BANGKOK, Thailand –- Surgical scars can be unsightly and impact a patient’s self-esteem, so researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, are looking to herbal extracts in the prevention of scar formation.

Clinical professors Apirag Chauangsuwanich and Krit Jongjamfa evaluated the efficacy of combined herbal extracts in the prevention of surgical scarring. Their research was published online in the journal Dermatology and Therapy.

All patients in the study underwent bilaterally symmetric surgical procedures and were treated with both a combined herbal extract gel and a placebo. Each gel was applied to separate scars twice daily for 12 weeks. The scars were photographed and evaluated.

Researchers report that scars treated with the herbal gel showed less scarring and had better color, and less stiffness and thickness overall. The results between the two scars were statistically significant at eight weeks, and no side effects were noted for either treatment.

The doctors concluded that herbal gels may be effective in treating scar tissue.
Dr. Jennifer Williamson, ND, said she would not be surprised if the herbal extracts used in the scar study included gotu kola (Centella asiatica) and hawthorne.

“It’s good at building connective tissue,” she said of a, which typically is used internally as a connective tissue healer. “I’ve never used either one topically myself, but I suspect they will be part of the protocol… and turmeric as well as an anti-inflammatory.”

Dr. Williamson practices at Avalon Natural Medicine of Vermont, in Burlington.

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