Exit

Health Condition

Burns

  • Aloe

    The herb Aloe vera is a popular remedy for minor burns, and a preliminary study found it more effective than Vaseline in treating burns.

    Dose:

    Apply gel three to five times per day
    Aloe
    ×
     

    Aloe is a popular remedy for minor burns and a small preliminary study found it more effective than Vaseline in treating burns.1 The stabilized aloe gel is typically applied to the affected area of skin three to five times per day. Older case studies reported that aloe gel applied topically could help heal radiation burns,2 but a large, double-blind trial did not find aloe effective in this regard.3

  • Sea Buckthorn

    Sea buckthorn extracts may speed the healing of skin injuries, including burns.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Sea Buckthorn
    ×
    In animal studies, sea buckthorn extracts have been shown to speed the healing of skin injuries, including burns.4 In a controlled trial,5 people treated for burns with dressings containing sea buckthorn oil had greater pain relief and faster healing than those treated with a standard burn dressing.
  • Vitamin D

    People with a history of an extensive burn might benefit from vitamin D supplementation, since the skin may not be as effective at manufacturing vitamin D from sunlight.

    Dose:

    200 to 600 IU day in cases of extensive burns
    Vitamin D
    ×
     

    Burns affecting a large proportion of the body may result in vitamin D deficiency6, potentially increasing the risk of osteoporosis, which is a frequent long-term consequence of severe burns.7 Vitamin D deficiency may result from the inability of previously burned skin to manufacture vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. People with a history of an extensive burn might benefit from vitamin D supplementation.

  • Calendula

    Calendula is anti-inflammatory and may be applied topically to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Calendula
    ×
     

    Calendula cream may be applied to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair. It has been shown in animal studies to be anti-inflammatory8 and to aid repair of damaged tissues.9 The cream is applied three times per day. Plantain is regarded as similar to calendula in traditional medicine, though usually the whole leaf is applied directly to the burn as a poultice.

  • Colloidal Silver

    Colloidal silver has been used as a topical antiseptic for minor burns for over a century.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Colloidal Silver
    ×
     

    Colloidal silver has been used as a topical antiseptic for minor burns for over a century. Internal use of colloidal silver is not recommended for this condition.

  • Gotu Kola

    Gotu kola contains substances that inhibit scar tissue from forming, it has been used in the medicinal systems of central Asia for centuries to treat numerous skin diseases.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Gotu Kola
    ×
     

    Gotu kola has been used in the medicinal systems of central Asia for centuries to treat numerous skin diseases. Saponins in gotu kola beneficially affect collagen (the material that makes up connective tissue) to inhibit its production in hyperactive scar tissue following burns or wounds.10

  • Plantain Topical

    Plantain is usually applied directly to the burn to soothe pain and help repair damaged tissue.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Plantain Topical
    ×
     

    Calendula cream may be applied to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair. It has been shown in animal studies to be anti-inflammatory11 and to aid repair of damaged tissues.12 The cream is applied three times per day. Plantain is regarded as similar to calendula in traditional medicine, though usually the whole leaf is applied directly to the burn as a poultice.

  • Vitamin E

    Using the antioxidant vitamin E topically on minor burns is a popular remedy. If applying vitamin E topically, use the tocopherol form.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Vitamin E
    ×

    Despite a lack of research on the subject, using vitamin E topically on minor burns is a popular remedy. This makes sense, because some of the damage done to the skin is oxidative, and vitamin E is an antioxidant. Some doctors suggest simply breaking open a capsule of vitamin E and applying it to the affected area two or three times per day. Vitamin E forms are listed as either “tocopherol” or “tocopheryl” followed by the name of what is attached to it, as in “tocopheryl acetate.” While both forms are active when taken by mouth, the skin utilizes the tocopheryl forms very slowly.13,14 Therefore, those planning to apply vitamin E to the skin should buy the tocopherol form.

What Are Star Ratings
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Holistic Options

Acupuncture may be useful in the treatment of serious burns. A report of patients suffering from extensive second-degree burns suggests acupuncture can reduce shock and pain following the acute injury and may reduce infection and pain when used as a part of post-injury wound care.15 A preliminary report described ten patients with second-degree burns that did not respond to conventional medical treatment. A majority of these patients achieved greater than 90% recovery following electrical stimulation to the wound (similar to electroacupuncture).16 Ear (auricular) acupuncture with electrical stimulation was studied in a small controlled trial, in which a significantly greater reduction in pain from burns was achieved with acupuncture. The relief lasted at least 60 minutes following acupuncture treatment.17

References

1. Visuthikosol V, Chowchuen B, Sukwanarat Y, et al. Effect of aloe vera gel to healing of burn wound: A clinical and histologic study. J Med Assoc Thai 1995;78:403-9.

2. Loveman AB. Leaf of Aloe vera in treatment of Roentgen ray ulcers. Arch Derm Syph 1937;36:838-43.

3. Williams MS, Burk M, Loprinzi CL, et al. Phase III double-blind evaluation of an Aloe vera gel as a prophylactic agent for radiation-induced skin toxicity. Int J Rad Oncol Biol Phys 1996;36:345-9.

4. Suryakumar G, Gupta A. Medicinal and therapeutic potential of Sea buckthorn (Hippophaerhamnoides L.). J Ethnopharmacol 2011;138:268-78.

5. Wang ZY, Luo XL, He CP. Management of burn wounds with Hippophaerhamnoides oil. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da XueXueBao 2006;26:124-5 [in Chinese].

6. Klein GL, Chen TC, Holick MF, et al. Synthesis of vitamin D in skin after burns. Lancet 2004;363:291-2.

7. Garrel D. Burn scars: a new cause of vitamin D deficiency? Lancet 2004;363:259-60.

8. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Medica 1994;60:516-20.

9. Patrick KFM, Kumar S, Edwardson PAD, Hutchinson JJ. Induction of vascularisation by an aqueous extract of the flowers of Calendula officinalis L the European marigold. Phytomedicine 1996;3:11-8.

10. Werbach MR, Murray MT. Botancial Influences on Illness. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 2000, 143-7.

11. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Medica 1994;60:516-20.

12. Patrick KFM, Kumar S, Edwardson PAD, Hutchinson JJ. Induction of vascularisation by an aqueous extract of the flowers of Calendula officinalis L the European marigold. Phytomedicine 1996;3:11-8.

13. Beijersbergen van Henegouwen GM, Junginger HE, de Vries H. Hydrolysis of RRR-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E acetate) in the skin and its UV protecting activity (an in vivo study with the rat). J Photochem Photobiol B 1995;29:45-51.

14. Norkus EP, Bryce GF, Bhagavan HN. Uptake and bioconversion of alpha-tocopheryl acetate to alpha-tocopherol in skin of hairless mice. Photochem Photobiol 1993;57:613-5.

15. Jichova E, Konigova R, Prusik K. Acupuncture in patients with thermal injuries. Acta Chir Plast 1983;25:102-8.

16. Sumano H, Mateos G. The use of acupuncture-like electrical stimulation for wound healing of lesions unresponsive to conventional treatment. Am J Acupunct 1999;27:5-14.

17. Lewis SM, Clelland JA, Knowles CJ, et al. Effects of auricular acupuncture-like transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation on pain levels following wound care in patients with burns: a pilot study. J Burn Care Rehabil 1990;11:3229.

18. Souba WW, Wilmore D. Diet and nutrition in the care of the patient with surgery, trauma, and sepsis. In: Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, et al. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999, 1589-618.

Copyright © 2019 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.

Drugs used to treat BURNS. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing