Poultice: get your hands dirty!

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The cream of our grandmothers’ remedies! These homemade balms give a boost to our health.

The principle: a plant or another natural product is applied to the skin and covered with a clean cloth, cling film or a strip of gauze. The exchanges between the skin and the poultice make it possible to decongest, soothe inflammation or reduce pain locally.

Green clay against joint pain

Why does it feel good? Clay has extraordinary absorbent properties, therefore an ability to capture toxins (it was used since antiquity as an anti-poison) and eliminate them. With, the key, an anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect which helps to relieve a knee swollen by an outbreak of osteoarthritis, a sprained ankle or an elbow tendonitis.

Recipe : gradually mix powdered green clay (Argiletz, Cattier) with water at room temperature, until you obtain a homogeneous paste, not too liquid, always using a wooden or plastic spoon (and not metal ) so as not to disturb the properties of the clay. Apply this paste to the skin in a layer of at least 1 cm (the extraction power of the clay depends on the thickness) and cover with cling film in two or three turns, without tightening too much. Remove the poultice once it has dried completely and comes off in one piece, after a good hour or two. To be repeated once or twice a day if necessary.

Mustard, in case of bronchitis

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Why does it feel good? Mustard flour (or that of flax, less aggressive for the skin if it is fragile) boosts the local microcirculation by its heating effect and offers emollient and revulsive properties. Suddenly, the poultice helps to expel the secretions that clutter the bronchi.

Recipe : no question of emptying the mustard pot from the fridge! Better to buy mustard or flax flour in pharmacies or organic stores (Cooper or Vitaflor brand, for example), to heat with lukewarm water, mixing with a wooden spoon until obtaining ‘a thick paste. Spread it out in a thin layer between two divided paper towels then cover with a tea towel to apply it on the chest, hot but not hot. Leave on for five to fifteen minutes no more, and remove immediately if you feel that it gets too hot. Two to three applications may be enough to pass the infection … if you react early.

Cabbage to soothe the skin

Why does it feel good? As with clay, it is cabbage’s ability to suck up toxins (thanks to the mucilage fibers of its leaves) which makes it a super-remedy. It absorbs everything that oozes into its leaf and therefore calms abscesses, eczema, panaris … or even edema because of its draining effect.

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Recipe : at the market, opt for white or green cabbage (not red), preferably organic to preserve the detox effect. As the leaf should be pressed against the skin, remove the large veins and crush it if necessary with a rolling pin or a glass bottle. Superimpose two to four sheets on top of each other on the area to be treated and then hold with a transparent film or a strip of gauze, without being too tight. When you remove it after about two hours, the leaf should be soaked with water, or even a little “rotten”, since it will have absorbed all the liquids. Repeat two to three times a day if needed.

Onions heal the sore throat

Why does it feel good? The volatile sulfur substances given off by the onion have antimicrobial and disinfectant powers. They help to stop the infection and reduce inflammation in the event of laryngitis or pharyngitis, while the heat activates the local microcirculation to promote the penetration of active ingredients.

Recipe : Chop the onion finely and fry it in a little oil, then sponge and wrap in a paper towel, to place directly on the neck and to maintain with a strip of gauze or a cloth for fifteen to twenty minutes.

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Castor oil, to reduce stomach aches and indigestion

Why does it feel good? It has an antispasmodic and digestive action, and it stimulates the liver. Ideal in case of heaviness or stomach cramps, for example after a too heavy meal.

Recipe : Soak a clean cloth (like a tea towel), a strip of cloth or a compress in castor oil and place it on your abdomen (stomach and liver). To strengthen the penetration of the active ingredients, place a hot water bottle, a hot towel or a heating pad on top of it and lie down if possible between thirty minutes and an hour.

Thanks to Christopher Vasey, naturopath, author of “Compresses et cataplasmes” (éd. Jouvence), christophervasey.ch.

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