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The Lowdown on Wound Healing


Following an injury, such as a cut, your body’s repair mechanisms immediately spring into action. First the bleeding must be stopped and any bacteria in the wound needs to be contained to reduce the risk of its spreading and an infection developing. After this, essential repair work to your tissues takes place with the building of new proteins. It is just as important that this process comes to a halt after the damage has been repaired, otherwise an excessive formation of scar tissue can result in large and unsightly scars called cheloids.

This may sound complex but another way to look at it is to imagine you have a crack in your kitchen wall. I’m sure that even the non-DIY enthusiasts among you will know that the crack needs to be filled in with a strong and suitable material. That filling can be compared to the building of new proteins that is essential in the wound healing process. It is also important that the crack isn’t over-filled, otherwise you’ll end up with a bumpy wall – the equivalent of excessive scar tissue (cheloids).

The treatment of wounds, including cuts and grazes, very much depends on their severity and cause. Obviously, it goes without saying that a deep cut that is bleeding profusely requires urgent medical attention. However, there is much you can do to speed up the repair process once the wound has been initially treated and to reduce the risk of an infection developing.

Conventional treatments can leave you vulnerable to additional health problems

When treating cuts, doctors normally clean the affected area with an antiseptic solution, such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine. The problem with these solutions is that they can be toxic both to the dead cells and to the healthy ones left behind. By damaging the healthy cells, which normally act to close and repair the wound, the solution can actually inhibit this natural repair process and slow down your recovery.

For this reason, a better option is to ask your doctor about the possibility of using a saline solution instead, which is far less aggressive than hydrogen peroxide and iodine. This basically contains salt in water, at the same concentration as that found naturally in your body’s tissues (0.9% salt in 99.1% water).

A major problem with wounds is the high risk of infection. It is very easy for bacteria to enter through the broken skin and penetrate the rest of your body. Conventional medicine often recommends the use of antibiotics to help prevent this. However, prescription-only antibiotics can cause a host of harmful side effects such as skin rashes, diarrhoea, vomiting, thrush, and blood abnormalities – the last thing that a patient recovering from an injury needs. In addition, diarrhoea causes your body to lose more fluids, which can lead to dehydration and make wound healing more problematic.

Make a faster recovery using natural measures

In order to avoid these harmful side effects, many complementary practitioners often recommend using natural alternatives to help reduce the risk of infection and improve the rate of healing.

After the wound has been cleansed and the injury repaired (such as with stitches or a suitable dressing) it is necessary to provide your body with enough raw material to help it rebuild the damaged area. Following a high protein diet can be extremely beneficial in this respect. By consuming foods high in protein (such as lean meat, fish and dairy products) you ensure that your body has ample supplies to get to work at the heart of the wound and facilitate the natural repair process.

Aloe Vera has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and is renowned for its potent wound healing properties (Nurs Stand 1998;12(41):49-52). Aloe is the extract of the plant aloe barbadensis, and it contains enzymes, proteins and growth factors which work together to reduce inflammation of the injured area, improve the rate of protein formation in the wound, and reduce pain (Adv Wound Care 1998;11(6): 273-276).

Aloe Vera can be used directly on the wound in cream form (apply liberally over the area), but can also be taken internally in liquid form as aloe vera juice, which is available from most good health food stores (the dose depends on the concentration of the beverage so make sure you read the product label carefully).

The amino acid, arginine, has been hailed as an important wound-healing agent in terms of its ability to stimulate the production of collagen (Diabetologia 1999;42(6):748-757).

Collagen is made up of bundles of strong and resilient protein fibres, which act as scaffolding to support your tissues. Following an injury, it is necessary to repair this damaged scaffolding as quickly as possible, in order that other healing processes can get to work. In addition, arginine also stimulates your immune system – it is extremely important that your immune system is successfully activated following the infliction of a wound to help fight off any pathogens (disease-causing microbes). The recommended dose is 500mg of arginine a day.

Arginine is often used alongside another amino acid called glutamine. This amino acid stimulates the formation of new muscle tissue and also increases the production of new and healthy cells following an injury. The suggested dose is a quarter to one and a quarter teaspoons of glutamine powder 1-3 times a day.

Vitamin C is well known for its powerful healing properties. It is useful during the initial stages of the repair process as it stimulates the formation of collagen (Eur J Ophthalmol 1998;8(1):37-41). The recommended dose is 1,000mg of vitamin C a day.

Disclaimer: This article is part of the Daily Health's extensive research archive. The research and information contained in this article was accurate at the the time of publication but may have been updated since the date of publication. Consult our most recent articles for the latest research on alternative health and natural breakthroughs.

Bear in mind the material provided in this content is for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
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  • Cannabis oil helped my wife’s thyroid cancer. The doctor told me there was little he could since despite all the chemo and radiation,she wasn’t responding to treatment.so a friend of mine came to our rescue by ordering this cannabis oil which he said has been helping patients fight against cancer of various types so we decided to give it a try,so far my wife is improving very well and presently she can walk around the house all by herself.i felt it’s necessary i let others especially those suffering from this acute disease that once you have a good cannabis oil,it can really give a second chance at life.

  • Call me crazy but I put sugar (table sugar) in a scrape or small wound. It can heal a deep wound in about a week. Without leaving any scar. It is most effective if you put it on right before going to sleep. Get the wound wet and the put sugar on it until it is dry. Keep it exposed to air as much as possible. Repeat every night. This is a wonderful treatment for that tiny cut around the cuticle. I was first given this treatment by a old GP doctor. I had a cyst that was under my skin, he opened it and it was green. I applied sugar and it turned red in a month but then had to have plastic surgery to close it.

  • I have a sore that wont heal also, but mine is on the head of my penis. I went down for an std test and Im clean, sigh. The dr said it could just be a pimple. But the darn thing isnt healing up, I was putting vit e oil on it and that just made it too moist and was unable to scab over so now Im trying to keep it dry with powder. Going to start putting aleo vera on it and hope this heals. My partner is going to start getting suspicious that I wont have sex.
    Anyone have any better ideas….

  • I had a accident on my motorcycle that left me with a deep wound on my foot. I tried a lot of things….hydrogen peroxide etc, but the wound would not heal, and it became deeply infected. my approach was then first to get rid of the infection, it was spreading)I used a magic marker to outline it, and watch its progress.
    I used a slice of brown bread, dipped first in milk(or water will do) wrapped it with an elastic bandage and left it on overnight. By morning the infection was nearly gone. (You can wrap a plastic bag, after using scissors to make it fit, over the bread and this creates a pump, but I found this too extreme, but do this if only you have a really serious infection . It was pumping up debris from nearby skin, and turning it red, so I didn t use it)Then putting bandaging honey on the wound did the trick, no pain, i keep it the bandage on, and I don t care when it heals.I look at every few days, and its gonna be okay.Honey prevents infection, and also cures the wound.

  • Day before yesterday i fell from d bike….my right side of the body’s skin has completly damaged…and i experience burning sensation…i have pain killers so its bit controlable….can u plz suggest me fast healing home remedies..plz bcoz on monday i need to go to college

  • I have a very serious cronic decubeitis ulcer and cronic osteomylitis that I have been battling for about 10 yrs. I am in the hispital right now. I just had a bone biopsy and debreedment done. I have tried eating foods high in protein and Doc put me on zinc and vitamin D. I think that I have been doing pretty much everything to heal my wound, but it just doesn’t seem to heal. I’ve been doing a lot of research on line to see if I can find something else to help heal and I thought you might be able to give me some info that might help it heal faster.

  • My son was involved in a very serious motor vehicle accident 4months ago. The Femur & humerus bones were broken in half. His pelvis was shattered in 22 places. He will require complete hip reconstruction. The wound on his leg received a skin graft, but is taking forever to heal. His abdomen still remains open with a mesh amd he has a colostomy bag. I’m told will be reversed once the abdomen can be closed. A KCI Vacuum machine has been placed over the abdomen as well as the leg. My question is how can we speed up the wound and bone healing process? WE appear to have reached a plateau.

  • In 2008 I had a benign lump removed on my upper chest but after a four day sunbathing on the beach the lump came back but was malignant. They had it removed together with a 2 inch muscle from the chest to make sure there is nothing there. The results came back that all is well and I refused any chemo or radiology. Of course I had all the scans imaginable as well as a part of the lymph to make sure there is nothing in the body. ALLTHIS WAS UNNCESSARY, AS THE RESEARCH ON EXPOSURE TO THE SUN WAS NOT OF INTEREST TO THEM AND THEY WERE MORE CONCENTRATED ON WHERE THE MONEY IS. I workout 4 times a week with heavy weights. The muscle by time started growing on top of my arm pit as the piece that was cut created a disconnection. Evemtualy a bruise was created by the bra that was cutting me on the edge between the muscle and the breast. Result is a red bruise that partially is raised that seems to be increasing in size during the last 4 months. Now I am applying Thieves ointment on it and only today I am leaving it to air and it seems to look better after this 3 hour exposure. There is also a deep indentation between the muscle bulk and the arm. I refuse any biopsy and do not want to see any doctos as I don’t trust them. Any suggestions?

  • today i got a scratch going right down my nose, i know its only small but its very noticeable… i want to know someting that can help to heal it quickly but wont cause cheloids as a big long bump in my nose would be awful, please reply if you have a suggestion!!

  • My mother developed a bedsore after a stroke six weeks ago. The bedsore became so infected it got into her tailbone. A debridement surgery cleaned out the wound but the wound s not healing as it should. The doctors have her on a high dose anti-biotoc treatment. Any advice on speeding up the wound healing?

  • Hi, yesterday I was climbing ropes , like 4 times and i ripped skin of my foot 🙁 (almost under it, on the side) what’s the fastest way to heal?

  • I have an infection after removal of a mole….what about swedish bitters as a compress?? I am in the country and that is about all I have for the healing process….please comment

  • This may be a big turn off for some but my european friend uses it for lots of infections. During the night your body creates enzymes in your urine that help fight infections of all kinds. Your first mornings urine…fresh, still warm,applied directly to infected cuts or sores works great as an anticeptic. Though for larger wounds the above suggestions may be better. I use it on my pimples. Just get a cotton ball or pad and pee on it, swab it on the infected area, allow it to dry and rinse it off with water. Can also be used for sinus infections,ear infections and pink eye just get a cotton ball or pad and in the morning pee on it with your first mornings urine, swab it on the affected area, let it dry and rinse it off. You can pee on your feet in the shower and cure up athletes foot too. and its free!

  • I have vasculitis and i had a stasis ulcers on my left ankle. I was told by the surgeon that the wound is badly infected, they should clean it and take out some dead tissues.So,Four days ago I went for minor surgery it was debridement.2 days after, while they (surgeon and nurse)were dressing it I saw the wound is so deep..and I came to know that the bone is showing already.Its only debridement but if the bone is showing already, it means to say they also took the muscle out. Right now we are just applying a fucidin inter-tulle.I don’t know how to make it heal fast now that there’s no muscle and its really deep and huge.I don’t know also if i can use aloe vera and apply it directly..since this a different and a rare case.Any suggestions would be a great help.Thanks

  • I had my appendix taken out 3 weeks ago, 1 week after the opp my wound got infected and I was re admitted back into hospital. I had a high dose of antibiotics then had to have the area opened up again to get the infection out, the surgeon left it open to heal and I have had to have it packed and dressed every day since. I am eating fillet or serloin steak, fish,potaoes, pasta, it is healing slowly but my nurse said it’s healing well.
    I’m going to increase my protien intake more and vit C

  • hi im from Philippines. Im searching how my bruise in my skin recovered fast. Tnx i found it. Now i eat lots of fish when i go home after in this pc shop.. =)

  • I had a nasty burn on my arm which got infected, everytime it scabbed up it would get caught on something and be torn off again.

    I started taking care of it instead of letting it sort it’s self out.

    I used my protien shakes, amino acid tabs, plenty Vitamin C tabs and rubbed Aloe Vera on and around the burn.

    Just under two weeks the burn healed and the scab was falling off with fresh skin underneath, its left a very faded looking scar… although the part of the scab that kept getting caught has left a bit of a prominent scar..

    Other than that it did help speed up the healing process a whole lot..

    The advice at the top is very useful, I highly recommend doing it if you are trying to speed up the healing process.

  • Here are the 3 best natural products which acclerates the healing of wounds.
    1. Lemon-increase the consumption of lemon/lime when u get a wound, the day you got the wound and continue for 3-4 days. to explain what it does is simplistic terms is this. The body recognises a damage and gets to repair, it uses the bodys vitamin C and sends it to the wound area for collagen formation. by supplying your body with good Vit C during these times helps maintain the body’s vit C balance.
    2.Coconut oil-This helps in quick healing of the wound internally, keeps the wound area moisturized,prevents water,dust or dirt entering the wound (hence preventing infection).One can start applying coconut oil ON and around the wound from the second day.Coconut oil works wonders on burns too. (only for 1st o 2nd degree burns)
    3.Aloe vera-This is another great natural product. If u have an aloe vera plant at home it can be applied on the wound immediately after cleaning the wound and its area with a disinfectant. this helps in quick healing.
    Please note that the skin is made of multiple layers. on an average it takes abt 21days fr the skin formation from base to surface. It takes time for a wound to heal, one cannot expect it to magically disappear, so be patient and be careful to avoid infections.

  • I’m doing a class reseach on natural herbs that heal wounds. My question is how does it effect your body?

  • The other day.I accidentally tripped.I got 2 small wounds on both of my hands and another 2 small wounds on my knees and I have a big wound on my left shoulder.Our JS Prom is on Friday and Im gonna be wearing a strapless gown…How am I supposed to make my wounds heal within 5 days??Especially the big wound on my shoulder…It’s really needs to heal faster.

  • I had a severe reaction to monsels solution applied after a cone procedure. There is a large ulcer that formed on the cervix. I have been diagnosed with cervical cancer but cannot receive radiation until the ulcer heals. Any suggestions for me to speed the healing? I am using estrace cream nightly. Thank you.

  • I have read the tips in your letters. They are great. I also know two other things that are natures wonders for healing. Pure cold pressed coconut oil. This can be used on open wounds,such as bed sores or reddened areas, dry skin,ect. This is also taken internally as a nutritional help. It has been a miracle for my mom.
    Also Colloidal Sliver is wonderful. A natural Antibiotic without all the side effects.

  • Thank you so much. My husband had a wound on his coccyx that he scatched open. I read your article and immediately went in the yard and got an aloe vera plant.
    Overnite! Wow,he is healing quickly.

  • I feel and gashed the back of my head resulting in 12 staples. How soon after the application of these staples may I consume the proteins, as I do not want to develop unsightly scars called cheloids ? And can I apply the aloa liquid directly to the wound using a sterile cloth?

  • I’ve gone under surgery for pilonidal sinus… now I’m finding it very difficult to heal up the wound caused due to surgery… the wound has no stitches and it is kept open by the surgeon… is there anyone out there that could perhaps give me any advice?

  • I was assaulted at gun point 6 days ago. I have bruises and scratches on my knees, elbows, hands, back and head.

    I have staples on my head. I initially used Hydrogen Peroxide but the doctor told me that it is too hard on new tissue so I stopped using it. At the ER they gave me an antibiotic ointment 50% strength which I used only on the first day.

    Then I cut off a leaf from my aloe vera plant, blended it and added some water to it. I would put that on my wounds daily and they began to crust quickly and all are healing well.

  • This suggestion isn’t for the bigger wounds but perhaps for smaller cuts. My boyfriend recently had a deep cut on the palm of his hand that was starting to get infected. So he started putting pawpaw ointment on it, you know the one in the red tube and within a week it had completely closed up and is looking a lot cleaner.

    Just a suggestion.

  • I’m a 41 white male that has had a total right hip replacement last week. My nurse has told me to eat a hp diet and I think I am. The aloe you mention, is it ingested or topical? Any diet suggestions?

  • I had recently had a corneal transplant and althought it takes a loooong time to heal I wanted to know how to make it heal faster and get rid of the swelling..school starts soon!

  • About a week and a half ago, I also had a bike accident, but mine sounds a lot worse. A large portion of my skin was cut off by my sproket when I hit a large slope going at a very fast speed. I recieved about 14 stitches and I made the mistake of useing Hydrogen Peroxide about everyday after I received stitches.
    I would like to do something which could help speed up the process and maybe revive the flap of skin which was stitched back onto my leg because it seems to be dieing. Any comments or tips would be greatly appreciated!

    Please leave me a message.

  • Yesterday I fell off my bike going very fast, about 25 mph. As I flipped over I caught myself on my hands, so I’m lucky, but I still sustained deep scrapes and gashes on my palms, elbow, shoulder, and the worst, my knee. I am young, so I would normally not be worried, but I’m leaving for Europe in only 8 days!!!! I would REALLY appreciate tips on accelerating the healing process. Things to avoid doing, and things to keep in mind. Thank you all!

Comments are closed.

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