Effect of chlorophyll on skin ulcers

Chlorophyll in the treatment of ulcers.

Gahan, E., Kline, P., Finkle, T. Arch. Derm. & Syphilo. 1943. 47:849-851.

Background: Ulcers of the skin are wounds with a central depression and sometimes “heaped up” borders. They can be caused by a number of factors, but usually start with an incidental or noticeable injury that is made worse by a disease process. Diseases such as diabetes or leprosy also prevent ulcers from properly healing. Proper healing of skin requires the formation of granulation tissue, which forms the foundation of new skin. Over time, this defect in the skin can be a focus of infection. Infection further complicates the healing process.

Clinical Trial: American physicians working on a Skin and Cancer Unit in New York selected 25 patients with ulcers due to various causes to participate in a clinical trial. These patients had severe ulcers that persisted despite medical care. The doctors prepared two extracts of chlorophyll, one that was soluble in water and the other in oil. Each preparation was applied to the wounds topically as an ointment or as a wet dressing. In seven out of ten patients with lower leg hypostatic ulcers, the chlorophyll extracts quickly prompted new granulation tissue to form in the ulcer. One patient in this group quit the study and the other two had no effect.

A patient who had experienced burns from X-ray radiation had been treated with various ointments for six months with no effect. However, when that patient was treated with the plant extract, the burn healed within four weeks. Ulcers due to burns or known trauma (six patients) all achieved granulation tissue and healing shortly after chlorophyll extract treatment. One week of topical treatment was able to reduce the size of a deep, infected ulcer to 25% of its original size. Before that week of treatment, the woman had had the ulcer for six weeks despite medical attention. In total, 19 out of 25 had rapid recovery of their ulcers after receiving chlorophyll extract treatment.

The authors mention that the topical substance appeared to have a stimulating effect on the tissues.

Conclusion: A plant extract containing chlorophyll rapidly facilitated healing in various types of skin ulcers that were previously untreatable.