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Datura, also known as Thornapple is, like the Henbane, a member of the order Solanceae. It belongs to the genus Datura, which consists of fifteen species, distributed throughout the warmer portion of the whole world, the greatest number being found in Central America. Nearly all of them are used locally in medicine, and are characterized by similar properties to those of the official species, Datura Stramonium. The plants vary from herbs to shrubs, and even trees. All parts of the Thornapple have medicinal value, but only the leaves and seeds are officially used. The plant part(s) are used in the dried state and are referred to as Stramonium.
Scientific Article: Datura alba - it's healing effects on burns
Healing potential of Datura alba on burn wounds in albino rats
K. Shanmuga Priya, A. Gnanamani, N. Radhakrishnan, Mary Babu *
Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology 83 (2002) 193
Datura alba Nees (Solanaccae) is popular all over the world for its medicinal uses in asthma, muscle spasm, whooping cough, hemorrhoids, skin ulcers, etc. In India, it is widely used traditionally for the relief of rheumatism and other painful affections. Ayurveda and Siddha practitioners use oil based preparations of this plant from ancient days to this day for all types of wounds. Hence, the present study was chosen to evaluate its scientific validity. The alcohol extract of the D. alba leaves were investigated for the evaluation of its healing efficiency on burn wound models in rats. The crude alcohol extract and one of the fractions exhibited antimicrobial effect against all the pathogens studied. A 10% (w/w) formulation of alcoholic extract was topically applied on thermal wounds. Complete wound closure was observed within 12 days in treated rats. The effect produced by the ointment, in terms of wound contracting ability, wound closure time, tissue regeneration at the wound site and histopathological characteristics were significant in treated rats. Collagen, hexosamine and gelatinase expressions were also well correlative with the healing pattern observed. The present study thus provides a scientific rationale for the traditional use of this plant in the management of wounds.
Burns remain a huge public health issue, at least in terms of morbidity and long term disability, throughout the world, especially in the developing countries (Heimbach, 1999). Burn wound healing is a complex process and does not require much help but still cause discomfort and are prone to infection and other complications. Infection is a major complication of burn injury and is responsible for 50 (Mokaddas et al., 1998). Many of the synthetic drugs pose problems such as allergy, drug resistance, etc, forcing scientists to seek alternative drugs (Purna and Babu, 1998).
In India, medicines based on herbal origin have been the basis of treatment and cure for various diseases and physiological abnormalities under practice such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. Moreover, Indian folk medicine comprises numerous prescriptions for therapeutic purposes such as healing of wounds, inflammation, skin infections, leprosy, diarrhorea, scabies, venereal disease, ulcers, snake bite, etc. More than 80% of the world’s population still depend upon traditional medicines for various skin diseases. Herbal medicines in wound management involves disinfection, debridement and providing a moist environment to encourage the establishment of the suitable environment for natural healing process (Purna and Babu, 2000).
Datura also known as Jimsonweed, Thorn apple, Devil’s trumpet has almost 15 species, distributed through out the warmer portions of the whole world. About ten species are found in India, of which D. innoxia , D. metel , D. alba and D. stramonium are important drug plants and others are ornamental.
Though whole plant has medicinal value, the leaves and seeds alone are recognized as official. This annual plant is bushy, smooth, fetid, 2 or 3 feet in height also attaining 6 ft or more in rich soils (Sasthri, 1952).
Datura has been used extensively in medicine. It is a strange ploy played by nature that a plant known almost exclusively for its toxicological effects finds its use in the medical field. It has been used as an anaesthetic for setting bones, treating bruises and wounds, skin ulcers, hemorrhoids, asthma, rheumatism, whooping cough, muscle spasm, sciatica, painful menstruation, etc. (Satyavati et al., 1976). Most of these uses have been proved effective by modern medicine. This study was under-taken to access the effect of this indigenous drug on antimicrobial, biochemical, histochemical and gelatinase expression related to wound healing.
Methods and Results
To read the full methodology and the details of the results of this study, please visit: www.elsevier.com/locate/jethpharm and subscribe to the journal.
Wound healing is a complex process characterized by homeostasis, re-epithelialisation, granulation tissue formation and remodeling of the extracellular matrix.
Though healing process takes place by itself and does not require much help, but various risk factors such as infection and delay in healing has brought attention to promote this process. Topical application of D. alba at the wound site produced significant wound healing activity, which may be due to its angiogenic and mitogenic potential. Its prohealing activity was marked as all the parameters observed were significantly affected.
The significant antibacterial effect of the crude alcohol extract and its fraction B against all the eight pathogens confirmed that the compounds present in the crude that are soluble in chloroform are responsible for the effective antimicrobial activity. Thin Layer Chromatography studies showed the presence of more than six different compounds (results are not shown) further confirmed the synergetic action of this fraction. The use of D. alba in India for various skin infections is justified by this work, as it showed commendable activity against all the test organisms.
Studies on animal models showed enhanced rate of wound contraction and drastic reduction in healing time than control, which might be due to enhanced epithelialisation.
The treated wounds after 4 days itself exhibited marked dryness of wound margins with tissue regeneration. Increased cellular infiltration observed from haematoxylin and eosin staining in treated cases may be due chemotactic effect enhanced by crude extract which might have attracted inflammatory cells towards the wound site. Increased cellular proliferation may be due to the mitogenic activity of the plant extract, which might have significantly contributed to healing process.
Early dermal and epidermal regeneration in treated rats also confirmed that the extract had a positive effect towards cellular proliferation, granulation tissue formation and epithelialisation.
Biochemical analysis showed increased hydroxyproline content, which is a reflection of increased cellular proliferation and thereby increased collagen synthesis. Increased hexosamine content reflects the stabilization of collagen molecules by enhancing electrostatic and ionic interactions (Nayak et al., 1999). Collagen not only confers strength and integrity to the tissue matrix but also plays an important role in homeostasis and in epithelialisation at the later phase of healing (Clark, 1996). Hence enhanced synthesis of collagen and hexosamine treated rats provides a strength to repaired tissue and also healing pattern.
Matrix-modifying enzymes like MMPs probably affect the restoration of functional connective tissue, which is a major goal of the healing process. MMP 9 and 2 are the major matrix metallo proteases observed in the present study. These proteases also facilitate fibrin and eschar removal and the resultant peptides are known to possess chemotactic and angiogenic properties (Chithra et al., 1998). Expression of MMP 9 on early days suggests that it might have involved in keratinocytes migration and granulation tissue remodeling (Salo et al., 1994). During later phases or wound repair, an increase in 72-kDa gelatinase and persistence of MMP 2 suggests that this enzyme have an important role in the remodeling process (Inkinen et al., 2000) and also in maintaining collagen homeostasis. Further more, gelatinase may serve as indicator of the progression of the wound healing process (Agren, 1994).
Ointment from the leaves of D. alba exhibited significant prohealing activity when topically applied on rats by affecting various stages of healing process. The result of the present study offers pharmacological evidence on the folkloric use of D. alba leaves for healing wounds.
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Chithra, P., Sajithlal, G.B., Chandrahasan, G., 1998. Influence of Aloe vera on collagen turnover in healing of dermal wounds in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 36, 896
Clark, R.A.F., 1996. Wound repair. Overview and general considerations. In: Clark, R.A., Henson, P.M. (Eds.), The Molecular and Cellular Biology of Wound Repair. Plenum Press, New York, p. 3.
Cooper, 1987. Gunn’s Dispensing for pharmaceutical students. In: Carter, S.L. (Ed.), 12th ed., CBS Publisher and Distributors, Delhi, pp. 199
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Heimbach, D., 1999. Burn patients then and now. Burns 25, 1
Inkinen, K., Turakainen, R., Wolff, H., Ravanti, L., Kahari, V.M., Ahonen, J., 2000. Expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 in experimental granulation tissue. APMIS 108 (5), 318
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Mokaddas, E., Rotimi, V.O., Sanyal, S.C., 1998. In vitro activity of piperacillin/tazobactam versus other broad antibiotics against nosocomial gram negative pathogens isolated from burn patients. Journal of Chemotherapy 10 (3), 208
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Nayak, B.S., Udupu, A.L., Udupa, S.L., 1999. Effect of Ixora coccinea flowers on dead space wound healing in rats. Fitoterapia 70, 233 236.
Neely, A.N., Brown, R.L., Clendening, C.E., Orloff, M.M., Gardner, J., Greenhalgh, D.G., 1997. Proteolytic activity in human burn wounds. Wound Repair and Regeneration 5, 302
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Purna, S.K., Babu, M., 2000. Collagen based dressings */a review. Burns 26, 54
Salo, T., Makela, M., Kylmaniemi, M., Autio-Harmainen, H., Larjava, H., 1994. Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 during early human wound healing. Laboratory Investigations 70 (2), 176
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