Herbal Help for Bedsores and Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Curcumin to the rescue!

Although research is limited, some studies suggest some species of and compounds in turmeric may help treat chronic, non-healing wounds. These include pressure ulcers (commonly called bedsores) and diabetic foot ulcers. (ix.4)

Pressure ulcers are caused by prolonged compression to an area of the body. The injury caused can be superficially limited to the skin. More serious deep tissue injury begins in the tissue that covers a bone in the compressed area. The wound may not show on the skin until severe tissue damage has occurred. (ix.114)

Table IX.7: Studies on Pressure Ulcers
Turmeric Form/Compound Study Details & Results

Turmeric Oil

(from the related Curcuma zedoaria species; topically applied 3 times
a day) (ix.115-116)

  • In a clinical trial involving 58 patients with bedsores, turmeric oil significantly improved outcomes compared to the control group. (ix.115)
  • The control group was treated with a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) compound. Both the turmeric and control groups were also treated with radiation. (ix.115)

Herbal Cream

(containing 2.43% turmeric) (ix.89)

  • The herbal cream was tested in a pilot study conducted at multiple treatment centers. Forty patients with type 2 diabetes and diabetic foot ulcers were randomly assigned to use the polyherbal cream or silver sulphadiazine cream. (ix.89)
  • Wounds varied in severity. The herbal cream worked as well as the standard silver sulphadiazine cream in healing and closing sores. (ix.89)


  • Lab and animal studies show the turmeric compound significantly blocks activity of 20S proteasome. Research indicates this enzyme may be involved in the development of deep tissue pressure ulcers (as well as heart infections, brain tumors, leukemia, and other cancers). (ix.114117)
  • Curcumin (taken orally) works similarly to the synthetic proteasome inhibitor MG132. (ix.118)

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