A boil is an infected hair follicle, in which the infection (usually the bacteria staphylococcus aureus) has spread to surrounding tissue. Groins and armpits are common locations for boils, but they may also grace face, neck, breasts and bottoms. A stye is a tiny boil within the eyelash hair follicle.
- Red painful lump(s), in which a pocket of pus may appear in the centre.
- Swollen lymph nodes can occur near the location of the boil.
- A red streak may appear from the boil, signifying a spread of infection.
- Fever and generally feeling crook.
What causes it?
- Hair follicles become clogged and infected from sweat, creams or dirt.
- Poor hygiene.
- Excessive sugar in the bloodstream caused by a high sugar diet or possibly undiagnosed diabetes.
- If your immune system is under par, you are more prone to infections, including boils.
- People with eczema have an increased risk of developing boils, especially if affected areas are particularly itchy and inflamed. Try not to scratch or at least make sure nails and hands are scrupulously clean.
What to do
If the boil is on your face, neck or spine, you are experiencing a fever or chills or there is a red streak emanating from the boil, best see your doctor and take a course of antibiotics if recommended. The advice below is for a minor boil and are preventative strategies if you are susceptible to boils.
- Avoid fatty and fried foods, alcohol, recreational drugs, and refined carbohydrates.
- Avoid red meat, chicken, pork. Fish is fine.
- Avoid sugar.
- Increase vegetables and fruit. Raw is best, otherwise lightly steam, stir-fry or bake.
- Drink 2 to 3 litres of water daily.
- Eat 3 to 6 cloves of raw garlic daily. Garlic is an excellent antibiotic. Swallow a clove whole, pointy end down first. Take after food. If you think six cloves of garlic sounds radical, so does the boil.
- The juice of half a lemon or 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar in hot water before breakfast.
- Traditional blood-purifying herbs that work wonderfully well for boils include burdock, red clover, echinacea, clivers, nettle and dandelion root and can be taken in combination with antibiotic herbs including calendula, andrographis, echinacea (in another role) and golden seal. Drink 3 cups of herbal tea, made from one or a combination of these herbs each day, included as part of your water intake.
- If you have a stye, wash the eye using an eyebath or saturate cotton wipes and rinse the eye twice a day with the herbs calendula, golden seal, echinacea as a strong (cooled tea) or diluted tincture.
- Phytolacca decandra which goes by the less fancy name of poke root is quite specific for the treatment of boils. It is very strong, so best dispensed by a herbalist.
- Take one teaspoon of a vitamin C and zinc supplement in powder form, 3 times a day.
- Take a dose of the tissue salt Calc. sulph. 3 times daily, to ripen the boil to a head.
- Wash your hands. Keep your grubby mitts away from it. Don’t touch!
- Apply tea tree oil or colloidal silver to the boil as an antiseptic and to reduce infection when the boil bursts.
- Apply colloidal silver to the boil twice a day as an antiseptic.
- Hot compresses or poultices will bring the boil to a pointy ‘ripe’ head so that it can be drained. Don’t help it along with a pin, the boil will burst when it’s good and ready. The following can be used for poultices or compress – essential oils such as slippery elm powder, strong calendula tea or diluted tincture, mashed cooked potato with some raw garlic, Calc sulph. The Calc. sulph. tablet can be dissolved in hot water and used to soak a cloth for a compress. Remember to keep a clean muslin or kitchen cloth between the boil and the poultice material.
The following healing blend has these therapeutic properties – analgesic, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, antineuralgic, astringent, cytophylactic (increases white blood cells to fight infection), depurative (supports the body to clean toxins out of the body, deodorant, making it excellent for treating boils.
- 2 drops of bergamot
- 3 drops of roman or german chamomile
- 3 drops of lavender
- 2 drops of grapefruit
It can be used as a hot compress to the area up to 3 times a daily. Add a few drops to the bath water with a dispersant to use as a general disinfectant. Add a few drops to a a warm clay poultice and apply to an already formed boil. The blend can also be made into a soothing balm or gel.
At a glance
- Avoid sugar, red meat, alcohol and refined carbohydrates.
- Eat 6 cloves of raw garlic daily.
- Drink 2 to 3 litres water daily.
- Increase vegetables and fruit.
- Take blood purifying herbs such as red clover, nettle, clivers, in addition antibiotic herbs such as Echinacea, calendula and golden seal.
- Take vitamin C and zinc three times a day
- Hot compresses will bring the boil to a head so it can burst and drain. Use essential oils, mashed potato and raw garlic, calendula or slippery elm powder.
- Wash hands and clean nails.
- Apply tea tree oil or colloidal silver.