A couple of weeks ago we were in need of a strong poultice. While working on our vertically challenged fence, Sharkman damaged his elbow. While he was using the post hole diggers (manual of course – can’t quite afford one of those gas powered jobs) he felt a pop and later some pain that only grew as the evening wore on.
Now, for those of you out there following along in the story, if something like this happens to you, you should have a professional take a look at the damage. Having said that, we don’t have the means to visit a professional anything these days so I do the best I can with the knowledge that my family and ancestors have left me with.
A Tube Sock Makes a Great Poultice
Back to the elbow…after Sharkman finished the portion of fence for the day, I grabbed my arnica tincture and wrapped his elbow in a soaked wrap (in this case an orphaned tube sock.) I use a lot of tincture because they have a long shelf life. The arnica tincture has saved us many fingernails in the case of smashed fingers over the years.
The next day, he took it easy on his elbow while Gameboy, my son, nailed up the pickets on the fence panel. That evening I went out to one of my random medicine gardens and cut about 6 or 7 large comfrey leaves so I could make Sharkman a pack for his elbow.
Making a Gelatinous Goo!
Here is how I go about it:
Do a rough chop of about 6 or 7 large (about 8″ long by 4″ wide) comfrey leaves.
Add chopped leaves to a blender with about 1/2 cup of filtered water. (This gives the leaves some viscosity while blending)
Blend until you have a gelatinous goo.
Pour said goo into a bowl and knead in some flour about an 1/8 cup at a time. This is so the goo will become more paste-like. I use tapioca flour or almond flour because I usually have those on hand. Just stray away from bleached, enriched flour. It has a lot of chemicals in it that may not play nice with the comfrey’s properties.
Once you have a nice, wet paste (don’t use too much flour), start placing portions of the poultice onto clean material. We use orphaned tube socks because our dryer gifts them to us regularly. Plus with a large tube sock, you can wrap the pack around body parts much easier.
You will probably be able to make about 3 or 4 poultices with this recipe, so for the ones you won’t be using immediately, you can place them in baggies and store them in the freezer for several months. This makes a good cold wrap but if you are wanting them warm, you can steam them carefully on the stove. Some people use the microwave, but being the good geek-hippie that I am, I think the microwave may be too harsh for warming up a poultice. I like using my stove-top steamer pot instead. Yes, it takes about 20 minutes, but this is where you can work on your centering techniques and breathing….or just cry out in pain mixed with “That was SO dumb. Why did I do that?!?”
By the way, we usually leave this poultice on for at least an hour. When you are done, just empty the contents into your composting bin or garden and throw the cloth, or orphaned tube sock, in the wash to live another day. Don’t worry, your dryer knows that it is an orphaned sock and it won’t take it to that other dimension where the socks congregate.
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