Sugar wound remedy
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:28 AM on 15th October 2009
Rubbing sugar into wounds could cure painful infections including bedsores, research shows.
The traditional African remedy is being trialled in British hospitals after a study led by a senior nurse raised in Zimbabwe.
As a child, Moses Murandu watched his father put crushed sugar cane on villagers' wounds and grew up thinking it was a widely used treatment.
When he moved to England he was surprised to find doctors did not use it.
His six-month study involved 21 patients at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham whose wounds had not responded to conventional treatment.
It showed that pouring granulated sugar on to bed sores, leg ulcers or amputations before dressing can kill the bacteria that prevents healing and causes chronic pain.
Bacteria need water to survive but sugar draws water from the wound into the dressing.
Mr Murandu, 43, believes the technique, which was passed down from his great-grandfather, could save the NHS billions.
'The village where I grew up was very small and we didn't have a great deal of medicine available to us,' he said.
'Doctors here tend to forget the traditional medicines that have been working for thousands of years.'
Bosses at the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham have been so impressed that he
has been awarded £25,000 to treat up to 100 more patients with sugar.
Delighted Moses, a medical lecturer from the University of Wolverhampton,
said: 'Using granulated sugar in wounds has never been done in the UK before,
although sugar paste has been used.
'While salt is painful, sugar is not and it reduces the pain drastically. Sugar is also much cheaper than expensive medicines and it has proven to be just as effective.'
Billions of pounds that is currently spent on medicines could be saved if the
treatment is adopted by the NHS.
Moses added: 'I was happy for the patients who suffer from terrible and
debilitating wounds with little hope of getting better, as this treatment can
ease their pain.
'I would really like to see sugar treatment used in many more places because I know that it works.'
Moses will use the £25,000 prestigious Fondation Le Lous Scientific Research
Innovation Award grant that he was awarded from Herve Le Lous - a French company
- for a wider study that treats around 100 patients at four different hospitals.
Jacqui Fletcher, a board member of Herve Le Lous, said: 'In the UK we have a
habit of saying "In countries that can't afford proper dressings they use other
things, but when you are here you have the freedom and luxury of choosing a
whole range of alternatives".
'Treating wounds with sugar has been a wive's tale for a number of years but
this is the first time that medical evidence has proven that it works.
'Moses didn't think that way, he challenged current thinking. He takes the view that he used sugar very effectively, therefore why wouldn't it work equally well here