Herbal Poultice for Frozen Shoulder

Herbal Poultice for Frozen Shoulder

12 June 2017 by Caitlin Armit

What is a poultice?

A poultice is simply a homemade paste of herbal ingredients, often cooked, and then wrapped in a muslin cloth or gauze and applied to the skin to promote healing and relieve pain. Poultice use dates back thousands of years across a variety of traditions and cultures. Many recipes include common household herbal ingredients such as salt, ginger, turmeric, garlic, comfrey, onion, and lemongrass. Others require essential oils, types of clay or charcoal. Many of these ingredients have well documented health properties: antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antispasmodic. When used correctly, poultices are a safe, inexpensive and easily accessible resource for DIY treatment to reduce inflammation and promote health blood circulation.

What are they useful for?

They can be used for insect bites, burns, musculoskeletal injuries, arthritic conditions, period pain – the list goes on. You may have heard of cold and flu remedy in which one places a slice of onion on the sole of their feet (with a sock on top of course and perhaps some cling wrap to stop any leaks) before they go to bed. This type of direct application of herbs allows for fast absorption of immune boosting properties.

Why use a poultice?

Using a poultice is a great way to prolong the effects of an acupuncture treatment and recover faster. Many people can’t attend treatment sessions everyday, as would be the preference in China, but if you’re in pain and want to get better faster then there are plenty of things you can do proactively at home – and this is one of them! Poultices are made from all natural ingredients, so unlike Deep Heat creams, you’re not smothering your skin in chemicals.

What else do I need to know?

Ingredients are selected for their specific properties so you need to know that the ingredients are appropriate for your specific condition. If you have sensitivity or reaction to any ingredients you need to rinse the area immediately. Poultices should not be applied when they are hot. Do not burn yourself. Use some cling wrap to prevent leaks.

How do you make a poultice?

Each poultice is different depending on the herbs used, the location of the area you are trying to treat and the severity of the condition. The general principles of making a poultice are:

  • Using dried, ground herbs or fresh herbs mixed gradually with warm water or rice wine until it becomes a paste
  • The paste should be placed between two pieces of cloth (nothing too absorbent) or wrapped up in a gauze cloth which allows some of the paste to seep through be in direct contact with the skin. Alternatively you can put some pastes directly on the skin, cover them with gauze/muslin cloth and then wrap them in cling wrap to prevent leaking.
  • Poultices can be applied for 20-30mins at a time and repeated uses can be done with the same mixture.

Simple Poultice for Frozen Shoulder:

Frozen Shoulder duration is usually around 18 months to 2 years and it can be a painful, debilitating condition to put up with for such a long period of time. There are no guarantees with any form of treatment for frozen shoulder so any resources to help you get through this time should be welcomed. This poultice used daily can help to relieve pain and potentially shorten recovery time of frozen shoulder.

Use a mortar and pestle to ground 250g of ginger into 250g of rock salt or epsom salt until slightly juiced.

Fry the mixture on warm heat and then place into a cloth. Wait for the mixture to cool a little bit so that you don’t burn yourself. Do not apply to skin at a cold temperature however you can refrigerate this between uses and reheat it on the stove up to 4 times. It’s also an option to add rice wine into the mixture. Apply the poultice to the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles twice per day.

Want to know more?

There’s a great book called A Tooth from the Tiger’s Mouth by Tom Bisio, a well-respected martial arts practitioner, which is filled with recipes and applications of herbal medicine from a Chinese Medicine perspective.

Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence

Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise.

Categories: Pain Relief Brisbane

Tags: | | | | | | | | | | |