An herbal poultice can increase blood flow, draw out toxins, pus and embedded materials from wounds & abscesses, reduce swelling and relax tension in the muscles. A poultice is a soft paste like consistency made up of dried or fresh herbs/plants mixed with water/oil/vinegar which is spread between thin layers of cloth and applied to the injury.
A poultice can also be effective for sprains, bruises, enlarged lymph nodes and skin ulcers.

Here is what you’ll need:

Water/oil/vinegar (add just enough so that the powdered herbs becomes a soft paste)
Herbs/plants (either fresh or dried)
A thin cloth, cotton gauze, linen or a muslin cloth
Plastic wrap, towel or ACE bandage
A safety pin or fastner (if you use a towel)


Fresh herb preparation – Add 1/2 cup of fresh herbs and 1 cup of water into a saucepan. Simmer for about 2 minutes. The amount of herbs, for the paste, may vary depending upon how big or small the area you need the poultice to cover.

Dried herb preparation – Mix together enough powdered herbs and warm water to make a thick paste.

If you only have whole dried herbs, they should be ground up in a blender, grinder or with a mortar and pestal, before using. That way you will be able to bring out the most of their healing properties.

Make sure the wound or area is cleaned well first, before applying the poultice.

Lay your chosen cloth on a flat surface. Pour the fresh herb preparation or spread the dried herb preparation onto the cloth. Make sure the cloth is the right size for the wound area you need to cover and be sure the herbal preparation covers the cloth. If you use certain herbs/plants that can irritate, like onion, mustard or arnica, you should place another cloth over top, so the herbal preparation is sandwiched between the two cloths and the preparation will not come in direct contact with your skin.

Apply the prepared poultice to the affected area. Wrap a towel, plastic wrap or a bandage around the poultice. Secure the wrap, as necessary. This will keep the poultice on and keep it from staining sheets and other surfaces.

A poultice treatment can be necessary to leave on for as little as 15 minutes to overnight, depending on what is being treated. During treatment of an infection it is possible to experience some pain and throbbing. It is caused by the infection being drawn out. When the pain subsides, the infection should be fully drawn out.

Some recipes:

– Crush 2-3 garlic cloves (2-3 tablespoons) and mix enough warm water or oil (not hot as it may kill the powerful healing properties of the garlic) to make a soft paste. Spread onto your thin cloth/gauze and wrap. Place the warm poultice on the sore or injury or on the chest for colds or flu.

– Mix Cayenne pepper and wintergreen oil (olive oil will be ok if you do not have wintergreen oil) Use this poultice for pain and inflammation caused by gout.

– Onion and White Willow bark poultice can be used for pain and swelling prepare the poultice preparation with aloe vera or oil. Onion is also great to help heal various sore and boils. Remember to use another cloth on top, when you use onion preparations.

– Boil 2-3 carrots until soft or use raw and mash to a pulp. Mix with small amount of vegetable oil.
Used for cysts, tumors, boils, cold sores, impetigo

– Goldenseal root poultice can be used on boils as well as any kind of inflammation..

– Use powdered mustard and mix with water to make a paste. (May need to add some flour to hold paste together). Wrap in your thin cloth and cover with plastic wrap. Remove immediately if stinging or burning occurs.
Use with caution. Do not use on sensitive or broken skin or directly on the skin.
Good for arthritic joints and any condition requiring increased circulation. Used to help relieve congestion, aid asthma, relieve coughs and assists in getting rid of colds and flu when used on the chest.

– Slippery Elm can be used for sores and leg ulcers, such as those associated with diabetes. It can help keep them from developing gangrene.

– Take ¼ cup of crushed comfrey leaves, ¼ cup of calendula flowers, 1 drop of lavender oil and add it to a mason jar filled with sterile water. Cover, shake it up, and leave it for four days in a dark, cool area. Strain off the leaves and flower petals and retain the liquid. Place the liquid in a glass container. Wet a cotton ball with the liquid, press it against the wound or bandage it against the wound.

– Place a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil into about two cups of hot water. (The water has to be very warm, but not hot enough to burn you). Mix the oils into the water and saturate your thin cloth with it. Press it against the boil. Repeat and keep the poultice on for fifteen minutes, then take it off for 15 minutes. The boil should come to a head quickly and the tea tree oil and lavender will kill any of the staph bacteria on the skin or coming out of the boil.

– Chaparral can be made into a poultice and used for a variety of skin disorders, such as rashes, eczema, acne and other skin disorders.

I will add more poultice recipes off & on, so come back regularly to see the additions!

I found an EXCELLENT place to buy organic herbs and spices here at Mountain Rose Herb.

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