Boils are localized, tender, inflamed, pus-filled swelling5 skin surrounded by large red areas. They are infections of’ hair follicles of the skin. They are quite painful, particularly in areas where the skin is closely attached to the underlying tissue, such as the nose, ears, or fingers. They usually occur in teenagers and young adults. The common sites for boils are the face, neck, buttocks, and thighs.

Causes and Symptoms

At first, a painful red nodule appears on the skin. This grows bigger and then breaks down in the middle where the pus collects. The patient experiences a great deal of irritation and itching. There may be a single boil, or several boils in the same area or in different areas at or about the same time, or they may come in successive crops. The swelling may not be limited to one hair follicle but may extend to several follicles. When the boils ripen, they give out a discharge. Fever may sometimes accompany the boils.

Boils are caused mainly by staphylococcus germs which enter the sweat glands or hair follicles. The essential cause of this disorder is thus bacterial. However, several factors predispose the growth of bacteria in hair follicles. Of these, the chief factor is a toxic condition in the blood stream, which is due to a faulty diet and a frenetic pace of living. Boils generally appear when a person is in a run-down and devitalised condition.


Garlic and Onion: Garlic and onions have proved most effective among the several home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of boils. The juice of garlic or onion may be applied externally on boils to help ripen them, break them, and evacuate the pus. An equal quantity of the juices of these two vegetables can also be applied with beneficial results. Eating of two to three Pods of garlic during meals will also bring good results.

Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds are beneficial in the treatment of boils. The seeds should be ground in water and made into a paste. This paste can be applied to boils with beneficial results.

Margosa Leaves: The use of margosa leaves has proved effective in boils. They can be used as a poultice, decoction, or liniment with beneficial results. To make the decoction, 15 gm of margosa leaves should be boiled in 500 ml of water till it is reduced by one-third.

Parsley: To treat boils, this vegetable should be steeped in boiled water till it is soft and juicy. When comfortably hot, it should be wrapped with clean muslin or linen cloth and applied to the boils as a poultice.

Turmeric: Application of turmeric powder on boils speeds up the healing process. In the case of fresh boils, a few dry roots of turmeric are roasted, the ashes dissolved in a cupful of water, and then applied over the affected portion. This solution enables the boils to ripen and burst

Dietary Considerations

A thorough cleansing of the system is essential for the treatment of boils. To begin with, the patient may fast on orange juice diluted with water on a 50:50 basis for three to four days, or adopt an exclusive diet of fresh juicy fruits from five to seven days.

After the short juice fast or the all-fruit diet, as the case may be, the patient should adopt a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on wholegrain cereals, raw vegetables, and fresh fruits. Further periods of a juice fast or an all-fruit diet may be necessary, depending on the general health level and bodily condition of the patient The patient should avoid tea and coffee, starchy and sugar foods, especially cakes, pastries, sweets, chocolates, white sugar and white bread. He should also avoid all condiments, pickles, and sauces.

Other Measures

A warm-water enema should be given daily during the initial juice fast or all-fruit diet. This will help to cleanse the bowels. Warm moist compresses should be applied three or four times a day over the tender area. This will help to bring the boil to a head and encourage easy drainage. A hot Epsom salts bath is highly beneficial and should be taken by the patient two or three times in a week until the boils persist and once a week thereafter. Other helpful measures in the treatment of boils are daily dry massage in the morning followed by a cold sponge.

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