You may have heard that honey can heal wounds. It was used during ancient times as a wound dressing because of its antimicrobial capabilities. However, if only a few people know about honey as a healing agent, even fewer people know that sugar is one as well. In fact, in more remote parts of the world, sugar is something of a staple when it comes to dealing with cuts and open wounds. Sometimes a little old-world wisdom can make a difference, even in the wake of advanced medicine. This is one of those cases.
How It Works, and the Potential Benefits
The secret of this particular cure is in the way it absorbs moisture. Bacteria, like pretty much all living things, need some level of moisture to survive. When any excess is absorbed by granules of sugar, it is then denied to bacteria. As such, the bacteria will die off. Without the presence of an infection that bacteria brings, the wound can heal much faster.
Because sugar is widely available, even in rural, impoverished, or third world areas, this sort of discovery is great for those who may not have access to antibiotics. Aside from that, sugar’s status as an antibiotic alternative means that it may be an option to protect wounds in situations where antibiotic resistance is becoming more of a problem.
The proof is in the pudding, or the sugar, anyway. Starting with the trials conducted by Moses Murandu, and including several other studies, there are many examples of sugar dealing with antibiotic-resistant wound bacteria. Currently, there is some difficulty funding the research, considering that sugar is not a pharmaceutical which could then be patented after being recognized as a cure. Nonetheless, sugar remains in use in various medical scenarios around the world.
Many different sugars have been tested. According to Murandu’s results, beet sugar works just as well as cane sugar, while Demerara seems to be less effective than either. Higher concentrations of sugar prevented bacterial strains from taking hold at all. In lower concentrations, bacteria grew a little. While that might not sound impressive, consider one of Murandu’s first cases: a woman with a five-year old wound. Because of this grievous injury, which had been slow to heal, doctors were planning to amputate the woman’s foot. However, Murandu’s advice saved her leg: he told her to wash the wound and apply sugar. This process, over time, healed the wound.