Natural health: What steps can I take to treat my stye? 

Plus: natural ways to deal with nappy rash
Natural health: What steps can I take to treat my stye? 

Pic: iStock

I get a painful and unsightly stye on my eye whenever I’m run down. Is there a natural remedy you could suggest?

It is a good start that you have identified the link between your feeling run down and developing styes. While the stye itself is usually a result of a bacterial infection, it can also be due to low vitamin A levels.

Vitamin A is typically found in orange and yellow foods such as carrots, sweet potato, egg yolk, dried apricots, mango, paw paw (papaya), rockmelon, and pumpkin but can also be obtained from spinach and liver. You can also supplement with vitamin A – aim for around 50,000IU daily from all sources.

Remember that alcohol, coffee, and excess iron supplementation can deplete vitamin A levels, so exclude or limit these if necessary.

The stye develops within the oil-secreting glands on the edge of the eyelid. Excessive swelling can occur, and you must never squeeze or drain the stye yourself.

You will need to seek professional help if it requires treatment to relieve the pressure.

Itching is a common symptom of styes. If you are a contact lens wearer, it is a good idea to switch to glasses for the duration of the infection.

In most cases, applying a cool compress such as a chamomile tea bag will help relieve the swelling and soothe the irritated eye area. You can also use a cotton pad to gently apply the cooled herbal tea around the eyelid.

To help manage your stress levels, try the ‘4-7-8’ yoga breathing exercise for relaxation. Inhale through the nose for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds, and exhale through the mouth for eight seconds. Repeat as necessary to help with feelings of stress and overwhelm.

My eight-month-old baby has developed a red and dry nappy rash. I’m using a zinc-based cream, which is helping. Is there anything else I can do?

It is likely the nappy rash has developed as a symptom of teething. A nappy rash is common around this age, along with an upset tummy or diarrhoea. Treating the child for teething will often help treat the nappy rash (and any other rashes or irritated skin).

My favourite teething remedy is the homeopathically prepared tissue salt formulation from New Era, Combination R. Tissue salts are prepared homeopathically at very low potencies – usually 6x.

Nineteenth-century German physician Wilhelm Schüssler originally formulated the 12 salts. He believed these salts were the base of cellular nourishment in humans – hence the alternate names of ‘Biochemic salts’ and ‘Cell salts’.

The fast-melting tablets are easy to use with little ones as they dissolve almost immediately on contact or can be added to a little water, breastmilk, or formula for simple dosing. Combination R is available from Homeopathy Supplies Ireland (; 086-3779974,) where 240 tablets cost €12.95.

I’m glad to hear that the zinc balm is helping. You may also like to combine it with a natural balm to help nourish and heal the skin. Baby Balm by Dublin Herbalists costs €12.95 for a 50ml pot and is available online from

The balm combines hypericum — good for healing and preventing infection – with anti-inflammatory calendula, soothing chamomile, nourishing sea buckthorn, and chickweed, which has a long history in treating all manner of rashes and eczema-type conditions.

  • If you have a question for Megan Sheppard, please email it to
  • NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.

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