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Heal Yourself Using Plants from Your Own Garden - How to Make Compresses

by Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic

Your back garden is a treasure trove of healing herbs and flowers which can be used at little expense to make a range of healing products and health remedies. Using your own plants also provides you with the assurance of using fresh, organic and uncontaminated materials. You can never know the history behind herbs and vegetable oils. They could for example have been grown next to a motorway, absorbing potentially harmful toxins. They could also have been stored indefinitely, reducing the potency of the ingredients. In this article we show you how to use your own garden products to make compresses, tinctures and healing oils.

These remedies are tried and tested over history, so why not have a go? It's amazingly simple and safe to make many of these remedies and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are using your garden not only for food and pleasure but for healing your family. It's like having your own family health centre in your back garden and you don't need to rely on drug companies to deal with all of your health problems.

Making Compresses

Compresses are an excellent way to apply a treatment externally to a specific part of the body. This reduces the necessity for internal medication. There are two types of compress, those without heat and those with heat. Compresses without heat are used on wounds, eczema, psoriasis and similar problems where the skin is broken (not inflamed). NB: Never use warming compresses on broken skin.

Compress with heat are used when the skin is not broken, for example with rheumatism, sprains, inflammations, accidents, pains and swellings (but not with shingles). With pain you can also use a heating pillow, outside the hot compress. A hot water bottle would also suffice. Cover the compress with wool or other insulating materials.

When garlic and onion is used, it is important that it does not come into direct contact with the skin, and should therefore be placed on a cotton cloth. Never use hot compresses on wounds as the ingredients will be absorbed into the body. As a rule, compresses should be left on the person overnight, but not for more than 8 - 10 hours at a time. (This doesn't apply to burns). Don't put the same compress on two nights in a row. An exception is dry chamomile compress, which you can use for more than one night in a row. You can use this compress with or without heating.

How to Make a Compress

You will need:
  • A cotton cloth 30 x 50 cm for compress to throat, knee or elbow.
  • Clingfilm, surgical tape or freezer tape (never use tape or Clingfilm directly on the skin).
  • Elastic Bandage.
  • Woolen cloth.
  1. Take a cotton cloth 50 x 30 cm, spread about 200ml of the recommended content evenly in the middle of the cotton cloth. Then cover with Clingfilm.
  2. Fold each side of the cloth over the content.
  3. Lastly tape everything so the content is secure.
  4. Place the compress on the area to be treated with the cloth side towards the skin. The Clingfilm is facing outside, so the healing content goes into the body/skin. Wrap around with an elastic bandage and secure with tape.

Compresses on a wounded surface can first appear much worse. This is because the compress draws out puss and impurities through the wound. Change the compress often, wash and clean the area with a strong chamomile infusion. You will soon see a big improvement and the wound will heal.

Arnica Compress

Use on sprains, bruises, swollen skin, pains, burns and herpes blisters.

50 ml warm water and 1 - 2 teaspoons Arnica tincture.

Put a cotton cloth in hot Arnica water, squeeze the cloth and put it over the area to be treated. Put Clingfilm over and then a stretchy bandage. With a hot compress, put the woolen cloth over the Clingfilm and then the stretchy bandage. Using Arnica on burns increases the bleeding through and reduces the scar formation.

Warning: The skin should not be in contact with Arnica for more than 6 hours per day, too long at a time can create skin irritation. Never take arnica tincture internally.

Chamomile Compress

Useful for: sore throats, pain, prostate problems, psoriasis, eczema, earache.

Use about 20 gr. of chamomile flowers on the middle of the compress. Fold and tape. Put the Clingfilm on the top. You can use this chamomile compress up to 30 times if it's not wet after use. You have to put it in a sealed plastic bag between uses.

Onion Compress

Useful for: throat infections, hoarseness, earache, eye problems, muscle and acute joint inflammations, good for sinusitis. With eye problems, it aches for 1 minute after you put on the compress.

All you need is one onion, finely chopped and placed in a piece of cotton cloth. Use a rolling pin to flatten the package and squeeze out the juices. Cover with Clingfilm and then fold into a cotton cloth. Fold and tape together and place cotton side down on the affected area with the Clingfilm on the outside. Wrap with a woolen cloth and stretch bandage.

Warning: The first time you use onion compress, use it only for 1 hour to see if you have a positive reaction.

Green Cabbage or Savoy Compress

Useful for: eczema, psoriasis, menstrual cramps, pains, swelling, infections in the skin, joint pain.

Use the green outer leaves from organically grown plants. Cut away the thick stalks and use a rolling pin or bottle to press flat. Place and layer the inside of the leaves (the smooth side) around the entire area of the skin, root side down. Bind to body with cotton or lint free cloth. Then hold together with cling film and cover with a stretch bandage. Leave on overnight. (Cabbage contains a senaps oil that increases the blood circulation. It also includes the wound healing substance U Vitamin).

Potato Compress

Useful for: eczema or swelling under the eyes.

Use 3 peeled grated raw organic potatoes. Spread the potatoes on the cotton cloth and fold it together. When used on the eyes, put the grated raw potato in a small piece of gauze. Let it work for 30 minutes with closed eyes.

Compresses for Rheumatism

Night 1: Onion Compress.
Night 2 Dry Chamomile Compress.
Night 3: Arnica Compress.

Compresses Leg Wounds

Night 1: Cabbage Compress.
Night 2 Chamomile Herbal Tea Compress.
Night 3: Onion Compress.

Macerated Vegetable Oils for Skin Healing - Calendula Flowers in Oil

Making your own macerated oil is very easy. Take fresh flowers from your garden, chop up the flower buds and fill up a jar with vegetable oil. (Choose virgin olive oil which does not go rancid.) Pack the flower buds into the jar, seal and sit in the sun for 2 - 3 days then leave it in a dark cupboard for 2 - 3 weeks, shaking it every day. Strain the mixture through muslin and store in a dark jar. It will keep for around 2 years if stored in a dark cool place.

Make your own Tinctures

Tinctures are alcohol-based solutions which draw out the healing ingredients from herbs and flowers. You can make tinctures using wild flowers or flowers from your garden. Simply use chopped flowers and pack it in a jar half filled with the strongest vodka. Use 100 - 150 gr. fresh flowers or herbs to 150ml alcohol. If you use dried herbs or flowers use only 10 - 15 gr. in 150ml alcohol. Seal the jar and leave it in on a sunny window sill for 2 - 3 days. Then store in a dark place at room temperature for 2 - 3 weeks, shaking it every day. Strain through muslin cloth and store in a dark bottle. The tincture will keep for 2 - 3 years.

For both Macerated oils and tinctures, St John's Wort and Marigold flowers are excellent for treating sunburn and skin sores. Using Arnica on swollen skin will reduce the swelling overnight. An onion compress for earache will dramatically reduce the pain overnight also.

Kolbjorn Borseth has been working with alternative medicine for 25 years. Originally from Norway, he moved to Sweden and for ten years he worked with the leading lady of complimentary medicine, Lily Johansen. Her complimentary health care clinic treated over 30,000 patients. At that time we picked all of our fresh herbs and ingredients to be used fresh in the treatments each day. The above recipes come from this hospital.

In 1985, Kolbjorn started a Natural skin care factory in Sweden using local herbs. In one season he picked around 4,000 kg of herbs for drying and for making natural medicines and treatments.

About the Author:

Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic specializes in empowering people of all levels in making their own highly effective natural skin care products. Through his web site customers are able to access many free resources as well as being able to order all the raw materials, equipment and know-how required to make aromatherapy products, creams, shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.

Visit Kolbjørn's Natural Skin Care web site at: http://www.aromantic.co.uk

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