Sugar Previously Used to Treat Eye

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Sugar, in every kitchen and corner store, hasn’t always been so accessible. Before we were trying to avoid it from our diets, physicians were actually dreaming up medical applications by the numbers. A few of the more interesting uses:

For ailments of the eye:

  • “Take two drams of fine sugar-candy, one-half dram pearl, one grain of leaf gold; made into a very fine and impalpable powder, and when dry, blow a convenient quantity into the eye.”
    • From Experiments and Observations Upon Oriental and Other Bezoar-stones, etc. etc… A Vindication of Sugars Against the Charge of Dr. Willis, Other Physicians, and Common Prejudices, by Dr. Frederick Slare (1715)From The London Practice of Physic, for the Use of Physicians and Younger Practitioners (1769 edition)

For diarrhea:

  • “Take two or three lumps of treble refined sugar, the white of a new-laid egg; beat them well up together into a fine froth; mix it with a gill-glass full of the Tilbury-water, and half a gill of fresh cows-milk made warm. Drink this twice or thrice a day”
    • From Discourses on Tea, Sugar, Milk, Made-Wines, Spirits, Punch, Tobacco, &c: With Plain and Useful Rules for Gouty People, by Thomas Short (1750)

“To cure Spitting of Blood, if a Vein is broken”:

  • “Take mice-dung beaten to powder, as much as will lie on a six-pence; and put it in a quarter of a pint of the juice of plantane, with a little sugar: Give it in the morning fasting, and at night going to bed. Continue this some time, and it will make whole, and cure”

“Stuffing in the Lungs”:

  • “Take white sugar-candy powder’d and sifted two ounces, China roots powder’d and sifted one ounce; flour of brimstone one ounce. Mix these with conserve of roses, or the pap of an apple; and take the bigness of a walnut in the morning, fasting an hour after it; and the last at night, an hour after you have eaten or drank”
    • From The Gentlewoman’s Companion, by Hannah Woolley (1670)

A dressing for a bad wound:

  • “Step 1: Clean the wound well using soap and warm water. Pat dry until you’re sure there is no moisture left. If debris or foreign objects are observed within the wound, extract everything and clean again. Step 2: Pour sugar directly on the wound, making sure it gets into the wound and doesn’t stick only to the surface. If the wound is large, cover it with honey first and then sprinkle sugar on top. The honey will help the sugar stay in place and provide its full healing benefits. Step 3: Cover with a bandage immediately and secure the bandage with tape. The bandage will prevent bacteria and debris from getting into the wound. Step 4: Change the bandage and repeat the cleaning and sugar application once a day. Rip off the bandage rather than pulling it softly. The hard motion will remove dead tissue and clear the wound. Step 5: Be consistent. Sugar healing is a slow process, and it can take several months for serious wounds to heal. However, you should start seeing positive results right away, as the sugar will reduce pain and throbbing in the wound and the surrounding tissues.”

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