A poultice is a topical application to the body to create a specific healing response. It is a simple technique that can be incredibly effective when the proper substances are applied in the appropriate manner. It is an economical approach that often utilizes foods/medicines that are already in the kitchen. Poultices involve few other materials and can be used in a pinch alone or in conjunction with conventional or alternative treatments.
The procedure for preparing a poultice is rather simple and relatively the same regardless of the substance applied:
Grate, chop, dice, muddle, etc. the substance and wrap it in a cheese cloth. If the substance is a grain or some other dry material, it may need to be combined with water to create a paste. Position the cheese cloth directly over the area for treatment and cover with a piece of plastic wrap and then a towel or other article of clothing to hold the application in place. The duration of treatment is typically 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the application immediately if there is any stinging, burning, etc. Depending on the applied substance, there may be varying degrees of redness during and following a treatment.
Following is a list of the frequently recommended poultices.
Honey Poultice – Applied directly to the skin, honey is good for burns and cuts, antiseptic, and it is anti-inflammatory. Honey helps prevent bacteria from growing while sealing off the damaged tissue from the air, reduces pain, and rehydrates the tissue.
Mustard Poultice – Use powdered mustard and mix with water to make a paste. Use a wooden spoon to mix and spread the paste. Do Not Apply Directly to the Skin. Be sure to wrap the paste in a cheese cloth. Do not leave on the skin longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Do not use a mustard poultice on sensitive or broken skin. A mustard poultice is good for arthritic joints and any condition that requires increased circulation. It can be applied to the chest to help relieve congestion, aid asthma, relieve coughs, and assist in getting rid of colds and flu. It can also be used alternating on the chest and back for chest/lung conditions. If left on too long a mustard poultice can cause blistering on the skin. Parents should absolutely not leave a mustard poultice on an unattended child.
Onion Poultice – Sautee chopped onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Place the onion in a cheese cloth. Onion is high in sulfur and great for drawing out impurities and decreasing inflammation. Onion poultices are excellent for ear infections, boils, and sores that have difficulty hearing.
Potato Poultice – Grate raw potato and mix with boiling water. Place the soft, translucent potato in a cheese cloth. Potato poultices are soothing and cooling, they are ideal for inflammation such as experienced in arthritis.
Poultices are simple, cost effective, procedures for supporting the body’s healing response. When utilized with other immune supports and healing techniques, poultices can speed up recovery time, decrease discomfort and pain, and encourage rest while healing. Consider using a poultice the next time you need a little extra healing boost.