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The Sweet Way to Heal Your Wounds

By Dr. Sears, August 16, 2012

For years now, sugar's been a dirty word. It's been blamed for everything from obesity, heart disease and diabetes to tooth decay and acne. But there's something they don't know. Sugar's better for you than all those artificial sweeteners and substitutes out there today ... especially the ones you'll find in so-called "diet" products.

I'm always suspicious of things that aren't natural. Which is why it didn't surprise me to find out that in one study of nearly 2,600 people, those who drank diet sodas had a 47 percent higher body mass index (BMI) than those who didn't. And their risk of obesity was doubled.(1)

But this isn't the only reason to take a second look at sugar. There's another reason you should consider keeping sugar on your shelf again.

Did you know that sugar can heal your cuts, scrapes, burns and even large wounds without leaving a scar? It kills germs and repairs tissue better than any antiseptic or disinfectant on the market.(2)

Long before all these "Johnny-Come-Lately" naysayers started telling you how bad it was for you, sugar was valued as an antiseptic. For more than 4,000 years, since ancient Egyptian times, people have known about sugar's miraculous properties. But it fell out of favor once antibiotics became available. Makes you wonder if the high price and incredibly high profit margins had anything to do with that.

It May Have Saved My Life a Long Way from Home

I learned about sugar's remarkable capacity to heal wounds the hard way. It was during my first trip deep into the Amazon jungle. A guide and I were fighting our way through the dense rainforest with a couple of machetes when I got a bad cut on my arm. In the jungle, there isn't a day you're not cut up, scraped or covered with bug bites. Infection sets in quickly in the tropics. And that cut on my arm was becoming infected.

My guide carried small packets of sugar with him at all times. I thought it was to sweeten his tea. But when we stopped to rest, he applied a sugar paste to the cut on my arm and covered it with gauze.

Back then I was skeptical. But he assured me it was strong, native medicine and repeated the process each time we stopped. Within a day or two, the cut was healed - and no scar remained.

Since that time, I've seen sugar used to heal on my travels to Africa and Asia. Other countries such as Australia and New Zealand use honey instead of sugar.

Sugar and honey contain high levels of glucose. The kind of sugar your body uses for energy. Both are almost equal in their ability to heal, with honey taking a slight lead.(3)

I read an interesting review of seven studies of 264 patients treated with honey. Honey produced better outcomes, shorter healing time and virtually no infection.(4)

After seven days, 58 percent of patients were healed with honey, versus 19 percent with conventional antibiotics and unconventional treatments such as silver, amniotic membrane and potato peelings. And 85 percent of patients treated with honey had the infection in their wound vanish compared to 30 percent with the other treatments.

After 21 days, 99 percent of patients were healed with honey versus 75 percent with other treatments. Only one study gave the infection rate at 21 days. It was 96 percent for honey versus 76 percent for a silver treatment.

Sugar and honey prevent scarring to the extent it heals ulcers and burns without the need for skin grafts. Scientists theorize sugar and honey encourage the production of hyaluronic acid (HA), while it prevents stiff, stringy collagen from forming.

HA fills out your skin by absorbing 3,000 times its weight of water. It is completely natural. In fact, it's your body's own natural moisturizer. One reason it's so effective: It draws moisture from inside and outside your body. HA also helps your body retain moisture and promotes skin healing.(5) It's like a mini-repair kit for aging skin.

At the same time, sugar and honey prevent the buildup of the stringy kind of collagen that creates scar tissue. Instead, it forms a different type. A delicate, mesh-like collagen structure that brings the skin's surface back to normal and allows it to heal.6,7

It's Cheap, Easy and It Works

The next time you have a cut, scrape, burn or open infection, try using sugar or honey:

1. Make a paste using filtered water and sugar, or use straight honey. 2. Apply the paste to your wound and cover with gauze or a Band-Aid. 3. Change the dressing throughout the day to prevent the gauze from sticking to the wound.

*** 1 Fowler, S., Williams, K., et al, "Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-term Weight Gain," Obesity 2008;168:1894-1900

2 Archer, H.G., et al, "A controlled model of moist wound healing: comparison between semi-permeable film, antiseptics and sugar paste," J. Exp. Pathol. (Oxford) April 1990; 71(2): 155-70

3 Mphande, A.N., Killowe, C., et al, "Effects of honey and sugar dressings on wound healing," J. Wound Care July 2007;16(7):317-9

4 Moore, O., et al, "Systematic review of the use of honey as a wound dressing," BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2001; 1:2

5 King, S.R., et al, "Beneficial actions of exogenous hyaluronic acid on wound healing," Surgery Jan. 1991;;109(1):76-84

6 McPherson, J.M., Piez, K.A., "Collagen in dermal wound repair," In Clark, R.A.F., Henson, P.M. The Molecular and Cellular Biology of Wound Repair, New York: Plenum Press, 1988

7 "Why do some cavity wounds treated with honey or sugar paste heal without scarring?" Woundcare Journal 2002; 11(2).