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Abscess

When infected, the human body's defense system may wall off a part of the body wall as a pustular infection-these walled off sections of the body are known as abscesses or an abscess in singular. Abscesses are of many types and go by different names depending on the part of the skin that they occur in, we call an abscess that forms around a hair follicle as a boil, and such boils are typically formed along areas where hair follicles are dense, including the buttocks, the underarm and the hair neckline on the body. A carbuncle is a severe abscess, which usually has a number of centers located at several hair follicles on the body. A noticeable lump is present on the affected region and the skin in the region looks hot, is typically reddened and swollen from the beginning of its formation itself. In such cases, even thought the abscess may be minute, the affected skin has highly inflamed tissue and may be extremely painful.

The contents of a ripened abscess are eliminated through the surface of the skin, these results in the immediate relief for the person from the pressure and pain associated with the pustule, this ripening may however take about two weeks from start to finish. Where general signs of fever, and physical fatigue along with swollen lymph glands are evident, it means that the abscess has become too large or that it has branched out to different areas in the body-these cases are however largely unusual and most abscesses are localized in one region of the body. Immediate medical attention from a qualified doctor is required in all cases where such enlargements occur as they may signal a far more serious condition in the patient's body.

The beginning of a bacterial infection on the skin is usually the cause for abscesses, boils and carbuncles, the formation of these pustules occurs when the skin's defense systems have been compromised by the germs. Internal organs including the lungs and the appendix can also develop abscesses and as a rule, these can arise anywhere on the body as long as and wherever the pathogenic organisms such as bacteria have managed to breach the defenses. The skin is the most likely organ of occurrence for these pustules, and most abscesses develop from a small cut or puncture wound or break in the skin, these can also arise in raw skin caused by tight clothing for example. Tiny injuries in the finger beside the nail bed are common sites for infection and as such this area is a very common location for an abscess to develop.

The chances of developing boils and abscesses are not universal and some people may be more susceptible to developing abscesses and boils than others. Some people are rendered more likely to develop these problems due to many underlying factors such as impurities in the blood, a weak immune system giving little resistance and very poor nutrition in general. Lowered resistance in the immune systems of diabetics with high blood-sugar levels, and in obese persons, is also a very big risk factor and increases the chances of developing abscesses. Certain diets can increase the chances of developing abscesses and boils, thus people consuming diets primarily consisting of junk food items, with abundant deep-fried foods and pork, and those with diets that are poor in fresh foods may become susceptible to developing abscesses because of the rise in the impurities found in their blood. Boils in general occur more often in young men as a distinct demography and abscesses are much more common in women who have just given birth.

Supplements and herbs

Because of their ability in stimulating the immune system response, minerals such as zinc and vitamin C are important supplements and help in the body's fight against infection from all sources and pathogens-they must be included in the diet in appropriate doses. For the treatment of recurrent boils and abscesses, these two are effective preventives and will aid in the hastening of the healing process. For all manners of infection a lot of practitioners also recommend the consumption of the utilization of a vitamin C flush, the use of high doses of the vitamin C to bowel tolerance, may significantly aid in recovering from infections of all sorts. Supplementation of the vitamin C can be done along with the class of nutrients known as bioflavonoids; these substances often occur together in many foods and are excellent as co-supplements.

It is often ignored but, the bowel is the source for many infections, especially the ones that affect the skin. Therefore most treatments must also aim to strengthen the bowel, which the supplements just mentioned will do remarkably well.

In addition to the supplements mentioned above, bowel action can be improved through medications containing effective doses of a good Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus supplement. These supplements will improve the digestive performance and help control the bowel flora, they will also aid in the reduction of gastrointestinal toxins in the bowel. Healing of damaged tissue is also hastened by the use of supplements containing the vitamins A and E, especially where skin problems are concerned, and these supplements prevent scarring and disfigurement of the affected skin. These can be taken along with the vitamin C, the bioflavonoid and the zinc, as they also aid in the immune system functioning like the other supplements.

Another excellent supplement is garlic, this has natural bactericidal properties. It can be consumed either in a raw form or in a capsule form which is available over the counter and is easy to administer to a patient besides being odorless.

These herbal remedies are very effective during the recovery process, and can be used both in the treatment of an abscess as well as during recovery from an attack. These remedies will aid in the hastening of the healing once the abscess has drained away.

Bacterial infections can be eliminated from the body through the use of a decoction of the Echinacea herb. This decoction can be prepared at home by using two teaspoons of Echinacea root in a cup of water, this water can then be boiled, and allowed to simmer for about ten minutes after which it can be drained-this decoction can be consumed thrice every day to rid bacterial infections. Another theory in the formation of abscesses is the possible presence of excessive body heat lying latent in patients. The treatment of all kinds of abscesses is usually linked to the reduction of this excess body heat by many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, thus such practitioners suggest the consumption of a herbal teas to relieve this heat, this tea contains herbs such as the dandelion or if unavailable the wild chrysanthemum along with the violet and the Chinese golden thread-this herbal tea can be drunk daily to rid oneself of excess heat in the body. To ripen abscesses on the body especially where there is evident pus at the center of the red and elevated spot, the topical application of hot and moist compresses made from herbs such as the chamomile, the sage or the thyme can be tried out, these will soften and ripen the abscess and bring about relief from the pain. Severely inflamed tissues can be alleviated by the utilization of cool arnica wraps as a direct topical measure. Topical treatments of infected abscess can also be carried out through the use of cold-pressed whole-leaf juices from the aloe vera, this juice has a very high mucopolysaccharide content, about 2 oz. or more, these compresses can be used three or more times every day as a topical measure. Acting as an astringent, a natural antibiotic or even as an analgesic, the gel made from the aloe vera can be used liberally at any stage of the treatment. To speed up healing once the pustule has drained away, use dabs of a cream made from the calendula herb or those that are made from the St. John's wort oil. Impurities in the blood can be eliminated through the applications of a poultice made from the burdock leaf; this leaf poultice is also an excellent antibiotic and is effective in alleviating pain associated with the abscess. Another effective and essential topical measure is the use of a poultice made from the linseed flour, which must be used as hot as the person can tolerate it-this is a very effective direct topical measure in all abscesses. Use this topical measure every two or three hours by constantly replacing cold packs with a new hot pack. The use of the yarrow herb can also be carried out; its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties will heal skin faster especially during the recovery stages when the pustule has drained away. The yarrow can be prepared in an herbal tea for internal consumption that is it can be sipped in small amounts throughout the course of a day. Alternately the tea can be used to wash the affected area to aid in healing; the yarrow can also be used as a poultice, to be rubbed onto the scalp, to bring about healing in the skin. Prepare the yarrow herbal tea in cup boiling water to which a tsp. of the yarrow herb has been added, cool, drain and drink as needed. A sage or chamomile infusion can be used two times every day to thoroughly cleanse the abscess using a clean cotton cloth which has been soaked in the infusion. To prevent all recurrent attacks and to aid in the hastening of the healing process, the juices of the nettle and the red clover can be consumed everyday; these also cleanse blood thoroughly and help in the elimination of infection in the body.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for abscess:

Homeopathy

All of the following homeopathic treatments can be taken at low to medium potencies -potency (6 to 30c), about one dose every two hours, or about two times to thrice daily, the frequency of the dosage can be slowly brought down as the patient begins to improve and the symptoms begin to dissipate.

  • Belladonna
    Belladonna is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of abscess affected individuals especially in the acute symptomatic stages. This remedy can be utilized for all forms of abscesses or boils that display very violent symptoms in the person and those which arise very suddenly in the body. Some of the typical symptoms such patients may endure can include the presence of a burning heat in the affected region of the skin, along with a reddened, dry and swollen area of the skin. The other physical symptoms evident in such individuals include the presence of throbbing attacks of pain, and also cutting types of pain in the area of the abscess. The remedy can also be used in the treatment of an impending abscess before it fully develops, and in cases of boils before pus or thick bloody pus begins to form. The affected region of the body is characterized by the presence of spreading red streaks on the surface of the skin. This remedy can also be used in the case of boils on the face, in case of abscess of the throat, in the liver, the joints, and other areas such as the breasts, and the glands all over the body. The condition of such patients typically tends to worsen when they are exposed to cold drafts, when they are touched, or if they are subjected to jarring, the condition of the patient may also be aggravated after 3 p.m. at night, and in general at all times past midnight, and more so when lying down. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Belladonna as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of abscess in the affected individual.
  • Hepar sulph.
    Hepar sulph. can be used as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of abscesses as it brings the pustule to a head causes it to break-thus aiding in healing and recovery. The patient tends to have symptoms such as the development of a hardened and hot, throbbing skin in the affected region. The symptoms can include the presence of sharp shooting and splinter-like pain in the abscess. The area tends to be extremely tender to the touch, and is very sensitive to pressure. The abscess is given to bleeding very easily and must be carefully handled. This form of abscess forms whenever infection occurs in a wound. Such abscesses tend to be characterized by the presence of abundant, thick and acrid pus which can be easily identified. The pus has a peculiar odor and smells cheesy or sour. Such abscesses can occur in areas of the body such as the tonsils and the gums, in the breasts, the lungs or the sinus, in the rectum, and even in the lymph glands of the individual. These forms of pustules or boils can often come out or break out in crops and affect a large area. The condition of the patient often worsens at nighttime, and when the patients is exposed to the cold air, to sudden drafts, or when he or she is uncovered, and such patients are sensitive to touch. The condition of the patient may significantly improve when he or she is wrapped in warm clothes. The presence of one or more of these symptoms in the patient, calls for the immediate use of Hepar sulph. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of abscesses in the patient.
  • Lachesis
    Lachesis is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients affected with boils that have a dark bluish or purplish tinge in the affected area; the skin around the main boil often has many smaller boils in a cluster. These forms of boils tend to be very bloody or black and the pustules in general are often painful. These boils can result from blood poisoning that the person has suffered. The patient often cannot bear the bandage in the affected area. This type of abscess can also often affect various internal organs such as the tonsils and the ovaries besides other areas in the body. The symptoms of these boils in a person include the presence of burning pains at most times. The boils tend to arise because of the body having some ulceration due to other causes. These forms of abscess develop in a gradual manner, they tend to heal in a very incomplete manner and leave a typical hardened area in the affected site after completion. The boils tend to bleed very easily. The condition of the patient can often greatly worsen during the nighttime and the patient is very sensitive to the slightest pressure from a touch, the condition of the patient can also be aggravated by any constriction, by heat, and the left side of the body is more sensitive to pressure if the boil occurs there. The condition of the patient can significantly improve after he or she has bathed. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Lachesis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the patient.
  • Mercurius
    Mercurius is to be used as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of abscesses that produce thin yellow-green and foul smelling pus; this discharge tends to be extremely acrid. The abscess tends to have a very prickling pain in the affected region and the skin tends to burn and sting at all times. Such abscesses may develop in the glands, in the gums, on the tonsils, or in internal organs such as the liver and the ovaries, the breasts, the bone, and even the brain are other areas where these could develop. This remedy must be used in the treatment of recurrent boils as the remedy speeds up suppuration and recovery. The remedy can also be used in the treatment of all abscesses that develop slowly or in the case of cold abscesses. All such abscesses are characterized by the discharge of abundant pus from the affected area. The patients also tend to suffer from ulceration of all types. The affected individual also tends to have pustules with a very foul odor which affects the smell of the sweat, along with the pus itself, and even the saliva of such persons may become foul. The abscess affected person often suffers from chills because of the problem. Another typical physical symptom is the swelling of the glands. The condition of the patient often worsens during the nighttime, the patient is very easily aggravated by both heat and cold and drafts, and will worsen in damp weather. The presence of one or more of these symptoms in the patient requires the immediate use of Mercurius as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the abscess.
  • SiIicea
    SiIicea can be used as a general homeopathic remedy in the treatment of boils, fistulas and abscesses of all types on the body. Such abscesses tend to affect areas of the body such as the bones, the joints, the cornea, and can occur in the glands and the tonsils, in the region of the breast, and even on the gums. The abscesses tend to have pus which is colored yellow or green, it is generally very thick, or sometimes thin and can often be bloody or tinged with blood, these discharges tend to have a very foul odor. The remedy can be used in the treatment of boils which have hardened in the affected area of the body. The use of this particular remedy is also recommended for all cases where the abscess fails to discharge and in cases where the pus keeps coming for a long period of time. The remedy can also be used if a wound with an abscess fails to heal over a long period of time. The silicea in general promotes the closure of the pustule, and leads to a prevention of scarring or scar tissue formation in the affected area of skin. These abscesses can lead to secondary infections as they get infected very easily. The homeopathic remedy is particularly effective in expelling foreign objects and related infectious pathogens from the body. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen when he or she is exposed to cold and damp conditions or weather, and when he or she is exposed to drafts, the patient may be very sensitive to jarring movements, and the symptoms are aggravated during the night. The condition of the patient can substantially improve when some heat is applied topically. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate utilization of Silicea as a homeopathic treatment for the abscess.
  • Sulphur
    Sulphur can be used in the homeopathic treatment of all types of abscesses, boils and pimples especially the ones that tend to occur in crops on the affected area. The typical outward sign of such pustules are the formation of offensive smelling, thin yellow pus, which is often bloody, and contains bubbles, that all tend to form a crust on the surface of the affected area. The typical physical symptoms include the presence of extreme burning sensations, along with stinging and itching in the affected parts. The remedy can also be used to treat all forms of ulcerations in the patient. The treatment is especially suggested for all kinds of abscesses that develop on the skin, in the glands, in the internal organs, and on the gums of the affected individual. These abscesses tend to form out of wounds that have become too easily infected and have led to the formation of a pustule. The remedy can be effectively used to treat all recurrent or persistent abscesses on any part of the body. It is suggested for abscesses that are sluggish in healing, and those which have parts that remain sore even after a full recovery. The condition of the patient tends to significantly worsen when the individual is in the warmth of a bed, and around 11 a.m., the patients condition can also significantly worsen during the night, and if the person is given to excessive scratching. The condition of the patient often improves with the application of a warm compress as a topical measure on the affected region of the skin. The presence of one or more of these symptoms in the patient requires the immediate use of Sulphur as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the abscessed area.

Additional things you may do

Diet plays a very important role in the incidence of abscesses and boils, it is therefore best to have a dietary regimen that is low in fatty foods of all types, these include foods such as meat and eggs, and all kinds of dairy, oil and rich foods must be avoided. Lower the volume of consumed sweetened foods and refined carbohydrates- white flour and sugar in the diet for better health and a decreased chance of developing abscesses. The consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables must be increased at the same time. The use of medicinal clay packs aids in drawing out accumulated toxins present in the body and lowers the chances of developing all sorts of abscesses. These can be prepared by mixing a tbsp. of ordinary clay in some water to form a paste and the clay can then be applied about a quarter-inch thick on the abscess as a topical measure. Once this clay has been applied cotton gauze can be used to cover it and then a dry towel can be utilized to hold it in place. Once the clay has dried over the abscess, it can be removed and repeated as a continuous treatment. This will lead to the ripening of the pustule, and the open abscess will discharge pus pending recovery. This starts healing once the pustule has been cleansed out. Squeezing a boil is often carried out to remove pus; however, as the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, this practice is best avoided. The mechanical force of squeezing may also lead to some damage in the subcutaneous tissue promoting the formation of scar tissue over the affected area. Once a boil has ripened the preferred thing is that it be allowed to ooze out the pus on its own. However, a disinfected needle-disinfected by holding a needle over an open flame or sterilized by dipping a needle in alcohol can also be used if necessary to gently prick the yellow tip of the abscess and thus release the pus. The healing and recovery process from the abscess can also be increased to some extent through moderate exposure to sunlight once the pus has ebbed away. To reduce the chances of recurrences and to avoid spreading the boil to other parts of the body, take showers instead of baths once the abscess opens up to discharge pus, the risk of infection is also minimized by the practice of washing hands thoroughly before eating. To minimize the formation of scar tissues and to promote healing use topical measures including applications of the gel of the aloe vera and pure natural vitamin E oil on to the area. A qualified medical doctor must be consulted for treatment in all cases where abscesses recur on a persistent basis, in cases where they occur in many parts of the body at the same time, and in all cases where the abscess looks unusual outwardly. Abscesses on the facial region, those with red streaks running through them, those that appear filled with a lot of fluid appears on the face, and those that open inwardly possibly discharging into the inner cavities of the body cavities, must also be examined by a doctor.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin A, 25,000 IU or 100,000 IU beta-carotene. Should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 500-1,000 mg every few hours, or 3,000 mg, to bowel tolerance
  • Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400-800 IU
  • Garlic, 4,000 mg
  • Zinc, 30-60 mg, with 3-4 mg copper
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, three capsules or one tsp.

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