A witlow is an infection of the finger-tip, at the side of the nail, which may creep under the nail itself. Pus collects, and, particularly if it is trapped under the nail, can be very painful. Some­times the nail has to be removed.

Hot compresses of Bergamot, Camomile or Lavender should be applied round the finger repeatedly, a fresh one being applied as soon as the previous one has cooled. This will draw out pus and promote faster healing. Once the whitlow has broken and pus has been released, neat Lavender oil can be applied and covered with a gauze dressing, held in place with a strip of adhesive plaster. Do not use a plaster that covers the area and excludes air, or the finger will get very damp and healing will be delayed.

A high level of Vitamin C supplementation is a valuable adjunct to the treatment with essential oils, and it may also be useful to take a general look at the diet of the person involved, as whitlows often affect those with a generally poor standard of nutrition.

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