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Antioxidants and Wound healing

05 JUL,2017

NFS Correspondent

Wound may be defined as interruptions of cellular and anatomic continuity of living tissue. Wound may arise due to physical, chemical or microbial agents and electrical. Every wound is unique and each deserves individual care. Thus the process of wound healing has been one of the earliest medical problems.

It is not wound closure that is important, but it is the quality of the scar and restoration of functional competence that is important. Healing is thus essentially a survival mechanism, and represents an attempt to maintain normal anatomical structure and function. Several scientific studies revealed that many of the plant products are useful in the early and proper maturation of granulation tissue and also enhance the deposition of collagen.


Medicinal plants are an important element of indigenous medicinal systems in most of the countries including India. India is perhaps the world’s largest producer of medicinal herbs and is rightly called the “Botanical Garden of the World”. The revival of interest in natural drugs especially those derived from plants started in the last decade mainly because of the widespread belief that “Green Medicines” are healthier and safer than the synthetic ones.

In recent years, the use of such information in medicinal plants research has received renewed interest in the media and in some segments of the scientific community. In the last decade of the 20th century, the Western use of such information has come under increasing scrutiny and the national and indigenous rights on these resources have become acknowledged by most academic and industrial researchers. Development of new herbal drugs is a field of intense activity in recent years and hence the need for such basic scientific investigations on medicinal plants used in indigenous medicinal systems becomes ever more evident.


Our present day understanding of wound healing has been greatly enhanced over the past 25 years by research elucidating the role of oxygen in this process. Oxygen gradients have been identified across the healing wound, confirming the well perfused periphery of the wound as compared to its relatively anoxic central part.

Studies modulating the oxygen tension of the wound demonstrate the beneficial effect of increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the wound and the adverse effect of hypoxia. Despite the beneficial effects of oxygen on collagen synthesis and rates of epithelization, it is also somewhat paradoxically apparent that hypoxic tissue gradients and anaerobic metabolism are important in the initiation of collagen synthesis and angiogenesis.

The role of oxygen in preventing wound infection has similarly been established. All oxygen-dependent mechanisms for intracellular killing by leukocytes result in the generation of highly reactive oxygen metabolites. These oxygen metabolites, collectively termed oxygen radicals, have also been implicated in a variety of ischemic and inflammatory diseases. It is only recently that the effects of these radicals on wound healing have been investigated and clarified.

Despite the importance of oxygen in promoting wound healing and preventing wound infection, it is now apparent that oxygen metabolites may in many situations be deleterious to wound healing. Or may result in tissue injury. Increasing evidence implicates excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and ROS derived degradation products in the pathogenesis of many skin diseases.

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