Monday, December 29, 2008

Making A Poultice

A poultice is usually a combination of medicinal herbs, mixed with boiling water and enclosed in layers of cloth, usually linen, and applied to the skin to reduce inflammation or to create extra warmth and stimulate blood flow. They are also used to break up congestion and treat infections.
A poultice is made from a mixture of water and herbs, which usually includes dried or fresh herbs that are mixed into a paste, and then spread on or between layers of cloth. The cloth is then placed on a body surface. Poultices act by increasing blood flow, relaxing tense muscles, soothing inflamed tissues, or drawing toxins from an infected area. They can also be used to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with boils, bruises, fractures, sprains, sunburn, tumors and sores and a host of other problems.

There are two main types of poultices. An herbal poultice can be made with either dried or fresh herbs. Both types are prepared in slightly different ways. You will need to choose the best herbal poultice for your particular condition or ailment. You also need to make sure you are familiar regarding the use of the specific herbs required when making a poultice.

Making a Dried Herb Poultice

When using dried herbs, you should use a mortar and pestle to grind the herbs to as fine a powder as possible. This powder can include a number of different dried herbs depending upon the condition you are treating. Then place the herb powder in a bowl and add enough warm water to make a thick paste that will be easy to apply. Make sure you make a large enough quantity that will enable you to cover the affected area. The proper ratio of ground herbs to water will vary depending upon the herb or herbs you are using. Be sure to add the water in very small amounts until your mixture has a thick paste-like consistency.

Place a clean piece of gauze, linen or white cotton sheet (an old pillowcase works good for this purpose) on a clean surface. Make sure the material is large enough to cover the affected area you are treating completely. Spread your herbal paste out on the cloth. Clean the affected area with hydrogen peroxide and place your poultice over the area being treated. Wrap a towel, plastic wrap or some other type of protective barrier around the poultice to prevent clothes or bed sheets from getting dirty or being stained by your poultice. Use a safety pin or other type of fastener to help secure your poultice.

Making a Fresh Herb Poultice

If you are using fresh herbs to make your poultice, place approximately two ounces of the fresh, or about 1/2 cup, in one cup of water in a small pan. Simmer the fresh herb and water for approximately 2 minutes. Do not drain the water from your pan.

The next step is to either pour the liquid from the pan onto the gauze or linen being used for your poultice. You can also soak the gauze or cloth being used for your poultice in the liquid. Make sure you clean the affected area and then apply as you would a dried herb poultice.

Herbal poultices can be kept in place for anywhere from 20 or 30 minutes to as long as 24 hours, depending upon the condition being treated and the type of poultice being used. During this time period, you may experience a throbbing sensation as the poultice draws out the infection and neutralizes any toxic substances. When the throbbing sensation subsides, you will then know that the poultice has completed its job and should then be removed. Apply additional fresh poultices as they are needed until you have reached the required level of healing desired. Remember to wash and clean the skin thoroughly after each poultice is removed.

Here are a couple of links to different formulas for making poultices:

Poultice Powder

Mustard Poultice

Remember that your poultice will need to be made with the proper herbs in order for it to be effective and achieve the desired results. Many times the mixture used to make the poultice can contain substances that may be an irritant. This is especially true in the case of the common mustard poultice. Your poultice should not come into direct contact with the skin or be left in place any longer than necessary to avoid blistering the skin.

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

Great post. Nothing to add, but this might stimulate some more searching as well.

My aunt years ago had a major cold, and her neighbor fixed her up by heating a glass jar, and applying a handchef on jar edge, applied it to her back. Its called CUPPING, at least in this article.

Hopefully ads to the knowledge above - Thanks Riverwalker!

riverwalker said...

To: amomymous

Thanks for the link. It's been a while since I've heard anyone mention "cupping". I guess we forget about some of the older remedies if they aren't used.


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