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Herbal poultices were relied on in our grandparent's day to ward off more life-threatening afflictions like pleurisy, bronchitis and pneumonia. An old stand-by was the mustard poultice which was thought to “burn out” a pulmonary infection.

General Ailments

How to Make a Castor Oil Pack

Castor-Oil Packs are used to treat many health ailments including: water retention; heal muscles; heal boils; etc., and are made easily by purchasing following:

1. 1 bottle of Pure Castor Oil; cold-pressed(Organic preferable).

2. 1 heating pad or hot-water bottle and plastic to wrap it in.

3. 1 flannel sheet (use old shirts or pjs), cut into strips.

4.(optional) 1 small bottle of Olive Oil.

  • Cut flannel into strips. Pour plenty of Castor-Oil into a pan; place strips of flannel in pan until thoroughly saturated.
  • Place pan in oven. Warm Pan and Castor-Oil flannel strips until hot. Cool slightly.
  • Place the Castor-Oil flannel on part of body affected; leave on.
  • Put a piece of plastic on the Castor-Oil packs; Place hot-water bottle filled with hot-water OR heating pad on the Castor-Oil Pack.
  • Leave the warmed Castor-Oil Packs on for at least one hour.

Remove; save the Castor-Oil Pak in a Plastic-Bag for future use; store the pack. in a cool dry spot. Use the Pack for 3 days. Then take 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil by Mouth on the third night.

* Tip: make sure the Cloths are saturated w/Castor-Oil*.

Colds, Flu and Respiratory

Onion, Ginger Poultice for Chest Congestion

Poultices are an age-old remedy for chest congestion. A ginger or onion compress on the chest breaks up lung congestion and makes breathing easier. Onions also help curb asthma and allergic reactions.

  • 1 onion, chopped and ¼ cup ginger, grated
  • water

Lightly cook together in a little water until soft. Cool slightly, mash and apply to the chest while still warm. Cover with a soft cloth.

Old Fashioned Mustard Plaster for Chest Congestion

  • Mix one part mustard powder with 4 parts of flour. add enough water to make a thick paste.
  • Rub a little warmed olive oil over the chest then apply the mustard paste to chest, lung areas and upper back, keeping it in place with a clean cotton cloth.
  • You can use powdered ginger root instead of mustard as well.

Bones, Joints, Muscles

Comfrey Poultice for Broken Bones

In days of yore, comfrey (Symphytum officinale) was called “knitbone.” It was used to help mend broken bones and fractures. The plant contains alantoin, which heals bone tissue. I have seen outstanding results when comfrey poultices are used to heal broken hips in elderly people.

To make a comfrey poultice, the leaves and stems should be gathered before midday, while the alkaloids are lowest in the plant. Pass them through a juicer and then remix the juice and pulp. Spread onto a piece of clean cotton, the size of the area to be healed. Place face down on the skin with towels around it to protect from staining underwear or furniture. Leave for two hours and apply twice a day for several weeks. It's a messy, time consuming process.

Sitting still for four hours each day with a comfrey poultice often brings complaints from the patient, but the long term results are certainly worth the trouble. It should be noted that comfrey poultices are not advisable for healing open wounds and deep cuts as they heal the surface very quickly, possibly leaving lower layers to fester and abscess.

Mustard Plaster Recipe for Arthritis Pain

Here's an old fashioned remedy that I use to relieve my arthritis pains. I make what you call a mustard plaster.

To do this you need to mix together 2 parts flour with 1 part mustard powder, then add some water to make a paste. Spread it on a clean cloth of some sort, fold it in half and press against the skin. Don't put the salve directly on the skin since it can burn.

You can also use this for sore muscles.

Kelp Soothes Arthritic Joints

The English physiomedicalist herbalist, Albert Priest, pioneered the use of kelp poultices for arthritic joints. Because kelp (Fucus vesiculosus) contains such a wealth of trace minerals and micronutrients, it is capable of “remineralizing” joint tissue which is notoriously poor in circulation. Kelp also works on swelling, drawing out inflammation and easing pain. By supplying local nutrition for reconstruction, it gradually resolves inflammatory joint conditions locally.

Kelp plaster or poultice is made by covering a quantity of powdered kelp with cold pressed olive oil and allowing it to be “digested” in a warm place for 48 hours. The paste-like mixture is then spread onto a clean piece of cotton and applied to the joint face down. It is then wrapped with plastic to keep it from drying out. It can be taped in place since it must remain in contact with the skin for 24 hours or more. The patient doesn't have to remain immobile if the plaster is firmly affixed.

After removal, the area should be further poulticed for seven or eight minutes with alternating hot and cold water poultices to flush the tissue and help remove toxins. The kelp poultices can be repeated every two days. Good results are often achieved using this method for knees and hands. But the effects will be permanent only if the patient avoids sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates and acid forming foods such as pork and beef.

The application of herbal poultices externally can be every bit as effective as taking them by mouth. Not only does the local application concentrate the medicament precisely in the area to be healed; it also provides rapid decongestion of the area, improved local circulation, antibacterial and scarring activity, and regenerative stimulation.

Although to our fast world of instant fixes, herbal poulticing may seem outdated and hardly worth the trouble required for preparation, it can often save time in the long run, as well as resolve infections and inflammations that may be resistant to antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

Muscle Pain Poultice I


  • 3 d. ginger oil
  • 3 d. eucalyptus oil
  • in 600 ml hot water


Wring out a piece of fabric in hot water, and apply to forehead, back of neck or on the location of your muscle pain. Re-apply when it has cooled to body temperature.

Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!

Muscle Pain Poultice II



Wring out a piece of fabric in hot water, and apply to forehead, back of neck or on the location of your muscle pain. Re-apply when it has cooled to body temperature. Also good for period cramps.

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Abdominal Pain, Digestion

Hot All-Purpose Poultice for Cramps, Stomachache

  • 5 d. cypress oil: in 4 oz. of hot water.
  • Wring out a piece of fabric in the water.

Apply to stomach for stomachache or period cramps.

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