Sebaceous cysts, also called epidermoid cysts, are small, usually painless lumps that manifest beneath your skin. MayoClinic.com states that sebaceous cysts usually develop on your face, neck, torso and genital region. Sebaceous cysts are rarely cancerous, although some types of cysts may lead to skin cancers. Certain herbal treatments, or remedies, may be beneficial in healing your sebaceous cysts. You should always talk with your physician, though, before using these natural substances to treat your health complaints.
Sebaceous cysts, notes the National Center for Biotechnology Information, are freely movable, slow-growing closed sacs beneath your skin that contain oily material. The center states that these cysts usually develop from swollen hair follicles, although injuries to your skin may also provide the stimulus for cyst development. Risk factors associated with sebaceous cysts include being male, being past puberty, a history of acne, skin injuries and excessive exposure to sunlight. Some people with sebaceous cysts may experience redness and tenderness in the affected area.
Common Herbal Treatments
In her book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," nutrition researcher and certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch states that several herbs may be used in treating your sebaceous cysts, including aloe vera gel, which is soothing and healing. Burdock and red clover -- both powerful blood cleansers -- may be helpful in treating your sebaceous cysts, while goldenseal may be applied topically to help reduce the likelihood of infection. Witch hazel, notes Balch, may be helpful in absorbing oil. Scientific research studies examining the effects of these herbs on sebaceous cysts are yet to be performed.
A Helpful Herb
Because of its ability to absorb oil, witch hazel may be one of the most helpful herbs in treating sebaceous cysts. Witch hazel, notes naturopathic physician Sharol Tilgner, author of "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," has anti-inflammatory action, helps stop passive bleeding and helps cause the contraction of various tissues in your body. Various parts of the witch hazel tree are used medicinally, including the leaves and bark.
Because the efficacy of herbal remedies for sebaceous cysts is not well known, you should be judicious in your use of herbs for this condition. Herbal remedies are generally regarded as safe, although they may cause health problems in certain people or if they are used incorrectly or for extended periods of time. Speak with a health care provider who has extensive training in herbal medicine to better understand the role of herbs in your sebaceous cyst treatment plan.
- MayoClinic.com: Sebaceous Cysts
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Sebaceous Cyst
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.