Lotions are such water-based herbal preparations as infusions, decoctions, or diluted tinctures that are used to bathe inflamed or irritated skin.
Compresses are cloths soaked in a lotion and held against the skin.
Both lotions and compresses are simple ways to use herbs externally and can be effective in relieving swelling, bruising, and pain, soothing inflammation and headaches, and cooling fevers. After an accident or sports injury, bruising and swelling can often be reduced or prevented if a hot compress is swiftly applied, provided that the skin is unbroken. Cold compresses are particularly useful in soothing inflammation, cooling fevers, and easing headaches. Both hot and cold compresses should be frequently soaked and reapplied for maximum benefit.
First, make an infusion or decotion (500 ml) and strain well; or, as an alternative, dilute a tincture with water (25 ml tincture in 500 ml water). Wash hands thoroughly. Soak a clean cloth in the liquid (lotion) and wring out thoroughly. As a lotion, gently bathe the affected area with the cloth as opposed to laying it on the skin like a compress. Apply a fresh compress or lotion bath as the cloth cools (if applied hot), or as it dries (if applied cool). A little oil can be gently rubbed on the affected area to prevent the compress from sticking. A compress may be secured in place with plastic wrap and left for up to two hours before reapplying.
- 40 ml rosewater
- 20 ml borage juice
- 20 ml distilled witch hazel
- 20 ml chickweed tincture
Mix. Apply with a cotton ball or gauze to an affected area two or three times a day. If the area is small, it can be covered with a bandaid after application.