By Rivka Perlman

June 24, 2014

Potatoes Saved Her Skin


I am still shaking. Today Neshama got burned. I’m sharing with you the details of what happened because this can genuinely save your life.

A hot pot of oil spilled on Neshama when she decided to add potatoes to our french fry cooker. No one was in the kitchen when the oil spilled but we heard the scream. I ran to her and ripped off her shirt. By the grace of G-d she was wearing  a sweatshirt which probably helped lessen the impact of the heat. My husband ran into the kitchen and we hoisted her into the sink and started spraying her with water. Hadassa ran upstairs “Should I get the potatoes?” “Yes!” I yelled.

A friend was in the house – he called an ambulance.

Neshama’s entire chest was burned. It was red, about 6 inches across and 5 inches down. The burn faded by her midriff but there was a large area on her stomach that was burned too. Her hands were burned.

We continued spraying her with water and trying to soother her and then Hatzalah came. We sat her down and they assessed her. They quickly began putting in phone calls to get her to the Hopkins Burn Unit.

To understand what would happen we said. “What will they do for her there?”

They said “They’ll debris her (rub off the dead skin so new skin can emerge) and cover her. “Ok”  we said, but we want to put potatoes on her first.


In Monsey, New York there is a woman who is a burn specialist. She has remedies and powders which she distributes so that anyone who needs help can get it. She is not a doctor and she is not a  nurse – I don’t even know her story. But she has cracked the code to treating burns.

My sister in law Yaelli once got burned badly on her stomach and needed help from the Burn Lady.

She was told to grind potatoes (don’t peel them)  and to make a pack and out it on her wound. She should wrap it with saran wrap to keep it there.

The potatoes work by drawing out the heat . Every few hours, change the potatoes.  Yaelli’s  recovery was remarkable, with no scar. Since then we’ve used ground potatoes whenever someone gets burned. But we’d never dealt with a burn of this magnitude.


So there we were in a dilemma. The EMTs were there ready to take Neshama to the hospital and we knew that it would be an hour before she got anything to help her besides pain meds and in the meantime her skin would be untreated. Could we really just send her?

I said, “Can we just use the potatoes first?” We’ll just put it on her and then we’ll go.

But they couldn’t let. They didn’t let. I don’t blame them. It wasn’t protocol.

They were stuck. We were stuck.

It was an excruciating moment.  We felt the weight of this little girl’s well being in our hands. What should we do?

We looked at each other. “We’ll do the potatoes and then we’ll go.”

“Get the refusal of consent forms.”

It was a horrible feeling. Being that “irresponsible”parent. Yet knowing that we had to do what was right. I ran to the food processor. In a flash of adrenaline. I sliced potatoes and ran them through until they were all ground up. We brought her to the couch and laid her down on a robe. I began putting handfuls of potato mush all over her chest, her belly and her hands. The EMT’s were gentlemen as they looked on, but I knew I looked crazy.

I couldn’t care.

As I put on the cool potatoes Neshama got quiet.

The cool was a balm for her burning skin.

Meanwhile the EMT’s were in and out of the house murmuring and talking on their phones.

Did they stall because they were nice or did it just take some time for them to be ready to leave?

All I know is that after I put the potatoes on. I said “We’re ready to go (ourselves)  and Bezalel said “The ambulance said they’ll  take us.”

As they got her onto the stretcher, I ran back to the kitchen, and again, quicker than I’ve ever moved; gliding like in a dream state I ground more potatoes.

We got into the ambulance and my husband followed us in the car.

In the ambulance, halfway to the hospital, I gently scraped off some of the potatoes from her chest and I packed on a fresh layer. I told her to expect that the doctors would be annoyed by the mess but that it wan’t personal.

Neshama looked like she had dirty wet sand clumped all over her. The potatoes were black  and grainy. To their credit no one at Hopkins said anything about it. And no one, not even the head burn nurse had heard of this remedy.

Because hospitals have paperwork etc Neshama was able to lay there with the potato remedy for a while longer. After about an hour they took her to the shower and washed her off.

What they saw amazed them. The Hopkins staff is unfortunately no stranger to grease burns and they knew what to expect. But what they got was totally different. Neshams’ burn had shrunk to about 3-4 inches across and 1 1/2 inches wide. The burn on her belly was gone. the previously pink area was clean and white and only the most acute part remained. There she had blisters and a second degree burn.

Said the nurse  – just once – but she said it – “You made me a believer in potatoes.”

The end of the story is how she got morphine and she got  debried and wrapped up and sent home. She will be okay.

But I keep having flashbacks. Not to her burn but to what if… What if we had not done the potato remedy because of protocol. She would have been in agony and she could have scarred. The burn would have been ten times worse. That Neshama is okay is an unbelievable gift from G-d and we owe all the credit to Him, and  the potatoes were the tool He used to help us.

[By way of illustration, even on the morphine, her hands still hurt b/c although they were dipped in the potato mush, they weren’t there for long. Her first degree burns were hurting more than her second degree burns!]

I saw when we left the hospital that this was interesting to the staff.

Interesting like something you would mention over dinner. Not interesting like a breakthrough in science that could help thousands of people in pain.  But to me, it’s critical information! How can people not have access to this knowledge? If it even helps one person, like it helped us it’s worth it to share.

Tell your friends. Just have them store away this information and G-d willing they will never need it. But it they do, it will make a huge difference to them when they need it most.


Since this post went viral I called the burn lady myself to get first-hand information about how to do this remedy properly.  I am going to New York today and will be getting her line of powders and creams which help with wound care and scar prevention. I will let you know how they work.


1. Peel, wash and grind or grate potatoes.

2. Apply potatoes at least a half inch thick.

3. Cover with saran wrap to hold in place and then cover that with a paper towel to soak up leaking fluid. (I did not have to do this with Neshama because she was laying on her back and she wasn’t moving.)

4. Change to fresh potatoes. (The second lot of potatoes can be left longer because the heat is not as intense as before.)

5. If you don’t feel immediate relief, place a bag of ice cubes on top of the potatoes.












Do you want to contact Rivka Malka about coaching school?