Introduction

Chromolaena odorata (L.) R. King and H. Robinson (formerly Eupatorium odoratum L.), a perennial belonging to the plant family Asteraceae (= Com-

positae), is a diffuse, scrambling shrub that is mainly a weed of plantation crops and pastures of southern Asia and western Africa. It forms a bush 3-7 meters in height when growing in the open (Fig. 1). Native to Mexico, the West Indies, and tropical South America, it was spread widely by early navigators. It is a weed of 13 crops in 23 countries (Holm, 1977).

Traditionally, fresh leaves and a decoction of C. odorata have been used throughout Vietnam for many years as well as in other tropical countries for the treatment of leech bites, soft-tissue wounds, burn wounds, skin infection, and dentoalveolitis (Le, 1995). A number of studies demonstrated that the extract of the leaves of C. odorata inhibited the growth of bacteria (Pseudomonas aeroginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae) (Le, 1995; Akah, 1990; Irobi, 1992; Caceres, 1995). Enhancement of hemostasis and blood coagulation with use of C. odorata extract has also been reported (Akah, 1990; Triaratana et al., 1991). A clinical trial of C. odorata extract was conducted in the National Institute of Burns in Hanoi, Vietnam between 1987 and 1991 on 136 patients with full-thickness wounds and an average wound size of 79.9 cm2. The stimulatory effects of a C. odorata extract on the formation of granulation tissue and wound reepithelialization were demonstrated clinically and histologically (Le, 1995).

Experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of the C. odorata extract on wound healing using different methodologies. This work illustrates that plant-based medicines that are used by folk practitioners to improve wound healing can be examined via scientific methods using cell culture technology and in vitro wound-healing models.

Figure 1 The C. odorata plant.
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