Curcumin: It Can Help Heal Burns, Too
At some point in time, everyone experiences a burn of some sort. Scalding water, hot cooking oil…even brushing against the oven or stove can result in a painful and blistering burn. The most common recommendation to promote burn healing is to cool your skin with running water for about 20 minutes, and then apply ointment and a gauze dressing.
However, within minutes of a burn, your body releases an enzyme called Phosphorylase kinase (PhK). Once released, this enzyme triggers an inflammatory response — one that may be responsible for the unsightly scarring and tissue damage that often follows a burn.
Unfortunately, water and ointment do nothing to quell the production of PhK. But there is something natural that does…
Indian Spice Works Wonders on Burns
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is a known PhK inhibitor. This means that, in theory, topical application on wounds could block PhK activity and accelerate healing. With this in mind, a group of researchers put it to the test.
The new study, published in the journal BioDiscovery, followed the outcomes of three second-degree burn patients treated with a topical curcumin gel. Upon initial treatment, the gel was applied on an hourly basis. Within just a few days, all of the patients experienced a marked decrease in pain. Additionally, the curcumin gel rapidly decreased swelling, halted the formation of blisters and reduced redness.
Incredibly, at the end of treatment, each patient’s skin was fully restored to normal pigmentation, without any signs of scar tissue or damage.
Slash Infection and Heal More Quickly with Curcumin
In addition to suppressing PhK activity, it appears that curcumin assists in the removal of damaged cells. This, in turn, makes way for the unhampered growth of new cells. The authors also believe curcumin reduces the accumulation of bacteria in the wounds.
Previous research involving 228 patients with superficial burns supports this. In this earlier study, all of the patients received a turmeric treatment on some of their burns, and a Vaseline treatment (the control treatment) on others. After three days, a whopping 52 percent of the turmeric-treated wounds were clean and healthy, without infection.
The same could only be said for 16 percent of the Vaseline-treated burns. By the 11th day, the numbers were even more dramatic: An amazing 84.2 percent of the burns treated with turmeric were still clean, healthy and uninfected. Conversely, only 18 percent of the control wounds met the same clean and healthy standards.
Heng M. Phosphorylase Kinase Inhibition Therapy in Burns and Scalds. BioDiscovery. 2017; 20: e11207.
Choudhary SK, et al. Antiseptic and healing effects of turmeric ointment on local application in superficial burn. Intl Jnl Bioassays. 2012; 1(11).