Treating Wounds With Sugar: Everything You Need to Know

The chances for you to get injured are higher when outdoor, and most of the time you need a quick fix to make sure it doesn’t get infected. Treating wounds with sugar is a very effective way to make sure of that.

Scrapes from bushes, and small cuts from slipping and falling are very common occurrences, and not that life threatening, at first. But left untreated is not an option, you need to make sure they heal properly.

It’s safer you use whatever you have around, that can help you treat your wounds. Sugar might be your best solution, if you lack other, more normal means, like antibiotics. See our tips on hiking safety to learn more basic protection for you and your family.

Sugar is a must in your backpack. Most of the time it’s already there to use for tea or coffee, so you get a 2 in 1 use of it, making your backpack lighter. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to treat wounds with sugar, so you are prepared if anything happens.

How to Heal your Wounds with Sugar

First you want to make sure you have everything you need next to you when treating your wounds. Put them by your side, in a dry and clean spot, so you don’t have to move till after you’re done, and sugar doesn’t get dirty or wet before using it.

Clean your hands first when treating your wounds and follow my step-by-step directions to make sure you are doing it properly.

What do you Need?

If you are going to apply sugar to heal your wounds, you need to have the following things with you:

  • Sugar (of course!)
  • Soap and clean water
  • If you have pyodine solution, that is even better, but it is not a necessity.
  • A gauze or bandage
  • Tape, to secure the bandage in place

You can use other things too, if you are carrying them. Honey works great along with sugar, and makes a better healing cover for a wound. Glycerin is another item which can be used along with sugar and then applied on wounds.

Step-by-step instructions

Here are the steps that you need to follow in order to treat your wounds effectively. Stay on track and don’t skip any, in order for sugar to work as it is supposed to, it needs to be done right.

Step 1: You need to clean your wound. Take some clean water and pour it gently over your wound till the dirt and debris have been washed away. Then take soap and wash your wound with it thoroughly.

Make sure that it is really clean. It is imperative that no impurity is left within the wound. If any foreign body got inside, remove it carefully.

Step 2: Dry the wound by patting it with a clean, soft cloth. Do not rub at the wound or you might cause further damage. Use gentle dabbing motions to dry your wound. Ensure that no moisture is left before you apply the sugar.

Step 3: Observe the wound to ensure that it is not bleeding. Then, it is time to apply sugar. There are different ways to do this.

  • If the wound is not very deep, or you are not carrying any honey, you can directly pour the sugar granules on it. You need to make sure that the sugar actually gets inside the wound.
  • If the wound is bigger, or deeper, or you feel like the sugar will not stay in place and will fall out, you can mix the sugar with honey to make a paste.

    You can then apply this paste to the injury site. In this case the sugar will stay within the wound and continue to have its effect for a long time.
  • If you have glycerin at hand, you can also mix two tablespoons of sugar with equal amount of glycerin, and make a thick paste. You can then apply it on the wound.

Step 4: Now that your wound is covered, wrap a bandage around it and secure it with tape. The bandage will help in holding the sugar in the wound and will also prevent your wound from becoming dirty or further damaged.

Bandaging wounds with sugar

Just make sure that the bandage is applied in a loose manner and it’s not too tight. Very tightly bound wounds can actually have decreased blood flow to the site, which can result in slow healing.

If you only have a small linear wound and it is not gaping open, you do not necessarily need to bandage it. Also, puncture wounds do best if they are left open. For wounds which are not covered, you have to take extra care that they do not become dirty or contaminated.

Step 5: You need to change this bandage daily. To remove it, rip the bandage off with a swift movement rather than pulling it off slowly.

When you remove the bandage in one rapid motion, the dead cells around the wound will be removed too, helping the wound heal quicker. Apply the sugar paste, or granulated sugar again, and then redo the bandage.

Step 6: Keep repeating this process daily until the wound has healed. Complete healing might take some time, depending on the wound size and depth, but you will notice its effects within a few hours.

You will see that the pain, swelling and throbbing will greatly decrease soon after applying the sugar.

How to Make Sugar Paste for Wounds

You can mix sugar and honey in equal amounts to make a paste to put over your wound. This works the same if you want to use glycerine.

The paste formed helps by covering your wound better, so the sugar stays in place and the bacteria can’t get the humid environment it needs.

What kind of Wounds Will Sugar Work on?

Sugar works very well on all kinds of wounds. You can heal more than tiny scrapes and small cuts with this method. Sugar works great even on large wounds and injuries.

In fact, the method is so effective that doctors use it for post-operative wounds and even for bed sores. It’s easy and proven to be efficient.

If you get any sort of injury in which your skin breaks and there is a chance of an infection, you should use this method. In worse cases, if the wound is already infected, the sugar-applying method still works wonders.

Make sure you have everything you need with you for this to work. Get more tips about how to prepare for a safe hiking here.

How does Sugar work?

Especially in the wilderness, any wound can become infected due to the dirty environment. Bacteria needs water to survive. Sugar draws water from a wound. When the wound becomes dry, bacteria cannot survive.

The wound becomes disinfected and its healing process takes place a lot faster. Sugar also draws macrophages into the wound site, which are specialized cells that fight bacteria and other disease-causing agents.

This method is actually backed by research. It has been in practice for several years, particularly in Africa, and is now being tried by doctors all over the world.

A study conducted by Moses Murandu, who is a lecturer in Wolverhampton University in Africa showed that granulated sugar can help in the healing of serious wounds like bed sores, and even in cases of amputation wounds.

Other studies have also been conducted in this regard, and although more research is needed before conclusive results are announced, doctors who have prescribed this form of treatment to their patients speak about it very favorably.

Pros and Cons of Using Sugar for Wound Healing

There are benefits and drawbacks from using sugar on your wounds. The experience may differ from person to person, but the benefits are real, so are the disadvantages.

Just like pretty much anything on earth, using this method for wound healing has its own set of pros and cons, and it’s best you’re aware of all of them when using sugar to treat wounds.

Treating Wounds

Pros:

  • If you are camping, or hiking, it is highly likely that you will be carrying sugar with you. In this way, you do not have to carry any special material or medicine to heal your wound.
  • It is a lightweight option.
  • Packing sugar is easy. You can carry it in small plastic bags or buy pre-packaged sugar sachets like they have in diners.
  • Sugar is a natural item and hence it is very unlikely that you will have an allergic reaction to it.
  • Sugar actually works very well in healing wounds of all kinds and severity.
  • It also works great on already infected wounds, because it reduces the survival of bacteria.
  • It can work on weeping wounds as well as it draws water away from the wound.
  • You will experience a decrease in pain and swelling soon after applying sugar.
  • Using this method for wound healing is very easy and simple.
  • It is a quick method, so you will save on time.
  • It is also cheap to carry sugar with you, rather than buying special creams and ointments for wound healing.
  • Both sugar and honey help in contracting the wound, thus making it close faster.

Cons:

  • If you carry sugar in Ziploc bags, the granules can get stuck in the closing part and hence the bag can become stuck and difficult to open.
  • You have to be carrying bandage with you to cover the injury otherwise the sugar might fall out of the wound.
  • The bandage can stick to the sugar in the wound, particularly if you use a sugar-honey mixture. This will make it difficult to remove the bandage, and you have to do it in a sharp, ripping movement.

    This can be a little painful, and people often find the experience uncomfortable. If you want to make this process easier, you should coat the inside of the bandage with Vaseline or petroleum jelly.

    However, this means that you also need to carry Petroleum jelly with you, which will add to the weight and bulk of your backpack.
  • Sugar can attract flies to the wound site, particularly if you are hiking in tropical season, or humid weather conditions. Therefore, you have to be really careful and make sure that no flies get anywhere near your wound.

    Everyone knows that flies carry all sorts of germs and you don’t want your injury site to be exposed to them.
  • Sugar might cause itching for some people.
  • If you are using honey along with sugar in your wound, the chances of flies being attracted to it are even higher. Honey can also worsen a yeast infection so you need to be certain that you are not suffering from that before you apply honey.

A Word of Caution

When you are pouring sugar in your wound, always keep in mind that it needs to be in high quantity to have an effect.

Concentrated sugar can help in wound healing while low amounts might actually worsen the condition because it will not be able to draw water out of the injury site.

Make sure that the wound site is completely coated in sugar before you apply the bandage.

Is putting sugar on a wound good?

Putting sugar on a wound is good because it seals your open injury from the elements. The role of sugar is to keep moisture from reaching your wound. Bacteria cannot survive in a dry environment.

The sugar acts like a glue and absorbs the water. Especially if you mix it with some honey. The paste needs to be well tied around the wound, an kept as clean as possible.

Is sugar a natural antibiotic?

Studies say that sugar is not a natural antibiotic, but aids the antibiotics making them more effective in killing the bacteria.

Keeping the wound dry is imperative so the bacteria doesn’t spread. So when antibiotics are introduced into the equation, sugar did half the job, making their job easier.

Does sugar stop a wound bleeding?

Sugar does not stop a wound from bleeding. What it does is stopping the infection to build into the wound.

It is best you stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the injury, and only when bleeding stops, you should clean it and use sugar to make sure it doesn’t get infected. Follow the step-by-step info I wrote above.

Wrap Up

Packing to travel is not easy, as any hiker will tell you. You need to pack a huge amount of supplies in a very limited space, and make sure that the weight of the backpack is not too heavy.

Sugar, when eaten, is definitely bad for you; everyone knows that. But when applied to wounds and injuries, sugar can be really amazing. When you are out in the wild having a day full of adventure, it is inevitable that you will get some cuts, injuries or any type of wounds.

You have nothing to worry about now that you know how to use sugar to treat wounds. Might want to look at the best hiking and camping first aid kit, to assure you have everything you need in case any accidents happen.

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5 thoughts on “Treating Wounds With Sugar: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Thank you for this Jerry! I never knew about this one. I love camping and hiking and I usually have a first aid kit with me, but this is something that will be helpful in case of emergency. I will definitely take some sugar with me on my next trip.

    Reply
  2. I was quite surprised that sugar also works well for large wounds and injuries. I really thought it can only be used for small cuts and scrapes. If doctors use it for bed sores and post-operative wounds then it must really be effective. I will put a cup of sugar in my first aid kit for sure.

    Reply
  3. I used similar technique. From an African doctor working in a Birmingham NHS hospital. At the time the following treatment was not allowed in his hospital (much to his surprise), but this was about 6 years ago.

    Basically the same as above but with vegetable glycerine. Mix the sugar and glycerine into a paste and apply and cover. That’s it. The glycerine is also hydroscopic (like sugar) and when I applied it to my month old wound on my lower leg, I saw results after 24 hours and very obviously a done deal after day 3. Previously my GP had had applied an antibiotic cream and bandage, but this kept the wound wet and there was no sign of improvement, with talk of surgical stockings being needed (or worse as the site of the wound is a tricky area to heal, being so low down).

    Reply

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