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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Herbal Compresses

    Posted before Dec-31-2007

Many would be surprised to learn that their gardens are a gold mine or bonanza for remedial herbs and flowers that may be utilized to produce a variety of curative items as well as health medications by only spending a little amount of money. Moreover, when an individual makes use of the plants grown by him or her, they are assured of using fresh, natural as well as unpolluted substances. Though it may sound incredible, one may never come to learn about the history related to the herbs and vegetable oils used by them for remedial purposes. For instance, many of the herbs used by us may have been cultivated adjacent to a motorway, thereby soaking up all detrimental pollutants. It is also possible that many of the herbs used by us may have been stockpiled for unspecific period of time lessening the effectiveness of their constituents. In this write-up we shall discuss how one may use the herbs or plants grown in his or her garden to prepare compresses and curative oils.

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It may be mentioned here that the herbal preparations that we will be discussing in this article have been experimented as well as used by people for hundreds of years. As we discuss different remedies, one will learn that it is remarkably simple to prepare a number of these medications. At the same time, they will be content to know that they are not only using their gardens for food and delight, but also to grow plants that assist in the therapeutic process of their ailing family members. Believe it or not, growing herbs in your garden is something like having a health centre in one's residential premises and in many cases they will not have to depend on the pharmaceutical firms to take care of all the health issues pertaining to their family!

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Now, many would want to know what we actually mean by herbal compresses. In simple words, herbal compresses are just a piece of cloth soaked in a tea or tincture of an herb and applied to an affected area of the body. It is pretty easy to prepare a herbal compress and it can be either hot or cold and, among other things, is useful for treating body aches and pains, headache, sore throat and skin problems. While warm compresses may be applied to heal acne, arthritis and muscle pain, cold compresses are effective in calming eczema, wounds, psoriasis and different skin conditions, including inflammations. One is able to learn to prepare herbal compresses with just a few simple, but important tips which are mentioned below.

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  • Prepare a strong tea with the remedial herbs of your preference. In the event of using the herbal compress on gaping lesions or inflamed skin, it is essential to remember that the water ought to be cooled to room temperature before applying the tea as a compress. In fact, injuries that have occurred recently, such as muscle tears and/ or black eyes also need to be healed with cold tea or cold compress.
  • Fold up a portion of cotton cloth in such a manner that it is about four layers in thickness. The dimension of the cloth needs to be in proportion with the area that needs to be healed. It is important to ensure that you are using a clean cloth that is not shedding fibers. This is of utmost important if one is applying the herbal compress on an open wound or inflamed skin.
  • Having prepared the herbal tea and selected the piece of cloth, you need to soak the fabric in the herbal tea and lightly draw out any surplus water present. This is important because while we need to ensure that the cloth is sufficiently wet for application as a compress, it is also imperative to ensure that no liquid is dripping from the cloth so that it doesn't make a mess on the wound. Now, put the wet cloth on the affected area and fix it in position using surgical tapes. Always make sure that you are using medical tape as use of any other type of tape may clutch the skin on the affected area or areas adjoining it and damage the delicate tissues when you remove the tape. Cover the affected area with a surgical bandage to retain the dampness and heat when you are using a hot compress. Keep the compress in place for a minimum of 30 minutes to enable it to heal the affected area properly. In fact, the duration of applying the compress largely depends on the nature of the herb as well as the type of healing.

Now that you have learnt the technique of preparing compresses, we shall discuss some effective examples of herbal compresses.

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Arnica compress

Herbal compresses prepared from arnica are effective in healing twists, black eyes, mark, inflamed skin, burns, pains and herpes sores. You need 50 ml of warm water and one to two teaspoonful of arnica tincture to prepare arnica compress. Place a piece of cotton fabric in hot water containing arnica, wring out the excess liquid from the cloth and apply it on the affected area that needs to be healed. Cover the area with clingfilm and a stretch bandage to keep the compress in place. When using a hot compress, place a woolen cloth above the clingfilm and fix the compress with a stretch medical bandage.

Caution: It is important to ensure that the skin does not remain in contact with arnica for over six hours every day. Using the arnica compress for more than six hours daily may result in skin inflammation. One must be careful not to ingest or consume the arnica tincture as this may prove to be detrimental for the health.

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Chamomile compress

Herbal compress prepared from chamomile is effective in healing pain, sore throats, prostate problems, ear ache, eczema and psoriasis.

While applying this compress, one needs to use 20 grams of flowers of the chamomile herb in the middle of the compress. Next, fold up the piece of cloth and use a medical tape to keep the compress in position. Having fixed the chamomile compress, cover it with the clingfilm. One is able to apply the compress prepared from chamomile flowers as many as 30 times provided it is not damp after being used. After each use, the chamomile compress needs to be closed up in a plastic bag and then use it again.

Onion compress

Onion compresses have an extensive remedial use and are effective for healing hoarseness, throat contagions, eye problems, ear aches, beneficial for curing sinusitis and muscle and joint inflammations or soreness. It may be mentioned here that when an onion compress is applied to heal an eye problem, initially it aches for about one minute after placing the compress, but soothes gradually.

Preparing an onion compress is simple. All that one requires is a finely sliced onion placed in a portion of cotton fiber. Next, make use of a rolling pin to squash the packing and press out the surplus juices. Cover the compact with clingfilm and fold up the onion soaked cotton cloth forming four layers. Now, place the cotton fiber of the compress on the affected area, while the part having the clingfilm cover remains on the outer side. Apply a medical tape on the compress to hold it in position. Finally, bind the compress with a woolen fiber and a stretchy bandage.

Caution: An individual using an onion compress for the first time should initially apply it for just an hour to ascertain if it offers a positive reaction. One may continue applying the onion bandage on the affected area if the reaction is positive; otherwise it is prudent to drop the medication.

Green cabbage or savoy compress

Compresses prepared from green cabbages or savoys (a mellow-flavored cabbage) are beneficial for psoriasis, pains, eczema, cramps during menstruation, swelling, contagions in the skin, and joint pains.

To prepare a compression with a green cabbage or savoy make use of the green outer leaves of an organically cultivated plant. Next, cut away the thick shoots and either use a rolling pin or a bottle to flatten the soft green leaves. Put the inside or smooth leaves of the plant in layers in the region of the total skin area keeping the root side below. Attach the leaves with the body using a piece of cotton fiber or dust free cloth and next, clutch the materials together using a clingfilm. Wrap the compress with a medical stretchy bandage and leave it overnight. It may be noted here that cabbage encloses senaps oil that enhances the circulation of blood to all parts of the body.

Potato compress

Potato compresses are effective for healing swelling under the eyes and eczema.

To prepare a potato compress, you need three organically grown raw potatoes that are peeled and finely shredded. Next, spread the grated potato on a clean piece of cotton cloth and fold it up. If the compress is being used to cure swelling under the eyes, it is advisable to place the shredded raw potato in a small piece of medical gauze rather than a cotton fiber. Keep your eyes closed and allow the compress to remain in position for about 30 minutes.

Compresses for rheumatism

When you are using herbal compresses to cure rheumatism (any painful disorder of the joints or muscles or connective tissues), it requires three different herbal compresses that are applied on the affected area on three successive nights. While you apply an onion compress on the affected area on the first night, a dry chamomile compress is applied on the second night. On the third night, you need to use an arnica compress to get relief from the pain.

Compresses for leg wounds

Like in the case of using compresses for rheumatism, when applying compresses to heal wounds on the leg, you need to apply three different herbal compresses on three successive nights with a view to cure the injury. On the first night, you apply a green cabbage compress on the affected area, while on the second night, a chamomile herbal tea compress is best to heal the wound. On the third night, you need to apply an onion compress to cure the lesion completely.

Macerated vegetable oils for skin healing - calendula flowers in oil

Preparing macerated oil (golden colored oil cools and soothes irritated or swollen skin) all by oneself is pretty simple. Pick fresh calendula flowers blossoming in your garden, slice up the flower buds and fill a jar with vegetable oil. It is advisable to use virgin olive oil that will not rot or lose its essence. Put the chopped flower buds in the jar containing the oil and seal the container. Next, put the jar in the sun for about two to three days and later store it in a dark cabinet for around two to three weeks. It is, however, essential to shake the jar well everyday. Next, filter the mixture of oil and the chopped calendula flower buds through a muslin cloth and store it in a dark container. The herbal remedial preparation will remain fine for up to two years provided it is stored properly in a cool and dry place.

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