A new study has found that crocodile blood has wound healing capabilities.
In recent months, we have heard of a number of animal-related products and research studies that have profound implications for the wound care industry. Whether wound dressings made to simulate spider webs or using tilapia to improve wound healing rates, there are a number of hugely beneficial animal species. If there’s one creature you would might not assume to be helpful, the crocodile might come to mind. After all, saltwater crocodiles are responsible for 2,000 deaths each year, per the U.K.’s Telegraph. As it turns out, though, the crocodile may have a wealth of health benefits for humans.
The power of blood
According to a recent study in the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, crocodile blood may be able to rejuvenate skin and heal wounds much faster. The study was run by a group of researchers from Thailand’s Khon Kaen University, and concerned the Siamese crocodile that is native to the part of the world.
The scientists may have been inspired to look toward the crocodile given its popularity in holistic medicine. As The Daily Telegraph reported, crocodile blood tablets are common in many Asian countries, and they’re purported to be a cure-all for many diseases and ailments. As it turns out, though, these practitioners may be on to something, as the study found that crocodile blood is a hugely powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant agent. It’s also shown some ability to serve as an effective anti-inflammatory.
That’s because crocodile plasma and serum assists with the creation and delivery of HaCAT, a “human keratinocyte cell line.” According to a 2011 report in the European Journal of Cell Biology, this cell line plays a central role in healing wounds and preventing infections. To test the blood’s capabilities, the research team used it on mice who had been infected with staphylococcus aureus. In just a few days time, the blood was able to increase tissue regrowth while also fighting off wound infection.
This isn’t the first time researchers have looked into the medicinal properties of crocodile blood. According to the BBC News, researchers in Thailand began to catch crocodiles to test their blood for antibiotic properties. Researchers believed that crocodiles, who are prone to wounds due to constant fighting, have what’s called a complement system, or a collection of proteins that can fight off bacteria, fungi and viruses. Some scientists even believe that crocodile blood can help manage HIV, as the Sun Sentinel reported. This potential ability boils down to crocodiles having an extremely potent immune system.
In the coming months, the team from Khon Kaen University may be able to synthesize elements in the blood to create a host of medicines and other therapies. If they can, then crocodiles may save more people than they have ever hurt or killed.
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