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Pain - Liniments and plasters

by Cabrera, Chanchal

Medical Herbalism 10-31-94 6(3): 10

Warming liniments and embrocations may be successfully used in to ease muscle spasm and muscle pain, alleviate inflammation and encourage good circulation in the area. Here are some examples.

Kelp and Capsicum plasters

These are rubefacient, counter-irritant, nourishing and vulnerary for the joints and muscles. Make them by evaporating off the alcohol from a tincture of Capsicum minimum (cayenne) until it forms a thick paste. Add this to melted beeswax and then add powdered Fucus vesiculosis (kelp). Take strips of cotton bandage and dip them in the melted beeswax mixture then lay them flat to dry. These may be warmed over a radiator to soften them before wrapping around an inflamed or painful area.

Warming embrocation

Mix together 500 mls. each of the infused oils of Juniperus communis (fructus) (juniper berry) and Phytolacca spp. (radix) (poke root). Add 15 mls. each of the following essential oils: juniper, wintergreen, marjoram and black pepper. Apply over the affected joints as required.

Russian ointment

Melt together 150 ml. of sunflower oil and 65 grams of grated beeswax. Add 110 grams of lanolin and allow to cool slightly. To this add 5 grams of camphor powder dissolved in 75 ml. of turpentine oil. Now add 30 ml. methyl salicylate, 10 ml. of capsicum (cayenne) tincture forte (made by evaporating alcohol off over a water bath), 35 ml acetic acid 25% and 5 grams borax powder.

Stir well, pour into jars and allow to set. Apply to joints as needed.

Analgesic and anti-inflammatory liniment

To 100 mls. of infused oil of comfrey add 50 mls. each of tinctures of lobelia and Viburnum opulus (cramp bark) and 20 mls. of essential oil of wintergreen. Apply to the affected area with friction.

Hayseed poultice

Hayseed (available from farm supply stores) retains heat very well and so warms the underlying tissue when applied with moist heat to the skin. The poultice should be prepared by placing hayseed in a linen bag or wrapping in a piece of muslin. This is then soaked for 10 mins. in a pan of freshly boiled water, the excess water squeezed out and the poultice placed over the affected area. It can then be covered with saran wrap and a heating pad and left in place for up to one hour.
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    330


    Medical Herbalism: Clinical Articles and Case Studies    
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    331