The poultice is a thick paste that is applied to the skin by making it hold with a cloth. Formerly recommended for all kinds of disorders by healers, its effectiveness is not really proven and it is now rare in the trade. But we can make it ourselves with all kinds of plants, clay, fruits, vegetables… or even algae!
The substances chosen to make the poultice can be crushed, chopped hot or cold or mixed with flax flour to get the right consistency. This remedy has a reddening action: it causes transient congestion which produces redness of the skin by dilation of the small blood vessels, which promotes the penetration of the active ingredients. In addition, the blood circulation of affected parts increases, thus expelling toxins outward, absorbed by the poultice.
In which cases can we use a poultice?
- Breathing difficulties, bronchitis, shortness of breath: poultice of mustard flour or collard greens.
- Oily cough: made from flax seeds.
- Dry cough: made from grated comfrey roots.
- Sprains: cold clay.
- Elongations, tendonitis, back pain: grated comfrey roots.
- Muscle aches : warm green clay, mustard, comfrey.
- Joint or tendon pain : cold poultice of flax seeds or clay.
- Digestive ailments: clay.
- Acne: clay (with astringent properties, which tightens the pores), to be done once a week after cleansing the skin.
- Boil, anthrax: clay, green cabbage, mustard flour, but also flax seeds, effective emollient to ripen a boil.
- Weeping wounds : cabbage leaf.
- Burns and excoriations (loss of the superficial layers of the skin due to scratching) which become infected: cabbage (sanitized by boiling).
Choose clay and linseed or mustard seeds preferably in pharmacies, organic or diet stores.
What are the usual precautions?
There is no no specific contraindication poultice, but in case of wounds, it is better to consult to rule out bacterial infection.
It’s better to test the mustard poultice on a small area – it heats the skin and can be irritating – and do not apply it to damaged skin.
Not for about 15 years, except for flax seeds: from the age of 3 years, but for a maximum of 10 minutes.
Green cabbage poultice recipe
- Boil one or two large, thick cabbage leaves for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Cool for 5 minutes, put them in a cloth and crush with a rolling pin to extract the juice which contains sulfur substances.
- Place it in a fine gauze and apply to the skin between 10 and 20 minutes depending on tolerance.