By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND

A compress is simply a cloth pad (like a washcloth or clean hand towel) or a piece of cotton (like a cotton ball) soaked in a hot herbal extract and applied to the painful area. It is used to accelerate healing of wounds or muscle injuries.

A cold compress is sometimes used for headaches. Infusions, decoctions, and tinctures diluted with water may be used for a compress.

To make a compress
l. Submerge cloth or cotton in the herbal liquid, or apply a tincture directly to a cotton ball or gauze pad.
2. Squeeze out the excess liquid, if any.
3. Hold the pad against the affected area.
4. When it cools or dries, repeat the process using fresh herbal liquid.

Examples of herbs and herbal products that can be used in compresses and how they can be used.

Black Walnut extract (antiparasitic, cold sores)
Use directly from bottle

Chamomile (soothing and anti-inflammatory)
Make an infusion

(for soothing irritated eyes, eye infections)
Make an infusion

Lobelia essence
(relaxing, heals insect bites)
Use directly from bottle

Lymphatic Drainage
(reduces swelling and inflammation)
Use directly from bottle

Silver Shield
(antiseptic, disinfectant)
Use directly from bottle

Ultimate Echinacea
(insect bites, snake bites, infection)
Use directly from bottle

White Oak
(astringent, reduces swelling, dries tissue)
Make an infusion

(anti-inflammatory, shrinks swelling, Stops bleeding)
Make an infusion

You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to a quart ofater with about 1/4 teaspoon of Nature's Fresh, then dip the cloth in the water and apply to the area.