Last Modified on Mar 05, 2014
What Is Cellulitis?
With constant exposure to environmental toxins and the general environment, the skin frequently exhibits signs of adverse reactions. One of the most severe reactions of the skin is cellulitis. A common and possibly serious bacterial skin infection, cellulitis is painful and can cause additional complications if left untreated.
Typically affecting the skin of the lower legs, cellulitis can affect the skin on any part of the body and may range in depth from the surface to the tissues underlying the skin, the lymph nodes, and the bloodstream. At any level of severity the symptoms of cellulitis are the same. Common symptoms include redness, swelling, overall tenderness, pain, warmth or heat to the touch, fever. As the condition worsens, the area of redness may expand. Additionally, small red spots may appear on the affected skin and may even develop into blisters and burst.
Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that forms when one or more types of bacteria penetrate the skin through a crack or lesion in the skin. Streptococcus and staphylococcus are the two most common types of bacteria that cause cellulitis. Typically, surgical sites, cuts, puncture wounds, ulcers, athlete’s foot and dermatitis are the prime locations of bacterial entrance; however, certain types of spider and insect bites can also transfer the bacteria that triggers and infection.
Natural Treatments for Cellulitis
Cellulitis is an aggressive condition that can cause additional complications if left untreated. While medical options are available, natural treatments are often more effective. A regimen combining internal and external treatment is often most efficient. Taking turmeric and coconut oil orally and applying olive oil, tea tree essential oil, and frankincense essential oil topically are all effective natural treatments. Vitamin D supplements also help treat the condition.
Continue reading below for more natural remedies from Earth Clinic readers!
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 09/11/2013: Christy from Austin, Indiana: "First just want to say I am 22 years old when I was 6 months pregnant I got bit by a bug then a blister formed. And while I was working at my nursing home because I am a certified nursing assistant (cna) the blister popped. And the cellulitis started and I've had this infection ever since and every time I'm working I'm always on my feet so I get blisters on the same toe and my cellulitis starts and it's very painful. The worse my cellulitis has gotten my leg was inflamed up to my knee, and my limp nodes were swollen. I had to stay at Nortons hospital for a week dealing with this painful infection. Every time the doctors wanted me to stand up I would cry so hard and had to have help from the nurses, to lean on them because I couldn't move. I have cried myself to sleep praying this infection would go away but I learned I'm stuck with it the rest of my life. I have went to the doctors 7 times since I got pregnant within this year and my son is 1 year old now. I have tried every antibiotic the doctor has given me and nothing has helped but I recently heard of coconut oil helping. I just started using it last month. I love it so much but since I'm a cna I can't escape being on my feet and dealing with the blisters. I'm so glad I found this site and seeing everyone find these remedies helping I heard tea tree helps with the coconut oil. I will say I don't want any more antibiotics from the doctors they say it helps and then I get discouraged because it doesn't."Replies
09/12/2013: Earth Clinic Fan from Love And Light To All! replies: "Have you tried Iodex or Iodine, or Colostrum Serum in combination with the Coconut Oil? Hope this may be of help to you! Wishing YOU well!"
11/09/2012: Kim from Flagstaff, Az: "I suffer from recurrent cellulitis infections and 6 months back had found a cream that was highly recommended for cellulitis prevention and treatment on a more natural method. Does anyone know what this cream may be called or where I can find it? Thanks"
[NAY] 06/17/2013: Janet from Durham, West Grey, Ontario: "Cellulitis cures I've tried and failed:
I got cellulitis a year ago from a bug bite (mosquito I think) which became rapidly infected! I put Tea Tree oil on it but it only burned and didn't stop the infection. Actually I didn't know I had cellulitis at that point. I went to my local hospital emergency and the doctor on staff said likely the bug bite got infected due to chronic sinus infection under the cheek! He advised a topical antibiotic, which I normally NEVER take antibiotics as I get severely ill from them (I have a chronic underlying immune disorder and other health challenges originally due to serious childhood trauma/complex PTSD--post traumatic stress syndrome. To say, I have been holistic, vegetarian (mostly) and use many natural healing methods since I was 18 and I am 57 now).
Back to the cellulitis: I was so scared on reading on-line what cellulitis is and how dangerous that I decided to try:
1) a topical colloidal Silver gel. My face/cheek swelled to triple the size and became itchy, painful and really red!!! I looked up the ingredients and there was one that is some kind of chemical as the base that on researching is used by the cosmetic industry and is highly reactive in exactly the ways I had, for some individuals, esp. With sensitive skin normally (me)!!!! And this was advised by the health food store!!
2) I tried the topical antibiotic at that point being really worried--and even WORSED reaction!!!!!!
SOOOOO, I gave up, went on line, found people using golden seal---I tried a tincture straight, burned like hell. Put a little in SLippery Elm powder with water, applied as a pack on my cheek--this worked and in a few days my infection was greatly reduced. I continue for a few weeks. BUT the infection stayed at a low level and here I am 11 months later with it spread to my lips and up to my temple!! I tried slippery elm again, no change. I've tried various healing salves, I've even tried Tea Tree oil with water this morning--just burned a little, redder now--still swollen though not as bad as a year ago.
What now? I AM of course working with someone I've found who does natural healing to help my whole body and mind---with energy clearing work to clear out the PTSD, and diet adjusting ( already eat for 20+ years an organic, whole foods diet with all the best supplements) and supplement adjusting with muscle testing for MY SPECIFIC NEEDS. I was crying this morning though, wanting to give up, then praying to my Angels, God, the Universe to help me with my whole condition---I've had a 'flu' with vomitting, aching, fatigue, etc for 5 months now! #@! It went away for a bit, seemed the healing was working and then I ran out of money for my good food and supplements and boom! The flu came back--the whole bit. I've been on this adjusted diet and supplements with this healer for 2 weeks now, still sick!!! Argh! But I'm not giving up!
Any suggestions? I will, by the way, look at what the Earth Clinic suggests and try them! Thanks everyone for your stories by the way! To Light and Joy! Cheers! Janet"
06/17/2013: Joy from Battleground, Wash replies: "You might try topical activated charcoal... Messy stuff but draws out toxins under the skin. You could take charcoal tabs for other stuff internal but don't take with other stuff or it will suck it up and eliminate it. Hospitals use it for OD patients to detox them."
06/18/2013: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello Janet, This is what I would do and have done re bites and systemic infections.
Use the following: Topically on the bite area and skin where infected apply Echinacea in liquid form (the herb) liberally applied to a white cloth. Prefer adding a few drops to each application of DMSO to make sure the echinacea absorbs since the bite is probably healed over by now. Repeat with new topical application every hour. Use as a poultice keeping applied to infected area. Next, take five drops of the Echinacea into purified water and drink. Every hour replace the topical application and drink the liquid. Do this for twelve hours. See if improved. If better, do the same thing again the next day. Repeat the third day.
Finally, get a good brand of high ppm colloidal silver liquid... Not a gel that you had such problems with. Drink a tablespoon of CS three time daily on an empty stomach. Do this daily for a full month. This is needed, along with the echinacia taken internally to kill the microbe/ virus, fungi, or bacteria doing the damage. But the infection is not only below the surface on your face... By your description it is also in the body system... hence the flu attacks."
06/18/2013: Mama To Many from Middle, Tennessee, Usa replies: "Janet, So sorry about this suffering and sickness! Last year my son, who was 4, had a bug bite on his earlobe that became infected. It got worse and worse and appeared to be staph/cellulitis. We were able to heal him at home, it did take several weeks. This is what we did:
Turmeric - 2-4 times a day. 1/4 t. (an adult could take 1 t. Which would be about 4 00 capsules) I mixed it with honey as he couldn't swallow pills.
Coconut oil 2-4 times a day 1 t. (1 T. For an adult, but work up to it from 1 t. ) I gave this at the same time as the turmeric as the turmeric need some fat to work the best.
During the day - several times a day I put a mixture of olive oil, tea tree essential oil and frankinsence essential oil on his ear. (1 t. Oil plus a couple of drops of the essential oils. He is a sensitive redhead and straight would be too much.)
During the night - charcoal poultices - 1 part ground flax seed, 1 part activated charcoal powder and water to make a paste like a soft jelly. I spread this on a paper towel and folded it over and put it on his ear and covered with plastic wrap (charcoal must be wet to work) and then attached it to his head with a bandana.
Once in a while I did hot and cold soaks. This really did seem to help. I would get two containers, one with very cold water and one with hot water as much as he could stand. I would alternate hot and cold several times and end with cold.
I have noticed several good ideas for you but wanted to add this so you have lots of things you can try. Please let us know what works for you!
~Mama to Many~"
06/18/2013: Mama To Many from Middle, Tennessee, Usa replies: "Janet, I forgot to mention in my last post that I also gave my son raw garlic 2-3 times a day as well, as a natural antibiotic. 1 small clove each time, minced. I put it in honey or spread it on toast. He is really a pretty stoic little guy to tolerate it all, but it was all a very safe solution for him.
~Mama to Many~"
06/18/2013: Anonymous replies: "Hi Janet, I would use manuka honey (raw-unpasturised). Spread it over area affected. Also, take a spoonful in a glass of water with a spoonful of ACV a few times a day. I think this will work for you. As a coincidence I was just concentrating on a cure for my neighbour who has the same thing when I saw your post.
Manuka honey is used in hospital dressings to prevent Mrsa so it should work for this too. Please let us know when you are healed, thanks x"
06/30/2013: Jane from Malaga, Andalusia, Spain replies: "Eat nothing in a package, nothing cooked/heated or processed just consume whole fresh ripe raw wild local and or organic plants for the next month; it is high summer so accessing cheap beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables is easy aim to eat about 2000 calories every day about 5 kilo in weight.. Which may seem a lot of fruit n veg but we need this kind of intake, melon strawberry cherries banana apple peaches orange and all citrus figs dates cherimoya and so much more
Daily you NEED to walk run swim or whatever exercise for at least an hour, also you NEED 45 minutes stillness/meditation to benefit form raw food living these are not optional extras.
You will feel better within 5 days and will probably entirely well within 3 weeks but do try to stay with this for the month.. Could be the start of new life."
06/30/2013: Noelle from Minneapolis, Mn replies: "Hi Janet, I've had cellulitis before (refer to my post under "Turmeric" below. ) You've got to get this from the inside and treat it aggressively with Turmeric. Most recently, I successfully treated my therapist for cellulitis AND arthritis with this formula.
* Turmeric - 1 heaping teaspoon
* Pepper - 2-3 dashes (you can use black pepper or cayenne or berbere -- it all works.)
* Oil - 1/2 teaspoon. Use Coconut oil or Olive oil or Black Seed Oil.
Put this in a mug and cover with 1/2 cup of boiling water. Stir til dissolved. Add your choice of tomato juice or V8 or coconut milk or milk to make the drink palatable. Take this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and before you go to bed at night. If you are at home during the day, take one then also.
You will also need to take Turmeric capsules, almost any brand. (Stay away from Walmart and brands with fillers, or make your own capsules.)
Turmeric Capsules 400-500mg - 3 capsules every 4 hours.
Drink lots of water. Turmeric will dry you out.
The cellulitis has been in your system for a long time. The first day of this regimen you may feel worse. Please stay with it. When it has been in your system this long, it will take 1-2 weeks for you to see very noticeable improvements not just at the site but in general energy.
By the way I too have chronic PTSD, from traumas similar to those you mentioned. The Turmeric cocktail will not interfere with your treatment and it might even help even you out.
Good luck. Keep us all posted."
08/27/2013: Patti from Mount Airy, Md replies: "Can I make this without the oil? Why is the oil needed?"
09/11/2013: Noelle from Minneapolis, Mn replies: "Patti - The oil enhances the effectiveness of Turmeric, as does the pepper. Use as little as a 1/4 teaspoon of oil or even three drops, if you are sensitive to oils. I think this is even more important when your medium (what you are using to mix it in) does not have any fat in it, like tomato juice or V8. If you are using Coconut Milk, Milk, or Almond Milk, there may be enough fat in these liquids to make the cocktail deep acting, effective and quick, without adding oil."
Tea Tree Oil
[YEA] 08/08/2009: Dana from Atlanta, Ga: "My 9 year old son experienced cellulitis for the second time in less than a year as the result of a bug bite (spiders we think). At any rate, unable to get the prescription for an antibiotic filled until the morning, I went to this website. I placed a few drops of tea tree oil onto a cotton swab. I applied it to his very swollen and inflammed leg, along with a water soaked cotton ball (so the tea tree would not burn). I then applied an ice pack and gave him an over the counter anti-flammatory. By morning, the inflammation was gone, he was able to move his leg with less diffulty and the redness also subsided.
The Tea Tree worked awesome. Because of the severity of his cellulitis I still gave him the antibiotic, but cut the treatment time in half. Going forward, on any bites I will immediately treat with tea tree oil.
Thanks Earth Clinic"
[YEA] 02/06/2013: Oliver from Jax, Fl: "I suffer from reoccurring cellulitis. I found out about turmeric on this forum. This last time that it returned I bought turmeric and took it along with a garlic supplement three times a day. After four days all the swelling and redness is gone. Only left with the wound to heal, which is doing so remarkably fast. Every other occurrence I took antibiotics which had accompanying side effects and none of them had the speedy results of turmeric. Thank you so much."
06/05/2011: Hmm... from Oklahoma City, Ok: "Just found this site and absolutely love all the information and personal experiences shared. Going out to buy Turmeric today.
Recently dx with cellulitis and the huge dose(1600 mg 2X a day) of Batrium made me horribly ill. After the doctor refused to lower the dosage or prescribe an alternative antibiotic I began my own research. Wish I had found your site earlier but nonetheless will be adding Turmeric to my daily regime.
To those who have had cellulitis... What antibiotic worked the best for you? And, what have you implemented for a preventative. Doctor tells me the chances of a recurrence are likely."Replies
06/05/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "I have never heard of people taking antibiotics against cellulitis.... Somehow it doesn't sound right! I have cellulitis as well and I would love to get rid of it but taking antibiotics no and I can't imagine a doctor prescribing it...... As far as turmeric working against it, I am not sure either, I wish it did...."
06/05/2011: Carly from Seattle, Wa Usa replies: "Hi Francisca - I think you might be thingking of Cellulite - not cellulitis. Cellulite is dimpled cottage cheese fat usually found on the abdomen, hips, and thighs - cellulites is an infection, and can be life threatening, very quickly! Very different things. :-)"
06/06/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Thanks for the correction Carly. Funny that too different problems have almost the same name. I got so confused that I was calling cellulite cellulitis. Well, I am glad no one is being prescribed antibiotics to cure cellulites!"
06/06/2011: Carly from Seattle, Wa - Usa replies: "I have made the same mistake Francisca! They really need to change the name on cellulitis - (because cellulite was there first). Cellulitis is / can be deadly, where as cellulite is just plain old ugly. Lol. I have known people who have had cellulitis, and they had portable IV drips of antibiotics that they carried around in backpacks. I think it is scarier than MRSA from what I have seen.... Very fast moving infection! My neighbor scraped her arm on her woodstove, and the next day it was red, hot and swollen. I told her to go to the doctor... She said she would the next day. I told her - NO.... You need to go NOW, as in before the sun sets. I think I scared the crap out of her - but she went, and it was indeed cellulitis. They said she would have been admitted to the hospital if she had waited till the next day.... And they kind of wanted to keep her the day she went in as it was. Not a big fan of antibiotics.... I have not taken them in years. But when it is something like that... Well... Better safe than sorry! Sorry for going off on a tangent... Was not my intent!"
[YEA] 07/20/2009: Noelle from Minneapolis, MN: "On June 7, 2009, a neighbor and her husband helped me put together a raised garden bed from a kit and fill the raised bed with bags of garden soil and compost. Since the amount of soil I had wasn't enough, I got 20 more bags of dirt and six bags of compost and peat. I grabbed another friend on Sunday, June 14th, filled the raised bed with dirt and planted vegetables from seed. In the midst of this I noticed I had gotten a small circular cut on my outer left wrist, which stung and burned. Since it was bleeding I assumed it would be sterile (eventually), ignored it and kept working. The cut stung and burned all through dinner. By morning, there was no pain, but the spot was raised and the arm was slightly swollen. When I got to work (I work in a clinic), I showed it to a co-worker. She said it was infected, thought it could be an MRSA and said that Tea Tree oil would take care of it.
When I got home I soaked the arm in Chamomile Tea and put Tea Tree oil on it. The next morning June 16th, it was worse -- very red with the area of swelling almost to the elbow and half-way round the inside of the arm. I showed it to one of the doctors at work, who said it looked like cellulitis and I should get that taken care of right away. I went into my own doctor within the hour; she declared the arm infected (cellulitis), opened the sore and cleaned it, and prescribed an antibiotic. She also said to mark the outline of the swelling so we could check that the swelling was going the right way. If the swelling and redness was not reduced in 48 hours I should call her.
I marked the outline of the swelling with a yellow marker, and I filled the prescription. I did not, however, take it since antibiotics wreak havoc with my intestines. Having discovered your site just two weeks before, I decided to try Turmeric. I went to the Wedge Coop, bought Turmeric in bulk, in tincture and in organic capsules. I was determined to treat this aggressively since I wanted to keep my arm. (I was afraid of ending up like my godmother who lost her arm when a sewing needle infected her hand, then her arm and they had to amputate.) When I got home I filled a glass with 12 ounces of V8, one heaping teaspoon of Turmeric powder, two droppers of Turmeric tincture, 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne and sucked up the whole thing through a straw. (This stuff is NASTY!) I took 2 Turmeric capsules (395 mg each) before I went to bed. Upon awakening, I consumed the same concoction, but increased the cayenne to 1 teaspoon, and swallowed 3 Turmeric capsules. Throughout the day I took three Turmeric every four hours. I repeated the V8/Turmeric/Cayenne concoction that night. By the next morning, the arm was no longer red and was slightly less swollen. I continued with the capsules during the day and drinking the concoction at night. Within 48 hours of when I started treating with Turmeric, I could look at both my arms in the mirror and was unable to tell which one had been infected!! I continued my Turmeric ritual for the next 5 days as if Turmeric were an antibiotic, not stopping just because the arm looked better.
Conclusion: Turmeric kicks rumpus!! Thank you God for leading me to your site and to Turmeric."
Turmeric, Black Salve, Tea Tree Oil
[YEA] 02/18/2009: Lon from Stanhope, NJ: "Boils, possibly MRSA, and tumeric:
My son was hospitalized for serious, rapidly spreading cellulitis, which started with a boil. He responded well enough to antibiotics to come home, but although the culture indicated the boil was not MRSA, the boils did not respond to the various antibiotics the Drd tried. He developed multiple boils on and around his privates which wouldn't go away. By the way he's been hospitalized, had many surgeries and on intravenous and antibiotics many times for a digestive disease he was born with. The celulitis came back three times, while following the infectuous disease Dr's advice to control it, which was exhausting, frustrating for both of us and ineffective. Of course the Drs think you're not following their directions if their strategy doesn't work. Then I found this site! I gave my son one turmeric capsule three times daily for three days. A nutritionist suggested I watch the acid alkaline balance of his diet. Topically I applied black salve to any full blown boils. If I noticed any small emerging boils which have not yet formed pus at the tip, I apply straight tea tree oil to the tip only, being careful not to get it on the surrounding skin. I discovered the effectiveness of these particular topicals by observation after using so many topical remedies.The advantage of the black salve is that it stays on without a dressing. I couldn't use bandages/poultices because of the location of his boils. Nothing has worked like the turmeric, supported by the topical application of black salve and tea tree oil for healing the boils, as well as watching the diet. He now takes one turmeric a day for prevention. The origin i think is candida, but we're working on that.
My son has Down Syndrome, Hirschsprung's disease (never could spell it.), and an ileostomy, so you can imagine the difficulties with nutrition. It was an ordeal I thought would never end. I worried constantly that the celulitis would return. It's been almost a year without boils or cellulitis. Thank you for this site! If it wasn't for this site we probably would have continued with the endless cycle of antibiotics and hospitalization."
[YEA] 12/16/2012: Al from Alvena, Sk., Canada: "I have had cellulitis five times. The first time it was due to many small cuts on my hands after working on some dirty food service equipment. These cuts didn't bleed and I though nothing of it. The next morning I was very ill and was admitted to hospital with a 105. 5F temperature and treated for five days with injections of antibiotics. The cellulitis actually developed in my lower right leg which I had broken when I was seven. The second time I had it I believe it was caused by food poisoning and it was treated by IV antibiotics in hospital. The IV quit dripping so they put a pump on it which eventually led to my lower leg swelling to a circumference of 34.5 inches and blistering severely. Upon hearing the doctors discussing where they were going to cut my leg off I checked out of that hospital and went elsewhere. I still have my leg, with lots of scar tissue in it and thin skin with no hair on part of it, but I can still use it normally. The fourth time I had it I was unable to get to a doctor for five days and was able to keep it from getting worse by drinking pineapple juice and consuming nothing else. It actually improved a small amount by doing that. The antibiotics that they gave me would not clear it up so they switched me to "clindamycin" and that got rid of it fairly quickly. The last time I had it I had clindamycin on hand and used it immediately and it was cleared up in four days. The five times I had cellulitis were over a seven year time span that ended nine years ago. The only thing that I can attribute that to is taking a large daily dose of vitamin D3 (5000iu) since then. Vitamin D3 is known to kill bacteria and viruses. During the influenza epidemic in 1918? the people that improved the quickest were those that spent a lot of time out in the sun and it is sunlight that produces vitamin D in our bodies."
[YEA] 03/04/2014: Effietrinket from United States: "I figured I would toss this out there for anyone that might be so unfortunate as to get bitten by the potentially severely debilitating brown recluse spider's Cellulitis infection which kills cells, and can potentially get in the bone marrow.
This information can save you from having to be subject to having gallons (literally) of antibiotics pumped into you via IV. This info is 100% directly from what a Naturopath Physician told me to do when I had this very infection many years ago.
Years prior to this, I had this same infection while working outdoors and unknowingly was bitten on the knee, and within 24 hours, was unable to walk and had to sit in a wheelchair due to the pain, was admitted to the hospital, had 2 gallons of antibiotics pumped into my body over 2 days, was injected with radioactive dye into my knee to check for propagation of the infection into bone marrow (which they told me if it got into the bone marrow, could result in requiring my lower leg to be amputated). Luckly that never happened, and although I went through hell in the hospital (I had a fever that got over 105 degrees). I ended up making a full recovery over time.
Many years later when I found out about the following cure below I was absolutely outraged that had I known this years before, I could have saved myself from a hellish situation:
This is exactly what he told me to do: 1) Make several ounces (I made 4) of organic wheat grass juice AND save the wheat grass pulp from the juicing machine. 2) To the above add a few dropperfuls of colloidal silver (or now nano silver which is more powerful). Also take colloidal or nano silver orally. 3) Make a compress, holding the wheat grass pulp with the juice in it in plastic wrap, and wrap it over the infection site so that the pulp is directly touching the infected area (huge blister like, hot mass). Use an ace bandage to warp and lock the plastic in place. 4) Drink at least 8 ounces of pure water every hour that you are awake. 5) Take 1,000 Mg of Vitamin C every hour. 6) Immediately take 100 Mg of Zinc, and do so for the next few days. 7) Take Maitake mushroom extract (no specific amount was given, just whatever the bottle said).
When I did this, the Cellulitis infection I had literally disappeared within 24 hours. 100% disappeared like it was never there. What the ND explained to me is that the organic wheat grass juice compress is incredibly powerful by itself in that it literally draws poisons and the pathogens out of the infected area.
This doctor gave me this free medical advice while in a health food store eating lunch, and he saved me easily $15,000 in medical bills (I had no health insurance, so I would have been screwed if I had to go to the hospital). All of the components he mentioned cost me no more than $100.00 for a real cure that worked in 1 day flat.
When's the last time you've talked to any doctor that freely gave their time and had zero interest whatsoever in monetary gain or having you setup an appointment with their receptionist at their office, but just flat out gave you a cure for something that they saw you had a problem with?"