A pilot study on wound healing using an antibacterial steroidal saponin

  • K Attanayaka
  • S Mendis
  • E Jansz
  • S Ekanayake
  • A Perera


Cost effective primary and secondary wound care is needed and have significant importance in current medicine. The steroidal saponin Flabelliferin B with a UV active binder attached (FB), isolated from palmyrah (Borassus flabellifer L.) has a known structure and proven antibacterial activity. The objectives of the study were to (i) study the effects of FB on male Wistar rats in relation to toxicity by wound healing (ii) study the toxicity of FB by the eye tests on rats and rabbits (iii) test the allergenic reactions by topical application of FB on healthy human skin by the “patch test” (iv) evaluate the feasibility of full scale clinical trial of the FB on infected wounds of humans. Toxic or other adverse effects on animals were not observed. Allergic reactions were also not observed on normal healthy human skin by the patch test. Having obtained ethical approval a prospective clinical trial was carried out in Colombo South Teaching Hospital. An ointment of 2% FB was tested on wounds and ulcers with no subcutaneous tissue involvements. Human volunteers (n = 14) were employed in this study. Wound healing rates after treatment of FB ointment were monitored by measuring the percentage decline in wound area with time using normal standard hospital treatment as control. Microbiological tests by swabbing were carried throughout these experiments. The rate of wound healing was not significantly different from current hospital treatment (p = 0.512) and no allergic or other adverse symptoms were shown. It is concluded that it may be possible to use FB in treatment of wounds and ulcers with no subcutaneous involvement.

Keywords: Palmyrah, Flabelliferin B, Ulcers, Toxicity, Antibiotic.

Int. J. Biol. Chem. Sci. Vol. 2 (3) 2008: pp. 299-305

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1997-342X
print ISSN: 1991-8631