Food as First Aid? Physicians in Brazil Use Tilapia Skin to Dress Burn Wounds

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” While medical professionals and lay people alike have long recognized the healing properties of food, they are also increasingly realizing that such healing properties extend to ameliorating injury. In particular, physicians from Fortaleza, Brazil are experimenting with the usage of sterilized tilapia skin to dress second-degree and third-degree burns.

Such experimentation in Brazil stems from the country’s dearth of resources to dress such fatal wounds. Although affluent countries have access to burn treatments like human skin and pig skin, Brazil does not have access to a wide array of animal skins.

Prior to experimentation with tilapia skin, physicians in Brazil applied silver sulfadiazine cream and gauze to patients’ burn wounds. Unfortunately, physicians must remove and reapply this cream and gauze on a regular basis. It’s an excruciating process for burn victims, but one that nevertheless must occur every 24 hours to maintain cleanliness.

However, sterilized tilapia skin dressing does not have to be removed and reapplied every 24 hours. This treatment not only reduces patient pain, but also offers environmental benefits because tilapia skin is not discarded but now put to medicinal use.

The usage of tilapia skin as a burn dressing is still in its early stages in terms of experimentation. Specifically, the Federal University of Caerá first researched this medical treatment. Following sterilization, tilapia skin can be preserved for 24 months if refrigerated properly.

As clinical trials abound in Brazil, it seems likely that if tilapia skin repeatedly proves itself as an effective first aid treatment, commercial entities will capitalize on its healing properties.

What do you think about leveraging tilapia skin to dress burns rather than using a traditional dressing of gauze and cream? What are other examples of how food may be used to heal injuries?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,



2 thoughts on “Food as First Aid? Physicians in Brazil Use Tilapia Skin to Dress Burn Wounds

  1. devotionswolf

    For severe burns a high calorie diet with plenty of protein to promote healing, and minimize risk complications.  Mataining normal nutrients levels.  Fish, nuts, almonds and protein.  Additional vitamins and minerals beef, spinach and nuts provide zinc, iron and selenium.  Sweet potatoes and carrots high in vitamin A.  Sword fish, salmon fortified milk orange juice, citrus fruits, berries, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit provide vitamin c.

  2. Ellie

    Well Katie, I have never been a fan of tilapia, having said that, what a marvelous discovery. To think the skin was tossed aside, what good news to hear of the healing properties it has. Hippocrates was on to something! Perhaps if society got
    off prescription medicine and relied more on minerals and all the healthful vitamins in food, we would have healthier people. Thank you for all the wonderful information you research.

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