Tropical Ulcer Remedies

| Modified on Sep 01, 2014

A condition common of individuals located in tropical regions, a tropical ulcer manifests as on ulceration on the skin, usually on the legs and feet. While the condition is decreasing in frequency, the ulcers remain a considerable health condition in many regions of the world. Tropical ulcers can typically be treated by maintaining proper hygiene of the wound and applying poultices using natural remedies like turmeric and coconut oil.

What is a Tropical Ulcer?

Defined as an acute necrosis of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, a tropical ulcer is a condition that is most common to tropical regions. The condition generally begins as a minor injury to the skin that develops into a large ulcer. The progression of the ulcer is caused by bacteria but may be contributed to by poor nutrition, poor hygiene and chronic diseases.

Also known as tropical phagedena, a tropical ulcer is typically circular, very painful and has purple edges initially. The condition often progresses rapidly affecting the other layers of the skin, muscle and bone.

Natural Remedies for Tropical Phagedena

Effectively treating tropical ulcers requires hygienic care and proper bandaging of the wound. Applying natural supplements to the wounded area also aids in recovery. Turmeric and coconut oil are among the most effective topical treatments for the condition.


A warm, peppery spice, turmeric has a number of medicinal applications. The spice contains a compound known as curcumin that aids in circulation and detoxification of the body. Applied to the wound, turmeric removes infection, reduces inflammation and prevents growth of cancerous cells.

Coconut Oil

Among the healthiest of all “superfoods,” coconut oil possesses a unique set of healing properties. The oil contains a distinct combination of fatty acids that relieve inflammation and improve circulation. The compound also contains a high concentration of lauric acid, which serves as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

Considered an acute and localized necrosis of the skin, a tropical ulcer is a concerning condition that may progress. If left untreated, the condition can affect the deep layers of the skin as well as the tendons and even bones. Effective topical treatments, however, paired with appropriate hygiene and bandaging of the affected area can prevent such progression.

General Feedback

Posted by Esther (Ashland, Ky.) on 06/18/2012

We are hearing about the flesh eating bacteria on the news. Would the ancient remedy of using fly larvae on these bacterias be effective?! I had a friend many years ago who had a large, nasty cancer on his temple and was so sick or was in a coma and didnt realize flies has blown the wound and had eaten all the bad area out leaving only healthy parts. The Dr.told him if that had not happened he would have died. He lived many more years!!

Turmeric, Coconut Oil

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Posted by Marcus (Sydney, Australia) on 09/14/2009

Hi Ted, Here is the post I said I would write for the tropical ulcers I got up in Nongkai.

I was living in north Thailand and doing a lot of gardening without boots in rough conditions when some over scratched mosquito bites turned into tropical ulcers.

Not finding any specific remedy for this, and as the symptoms of tropical ulcers are very similar to boils, I thought I would try Nic's turmeric recipe for boils. (see earthclinic)

It worked beautifully. I live a long way from town in Thailand and had no sesame oil, but had some excellent (Bali), organic, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil, which I take everywhere. I combined this with the turmeric as in Nic's recipe and got excellent results.

It took us a few days to get some actual turmeric root and I used the powder as in cooking spice, which in Thailand is called Kummin. (pronounced kurmin).

The wounds on my lower leg were about 1.5 inches/ 4cms across and very swollen with redness spreading out over another inch. If unattended these sorts of ulcers can take weeks to heal and the docs only and always prescribe antibiotics which I never take.

A friend cleaned the wounds thoroughly, using a cotton bud soaked with turmeric, warm water and coconut oil. We placed a bandage over the wounds also with the turmeric and oil on the bandage and cleaned it twice a day. I took the turmeric internally.

Two tablespoons of coconut oil
Five tablespoons of water
Added one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a bit of black pepper.
Warmed slowly for 3-5 minutes, without boiling.
Stirred well and drank.

The taste is surprisingly pleasant. A bit like a soup.

The first night the swelling had almost gone altogether and a lot of the spreading redness.

I drank this twice a day and cleaned and dressed the wound twice a day.

We kept up this regime for three days with similar improvements every day. By the time we acquired some real turmeric root the wounds had almost healed and we started to use dry bandages. The wounds were completely healed in under a week. Very good results for a surf trip to Bali I had planned for a few days later, which would have otherwise been impossible.

Replied by Chee
(San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines)

I had been a victim of tropical ulcer and I had to fight with for a couple of years.. Now, Im okay but still the scars are there that left big marks especially at my lower leg and feet.

Urine Therapy

Posted by Ralph (Thailand) on 09/01/2014

Re : Tropical ulcers; I used to them quite often in Thailand. Nothing seemed to help and the doctors seemed clueless so I tried a remedy from a book I bought in Nepal. Very simple, as soon as the ulcer starts, prick it and apply urine ( your own) with a cloth or tissue for about 5-10 minutes, let it enter the ulcer, do it a few times a day. It worked perfectly. Stopped it getting worse and cleared it up in a few days. I've never had a problem dealing with them since. Haven't actually had one for years now.