Leg ulcer is a persistent open sore often developed on the lower leg, ankle or feet. The sore may result from an injury, which may either be very slow to heal or improperly healed, thereby causing a painful ulcer on the site of the injury. Bedsores from prolonged immobilisation, longterm blood vessel or nerve deterioration can lead to a leg ulcer. It can also result from certain disorders, for example, as a complication of the varicose veins, deep clotted veins and poor circulation.
With poor circulation, blood flow is restricted and the skin tissue begins to erode or disintegrate. This is because the substances necessary to bring healing and recovery to the site of injury are now hindered by the impaired circulation, which prevents the blood from carrying out its normal function of transporting materials. Also the veins fail to return deoxygenated blood from the legs back to the heart. Different factors, such as standing too long in one place and too little exercise contribute to the development of circulatory disturbances and varicose veins. Factors such as obesity and arteriosclerosis also promote these conditions to develop in the body. People with diabetes, in particular, are at risk for leg ulcers. Other risk factors are arthritis, prolonged pressure on an area, oedema, dietary problems and aging.
Symptoms of leg ulcers
A sunken, asymmetrically shaped wound with the edges of the ulcer clearly defined from the surrounding skin, but inflamed. Its appearance may be red along the sides of the site, but mostly in the centre it is moist and light-coloured. The surrounding skin may also be pigmented, hardened or calloused. And if the tissue is infected, pus is discharged from the ulcer. There is also severe pain, particularly while standing and the pain may persist over a long period of time. The pain may start off mild but gets progressively worse, becoming almost unbearable as it is often times accompanied with intense itching.
Patients are in tears having their wounds tended to or dressed. And when the itching comes, it could be so severe that victims may put harmful objects like needles, broom sticks, etc. inside the dressing and thus end up infecting the wound and risking amputation.
Some of the herbal remedies that may help to hasten the healing of the ulcer:
Aloe vera: This has antibacterial activity against multi-drug resistant organisms and promotes wound healing. To treat ulcer, slice aloe leaf lengthwise, scrape off the sticky gel and smoothen over the affected leg and let it soak. Apply repeatedly and you will soon begin to see significant improvement.
Also, patients should drink at least a tablespoon of the gel 2-3 x every day as a herbal treatment.
Boosting immunity with colostrum:
The first secretion from the mammary glands of mammals immediately following delivery. Colostrum contains all known immune factors, which super charges the immune system and protects us from bacteria, viruses and other invading organisms. There are an estimated 5, 000 medical studies today proving that colostrum heals, causes all body tissues to regenerate and countless other healing benefits.
Colostrum can be taken as supplement – one tablespoon in lukewarm water, first thing in the morning and also at night to improve immunity and general well being.
Powdered colostrum when applied directly to the ulcer, speeds up the healing process with amazing results. It will promote skin elasticity and keep your skin looking young and healthy, as if no ulceration ever occurred on your body!
Turmeric powder: Stir a teaspoon in warm water and add little coconut oil; using a cotton ball soaked in this mixture, clean the affected area properly. Now place a gauze-bandage lightly over the ulcer. You may coat the bandage with your turmeric mixture before adhering it. Repeat this procedure 2 X daily.
Drink the turmeric too – infuse 1 tsp. turmeric powder with a pinch of black pepper in a teacup of hot water and drink 2X daily.
Horsetail: Contains silica; restorative powers of the skin are promoted and increased by silica. Infuse one teaspoon of the dried, whole plant in boiling water for 15 minutes. Take 2-3 times daily and also clean the affected leg with some of the solution.
Bryophyllum pinnatum (African never die): This herb is well known for its hemostatic and wound healing properties; and has also been shown to alleviate itching and pains of various intensities because of its potential as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerous, antibacterial, anti-histamine and anti-microbial. The leaves are also considered disinfectant, antiseptic, mucilaginous and emollient.
Mash or pulverise the leaves to obtain the juice and apply this directly on the ulcer. Do this as often as necessary to prevent disintegration of the tissues.
Raw honey: Disinfection and healing of the affected area of the leg can be achieved by the use of pure natural honey, which must be applied directly on to the ulcer. Cover the sore with cotton gauze after spreading a spoonful of honey over it; leave the cotton gauze on the ulcer overnight.
Tea tree oil: Contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties that make it a vital part of the treatment for leg ulcers. Applying tea tree oil to the affected area provides a barrier that prevents any bacterial infection from developing. Tea tree oil is especially recommended for leg ulcers caused by diabetes and can help reduce inflammation, pain, and eliminate any odor caused by the ulcer as well.
Other essential oils, which have proved beneficial, include clary sage, lemon and bergamot. Always dilute in a carrier oil.
Increase antioxidants: The skin needs extra supplies to stay healthy. Taking 500-100 mg/day of Vitamin C can speed up healing of leg ulcers. Vitamin E applied to the skin will also help ulcers to heal as will daily use of 50-150 mg/day of zinc. Also include essential fatty acids to your supplementation regime. Evening primrose oil has been shown to improve blood flow to the legs and help heal leg ulcers.
Please note that whatever external application you choose, treatment requires keeping the affected area clean and avoiding dead skin and any debris piling on the ulcer.