Healing Diabetic Wounds with Garlic and Plant Extracts

Jenn Hoskins
5th February, 2024

Healing Diabetic Wounds with Garlic and Plant Extracts

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Imagine scraping your knee, a pretty minor event, right? Now, for someone with diabetes, that small scrape can become a big deal. Wound healing can be a sluggish and complicated process when you've got diabetes, turning a simple cut into a lengthy, costly challenge. But nature might just have a trick up its sleeve with some humble ingredients you might find in your kitchen. Curious scientists have been eyeing natural substances that come from fruits and veggies to give wound healing a much-needed boost. Enter allicin and quercetin – these aren't the latest celebrity chefs but are bioactive substances found in garlic and onions, among other plant foods. They've been known to wear a lot of hats when it comes to their health effects, from battling bacteria to reducing inflammation. But could they really turn the tides on stubborn diabetic wounds? To find out, researchers took a group of diabetic wistar rats – these guys are commonly used in lab experiments due to their reliable responses to treatments – and gave them all a standard-issue 1x1 cm wound on their back. Not the nicest thing, I know, but it's all in the name of science. The rats were then split into buddies of four and received different treatments for their wounds. The treatments were applied like clockwork, once daily for a whole week. By the time day three and seven rolled around, it was time to check on how the rats' wounds were healing. The scientists measured a couple of things that are dead giveaways for how well a wound is doing: how much of the wound had closed up, known as wound contraction, and what was happening under the microscope, called histopathological examination. So, did the garlic and onion extract do the trick? Well, the group that got slathered with the allicin and quercetin emulsion showed some pretty impressive improvements compared to their untreated mates. It turns out these natural compounds didn't just sit there; they really got to work! They helped the wounds to contract more, which is a bit like pulling the edges of a tear in a piece of paper together, making it smaller and smaller. Plus, they seemed to encourage more blood vessels to pop up and helped the skin to start its repair job – a process called epithelialization. But why an emulsion, you ask? Simply put, it's a fancy way to mix up ingredients that normally wouldn't play nice together, like oil and water. In this study, the emulsion form was key because it kept the good stuff – allicin and quercetin – stable and delivered it right where it was needed while keeping the wound environment just perfect. The takeaway from this science deep-dive is pretty sweet: allicin and quercetin could be the sidekicks we’ve been looking for in the battle against diabetic wounds. And delivering these bad boys via an emulsion is not just effective; it's also a practical way to slap some nature's goodness on a cut. So, while this research is still at the rat-patting stage, the implications could be huge for those dealing with diabetes. If something as simple as components from garlic and onion can make diabetic wounds heal quicker and better, we could be looking at a game-changer for many. What we're seeing here is the tip of the iceberg, the potential beginning of a more natural, cost-effective way to put a band-aid on a problem that, up until now, required heavy-duty medical tape. Let's keep our eyes peeled and our pantry stocked – the next big wound-healing marvel might just be a trip to the produce aisle away.



Main Study

1) Management of wounds in diabetes by administering allicin and quercetin in emulsion form as wound medicine in diabetic rat models.

Published 5th February, 2024


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