A what? That might be your question when someone mentions the word, poultice. But an herbal poultice is nothing more than a thick, moist, warm herbal paste applied directly to the skin. Its purpose is to relieve pain, inflammation and swelling as well as relieving muscle spasms. You can make poultices from your own home herb garden, either while they are still fresh or after they've been dried.
To create a healing poultice after harvesting and drying herbs from your garden, place any of the following over a pot of rapidly boiling water: a steamer, heatproof colander, a strainer or even a sieve. Then add up to 2 ounces -- or ¼ cup of your herb into the container, not the water itself. Reduce the heat under the water so it just simmers. Cover the pot.
Allow the steam to penetrate through the herbs until they have wilted. This should occur within five (5) minutes. Next, spread the softened, warm herbs on cheesecloth, folding one layer of the cloth over the herb itself. Apply this directly to the affected area of the body. To help retain the heat longer, cover the poultice with a towel or even a woolen cloth.
The poultice can remain in place for at least twenty minutes. In fact, you can even leave it on overnight. But it absolutely must be covered.
If you prefer to make your pulped poultice from your fresh herb garden, place the herbs between two layers of cheesecloth thats twice the size of the affected area. Take a rolling pin – or other equally heavy round object -- and finely crush the herbs. You'll know that the herbs are sufficiently crushed when the cloth feels damp from the moisture of the herbs themselves.
If you have a food processor, you may want to place the herbs in that. If you go this route, then mix a small amount of hot water with them. Otherwise you will need to crush the herbs manually as indicated above.
After the herbs have been processed or crushed, place them on cheesecloth to retain the " juices " and to help hold the herbs in place. A poultice like this may also remain on the affected area overnight, if necessary.
The key to a poultices effectiveness is that you can only use this particular batch of herbs only once. Don't try to store a used poultice and use it again. Toss it out and start all over again the following day or even several hours later.
Kali S Winters
Kali S Winters is gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Check out Kali's latest book, "Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening"! There you will find 12 free bonus books for your reading enjoyment. Discover more about Herbal Advantages
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