Here’s an old folk cure cure for boils or carbuncles:
Put a small bottle in a pan and boil it for a few minutes. With a pot-holder or tongs, pick it up and dump the water out. Then place the neck of the bottle over the boil. The suction pops it! Of course, you will need to be careful not to burn the patient with the hot bottle… Not quite sure how that’s accomplished.
Note: This sounded a little bit like the technique of “cupping” to me, and I think that might also be worth a try. Seems less likely to burn the skin.
Cupping therapy is a treatment in which a cup sucked to the skin to create local stimulation for disease treatment and prevention. The secret is the negative pressure created by consuming the air inside the cup with fire or other methods.
Cupping therapy, also known as “Jar Suction Therapy” or the “Horn Method” in ancient China, was recorded as early as in Fifty-Two Prescriptions, a silk book unearthed in Emperor Ma’s tomb during the Han Dynasty. Cupping was primarily used to drain stagnant blood and pus from carbuncles and ulcers during surgery.
The ‘Fire Twinkling Method’ uses cups made of clear glass. This classical method creates suction in the cup by using a flame to consume the air within it.
Here’s how it’s done:
Light an alcohol soaked, cotton ball held with a clamp or forceps or use a strip of paper; place it inside the cup, quickly turn it around in one to three circles and take it out immediately and press the cup on the selected area; the cup will attached itself to the skin. Presently, this is the most common used method and since no fire is retained in the cup it is relatively safe. However, caution should be taken to avoid scalds or burns by over-heating the mouth of the cup.
The Red Indians have long used this viscous inner bark to prepare a healing salve, and in herbal medicine a Slippery Elm bark powder is considered one of the best possible poultices for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns and all inflamed surfaces, soothing, healing and reducing pain and inflammation.
It is made as follows:
Mix the powdered bark with hot water to form the required consistency, spread smoothly upon soft cotton cloth and apply over the parts affected. It is unfailing in cases of suppurations, abscesses, wounds of all kinds, congestion, eruptions, swollen glands, etc.
In simple inflammation, it may be applied directly over the part affected; to abscesses and old wounds, it should be placed between cloths. If applied to parts of the body where there is hair, the face of the poultice should be smeared with olive oil before applying.
Source: A Modern Herbal
For information on individual herbs visit: The Encyclopedia of Herbology