Boils & Carbuncles

Boils & Carbuncles

A boil is a local inflammation of a hair root or cut, due to infection. A cluster of boils is known as a carbuncle.

Constant reinfection of this kind calls for a general reassessment of diet and lifestyle to enhance the body’s resistance. Look for particular problems in the body, such as dental abscess or chronically diseased tonsils, which may by undermining your general health.

Herbal Treatments

Use herbs internally that boost and stimulate the immune system, such as Goldenseal, Echinacea, Lavender, St. Johnswort, and Yellowroot, with those that fight infection, such as Burdock, Dandelion root, Garlic, and Thyme.

A hot poultice applied locally will help to draw a boil and cause it to discharge. Mix hot water with Slippery Elm powder to make a paste. Add a few drops of Lavender oil to the water to give the poultice antibacterial power.

Bloodroot tincture will draw the infection from a boil and cause it to discharge.



Blisters are usually caused by friction or burns. If the blister isn’t too severe or
painful, try to keep the unbroken skin intact. It provides a natural barrier to bacteria and decreases the risk of infection. Cover the blister with a small bandage to protect it.

If the blister is painful, drain the fluid while leaving the overlying skin intact by following these steps:

Wash your hands and the blister with warm water and soap.
Swab the blister with rubbing alcohol to kill germs.
Sterilize a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
Use the needle to puncture the blister. Puncture several spots near the blister’s edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.
Apply a natural antibiotic, such as Goldenseal, St. Johnswort,
or Yerba Mansa, and cover with a bandage. (There are several antibiotic ointments that you can make yourself on the Salves & Ointments page.
After several days, use tweezers and scissors that have been sterilized in rubbing alcohol to cut away the dead skin. Apply more antibiotic.

Call your doctor if you see signs of infection around the blister — pus, redness, or increased pain.

Black Eye

The black eye is caused by bleeding beneath the skin around the eye. Sometimes a black eye indicates a more serious injury, even a skull fracture. Although most injuries are not serious, bleeding within the eye, called a hyphema, is serious and can reduce vision and damage the cornea. Follow these steps to take care of a
black eye.

Using gentle pressure, apply ice or a cold pack to the area around the eye for 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to press on the eye itself. Apply cold as soon as possible after the injury to reduce swelling.
Be sure there is no blood in the white and colored parts of the eye.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience vision problems, (such as double vision or blurring), severe pain or bleeding in the eye or from the nose.

Animal Bites – Natural Treatment & Remedies

Animal Bites

Domestic pets cause most animal bites. Dogs are more likely to bite than cats, however, cat bites are more likely to cause infection. Bites from domestic animals that have not been immunized and bites from wild animals carry the risk of rabies. Rabies are more common in raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Rabbits, squirrels and other rodents rarely harbor rabies. If you or your child is bitten by an animal, follow these guidelines:

If the bite barely breaks the skin, treat it as a minor wound. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Apply an antibiotic to prevent infection and cover it with a clean bandage. There are three herbs that make great antibiotics and they are also anti-inflammatory. Goldenseal, St. Johnswort, and Yerba Mansa. Apply a poultice or tincture before covering the wound.
Note: There are several antibiotic salves that you can make yourself on the Salves & Ointments page. If the animal has not been vaccinated for rabies, see your doctor immediately.

If the bite is a deep puncture wound or the skin is badly torn and bleeding, apply pressure to stop the bleeding and see your doctor.

If you notice signs of infection such as swelling, redness, increased pain or oozing, see your doctor immediately.

If you suspect the bite was caused by an animal that might harbor rabies — any unprovoked bite from a wild or domestic animal of unknown immunization status — see your doctor immediately.

Yerba Mansa

Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica)
Identification: Yerba mansa is a perennial herb with spinach-like leaves that arise from a stout aromatic rhizome (underground stem). It thrives in saline and alkaline soils that many plants find inhospitable. The stems are upright, up to 1-1/2 feet tall, woolly, bearing a terminal group of flowers, one large leaf on the stem and a few basal leaves. The basal leaves are elliptical to oblong, up to 6 inches long, rounded at the tip, heart-shaped at the base and somewhat hairy. The
flowers are few, terminal in spikes, surrounded by 4 to 8 white, petal-like bracts up to 1-1/2 inches long, the entire structure up to 3 inches across. You are not observing one flower but a whole group of flowers arranged in an elongated cluster that resembles an anemone flower. What look like petals are in fact white petaloid bracts (modified leaves). Each flower has 6 or 8 stamens and 3 fused pistils. The fruits are cone-like capsules, rusty colored, with numerous seeds.
Family: Saururaceae (Lizard’s Tail Family)
Other Names: Bearsweed, Consumptive Weed, Holy Herb, Mountain Balm, Swamp Root
Flowers: March – September
Parts Used: Roots.
Habitat: Wet meadows, marshes, swamps, and along streams; in alkaline soil. Southwestern United States and Mexico. It is found in areas of boggy swamps and marshes, along rivers like the Colorado and down into areas in Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico.
Constituents: Methyleugenol (antispasmodic), esdragole, thymol methylether, linalool, P-cymene, and asarinin.
Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic and blood cleanser.
Main Uses: Yerba Mansa is receiving a lot of attention as an herbal medicine because it has similar antibiotic properties of Goldenseal. It can be used in similar ways and therefore is taking some of the pressure off of Goldenseal which is quickly approaching the endangered list of plants.
As an anti-inflammatory, it relieves irritated mucous membranes and helps to prevent tissue damage that may happen during inflammation. It can be useful for acute or chronic throat, lung, and sinus irritations. It helps colds, sore throats, periodontal disease (pyrrhea), colitis, Crohn’s disease, bladder and kidney infections, and it is also effective as a douche for yeast infections. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections, stomach and duodenal ulcers, wounds, bruises, diaper rash, skin inflammations, arthritis, aches and pains. It can be used as a sitz bath for pelvic infections, vaginal warts, fissures and hemorrhoids. Improves lymph drainage in mild colds, sore throats and sinus infections; also in subacute colitis and cystitis. It is also useful for arthritis because it stimulates the excretion of uric acid and has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so it is useful for skin infections also.
Harvest: The roots are gathered in the fall and winter, when the foliage has died back. Wash them well and allow to dry for several weeks, then slice into sections and allow it to finish drying. When totally dry, grind into a powder.
Preparation and Dosages:
Tincture: [Fresh root, 1:2; Dry root, 1:5], 60% alcohol, 20 to 60 drops up to 5 times a day.
Cold Infusion: 2 to 4 ounces, up to 5 times a day.


Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)

Identification: This low-growing deciduous shrub can grow up to 36 inches. The erect, unbranched woody stem bears leaves and flowers only on the upper portion. The leaves are usually divided into 3 to 5 leaflets, on long stalks, leaves cleft, toothed. The flowers are small, brownish purple in drooping racemes. The flowers have 5 petals, 2-lobed with gland like organs on a short claw. The fall leaf color
is yellow, bronze, and orange.
Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Other Names: Poor Man’s Goldenseal
Flowers: April – May
Parts Used: Root
Habitat: Rich, damp woods along stream banks. From New York to Florida; Alabama to Kentucky. Yellowroot is most frequently found in streamside environments, where it thrives in the moist, cool alluvial soil and spreads quickly, forming dense thickets.
History: Yellowroot gets its name from its long, bright yellow root, which is a common ingredient in folk remedies. Historically, yellowroot has been used to treat everything from ring worm and dysentery to diabetes and high blood pressure, (hypertension).

American Indians used a tea for stomach disorders, colds, jaundice, cramps, sore mouth or throat, menstrual disorders, astringent; used externally for cancer and piles.

Yellowroot was formerly used as an adulterant to or substitute for Goldenseal, though 19th century physicians believed its medicinal action was quite different than that of Goldenseal.

Constituents: Berberine

Medicinal Properties:
Antinflammatory, Astringent, Hemostatic, Antimicrobial, Anticonvulsant, Immunostimulant (stimulates the immune system), Uterotonic.

The chemical constituent “Berberine” stimulates the secretion of bile and bilirubin and may by useful in correcting high tyramine levels in patients with liver cirrhosis.

The sticks of the root have been chewed to aid in quitting smoking and it is believed that yellowroot produces a transient drop in blood pressure.

Warning Warning! Yellowroot is potentially toxic, especially in large doses.

Yellow Jessamine

Yellow Jessamine (Gelsimium sempervirons)
Yellow jessamine is a perennial evergreen vine found in moist woodlands and thickets from Virginia to Texas and in Mexico and Central America. It is also cultivated elsewhere as an ornamental
vine. The slender, woody stems twine about trees and other objects, sometimes reaching a length of 20 feet and climbing from one tree to another. The opposite, lanceolate to ovate leaves are dark green above and pale beneath. The fragrant yellow, funnelform flowers are borne in axillary or terminal cymes from March to May. The fruit is an elliptical capsule containing many seeds.
Family: Loganiaceae (Logania family)
Other Names: Gelsemium, Wild jessamine, Woodbine, Yellow Jasmine
Flowers: March – May
Parts Used: Roots
Habitat: Thickets, dry woods, sandy areas. Southeastern Virginia; south to Florida; West to Texas and Arkansas.
Constituents: Gelsemine, gelsemoidine, sempervirene. (These alkaloids are highly concentrated in the flower nectar.

Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Nervine, Sedative, Antispasmodic, and Antiperiodic.

Main Uses: Yellow Jessamine was by the American Indians and is still used today, but with extremely careful administration.

It is an unrivalled febrifuge, possessing relaxing and antispasmodic properties. It is very effective in migraine and nervous headaches. It equalizes circulation, promotes perspiration and rectifies various secretions without causing nausea or vomiting. It has been used with great success in neuralgia, toothache, and insomnia.

Two Duke University researchers are studying the nervine’s active toxins. An overdose of the most active toxin results in death through failure of the respiratory tract, but in therapeutic amounts it stimulates the heart and respiration.

Preparation And Dosages:
Tincture: Fresh root (1:2), dry root (1:5), in 65% alcohol. Take 1 drop per 10 pounds of body weight no more than 3 times a day.

Warning Warning! Overdoses may be fatal.
Contact Dermatitis Can cause contact dermatitis.

Yellow Dock

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)

Yellow dock is a perennial that grows from 1 to 5 feet in height. The leaves are large, lance-shaped; margins distinctly wavy. The flowers are green, on spikes; blooms May through September. The seeds are winged and heart-shaped.
Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family)

Other Names: Curled dock, Narrow dock, Sour dock, Rumex,
Garden patience
Flowers: June – September
Parts Used: Root
Habitat: Waste ground, throughout the eastern U.S.
Constituents: Anthraquinone, glycosides, tannins, iron.

Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Astringent, Cholagogue, Tonic.

Main Uses: Chronic skin diseases, chronic enlarged lymph glands, skin sores, rheumatism, liver ailments, and sore throats. May cause or relieve diarrhea, depending on dose, harvest time, and concentrations of anthraquinones (laxative) and/or tannins (antidiarrheal). Anthraquinones can arrest growth of ringworm and other fungi. A compress can help soothe itchy skin. The plant’s high iron content makes it valuable for correcting anemia.

Preparation And Dosages:
1 teaspoon of the grated or crushed root to 1 cupful of boiling water; drink 3 to 4 cupfuls daily. A syrup may be made by boiling 1/2 pound of the crushed root in 1 pint of syrup; taken in teaspoonful doses three or four times a day.

Externally: Ulcers, hard tumors, eruptive skin diseases, etc., have been removed by the application of the bruised root in poultice form. (An ointment made with the root simmered in oil).

Decoctions have been used for ulcers, burns, and skin diseases. Fresh leaves have been used for foul wounds and ulcers, shingles or itching skin.

Tincture: Fresh root (1:2), dry root (1:5), in 50% alcohol. Take 30 to 75 drops up to 3 times a day.
Yellow Dock is also a wild food.


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is an attractive 3-foot perennial covered with delicate hairs. Its feathery, fern-like leaves are divided into what seem like thousands of tiny leaflets, hence its names, thousandleaf and millefoil.
Yarrow’s numerous, tiny, white flowers develop in dense clusters on flat-topped, umbrella-like stalks in summer.
Family: Compositae (Sunflower family)
Other Names: Nosebleed, Millefoil, Thousandleaf
Flowers: May – October
Parts Used: Leaves and flower heads
Habitat: Fields, and roadsides throughout the area.
Constituents: Azulene, Borneol, Terpineol, Camphor, Cineole, Isoartemesia ketone, Thujone, Lactones, Flavonoids, Tannins, Coumarins, Saponins, Achilleine, Salicylic acid, Cyanidin.
Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Antispasmodic, Astringent, Carminative, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, Hemostatic, Tonic.Main Uses: Colds, flu, fevers, digestive tonic, wound healing, and skin cleanser.Yarrow is one of the best known herbal remedies for fevers. A hot infusion induces a therapeutic sweat which cools fevers and expels toxins. Like all sweat-inducing remedies, yarrow encourages blood flow to the skin and this helps to lower blood pressure, and action which is also die to the flavonoids in the plant which dilate the peripheral arteries. The flavonoids also help to clear blood clots. The alkaloid in yarrow has been reported to lower blood pressure; the cyanidin influences the vagus nerve, slowing the heart beat.Tannins in the plant are probably responsible for yarrow’s reputation as a wound healer, hence the name nosebleed. Yarrow is good for all kinds of bleeding, external and internal. Yarrow also has anti-inflammatory properties.
In China, yarrow is used fresh as a poultice for healing wounds. A decoction of the whole plant is prescribed for stomach ulcers, amenorrhoea, and abscesses.

Caution CAUTION: Taking yarrow internally may cause sensitivity to sunlight in some people.
Preparation And Dosages:
For wound treatment, press fresh leaves and flower tops into cuts and scrapes. For a possible tranquilizing infusion to help aid digestion or help treat menstrual cramps, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 15 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day. Yarrow tastes tangy and bitter. To improve flavor, add honey, sugar, or lemon, or mix it with an herbal beverage blend. To help promote healing, apply it externally to clean wounds and inflammations.

Tincture: [FRESH 1:2, DRY 1:5, 50% alcohol] 10 to 40 drops. Standard Infusion, 2-4 ounces. ROOT. Fresh Root Tincture, topical to gums as needed.


Woundwort (Prunella vulgaris)

Woundwort is a low perennial that grows 1 to 3 feet. The leaves are oval to lance shaped; mostly smooth; opposite, on a weakly squared stem.

The flowers are crowded on a terminal head. Each flower consists of a two-lipped calyx, the upper lip very wide and flat, edged with three blunt teeth, the lower

lip much narrower and with long, pointed teeth. Both lips have red margins and carry hairs. The two-lipped corolla is of a deep purple hue, the upper lip strongly arched, on the top of the arch many hairs standing on end, and the lower lip of much the same length, spreading out into three holes.

The fruit is an ovoid, smooth, angled nutlet.

Family: Labiatae (Mint family)
Flowers: May – September
Parts Used: Whole plant
Other Names: Heal-all, all-heal, blue curls, brownwort, carpenter’s herb, self-heal, sicklewort
Habitat: Open woods, lawns, fields, and waste places in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Constituents: Ursolic acid, volatile oil, bitter principles

Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, diuretic, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary.

Main Uses: Woundwort is used in mouthwashes or gargles for sore throats. Also for fevers, and diarrhea; it is used externally as a wash for ulcers, wounds bruises and sores.

As a tea, it is beneficial for internal wounds.

Contains the antitumor and diuretic compound ursolic acid.

Preparation And Dosages:
Extract: Soak 1 teaspoon herb in 1 pint brandy or whiskey for a few days. Take 2 tablespoons a day or as needed.