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Sugar For Wound Care, A Sweet Approach

Sugar for wound care

You might put sugar in your coffee or on your cereal, but a healthful use may be for wound care. Use of ordinary sugar to treat wounds was recently brought to light by a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Health. Here’s more about this sweet treatment, and a bit of honey as well.

Sugar for wounds is a sweet approach

After a patient’s leg wound would not heal following surgery in the United Kingdom, nurses called in Moses Murandu for some sweet treatment. Murandu, who is from Zimbabwe, was familiar with a time-honored treatment for wounds and pain that involved sugar.

Within two weeks of starting sugar therapy, the patient’s wound decreased significantly in size. Eager to share this sweet treatment with others, Murandu initiated a randomized controlled trial to explore the use of sugar treatment in patients with various types of wounds, including leg ulcers, bed sores, and amputations.

Thus far, 35 patients have been treated successfully with sugar, and the trial continues. Murandu commented that “I believe in the sugar and the nurses and doctors who see the effects are beginning to believe in it too.”

More on sweet wound care
Treating wounds with sugar or honey is an approach that has been practiced for thousands of years. The secret of sugar treatment is water: sugar pulls water away from a wound, which deprives the bacteria of their life blood, and they die.

In fact, some research suggests honey may be better than sugar for wound care. In a 2007 study published in the Journal of Wound Care, researchers evaluated the use of either sugar or honey dressings in 40 patients.

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Of the 22 patients treated with honey, 55% had positive wound cultures when treatment started, which declined to 23% after one week. Among the 18 patient treated with sugar, positive wound cultures declined from 52% to 39%, respectively.

During the first two weeks of treatment, the healing rate for the honey group was superior to that of patients treated with sugar. After three weeks of treatment, 86% of patients in the honey group reported no pain during dressing changes compared with 72% of patients in the sugar group.

In 2008, honey once again was the subject of an evaluation in wound healing. This time the results of 19 trials that involved the use of honey for wounds and burns were published.

Overall, the reviewers noted that honey may reduce healing time when compared with some conventional dressings in partial thickness burns, but they did not see a significant difference in the treatment of leg ulcers.

Scientists in Amsterdam believe they discovered a reason why honey is effective in healing. A 2010 report noted that the medical grade honey they evaluated contained a protein called defensing-1, which has the ability to kill bacteria.

Modern medicine and all its high-tech treatments do not always have the answers when it comes to health care. Use of sugar for wound care and honey for burns are examples of old remedies that have timeless value.

Jull AB et al. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Oct 8: (4):CD005083
Kwakman PH et al. How honey kills bacteria. FASEB Journal 2010 Jul; 24(7): 2576-82
Mphande AN et al. Effects of honey and sugar dressings on wound healing. Journal of Wound Care 2007 Jul; 16(7): 317-19
University of Wolverhamptom

Image: Morguefile