Arnica and stinging nettle for treating burns - a self-experiment

Complement Ther Med. 2011 Oct;19(5):276-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Sep 10.


Background and objective: Combudoron, composed of extracts from arnica and stinging nettle, is used for the treatment of partial thickness burns and insect bites in Europe. Because clinical investigations are lacking we wanted to investigate its efficacy in partial thickness burns.

Methods: Two individuals performed a self experiment: 4 experimental grade 2 burns (each 1 cm(2)) on the back were induced respectively with an erbium YAG-laser. Wounds were treated with Combudoron gel, Combudoron liquid, placebo gel or placebo liquid in each of the subjects in a standardized, single blind manner. Outcome parameters were the photo documented duration of wound healing and visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores.

Results: All 8 experimental burns were similar from size and depth at baseline. Eschars of the verum-treated burns fell off earlier than the placebo-treated burns (verum liquid: after 14 and 19 days compared to 17 and 27 days with placebo liquid. Verum gel: after 16 and 22 days compared to 18 and 28 days with placebo gel). Eschars of the liquid treated burns fell off earlier than of the gel treated burns. Pain scores were not applicable because they were low and differences between the lesions could not be discriminated on the back.

Conclusion: Combudoron seems to have positive effects on healing of grade 2 laser induced burns which deserve further investigation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arnica*
  • Burns / drug therapy*
  • Burns / etiology
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Lasers / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Urtica dioica*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Drug Combinations
  • Plant Extracts