Table of Contents
"An infection is the detrimental colonization of a host organism by a foreign species. In an infection, the infecting organism seeks to utilize the host's resources to multiply (usually at the expense of the host). The infecting organism, or pathogen, interferes with the normal functioning of the host and can lead to chronic wounds, gangrene, loss of an infected limb, and even death. The host's response to infection is inflammation. Colloquially, a pathogen is usually considered a microscopic organism though the definition is broader, including feces, parasites, fungi, viruses, prions, and viroids. A symbiosis between parasite and host, whereby the relationship is beneficial for the former but detrimental to the latter, is characterised as parasitism. The branch of medicine that focuses on infections and pathogens is infectious disease.
A secondary infection is an infection that occurs during or following treatment of another already existing primary infection." (Wikipedia)
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 09/19/2009: Sean from Houston, Texas: "Thanks for your website. I developed a skin infection several weeks ago. I manifested itself by an itchy, red rash that developed into blister/boil type skin irritation just north of the knee. I soaked a piece of cotton gauze with apple cider vinegar and applied it directly to the area secured by a piece of paper tape overnight for 4 or 5 nights and also during the day a couple times. It completely healed up and is gone. Thank you."
[YEA] 04/05/2008: Adam from Melbourne, Australia: "Over a year ago I got some skin disorder from wearing dirty gloves. I ended up with about 10 patches on my hand where the skin would constantly peel off. I tried all sorts of moisterisers, then I had positive results from fungle creams and lotions but still kept coming back.So the Doctor was next, His medication never worked either. Then a bloke I know who proclaims to be an Alchemist said "Half water, half apple cider vinegar in a squirter bottle. Spray on the hands a couple of times a day. Plus drink a cap full". And wulla, its gone. Apparently it evens out the PH levels in the skin. I advise to use natural oils (eg. Coconut) to moisterise the skin also. Now to see if it can cure my reflux."Replies
05/30/2012: Courdylia from London, Ontario, Canada replies: "How long did you have to drink ACV and spray it on your hands to see results?"
09/24/2012: Ken from Santa Barbara, Ca replies: "For your reflux problem try green papaya enzyme powder or simply eat a lot of ripe papaya."
[YEA] 02/24/2011: Quinn from Cheyenne, Wyoming, Usa: "I have had recurring cracked thumb tips on the sides of the fingernail and have tried many types of moisturizing creams, vaseline, bandaids, etc. The cracks would heal and then kept coming back.
After learning from your site that painful, cracked finger tips can be caused by a bacterial infection, I mixed 1/2 tablespoon Boric Acid and 1/2 cup boiling water and allowed the mixture to cool. Every time I walked by the mixture, I dipped my fingertips in the boric acid solution, immediately the pain ceased and within two days the cracks were entirely healed over.
Thanks Earthclinic for all of your wonderful suggestions, and I hope this one will help someone!"
[YEA] 06/28/2011: Linda from Scranton, United States: "evaporated milk over bread you use it to an infected area n it draws out the infection. it even removes glass from your foot."
[YEA] 07/03/2010: Scott from Hanston, Ks, Usa: "Bread Poultice - Infection & Splinter Cure
This was a remedy used by my Grandmother for years, living on the farm, it was too far to run to the doctor for small infections, spider bites, splinters, glass, asphalt, scrapes, puss, etc.. You would soak a piece of bread with water, at bedtime, wrap it with bread wrapper to hold moisture in, and wrap with Ace (elastic) Bandage. When you awoke in the morning the venom, splinter, glass, rocks, infection and or puss lay on the surface of the bread. Acts like a sponge drying out, creating suction & removing obstruction. Other than the 3 hour bath (wrinkly) skin, laughing aloud, it works miracles."
[YEA] 05/14/2007: Scott from Pen Argyl, PA: "Calcium can cure certain infections. I learned about this from an infomercial on coral calcium which I initially ignored. I'd cut myself grooming my dog and the cut became slightly infected. I remember the commercial so I decided to try calcium in a 2-1 ration with magnesium with vitamin D, 2 tablets every 4-6 hours. It took 2 days for the infection to go away. I tried this again when I'd gotten bitten breaking up a fight when my dog was attacked by another. This happens occasionally since my dog is for stud and is thus unneutered. I'd gone to the emergency room each time and had antibiotics prescribed which didn't always work and would take between 2 to 4 weeks to cure the infections. I've been developing a resistance to antibiotics.
On this occasion I knew the emergency room would only prescribe expensive antibiotics again. I started taking the calcium but these have been nasty infections so I made an appointment to see a doctor in her office rather than paying the exorbitant emergency room costs.
The doctor confirmed the infection and was surprised it wasn't worse. I explained how I was treating myself with calcium. She declined to prescribe any antibiotics but told me if the infection didn't get any better to call her and she'd call in a prescription to my local pharmacy. I didn't make that call. After 3 days of treatment the infection was completely gone.
The theory behind why calcium works on infections is that bacteria and viruses may need an more acidic environment in which to survive. Lowering the acidity sufficiently makes the body and inhospitable environment for bacteria and viruses and kills them off.
There are two important risks to consider. This may not be true of all infections so if it is a serious infection it is wise to consult a doctor.
The other important risk is with cardiovascular diseases. Calcium might add to plaque in the arteries. This could kill you. Consult with a doctor before you try calcium if you even think you might have cardiovascular problems."Replies
[YEA] 02/22/2011: Larry from Missoula, Mt. Usa replies: "The comments on using calcium to reduce the acidity, and thus make the body less a host for the invading organism, is right on. I found, quite by accident, some years ago, that eating hot peppers, such as in spicy mexican food, at the sign of a cold or flu would quickly eliminate all symptoms. The peppers are alkaline, and thus return the body's natural acid/base balance.
On the net a while back, I found a natural "detox" solution that I now keep on hand to treat any type of infections. It is made up of hot peppers, garlic, myrrh gum powder, 100 proof vodka, and ionic silver water. I'm not a doctor, and not advising this for anyone else, or for treatment of any specific ailment. It is only MY observations, based upon what has worked for me."
07/17/2011: Desiree from Portland, Or replies: "Hi, Can you please send me your detox recipe, including the amounts and name brands. Name brands will help me locate the product. Thanks!"
Cat Bite Infection Remedies
03/15/2013: Mesem from Riez, France: "24 Dec 2012, I was bitten by a cat. Later that day I got a tetanus injection and antibiotics. My hand stayed highly swollen for more than a month. My problem is that there is still infection in my hand (can't make a fist with my hand) still painful, slightly inflammed and circulation decrease. Doctors will not look at it! I have been to 2 and they just say silly things and do nothing. This is in France! The infection has remained isolated in my hand, no sign on skin. Help."Replies
03/15/2013: Om from Hope, B.C. Canada replies: "Re: cat bites. I have had many rescue cats and not many bites at all. The ones treated at hospital took weeks and were unpeasant. But here is THE remedy. Would you believe next morning you can hardly discern the bite, all looks good and normal, no pain? The remedy is good quality turmeric. Stick your affected part into the powder and press it on right away. The bleeding will stop, the pain disappears. I always have turmeric in at least two places in the house. Any bleeding will be stopped. Antibiotics suppress the immune system so govern yourself with common sense. Next morning I could hardly see the tooth mark. By the way, when a cat bites, something is wrong with the animal and try to find out what you can do to help. Turmeric is a gift from the gods! Om"
03/15/2013: Catherine from Wellington, New Zealand replies: "Sounds dreadful, I can only think of colloidal silver that might help?? or ionic silver.. Supposed to be very antibacterial. Check it out on the internet. Also bathing the hand in magnesium chloride flakes might help with the swelling."
03/15/2013: Joy from Battleground , Wash replies: "I wonder if the cat could have a parasite in its saliva. An antibiotic and tetenus wouldn't treat that."
03/16/2013: David from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Two items will work wonders: For bites use echinacea, an herb. Buy the extract and apply onto white cloth or white paper towel and let dry against the bite. Apply ten drops more and let dry. Do it again.
One spider bite case I came across, I had the application on the bite (neck) for a dozen applications over a twenty four hour period.
While this poultice is working, take five drops of the echinacea in a glass of water and drink over an hour. An hour later another five drops in a glass of water and drink. I learned the amazing wonder of echinacea anti venom effect reading a book written by a Texas doctor who used it for any spider bite and even snake bites. The book was written about 1910. (Certainly I'm not saying to ignore going to an emergency room in case of any bite such as snake or dangerous spider.)
And also don't forget colloidal silver which can kill virus, fungus and bacteria. Apply topically with the same technique as echinacea discussed above. Also drink two tablespoons every waking hour for two days... Longer if the infection has been present for over a month. In the case of a long term infection the "bug" could have gone systemic and so I would keep using the silver or two months to make sure the infection is killed.
The bite you describe would have me using both echinacea and the silver. But if you can't get one, use the other. Echinacea also works great on ANY bite that I've come across... Any insect and when I get odd "itches" on tops of feet or hands, legs etc. , I just drip some echinacea on top of irritated area (any itching spot) and let the drops dry. Ten minutes later I re apply. It will dry slightly "tacky" but after the second application, the itching is gone."
03/16/2013: Mesem from Riez, France replies: "Thanks, the swelling is slight, all is internal, no wound marks at all. This silver remedy, drink it, swim in it, what to do? I eat pretty well; fruit and vege. The attitude of doctor is scary."
03/17/2013: Mesem from Riez, France replies: "Thanks David, I will see if I can actually buy colloidial silver, the echinacea yes. I repeat that I no longer have a wound or any sign of. The cat bit my thumb, but it's always been the little finger side that has been most affected."
[YEA] 02/20/2008: Rachel from Cambridge, UK: "I tried the Chamomile bath above for an infected cut in my foot after the doctor told me I would have to take oral antibiotics (my fourth course in 2008!) if it did not improve in two days. I bathed the cut twice a day for fifteen minutes (two tea bags in a litre of water). I also used an antibacterial cream and a paste of tumeric and honey (kept on for fifteen minutes after the chamomile bath - dyed my food yellow). Day three and the infection is nearly gone."
[YEA] 07/05/2007: Marinette from Cleveland, U.S.A: "One of the best remedies for infections is strong chamomile tea. Our family has used this for many years. An elderly woman we knew years ago, fell down the stairs which resulted in an ugly infection in her hand. She was diabetic and the doctors could not heal her. My mom made a pan of strong chamomile tea and the woman soaked her hand in it for 15 minutes. Immediately you could see a difference. She continued doing this for a few days and was completely healed. It is best to make the tea fresh each time. Thank you for this excellent website!"
Charcoal Flaxseed Poultice
[YEA] 07/07/2012: Jan from Cheshire, Ma, Usa: "When my oldest son was a young boy, he contracted a serious infection in the palm of his hand. He got up one morning with red streaks running up his arm past his elbow. I knew the seriousness of that, called the pediatrician, but the earlist they could get him in would have been 4 that afternoon, and I knew that would be too late. The only other alternative was take him to the ER. With two additional children under the age of 5 and no car, ER wasn't an option. I had read somewhere how to make a charcoal/flaxseed poultice for infections, and decided to give it a try.
It worked SO WELL! I applied warmed poultices to the palm of my son's hand every 10-15 minutes (starting at about 10 that morning) and could physically see the red streak being pulled down his arm by the poultice after just a few applications. By about 2 that afternoon, there was no redness in the arm at all, and he was touching the area around the wound in his palm saying, "Gee, it doesn't even hurt any more. "
The toughest part was actually calling and cancelling the appointment I'd made with the pediatrician. I was excitedly sharing the good news with the nurse when she interrupted me, told me that what I was telling her wasn't possible, that I would be "irresponsible" if I didn't bring my son in to see the doctor, because I'd described a serious, life-threatening condition to her. Even when I told her again that the poultice had worked amazingly well, she seemed not to hear me, and when she began to call me a negligent parent I told her she was simply being a very rude nurse, ended our relationship with that office, and hung up the phone.
Here's the recipe for a charcoal flaxseed poultice:
Grind 1-3 TBSP flaxseed in a blender. Mix with 1-3 TBSP activated charcoal powder.
Mix with 1/3 to 1 cup of water. Let set for about 10 minutes OR heat till bubbly and remove from heat, allowing mixture to gel. (For smaller amount, the ratio is 1TBSP/1TBSP/1/3 cup water; larger amount, 3TBSP/3TBSP/1 cup. )
Cut a rectangle of paper toweling twice the size of the finished "square" that you need--fold the rectangle in half to make your square, then open out again. Spread about 1/4 inch of the poultice mixture over half the paper toweling; fold the remaining half over to make a square "sandwich" with the poultice as the "filling. " Cut a piece of plastic wrap (a plastic sandwich bag also works nicely) about Â½ inch larger (all around) than your poultice. Place the poultice on the area to be covered, lay the plastic wrap over that, and then tape in place with cloth tape, or in a pinch, use bandaids.
These types of poultices work very well when left in place overnight. Infections are often gone by morning. If using overnight, or for a long period throughout the day, after securing plastic wrap with tape, wrap area with an ace bandage to hold all securely in place. (Obviously, that's not possible on every area of the body; if you can't ace-bandage leaving the area securely covered with just the plastic will work just fine.
If doing an emergency, intensive care poulticing, the way I did with my son, don't use an ace bandage; keep the area heated constantly by soaking a washcloth or other absorbent material in very hot water, and hold it in place over the plastic- covered poultice until the cloth cools off, (10 minutes) then re-soak in hot water, and keep re-applying for as long as necessary to see some improvement. Depending on severity of infection, the poultice itself can be changed/renewed if necessary after several applications of heated washcloth have been applied.
08/01/2012: Louise from Clarkston, Mi replies: "Thank you for including complete details. So often on this site these are not included. I will try this tonight. I have had a large infection behind my ear for a week now and started making a paste with activated charcoal, about 5 drops of cayenne tincture, and 5 drops of Goldenseal and enough water to make a paste. Last night I left it on all night and woke the most comfortable I've been. The infection area has reduced significantly. The "center" of it is still swollen but pain is gone and I just feel healthy again and clear thinking. I'll try the flaxseed and expect it will finish it off tonight."
07/14/2012: Randy from N. Baltimore, Oh, Usa: "Can I use a charcoal poultice on an infected area while taking the antibiotic Cipro?"Replies
07/15/2012: Lisa from Jacksonville, Fl replies: "Yes, my daughter and I both used topical applications while taking an antibiotic. It should speed healing. I used turmeric, silver cream, file and iodine also."
07/15/2012: Matt from Somerville, Alabama / USA replies: "Don't take the Cipro. It is a member of the flouroquinolones class of antibiotics. These antibiotics cause significant damage to many systems in your body for a significant percentage of people who take them. The percentage of people harmed is much higher than the few percent reported on the black box warnings. The effects are commonly seen weeks or months later and may require more than one round of treatment before they are seen. My daughter spent nearly 2 years suffering horribly from this drug. There are other much safer more effective antibiotics."
[YEA] 02/12/2013: Kgd from Saint Louis, Mo: "I had skin problems that got gradually worse over a 20 year period during my 20's, 30's & 40's. It manifested in several different ways...
1. acute skin infections mainly on upper legs and butt that would quickly swell up larger than a pimple but smaller than a boil... Topical tea tree oil would dry these out quickly. Otherwise the infections would remain and get larger eventually erupting like a giant pimple
2. a dense cluster of seemingly benign red spots on lower legs and ankles that didn't change very much and itched very little.
3. more recently... extreme sudden itching on the forearms and back of neck with no visible rash that could be relieved only by directly rubbing with freshly cut garlic
I was looking for remedies in a James Duke herbal remedy book and had the insight that this might be a systemic yeast infection manifesting through the skin.
I tested some of his remedies in isolation like high daily doses of garlic added to juice for 3 weeks then high doses of goldenseal for 3 weeks. These worked great, especially goldenseal, but the skin infections came raging back within a week after stopping each herb.
Then I tried echinacea root. I had been effectively using it to stop acute respiratory infections since 1996 by chewing a pinch of dried root for 45 minutes - typically once a day for 1-5 days at a time.
Since some people say it's OK to use it for up to 3 weeks before it loses effectiveness, I got the idea to do exactly that in August 2012. The skin infections stopped - even the spots on my lower legs that had been there for almost 20 years. Then I stopped the echinacea after 3 weeks and there was no rebound effect. Apparently the echinacea killed the microbe populations that were causing 3 different types of skin infections. I had 3 full months of relief. The tea tree oil bottle gathered dust because I didn't need it. During December the symptoms gradually returned so I did another 3-week round of echinacea in January.
In the central US you can just grow a patch of echinacea (purple coneflower) in your yard, then cut, dry, and store one root at a time as needed. It doesn't take very much, and a small amount stored in a sealed jar can last for several years without deteriorating."
Garlic and Onion Poultice
[YEA] 01/20/2012: Yanny from El Paso, Tx: "Father had infected blister on ear lobe. Gramother -Native American/Mexican's recipe to clear boils and skin infection as follows. This is a homemade antifungal antibacterial application. Gram said no one ran to a drug store.
Take 1 TBSP of macerated-mashed/crushed whole fresh garlic, combine with 1 Tablespoon for finely mashed onion. Combine along with 1/2 apple cider vinegar, mix together with pinch of neosporin cream to combine. Apply over boil or skin infection-Cover overnight with absorbent pad. Repeat every other night. By Third application- Infection will be drawn out and skin will lift- producing new skin underneath. Carefully use antiseptically clean tweezer-dipped in Alcohol to remove dead skin and Q-tips to remove infected material that will ooze and surface on to material used to cover. Once removed, Combine, neosporin with Orangic Olvera gel to refresh and moisturize area. Dad's dermo was shocked and in disbelief when he saw my dad's new skin on his ear and ear lobe. Manuka honey can also be used to moisturize area after infection has cleared."Replies
03/22/2012: Hol from Eleuthera, Bahamas replies: "Got Uti... Drink Onion juice.. it works!!! Even overnight, I couldn't believe how strong onion juice could be but a friend told me to try it and it works amazingly well! She also told me Garlic is even stronger for fighting infections, I just hate the scent, but I'm gonna try them both for 14 days-a month."
[YEA] 10/04/2007: Khalisa from Memphis, Tennessee: "After using Nair hair remover on my bikini area, I developed a HUGE disgusting "razor" bump in a very embarrassing place. I immediately went online to find out how to get rid of it and all sites said "leave it alone" That the ingrown hair will eventually force it's way out. So I did. And 2 days later it was even bigger and I could see that it was infected (was like big puss bubble. Yes - GROSS). So since I use Peroxide on everything else that ails me i said why not. I soaked a cotton ball in H2O2 and used a band aid to secure it in that spot overnight. By morning, that bump had shrunk to at least 3/4 of its original size and all that infection was out of it. Now all I have to do is fish the hair out, but the peroxide worked GREAT. I LOVE H2O2. I have also used it as a mouthwash for years. About 10 yrs ago my dentist prescibed an expensive mouth wash for me (Periodox) and seeing that H202 was the main ingredient, I started rinsing with Wal-Mart grade and saved myself $38.02 a month. My mouth is in excellent health and my dentist STILL doesn't know I dumped his expensive prescription years ago."
[YEA] 09/23/2011: Jeff from Oak Ridge, Tn - Tennessee: "I recently fell 30 feet off a ladder shattering both my feet and severely breaking my left ankle. After two surgeries to fix my left ankle, I started to get an infection in the hole my bone popped through. My doctor gave me some antibiotics to take for 5 days. Shortly after taking all the meds, the infection got worse and spread to the surgical incision. A friend recommended using oil of oregano to battle the infection. I started taking 3 drops 4 times a day under my tongue. Within 2 weeks my infection was gone and the wound itself was reduces by more than half. Needless to say this has won me over to natural remedies."Replies
[WARNING!] 08/20/2012: Joi from Hastings, Mn replies: "Poster stated he put oil of oregano under his tongue. Do NOT EVER take it this way. Taking straight oregano oil without diluting will burn you and it is not necessary to take it subligual to achieve results. This is a very powerful herb."
03/16/2013: Mesem from Riez, France replies: "So I thought I'd try oregano and increase garlic uptake. So what do you do with the oregano oil then, how is it best to take this? The guy who recommended taking it under his toungue seems to have done fine! I only took antibiotics for a week."
03/19/2013: Njboesman from Westwood , Nj replies: "I would have to disagree with the "full strength" comment when taking OO sublingually...I have tried this method and even 2 drops is beyond anyones tolerance. I found it best to dilute in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO) at a ratio of 5:1.
Sublingual adminstration is best as it bypasses the GI tract and is therefore better absorbed. OO is serious stuff and needs to be respected as such. My advice would be to experiment with a one drop mixed with 2 drops of EVO. Try it that way and you will see why it needs to be @ a 5:1 ratio. I made the mistake of 2 drops straight and I was in pain beyond belief, and I LOVE hot spicy food but this was unbearable. Start slowly and see what your tolerence is...."
03/19/2013: Mitch from Comox, British Columbia replies: "@Joi from MN, the best way to take Oil of Oregano is under the tongue, full strength. Although it is VERY strong, and yes it can "bite" you. There are many sites that state taking it under the tongue for maximum results. Extra strength & Ultra Strength Oil of Oregano should be diluted if you are using as a topical application (rubbing it into skin). But internally it doesn't have to be diluted."