Turmeric and Other Remedies for Painful Boils

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If you’ve ever had a boil anywhere on your body, you know how painful they can be.

You can take antibiotics to get rid of the infection, but sometimes going the natural route is much more effective, especially when the bacteria has for some reason grown resistant to regular antibiotics (which is happening more and more often).

Turmeric is an extremely effective cure for boils and is found to work well when all other methods fail.

There are two ways to use turmeric to cure boils.

Method 1: Eat it or drink it

Simple enough, but most of us might have trouble swallowing raw turmeric. So do what suits you.

Some suggestions include adding the turmeric to:

  • water
  • tea
  • milk

If you’re able to cook, you can add turmeric to:

  • stir fries and curries
  • broths and soups
  • rice (add a little turmeric in the water as you boil it)

Whatever method you choose to take the turmeric, the dose is 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder three times a day, and more if you can take it.

Combine turmeric with good fats and fresh ground black pepper. To increase turmeric absorption, combine it with any good cold-pressed oils or fats (such as almond oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil or grapeseed oil). Black pepper added to turmeric has also been proven to increase the bioavailability of turmeric.

Paul recommends combining turmeric with Ghee or the butter fat in creamer. He wrote:

I contracted via a Surgery that cleaned and Sticky Plaster closed a gash on my Leg. Soon a large area of infection appeared on lower leg above the Ankle roceeded to give me large doses of PENICILLEN for 6 month, saying that that was their only Remedy.
Eventually thats topped growing but then I gashed my other Lower Leg on a Suitcase. This also blew up like a Boil and spread seriously. Again more Penicillen for over another 6 months until my Bowels became very constibated which I never previuosly had. So I looked on GOOGLE and found many entrys that gave fabulous reports on success. Did this and allclear up immediately then with Whole grain Soya & Linseed Breads (4-6 Slices daily) got it all working again.Poroven that Tumeric is not Water Soluble and nes to be dissolved in GEE (Butter heated to remove Water and Solids.) Howver I use Cream on my Coffee or Tea and float half Teaspoon on that and its dissolves into the Cream which itself goes Yellow as proof. Now with the Butterfat in Cream, the Tumeric can go into the Bloodstream to do its work, which otherwise would have nbeen wasted through the Bowels and less effective. Seems that mixed with Honey and Butter or Cream would be ideal as a Poultice and highly reccommended. Talk to an Indian about TUMERIC which they all take Daily and really in that unhealthy country, MANY ARE NEVER UNWELL AND LIVE TO A RIPE OLD aGE.. GOOD lUCK. PAUL

Method 2: Apply turmeric paste over the boil

You can either use water or milk to make the thick paste. Keep it covered with a bandage. (Be prepared to see a temporary yellow tinge on your skin from the turmeric, though! This will fade in a couple of weeks, and I think its a small price to pay for getting rid of the boil.)

Although there’s two popular methods here, I would recommend using both at the same time.

This way you’re attacking the infected boil internally, by cleaning your body and skin of infection, and even more importantly, preventing the boil from re-infecting the surrounding skin (one boil can sometimes spread to more, or recur after some time elsewhere).

And the turmeric that’s applied externally would hasten the drainage of the boil.

Why turmeric works

Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antitumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is a remarkable substance that scientists have studied for its abilities to fight cancer. Turmeric’s powerful blood cleansing properties also helps it to successfully cure resistant MRSA infections when antibiotics have failed.

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Reader submissions

This page has received some useful information shared by generous commenters. I update this list periodically as more comments come in.

Thank You to all the commenters for sharing!

Alternative methods to curing boils submitted by commenters

  • Turmeric and Honey

Henrietta successfully drained her boil with a honey and turmeric paste left on overnight.

She wrote, “It works: I had a strange boil for over 4 weeks, it kept getting bigger until I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to take action. I’m seeing my doctor Monday but on Friday I started applying Hydrocortisone cream…with no effect. Then, Saturday night, I made a topical paste of honey and turmeric, left it on overnight with gauze bandages…in the morning, I felt that the boil was smaller, and when I looked under the gauze–it was a miracle! The boil had started to drain! Definitely a very effective home remedy. Strongly recommended.”

  • Boil Ease or Draw Out Salve (commercial product)

Nik used Boil Ease which made his boil recede in 3 days (it costs about $10 and can be bought over-the-counter at CVS, Rite Aid, Eckard in the First Aid section).

He wrote, “Anyone who is affected by LARGE, PAINFUL boils please try BOIL EASE or DRAW OUT SALVE. This is a true story. I am in no way affiliated to this company. Boils and their treatment have a special place in my heart because I have had many, many, many large and painful boils… too many to even count. I’ve visited 5 different doctors, have a lot of medical bills from them draining my boils at the hospital, thought I had MRSA… overall, very bad experience. Like everyone said about antibiotic abuse, my doctor would refill my antibiotic Rx without me even seeing her EVERY MONTH! that’s how often I got them. Long story short, a friend told me that her doctor recommended BOIL EASE, an over the counter ointment that can be bought at CVS, Rite Aid, Eckard… in the FIRST AID section (i couldn’t find it at first). I bought it, used it, my boil was HUGE and it did take a while but it went away in about a week and hasn’t returned. when i get boils now, as soon as i notice them, i put Boil Ease on and it goes away in 3 days. Def. try it! It’s only 10 dollars, they have the cheaper version DRAW OUT SALVE for like 7 dollars. Try it… from someone who has been suffering with this for almost 7 years, you WONT REGRET IT! I feel like I need to pass this information on because I didn’t know about it and now I wish I didn’t have scars from being operated on for NO REASON!! I wish i had known about this and I hope you all pass this information on as well.”

  • Potato or Peach Tree Leaves

Sheila shared her father’s remedy of using a scraped potato or peach tree leaves.

She wrote, “When i was a kid my dad would scrape a potato and wrap it in a gauze and apply it to boils and stys to draw out the infection, it works and if in the right season peach tree leaves poltice is another good source.”

  • Pepper leaf

Ruth Brown, a missionary in Nicaragua, said she had many problems with boils. She says, “the Nicaraguans taught me to put a pepper leaf on the boil that they picked off of their pepper tree. It worked better than anything I could have bought. Unfortunately, when I am in the States or elsewhere, I don’t have access to pepper trees or their leaves.”

Julie McKenzie also wrote about using pepper leaf for boils, “When I was a little girl back in the 1950s my mother always put Mecca Ointment and a pepper leaf on a band-aid and applied it to any boil I broke out with. It always worked and the boils went away.”

  • Tea Tree Oil and Spirits of Camphor

Sage mentions putting tea tree oil and camphor on boils.

She wrote, “Topically, I use Tea Tree Oil and Spirits of Camphor for boils and had great results also.”

  • Salt Pork

Little Lee had good results treating a boil that was across an armpit with salt pork. The salt pork relieved the soreness immediately and led the boil to drain. His boil was cured after two days and has not recurred even after 6 months.

He wrote, “I had a boil that ran all the way across my armpit. It was so red and swollen I couldn’t lay on either side to sleep. Antibiotics and warm compresses didn’t help. I remembered an old remedy. I bought a slab of salt pork, cut off a hunk and stuck it on the boil. Immediately almost all the soreness was gone and in five minutes there was a horrid smell. The boil was draining! It took about two days but it is gone. Thank goodness! I haven’t tried anything else but I will keep it in mind.”

Little Lee also mentions that he is a diabetic in another comment, “By the way, I am diabetic also. The boil hasn’t come back and that was about 6 months ago. May not work for someone else but for me it was the cure!”

Salt pork poultice is an old remedy. The fat and salt content of salt pork help to bring boils to a head.

  • Banana Peel

Ashley described her success at using banana peels on her boyfriend’s boil on another article (Banana Peels Works on Warts).

She wrote, “banana peels work great on boils. my boyfriend had a big nasty paintful boil on his butt and i put a banana peel on it for 10 minutes because it stung and itched right away. the next morning it was almost completely drained and totally pain free.”

Special Medical Conditions

  • Kidney transplant patients

Vicky asked if turmeric is safe for kidney transplant patients such as herself.

She wrote, “I am a kidney transplant patient and have suffer from boil for quite sometimes. Is tumeric powder is safe for me to take?”

My answer was: 

Hi Vicky, turmeric seems to be okay and may even be beneficial for kidney transplant patients. However, its still best if you clear it with your doctor first.

Below are some extracts from the web. You can click on the links to read the original text in full.

From cancer.org
“One small study of curcumin (edit: curcumin is found in turmeric), along with another antioxidant called quercetin, was done in adults who received kidney transplants. Those who received the combination in high dosages had fewer transplant rejections than those who received lower doses or placebo. More studies are needed to find out if this holds true. Curcumin may also promote the emptying of the gallbladder, but again, more human studies are needed.”

From drugdigest.com
“In addition to their anticancer effects, antioxidants in turmeric may protect the brain, kidneys, and liver from damage by alcohol, drugs, radiation, heavy metals such as lead, or chemicals such as dry cleaning fluid.”

From tcwellness.com
“Studies on diabetes induced kidney disease show promising indications that cucurmin inhibited the progression of damage. Lesions of the kidneys were reduced and the kidneys continued functioning well with a .05 percent turmeric diet.”

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  • Turmeric for pregnant women

Catherine asked if turmeric is safe to eat during pregnancy.

She wrote, “my grandaughter has several under her arm she can not take script because of pregancy is this safe?”

My answer to her was this:

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Hi Catherine, I found contradicting views when checking on whether or not turmeric is safe for pregnant women.

On one hand, turmeric is used in so many Indian dishes that many Indians ingest turmeric everyday.

On the other hand, I also found a quote that mentions how turmeric cannot be recommended during pregnancy or breast-feeding in large amounts (greater than what is normally found in food) as turmeric may stimulate contractions of the uterus and may alter menstrual periods.

To give you an idea of how much is in “foods” – in most Indian dishes, very little turmeric is actually added (usually a pinch or half a teaspoon). But so little an amount may not have much of an effect to clear your daughter’s boils.

You can go to this page to read up more on using turmeric. There are many user accounts of it.

But I can’t tell you for sure whether or not it is safe for your daughter to take turmeric as I don’t know myself. Perhaps its better to err on the side of caution and at least wait until she has given birth and stopped breastfeeding?

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In summary, small amounts of turmeric like those used in cooking appear to be safe but larger amounts is not advisable as not much is known about the effects to the mother and infant.

More information about turmeric and pregnancy can be found here (a forum where Indian women share their experiences with pregnancy and eating turmeric)

Other comments

  • Diet can affect the incidence of boils

Sage wrote, “I must agree with Henrietta’s statement about the importance of changing and improving your diet. Most of my issues with boils have occurred after consuming candy, cake and other sugary sweet baked goods. Dealing with abscesses too was unbearable until I totally removed soda pop from my diet, thus eliminating the abscesses. I also use turmeric (thanks to Earthclinic.com) and Black Seed Oil with plain yogurt when I have a problem. In the past I drank Turmeric with tea, but constipation sometimes resulted. So now, I mix 1 tsp of Turmeric, 1/2 tsp of Black Seed Oil with a half cup of yogurt and it has worked wonders. In addition to turmeric, I also drink Burdock and Echinacea with Goldenseal teas to help strengthen my immune system. Topically, I use Tea Tree Oil and Spirits of Camphor for boils and had great results also.”

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