Natural healing, natural wellness

Aloe Vera & Seaweed For Wounds & Sores

How do you care for wounds or sores which are deep, raw and exuding fluids? What if there are ulcers and deep cavities, or if the wounds or sores are caused by cancer tumors breaking through the skin surface? Wound treatment is a complex matter as there are many kinds of wounds, different stages of wound healing, and many factors involved which may affect healing.

Anyone who’s ever suffered serious wounds, ulcers or sores knows how painful wound cleansing and dressing can be. I like to use aloe vera to dress wounds because – besides having a reputation for wound healing – it is soothing, keeps the wound moist, and minimises scarring. Strips or pieces of fresh aloe vera can even be placed into wound cavities before covering with a suitable protective material, such as sterile gauze.

Recently, after some research and experimentation, I developed a home-made aloe vera paste which seems to work rather nicely. Fresh aloe vera tends to exude too much liquid for my liking, while commercial aloe vera gel contains all kinds of chemicals. My home-made wound healing recipe combines two natural ingredients with known healing properties: aloe vera juice and seaweed. Yes, seaweed!

Seaweed has traditionally been used in some cultures for wound healing as well as many other health benefits. In fact, it has even been called the “mariner’s cure”. Today, hospitals use it in calcium alginate wound dressings, which help to absorb exudate, control bleeding and speed up healing. When it comes into contact with fluids, calcium alginate wound dressings swell to form a gel which helps to trap the liquid. The gel also helps to bind bacteria which is subsequently removed when the dressing is changed.

So I got a brainwave some days ago to add natural seaweed to fresh aloe vera juice to make a paste which could be spread onto gauze and placed directly over cavernous wounds. The paste helps to fill the cavities as well as provide a moist, protective, cushioning layer. Although the wound is kept moist, it also stays drier because of the fluid-absorption, or hydrophilic, properties of seaweed. Bacteria, dead tissue and debris is also trapped and retained and eventually disposed of when the dressing is changed, which minimises any foul odor as well as facilitates healing.

The seaweed I use is agar-agar, which can be purchased from supermarkets and health-food stores in either powder form, or as dehydrated seaweed strips. Powdered agar-agar may contain bleach and additives like fragrance and artificial coloring, so read the label very carefully before purchasing it.

Natural agar-agar strips must be dissolved in boiling water over the stove before becoming usable for making jelly (the most common and popular use) or even for adding to the aloe vera juice to make a gel or paste. Agar-agar powder is much easier to use, as all you need to do is add sufficient boiling water to dissolve it. Stir while adding in the boiling water, and keep stirring as it cools. It should form a thick, glue-like consistency. When you achieve this consistency, add in the aloe vera juice spoonful by spoonful, stirring all the while to prevent clumps from forming.

When the mixture starts to thicken, stop stirring, let the aloe vera and seaweed concoction cool, then pour it into a container for storing in the fridge. It will thicken much more as it chills, and may even set into a jelly! Should that happen, add more boiling water to soften and thin out. The consistency I like is similar to a soft paste. The paste will keep for several days in the fridge. It’s so cooling and soothing when you take it straight from the fridge to apply to wounds.

Spread the paste on gauze before placing it over the wound, ulcer or sore. For easier removal of the dressing later, I usually sprinkle some olive oil on the gauze first before spreading on the aloe vera and seaweed paste. Flaxseed oil is another good option as it is supposed to have healing properties. Do note that people who have estrogen-driven cancer may want to avoid using flaxseed as it is high in estrogen.

For serious wounds, always consult a doctor. Certain wounds may have underlying problems which may make them difficult to treat and heal. I mentioned my aloe vera and seaweed wound paste to my oncologist relative while I was developing it. He thought it was an ingenuous idea. It may help those dealing with large wounds or deep, weeping sores and ulcers, such as cancer patients with raw, surface tumors, people with bedsores, and diabetics with ulcerated sores.

Speedy healing!

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Time: December 4, 2009, 8:34 am

[...] Agar-agar is obtainable from most Asian supermarkets and health food stores. You can read that post here. Here’s my [...]

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