Making herbal poultices is not difficult and can be done relatively quickly. A poultice is like a salve or an ointment and is often heated before applying to the skin. Always applied externally, they are effective treatments for wounds, infections, and inflammation and swelling. Very likely your grandmother or great-grandmother made poultices as a treatment for arthritis, bursitis, gout, and a host of other joint and muscle ailments.
A poultice is a mixture that is applied to one side of a clean cloth and placed over the affected area. Fresh herbs are chopped or ground and then added to an emulsifier such as mineral oil, olive oil, or aloe vera juice. Slippery elm, which contains a great deal of mucilage, can also be added. In making herbal poultices powdered herbs can be used, however freshly prepared organics are always best. Once the cloth is situated over the skin it can be secured with an elastic bandage to keep it securely in place.
One of the most well known poultices is a mustard poultice. Used to relieve symptoms of the common cold and respiratory ailments it can be formulated very quickly. Combine a tablespoon of dry mustard with four tablespoons of flour. To prevent blistering of the skin also add one egg. Blend these ingredients with an emulsifier or a small amount of water and rub directly on the patient?s chest to bring relief from cold symptoms.
Use an onion poultice to reduce the pain and swelling resulting from strained or pulled muscles and tendons. Adding a finely chopped onion to aloe juice and applying this mixture to a cloth is a remarkably simple poultice recipe. Place this on the area of the strain. To intensify the anti-inflammatory properties of this poultice add white willow.
General First Aid Poultice
A general purpose poultice for a range of skin wounds and infections contains Slippery Elm, Goldenseal, Aloe Vera juice, and Comfrey. The berberine in the goldenseal kills bacteria which are the source of infection. Comfrey contains allantoin which speeds healing and reduces scaring. Slippery elm is a soothing herb with mucilage that helps bind the other ingredients together. The aloe vera juice acts as the emulsifier and is a conduit for the other herbs to penetrate the skin.