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phytochemicals, plant extracts and wound healing, chronic wounds, complementary therapy



  1. Walton, Edward W. DHSc, APN-C, NP-C


PURPOSE: To enhance the learner's competence with knowledge about studies that examined phytochemical use for assisting the body's healing processes.


TARGET AUDIENCE: This continuing education activity is intended for physicians and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.


OBJECTIVES: After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:


1. Identify the normal healing process and problems with this process that lead to the development of chronic wounds.


2. Summarize study findings that examined the healing properties of phytochemicals.


ABSTRACT: To maximize the effectiveness of any complementary therapy in treating chronic wounds, the clinician must fully appreciate the scientific basis in which this treatment modality influences wound healing. The biological changes influenced by phytochemical compounds can have a positive effect on wound healing, which often depends on extract selection and clinical application. A sound understanding of the physiological changes that are associated with phytochemical compounds will help the clinician to make an appropriate extract selection and guide treatment decisions.


Tissue adhesion has long been considered a key step in determining a bacterium's pathogenicity. The process of preventing infections by decreasing bacterial-tissue adhesion has been reported in the literature, with particular focus on the antibacterial effects of ingested cranberry juice. Cranberry juice has been studied primarily as a "home remedy" in the treatment of urinary tract infection with its antiadhesion and/or antibacterial effects in a chronic wound needing further investigation.