Journal of ethnopharmacology

The essential oil of Croton zehntneri and trans-anethole improves cutaneous wound healing.

PMID 23000167


Croton zehntneri is a Euphorbiaceae species native to northeastern Brazil, where teas and beverages made from Croton zehntneri leaves are used as healing agents. To our knowledge, there is no experimental study supporting this claim of pharmacological activity. Full-thickness excisional wounds were made in the left and right sides of the dorsum of anesthetised Swiss mice, and a topical pharmaceutical formulation, developed by including essential oil extracted from the leaves of Croton zehntneri (2% and 20% EOCz) in pluronic-127 (PF-127), was administered to mice twice daily for 15 days post-wounding. To evaluate the contribution of trans-anethole, the major constituent of EOCz (85.7%), in the wound healing activity of EOCz, the effect of the topical administration of trans-AT on wound tissue repair was also evaluated and compared to other groups. A macroscopic analysis of swelling and exudates was performed and scored as 0 (missing), 1 (light), 2 (moderate) and 3 (intense). The number of capillaries and leukocytes was counted in hematoxylin and eosin (HE)-stained sections of the injured tissue. For extracellular matrix remodelling analysis, fibroblasts and collagen fibres present in the photomicrography of the Masson's Trichrome (MT)-stained sections were counted. Each experimental group comprised six mice. At day 3 post-wounding, it was observed that treatment with 20% EOCz greatly reduced the swelling and exudates with a similar magnitude to the dexamethasone treatment. The inflammatory cell infiltration and angiogenesis were not altered by either the EOCz- or trans-AT treatments. In contrast, an acceleration of the wound closure was observed, with an enhanced number of fibroblasts and collagen fibres in both the 20% EOCz- and trans-AT-treated mice. Our data indicate that EOCz exerts significant wound healing activity, demonstrating its relevant therapeutic potential.