Gently warm a betel leaf over a flame, coat it with castor oil on one side. Place it on the boil which has not yet come to a head and bandage lightly. Repeat this every few hours with a fresh leaf. This helps the boil to come to a head and rupture. Once that happens express the collected pus out by putting pressure from the periphery inwards and then apply a clean dressing. The leaf does not stick to the boil and is easy to remove.
Place a handful of freshly washed parsley leaves in boiling water. Use the water to wash the boil area and place the leaves on the boil. Cover with a bandage. Repeat every few hours till the boil ruptures, express pus out and dress.
Dill laves (Sowa) and a turmeric paste or ground black cumin seeds applied on a boil brings it to a head and helps it to rupture.
Plain turmeric paste made with fresh turmeric powder and water or a little sweet oil is an effective poultice.
Bread just lightly soaked in boiling water to which fresh ground mustard powder is added, (check warmth — should not be scalding hot but nicely warm), can be applied as a poultice.
Whitlow (whitlow is swelling at the base of a nail) — A tablespoon of isabgol(ispaghula) made into a paste with vinegar is an effective poultice. Change every three hours.
□ MINOR BURNS AND SCALDS
• As soon as a burn or scald occurs, wash with plenty of clean cold water.
• Raw grated carrot, potato or crushed cabbage leaves are soothing poultices.
• Pure honey used on its own is a soothing salve.
• Betel leaves make a good dressing for burns.
• Calendula flowers pounded and mixed with olive oil makes a healing unguent.
• In a warm pot place tender leaves of the Tamarind tree and turn over till they are dry and a little burnt. Grind these into a paste with til oil. Can be applied on the burnt skin surface, prevents swelling and helps growth of healing skin.
• Steamed and cooled banana leaves applied on minor burns and scalds are very soothing.
• Fresh cool cucumber juice, or both yogurt and buttermilk are soothing for sunburn.
□ CONJUNCTIVITIS AND WATERING OF EYES
• Wash eyes with water in which babul (keekar) leaves have been boiled. Add a handful of leaves to a litre of water. Boil till only half the water remains. Strain and use the water either lukewarm or cool to wash eyes with.
• To clean eyes which are matted with discharge — boil a glass of water to which a pinch of salt has been added. Take clean cotton swabs or piece of clean cloth. Soak cotton in this water and wipe the eyes gently, taking the discharge away from nose end to the ear side. For each stroke, wash the piece of cloth or use a fresh swab. Do not let the dirty water fall back into the eyes.
• A grain or two of alum added to a cup of water can be used to wash sore eyes.