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Enhanced cutaneous wound healing by Senecio serratuloides (Asteraceae/Compositae) in a pig model

Gould, A.N., Penny, C.B., Patel, C.C., Candy, G.P.
South African journal of botany 2015 v.100 pp. 63-68
Senecio, alkaloids, animal models, death, enzymes, hepatotoxicity, histology, liver function, monitoring, pH, regrowth, swine, thin layer chromatography, tissue repair, topical application, South Africa
Senecio serratuloides (Asteraceae/Compositae) is a traditional herbal remedy used to treat skin wounds in South Africa. The plant contains hepatotoxic alkaloids and is responsible for the death of farm animals which have eaten the plant. Wound healing efficacy was determined by applying prepared plant material to deep partial-thickness wounds on a pig model and healing was compared to controls over 16days. Regrowth of the skin was monitored by measuring the increasing ratio of the epidermal thickness, relative to that of normal skin. The neo-epidermis of plant-treated wounds was significantly thicker on days 5 and 7 and was maximal on day 7, compared with day 9 for the controls. The pH of the treated wound surface was significantly lower than the controls on day 2. The presence of alkaloids was confirmed with Dragendorff's reagent on thin layer chromatography, but liver function enzymes were no different to that of the controls and no signs of liver toxicity were apparent on histology when the plant was applied topically to wounds. S serratuloides treatment accelerated the healing of deep partial thickness wounds and the epidermal thickness ratio was found to be a useful marker in monitoring the wound healing process. The significance of the lower wound surface pH remains to be fully determined.