Natural Health Remedies for You

Home Remedies for Boils (Furuncles)

This page focuses on home remedies for boils - using herbs, aromatherapy, homeopathy, and nutritional supplements to cure boils. Boils symptoms and boils causes will also be discussed.

An abscess is an accumulation of pus that occur anywhere in the body. When an abscess forms around a hair follicle, it is known as a boil (medically known as a furuncle).

Boils usually start as small, firm, and tender lumps that become red and swollen. Within two to four days, a pustule usually forms in the center of the infected area. A few more days later, the lumps grow larger and more painful until they rupture and drain.

Boils can happen to anyone and can occur anywhere on the skin, but mainly on the face, neck, armpits, buttocks or thighs. Small boils usually heal without leaving a scar, but large boils sometimes do.

When a boil forms on the eyelid, it is called a sty.

A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that form a connected area of infection under the skin, which is usually red, painful, swollen, and warm. Carbuncles often occur on the back of the neck, shoulders or thighs. They cause a deeper and more severe infection than single boils do. In addition, they develop and heal more slowly and are more likely to leave a scar.

Boils Symptoms

A severe infection may show the following signs and symptoms:
  • The skin around the boil becomes infected and turns red, painful, warm, and swollen
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
You should see a doctor if you have:
  • Very large boils
  • Boils accompanied by a fever
  • Severe pain
  • Boils that do not drain
  • A boil on your face or spine
  • Red lines radiating from a boil (a sign that the infection has entered your lymphatic system)
  • A condition that suppresses your immune system, such as an organ transplant or HIV infection, or use immune suppressing drugs (for example, corticosteroids or chemotherapy)


Causes of Boils

Most boils are caused by the staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus). This bacteria enters the body through tiny cuts in the skin or can travel down the hair to the follicle. Boils occur when one or more hair follicles become infected.

People are more susceptible to boils if they have the following conditions:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes makes it more difficult for the body to fight infections.
  • Compromised Immune Systems: People with weakened immunity are more prone to infections such as boils.
  • Other Skin Conditions: Skin problems such as acne and dermatitis damage the skin's protective barrier, making it susceptible to boils and carbuncles.

In addition, poor diet or poor hygiene can also cause infections such as boils.


Home Remedies for Boils

Most boils are not serious and respond well to home remedies. Effective natural home remedies for boils include the use of herbs, essential oils, homeopathy, and nutritional supplements to fight infections and strengthen the immune system.

Home Remedies for Boils - Herbs

Effective herbs for boils and carbuncles include:
  • Echinacea: Echinacea is well known for its immune-boosting properties. In fact, it was widely used to treat infections back in the days before antibiotics. You take this herb orally, either the tincture or the capsule form. Recommended dosage is 500 mg or 2 ml four times a day.
  • Goldenseal: Like echinacea, goldenseal is both an immune booster and an antibiotic. You can take this herb orally, either the tincture or the capsule form. Recommended dosage is 500 mg or 2 ml four times a day.
  • Calendula: Calendula is an excellent healing herb. It is often used as a topical application for boils and infected sores. You can get an ointment containing the herb and apply to affected area two to three times a day.
  • Burdock: Burdock root is a blood cleanser and a skin detoxifier. Recommended dosage is about 500 mg time times a day.


Home Remedies for Boils - Aromatherapy

Essential oils that are antibacterial make excellent home remedies for boils. Some such essential oils include:

  • Tea Tree
  • Oregano
  • Chamomile
  • Red Thyme
  • Lavender
There are several ways you can use these essential oils to treat boils and carbuncles.

You can dilute about 10 drops of tea tree oil or oregano oil in half an ounce of water and apply topically three times a day. Alternatively, you can put one drop of red thyme onto a hot compress and apply twice a day. The antibacterial properties of these oils can help to draw out the pus.

For synergistic effects, try to make a blend using:

  • 2 drops of tea tree
  • 2 drops of lavender
  • 1 drop of chamomile
  • Dilute in a small bowl of hot water
Bathe the affected area two times a day.

After the pus has been drawn out, apply a little of the following oil blend over the affected area twice a day:

  • 3 drops of lavender
  • 2 drops of tea tree
  • 2 drops of red thyme
  • Diluted in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil


Home Remedies for Boils - Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements suitable for home remedies for boils include:
  • Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids: Vitamin C boosts the immune system while bioflavonoids reduce skin inflammation. Recommended dosage is 1000 mg three times a day.
  • Zinc: Zinc promotes healing of the skin. It also supports the immune system. Take 30 mg twice a day with 2 mg of copper.


Home Remedies for Boils - Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies are effective home remedies for boils. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions of use on the product label.
  • Arsenicum album: This remedy is for deeply infected boils with intensely burning pain and offensive discharge. Symptoms feel better from warmth, as well as hot applications.
  • Belladonna: This remedy is used in early stages of a boil, before much pus has formed. The area is red, hot, throbbing, swollen, and tender, often with intense or stabbing pains. Jarring or touch may increase discomfort. A high fever may also be present.
  • Hepar sulphuris: This remedy is effective for a boil that is extremely tender and sensitive to touch, with a sharp, sticking pain. The boil may produce deep pockets of offensive pus or be slow to heal. Symptoms are worse in cold air and are better from warmth. This remedy is also indicated when boils seem to be spreading.
  • Mercurius solubilis: This remedy is for boils that are very sensitive with burning and stinging pustular discharges. The person may have swollen lymph nodes and offensive breath. Symptoms are worse at night and warmth may aggravate the pain.
  • Silica: This remedy is for boils that form hard lumps that do not discharge pus and that fail to heal. If many boils form at once, or boils frequently recur, it is often very useful. Symptoms feel better from warm compresses.


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
Duke, J.A., The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002)
Worwood, V.A. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. (New World Library, 1991) (

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