Potato peels in the treatment of burn wounds

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The use of natural products to enhance the wound healing is a common practice in many parts of the world. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), as raw, boiled, peeled, or mashed have medicinal properties. Potato peels as a by-product from potato processing are available in large amounts and contain a wide variety of compounds that could be used in foods and also in non-food applications. Management of the burn wound still remains a matter of debate, and an ideal dressing for burn wounds has not yet been discovered. Prevention of infection and treatment of infection in burn wounds are major aims of treatment. Many systemic and topical regimes are in use, but none is completely satisfactory. Wounds epithelialise more rapidly in moist environment. For burn wounds, homografts and xenografts are ideal for covering these wounds to prevent infection and rapid epithelialsation. Potato peels resemble skin and it has an outer and inner surface. Potato peels with the inner surface in contact with the burns can be used to cover the burn. Boiled potato peels have been used to cover the fresh burns wounds within six hours of injury. Superficial and partial thickness burns, less than 40%, after the general treatment, were washed with tap water and autoclaved dry boiled potato peels were applied over the wound and covered with sterile gauze and bandage. The wounds were observed for evidence of infection, excessive exudates or, leakage. In absence of these, the dressings were inspected on day 2 when the dressings were changed and then every second day until healed. The time taken for wound healing was recorded. In a study of 50 burn patients, with less than 40%body surface superficial and partial thickness burn wounds healed in four patients by 7 days, eight patients by 10 days, in 28 patients between 11and 15 days and in 10 patients between 16 and 21 days.(mean 16.2 days). Of the 42 burn wounds who had positive swab cultures at the time of admission, all have shown persistent infection after 1 week. The organisms isolated were staphylococcus areus (12), Escherichia coli (4), pseudomonas (10), citrobactor (6) klebisella (8), and Proteus (2).Thus the potato peels are found to be useful in treating minor burns. The current status of use of potato peel in burns is discussed.

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