Healing From the Cupboard


What is a Boil?

Boils have been around for ages.  They have even warranted mention in the Bible - as a plague.  While unsightly and often painful, overall boils are generally harmless and can be treated easily with a few items from your kitchen cupboard and spice rack. Typically, a boil is an infected hair follicle which starts out as a red spot or a pimple-like bump.  Suddenly, it seems to morph into a monster - swollen, painful and filled with pus. Boils, or furuncles, are caused by a common bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus which gets into an open follicle and infects the area. A cluster of boils is referred to as a carbuncle and is more serious than regular boils, and is often accompanied by tiredness and fever. 

Let's Look In The Cupboard

Many ancient cultures had surefire methods of treating common ailments and many of those treatments are as effective today as they ever were.  The Aztecs and several Native Indian groups used a cornmeal paste as a poultice for boils.  While there are no medicinal properties in cornmeal, it is absorbent and when made into a poultice, by mixing it with boiling water and applying it to the boil, it helps to draw it to a head allowing for drainage and ultimately healing.

Applying suction or "cupping" a boil is accomplished by placing a small jar over the infection.  To employ this very old method of treatment, boil the jar for a few minutes and then, after it has cooled enough so as not to burn the skin,  place it over the boil.  As the cup cools over the infection, the suction does its job, drawing blood to the surface to wash away the infection.

And Then There's The Fridge...

A cup of milk, slowly heated with three teaspoons of salt and added to crumbled bread or flour is enough to create four poultices which can be applied to the boil once every half hour.  Also, we know that onions have a lot of antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.  A thick slice of onion placed over the boil will act as an irritant to draw blood to the surface and heat the area around the boil.  Doing this several times during the day will draw the infection and cause it to come to a head and drain.

Let's Spice Things Up

Nutmeg is a well-known spice used medicinally to stimulate circulation in the body.  Adding some nutmeg to hot water and drinking it can help your body fight the infection in the boil.

A few reminders

Don't break the boil prematurely by squeezing it or sticking something into it.  Let it come to a head on its own, perhaps with some help from the above-mentioned remedies.  Be careful not to spread the infection by sharing towels, face cloths or clothing.  Wash everything that comes into contact with the boil.  Beware of products claiming to drain the boil quickly.  Often they irriate the boil causing a premature rupture which can become a problematic infection in the bloodstream.