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Peruvian plant points the way to wound-healing discovery (press release)

Friday, August 11, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition


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Research on a plant renowned in traditional Peruvian medicine has enabled chemists to discover that an inexpensive, commercially available material has a remarkable ability to speed the healing of wounds. Chronic, nonhealing wounds are a multi-billion-dollar health care problem. An estimated 5 million people in the United States suffer from wounds that do not heal normally.

As part of an international multidisciplinary search for inexpensive wound-healing compounds, Gerald B. Hammond and Abraham J. Vaisberg became interested in the plant, Anredera diffusa (A. diffusa). People in Peru call the plant "Lloto," and use its wet leaves as a wound dressing.

Vaisberg and Hammond and their colleagues verified that extracts of the plant do, indeed, speed wound healing. Then they discovered a derivative of the active principle in A. diffusa. It turned out to be oleanolic acid, a substance commercially available and used in certain skin-care products.

Tests showed that wounds treated with oleanolic acid healed about 43 percent faster than untreated wounds. Their research is scheduled for publication in the June 23 issue of Natural Products. Other research has suggested that oleanolic acid may have potential uses in diseases ranging from acne to HIV infection.


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