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Old-Fashioned Sugar Remedy Heals Persistent Wound

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Q. I have been an amputee for 48 years. I've been struggling with a pressure sore on my stump for two and a half years. My wound had staph bacteria almost to the bone.

I tried all of the modern-day medical treatments my doctors prescribed to no avail. Finally, my physician recommended treating the wound with sugar, but he never mentioned the mixture of sugar and Betadine. I found the recipe for this combination online.

I started using the mixture seven days ago, twice daily, and the wound has practically sealed up with no proud flesh or drainage. I would say that this is a great remedy.

A. We first heard of the sugar cure for wounds back in 1985 from a woman who was trying to heal her grandmother's bedsores. The earliest mention of sugar for wound healing that we could find in the medical literature was during World War I in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Sept. 4, 1915).

This treatment persisted as an old wives' tale until the mid 1970s when Richard Knutson, MD, began using sugar on hard-to-treat wounds (Southern Medical Journal, Nov. 1981). His formula involved mixing 4 pounds of table sugar with 1 pound of Betadine (iodine) antiseptic ointment and 6.5 ounces Betadine solution in a double boiler over low heat. He applied the mixture to a depth of one-fourth inch, changing the dressing and cleaning the wound daily. He treated over 5,000 patients over 15 years.

Nurses have pointed out that Betadine might damage delicate cells and slow healing. Any wound that does not heal requires careful medical supervision.

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Did you follow this same recipe (people's pharmacy) for your wound? Thank you for the comment. And where can you find BETADINE solution and ointment?

I read years ago that in the ancient world, sugar was used to heal wounds. In other words, it's a drug, and should be treated as one, which is to say that we shouldn't be constantly pouring sugar into our systems.

I remember in the mid 40's, growing up in NE NM, once, when my younger brother and I were playing outside, he somehow stepped on a piece of broken glass that resulted in quite a gash. I held his leg up while I struggled to help him to our house. Our maternal grandmother, who happened to be babysitting us (we may have been 4 and 6 years old), rinsed the wound, packed it in sugar, and wrapped it. My parents didn't take him to the doctor until the following day. The doctor said the wound was healing fine, and didn't stitch it. Strange how all these years, whenever I've cut myself, I've not thought to try sugar. I just bandage it and forget it. I might try sugar and a bandage the next time.

Although betadine had been used on me before (no open wound), I found that I am terribly allergic to it when it was applied to an open wound following a surgery. It caused me agonizing pain a couple of times before I realized what was causing it. Point. If you try this remedy, know that you're not allergic to betadine. Would anything else work with the sugar?

As a veterinarian (now retired) caring for monkeys and apes living, not always peaceably, in social groups, I treated hundreds of contaminated wounds with a thick slurry of table sugar dissolved in sterile saline or freshly-drawn tap water.

I began using it after reading an article in Lancet reporting the successful treatment of a case series of patients with non-healing deep cavity wounds following chest surgery (Trouillet JL, et al: Use of granulated sugar in treatment of open mediastinitis after cardiac surgery. Lancet,July, 1985, pp 180–184).

The sugar kills bacteria through osmotic action, and attracts the body's "clean-up crew" of macrophages and other infection-fighting elements to the wound site, thus promoting rapid cleansing and healing of the wound. There is no need, and may be harm, to incorporate Betadine liquid or ointment into the mix.

The sugar slurry application is painless, and seems efficacious even when animals lick it off relatively quickly. It may be applied once or twice daily, with or without a wound dressing. Irrigate the wound cavity with saline or tap water to remove the debris before a fresh application of the sugar slurry. The only cautions I've seen in the literature are that application to fresh wounds may increase bleeding, and that sugar applications could cause damage to the kidneys if excessive absorption into the blood circulation occurred due to use in large deep wounds or extensive surface area wounds relative to the size of the patient. This is because the body requires the absorption through the digestive system and passage through the liver to break down the complex sugar molecules.

There is an excellent review article of the use of sugar for wound management in animals, available free online: Mathews & Binnington (January 2002) Wound Management using Sugar. Compendium of Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian, 24 (1): 41-50.

Thank you very much for that information PLA! (And People's Pharmacy.)

When I was a young RN, visiting nurse in the 1950s, a well seasoned RN told us to use sugar plus Barbisol (shaving cream) on bedsores. We mixed sugar into the Barbisol and applied it to the wound. Only a small of amount sugar and cream were used. Sometimes a dressing was applied and sometimes allowed to be open. The improvement was remarkable.

About 60 years ago, I was helping my Mom in the kitchen and accidentally cut my index finger almost to the bone. Blood was everywhere and we couldn't get the bleeding to stop. My Grandmother heard the crying and commotion and rushed into the kitchen. She grabbed the sugar bowl and stuck my finger in it for about a minute, removed it and then quickly bound my finger with a clean white cloth. The bleeding slowed and then stopped. Grandma said that to stop bleeding, blood has to coagulate, which is what glucose does. Since sugar is glucose, the blood quickly coagulated. To this day, I always treat problematic bleeding wounds with sugar.

People's Pharmacy response: Thank you for sharing your remedy! Dr. Knutson has told us that he never uses sugar on a wound that is bleeding.
Many people have found that ground black pepper stops bleeding in such a case.

A girlfriend told me to put sugar in my mouth when I burned my tongue on hot coffee. I put a teaspoon on my tongue and the burn went away instantly. Ever since then I use sugar for any kind of mouth burns and it always works.

I was telling my son about this sugar therapy, mentioned in your column, but he has diabetes, and I was wondering if this would be harmful for him to try... He has a leg off to the knee.

According to a newsletter I got today, some doctors are using sugar for diabetic people when they have problems with medication. Yes, they are using sugar to cure wounds in diabetics and is good to know because I am diabetic.

TO LGC In August I was in a 'clinic' (not medical) that treat diabetic people (and other illnesses ) with a special diet. Some men were there for three weeks following the treatment. When they left their sugar was almost normal. It is true that you must follow this diet all your life if you want to be out of medication and stable sugar levels. May be your son can check on this type of clinics or places that fallow special diets, if you need more info. let me know. I did lose some weight but not enough to get out of my medication but my sugar went from 200, 180 aprox, to 100, 115. ... Just in case you are interested.

I commented back in October about the pressure sore that I had on my stump. I has completely sealed up and I am able to walk again after two years and 8 months. I highly recommend the sugardyne treatment for hard to heal pressure sores that have staph. It worked for me, praise God.......

Awe Marcus, this is wonderful news...!!! I am diabetic, (Type 2), and meds have little effect on my numbers. I don't have wounds on my feet but I do have wounds on my face. I am going to try this and see how it goes for me...Thank you. You are an inspiration...!!!

I had a lymph node biopsy in my groin 10/12/11. It got infected with strep. That was taken care of. The wound won't heal. It is leaking lymph fluid so went back into surgery to have it debrided and re sewn. That was 2.5 weeks ago. I'm still seeping. Doc sprayed a Talc (powder) aerosol and I am packing it with gauze strips. Two days ago it started to smell. Yep, infection is back. Will call the doc tomorrow morning. Tonight however, I soaked the gauze with a saline and sugar mix and pushed that puppy into the wound. Will do it 2x a day until I can see my doctor. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I have had a wound on my ankle that was slow in healing due to poor circulation. The physician administered a mixture of one teaspoon of sugar and white vinegar once daily placed directly on a folded guaze over the wound for 1 week. It worked out great.

My Mother contracted staph in her Left foot two and a half years ago after a botched attempt at lancing a small planter wart in office... The wound care center she attends weekly, has been aggressive in her treatment with MUCH improvement, it just seems we have reached a standstill in her healing in the past 6-8 weeks. Last Thursday, during our weekly visit to change her cast and clean the wound, the AARNP said "we are going to try Betadine and Sugar next week".

Now, of course I trust the treatment team implicitly with my Mothers care, I still felt obliged to Google this strange treatment... I came across this site. I will check back in Thursday on this site and let all know how this treatment was put in the wound, and again the Thursday after to let all know if there is any improvement. I would like to add that in Mother's case, a cast on the foot with the wound has been imperative in her treatment, allowing pressure to stay on her foot thus allowing it to heal more so in the past six months since they put it on her than in the first year and a half without it.

My prayers are with the sufferers of these nasty wounds, the Nurses and Doctors, AND the caregivers who have to see their loved ones suffer. Shalom.

I had surgery last Jan. 2012 on my foot after a motorcycle accident, its been almost a year and I still have a open wound its about 4in by 2in. I am not diabetic, been to wound care and nothing get better, I saw this about the sugar. I am going to try it, if anyone can give me some advice I would be thankful.

You can also check out the use of raw manuka honey. This comes from New Zealand and where there has been extensive testing done by a university on its use in healing open wounds. It is antibacterial, plus encourages healing in the same way as sugar. It is being used extensively on dressings in hospitals in England as this honey is very resistant to MRSA bacteria.

A couple of years ago, my husband, who has bad circulation in his lower legs had a big wound that was not only not healing, but the constant use of betadine was starting to break down the surrounding skin. In desperation we did our own research and started treating it with manuka honey. We cleaned it daily with saline solution and then applied the honey to a non-stick dressing. It began to look healthier immediately and eventually healed well.

We were in France at the time, and our doctor said they were beginning to use the manuka dressings in hospitals there as well. You can usually find this in health food stores. It has different grades, and the references I had recommended level 15.

I am from the North-East of England and many people from that area swear by sugar and soap for the treatment of infected and pus-filled wounds or the drawing of boils. The mixture is made into a paste and spread on linen/cotton that is then applied to the wound and left overnight. I do not know the significance of the soap - perhaps it was purely to make the sugar stick, but it really works.

People's Pharmacy response: Thanks for letting us know about this.

I live in the north of Canada. My father had went in for routine surgery 2 weeks ago. Had a piece of his bowel removed due to a small growth. Everything went well. Great surgeon. Supposed to have recovery, yet they sent him home after only three days without even having one bowel movement. The day he left the hospital, I questioned the nurses because his abdomen was swollen and we were assuming that the connection was leaking stool inside his body. They dismissed that fact and sent him home at noon on Friday regardless. My father was bloated.

As expected, on Saturday morning at 6 am, he was rushed back to the hospital with septic shock. Everything he ate leaked into his body. Poisoned.....the surgeon thankfully cleaned everything out that he could and applied a colostomy bag. After 2 weeks in recovery, my father is still oozing out a sort of infection from his 3 inch deep wound. (simillar liquid which is filling the jp pouches(drain sacs). They have been changing the dry packing over the last week twice daily.

Now the surgeon will fill the cavity and tunnel with sugar. My father is a diabetic....I mentioned to everyone including the doctor and nurses that his body may absorb this due to the fact it is so close to his bowels and organs. I hope I am not wrong. I will keep you all posted.

What kind of soap do I use and is it just plain white sugar? What amounts for each ? My husband has an orange sized wound or boil on his chest above his stomach for over a year that bleeds a lot and won't see a Dr and is holding his chest now while he walks I know he will try this if I just had an exact recipe. Thank you for helping me get him well.

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