Cosmeceutical Critique

Cynodon dactylon


Cynodon dactylon (also known as Indian doab, Bermuda grass, Bahama grass, and several other appellations) has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat cutaneous diseases, fevers, and rheumatism,as well as a variety of chronic inflammatory conditions.1,2 The Ayurvedic armamentarium is thought to be the most abundant source of botanically based drugs used to treat wounds.3 Unrelated to health concerns, with the possible exception of allergic reactions, C. dactylon – which originated in Africa, is widely dispersed in Europe, and became an invasive species in locations such as Bermuda – is also used on putting greens on golf courses in subtropical and tropical climates.4 This grass has been shown to be safe and effective for treating induced RA in rats.1,2 Recent findings are encouraging in the area of wound healing.

Chemical constituents

Among the numerous ingredients contained in C. dactylon are proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, terpenoids, vitamin C, palmitic acid, and alkaloids.3 Other key phytoconstituents known to impart beneficial health effects that are present in the plant include flavonoids (such as apigenin and luteolin), carotenoids (such as beta-carotene and neoxanthin), phenolics, phytosterols, glycosides, saponins, and volatile oils.3 Given such components, it should not be surprising that C. dactylon has demonstrated antioxidant activity by scavenging the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical.3

Wound healing

Given the reputation of C. dactylon as an effective compound used in traditional medicine for wound healing as a hemostatic agent, Biswas et al. set out in 2017 to determine if they could provide scientific validation of the botanical as a viable wound-healing option. The investigators first undertook to compare a 15% ointment of the extract with a placebo control and the standard framycetin on full-thickness punch wounds in Wistar rats. Across all parameters, results for the C. dactylon–treated group far exceeded the control group and were comparable with the framycetin group. Subsequently, in a pilot clinical study, the researchers assessed the botanical ointment in a small cohort (n = 12) of men and women aged 65-75 years (n = 12) with chronic and complicated wounds. Half were treated with a topical C. dactylon ointment and half were treated with a topical framycetin sulfate ointment. Comparable effects were seen across the groups, with significant contraction of wounds and wound area noted, along with significant development of granulation and epithelial tissues. Hematologic parameters indicating improvement were comparable between the groups. The investigators concluded that all patients treated with C. dactylon healed successfully. They added that the antioxidant activity of the constituent phenolic acids and flavonoids in C. dactylon likely play a key role in conferring potent wound-healing effects by promoting collagenesis.3

In 2018, Perumal et al. created a collagen-silica biocomposite enriched with C. dactylon extract and studied its wound-healing potential in vitro and in vivo in comparison with collagen as well as collagen-silica scaffold controls. The investigators found that the stability of the enriched product surpassed that of native collagen by virtue of the intermolecular interactions between the botanical ingredient and collagen. In a full-thickness excision wound model using Wistar rats, the biocomposite was associated with more rapid healing than wounds treated with collagen and the scaffold control.5

Next Article: