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Herbal Stye Healing

A stye is a sort of pimple on the eyelid, caused by a bacterial infection at the root of the eyelash. The common treatment for the infection is applying a hot compress to the area, which encourages the stye to drain. I had a small stye on the inside of my lower left eyelid last week and decided to see if I could speed the healing process along with herbal experimentation. It ended up healing in 2 days.

The first day I applied a thyme compress to the area twice, for 15 minutes each. The compress I made by simply making a cup of thyme tea (steeped for 20 minutes for medicinal strength) and soaking a sterile gauze pad in it (with occasional re-soaking throughout the 15 minutes process as the compress lost its warmth). Thyme contains Thymol, an antiseptic which acts as a sort of antibiotic.

Of course, with any infection, the most obvious thing to reach for is Echinacea. I was out of tincture at the time, but I made a cup of tea with some dried Echinacea purpurea root before bed the first night.

The second day I repeated the twice daily 15 minute compress, but this time with Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Chamomile has a reputation as general-purpose healer, and is also a relaxant.

The morning of the third day, there was no evidence of the stye.

More On Water

BBC: Lots of water ‘is little benefit’

UK experts say research which finds drinking lots of water does little to improve health should not discourage people from topping up regularly.

A scientific review by the University of Pennsylvania said some people, such as athletes, may need to drink a lot.

But they found little evidence that flushing out toxins through drinking copious amounts improved health.

They wrote: “There is no clear evidence of benefit from drinking increased amounts of water.

“Although we wish we could demolish all of the urban myths found on the Internet regarding the benefits of supplemental water ingestion, we concede there is also no clear evidence of lack of benefit.

“In fact, there is simply a lack of evidence in general.”

Looking at other scientific papers revealed that while drinking more water did effect the rate at which various substances were cleared by the kidney, there was no suggestion that this led to any actual health benefits.

I’ve kept on my water diet, with no further news of note to report on it. As the article states, there’s no evidence of benefit or lack of benefit, but, as far as I can tell, it’s not hurting anything.

Tinea Pedis

The week before last, I had a fungal infection on my left foot, marking the first time athlete’s foot has paid me a visit– I’m usually rather good about wearing shoes in public places, sandals in public showers, et cetera. But the combination of barefoot martial arts and wearing socks most all the time (it’s cold! remember, I don’t use heating) – particularly soon after I get out of the shower – gave the fungi a hospitable environment in which to grow.

I noticed it early as an itch on the foot, which was unusual and so warranted research. Google told me that this could be the sign of an infection, so my first thought was to rub Tea Tree Oil over the base of the foot and between the toes. I did this after a shower every day, but after 3 days the foot had begun to look worse. So, I performed further research: what athlete’s foot was, how it grew, and possible remedies. This led to me devising the following schedule (note that I shower in the evenings):

  • Morning:
    • Upon waking, rub the foot with rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl), which is both cleansing and drying.
    • Before leaving for the day, rub the foot with Tea Tree Oil, an anti-septic.
  • Afternoon:
    • Soak in a garlic bath for 30 minutes, then towel dry.
  • Evening:
    • After shower, powder the foot with Baking Soda.
    • Before bed, rub the foot with Tea Tree Oil.

Observing this schedule, the infection cleared up in 5 days.

Luckily, the temperatures have been rising lately, so I was also able to stop wearing socks whenever home. This gives my feet ample time to dry after the shower, and all night to breathe.

The garlic bath is made by crushing 4 garlic cloves and placing them in a large pot of warm water, with a splash of rubbing alcohol added. It’s quite pleasant, though not recommended for members of the undead.


For the past month, I’ve been observing a sort of water diet.

An Iranian fellow, by the name of Dr. Batmanghelidj (or, as most refer to him, Dr. Batman), was of the belief that a deficiency of water in the body can be cited as the cause to near all illnesses and afflictions. A search of his name turns up numerous criticisms of the method, but I thought I’d try it. It’s clear that dehydration can contribute to, if not cause, many ailments, and it’s no leap of faith to call our society chronically dehydrated, what with all the shit we shovel down our throats.

I’ve yet to read Dr. Batman’s book, but built my schedule from the ZehChill blog, which claims the regiment consists of drinking half one’s body weight in ounces per day, along with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt per 32 ounces water, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Now, as I mentioned above, Dr. Batman was Iranian. He was also trained in Scotland and practiced in England. So, it would follow that if he tells us to measure our drink based on body weight, he would be referring to body weight in kilograms, no? Well, the aforementioned blog uses pounds, and, as an American, it’s expected of me to be stubborn and not recognize that the French invented a superior system. So, I’m sticking with pounds.

Luckily, I’m a small guy, so the required amount of water is not difficult to consume. I already avoid alcohol, and the only caffeine I take is the occasional bit from green tea, which I don’t drink terribly often. Pretty much anything I cook involves obscene amounts of sea salt, making hyponatremia not much of a concern, though I’ve upped the amount, regardless.

My regiment has been to drink 16oz of water with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt second thing upon waking (first thing is a piss), doing the same in the evening (including the pissing), and fill the rest in during the day (I piss a lot here, too). Actually, I usually end up going a bit over half my body weight (though I probably piss twice that amount out).

The most noticeable result of all this, in case you haven’t gathered, is that I have to piss like a man just cut for the stone every few hours – and it’s always clear, or bordering on it. Which is actually quite satisfying (both the pissing and seeing how clear it is). But, there have been a few results beyond that.

I first started this thing on a Saturday. The Thursday previous I had come down with what could have been an exceptionally bad cold, but felt to me like influenza (I don’t get vaccinated). By Monday, I was fine. Whether it was a cold or the flu, I’m impressed.

I feel I have more energy throughout the day since starting. I also began playing with my diet (solids) at about the same time, though, so I can’t contribute the energy solely to water.

My skin, particularly my hands, have the habit of becoming extremely dry and cracked (occasionally painful) during the winter. This ceased a couple weeks into the water diet. My knuckles are still a little cracked (driving my barehanded fists into focus mits probably isn’t helping in that regard), but nothing near like what they usually are.

All in all, I see no reason not to continue. It is quite clearly not producing any negative effects, and possibly producing positive ones. I’d be curious to hear any other experiences.

Account of a Rib, Being Fractured, Made Whole Again

The Wednesday before last I managed to fracture a rib at Fight Club. It failed to make itself known during class – only later did I inventory a small, sharp pain upon taking deep breathes. My journal that night accounts:

1-2-08 10:12 PM It hurts when I breath. Is that bad?

Thinking nothing of it, I returned to class on Thursday, which proved to be a mistake, the pain after that night being far greater. At this point, I decided that something was not quite right. My next journal entry reads:

1-4-08 8:10 PM My self-diagnosis is that I have a fractured rib. It is either the 2nd or 3rd rib (or both) down from the top on my right side. I don't think it anything serious: my breathing is even, at a normal cycle and depth, and (as near as I can tell) there are no abnormal sounds. This leads me to believe that it is a minor fracture, not a break, and that the lung has not been punctured by a stray splinter. Deep breaths are painful, but not so much as to discourage them. Certain obtuse movements of the right arm, as well as twisting of the torso, causes pain. The most painful act is bending over to tie my boots -- methinks it is gravity dropping all my guts and exerting pressure onto the rib. I now kneel instead. I have yet to cough.

Consulting the medical books I have lying about (and the global interwebs), the only treatment for such an ailment proved to be observing a minimum of one deep breath an hour and a strict rest cure, to last till the rib was healed, which on average takes 2-3 weeks. Clearly, this would not do. A month absent from Fight Club would be regrettable, but a month without running or riding my bike or any other activity that involves frequent deep breaths would not be possible (though the pain was not enough to discourage my normal cycle and depth of breathing, what was previously aerobic had become anaerobic and what was anaerobic was right out). As such, I decided to alter my diet in an attempt to assist the healing process.

Calcium & Silica

Of course, it is common knowledge that bones need Calcium to grow. I dislike milk, but instead increased my intake of almonds, broccoli, carrots and salmon; all of which are rich sources of the mineral. For teas, I purchased Horsetail and Nettle, to supplement the Alfalfa and Chamomile which I already had. Horsetail and Nettle, it just so happens, are also a source of Silica, which, I’ve read, aids in the proper assimilation of Calcium.

Magnesium & Vitamin D

But, surely, Calcium is not all that is required? Further research indicated that both Magnesium and Vitamin D intake should be increased when consuming more Calcium. And what herbs provide an ample source of both Magnesium and Vitamin D? Why, Alfalfa, Horsetail, and Nettle, of course! It’s almost as if Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. Food sources of Vitamin D include egg yolk, salmon, and sweet potatoes. Food sources of Magnesium may be seafood, apples, bananas, brown rice, and salmon.

Phosphorous & Copper

Care should be taken to increase the amount present of two other minerals, as well: Phosphorous and Copper. Eggs and salmon, it turns out, are excellent sources of Phosphorous. Copper may be acquired through almonds. (Side note: I’ve discerned that it is not possible to kill oneself by eating too many sprouted almonds. If it were, I surely would be dead by now.)


So my diet changed to consist of much salmon, brown rice, carrots, apples, bananas, broccoli, with the odd sweet potato and a hard boiled egg once a day. Whenever I felt the need to munch on something, I’d toss down a handful of sprouted almonds (as I’m doing right now). Each morning I would have a cup of Nettle tea, each night a cup of Horsetail tea. If I felt the desire for tea in the middle of the day, I would mix together a bit of Chamomile with a bit of Alfalfa.

All said and done, the rib healed in a week and a half.

Did my diet influence that? Well, diet couldn’t not influenced the body, but as this is the first time I’ve fractured a rib, I’ve no bench-line against which I can measure; save only that the Medical Establishment deemed 2-3 weeks an appropriate number to publish here and there. It certainly didn’t hurt.

(Food and herbal sources of vitamins and minerals were all gathered from the CedarLily Vitamin & Mineral chart that John Gallagher used to sell.)

Lemon Balm Tincture

I’ve an abundance of dried Lemon Balm hanging around, so last night I decided to tincture 2/3 of it. Trouble is, none of my books contained alcohol percentages or ratios for the herb. Google seemed to think that 100 proof alcohol would be fine, but couldn’t come to a conclusion as to the ratio. Some sites said 1:1, some 1:4, and still others claimed 1:5.

The most important part of tincturing, I’ve been taught, is that the herb is completely covered for the first two weeks. I made my measurements to use the 1:5 ratio, but, to cover everything, ended up with a mixture closer to 1:16. Let’s hope it turns out.

In one and a half moon cycles, it will be ready for use – calming nervous systems, fighting fever, helping digestion, and even combating herpes (hey, you never know).