Ganglion cysts are small round lumps, sacs or bumps filled with a viscous synovial fluid. There are also called bible bumps or bible cysts.
Ganglion cysts vary in size. Also, they usually form over tendons or joints around the wrists, ankles, fingers, or soles of the feet.
The exact cause of ganglion cyst is unknown. However, excessive/repeated joint or tendon mechanical changes or irritations could trigger this cyst. Ganglion cyst is common in teenagers and young adults (18-40 years old) especially women and gymnasts (as gymnasts repeatedly apply a lot of stress to their wrist).
Common symptoms of ganglion cysts include; pain, discomfort with tingly sensation, muscle weakness, or numbness.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with ganglion cysts;
- Never remove this cyst, on your own, with a scalpel, scissors, or needle.
- Visit a doctor especially if the cyst is increasing in size or becoming more painful.
- Avoid “thumping” the cyst with heavy objects as this may damage the skin.
- If possible, temporarily avoid repetitive movement of the affected joint. You could use a brace or splint to immobilize movement of the affected area.
- Do not puncture the cyst with a needle as this could cause an infection.
Below are various home remedies for ganglion cyst;
1. Change Your Shoes/Use Foot Pads
When a shoe rubs the cysts on your toes, you may experience some pain. For this reason, you should wear open-toed shoes or flip-flops. If you have to wear closed shoes, you should change the lacing pattern. The idea is to reduce the amount of pressure on the cysts that may cause some irritation. Also, avoid wearing shoes with tight zippers or those made of a non-breathable fabric like leather or polyester.
2. Black Tea Bags
Black tea has a strong acidic effect which makes it effective in treating ganglion cysts. Additionally, black tea has anti-inflammatory properties that help to ease pain and swelling. It also contains tannin which provides a soothing effect on the affected region. To make the tea, steep one tea bag in a cup of water for 10 minutes, place it on the problem area and allow it to work its magic. Follow this remedy twice daily for 3-4 days.
3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
The benefits of grapefruit seed extract go beyond the kitchen. Grapefruit seed extract’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help to clear ganglion cysts. Just apply the extract on the affected region, cover with a bandage and then allow the skin to absorb it for 10-15 minutes. After that, wash off with plain water.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera works as an anti-inflammatory by reducing the swelling and redness that comes with the condition. Simply extract the gel from a succulent leaf and apply on the cysts. Allow it to stay for 15-20 minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water thereafter. Use this regimen a couple of times a day for two consecutive weeks.
5. Frankincense Oil
Although it’s quite expensive compared to other essential oils, frankincense oil helps to clear the cysts within a few days. It has unmatched analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which aids in reducing pain and inflammation. To treat ganglion cysts, apply 2-3 drops of frankincense oil on the problem area three times daily until you get satisfying results. Since it’s a gentle oil, you don’t have to dilute with a carrier oil.
Turmeric has grown in popularity in treating numerous skin conditions. It has an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent effect on the skin. When applied on the cysts, it can drain the fluids from clogged sebaceous glands. Furthermore, the curcumin compound, present in turmeric, regulates cytokines and does not produce any toxic effects. Also, you can take turmeric internally to treat the condition from within while purifying your blood. To treat ganglion cysts, apply turmeric paste on the problem area three times a day. Alternatively, you can take 400-600mg of turmeric supplement 1-2 times a day. In case you feel any irritation, discontinue the treatment. Consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
7. Warm Compress
A warm compress promotes fluid drainage and most importantly increases blood circulation in the affected region. It also helps to reduce discomfort thanks to the amazing anti-inflammatory effects that warm compress provides. Moreover, a warm compress will help the cysts to burst naturally. Simply soak your washcloth in warm water and apply it on the cysts for 5-10 minutes. Unfortunately, the remedy does not stop the growth of cysts.
Ginger is packed with gingerol, an active compound that helps to alleviate discomfort and inflammation. Ginger also blocks cox-2 activity which can cause pain. To brew ginger tea, boil fresh ginger root in a cup of tea for 10-15 minutes. To keep the cysts at bay, drink the tea 2-3 times daily. You can also use it externally, by mixing ginger and basil oil, then, massaging the mixture on the cysts once a day until you get the desired results.
Echinacea increases the production of properdin while boosting your immune system. Furthermore, it reduces the size of cysts. You can use Echinacea internally or externally. For internal use, consume the herbal tea up to two times a day. For external use, apply Echinacea ointment on the cysts 2-3 times a day until they clear. You should avoid using Echinacea if you have an autoimmune disorder.
10. Arnica Oil
Arnica is a powerful herb that helps to clear ganglion cysts that are accompanied by pain and inflammation. Its available in the form of cream, gel, tablets, or ointment. Apart from giving a glowing skin, arnica improves blood circulation and aids in flushing out toxins from your body. All you need is to dilute arnica with olive oil or coconut oil in equal parts, apply on the cysts and then cover with a bandage. Use this home remedy 2-3 times daily for at least one month. It’s crucial that you perform a patch test to identify whether the oil reacts with your skin.
11. Pencil Eraser
A pencil eraser should be used when the cysts are small. To begin with, you should ensure it’s well-rounded such that it does not dig on the cysts. This remedy is straightforward. Just cover the cysts with the eraser and wrap with a bandage/gauze to keep it in place. Make sure you change the bandage every 2-3 days. More research is needed on this remedy since it’s still not clear how it clears the cysts.
12. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is packed with wound-healing properties making it a perfect treatment for a ganglion cyst. It reduces the inflammation associated with the cyst. To make an Epsom salt bath, dissolve 1-2 cups of Epsom salt in your bathing water and soak the affected area for 30 minutes. Alternatively, mix a quarter cup of glycerin with half tsp of Epsom salt and then add some borax. Soak a cotton ball into the mixture, apply on the cysts and then cover with a bandage. Keep soaking the area once a day until you get some relief. Avoid using this remedy if you have diabetes.
13. Increase Fruit And Vegetable Intake
A nutritious diet that consists of fruits and vegetables can help to prevent re-occurrence of cysts. In fact, some studies have linked constipation to the development of cysts. Therefore, by consuming more fruits and vegetables you not only speed up the healing process but also boost your immune system. Make sure you consume them alongside your meals or add them to your smoothies and breakfast bowls.
14. Consume Anti-Inflammatory Foods
To treat ganglion cysts, you should consume anti-inflammatory foods such as flax seeds, salmon, ginger, walnuts, olive oil, sweet potatoes, turmeric, and spinach. At the same time, avoid foods that cause inflammation such as white rice, white flour, and saturated fats.
15. White Oak Bark
White oak is a perennial tree that grows in cold climates. Its bark helps to shrink the cysts making them easier to remove. Simply prepare a white oak bark compress, apply on the cyst and cover with a bandage. To ensure the healing benefits penetrate into the skin, keep it in place for 10-15 minutes. Use white oak bark once a day, especially before going to bed.
16. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil helps to treat sebaceous and pilonidal cysts. In addition to that, it unblocks the skin pores, eliminates dead skin cells and boosts the immune system. To treat the cysts, mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with a few drops of olive/coconut oil. Apply the mixture on the cysts, cover with a bandage and allow it to work for 10 minutes. Clean the excess oil with a clean cotton cloth. Perform this remedy once a day until the cysts clear.
17. Red Desert Clay
Before you think about surgery, you should try red desert clay powder (also called calcium montmorillonite). Apart from nourishing the body with important minerals, this clay removes the harmful toxins. Surprisingly, it can be used internally and externally. To reduce the size of the cysts, you should consume one tsp of red desert clay twice daily. To ensure you don’t suffer from constipation, add 1-3 tbsp of magnesium powder.
18. Castor Oil
Castor oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that offer unmatched therapeutic powers to treat skin irritation, swelling, and infections. To treat ganglion cyst, dip a cotton cloth in castor oil, place it on the cyst for 30 minutes and rinse off thereafter. You can also apply the oil directly on the affected region. Castor oil would also inhibit any agonizing aches thanks to its soothing effects. For optimal results, you may want to substitute your normal cooking oils with castor oil.
19. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel offers innumerable skin benefits including treatment of sebaceous ganglion cysts. Witch hazel contains tannin, an astringent that helps to tighten the skin. You can either use the leaves or the bark, of witch hazel, to deal with the condition. Just apply 2 drops of witch hazel on the cysts and allow it to sit for 1-2 hours. Then, clean it off with lukewarm water. For best results, follow this remedy twice a day for two weeks.
20. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is praised for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. It possesses large amounts of acetic acid which wards off infections that may cause the cysts to expand. To prevent the cysts from coming back, dip a cotton cloth in unfiltered ACV and rub on the problem area. Cover with a band and allow it to penetrate into the skin for 20-30 minutes. Next, clean the area with warm water.
21. Massage The Ganglion Cyst
A massage therapy reverses the flow of fluids back to the tendons or joints. Furthermore, accidental trauma can cause the cyst to pop and flatten. That’s another reason why you should massage the affected region several times a day with warm water. Because you don’t have to follow a specific technique, it’s something you can do on your own. You should see some improvement after a few days.
22. Avoid Thumping/Draining The Cyst
While most people may be tempted to drain the cyst once it pops up, it can bring more harm than good. Furthermore, “thumping” may cause a serious tissue damage that is accompanied by pain. Opening the cyst may also promote bacteria growth. The rule of thumb is to avoid thumping the cysts; just allow them to drain on their own. This remedy will also stop their re-occurrence.
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