Actinidia deliciosa (kiwifruit), a new drug for enzymatic debridement of acute burn wounds

Burns. 2010 May;36(3):352-5. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2009.04.021. Epub 2009 Jul 17.


Background: Actinidia deliciosa (kiwifruit) is used as a meat tenderizer. It acts rapidly and efficiently to soften meat, liquefying it if allowed to work for more than a few hours. Observing this effect and the lack of studies addressing this subject in the literature, the authors sought to investigate the use of this natural remedy in an animal model for eschar separation and debridement.

Methods: Thirty-five male rats were divided randomly into three groups. Under general anaesthesia, a limited standard full-thickness burn was produced on the back of each rat. For the intervention group (G1, 15 rats), the wounds were covered with fresh kiwifruit; for control groups 2 and 3 (G2, 15 rats; G3, five rats), the dressing was a neutral ointment (Emulsifier 1220). Weekly wound observations were documented for all the groups. G1 and G2 were sacrificed on Day 20, and group 3 was kept alive until complete eschar separation. The wounds of the rats in groups 1 and 2 were excised and subjected to microscopic evaluation.

Results: On Day 20, all eschars had detached and fallen off in the intervention group (G1), whereas in groups G2 and G3 the eschars were still firmly attached to the base of the wounds (except in two rats of G2); this finding was statistically significant (p<0.001). The average wound surface area in group G1 was 212 mm(2) (SD=88.80938) whereas in G2 it was 388 mm(2) (SD=140.6967). Thus, the wound surface area was significantly (p<0.001) smaller in the intervention group. The eschars in G3 separated spontaneously between days 30 and 42, while in all the rats of the kiwi-treated group, this phenomenon occurred before Day 20. The pathological study revealed no considerable differences between G1 and G2 (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Debridement and scar contraction occurred faster in the kiwi-treated group than in the untreated group. Following rapid enzymatic debridement, healing appeared to progress normally, with no evidence of damage to adjacent healthy tissue.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia*
  • Animals
  • Burns / pathology
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Debridement / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Plant Extracts