What is a Poultice?
A poultice is a paste made of herbs, clays, activated charcoal, and other beneficial substances. It is wrapped in a warm and moist piece of cloth and placed on the skin. Some poultices can be spread directly on the skin.
The body gets in contact with the beneficial part of the herb or the plant for an extended period of time. Poultices prove to be beneficial for boils, burns, splinters, infections, and other skin problems.
A study done on adults with osteoarthritis found applying a warm ginger compress in the kidney area improved pain and stiffness.(1) Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and anti-arthritic properties.(2)
They are not any substitute for medical attention but can be used in addition, or for the minor cases where medical attention is not required.
How To Make A Poultice?
To make a poultice a whole herb, plant, clay, salt or beneficial substances are used.
A thick paste is made out of an herb with hot or cold water. Hot water is used for the poultice, in which the aim is to draw out or remove an abscess and cold water is used in the poultices made for inflammation.
Hot water is poured on the fresh or dried herb to extract the maximum beneficial properties. They are then allowed to cool to the desired temperature before applying on the skin.
Depending on the herb the paste can either be directly applied on the skin or can be wrapped in between cloth or two before applying. The choice of cloth can be cheesecloth or thin organic clothing. Make sure the cloth chosen does not absorb too much liquid or is too thick to not let the herb come in contact with the skin.
Ingredients To Prepare A Poultice
- 2-3 tablespoon of fresh dried herb
- Hot water to form a thick paste
- A cloth for covering
- A waterproof covering to keep poultice on
Types of Poultices
Poultice can be made from various ingredients to cure cuts, bruises, mild pain from arthritis or a minor injury.
- The herbal poultice can be prepared to relieve minor inflammations and abrasions.
- How to Prepare Herbal Poultice : Take 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 ounce of freshly chopped or grated ginger, ¼ small raw sliced onions, 2 teaspoon garlic clove, 2 teaspoon coconut oil, and a cheesecloth bandage.
- Mix all the ingredients in a pan and heat it until almost dry. Make sure it does not burn out. Transfer the ingredients to a bowl to cool. Take the cloth piece and add the mixture to the center, and fold it twice to make a pack. Tie it with a string or a rubber band. Place on the affected area for 20 minutes.
- Bread poultice can be used on an abscess, cyst or a splinter.
- How to Prepare Bread Poultice: Take a slice of bread and 2-3 tablespoons of milk.
- Warm the milk in a pan. Turn off the stove and let it cool. Place a slice of bread on the pan and let it soften, and then stir to make a paste. Apply on the skin and leave for 15 minutes. It should be repeated 2-3 times a day.
Baking Soda Poultice
- This type of poultice is used for minor skin irritation such as razor burns and mild sunburns for a cooling effect.
- How to Prepare Soda Poultice: Take 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and cold water.
- Mix both the ingredients to make a paste. Apply the paste on the area of irritation.
Activated Charcoal Poultice
- An activated charcoal poultice is used for a bug bite, stings or minor skin irritation.
- How to Prepare Activated Charcoal Poultice: Take one teaspoon of charcoal powder and water.
- Mix one tablespoon of activated charcoal with just enough water to create a paste. Spread the paste on the affected area. Leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash off the area with a damp cloth. It can be repeated twice in a day until healed.
Poultices harness the healing effect of the herbs to treat a variety of conditions. In case of any serious health condition consult a doctor and along with that if any poultice benefits, it can be used as an added remedy.