Dont use Flour as a Burn Remedy

Flour as a Burn Remedy

Follow Standard Medical Advice Instead of an Urban Legend


  • Description: Forwarded email / Home remedy
  • Circulating since March 2011
  • Status: False (outdated by 150 years and potentially harmful)

Example of the Flour Email

Email text. 2011

FW: Burn Remedy

My experience with burns is 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 minutes 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 minutes, pulled it out and had not even a red mark or a blister and absolutely 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 nor 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 minutes. and the pain was gone and no burn. Try it! BTW, don’t run your burn area under cold water first, just put it right into the flour for 10 minutes and experience a miracle!

Analysis of the Flour for Burn Treatment Email – Don’t Do It

Once upon a time — a century-and-a-half ago, to be exact (see references below) — dredging a minor burn with ordinary wheat flour was considered an acceptable medical treatment, even by some physicians. But so were dressing the wound in the white lead paint, greasy poultices, and turpentine-soaked cotton.

Up-do-date medical sources such as the  Mayo Clinic and the American Red Crossadvise treating a minor (first- or second-degree) burn by immersing it in cool water, then cover it loosely with dry, sterile gauze. Scientific studies have proven these measures effective.

The purpose of running cool water over the burn is to draw heat away from the skin, reducing swelling and pain. The purpose of a sterile bandage is to minimize airflow over the wound (which can exacerbate pain) and to protect the skin should blistering occur. It stands to reason that covering burned skin with refrigerated flour might produce some of the same benefits, but it could also cause complications (if your skin begins to blister, do you really want it coated with nonsterile flour?). Why take risks with an outmoded remedy?

There’s no scientific reason to suppose (and certainly no peer-reviewed studies to prove) that plunging your scalded limb into a bag of cold flour will lead to a better prognosis than immersing it in cool water and applying a proper bandage.

Beware of all medical advice that arrives via forwarded email or viral Facebook post.

Flour as a Burn Remedy in 19th-Century Texts, a Survey:

For historical reference, here are quotes from medical sources. Keep in mind that at this time the standard treatment for many diseases was a bloodletting. Pasteur, Koch, and Lister were just developing knowledge of germs and using the antiseptic technique. Women died of sepsis soon after childbirth because doctors did not believe in handwashing. Antibiotics wouldn’t be developed until the middle of the next century.

  • The Retrospect of Practical Medicine and Surgery, 1848:
    Burns. — To those of the first degree if not extensive nor occurring on the head and face use cold applications otherwise apply flour or carded cotton and let the dressings remain as long as cleanliness and the patient’s feelings will allow. Treat burns of the second degree in the same way…
  • Medical and Surgical Reporter, 1867:
    When the burn is very superficial, simply inflaming or vesicating the part, covering it up with flour, and then placing a layer of cotton over it so as to exclude the air, makes a very comfortable dressing.
  • The International Encyclopedia of Surgery, 1888:
    Flour is very frequently used in burns, and as it is so easily obtained, forms a common household remedy; it should be dusted over the burned or scalded parts not only freely but uniformly, so as to form a soft, thick, and soothing covering to the surface. The parts should next be enveloped in layers of cotton batting, the application of a roller bandage then keeping the dressings in position; a crust soon forms with the scrum which exudes from the excoriated cuticle, and this ordinarily should not be removed until a separation is produced by the discharge itself; or, if desired sooner, the dried crusts may be moistened and softened by the application of olive oil,  the white of eggs, or of a thin, soft, flaxseed poultice.
  • A Manual of Surgical Treatment, 1899:
    It is especially necessary to warn the practitioner against certain applications for burns which are commonly recommended.  Carron oil for example (a mixture of linseed oil and lime water), is a filthy application and is responsible for a great deal of the mortality after burns: the use of poultices or water dressings and dusting with flour is equally bad. As far as possible, the would be treated aseptically.

Sources and Further Reading:

How to Treat a Burn Very well

Burns: First Aid Mayo Clinic

Ten Common First Aid Mistakes American Red Cross

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By Dr.Steve Ramsey,PhD

Greeting from Calgary, Alberta - Canada. My name is Saad Al-Hashimi. Known as Steve Ramsey PhD, I am the founder and the director of the Paranormal zone- Haunting Dimensions. That deals with an investigation, debunking, and healing/cleansing since 1986. Having had many unexplainable experiences from a young age at a possible "haunted" house where plenty of things seemed to happen that I couldn’t explain, since that time and I am looking and searching for an answer. After continuing to have many experiences that I just cannot explain, I have since become a firm believer that GHOSTS do exist. I continued for a short while as a member of a few other paranormal groups until I was very fortunate to become involved with a local fast growing organization where I felt very comfortable to start my own paranormal investigation. My best experience has been Indio California, Okotoks Alberta, Baghdad city , and many other places in Greece and North Canada. (yes I do believe spirits can hurt you so you have to be careful not to provoke or challenge a spirit ). I won’t tell you the whole story now but you are more than welcome to ask me on a ghost hunt. I am now looking forward to meeting many more people, all looking for that ‘experience’ that could possibly convince them that there is something more to life than we first thought. So please feel free to email me I have been involved in several paranormal groups over the years. Paranormal Adventures is different and exciting in ways I couldn’t possibly get before. When people ask if I believe in ghosts, I say I am a skeptical believer. I have had many encounters with spirit forms and believe what I have seen to be real and unexplainable. I always look for a normal mundane reason why at the same time. My area of expertise in the field of science. I have Ph.D. in Public Health from the USA, Master degree in Medical Ultrasound and BSc Degree in Diagnostic Imaging from Charles Sturt University Australia, BSc in Physics, and Radiology diploma from Iraq, Pharmacy diploma. Radiography diploma from London Ontario, Diploma in Natural Health from Quebec, Canada. Radiation physics from Australia, I studied the infra and ultrasound in the animal kingdom.P resented more than 20 lectures in Iraq, Greece, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Canada and I am the peer reviewer for the radiographer journal in UK, Netherlands, and South Africa. Earned the 3rd award for excellence in ultrasound - Canada 2005. I am also armature archaeologist, painter, calligrapher, and used to run acting theater play in Iraq- Baghdad, wrote, directed and acted in more than 27 plays. So debunking come naturally in my science and technology back round, and not like other debunking people around you who use Google for their search and call them self-debunkers, It doesn't work that way. In the near future, I will run live internet ghost hunts with night vision cameras giving users at home the chance to watch the spooky footage on, in my nights out. I look forward to seeing you all soon on one of our many events! I loved reading ghost stories and sitting on my own in the dark watching horror films. However. I Can decode dreams, and I see spirits in my dreams. I like to look at things from a scientific point of view and try to rule out all rational possibilities before concluding that events are paranormal. However, I do try to keep an open mind on all investigations. I started taking part in investigations since 1986; my first investigation usually any house, apartment that I move in or my friend's places. For many of my true paranormal stories you can read them at I will try to copy and move all my articles here in this site in near future. Thank you for reading and God Bless you all. Steve Ramsey PhD. Alberta