Having an eye stye (sometimes spelled “sty,” and also known as a hordeolum) is a nuisance—it’s an uncomfortable and unsightly affliction. However, there is good news for those who suffer from sties: they are easily prevented and can be effectively treated using natural home remedies.
What Are Sties
Sties are irritating bumps that occur on or within the eyelid around the lash line. Symptoms include localized swelling, redness, and pain. They are similar to a boil in that they are filled with icky pus, and they are usually caused by a staph infection in the eye area. Although that may sound alarming, sties are really quite common and tend to clear up on their own.
Natural Eye Stye Treatments
Even though sties can resolve without treatment, home remedies can speed the healing process – and the ingredients you need to heal your stye are likely ones that you already have on hand. But if you have any concerns it’s best to see a medical practitioner.
Warm compresses or tea bag treatment
You can treat sties using warm compresses or soaked tea bags – green tea and chamomile tea are particularly effective against sties. Wet a washcloth in warm water and place it over the stye for a few minutes, three to four times per day.
Once the pus begins to drain, wipe it away with a clean cloth. Similarly, you can soak a tea bag in hot water for five minutes, press out the excess moisture, and place the tea bag over the affected eye for a few minutes at a time, just a few times per day.
Aloe vera is one of nature’s miracle healers – it has amazing healing benefits and uses for your skin. To treat a stye using aloe vera, simply cut a piece of leaf from an aloe plant and give it a squeeze until it releases the gel. Alternatively, purchase organic pure aloe vera gel (like this one).
- Smear the gel over the stye and let it be for about 20 minutes.
- Wash the gel off with warm water and pat it dry with a clean towel.
This may be done three times per day for up to five days, as needed.
Turmeric for treating sties
Turmeric is more than a mere spice, it has amazing healing powers thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
To treat a stye with turmeric create a thick paste of ground turmeric and water. Dab a clean cloth into the paste and apply over the stye for about 20 minutes three times per day until it has healed. Another option is to take a teaspoon of turmeric powder and boil it in 2 cups of water until it reduces to one cup. Strain the water well using a fine cotton cloth until the turmeric particles removed. Use it to wash the stye area three times a day.
You can also mix a tablespoon of turmeric into a glass of milk or water and drink it each day to improve your body’s ability to heal on a systemic level.
Castor oil has noteworthy anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for relieving the discomfort of a stye while also serving to heal the infection.
To treat a stye with castor oil, wash the eye with warm water and dry it with a clean towel, then apply two to three drops of castor oil to the stye itself. This can be done three times per day until the stye shows signs of improvement.
Potato treatment for sties
Potatoes are not only delicious and nutritious, they can be used for stye treatment thanks to the natural cleansing properties within their “meat.”
To use this treatment:
- Wash and peel a potato and grate it.
- Put the grated potato into a cheesecloth and place the cloth over the affected eye for a few minutes at a time, similar to using a compress, then rinse it clean and dry it off.
Do this two or three times per day until the stye clears.
Baby shampoo is ideal for cleansing eyes with sties, because the pH level is intended to make it non-irritating when it gets into the eyes. Make sure to use pure, organic and all natural baby shampoo like this one.
To treat, place a few drops of baby shampoo into a cup of water, then dip a clean cloth or cotton puff into the mixture and use it to dab at the stye. Then rinse the eye clean with plain water and pat it dry. This can be done several times per day, and should help to clear the stye within three or four days.
Coriander (Cilantro) Seeds
Yet another remedy that many have inside their spice cabinets, coriander seeds are anti-inflammatory and can be used to reduce swelling and healing time with sties.
To use, boil one teaspoon of coriander seeds in one cup of water for five minutes. Cool, then strain the seeds and treat your stye by soaking a cotton puff in the mixture and using it to cleanse the eyelid. Do this three times per day until the stye is healed.
Guava leaves are another one of nature’s anti-inflammatory wonders. They can be soaked for a few minutes in warm water, then placed on the stye as a compress for up to 10 minutes. This may be done once or twice per day until the stye has cleared up.
Goldenseal or eyebright
You can use goldenseal or eyebright to treat your stye as well. These herbs are natural bacteria fighters and can also help to reduce painful swelling around the eyelid. Note: be careful not to place eyebright infusions into the eye itself—this treatment is intended for external sties only.
Using a dropper, place one or two drops of goldenseal extract directly onto the affected area four times daily.
If using eyebright, create an infusion by boiling one-quarter cup of dried eyebright leaves in two cups of water. Cool and strain the mixture, then wet a clean washcloth with the infusion and dab the stye.
There are other useful uses for Goldenseal and Eyebright which I’ve mentioned in my eBook Herbal Remedies Guide. This guide will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.
You can treat a stye with a warm compress made of water infused with clove – here’s how:
- soak a tablespoon of whole cloves in a cup of hot water for five minutes.
- Strain the cloves out through a sieve, then soak a clean washcloth in the water and place it over the affected eye for five minutes at a time.
This treatment will help reduce pain and discomfort.
Tips for Stye Prevention
- Keeping eyelids clean and free of build-up and debris is key to preventing sties from occurring in the first place.
- If you wear make-up on your eyes, never apply it too close to the lash line, and make sure you use good, sanitary cosmetics – nothing old or of questionable cleanliness.
- Never share make-up with anyone, as bacteria can easily be transferred from person to person.
- When showering or bathing, clean eyelids with your eyes closed using diluted baby shampoo or another mild cleanser and a clean washcloth. Rub the eyelids with the cleanser, then rinse well with clean water.
When to Seek Medical Treatment for Sties
Sometimes a stye can become more than a minor nuisance and requires immediate medical attention. Please see a doctor right away if:
- Sties recur frequently
- Sties last longer than two to three weeks
- Sties interfere with your ability to see
- You experience pain in the eye itself
As a general note, if you have any concern you need to see your doctor.