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A boil (furuncle) is a localized skin infection starting in an oil gland or a hair follicle. It first appears as a small, hard, tender, red bump, which then over several days fills with pus and forms a head, becoming more painful as it grows. Eventually, it bursts open and drains. Boils are most common on the face, neck, armpits, buttocks, and shoulders but may appear anywhere.
Boils usually resolve on their own, but here are some signs that you may need to seek professional care:
- A boil occurs on the spine or middle of the face.
- The surrounding skin becomes red-streaked, warm, and very swollen.
- More boils develop near the original one.
- You develop a fever.
- The boil does not drain on its own after 10 days.
- Lymph nodes are enlarged.
The following homeopathic remedies can be very helpful in healing boils:
- Arnica Montana: addresses small boils that come in crops, one after another, that are extremely sore, especially when touched. The most important indication for this remedy: The pain is more severe than the swelling.
- Belladonna: Consider this remedy when a boil comes on suddenly with a fiery-red or inflamed appearance; there may be swelling of the glands under the arms or in the groin. The person may be overexcited and feverish with great sensitivity to noise, jar, light, and touch.
- Hepar sulphuricum: When the person with a boil is irritable, even violent. They may be oversensitive mentally and physically—to a word, to contact, to pressure of dressings, etc. They are very chilly and want to be wrapped up. The boil is exquisitely sensitive and sharply painful. Can help move the process along if a boil’s discharge is too slow and scanty, or the boil has not opened in a timely manner.
- Lachesis: This remedy can help with very painful boils that become bluish and form rapidly. The person is worse from heat and very excitable. They are so sensitive to touch that they cannot tolerate any covering on the boil. Boils may occur mainly on the left side of the body and/or start on the left and progress to the right.
- Silica: Boils may be hardened, and their discharges can be offensive. They can also be accompanied by swollen glands. Silica is useful after Hepar sulph has acted well but not finished the healing. Can be used to promote opening of the boil and discharging. People needing both of these remedies tend to feel chilly; is a bit slower to develop and not as sharply painful.
- Sulphur: This remedy can be useful in cases where there is a frequent return of boils. Symptoms include burning, redness, flushes of heat, and boils that come in groups. Some homeopaths have noted that by giving Arnica while the boil is inflamed and swollen, and a dose of Sulphur occasionally after it has healed, the predisposition to boils may be gradually removed.