Monday, June 22, 2009
Recently I reacquainted myself with the use of poultices. A poultice is like a compress, containing plant or other material, which is placed over an affected area to heal. Poultices are simple and powerful things you can do for yourself in a variety of situations.
Some examples of basic herbal poultices are: Flaxseed, a classic poultice for drawing things out, be they splinters or pains. Onion poultices are great for chest congestion. A garlic poultice applied to the feet before sleep draws out toxins and helps recovery from viral and bacterial infections. Epsom salt poultices help pain and bruising. Leaves laid over bites and wounds can help draw out venom and germs: Dandelion leaves are usually generally available, for example, and work well- be sure they are clean and don't just slap them on if you've picked them next to a busy street, for example. Aloe vera leaves are another example of a plant you can apply to a wound for healing: Slit the leaf open to reveal the gelatinous innards, tape over wound. I had a redwood splinter in my foot and saw blood poisoning was beginning. I put the aloe leaf on in the early afternoon and by bedtime the infection had disappeared. Plaintain leaves have been mentioned in this blog before for bug bites.
Essential oils are magnificent in poultices as well. Applying the appropriate oil or oils to a cloth, laying it on a wound, sore spot, rash, or what have you, and doing it consistently, can really make a huge difference in length of injury and degree of healing. For some injuries, such as pricks from roses, one must be very attentive in order to avoid staph infections, and essential oils are perfect for that job.
Plants offer myriad ways to help yourself simply, without developing resistances, on the spot and inexpensively. If you have questions about poultices, or have an injury that won't heal, for example, or other chronic condition, they are worth investigating and I am always happy to address questions!
Kelley Rico is a trained herbalist and aromatherapist, and a certified flower essence and Jin Shin Jyutsu® practitioner.