Wound healing wrongly attributed to chlorophyll

Brett, DW. Wounds, 17(7):190-195. 2005.

Background: Chlorophyllin, derived from the plant pigment, chlorophyll, has been used for many years to accelerate wound healing and to provide odour control.  Chlorophyllin also shows activity as an anti-coagulation and an anti-inflammatory agent. These actions of chlorophyllin explain, at least to some extent, its usefulness as a wound-healing agent.

The Hypothesis: Wound healing can be thought of as a 4-step process. When mixtures of enzymes and chlorophyllin are placed on a wound:

1. The enzymes break down the dead and injured tissue causing the formation of coagulating agents—chlorophyllin acts as an anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory agent.  This is important because clotting prevents the flow of needed nutrients to the site of the wound and chlorophyllin allows the flow of nutrients to continue.

2. As healing continues, various substances and hormones are able to come to the wound site to promote new growth.  Chlorophyllin is thought to play a part in helping to maintain the proper structure of the wounded area.

3. Inflammation is part of the healing process, but can be destructive as well.  Chlorophyllin decreases the inflammatory response, resulting in decreased swelling and pain.

4. With the decrease in inflammation and the increased flow of nutrients (plus the stabilized infrastructure), wound healing can progress more quickly and more efficiently. Finally, the ability of chlorophyllin to control wound odor appears to be mostly due to to its anti-bacterial effects.

Note: There is no evidence that chlorophyll assists healing of wounds – nor does it transport oxygen in the blood.