Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Egg Membrane for Healing Wounds back in 1905

On the topic of using eggshell membrane for wounds, I came across an article that was published in the New York Times July 1, 1905.

The article is reporting that at a session of the Therapeutical association of Paris, a Dr Amat gave a lecture on the use of the membrane of eggs in treating wounds.

The article reports briefly on two of his cases. One was a girl with a burn on her foot and the other of a forty year old man with a large leg ulcer. Both cases had good recovery with the use of egg membrane.

The method he used with both these cases was to spread the wound with six or eight pieces of the egg membrane, cover that with tin foil and cover that with dry antiseptic bandages. The bandages and foil were removed after four days. The result was that the membrane had partly grown into the tissues and that had caused good skin to grow.

He reported that this process helps wounds to heal very well and leaves little scarring.

Here is a link to the full New York Times article that I read.

I thought it was very interesting that this was a treatment that was being used successfully over 100 years ago. Particularly so as in the late 1990's experiments were done as to the efffectiveness of egg membrane as a dressing in skin graft donor sites. The results of these tests were that of the dressings tested the egg membrane gave the quickest healing time.

The limited size of the membrane was a problem that would need to be overcome. However the properties of pain relief, wound protection, promotion of healing and low cost that were observed with using egg membrane were considered to be of great advantage.

If you are looking for information on all things to do with eggs try this book, Egg Bioscience and Biotechnology. It is really a comprehensive reference that covers all the components of the egg and their known bioactive compounds. The information is organized according to the parts of the egg: egg shell and membranes, albumen and yolk. It includes information on egg shell membrane as a biological dressing for skin injuries.
The focus in the book is mainly on biologically active substances derived from egg components and their potential uses. Some of the properties include anti-microbial, anti-adhesive, immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive and anti-oxidant.

Modern science sometimes validates some of the knowledge and treatments that have been around for a long, long time. It is satisfying to find instances of this especially when it is using something that most people can easily access and use for a variety of uses.