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Sugar and Iodine for Bedsores

Q. I graduated from nursing school in 1986. My first job was in long-term care. Unfortunately, we had a few patients with large bedsores. We were told to mix up a batch of sugar and Betadine gel so we could pack the wounds and cover with a sterile dressing.

The results were sometimes amazing. When all else fails, some of the old-time remedies do work well.

A. We first heard about this approach from a reader of this column 25 years ago. After some sleuthing we found an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jan. 8, 1973) describing the use of sugar for hard-to-treat bed sores. The physician described an 80 percent healing rate over five years of study. He speculated that the granules create local irritation that stimulates tissue formation and wound repair.

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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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