Our ancestors, ancient civilizations used poultice for quick relief and healing. They found that certain herbal poultice was very effective in removing pain and inflammation. Today we know the usage of poultice for external applications.
Herb poultices can be quickly assembled and used for swelling, minor injuries, cold and flu. They are very beneficial in treating hemorrhoids, varicose veins and muscle cramps. They also provide immediate relief from headaches, stings and bites too without any side effects. The poultices also calm the nerves and ease the blood circulation. They bar the invasion of foreign materials, bacteria in the wounds and ulcers too. They are the best first aid medical kits, provided you know what to use at the right time. However; in case of major injuries it is best to consult a physician.
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Preparation of Herbal Poultice
Poultice can be prepared with fresh or dry herbs. If you have a herb garden, you can use fresh herbs straight from your home garden.
Dried herbal poultice
If you have dry herbs, use a handful or more depending upon the application area. With a grinder, grind and make a smooth powder of dry herbs. You can use warm water to make a thick paste that can be applied consistently over the affected area. The ratio of grounded herbs in water can be determined by the specific herb being used. Add water gradually so that the mixture doesn’t become too dilute.
Fresh herbal poultice
If you can pluck fresh herbs from your garden, use about 2 ounces approximately half a cup of herb in one cup of water. Simmer for 2, 3 minutes.
Application to the Affected Area
Any of these preparations mentioned above either made from dry or fresh herbs can be applied to the affected area if it is not an open wound. Clean the affected area with hydrogen peroxide or lukewarm water and place the poultice over the area. Wrap a bandage like cloth to prevent it from spoiling the clothes. Fasten it tight enough so that it holds for couple of hours. You can repeat the process with fresh poultice.
If you do not want to directly apply the poultice, use a thin muslin or cloth and spread the paste over it consistently. Secure it with a fastener or roll it tightly in the form of a bandage. You can also use a hot water bottle to keep it warm.
Treatment duration of Herbal Poultice
The duration of herbal poultice can vary from one to 24 hours as required. You might experience a throbbing pain in the initial hours during which the poultice neutralizes the infection. When the task is completed, the pain will lessen and gradually fade away. You can remove the poultice when the subject is healed.
Essential Tips in Using Poultices
- An herb poultice is an external application, it is not for consumption.
- An herbal poultice can be directly applied to the area or enveloped in thin muslin.
- The quantity of herbs to be used depends on the wound. Use generous amounts of dried or fresh herbs. It should be enough to provide a thin layer that covers the entire affected area
- Do not burn the herbs while seeping. Only fresh herbs need to be seeped in the boiling water.
- Apply a lukewarm paste; it should not be unbearably hot.
- Add essential herb oils if required for the poultice.
- You can also substitute the water with castor oil or other medicinal herb oil that can act as a medium for the poultice.
- Apply for 2, 3 hours to 24 hours depending upon the nature of ailment.
- You can repeat the poultice applications till the patient feels relief.