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Using Vanilla as a Burn Remedy

Some people report that they pour on vanilla as a burn remedy to ease pain and prevent blistering.
Using Vanilla as a Burn Remedy
Sun-dried vanilla pods with bottles of vanilla essence

What do you use as a home remedy for a simple burn? First aid is getting the burned area into or under cold water. But then what?

Readers of The People’s Pharmacy have shown a great deal of ingenuity and come up with a wide range of remedies for this common situation, from aloe vera or onion juice to yellow mustard or vanilla extract.

Vanilla as a Burn Remedy:

Q. You have written before about using mustard and vanilla (the real thing) for burns, and I can tell you they both work! I’m a kitchen burn “expert,” usually getting at least one a month. I rely on vanilla as a burn remedy.

I recently burned the back of my hand reaching into a hot oven and I immediately poured vanilla on it. A week later I had only a slightly darker spot with a little bit of tenderness, no blistering and no scarring.

No Blisters, No Scars:

Even a month later there is just a darker patch of skin that you wouldn’t know was a burn. It never even peeled, and it was a third degree burn at the time. In fact, I burned a smaller spot next to it a day later (I know, what a klutz!) but didn’t treat it and there is a scar there.

A. A severe burn should always be treated as a medical emergency with professional care. We are glad that the vanilla helped, but we don’t want anyone to substitute a home remedy for needed medical attention.

Cold Water Is First Aid for a Burn:

Cold water is the first line of defense in treating a kitchen burn. That helps stop ongoing tissue damage. After that, vanilla, yellow mustard or soy sauce have been reported to ease pain and prevent blistering.

People who appreciate such remedies may find our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies, of interest. In it you will learn about many approaches to home care, including using vanilla as a burn remedy.

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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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