The People's Perspective on Medicine

Do You Know About Soy Sauce for a Blister?

One reader tried soaking a blister in soy sauce. The condiment helped heal the hurt skin quickly!
Close up on Blister on foot of a male. Hurt hikers legs without shoes. Misty morning fall nature. Outdoor activities

If you have ever gone for a long hike in a new pair of shoes, you might know a lot about the pain of a blister. Excess friction over time raises a fluid-filled bump on the skin that may be tender for days. We were fascinated to learn about a new home remedy.

Soy Sauce for a Blister:

Q. From your column I learned about using soy sauce on burns. This weekend I scraped paint for six hours and raised a blister on my thumb. It was quite a bump, almost a quarter inch in diameter, and about 1/8″ high. My thumb hurt, too.

I put soy sauce on a bandage and covered the blister overnight. It looked better in the morning, so I replaced the bandage with a fresh one with soy sauce on the pad. By that evening, the blister was completely gone and so was the pain. I don’t know yet if I will lose the skin on that spot, but it feels healed.

Soy Sauce for a Burn:

A. A decade ago, a radio show listener in Oregon told us about several impressive instances in which he had used soy sauce to avoid damage from a burn.

A reader responded later:

“I listened to your public radio show and heard a man call in recommending soy sauce for burns. ‘How weird is that?’ I thought.

“But then, as I took a loaf of bread out of the oven, the inner edge of my thumb and the fleshy pad underneath hit the metal rim of the pan. I expected a painful burn. Since I had nothing else at hand, I decided to try the soy sauce remedy.

“The pain eased up in less than a minute, the soreness did not materialize and even the redness went away! It may be weird, but it certainly did work!”

Your report is the first we’ve seen about using soy sauce for a friction blister. We are always interested in new home remedies and appreciate your story, though we can’t explain how it works. Needless to say, there isn’t any research on this topic. Anyone who would like to learn more about such intriguing approaches to common ailments may be interested in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I have used soy sauce so many times for burns, and it is a miracle ingredient! I’m sure that the pharmaceutical industry has extracted something from soy sauce that they use and charge a lot more. In any case, I keep soy sauce around for burns, and now I will for blisters.

I will have to try this next time I suffer a burn. Since I barbecue often this time of year, there’s a good chance it will happen sometime in the next few months. I have always used aloe mixed with olive oil on burns, which has always been very effective in mitigating both the intensity and duration of the pain.

Since I heard about soy sauce for a burn, from one of your radio programs, I’ve used it many times. It’s in a cabinet next to the stove so it is nearby and by the sink as well. I just pour it on AND IT WORKS. Unhappily, I had to use the remedy a few days ago.

I use the regular soy sauce; the low sodium version doesn’t work for me. I keep both on hand–one for food and the other as a first aid supply. For traveling get a few packets from your local Chinese restaurant!

Osmosis dried up the blister

It seems like soy sauce could work . We’ve been using dark miso for burns for years. First you chill the burn with ice or cold water, then dry & apply miso paste and a bandage. The salt content seems to “pickle” the burn and turn the burn blister into a hard pain free callus overnight which eventually falls off when the skin underneath heals.

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