It is often said that the best medicines are natural ones, which nature itself offers. This is the case of tipalia, a freshwater fish widely consumed in Brazil and that has been a real revolution in the medicine of that country and, possibly, in a short time that of the whole world.
At first glance, the fish could go unnoticed, however, its ability to heal and heal burned skin amazed many scientists a few years ago. Since then, their health capabilities have not gone unnoticed and have extended to numerous areas such as dentistry, urology or gynecology. In fact, in this last branch, it is mainly used for vaginal reconstruction. After the corresponding process, the skin of the tilapia is placed and the body absorbs it, transforming into a “new vagina”. It does not end here, it is expected that this year progress will be made in how the fish can help in problems of cornea and eardrum perforation.
The explanation for its miraculous ability is that tilapia skin has a large amount of type I collagen, prevents fluid loss and has a moisture similar to that of human skin. All these elements are the basis that any traditional cream has. In this way, it offers a solution to treat burns, currently the process is much more expensive and painful, since bandages are usually applied that must be changed continuously causing pain in the patient and extra work. Now, with the skin of the Brazilian fish you just have to attach it to the affected part. Thanks to its adhesion, it prevents external contamination and does not have to be removed.
More than 500 patients have been cured with this method, although at the moment it is not contemplated within the public health system. So much is the success, that it is already countries that are interested in doing more studies of this animal, among which we include NASA, although it is not yet known with intention.
The discovery was thanks to Dr. Marcelo Borges, who, in 2011, discovered that the skin of this fish was discarded for food. Instead, a small part of this skin was used to make accessories such as bags or belts. Borges thought then that if the skin was strong and sensitive enough to be able to make items, it would be the same for treating and curing cases of burns. And indeed it was.
For three years, Dr. Borges and surgeon Edmar Maciel, president of the Burn Support Institute, decided to conduct a deeper investigation of the healing powers of tilapia. The result, as we have seen, has been a success, which has allowed them to win numerous awards. It is the first time that an aquatic animal is used to treat burns. In addition, in Europe and the US, human or pig skin is usually used to treat these cases, while in Brazil only creams are used. Therefore, this fish can be a revolution.