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Poultices for Skin Infections

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: BStone • updated: 11/28/2010

Using natural ingredients in a poultice is a safe and effective way to treat skin infections caused by a bacteria, virus or fungus. Learn what herbs and foods are best to use in a poultice to draw out infection.

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    Grated Carrots (excellent ingredient for a poultice to treat skin infections) There are herbs and even foods that can be used in a poultice to draw out infection. To make a poultice, you will need a clean cloth such as cheesecloth, white cotton or unbleached muslin. The size of the cloth should be twice the size of the area to be covered.

    Spread the ingredient on one half of the cloth and fold over the other half. To use the poultice, place it over the affected area and secure it in place with another cloth or elastic bandage. Leave it on until it dries and reapply. When reapplying, always use a new cloth and fresh ingredients. To help keep the poultice warm and moist, you can place a hot compress or hot water bottle over it.

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    Herbs & Foods to Draw Out Infection


    Before antibiotics were introduced, honey was often used to treat infected wounds. It has antimicrobial properties that can fight against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi. In addition to drawing out the infection, honey also has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce swelling and pain, stimulates tissue regeneration and new blood vessel growth, provides nutrients and draws nutrients to the site. Unlike taking antibiotics, honey has no side effects. When making a poultice, use only raw, uncooked honey. Darker honey is believed to be best.

    Onions & Garlic

    Onions and garlic, both members of the Allium family, have sulfur-containing compounds that give them their strong smell and their many health benefits. Onions and garlic have been found to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. When using onions, slice them thinly, place on the cloth and pour a little hot water over them to add moisture. When using garlic, crush or mince a few cloves, place on the cloth and add hot water.


    Research has found constituents in goldenseal root which have broad spectrum antibiotic properties, as well as anti-inflammatory and astringent actions. Mix hot water with the powder of goldenseal root to form a thick paste and apply to the cloth.


    Carrot poultices have been used since ancient times to draw out infection and speed up healing time. To make a poultice, you can either grate a fresh carrot or cook the carrot and mash it up. If you use grated carrots, place them on the cloth and moisten with hot water.


    Papaya has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply mashed papaya pulp to the clean cloth.

    Consult with a health care provider if you do not see improvement after using a poultice to draw out infection in a couple of days, if the infection worsens or if you are experiencing symptoms like a high fever.

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    Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen, Bottom Line's Healing Remedies (2006)

    Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)

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    Photo Credit

    Image courtesy of

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