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How To Prepare An Emergency Compress or Poultice

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Compresses and poultices are applied to the outside of the body, and generally used to treat wounds, skin conditions and strains.
A compress is usually applied cold (i.e. a bag of frozen peas or crushed ice) for bringing out a bruise, or a cold teabag for tired eyes. Wrap the ice in a tea towel and hold against the affected area.
A cloth soaked in a soothing herbal infusion or decoction of lavender and camomile can be used for headaches and fevers. Boil the herbs in a little water for two minutes (longer if the herbs are dried); strain and allow the liquid to cool. Dip a cloth or flannel in the liquid and place over the forehead.
A poultice is applied as hot as bearable (i.e. for drawing a splinter); a piece of cabbage leaf (held in place with a plaster) will also draw a splinter or bring a nasty spot to a head. The heat can be sealed in by placing several layers of cling film over the poultice.
Wounds that are taking their time to heal will usually react well to a small poultice of bruised comfrey leaves. Hold in place with a strip of lint and a plaster.
Many of these simple remedies have been in use for centuries as ‘domestic plant medicine’, representing a home survival kit and common sense collection of first-aid of ordinary country people.
Never use plants or herbs for internal treatment without understanding their use and doseage.


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