A poultice is a raw or mashed herb applied directly to the skin, dry or wet. Some herbs, grains or vegetables are better encased in a clean cloth before applying them.
Poultices are used to heal bruises, break up congestion, reduce inflammation, withdraw pus from putrid sores, soothe abrasions, or withdraw toxins from an area. They may be applied hot or cold, depending on the health need. Cold poultices and compresses are used to withdraw the heat from an inflamed or congested area, hot poultices to relax spasms and for some pains.
Here is a list of a few effective poultices that use either common kitchen items, kitchen herbs or weeds that can be picked just about anywhere. If you research poultices a little, you will find that there are many more fairly common herbs that work well for poultices, so this list is really just an appetizer, so to speak.
Garlic: Known for its antibacterial action and drawing power. Use it grated or boiled, added to milk and softened bread. Apply bread as a compress to soak out poison or pus.
Marjoram: For liniment, use equal amounts of marjoram, thyme and olive oil for back ache, arthritis, sprain, muscle sores, bruises, rheumatism and the like. For a sore throat, a folded cloth dipped in a strong brew of marjoram and wrapped around the throat can relieve the soreness. (The featured image shows marjoram.)
Oatmeal: Apply hot, cooked oatmeal, encased in a clean soft cotton cloth, to relieve inflammation or help withdraw foreign objects. Use for stings and bites. It can be applied directly to the skin as well.
Plantain: Plantains is a common green weed. Learn to recognize it, as it is invaluable in first aid medicine. Apply mashed or crushed form on a cut, swollen sore or running sore, and wrap around finger for whitlow; attach with any clean cloth or bandage. Throw away the pulp when it gets hot and apply fresh plantain to the wound.
Vinegar: Vinegar made from either blackberries, grapes or apples has a very healing effect on sprains, strains, sore throat, swollen glands and aching muscles. Dip a folded cloth into such vinegar and apply to the body. Attach with a clean bandage. Fore sore throat, make a ‘double compress’: First dip folded neck cloth into the vinegar and wring out. Apply and pin so that no air enters. Then take slightly larger woolen cloth or large wool sock and pin it over the first, wet bandage. Make sure no air enters. Fairly soon the throat will heat up from within, and the pain and congestion will be alleviated.
Disclaimer: The author is not an medical professional, nutritionist, or dietitian. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal or medical advice, or medical treatment or diagnosis. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product or beginning a new health regimen. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically; be accompanied by an expert; and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. By using any or all of this information, you do so at your own risk. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.