug' of tissue from their gums. In order to precisely measure the speed of healing, the wound was painted with a blue dye and photographed each day until the blue dot (indicating unhealed tissue) disappeared. After a two-week rest, the students had another 'plug' extracted from their gums — but this time, they also took 250 mg of vitamin C with each meal and at bedtime (for a total of 1 g daily).
A comparison of the healing sequences in both cases showed that the vitamin C supplemented wounds healed 40 percent faster than those made when the students were eating a 'normal' diet. When the experiment was repeated using a daily dosage of 2 g of vitamin C, the wounds healed 50 percent faster (Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Patholog, March 1982).
Actually, vitamin C's healing power has been recognized for decades. In the 1940s, A. H. Hunt reported that wound disruption or breakage had been reduced by 75 percent since doctors at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London began routinely administering ascorbic acid to all patients having abdominal operations. Over a period of 30 months, Hunt observed that 'leakage from suture lines has occurred in but one of a large number of operations. '
More recently, in another British study, vitamin C's effect on the healing of bedsores was studied. Twenty surgical patients suffering from bedsores were divided into two groups: One group was given two 500 mg vitamin C supplements daily, and the other was given two placebos (or chemically inactive pills). After a month, precise measurements of the wounds showed that the bedsores in the vitamin C group had decreased in size by 84 percent; the placebo group showed only a 42.7 percent decrease. 'It is well established that in scurvy [vitamin C deficiency], wound healing is delayed and that the healing process may fail completely,' the scientists observed (Lancet).
When you're recovering from any kind of injury, it's crucial to keep your diet rich in vitamin C, because injury drains your body's supply. American researchers found that ascorbic acid levels in the white blood cells of surgical patients had dropped by 42 percent three days after surgery (Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics). Drs Ringsdorf and Cheraskin suggest that this and other studies showing a drop in ascorbate levels may indicate that 'during post-surgical recovery, the vitamin C in the body migrates toward and concentrates in the healing site. '
Whatever the case, Duke University's Dr. Sheldon V. Pollack told us 'If you're recovering from injury and you're seriously ill, elderly, don't eat properly or otherwise have low vitamin C levels, it would be wise to take one or two grams of vitamin C a day'.
Increased need for vitamin AVitamin A works hand in hand with vitamin C in the healing process. Once vitamin C makes the formation of collagen possible, vitamin A increases the rate at which the new collagen cross-links to form and strengthen the new tissue. Animal experiments at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have shown that even minor wounds increase the need for vitamin A: the wounds of laboratory animals given vitamin A supplements showed stronger healing and less risk of the wound breaking open (Annals of Surgery).
Injured people need more vitamin A, too. Severely injured persons, such as burn and accident victims, can need it so badly — their blood levels drop so steeply — that they can develop gastrointestinal 'stress' ulcers. A study by Arizona doctors found that by giving burn patients injections of from 50, 000 to 100, 000 IU of vitamin A twice daily, stress ulcers could be decreased to less than one-third of what they were in an unsupplemented group (Modern Medicine).
Vitamin A is also a wound healing 'must' for people who are taking cortisone (a steroid drug) for the relief of arthritis or other kinds of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as cortisone or even aspirin retard the healing of open wounds and increase the risk of infection. Vitamin A can restore normal healing.
That was confirmed in both animal and human studies. In a study of wounded rabbits being given cortisone, researchers found that the application of vitamin A directly onto the wounds returned healing to normal despite the continued administration of cortisone. All wounds treated with vitamin A healed within 25 days.
The researchers also reported the case of an 18-year-old girl, taking an anti-inflammatory drug for a skin disease, who banged her leg and developed a nasty ulcerated wound. Despite normal treatment, the ulcer continued to enlarge and showed no signs of healing. Vitamin An ointment was applied to the wound three times daily for three weeks. Within only three days of the first application, the wound began to heal; 28 days later, it had completely healed (Annals of Surgery).
Diabetics very often suffer from slow-healing wounds, a problem that can be worsened by another problem: they're also more apt to pick up infections. However, in a study conducted by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, supplemental vitamin A was shown to increase wound strength in diabetic animals. The researchers also believe that vitamin A helps fight wound infections.
The researchers concluded that vitamin A works to strengthen wounds mainly by increasing the accumulation of collagen.
We believe that just as supplemental vitamin A improves immune responses of traumatized animals and surgical patients, it will be especially useful in preventing wound infection and promoting wound healing in surgical diabetic patients [Annals of Surgery, July 1981]
The need for zincHowever, vitamin A isn't the only natural wound healer that can counter the effects of cortisone. Zinc can, too. Researchers at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital discovered that patients being given long-term cortisone therapy had low blood levels of zinc and they also suffered from delayed wound healing. When they were given zinc supplements of 150 mg per day, their wounds healed completely (Lancet).
Zinc also works as a teammate of vitamin A to support the body's response to infection and inflammation. Without zinc, vitamin A stores could not be mobilized.
In fact, zinc is a valuable co-worker at many levels of the healing process. It is essential for the production of protein and collagen, and it is necessary for normal growth and reproduction of cells. Without zinc, the new cells needed to form new tissue cannot be made. So for anyone, zinc deficiency is something to be concerned about, but for someone with an injury, adequate amounts of zinc could be crucial. For more information,
See also TRAUMA.
Vitamin E and the B vitaminsNo list of natural wound healers would be complete without vitamin E. Dorothy Fisher, a nurse-therapist, formerly with the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic in Pennsylvania, reports unusual success in treating bedsores, diabetic ulcers and ulcerated surgical incisions with both capsules and ointments of vitamin E.
Nurse Fisher describes the case of a patient suffering from extensive ulceration over his lower body. He had previously been treated in five different hospitals and clinics without success. Nurse Fisher gave him no antibiotics and no steroids. Instead, she gave him 800 IU of vitamin E twice a day and treated the sores directly with vitamin E ointment. In less than four months, the patient could be sent home where the wounds healed completely (The Summary).
The late Dr. Wilfred E. Shute, a veteran vitamin E researcher, reported that vitamin E helps accelerate wound healing, is 'the ideal treatment for burns' because of its ability to limit cell death to those cells that have been killed by the burning agent, and can even help reduce old scar tissue when applied directly. Keloids — progressively enlarging, raised scars caused by overproduction of collagen during the healing process — can be prevented by taking vitamin E orally and also applying it directly to the fresh wound, Dr. Shute said.
Not everyone agrees. Dr. Pollack, while observing that 'there is some data to suggest that vitamin E can promote wound healing, ' told us that 'the research is still kind of up in the air . . . we just don't know the precise role, if any, that vitamin E plays in wound healing. '
There is also growing evidence that at least some of the B vitamins are involved in human wound healing. In one recent study, experimental animals fed diets rich in thiamin (vitamin B1) were found to have heavier, denser granulation tissue (new tissue formed during wound repair) than those on deficient diets.
Based on thiamin's known biological activities in the body, the researchers concluded that it probably aids healing by helping the body step up its energy metabolism at the healing site, where the furious breakdown and buildup of cells require tremendous amounts of usable fuel (Journal of Surgical Research, January 1982).
Helping your body heal itself from the inside makes good sense. But there are some good natural ways to speed the process externally, too.
Healing with charcoalMarjorie Baldwin, a doctor at the Wildwood Sanitarium and Hospital in Georgia uses activated charcoal to promote healing. 'Any inflammation — an area that is red, painful, swollen and hot — responds to charcoal. We apply charcoal as a poultice if the inflammation is on the outside of the body or give it by mouth if the inflammation is in the digestive tract'.
Dr. Baldwin describes the case of a young Type 1 (insulin-dependent) the diabetic whose foot was saved from amputation by charcoal. 'This young lady had caught pneumonia, and her feet were soaked in hot water. Because she was diabetic, her feet were damaged, and she developed severe infections. Antibiotics didn't clear them up. The doctors suggested that one foot is amputated, but she refused and came to us for treatment. We put that foot in a plastic bag filled with a mixture of charcoal and water that was about the consistency of cream. The foot was kept in the bag round the clock, and the mixture was changed four times a day. She walked out of our clinic — on both feet. '
British doctors have also used charcoal to treat infections. A letter to the Lancet (13 September 1980), one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, described the use of charcoal-saturated cloth for wounds that were infected and discharging and had a bad odor.
The doctors applied a single layer of this charcoal cloth to the wounds of 26 patients with chronic leg ulcers and 13 patients with unhealed surgical incisions. 'A noticeable reduction in wound odor occurred in 24 ulcer patients and 13 surgical-wound patients,' the doctors wrote. And they found that the charcoal cloth reduced odor longer than 'standard dressing material'.
The doctors noted that charcoal may have reduced the odor by absorbing bacteria. (An adsorbent is a substance that attaches things to its surface rather than absorbing them into itself. It's a possible explanation, since, says Dr. Baldwin, 'Charcoal is the most powerful adsorbent known to man. Charcoal adsorbs up to thousands of times its own weight,' she explains. 'It has enormous surface area — like a football field-sized piece of tissue paper rolled up into a tiny ball — and the more surface area charcoal has, the more absorbent it is.' (One pound of activated charcoal has a surface area equal to 125 acres!)
Since biblical times, aloe vera has also been valued as a healer.
Many use for aloe
'The aloe vera has fantastic potential for assisting in the healing of skin injuries, such as minor burns and cuts,' says Wendell D. Winters, associate professor of microbiology, who is studying the plant in his laboratory at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. And when he goes home, 'I, like others, occasionally use fresh aloe for external minor abrasions, ' Dr. Winters confides. 'Personally, I'm quite bullish on it. '
He isn't the only one. Often referred to as the 'burn plant' (and known botanically as Aloe barb adenosis), aloe vera does a lot more than simply soothing burns. Rick Chavez, a Seattle-based dentist, uses it in his oral surgery work. 'I have pain-free patients,' he boasts. Dr. Chavez uses a commercial aloe preparation to quell the discomfort of having a tooth removed; he told us that aloe also hastens to heal of an extraction site.
SalivaSome researchers say that all of us carry a potent healing promoter around with us all the time. At the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, they have been studying what takes place when animals lick their wounds, and they have come up with a few surprising answers.
They believe that saliva may aid healing by making the wounds knit faster. When wounded mice were caged separately and were unable to lick their wounds, the researchers found that the wounds healed slowly. Injured mice that were caged together, however, shared communal grooming and wound-licking routines, and their wounds healed more rapidly. When the scientists removed the salivary glands from the animals' lower jaws, wounds healed slowly. When salivary glands beneath the tongue were also removed, the wounds healed even more slowly.
The researchers, reporting in Nature (June 1979), concluded that an active substance in the salivary glands may speed up wound contraction. This could be important in human surgery someday, they noted, since wound contraction appears similar in all mammals.
So, the next time you peel your knuckle along with the potato, give in to the instinct and pop it into your mouth. It couldn't hurt.
How to Cure Healing Problems Naturally Reviewed by Healthy Kite on 7/25/2016 Rating: