This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
This is also called whitlow, and is an abscess of the fingers, of which there are three kinds, the first situated upon the surface of the skin, the second under the skin, the third within the sheath containing the tendons of the fingers, and sometimes involving the covering of the bone. The latter form is the most terrible, and begins with redness, swelling, and a deep-seated and throbbing pain, which becomes so excruciating as to banish all sleep, and nearly drive the patient to distraction. Relief is only secured by discharge of pus.
TREATMENT. -- Carry the hand in a sling and use poultices. A poultice made of equal parts of slippery-elm, poke-root, flaxseed meal, and lobelia seeds, mixed with hot lye, and changed twice a day, is an admirable application. When the pain becomes great, the abscess should be laid open with a knife, cutting down to the bone. Nothing will insure loss of bone but a thorough and deep incision. This is most painful, but will give instant relief. After the evacuation, the treatment is to be followed as in ordinary acscess.