Beneficial effect of Aloe on wound healing in an excisional wound model

John P. Heggers, Ahmet Kucukcelebi, Dmitri Listengarten, Jill Stabenau, Francis Ko, Lyle D. Broemeling, Martin C. Robson, Wendell D. Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Recent evidence from in vitro and in vivo experiments suggests that topical antimicrobials may be toxic to fibroblasts and keratinocytes and retard wound healing. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Aloe, a potential wound-healing agent, on wound contraction in excisional wounds treated with topical antimicrobials. Sprague-Dawley rats were prepared with four 1.5 cm2 dorsal defects through the skin and panniculus. The animals were divided into five groups (n = 10 per group): (1) Aloe, (2) NaOCl solution (0.025%), (3) mafenide acetate, (4) mafenide acetate + Aloe, and (5) control. Wounds were treated topically for 14 days 3 times a day. Serial standard photographs and serial wound planimetry were performed weekly. Following healing, the breaking strength of each resultant scar was determined using an Instron tensiometer. Kruskal-Wallis, ANOVA, and multiple comparison methods were used for data analysis. Aloe and NaOCl solution significantly accelerated wound contraction (p < 0.05). In the mafenide acetate + Aloe group, contraction was similar to the control, whereas the mafenide acetate alone retarded wound healing. The addition of Aloe in combination and alone in wounds increased the breaking energy when compared to controls (p < 0.05). Aloe appears to expedite wound contraction and neutralize the wound retardant effect seen with the topical mafenide acetate alone. This effect appears to be due to an increased collagen activity, which is enhanced by a lectin, consequently improving the collagen matrix and enhancing the breaking strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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