Charcoal Poultice

I should have shared this weeks ago…

It’s not the first time I’ve used a charcoal poultice. At least a few weeks ago to a couple/few months or so, before the air started getting cooler at night (at least noticeably)—for the first time in years, maybe even over a dozen—I got stung by a wasp. The pain was intense as I held my shaking hand, which began to swell. From the looks of it, the white and black striped creature got me at least twice on one finger and thrice on another, having somehow gotten between my fingers. my hand was red and puffy. Though the pain seemed to subside, it still lingered.

I tried a certain cream that was recommended, and bleach (also recommended), but my hand continued to be swollen. Finally, I had had enough, and went upstairs to make a charcoal poultice (or two, though I think it was just one, because that one could treat both fingers) and wrapped it around my finger(s). Then, I tied the two fingers tightly together in a latex glove, and put on another glove and resumed my work.

This is not the stuff that you grill with, but is activated charcoal, which you can find at health stores. You may be able to look up online how to make your own if you need to. I had a friend who told me a story of when she or someone she knew was sick, how a relative (or maybe this someone was a friend—does it matter? I suppose not) who went out and got some burnt wood (charcoal) from a fire pit and it apparently worked, but I’d recommend researching it to double check and make sure that’s OK. If you’re really have a need, I suppose you’d be willing to try it.)

Around twenty (or somewhere between twenty and thirty minutes later), I removed the charcoal poultice. The redness and the swelling had gone down. I think the pain had subsided more then, too.

I had also been applying poultices to other bug bites, putting them on my arm(s), leg(s), and feet—which held on well with a sock over each foot before bed. Usually by morning, the poultices were dry.

I was first introduced to charcoal as a child, maybe with an upset stomach. My mother gave us charcoal for our stomachs. While in college and canvassing, charcoal was used both internally and externally in a poultice form for sickness, wounds, and pain.

Charcoal poultices can be made by mixing up activated charcoal powder and water. It’s best to add something to thicken it into a paste. I remember at least one friend who used or recommended flax meal/ground flax seed, and it may stay moist longer if you use that. Since flax and chia are similar, I suppose you could use chia seeds, too. I use quick oats. It’s more economical, but it may dry out faster. From what I’ve read or heard, it’s best to keep the poultices moist, so you may need to change them.

For using oats, I recommend a formula  of about 1 part charcoal, 1/2-1 part quick oats, and enough water so that it is very moist. You do not want to form a dough, but something more like a batter, or like black oatmeal.

I’m not sure you need to measure it out. Use your best judgement and hope for the best. If it’s like soup, it’s too thick. If it’s like watered down porridge, then it may be OK. It’s better for it to be a little more moist than a little too dry. I’ve even applied charcoal mixing just the charcoal and water together into a paste.

Then you put the charcoal paste on a paper towel. A thin cloth may also work if you don’t have paper towels, or you can apply the charcoal paste directly to your skin (it may be messier, and it may stain if you have an open wound) and then cover it with a cloth or bandage. I recommend making the poultice, though, if you can. Roll/fold the paper towel/cloth to make a little package and then place it over the area which you need to treat (bite/sting/wound/painful area that may be from toxins inside of you/etc).

Next, usegauze or a bandage or bandages or tape or more cloth or whatever you have or need to use (depending on your circumstances and the size of the area being treated), to hold the poultice in place.

If you’re using the charcoal poultice for something other than emergency, I recommend applying it at some point when you can rest and not move around too much (in which case the poultice might fall off and/or you may make a mess and the treatment may not be as effective).

Remember to pray to God, our Creator and Healer. Relax if you can, and seek medical treatment if it is something serious like a snake or spider bite, and if you are bitten by an animal (because they might have diseases). Change the poultices as necessary (every couple/few hours or when they become dry).

The paste made with oats can be stored in a sealed container. I recommend a clean and sanitized glass jar (or at least a clean one), if you have one available, and can be used over a course of a few days (at least for minor needs), but it’s most likely best to make it fresh. I’m not an expert on charcoal, but I do know that it works. Charcoal is a good thing to have in the case of emergencies. Even if all you can get are the tablets or the capsules, you can grind the tablets or open the capsules in the case of needing to use them externally.

 

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