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Herbal Healers

9 8 for external use The body readily absorbs herbs through the skin. A remedy can be given externally as well as internally. Compresses or Fomentations Apply a hot compress directly to the afflicted area. Use a clean cotton cloth, and soak it in a hot herbal infusion. Place this as hot as possible on the affected area. Redip it in the hot liquid as it cools. The heat activates the herb. To keep in the heat cover with a towel and a hot water bottle to keep it warm. Poultices Poultices are much like a compress but use the plant itself. Crush or mash the fresh or dried herb in a bowl with a little boiling water. Apply directly onto the skin, with a small amount of olive oil or thin muslin to protect the skin and help removal of the herb. Keep hot like a compress. Poultices are more active than compresses and are used to stimulate circulation, soothe aches and pains, or for drawing out impurities. Baths A wonderful way to absorb herbs through the skin is in the bath. Pour one pint of a strong herbal infusion or decoction into the bath water, and soak in it for ten to thirty minutes. The essential oils are absorbed through the skin and inhaled. For a foot bath pour the infusion into a bowl of water and soak the feet for 1030 minutes. Herbal Oils macerations When rubbed onto the skin, herbal oils will be absorbed into the bloodstream and the herb will act in its usual way. Half a pint 570 ml of Grapeseed or Almond oil. 3 oz 50 g of fresh herb, bruised between two stones or 1 oz dried. Mix the two together and place in a covered glass jar in a sunny position for one month, shaking daily. Alternatively, stand the jar in a double boiler and simmer for four hours. Strain off the herbs by pressing through muslin, and store in dark, wellsealed bottles. Extra virgin Olive oil may be used but it is less easily absorbed by the skin.
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