Honey or clean white sugar powerfully inhibits bacterial growth and can outperform antibiotic ointments for wound treatment.

From Alexander the Great to the American Revolution in 1776, man has fought and incurred severe wounds and amputations on the battlefield, was treated and survived.   For thousands of years people have survived without antibiotics, and it’s time to look at how that was possible.

Both the Smith Papyrus of 1700 B.C. and the Ebers Papyrus of 1500 B.C. describe the treatment of severe wounds and burns with coagulated milk and honey held in place by a muslin bandage.

Similar combinations have been used by cultures worldwide – from the ancient Chinese, to Native American Indians to the people of Kenya.

Here are some of the success stories shared in the book Honey, Mud, Maggots & Other Medical Marvels:

In 1966 a nurse at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England, reported that two men suffering from bedsores and infected amputations resistant to standard treatments were successfully healed using honey.  She had gotten the idea from an article in a popular magazine.

In 1980, Dr. Leon Herszage reported that over the course of the previous four years he had applied sterilized granulated sugar to the surgical wounds of 120 patients and had achieved a cure rate of over 99 percent.

Dr. Richard Knutson of Greenville, Mississippi treated burns, ulcers, lacerations, gunshot wounds, and amputations at a trauma clinic of the Delta Orthopedic Center.  His 5-year study of 605 patients treated with sugar-iodine pastes, published in 1981, showed that 98 percent experienced complete healing.  He has since treated several thousand patients, with a nearly 99 percent success rate.  These figures compare to 94 percent for patients in the same clinics with the same types of injuries and infections who were treated with the more usual antiseptics and antibiotics.  The sugar treatment worked better!

Sugar Treatment Outperforms Common Burn Treatments

An Indian physician named Dr. Subrahmanyam reported in series of articles in British Surgical Journals that honey dressings outperformed much more common burn treatments such as silver sulfadiazine gauze dressings and OpSite – a polyurethane film coated with antiseptics.

Surgeons in Asia and Africa are also packing honey into an ever-widening variety of wounds.

Sugar-based therapies can Work Miracles

One patient of Dr. Harvey Gordon and his colleagues at the Northwick Park Hospital and Clinical Research Centre in Harrow, England, had enormous abscesses in each buttock that were so debilitating the man could not walk and so painful that changing bandages required general anesthesia.  No improvement was made from any standard treatment, so desperate as they were, the doctors decided to try sugar.  After packing the patient’s abscesses with a sugar and hydrogen peroxide paste for three days, anesthesia was no longer needed and the patient actually got up and was able to walk about for the first time in months.  Within six weeks, his wounds were completely healed.

Sugar Heals Quicker

As doctor’s Herszage and Knutson had found, the healing times associated with sugar treatments was decreased dramatically.  Patients treated with conventional methods stayed in the hospital for 85 days on average, while patients treated with sugar stayed for an average of 54 days.  Additionally, patients found no pain in the changing of sugar dressings, in stark contrast to those treated with standard care.

How does it work?

First you must understand that sugars and salts absorb water.  All cells in your body use this osmotic effect to regulate their own hydration and water content.  If the cell experiences more sugar or salt outside the cell than inside, water will be drawn out of it, causing the cell to die.  Disease-causing microbes, which are cells too, dry out and die in a paste of sugar or honey.

Honey works Better than Sugar

Not only does honey have profound antibacterial and antifungal properties, but the concentration of sugar creates such high osmotic pressure that it destroys all infections.

Although honey creates elevated blood sugar, which can be damaging when eaten, it has proven to be an incredible ointment for the treatment and healing of wounds.  The quicker people learn this, the quicker we can turn this medical marvel into the standard treatment for wounds and burns.


– Honey, Mud, Maggots and other Medical Marvels by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein