A leprosy mission to India
A frightening terrorist attack in downtown Mumbai the previous day caused severe havoc, so I felt a little uneasy when I arrived at the Internationa Airport from Australia the next day.
I had come to India to see my first cases of leprosy, a rare disorder in Australia confined to the northern part of the country. I was determined to learn as much as I could about the disease while I was in India and to see some of the “real life” patients who had already been treated with wheatgrass extract application to the wounds.
To begin with, we tested wheatgrass extract on a patient who had ulcers on the sole of his foot for a year, and, because it healed just after three months’ wheatgrass treatment, we went ahead with our pilot study of 20 patients, and achieved some remarkable results.
For instance, Figures 1 and 2 show how well an ulcer that had been present for 2 years healed completely after just 9 weeks’ wheatgrass treatment.
Our leprosy ulcer study
Leprosy is still considered by some to be due to sinful behaviour, a myth that has bedevilled these patients for several thousand years. The stigma generated by the disease often leads to rejection by family, friends, employers and the community, yet ironically, the disease is not transmitted via skin contact, but from nasal droplets.
Perhaps there is now a glimmer of hope for some of these unfortunate people, because healing their ulcers with wheatgrass may, in time, eliminate some of the stigma that exists against them.
Leprosy is actually caused by a mycobacterium and affects mainly nerves, skin and mucous membranes. Sufererst can lose sensation and motor activity such as inability to move various joints. Sensory loss is patchy and predominantly affects the hands and feet, and, because affected skin is anaesthetised, or “deadened”, the patient is unaware if it has been injured or not and an ulcer may easily form that can last the patient’s lifetime. Also, in time, major deformities can develop often leading ultimately to amputation of a limb.
Our Project Co-ordinator for the Leprosy Pilot Study, Dr. Laxminarayan Vardharajan Ph.D., aka “Rajan”, (see pic below) had spent 30 years working in close contact with leprosy patients, sharing their lives and treating their ulcers – always with bare hands. This was part of Rajan’s attempt to stamp out the taboo that leprosy spreads directly by skin contact.
A leprosy ulcer heals after 9 weeks treatment with wheatgrass extract
A few words about leprosy treatment
Surgery, such as skin grafting, can help to some extent, but so far, there is no medical treatment available that eliminates the disease and heals the wounds of leprosy. Treatment is usually directed to hygienic care of the wound and prosthetics when required.
But wheatgrass shows promise as was revealed by our clinical study.
Dr. Chris Reynolds.