Jan Leow's Press Blog

Burn Remedy using Flour

Received this message about some new burn remedy using flour. Of course the first thing that came to my mind screaming in my head was – Urban Legend! – well after digging around the internet it seems there is some plausible application of using flour as a burn remedy.

As usual, such circulation will tell you a story of how a would be person in this case a lady, strange that most urban legend will feature a lady that don’t know much or experience some problem, etc and the hero of the day is a man and this time Vietnam Vet to give it more credence.

Well whatever, you throw a story like this to me and it will smell of Urban Legend rightaway. The story goes something like this:

Once I was cooking some corn and stuck my fork in the boiling water to see if the corn was ready. I missed and my hand went into the boiling water….

A friend of mine, who was a Vietnam vet, came into the house, just as I was screaming, and asked me if I had some plain old flour…I pulled out a bag and he stuck my hand in it. He said to keep my hand in the flour for 10 mins. which I did. He said that in Vietnam , this guy was on fire and in their panic, they threw a bag of flour all over him to put the fire out…well, it not only put the flour out, but he never even had a blister!!!!

SOOOO, long story short, I put my hand in the bag of flour for 10 mins, pulled it out and had not even a red mark or a blister and absolutley NO PAIN. Now, I keep a bag of flour in the fridge and every time I burn myself, I use the flour and never ONCE have I ever had a red spot, a burn or a blister!

*cold flour feels even better than room temperature flour.

Miracle, if you ask me. Keep a bag of white flour in your fridge and you will be happy you did. I even burnt my tongue and put the flour on it for about 10 mins. and the pain was gone and no burn. Try it! don’t run your burn area under Cold water first, just put it right into the flour for 10 mins and experience a miracle

A quick search and I found several sites reposting the above letter without much explanation. In the about.com website they are still trying to figure out this message so I guess this urban legend is quite new.

Also found several sites one about health, another on cooking recipe and a third a freedom of truth website.

Seems like the flour remedy is possible to treat simple burns. Since during cooking it is quite easy to get minor burns from hot cooking oil popping out of the frying pan or even accidentally spill scalding hot water on yourself. That’s why you must keep your children away from the kitchen as they may not know the danger!

There is also a myriad of other remedies too and it was very interesting to read about the other remedy.

Back to the flour remedy, the right method to use was:

A simple covering of common wheat flour is unequaled for a burn. The moisture produced upon the surface of a burn is at once absorbed by the flour and forms a paste which shuts out the air, and at the same time keeps the covering moist and flexible. If the burn is very bad and the covering becomes dry, it should be washed off carefully, a little at a time, and fresh flour used.

(source: http://oldfashionedcooking.com/remedies/burns.php)

‘266. Cure For Burns: Off all applications for a burn, we believe that there are none equal to a simple covering of common tcheat-flour. This is always at hand;and while it requires no skill in using, it produces most astonishing effects. The moisture produced upon the surface of a slight or deep burn is at once absorbed by the flour, and forms a paste which shuts out the air. As long as the fluid matters continue flowing, they are absorbed and prevented from producing irritation, as they would do, if kept from passing off” by oily or resinous applications; while the greater the amount of those absorbed by the flour, the thicker the protective covering. Another advantage of the flour covering is that next to the surface it is kept moist and flexible. It can also be readily washed off”, without further irritation in removing. It may occasionally be washed oft very carefully, when it has become matted and dry, and a new covering be sprinkled on.’ End of quote.

(source: http://www.thefreepressonline.co.uk/news/5/2221.htm which in turn got it from books.com)

Apart from the usual running under cold water and applying gels and aloe vera. There were other interesting remedies for pain relief like using egg white, using sodium bicarbonate paste, and even using thin slices of tomatoes!
(source: http://www.tandurust.com/skincare/pain-relief-for-burns.html)

So it is possible to use flour as a burn remedy after all.

Oh, and a quick note, if you throw flour on a fire such as in the story, the flour will catch fire and make the fire burn fiercely! Fine particles such as flour, carbon dust, etc has a very low flashpoint and easy to ignite. So though the story may be an urban legend (because they threw flour on a burning guy which will then burn the poor guy more intensely), the burn remedy using flour is still plausible.

6 thoughts on “Burn Remedy using Flour”

  1. Georgia Yankee

    Makes all the sense in the world – a guy tells a story that can’t be true, to justify an unorthodox home remedy, and you conclude that although the story can’t be true, the remedy it’s used to justify is.

    The first thing you want to do with a burn is to stop the cooking of the flesh by cooling it down – covering the burn with flour – even flour that’s been cooling in a refrigerator — will insulate the burn and actually retard the cooling process.

  2. Zachariah English

    I wanted to post this comment on your blog post about flour on burns but couldn’t, due to cookies or java script not working for me? I don’t know, but I wanted to let you know of my experience, maybe you can post it?

    Here is what I did last night for a minor burn I got while working in a restaurant and touched a frying pan handle right out of the oven.

    I first put it in ice tea (the cold and the tea I figured helped). I did that for about 30 minutes, then left for home. On the way home I kept it on ice most of the way home (40mins).

    When I got home it didn’t hurt too bad, and I put aloe vera on it. It began hurting again unless it was in cool water. I kept it in cool water for the next couple hours.

    I looked on the internet and found the flour remedy, well, we had selfrising flour, so I used that. I kept my fingers in the flour for 10 minutes. When I rinsed it off the burn was gone and my fingers just felt like it had super glue on it, that stiff layer where the burn was.

    So, I am convinced that flour does do something, though I wouldn’t apply it until after the burn is cooled down. I would be interested next time to try just cooling it down, and then trying the flour method.

    How many people disprove a method without first hand evidence of it not working? (apparently a lot of people!)

  3. So the flour on burns actually works! But I presume you were having 1st degree burns, if any worse it would require much urgent medical treatment!
    I will post up your experience here.

    I thought I’ve already solve the cookie/javascript problem on my website… sigh… already checked and tried to fix it so many times!

  4. Although I see all the skepticism about this flour remedy, IT ACTUALLY WORKS! I spilled boiling hot tea over myself and because I received an email about this remedy, that’s the first thing that I thought of. I quickly got some flour from my pantry and applied it. I kept reapplying every few minutes for about 20 minutes. Within an hour the redness diminished and the pain left. The next day there wasn’t even a sign of a burn, not even redness nor pain

  5. I had tea burn and the first thing my granma could think of was dry flour, which really cooled the pain down.Then later run cold water through the burnt area. there wasnt any redness or blisters!! i know keep some flour in the fridge!

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