Thanks to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbs and spices have been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for many things including indigestion, sore muscles, painful menstrual cramps, and more. But luckily, there is more than just one way to get the amazing benefits of herbal remedies. It doesn't always shave to be ingested internally, it can also be used topically to get rid of any chronic pain. Here's how.
Using a herbal poultice that is filled with various anti-inflammatory herbs and roots allows the ingredients to be activated immediately since it is applied where it's needed directly. A poultice is essentially just a few different powdered or pulverized herbs that are mixed with Carrier oil to any kind of binding agent. To use on skin, all you need to do is take a cotton pad and grab some poultice. Next, apply directly to any area that needs pain relief.
"When something is stuck, it slows the energetic flow within the body, potentially causing inflammation and pain. Adding a warm application of herbs can help restore that circulation," explained Giselle Wasfie, Chicago-based acupuncturist. Just like acupuncture, poultice helps reactive the qi aka energy flow in TCM. The energy in the body can get stuck in the body and eventually cause pain and sore muscles, so herbs with anti-inflammatory properties help move these blocked channels along.
While poultice is best used for things caused by inflammation that sits above the skin like a bruise, there are ways to get the healing benefits by going deeper. Using a heating pad on top of the mixture helps activate the herbs further inside the skin to reduce deeper inflammatory issues, such as a chest cough, joint pain, or ankle sprain. But Wasfie advised that these problems be taken care of by a TCM practitioner rather than at-home remedies. The poultice should only be used for small issues, including joint pain, skin swelling, sunburn, and more. Just make sure not to apply the topical herbal poultices on any open wound or eczema to avoid a negative reaction. Check out Wasfie's Instagram for more tips on using herbal medicine.