a spoonful of sugar

Q. My father developed a bedsore on his back around the beginning of the year. It became infected months ago and has healed somewhat.

My dad is on hospice care. They were using a “wives’-tale” remedy of applying sugar to the infected sore. This sure seemed to work; it had to be discontinued, however, because the agency personnel are not supposed to apply it. I guess the remedy is not FDA approved.

Have you ever heard of this remedy? I am in charge now of applying the sugar, and it seems to work.

A. It is certainly an old wives’ tale, but there is also evidence to back up this approach for stubborn wounds. Decades ago, surgeon Richard A. Knutson, MD, published his experience using this old-fashioned approach to wound care in the Southern Medical Journal (Nov. 1981). We spoke with him and he told us he resisted his elderly nurse’s recommendation at first. “When we started I thought it was absolutely nuts.” But his experience with more than 5,000 patients convinced him it was useful to speed healing.

Recently, scientists compared honey and sugar as wound dressings. They concluded that honey is somewhat more effective than sugar in reducing bacterial contamination and promoting wound healing (Journal of Wound Care, July, 2007).

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  1. Eso

    sugar is good on wounds

  2. Monica

    Sugar and betadine work. I used it on my dad’s diabetic sores and used white sugar and betadine.

  3. frances

    Yesterday I read an article about this sugar treatment, it was in a UK newspaper regarding a man, diabetic, masses of ulcers, used the sugar treatment now NO ulcers. My concern now is, if this simple remedy works, why are there SO many poor, suffering elderly patients in Aged Care facilities with revolting bed sores, leg ulcers etc. that seem never to be healing. Is all this because if the remedy is plain old sugar, it is not going to make money for drug companies etc. I can only assume that that is the case. Does anyone else agree ?

  4. Red
    Oklahoma & Texas

    I got a scrape on my arm and the first time I noticed it was a problem was a lightly bleeding wound a little bigger than a quarter filled with snow white pus.

    I noticed it after everything closed on Friday night but the Emergency Room so I used honey on it. I had some of the Medical Honey from New Zealand I had got for foot an leg wounds.

    So far, I hadn’t need it as Gentian Violet had done just fine. It would have worked fine on my arm but its was too big a mess. The honey took of the scab overnight. The pus was gone in 18 hours.

    A little came back when I forgot to change the dressing for 2 days a week later. After 3 weeks the sore was healed up and only a red spot left. Six months later I can’t tell where the wound was.

    Sugar and Honey raise the osmotic pressure of the fluid next to the wound high enough it is toxic to bacteria, fungi and parasites by drawing the water out of the unwanted microbes and rending the fluids around them toxic.

    At the same time the high osmolality draws lymph and the white blood cells it contains to the wound to get on with the job if killing intruders . .
    See the Vet Med paper “wound Mangament using Sugar”
    http://www.hungarovet.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/wound-management-using-sugar-2002.pdf We are animals too.

  5. jemm

    I have a very shallow ulcer that is being treated by Flucloxacillan; 500mg 4 times daily .I went cold turkey on antibiotics the first week in Jan ’15 and went onto colloidal silver, sprayed every 2 hours thoroughly over my entire ulcer which extended that time up to and behind my knee. I also, drank 5 tablespoons of CS every 2 hours. After 10 days I was delighted..it had shrunk to the size it is now but I still have it.. Mid May I went into hospital for some IV treatment but due to my veins swelling every 2 days, the IV site had to be removed every 48 hours, so they put me on antibiotics.
    Wound condition changes daily. Below the ulcer across my ankle, I have a band of fluid that is very, very tender and has been that way for over a year. It is red and swollen. I assumed I had an infection in it but was told that this is where my fluid has accumulated. Now when I dress it, I make sure I pad it well , so that I don’t hit it against anything…I
    I am of the opinion that many health professionals haven’t got a clue on how to treat ulcers….and I jokingly have said, that The Inquisition would have been proud of them…just some of the treatments that have been recommended to me and what has been done to me in clinic rooms by so-called nurses…but the end result of that is, that the skin is very tender and reacts quite badly to 99% of the creams and stuff applied to my leg ulcer…
    so who here has tried this sugar treatment ?
    Does it hurt a lot whilst it’s doing good ?

    And what is EDT ( the IV stuff ) and who does it ? Is it like Vit C Chelation ?

    Thank you for reading my post…

  6. roy h.

    use ICING sugar only.

  7. malgorzata s.

    My husband had a very bad motorcycle accident about 4 months ago…we had this brilliant doctor from Colombia….he told the nurses to pack his wounds with sugar…it was amazing how fast it was healing……faster than regular packing and less painful. Will recommend this for any one and any time…..

  8. A

    I have found that a mix of sugar and lemon juice helps with acne and acne scarring, at least for me. Put sugar in a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a paste. Lightly scrub your face with it and it will leave your face feeling smooth. The sugar draws out the acne infection while the lemon’s acid helps to bleach out the old scars. So far this has helped my skin more than any acne medication, and it is a natural, cheap remedy.

  9. GJ

    So sugar soaks up all water and the bacteria can’t get any. Nice. Wish I had known years ago.

  10. TA

    I am an RN who often works with frail elderly, and when a caregiver told me about sugar to heal the constant skin tears we see, I thought she was nuts. But it worked far better than anything I have ever seen in 20 years of nursing, these poor people can have skin tears of their fragile skin that never heal otherwise, cause them great pain and often become infected.
    I have used it on myself and my animals with the same astounding results. Just plain sugar without the betadine, washed off, reapplied and bandaged if necessary, every day. Yes, we use betadine scrub in surgery, but is is good to have betadine in constant skin contact, especially for wounds that take time to heal? I know the sugar works, almost like magic.

  11. JB

    Update on black lab : Still applying the betadine and sugar and she will leave it and the sock on her foot for days now and not trying to remove it. The granuloma (large open swollen wound) is healing up really nice, can’t believe that the leg is looking like the other back leg.. very happy with this treatment. I just smear a bunch of the mixture on a strip of old towel and wrap her leg with it .. apply tape , then put a sock on with some flexible tape. At first she would tear off the sock daily but kept applying and she evenually lost interest in chewing at her leg. … will update again. So glad I found this remedy :D
    ps. agree totally with you Joe , this is doing more than what the vet ever did and way less money too.

  12. Reginald AAS/AB

    How did this turn out?

  13. Reginald AAS/AB

    Did you apply this to an open wound where the skin was completely open to the body wall? Thanks Reg

  14. joe

    I used this remedy on my 15 yr.75# dog It did in two weeks what no vet. was able to do in a year I cleaned the large wound approx. 2 sq. inches daily and applied a covering of betadine and white sugar and WOW in 2 wks all is well.

  15. Reginald AAS/AB

    I recently had a cat with pulled out stitches; the entire skin layer was open, exposing the tissue below. The veterinarian opened a pack of sugar and poured it on the open wound. I have read that using sugar as a topical agent was a good thing. But I have never heard of it being poured into an open wound. Would you please advise me if it is a good thing to pour it into an open wound. Sincerely Reg

  16. Renee B.

    I’m taking care of my friend,who has had 2 surgeries on his right ischial and they did not take. I’ve used medihoney, prisma and so far that’s not working either. So my question is will sugar work?

  17. JB

    Just tried betadine and sugar today on my black lab with an awful granuloma on her back leg. Been trying to heal it for almost two years. Tried antibiotics and synotic banamine from the vet… cleared it up somewhat then it returned x2 … it’s hard to keep her off of it, tried all the usual tricks for that too. Also much money on different creams etc.
    She isn’t trying to remove the bandage so maybe it’s doing something. I am impressed with the testimonials on here and am glad I found this site. Here’s hoping for healing. Will update with results. Thanks all.

  18. G. Rajan

    The moral of the story? Don’t disparage old wives! With age comes wisdom.

  19. KR

    did some more searching and found this solid evidence you can take to your doctor
    remember also, that your body needs a strong immune system to fight infections, so consider if you are getting enough vitamins. I always knew of Vit. C for healing, but recently have been learning that Vitamin D is critical for a healthy immune system as is Zinc and other micro nutrients.

  20. KR

    It works for the same reason that sugar is used to keep food from growing moldy or rotten (all canned fruit is packed in syrup or juice) Jam (half sugar half fruit) is the only thing you can boil, put in jars, seal without further processing and it will keep for years because the sugar keeps bacteria from growing. A German doctor treated a friend for a persistent leg wound with sugar, I thought it was nuts, but this explanation made sense…
    If you think about it, antibiotics only fight bacteria, but sugar keeps mold (=fungus) from growing, too! (Mold in open jam is likely from bread crumbs (yeast) that got into it.)

  21. Betty

    I was wondering how long did it take to finally heal? I have had a sore on my toe for over a year and it got very deep and my daughter told me to put sugar on it.
    And now it seems to be healing but I will find out soon I hope. But I just filled my toe with pure sugar.

  22. s

    My cat got attacked by a possum or raccoon, and has a ragged wound in her neck. Our vet told us to use the sugar remedy–I admit, I thought he was crazy–and it’s too soon to tell if it’s working, but it certainly isn’t infected or getting worse.

  23. kim c.

    i have a tibial chemical burn old that re opened took a month of bactrim ds becaused the would cultured out positive for mrsa.The wound continued to get worse . nothing seemed to help. using different wound gels like silvadene, and bactroban.
    I researched this article about sugar have been using it since wednesday and the would is filling in and healing nicely. The wound now looks beefy red with no areas of exudate. THANK YOU THANK YOU

  24. LC

    My husband is Diabetic and often gets Diabetic Blisters. His doctor just tells him he had to have burned himself. If he is not very careful, the blisters break and the skin gets torn off, then he winds up with a serious sore. Last year after several very expensive visits to the wound doctor, a cousin in Mississippi told us about the SugarDine remedy. It never fails to work.
    I mix up a paste of white granulated sugar and Betadine (no real recipe – just add a little of each until you have a good thick paste.) Fill the sore with the mixture, wrap it in some sterile gauze & tape it up good. I’ve found it is best if you leave the bandage on two days, then remove it, wash off the dried sugar and do it all again. It is truly amazing! For just a few dollars, we healed the wounds in two weeks that the wound doctor had charged us $3,400 for every 8 visits – over a period of two months – and saw no healing. Don’t waste your time – just mix up and apply some SugarDine yourself, and be prepared to be amazed.

    • suzanne

      I am a diabetic and I have an open wound between my toes. At this point, it is not infected.

      Two doctors are telling me to put betadine on it, but it’s still not closing.
      Any thoughts? Please, I am desperate. I can not use sneakers, go to the pool, or the ocean, and not exercising is not helping my diabetes.
      Thanks so much.

  25. ann

    Heard lots on this.. my mom had her big toe end removed keeps busting back open after stitches.. let you know how it turns out. very hopeful

  26. Nowelle K. G.

    Wow!! I am so glad that I found this!! I have a young cat, who got outside and was attacked by something(maybe a dog). She has a huge wound (and I mean HUGE!) (the vet is impressed that she is still alive) on her stomach. She was gone for about a week and when I found her, she was rotting and toxic!! YUCK!!!
    I brought her home yesterday, after being at the vet clinic for a little over a week. The vet has told me that it will take weeks for the wound to heal good enough for her to be able stitch it shut. I had already thought about adding salt to the mixture that the vet gave me. I won’t be able to wrap it up in any kind of a bandage, but I am going to definitely try this!!! I am going to mix the salt and sugar into the liquid that I use to flush the wound with and than maybe sprinkle sugar on it afterwards…. I will have to make sure that, that does not encourage dirt etc. to stick to it though.
    I am excited to try this and to impress the vet!!!!

  27. khaye

    Hi.. the reason why I saw this article, is because of my experience using sugar… 3 days ago, while I was working, I accidentally cut my finger (thumb) half inch wide, I know its deep because the bleeding is not normal, my aunt got nervous, even my husband telling me to go to the hospital for stitching… but I just relax and think of what will I do, the I remembered the article that I read in Facebook, that sugar can stop bleeding… so I went into the kitchen, with my husband and asked him to put some sugar into my finger, and we tie my finger using cotton and microphore, and it so amazing, because my wound eventually stop bleeding, and I took a mefenamic for the pain… and it really works… the next morning, its like nothing happen the past night because I don’t feel any pain.

    • Josie
      Asheville NC

      I was just reading an article by Dr.Richard Knutson MD about Sugardyne used to heal wounds,burns and ulcers. sugardyne is just 3 parts powdered sugar and 1 part cooking oil. The sugardyne is based on the honey and grease that the ancient egyptians surgeons used on battlefield wounds. Dr. Knutson stated that all sugars (including honey and syrup) chelate (bind with) calcium. If calcium is not available no clot can form. Therefore you should not use sugar on a wound that is bleeding. Wrap the wound in gauze and wait 1 1/2 to 2 days to give it a chance to clot then use a sugar treatment. You should read his article.-Also a long time ago I read in a old Natural remedy book that black pepper and also cayenne pepper stop bleeding. You just pour some on a cut and the bleeding will stop.

  28. Alen

    My wife was told by a plactic surgeon to try sugar in a wound that would not heal. Within a week the sore was healing. Her doctor thinks that she is crazy but it really worked and she did not have to have surgery to close the sore.

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