Q. Your column about using sugar on wounds has changed the way I treat the cattle on my ranch. We have nearly replaced tetracycline powder for cattle hoof abscesses and lesions.

We did a test and saw equal results with sugar on the first 100 cows. We’ve now used it for more than 1000.

It is easy to remember. Just mix one cup of powdered sugar with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of any cooking oil to the consistency of cake frosting. Keep the wound covered for one or two days and change if necessary.

A. We are fascinated to learn that this remedy for hard-to-heal wounds could be so useful on a ranch. You have described Dr. Richard Knutson’s “recipe” very well.

We also heard this from another reader: “A paralyzed friend with persistent bed sores was cured when the sugar and oil mixture was used on them.”

Other readers have written about the use of medicinal honey for wound healing. GRH has this story: “My wife gave birth to twins via c-section in 1996. She was stapled shut and sent home after two days in the hospital. Went back for a check-up a week later and the top layer of skin and tissue, about 1&1/2 inches deep and 6 inches across, had not started healing after the staples were removed.

“Dr. told me to clean it with peroxide and fill it with honey three times a day. I thought with the advent of modern medicine that he was crazy but he was serious. ‘Just pick up a bottle of the honey bear with the pointed top at the store.’ Two days later it was closed shut. I put it on all of my cuts and eat local honey daily. My kids are pretty sweet too!”

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. J J

    After reading this article, I tried honey on the splits at the edges of my thumbnails. IT WORKED.
    I have a routine of keeping my hands covered, using rubber gloves and using a pumice stone on the problem areas. But I never found anything to KEEP the trouble spots healed. They would seem to heal but come back with the least amount of exposure.
    My method with the honey = I used a pumice stone and clippers as usual to soften and remove thickened skin around the wound (very gently and carefully, obviously). Then I applied a drop of honey and made sure it was IN the wound. I covered the entire thumb with athletic tape, pinching the tape at the wound to keep it from sticking in that area. I did this every night at bedtime for five nights. It has been about a month now, and the original wound has not come back. I have continued using the pumice stone each day as the skin still gets hard.
    The problem area remains healed and pain-free. Yay!! Honey works for me.

  2. Laurie Matson

    Back in 1977-1983 when I worked at a Nursing Home as a Nursing Assistant, the Nurses used a mixture of A&D Ointment and Granulated Sugar on Residents bed sores. I don’t know how that got started but it sure did work well!!!

  3. MJW

    It is my understanding that sugar (and honey) was used in the ancient world for healing wounds, and I have long wondered whether it was intended to be ingested in the quantities typical today.

  4. abigail

    What can you tell us about MANUKA Honey? Our natural food store carries several brands, some stronger than others. Manuka honey is expensive and the strong ones very expensive. If Manuka honey has genuine healing qualities, though, it would be worth the $$ to avoid medicines that have side effects..

  5. W. B. M.

    I like the concept of sugar-oil or honey and I know it works. We have an epidemic statewide of hoof rot in elk. Any ideas how we can apply this science to our elk? It is a big problem.

  6. Kim

    I have a friend that is a Farrier (shoes horses) he invented a mixture years ago as he also has a Bachelor’s in Animal Husbandry, that is Betadine Solution and granulated sugar. He has been packing his ‘sugar-dine’ into horses hoofs for years clearing up all sorts of infections, abscesses and assorted problems.

  7. JL

    Oops, your response, one part powedered sugar to 3 parts oil is incorrect. It should be one part oil (1/3 c.) to 3 parts (1 c.) sugar.

  8. bill wallace

    I have read somewhere that if you can get unprocessed honey, sometimes called raw honey, that it has antibacterial action that processed honey does not have. True?

  9. O.G.

    My only experience in this area was using honey–with the encouragement and supervision of a vet–on a wound on my greyhound’s leg with stitches that wouldn’t heal. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. While I applaud efforts to use less invasive and more “natural” methods, and am open to them myself, I hope this won’t keep people from using conventional antibiotics and other therapies when necessary.
    Perhaps Dr. Knutson’s formula…1 part powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) to 3 parts cooking oil…might be a better option than honey.
    OOOOPS! We were totally backwards on this formula. The correct “recipe” from Dr. Knutson is:
    Mix one cup of powdered sugar with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of any cooking oil to the consistency of cake frosting. Keep the wound covered for one or two days and change if necessary.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.