Medicinal Compress

A compress is made from either an herbal tea, a diluted tincture, essential oils in water or a combination of any of these forms. A cloth is dipped in the liquid and applied hot or cold onto the forehead for headaches, the abdomen for stomach pain, the legs for varicose veins or directly onto sore muscles.

What you need

  • Clean absorbent cloth

  • Large bowl

  • Essential oils (lavender for headaches, peppermint for muscle aches and fevers) or

  • Tinctures to add to water (distilled witch hazel for varicose veins) or

  • Herbs to infuse into a tea (fresh ginger for abdominal pain or menstrual cramps, marshmallow root for mastitis)

Step 1: Make your base. 

If using an infusion, make your tea of the desired herb, steeping for approximately 15-20 mins. You can use about 2 oz of herb in 2 cups water for small areas and double this ratio for larger areas.

Step 2: Add other medicines.

Add 5 drops of your tincture or essential oil to the tea or warm water. Then dip an absorbent clean cloth into the liquid and allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes to absorb the liquid and the medicinal components.

A compress can be made hot or cold. Hot compresses are great for tight or sore muscles, menstrual cramps, and abdominal pains. Cold compresses are great for inflammation, fevers, varicose veins and headaches (although some people prefer hot compresses for headaches).

Step 3: Apply.

Use tongs to lift the cloth out of the liquid (if hot), wring out any excess liquid and apply over the area to be treated. Cover the wet cloth with a towel and/or plastic wrap. You can use a hot water bottle on top of a hot compress to keep the heat in and add an extra towel to retain the heat. Leave this on for 20 mins or more. For hot compresses, you can re-soak the towel in the warm liquid if it cools. Cold compresses may also be switched in order to maintain the cold.

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