The effect of equisetum arvense (horse tail) ointment on wound healing and pain intensity after episiotomy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2015 Mar 31;17(3):e25637. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.25637. eCollection 2015 Mar.


Background: Episiotomy, a common surgical practice in midwifery, is accompanied with high levels of pain and discomfort for mothers. The importance of medicinal herbs and traditional medicine in wound healing cannot be neglected.

Objectives: Considering the positive effects and easy accessibility of Equisetum arvense, this study examined the effectiveness of topical application of Equisetum arvense ointment in wound healing, reduction of inflammation and pain relief after episiotomy in nulliparous mothers.

Patients and methods: This double-blind clinical trial was performed on 108 postpartum nulliparous mothers (54 women in horsetail group and 54 women in placebo group) in Alzahra Educational-Medical Center (Tabriz, Iran). About 5 ± 1 and 10 ± 1 days after the childbirth, the primary outcomes of episiotomy, i.e. wound healing and pain intensity, were assessed based on redness, edema, ecchymosis, discharge and approximation of the edges (REEDA) scale and a visual analogue scale (VAS), respectively. The secondary outcomes evaluated in the current research were the number of used painkillers and the adverse events during the 10-day period of the study. Data was analyzed using independent t and Mann-Whitney U tests.

Results: The case and control groups had no significant differences in for the mean wound healing score (5.0 ± 1.6 vs. 4.1 ± 1.6) and mean pain intensity (5.7 ± 2.4 vs. 5.3 ± 2.2) at baseline. During both follow-up sessions (5 ± 1 and 10 ± 1days after delivery), the mean scores were significantly lower in the case group than the control group. The adjusted pain score difference (MD) after 5 ± 1 and 10 ± 1 days was -2.3 (95% CI: -3.2 to -1.3) and 3.8 (95% CI: -4.7 to -3.0), respectively. The mean numbers of acetaminophen pills used in the control and case groups during the 10-day period of the study were 6.8 ± 4.4 and 11.6 ± 7.1, respectively (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: According to our findings, 3% Equisetum arvense ointment promoted wound healing and relieved pain during the 10-day period after episiotomy. Since this study was the first to assess the effects of Equisetum arvense ointment on wound healing and pain intensity following episiotomy in humans, further research is warranted to fully clarify the beneficial effects of prepared ointment.

Keywords: Episiotomy; Equisetum; Horse; Pain; Tail; Wound Healing.