For this month’s herb of the month, I thought I would relate a story of how I have been using my herbs to make a poultice. My husband has recently injured himself. He has overworked the muscles on the left side of his rib cage, strained them with a lingering cough, and then followed up with some real damage by ‘pushing through’ a weight lifting work out. So, along with some tender love and care, I created a poultice for him and have been applying it twice a day with positive results.
Using fresh herbs from my garden, I selected chamomile for the pain, yarrow for mending, and comfrey for its soothing abilities. Taking a handful of each, bruising them and cutting them up a bit, I put them in a pot and added about 1/2-1 cup of hot water from my kettle. I covered it and let it sit about 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile I cut open an aloe vera leaf and spread its juices over the injured area on my husbands torso and let that sink in. Then I place a muslin cloth over the injured muscles, removed the herbs from the pot and squeezed out most of the water (the water temperature was hot enough that I could handle it, but not so hot as to burn myself or him). I place the herbs on top of the muslin cloth and then covered them with one of my father’s large, old handkerchiefs folded over, and gently pressed the whole mass against his injured rib muscles.
Then I had him gently hold it in place while he relaxed for the next 10-15 minutes. After which time, I removed the cloth, herbs and handkerchief. We did this twice a day until it all healed. He said he felt better after each application. I think the heat and the herbs were relaxing and restorative for him, and I also believe that taking out intentional time to directly focus on healing made a huge difference as well.