An abscess refers to an accumulation of pus anywhere on the body. The most common body areas where abscess occur are the face, armpits, female breast (especially during lactation), rectum, and on the extremities (fingers and toes). Abscess is usually caused by bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, and can also be due to parasites.
Symptoms of abscess include swelling, tenderness, or redness (often with a sensation of being hot to the touch) in and around the infected area. A severe abscess can cause fever, cellulitis, (buildup of cellulite due to inflammation of cellular tissue associated with pus formation), fatigue, weight loss, chills, abnormal functioning depending on the area affected or, at worst, blood infection and rupture. Incomplete drainage may result in fibrous wall with calcium accumulation resulting in a hardened mass.
Abscess can result from allergic infections, boils, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, and/or poor immune response. If abscesses are chronic or recurrent, this may be a sign of food, environmental, or chemical allergies. Abscesses may be caused or worsened by decreased immune functioning. In most cases, an abscess should start to clear up in several days. A failure to clear up or bouts of reoccurrences may indicate serious problems with immune functioning and overall health and require professional care. Assess your lifestyle to reduce areas of stress or other problems that may be contributing to a decrease in general health and immune functioning, and get plenty of rest. If your abscess is recurrent, this may indicate an imbalance in your body and the need for a bowel cleanse and rejuvenation program.
Note: Abscesses that are moderate to severe may require bed rest, local ice packs, or hot baths. External abscesses that are mild may respond to gentle heat from warm water soaks and to improved nutrition. Most abscesses, however, need to be treated with antibiotics or herbs. Supplementing with acidophilus (especially if antibiotics are used) and B vitamins, as well as increasing fluids is recommended. The need for specific other treatment measures, such as drainage, compression bandage, or surgery, should be assessed by a holistic physician or health practitioner.
Aromatherapy: A hot compress of bergamot, tea tree, lavender, chamomile, garlic oils can bring relief of abscess symptoms and help to speed healing.
Diet: Increase liquids such as filtered water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, and immune enhancer herbal teas like astragalus (a Chinese Herb) or nettle (8-10 glasses per day). Avoid all stressor foods, especially refined sugars and alcohol for at least two weeks. Also avoid cow’s milk dairy products and processed foods and drink water with the juice of one fresh squeezed lemon upon rising and before going to bed. If your abscess is chronic, eat plenty of organic berries (fresh or frozen) or drink berry leaf teas.
Fasting: A short (48-hour) water or juice fast to encourage more rapid detoxification and healing is often helpful in cases of chronic abscess.
Herbs: Burdock root, cayenne, dandelion root, echinacea, goldenseal, red clover, yarrow, and yellowdock root, taken as tinctures or as teas, either individually or in combination, can help boost immunity and therefore help hasten healing.
Topical Treatment: Use a paste of goldenseal root powder and calendula succus (the juice of the marigold flower). Place the paste over the abscess and leave it on twelve to twenty-four hours. It will often draw out the infection, while stimulating regeneration of the damaged tissues.
As an alternative, apply a mixture of zinc oxide cream, the squeezed contents of one vitamin A capsule (10,000 IU), and liquid chlorophyll on external abscesses three times daily. If all three are not available use whichever you can obtain. Another alternative is to apply raw, unprocessed honey to infected area.