Candy Band Aids

November 6, 2009 at 7:38 am 2 comments

Sugar is a somewhat magical substance. In all its many crystalline and syrupy moods it gives us jellies, and taffies, and candy canes, and fudge. These days, we don’t often worry about spoilage, so its easy to forget that sugar is also an excellent preservative. Fruit preserves and candied fruits last a long time; the sugar draws moisture out of the microbes that would make the food spoil.

Doctor Bandaging a Knee

None of these uses would suggest that we could use sugar in the arsenal against injury and bloodshed. Yet just such a use was discovered among German surgeons during the early days of the first World War:

…it is said that many of the wounded have been cured by dressings of ordinary granulated sugar, the compresses being changed every second or third day.

Actually, it kind of makes sense. Sugar would impede the growth of infectious bacteria, just as it discourages the growth of spoiling bacteria in food. But Confectioners Journal offered a more metaphysical explanation:

Sugar is always vitalizing and it seems logical that it should purify and heal when thus applied externally.

And there was a suggestion for a new candy product:

One of these days our confectioners may be found turning out sugar plasters.

Candy band aids sounds like a great idea. Imagine how much easier it would be to sooth little Suzy’s scratched knee if you could offer one bandage for the knee, and another to suck on!

One final thought: Of course, salt would have the same effect. But in addition to the general non-yummyness of salt band aids, it should be pointed out that packing wounds with salt sounds like it would really hurt!

Source: “Sugar as a Life Saver,” Confectioners Journal April 1917 p 65

Entry filed under: 1890 to WW I, Candies We Miss, Medicine, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

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