Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Radically Natural Remedies for Impetigo

Impetigo is a common contagious skin infection producing blisters usually on the face, neck, hands and groin area. These blisters often fill up with or ooze yellow fluid or pus, resulting in honey colored scabs. A bacterial infection, impetigo is caused either by Staphylococcus aureus (in which case, impetigo is also referred to as golden staph) or Streptococcus pyogenes.

In addition to antibacterial botanicals, coconut oil is an effective treatment for impetigo.  Coconut is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.  Among natural healers, coconut oil is know as an effective remedy for yeast infections, and research shows that coconut oil could be an effective weapon against drug-resistant bacteria.  A published study in the medical journal Dermatitis revealed virgin coconut oil's effectiveness in combating Staph aureus.

Coconut oil's medium chain fatty acids have proven to be destructive to various viruses, bacteria and fungi.
"Laboratory tests have shown that the MCFAs found in coconut oil are effective in destroying viruses that cause influenza, measles, herpes, mononucleosis hepatitis C, and AIDS; bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers, throat infections, pneumonia, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, and toxic shock syndrome; fungi and yeast that lead to ringworm, candida, and thrush; and parasites that can cause intestinal infections such as giardiasis."  -- Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle
Combining coconut oil with the antimicrobial essential oil Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) makes an even more effective impetigo treatment.  An ancient medicine extracted from the resin of the Olibanum tree, Frankincense oil has strong anti-infectious properties and numerous medicinal benefits.  Its regenerative properties are particularly useful for skin ailments.

Raw honey, particularly Manuka honey, is another antimicrobial medicine effective for healing and soothing skin infections, wounds and burns.  Researchers are discovering that Manuka honey kills Strep pyogenes  and even helps to prevent the bacteria from binding to wound tissue.  The product of nectar from the Manuka tree in Australia and New Zealand, Manuka honey's unique antibacterial properties are rated by producers using the UMF scale (Unique Manuka Factor)...the higher the rating, the stronger the antibacterial activity.

To treat impetigo and sooth blisters and scabs, just mix high quality organic cold pressed coconut oil (like Nutiva Organic or Tropical Traditions) with a therapeutic quality Frankincense EO and gently rub over affected areas.  Use as much as needed, starting with a ratio of 1 Tb. coconut oil to 5 drops Frankincense.  Go ahead and add some raw honey (Manuka if you can get it) for good measure.  Or alternate the coconut oil with honey.

Bathing the skin in raw apple cider vinegar (like Bragg's), another natural antibacterial and antiseptic, can help combat the infection and reduce inflammation and relieve itching.  Dilute one part ACV in three parts water and apply as a rinse to the affected skin, or dab on with a soaked cloth.  Follow the ACV rinse with the oil/honey treatments.

If swollen glands or other signs of systemic infection accompany the impetigo, speed healing with a lymphatic cleanse using mullein and lobelia tinctures.  Give 10 drops of each in a glass of water every three hours.  Also, support immunity and combat systemic infection with herbal medicine and nutrients, as outlined in my post on fighting infections.  Also look at my remedies for coughs and sore throats if either of these accompany the impetigo episode.

The following is a testimonial written by a friend of mine about their impetigo episode from last spring:

"Last evening we applied coconut oil for the last time on my son’s face for an impetigo infection that began more than three weeks ago, and I am reminded that healing time is directly relational to the extent of the wounding. I had never seen a skin infection like this in my life, although I had heard of impetigo and have vague memories of my sister having scabs in her ears that my mom called by that name. None of our children have ever had a skin infection before, and when our 12-year-old son woke up with a few tiny pimples around his mouth, my first thought was simply that he hadn’t washed his face well the night before after eating dinner. Three days later I was surprised that they were still there, and wondering if it was maybe hormonal changes causing them... 
Then the next morning he emerged looking so awful that I was not only seriously alarmed, but knew that something had to be done immediately about his condition! What was this thing? Not only were there golden, crusty scabs all around his mouth and nose and spreading up one side of his face, but the worst one on his cheek was like a large blister that had broken open and was sliding down his face. It was literally like his skin was coming apart at that location.
It is an awful feeling to not know what is happening or how to deal with it! (We are not medically minded, and going to the doctor was WAY down on the list for me. Like, not even on the list, unless my husband said that we had to.) But I knew even in my alarm that God knew exactly what was wrong with Benjamin, so before I did anything… I prayed. I asked Him to show me what it was, and to give me tools to deal with it. I didn’t have a ton of time to do research. The very first thing that turned up on the Internet was a picture of golden staph infection. None of the pictures was anything like as bad as Ben’s face, but it looked identical, and so my next search was for natural treatments for that condition. (I have since learned through more research that impetigo is caused by either a strep or a staph bacteria infecting the skin, and that the staph bacteria – also called bullous – produces a toxin that reduces cell-to-cell adhesion, causing separation between the top skin layer epidermis and the lower layer dermis).

The first natural cure that I found online was manuka honey, which I called Dr. Dad for right away. This wonder honey began healing the open wound on his cheek immediately, causing it to close and scab over in a nice, healthy looking type of scab. But it did not seem to be working as quickly on the areas that were still full of pus and infection. In addition, it didn’t seem to be able to keep it from wanting to spread, and little pimples were forming around the large areas of golden crust. The honey also proved to be difficult to work with in a practical manner, as I couldn’t keep his nose and mouth covered, and he had to sit still with a rag under his face to catch the warm, melting drips. I also began giving him a strong immune-system tincture by Wishgarden Herbs and olive leaf, which is reputed to kill staph bacteria. For his skin, I decided to add bentonite to draw the infection out. This did have a good effect, and I liked how the honey kept the bentonite semi-moist, but it was hard on his skin after several days of application, and it truly was not having the hoped for dramatic improvement effect.
After a week of effort, I began to resign myself to maybe going to the doctor. My good, sweet husband praised my efforts and said that he would take care of everything. Before he made the doctor’s appointment however, he decided to do his own Internet research! After about 3 minutes of being online, he called to me to wash and dry Ben’s face and to put coconut oil on it. The infection by this time was up both sides of his face, as well as spreading down his neck. It was a continuous mass of red, or blister, or golden crust. About 5 minutes after applying the coconut oil to his face, we could see white skin appearing between the red patches. It was like a miracle. I knew in my heart that this was going to take care of it! Because of the extent of the infection, it has taken two weeks of twice daily application, but it never again broke out anew or attempted to spread further, and has only continued to look better and better. His skin now is ever so slightly pinker in all of the areas that had the infection, but otherwise completely healthy. We will be continuing internal immune-system building herbs, and are so incredibly grateful for this coconut oil cure!"

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