Natural Home Remedies for Boils

The Mayo Clinic describes boils as inflamed, pus-filled lumps caused by an infection in a hair follicle. The infection can be viral, fungal or bacterial, but the most common culprit is the staphylococcus bacteria. When your hair follicle is injured in some way, the staph bacteria that lives on the surface of your skin can enter the wound and begin multiplying. The Mayo Clinic says that you should call your doctor if a boil is painful, persists for longer than two weeks or causes a fever. Otherwise, several natural home remedies can help you speed the healing of a boil.

Hygiene and Care

The Mayo Clinic instructs you to apply a warm washcloth or compress to the boil for a minimum of 10 minutes every few hours. This will help the boil to rupture and drain, which will reduce pain and allow for healing. Wash the boil two to three times a day, and thoroughly wash your hands before and after treating the boil. The most important rule is to never squeeze or lance a boil, as this can cause the infection to spread.

Diet

When dealing with a painful boil, your focus might be only on the short-term elimination of that one boil, and a change in diet may not make sense. But the experts all seem to agree that a change in diet is important to heal a boil and to prevent future boils, including the authors of “1,000 Cures for 200 Ailments,” (Geovanni Espinosa, N.D.); “Bottom Line’s Prescription for Natural Cures” (James Balch, M.D., and Mark Stengler, N.D.); and “Healing Without Medication” (Robert Rister).

Eliminate sugar and processed food from your diet. These suppress the immune system and create a favorable environment for bacteria to grow. Reduce or eliminate saturated, hydrogenated and trans fats, as they cause inflammation in the skin. Eat dark green and orange vegetables and dark blue and red fruits, as they contain compounds that improve skin health. Eat legumes, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you are sensitive to carbohydrates, cut back, as insulin causes inflammation of the skin. Drink plenty of water, as well-hydrated skin is resistant to infection. Espinosa, Balch and Stengler all recommend a three-day juice detox to eliminate toxins in the body and provide the nutrients necessary to optimize your immune system. Juices should be made from some combination of celery, cucumbers, carrots, apples, beets, spirulina and wheat grass.

Supplements

Espinosa suggests splitting 3,000mg of Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 30mg zinc and 3mg copper into twice daily doses to support the immune system and skin function. Rister in “Healing Without Medication” suggests taking bromelain, a digestive enzyme that can be found on its own or in digestive enzyme blends. It treats boils by dissolving the proteins that make dead skin cells bind together in hair follicles, thus unplugging the path to the surface of the skin. It also improves blood circulation in skin which can cut bacteria off from its nutrient supply. Rister also suggests coenzyme Q10 (coQ10), which specifically improves the immune system against staph bacteria and has numerous other health benefits.

Herbs

Rister also advises taking 150 to 300mg echinacea three times a day. While there’s no evidence that it cures boils, there is evidence that it can significantly relieve the pain of boils by boosting the immune system without causing inflammation. He cites a study published in “Food Chemistry and Toxicology” in 1985 that found that 1 tsp. of Echinacea purpurea juice relieved pain as effectively as 100mg of cortisone. Balch and Stengler suggest applying a tea tree oil cream to the boil three times a day, as tea tree oil is a potent antibacterial and also an astringent which will draw out pus. In “1,000 Cures for 200 Ailments,” herbalism expert David Kiefer, M.D., suggests taking 500mg of goldenseal three times a day. Goldenseal has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune-system boosting properties.

About this Author

Jeffrey Rice became an ACE-accredited personal trainer in 2007, and began writing about fitness to support his business. Soon, however, he found himself writing more than training, and has since written health, fitness and supplement articles for numerous websites. He holds a M.F.A. in creative writing from Cleveland State University.