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The 3 Phases of Wound Healing


AUTHOR: Shona Mackenzie (Naturopath & Medical Herbalist)


In February (2016) I believe I was bitten by a white tail spider. What flared up on the back of my jawline for the first few days was quite itchy. I thought I'd been bitten by a large mosquito more than once in the same place (photo 1) and so continued to think nothing of it, other than monitor it and apply home remedies I'd used in the past for healing wounds e.g. coconut oil, tea tree oil. By the third day I was regularly taking photos, as what was appearing was not something I'd ever experienced before (photo 2). 

Almost a week in, I was told that what I had looked very much like a white tail spider bite. That made a lot more sense as the photos were clearly showing two definite marks side by side, and the very day that I started to scratch my face I had been in the garden all day in amongst many shrubs and hedges with my hair tied back.

I continued to daily monitor (very carefully) what was happening in case medical attention was required (these bites can become a serious condition very quickly). Though as you can see in the photos my body slowly continued to heal the wound and dispel the infection. I explain below how the body heals, and what to look for in this healing process.

The three phases of wound healing are:
  • Inflammatory
  • Proliferation
  • Maturation 


When a wound occurs blood vessels in the wound contract (narrow) and form a clot to stop the bleeding. The blood vessels then dilate (widen) to allow important healing cells and nutrients to reach the wounded area e.g. antibodies, white blood cells, growth factros, and enzymes. It is during this time that the body's natural inflammatory processes begin to show – redness, heat, swelling and pain. The wound has a rise in exudate (pus) – a fluid which contains cells, proteins and solid materials. It is important to monitor the surrounding skin at this stage for any increased signs of new infection. Within the wound, the main cells at work are neutrophils and macrophages (white blood cells). Their role is to mount an immune response to weaken and destroy any diseased tissue. 


The proliferation phase comprises of the 'rebuilding' of the wound – new granulation tissue consisting of collagen and a new network of blood vessels. It is important during this 'rebuilding' that the connective tissue cells (fibroblasts) receive adequate levels of oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessels. New healthy tissue is pink / red in colour and does not bleed. It is the colour and condition of this new tissue within the wound that indicates how well the wound is healing. Dark tissue can indicate poor blood supply / and/or infection. The outer layer of skin (epithelial cells) eventually resurface the wound (epithelialisation) e.g. form a scar.


In this final phase when the wound has closed, cellular activity reduces and the number of blood vessels in the injured area decline. Collagen within the wound tissue is remodelled and the scar starts to fade and thin out. 

To aid recovery of my wound I used:


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – It is a powerful anti-infammatory and involved in all phases of wound healing. Vitamin C decreases in our body after an injury/wound, therefore supplementation is very important to maintain adequate levels required for each healing phase. I had on hand 3g ascorbic acid powder which I mixed with water and drank 2-3 x daily.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – It has strong wound healing actions including anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial effects. I mixed my organic Turmeric spice in with some coconut oil or castor oil and applied morning and night.

Lampona Cylindrata 30c (NaturoPharm) – A remedy to support the body's response to what may very well have been a White Tailed Spider bite. I sprayed this regularly throughout the day. 

I generally kept the wound clean and un-bandaged during the day, and covered at night for sleep. NOTE – the redness and spots around the wound were from bandages. From the initial injury/bite to photo 14 was approximately two weeks. 

Please feel free to contact The Good Health Room for guidance and information regarding wounds. We can provide a wide range of custom-made herbal remedies (internal and topical) that can aid healing of wounds effectively and safely.


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