Natural Remedies for Bedsores: Prevention and Treatment

| Modified on Jul 09, 2024

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are painful wounds caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. They are common among individuals confined to beds or wheelchairs due to various ailments. This chronic issue can be extremely painful and requires diligent care and prevention strategies.

What are Bedsores (Pressure Sores)?

Bedsores develop when continuous pressure on the skin restricts blood flow, leading to skin damage and open sores. This condition primarily affects those who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound for extended periods. The sores can range from mild redness to deep ulcers that expose bone. Without proper treatment, bedsores can lead to severe infections, sepsis, or even cancer.

Standard Treatment for Bedsores

The primary treatment for bedsores involves:

  • Repositioning: Regularly moving the patient to relieve pressure on the affected area.
  • Cleanliness: Keeping the patient's body, clothing, and bedding clean to prevent infections.
  • Wound Care: Ensuring the sores are clean and appropriately dressed.

Natural Treatments for Bedsores

1. Manuka Honey, Zinc Picolinate, and Vitamin E

A combination of natural remedies has proven effective in both preventing and treating bedsores:

  • Manuka Honey: Known for its healing properties, it can be applied directly to the sores.
  • Zinc Picolinate: Taking 200-300 mg daily can strengthen the skin, although its effectiveness may decrease over time.
  • Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol): A dose of 2500 IU can help prevent blistering and strengthen the skin.

2. Nutrition, Hydration, and Exercise

Good nutrition and hydration are critical for healing and prevention:

  • High-Protein Diet: Ensure a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Adequate Fluids: Drink sufficient water to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Exercise: Encourage mobility as much as possible to improve circulation and skin health.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking delays healing and should be avoided.

3. Natural Muscle Relaxants

Muscle spasms can tear the skin and delay healing. Natural relaxants can help:

  • Valerian: Acts as an anti-inflammatory and aids sleep.
  • Lobelia Extract: Applied topically, it relaxes muscles.
  • Licorice: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Home Remedies for Bedsores

Preventative care is essential to avoid bedsores:

  • Frequent Repositioning: Move the patient regularly to distribute pressure.
  • Skin Care: Maintain hygiene and use natural remedies to keep the skin healthy.

By integrating these natural remedies and maintaining diligent care practices, bedsores can be effectively prevented and treated, improving the quality of life for those affected.

User Experiences

Read about user experiences and remedies below in the comments section. Share your own experiences and insights,

Activated Charcoal

Posted by Dee (Central Texas) on 07/29/2013

Will someone please give a prevention/remedy for bed sores for old folks in the hospital or nursing home? Thank you!

Replied by Mama To Many
(Tennessee, Usa)

Dear Dee, Here is a link to a story where someone documented the use of activated charcoal to heal a bedsore. I think with consistent use, it would have healed faster.

That website also tells just how to make a charcoal poultice:

I am wondering if Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, added to the diet internally, would help prevent them as it is nourishing to the skin. 1 T. twice a day.

Bless you for caring for the elderly in care centers! I will check my books for some herbal solutions that could be tried as well.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Mama To Many
(Tennessee, Usa)

Dear Dee, Manuka honey is used successfully to heal open wounds.

If you can get a hold of John Keim's book, "Comfort for the Burned and Wounded," it would be so helpful to you. He developed a way to heal serious burn wounds with simple herbs. We have used his methods to heal wounds (burn wounds and other wounds). Not only do the wounds heal wonderfully, his method is so helpful for pain. My son recently cut his finger to the bone with a sledgehammer. We apply an herbal powder to stop the bleeding and used the method in John's book to dress the wound. (We scalded a dry plantain leaf and then cooled it in water. We used that as a bandage. It stopped the pain. ) The beauty of it is that the leaf will not stick to the healing wound and it aids healing. Comfrey leaves and burdock leaves are also very effective. John's method is so much easier on the patient to heal wounds and also wounds heal much faster.

A quart of comfrey leaf tea taken internally each day would help speed healing. It causes cell proliferation. (It is not recommended for cancer patients. ) A cup of fresh carrot juice would also be very helpful to speed healing. This could be done in conjunction with any other thing you try.

Let us know what you find that helps! I have seen patients in nursing homes with sores that won't heal and it is so sad. I think there are a lot of things that might help people but it is not part of normal medical protocol. However, at this season in my life, I am mostly treating children and don't have experience with helping the elderly with wounds. But I know that there must be some ways to help them heal faster and better.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Misty

Usually malnutrition is caused from parasites, they eat and we get the empty tummy. I tried a great remedy for not only parasites but a few other issues going on with me such as mold this is by no means a cure but it has kept me from staying in bed 24/7 as sick as I was. I found that pine needle tea is a great remedy and a great tasting tea on ice on a hot day, there are no side affects what-so-ever I go in my back yard and gather any fresh green pine needles, I wash then in a strainer or collander then steam them on the stove for approx. An hour or more, then I run it through the strainer again while the pan is pouring the hot tea into another container such as an old milk bottle, or juice bottle wash good before using any containers. Good luck loving life again. :)


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama to Many (Tennessee) on 06/03/2014

My mother was bedridden the last 6 months or so of her life. She developed a bedsore. One of the hospice nurses told her home care givers to put honey on the wound. (And they just used stuff from the grocery store that was likely pasteurized.) They did use this a couple of times a day. It did help the sore improve some and it never got infected, though my mother's health was very poor.

I tend to think that raw honey would have been better, but was thrilled to hear of success with honey whatever the type.

I love that this is a remedy that is inexpensive, safe, and available to people all over the world.

~Mama to Many~

Honey, Zinc, Vitamin E

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Tassi (California, US) on 04/17/2014

I take care of my 93 year old mother who has alzheimers and cannot move most of her body. Once she reached this stage, she started getting bedsores and we began a routine of shifting her in the bed every few hours, sometimes every 2 hours. I discovered a couple of things that make a difference. First, to cure a bedsore, the best thing is honey, Manukka honey if you can get it. The odd thing was that the two jars of it I bought, both the same brand but one with twice the "power" rating as the other were reversed in effect, I mean the lower power one cured faster than the one that was twice as expensive. (Note that I read that New Zealand produces a lot less Manukka honey than it sells -- IE, it is not all the 'real thing, ' so be careful.)

OK, best is to prevent bedsores in the first place. The thing I discovered first was zinc picolinate. Eight 25 mg tablets a day (crushed because of swallowing issues). That made her skin stronger and stopped the bedsores. This worked for about a year, but meanwhile her overall condition worsened
and she could no longer chew and eat regular food (or drink water) without choking. Her diet became very restricted and good nutrition became a problem (she has had only applesauce to "drink" for almost a year now). This is when we had to really move her body every two hours or pre-bedsore areas would form, even though I increased the zinc picolinate to 12 or more pills per day. But recently I read that 2500 IU of d-alpha tocopherol vitamin E is good for people with alzheimers, and then I discovered after giving her that for a couple of weeks that her skin no longer is forming those pre-bedsore blisters, and her skin seems stronger and not as thin.

So I thought I would try to pass on this important information in case it might help others.

Replied by Timh
2063 posts

Tassi: Do note that Zinc & Vit-A (cod liver oil) work together very well. When I was bedridden (with chronic diaheria) for 6mo+ the nurses put all sorts of prescription creams on, but none were near good enough. When I got home and applied some C.L.O., booom! Pain & rash gone. The Vit-E, as you attested, is very good for strengthening the skin or dermal. Note that Vit-E works best in combination w/Selenium, and CoQ10.

If I might add, concerning long-term care, only a few months after I began a brief career in nursing, an old school guy was the director of respiratory dept. at our little hometown hospital, and a good fella. Somehow some enthusiasm was generated to help some of the most severe bed-sore patience; and he began O2 (oxygen) topical administration w/ some improvement but not enough. He soon began applying heat lamp (light) therapy on the sores with much improvement. It may have been the combination of both treatments that resulted in some drastic improvement of people who had been yrs in bed and now getting up in chairs and becoming active; it was something almost miraculous and unfortunately not altogether welcomed by administrators.

Hydrogen Peroxide

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Debixiyo (New Jersey ) on 07/09/2024

3.5% Hydrogen Peroxide

I developed bedsores on the back of my heels some time after I broke my left hip. I had been sedentary and somewhat bed ridden for a while because I suffer from the effects of late stage kidney disease. After the hip surgery I came out of the anesthesia with excruciating pain in the back of my heels that made it unbearable to have them touch the bed, so I asked the nurses to elevate my feet. I suspect that something happened while I was under, however it never occurred to me to have them check my feet. Weeks went by with no improvement in the level of pain until one day I asked my daughter to help me with a foot soak. Afterwards when my feet were dry I noticed big flakes of skin coming off the back of my heels. I couldn't see at that angle so I took a picture with my phone and was HORRIFIED to discover a big black sore on each heel at the back close to the ankle. I soon found out they were pretty badly infected bedsores. I can't say for sure when they started but they were full of pus when the podiatrist cut them open to drain. Upon my second visit I had such a terrible experience with that doctor that I resolved never to go back to him. Being someone who often uses this platform and am distrustful of modern medicine, I decided to try several different things. I tried lavender essential oil, Peru balsam salve, salt water soaks, tea bags, rose water, jojoba oil, but ultimately, I decided to stick with using nothing but hydrogen peroxide. In spite of the fact that there's so much on the Internet to discourage us from using hydrogen peroxide, I persisted with it. I put some 3.5% straight from the bottle into a little spray bottle and sprayed both sores at least twice daily. If I felt a lot of pain I would just spray every few hours until the pain subsided. All the while I would keep them bandaged to keep out the dirt. After about a month my daughter became my personal "podiatrist" and she debrided the sores very masterfully (I told her she missed her calling--lol). We continued daily peroxide until the left foot was healed over enough to keep it uncovered. Eventually, I allowed the right foot to remain uncovered while I was home and only covered when I had to leave the house. Right now the left heel has a small hard scab that I will allow to fall off when it's ready. I seldom spray it. The right heel still has the tiniest opening that I cover with a gauze pad or a sock whenever I go out. I still spray at least twice a day. I think the main thing to remember is that bed sores take a long time to heal. I started treating them at the beginning of March and I don't expect to be fully recovered until the end of the year.

Malnutrition Link to Bedsores

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 08/21/2013

Someone had posted not too long ago looking for remedies for bedsores. I came across this article today and thought I would pass it along... Basically, he thinks malnutrition is the primary cause of bedsores.

~Mama to Many~