The People's Perspective on Medicine

Nutmeg Is an Odd Home Remedy for Styes

Home remedies may help make styes go away a bit sooner.

Q. My mother has a remedy for styes that I am not sure you know. We have used it in our family for over 60 years.

To get rid of a stye, swallow one-quarter teaspoon of nutmeg two days in a row. The stye will dry up.

When I was a kid, I would have several styes on each eye. I would wake up in the morning and my eyes would be practically welded shut after the drainage from the styes dried overnight.

I can remember that yucky yellow ointment the doctor gave me. It didn’t work very well at all, but the nutmeg took care of the problem.

A. Styes (or sties) occur when the oil glands at the base of eyelashes become infected. These red bumps are very tender and usually resolve within a week to 10 days without treatment.

Warm Compresses Several Times a Day

The usual treatment involves clean warm compresses, though antibiotic ointments are sometimes prescribed.


Nutmeg is a new one on us. Too much nutmeg could be toxic, so people should be cautious not to exceed the quarter teaspoon you mentioned.

Side effects may include palpitations, dry mouth, confusion, hallucinations and paranoia.

Other Remedies

Other home remedies for sties include rubbing a gold ring on cloth until the friction makes it warm, then applying the warm metal to the sore spot on the lid.

One reader reported that eating cabbage, cooked or in coleslaw, is helpful for preventing sties.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I tried this. It works. 1/4 of a teaspoon of nutmeg. I took it in the morning on the first day when I noticed soreness and redness on the side of my eye closest to my nose on my lower lid. I just took a quarter of a teaspoon of nutmeg, dumped it into my mouth and then chugged a glass of water afterwards. It was bitter, but not unmanageable. I repeated that on day two. The first day my lower lid was tender and red. I was sure I was in for a painful and ugly two weeks.

I searched this site for a home remedy (can’t afford another doctor’s visit and don’t want to use their meds anyway), and came across the nutmeg remedy. It stopped the progression of the infection on day 1. Day two was less tender and slightly itchy. Day 3 was itchy but not tender and redness was minimal. Day 4 – eyelid back to normal. Infection defeated. I love this site!

I’m all of a sudden plagued by chalazions, only in one eye and always in the same spot. Lately, as soon as the area begins to turn red, I use the nutmeg method, two days in a row. I mix 1/4 teaspoon in with cereal and soymilk. So far, so good — the red area doesn’t develop any further and actually calms down. Thanks for the tip!

I can vouch for the gold method. Use the purest gold you have, i.e., 18k is more effective than 14k.

Ok but I’m confused
use this topical or in cap with water?

Thank you for your information. Being relatively new to watching our health and trying to figure out what is best for you, I appreciate your guidance on what we should watch. Being 75 and in good health, we don’t want to foul up now! So thank you for all your wisdom. I always chuckle when I realize many of our grandmother’s remedies are still the best!

This is a great forum and very informative. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks

I’m confused.
Is this taken internally or applied topically?

It says to swallow the nutmeg.

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