Burns – second degree. Wheatgrass excels over silver sulfadiazine

Efficacy of wheatgrass extract versus silver sulfadiazine in 1–5% second degree burns: a randomized controlled trial

Chacko, A., Chamania, S. & Bansal, V. Indian J Surg (2018).

(Note: The wheatgrass extract used in this study was supplied by Wheatgrass Pty. Ltd., the Australian maker of the Dr Wheatgrass brand product line.)

The aim of this prospective randomized controlled study was to compare the rate of wound healing of 1–5% second degree burns treated with wheat grass extract versus silver sulfadiazine cream in consecutive patients aged 1–60 years with scald, flame, contact, friction, or electric flash burns attending the Burns Out Patient Clinic and Casualty Department of Choithram Hospital and Research Centre, Indore, India, from November 2012 to November 2014.

Sixty patients were randomized to receive either wheat grass extract or silver sulfadiazine. The primary outcome was completeness of wound healing at 2 weeks and secondary outcomes pain relief within 24 h, compliance of patient with allocated treatment, and incidence of wound infection. After the allocated treatment had been applied, the burns were dressed in the silver sulfadiazine group but kept open in the wheat grass group. Burn healing was assessed on alternate days until complete epithelization had been achieved.

In the wheat grass extract group, complete healing had occurred in 3/30 study subjects by day 4, 1/30 by day 5, 3/30 by day 6, 10/30 by day 8, 8/30 by day 10, 1/30 by day 15, 1/30 by day 19, 2/30 by day 17, and one patient underwent SSG on day 4. In contrast, in the SSD group, 9/30 study subjects (30%) had achieved complete healing by day 12, 4/30 by day 13, 5/30 by day 14, 9/30 by day 15, and 1/30 by day 16.

Thus, wound healing was achieved significantly faster (P = 0.0001), pain scores were significantly lower at the end of the first 24 h (P = 0.0001), and there was better compliance (P = 0.0001) in the wheat grass than in the silver sulfadiazine group.

The wheat grass extract used in this study is cost-effective and achieves faster wound healing and pain relief than silver sulfadiazine in subjects with 1–5% burns. Further research on this promising approach to burns management is warranted.

[View 2 children with burns that healed rapidly with wheatgrass]

Authors’ Contributions

All authors made substantial contributions to (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be submitted.

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