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Originally published September 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 30, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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The People's Pharmacy

Can sugar help heal wounds?

Q: You recently wrote about using sugar for slow-healing wounds and bedsores. As a nurse, I learned years ago that the best way to use this...

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Q: You recently wrote about using sugar for slow-healing wounds and bedsores. As a nurse, I learned years ago that the best way to use this home remedy is to make a paste of antibiotic ointment and sugar and pack the wound with it.

A: We heard from other nurses and even a vet who have not forgotten this old-fashioned treatment. One wrote: "As a nursing student in 1961, I worked at a small hospital that routinely used a mixture of milk of magnesia and sugar to cure bedsores. It seemed to be successful in many cases."

The veterinarian said: "Many wounds have been shown to heal three times faster with the use of sugar granules on a saline wet-to-dry bandage. The sugar helps to pull the bacteria from the wound, and the saline feeds the tissue to promote rapid healing of the skin beneath."

Q: The best hiccup remedy I have found is dill pickle juice — 1 to 2 ounces does the trick.

A: You are not the first reader to sing the praises of pickle juice for hiccups. Perhaps the salt or the vinegar is responsible.

Pickle juice is high in sodium, so people with high blood pressure or heart failure should stay away from this remedy.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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