The People's Perspective on Medicine

Soy Sauce Helps Ease the Pain of a Burn

Numerous readers have found that soy sauce helps relieve the pain of a burn, after cold water has cooled the injured skin.

Sometimes we learn about a surprising home remedy and then we hear from scores or even hundreds of people that they have used it successfully. More than a decade ago, a listener to our radio show called to tell us that soy sauce helps ease the pain and redness of a burn. We have been getting responses from other listeners and from readers ever since then. 

Soy Sauce Helps with Grilling Burns: 

Q. I am a firm believer in home remedies and have tried many of the ones listed on your website with good results. The most remarkable is soy sauce for burns. I have used it many times with great success.

I cook a lot and have even had a red-hot ember from a grill fall on the top of my foot. Part even went down between my toes as I was hopping around. Cold water went on first to wash the area of ash. Then I poured on the soy sauce. Half an hour later there was no pain and very little redness.

A. Thank you for sharing your story. Many other readers agree that cold water followed by soy sauce is their go-to treatment for minor burns. Grilling poses special risks when coals are involved. You could have experienced a very serious burn. Those require prompt medical attention.

Soy Sauce Helps Ease the Pain of Kitchen Burns:

Years ago, we heard from another reader who found soy sauce helpful for a kitchen burn: 

“When we were at the beach a friend of ours burned her hand on a very hot pan handle. (I had just pulled the pan out of the broiler.) I grabbed the soy sauce and had her soak her hand in it after she ran the burn under cold water. She reported relief and the next day she was fine. I was really worried it would blister. She smelled like marinade but that’s a small price. We credited you for the save.”

Laura wrote about a similar soy sauce experience:

“I burned my hand yesterday. After pulling a pan out of the oven (German Pancakes) I forgot for an instant and grabbed the handle on the stove. I’m sure I had severe 2nd degree burns on my palm and fingers. After 2+ hours of cold water/ice bag I remembered reading about the soy sauce. I put my hand in soy sauce for 45 minutes and then on and off for about 2 hours as needed for the pain. When I went to bed last night, you could see the burn and it was tender but did not burn. This morning it’s still red but no pain–no blisters and only a little tender. WOW!! I’m amazed!”

People who value simple solutions to common health problems may find our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, of value.

You might also be interested in these reports that speculate about the science behind soy sauce–or sugar–for burns. 

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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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That is good to know. Terry Graedon, I love the new website.

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