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Cure Impetigo with Home Remedies

Black walnuts in green husk

Black walnuts in green husk

Impetigo is a staph infection, characterized by red sores that quickly rupture, ooze for a few days, and form a yellowish-brown crust. There is itching and painless, fluid-filled blisters.

When I was a young mother and knew little about natural healing, I found impetigo one of the more frustrating of (predominantly) children’s ailments. One common suggestion is to apply raw garlic to the sores, and I tried applying this to my toddler’s impetigo. It didn’t work, and it stung. Tea tree oil is often recommended for impetigo, but this too will sting, and I’ve never tried it.

The remedies I’ve listed below are given for their amazing effectiveness, and are preferable to garlic or tea tree oil.


Black walnut hull tincture is perhaps the best of the folk remedies for impetigo. I would suggest using the water-based version of black walnut hull tincture for impetigo, so that the application doesn’t sting.

It is usually suggested that black walnut hull tincture be applied to gauze and the gauze applied to the sores and kept continually moist with the tincture. Alternatively, the tincture should be applied to the sores several times a day.

I learned about black walnut hull tincture for impetigo from a woman whose community used it extensively and very successfully for a severe impetigo outbreak. They also used it extensively for a community-wide ringworm outbreak. Black walnut tincture treated both conditions successfully.

Black walnut hull tincture may also be taken internally, to give the healing an extra boost, but this isn’t usually necessary. If you want to give it internally, about ½ teaspoon twice a day is about right for children.

Let me give you an idea how easily black walnut tincture may be made:

The woman who told me about using it to cure impetigo and ringworm said that local people obtained their black walnut hull tincture through a series of fortuitous events: A local man had a machine for hulling black walnuts, and the husks left over from the process chanced to be left sitting outside in the rain. After the husks had been sitting around in the rainwater for about 24 hours, everyone came by and collected some of the liquid and used it to cure impetigo and ringworm.

My informant also tells me that her water-based tincture is still good after two years, without preservatives.

Here’s the more usual procedure:

How to Make Black Walnut Hull Tincture, Water Based

Gather a few black walnuts that have fallen from the tree. (You may want to use gloves to avoid staining your hands.) The nuts will be encased in a thick green outer husk. Choose nuts whose husks have as much green as possible.

At home (preferably wearing plastic gloves), cut away the husks from the nuts, put the husks in a saucepan, and add water to cover. Heat to boiling, turn off heat, cover tightly, and let stand for 24 hours. Strain and bottle. Some suggest adding ¼ teaspoon Vitamin C per quart as a preservative. It would probably be best to keep this refrigerated.

How to Make Black Walnut Hull Tincture, Alcohol Based

To make the alcohol-based version, put the walnut husks in a jar and add grain alcohol (vodka) to cover. Cover the jar tightly and let it stand for two days. Strain off the tincture, add equal parts water, and bottle. No refrigeration required.

You can also purchase black walnut hull tincture at most health food stores.


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Colloidal silver is another very effective treatment for impetigo, because it is a natural antibiotic, in common use before prescription antibiotics were developed. Colloidal silver is applied directly to the impetigo blisters.

It is sometimes suggested—though, again, probably not necessary—that colloidal silver be taken internally as well, at a rate of 1-3 drops per day.


Prepared as a decoction this root is often effective against skin diseases. The decoction is applied externally and taken internally. The internal dose is one or two cups a day. Elecampane was formerly much used in curing the cutaneous diseases of horses, and was also called “Horse-heal,” and was also used to cure sheep of scab.

Helenin, one of the active principles, has been shown to be a powerful antiseptic and bactericide. Recent research indicates that elecampane is 100% effective against MRSA! Like impetigo, MRSA is a staph infection.

Because elecampane root is a hard, woody plant material, it is prepared as a decoction; that is, one ounce of the root is added to one pint of water, brought to a boil, simmered for 20-30 minutes, and strained.


I have not tried coconut oil, but there are many reports that it has been used successfully to treat both fungal and bacterial skin infections—including athlete’s foot, ringworm, and impetigo. Coconut oil works by disrupting the lipid structure of microbes, to inactivate them, and kills bacteria both internally and externally.

Applying to the sores is said to often treat impetigo successfully—and there is a pretty good chance that you already have some on hand in the kitchen pantry.

If you don’t normally keep coconut oil on hand, you might want to pick up a jar. It is a delightful oil for adding to baked goods. Add it to the children’s or grandchildren’s pancakes to make them a special treat. Or add to cookies, brownies, cakes, and other baked goods. You will be queen of the bake sale, and you’ll have coconut oil on hand as a first resort for skin affections.

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