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Salve and Burdock: A Safe, Effective Amish Remedy for Treatment of Traumatic Wounds?

Flurry, Mitchell D. MD; Herring, Kelsie L. BA; Carr, Logan W. MD; Hauck, Randy M. MD; Potochny, John D. MD

Advances in Skin & Wound Care: May 2017 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p 213–217
doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000515079.07160.e3
Features: Clinical Concept

BACKGROUND: Amish patients show a demonstrated preference for traditional, herbal remedies over modern medical interventions such as skin grafting. One such remedy is a mixture of Burn & Wound Ointment (B & W Ointment; Holistic Acres, LLC; Newcomerstown, Ohio) and steeped burdock leaves. Although both have demonstrated some antimicrobial and wound healing properties, burdock and/or the combination of B & W Ointment and burdock has never been studied to determine its purported ability to reduce pain, prevent infection, and accelerate wound healing.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed on 6 Amish patients treated with salve and burdock leaves instead of skin grafting following complex traumatic wounds to determine whether the traditional treatment incurred any patient harm.

RESULTS: The time of wound epithelialization and healing complications were noted, among other data points. Time to full epithelialization ranged from 1 to 7 months. Time to full wound healing was proportional to wound size.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the treatment presented here is unconventional, it did not cause harm to the patients studied.

Mitchell D. Flurry, MD, is Assistant Professor, Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics, Wichita, Kansas. Kelsie L. Herring, BA, Medical Student, graduates to MD in May 2017; Logan W. Carr, MD, is Resident Physician; Randy M. Hauck, MD, is Associate Professor of Surgery; and John D. Potochny, MD, is Associate Professor of Surgery, Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.

Submitted July 14, 2015; accepted in revised form October 5, 2015.

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