Home remedies take advantage of common household foods or substances or otherwise easy-to-retrieve products that can be used to treat a condition. The application of home remedies also often does not require much skill or expertise and they generally result in very few side effects. Remedies to draw out infection can include household items such as herbal tea bags or warmed rags and staple food items like potatoes, milk, bread or onions.
Drawing out an infection generally applies to superficial skin infections that arise in the form of a pimple or an infected hair follicle, or when the infection travels deeper to form an abscess, otherwise known as a boil. Staphylococcus bacteria are common causes of these infections, which arise when an open wound provides an entryway for these organisms. The body's immune system will create pus as a result of this infection. The pus must be drained or drawn out, according to a Georgia Department of Community Health article, for the infection to properly heal.
The two most-effective ways of drawing out an infection are with the use of heat compresses or the use of poultices. The Georgia Department of Community Health describes that compresses effectively help the abscess to "ripen," or come to a head. Jethro Kloss, author of the 1997 edition of the book "Back to Eden," notes that poultices use the drawing power of the herb or food to also bring infections, like boils to a head. The moist heat of a compress will encourage the collection of pus and germs beneath the skin to move upward and drain out. Poultices on the other hand, use substances that naturally exhibit drawing power--or the ability to use components within the herb that create an outlet for substances to drain.
The Department of Community Health article notes that the gentle urging of the compress may cause the boil to drain on its own, but if it does not, then a physician may need to provide a small opening through an incision to allow it to drain.
Warm compresses are probably the easiest and most commonly known home remedy to assist in drawing out an infection. Compresses can be as simple as warm water applied to a cloth or small towel and applied to the infected area. Tea compresses use warm tea prepared from the boiling of herbs. Janet Zand, author of "Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child," suggests 3 tbsp. of ginger or usnea herbs boiled in a cup of water.
According to the website Healing From Home Remedies, a poultice is the paste made from mashing herbs, foods or other materials and if, more moisture is required, includes the addition of water, oil or some other liquid. Poultices are a great form of home healing, as their production and application are easy, adaptable and require little overhead. Several poultices are highly recommended for drawing out superficial infections. Kloss recommends grated, raw potato poultices as well as bread and warmed milk poultices. Plantain herb and onion poultices are recommended by the Healing from Home Remedies website as effective drawing infections as well.
Zand recommends that a tea or warm-water compress be placed on the boil for 10- to 15-minute increments, three to four times per day. (pgs. 166) The Healing for Home Remedies website recommends that the paste of a poultice be placed directly on the skin, covered by a clean cloth and then the area wrapped in plastic. The poultice may need to be changed every three to four hours or until it dries out. The Georgia Department of Community Health notes that an infection that does not "ripen" with the use of home remedies like compresses and poultices should not be manually popped. Popping or puncturing the lesion without medical supervision can lead to other negative effects, such as infection, and is thus ill-advised.
- Georgia Department of Community Health: "Fact Sheet -- Staph Skin Infections"
- "Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child;" Janet Zand; 2003
- Healing From Home Remedies: Make a Poultice To Treat Many Skin Ailments
- "Back to Eden;" Jethro Kloss; 1997