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Natural Healing Through a Poultice

Andrea Nederveen, RMT - Registered Massage Therapist


Have you ever considered poultices to help heal what ails your body? A Poultice is a warm wet cloth that you spread specific ingredients on, then place on the skin over the area that is giving you trouble. This is usually applied for a minimum of 30 minutes and the ingredients that you have on the cloth will soak into your body through your skin giving you the desired effect.

There are three poultices that are helpful and easy to make: Epsom salts, castor oil and mustard. I have recommended all of these in my practice as home care for various reasons. Please consider giving these home remedies a try, as they are soothing and completely natural.

Epsom salts contain magnesium and are a natural detoxifier that can relax muscles, reduce swelling and pain. An Epsom salt poultice literally draws water out of the body, by reverse osmosis, making it excellent for reducing swelling and removing toxins or infection. Some common uses for an Epsom salts poultice would be:

  • Relief of muscle tension

  • Relief of minor sprains and strains

  • Arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Muscle cramps

  • Ingrown toenails

  • Minor cuts or boils

Castor oil seems like such an ancient remedy, but we should not be so quick to count it out. Castor has ricinoleic acid in it which is a fatty acid that targets the lymphatic system and helps the body produce or increase production of Lymphocytes, which are the bodies natural disease fighter. Some common uses for a castor oil poultice would be:

  • Lymphatic stimulant

  • Improve digestion

  • Boost immune function

  • Reduce swelling/inflammation

  • Breaking up scar tissue

  • Skin moisturizing

Mustard naturally heats and contains sinigrin which is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant. I thought including this poultice would be a good idea as we are going into cold and flu season. Some common uses for a mustard poultice would be:

  • Over the chest to decrease congestion and loosen mucous from a cold, bronchitis or pneumonia

  • Chronic aches and pains

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