Article by Angela Haldane, 11 September 2005

Q. My son – aged 9 is having a problem with recurring impetigo around his nose and upper lip – can't seem to get rid of it. Any suggestions?

A. Impetigo is also known as school sores, usually the causative bacteria is Staphylococcus aureus which is highly contagious. It characteristically has an appearance of golden crusts – like sugar crystals, and the wound does not heal.

Impetigo is best treated with antibiotics, then follow up with herbal medicine and zinc to boost the immunity and improve the function of the skin and lymphatic system. The herbal Skin Tonic available under products may be helpful to follow on with. This will reduce the reoccurrence rate.

I would recommend practitioner-only zinc and vitamin A supplementation. These two nutrients are vital in skin repair, reduce scarring, and improve immunity.

Meanwhile, ensure that the diet is nutrient rich. Soups rich in garlic and parsley. Good quality protein such as a little red meat, fish, or organic chicken.

One research article claims that grapefruit seed extract may be useful for the prevention and treatment of impetigo (due to the ability of grapefruit seed extract to kill / inhibit the bacteria that cause impetigo). Another report states that garlic infused oil applied topically to the site of infection can arrest the development of impetigo.

The essential oil of lavender also has excellent antimicrobial properties which can be applied topically.