Charcoal Poultice

What is a  poultice?

A poultice is an external skin application that will do various things to the underlying part of the body.  It has to be moist to work.  It works by sending or drawing chemicals through the skin.  It is usually applied overnight to have its effect.

What is a charcoal poultice?

A charcoal poultice is a gooey layer of medicinal activated charcoal that is applied to the skin for the purpose of pulling chemicals out from the underlying body part.  It has a wide range of uses.  The most often used is to help control pain and decrease inflammation.  Pain is controlled by adsorption of the pain chemicals of inflammation and by assisting the inflammation of healing by adsorption of the toxic waste products of inflammation.

How is a charcoal poultice made?

Ingredients needed are:
Medicinal activated charcoal that can be purchased from the web or from a health store.
A bowl to mix the charcoal with something that will help hold it together when applied..
Some other ingredient to mix with the charcoal to make it into a paste with water:
    i.e., 1) Ground (powdered) psyllium seed (obtainable at a health store or herb supply) or
           2) Ground up flaxseed (flaxseed may be found at a bulk food area in a health store 
          or market.)  It can be ground up in a "coffee" mill, obtainable at a general kitchen 
          supply store or even a thrift shop.  A blender could be used, as well.
          These are the two most used seeds that are mixed with charcoal that helps 
          hold it together.
A coffee grinder or seed grinder (mill) to grind up the flaxseed or psyllium seed.
Cloth or a "Chuk" or part of a gauze bandage the size wanted for the poultice.
Plastic to cover the cloth or gauze unless a piece of the "Chuk" is used that already has plastic on one side.
Skin Tape or adhesive tape to hold the poultice in place or an ace bandage to do that job.

For the purpose of this description we will use a "Chuk" (that already has bandage-like material on one side and plastic of the other side.  This is the protective pad that is used with an incontinent patient.) that is cut to the size wanted to cover the injured or painful area of the body.  See also alternate method posted below.
1. Cut the material used to make the poultice to the size wanted.
2. Grind up one tablespoonful of flaxseed in a seed or coffee grinder.  1 to 3 ratio of flaxseed to charcoal will make a poultice of about 4 inches by 5 inches more or less.  The idea is to get a paste about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick of charcoal and flaxseed mixture spread over the gauze or "Chuk" to apply to the injured or painful area.
3. Mix the charcoal and the flaxseed together in the bowl before adding the water; add 2 Tbs. water and mix carefully, as the charcoal tends to fluff up and make a mess; continue to add a little more water at a time until it has a  "cooked oatmeal" consistency; this will make the mixture paste-like or "gooey" and spreadable on the soft portion of the "Chuk".  The amount of water for a 1:3 ratio of 1 tablespoonful of flax seed that is ground up and added to 3 tablespoonfuls of medicinal activated charcoal in a mixing bowl is about 5 tablespoonfuls of warm water.
4. Spread the charcoal-flaxseed mixture onto the "Chuk" to make a layer of charcoal about 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick.
5. Apply the poultice to the skin of the body part where it wanted and hold it on with tape or a bandage.
6. If desired, an ace bandage may be gently applied over the poultice, to protect anything it may come next to, in case there is any leakage of the charcoal mixture.
7. Leave on for 8 hours more or less and remove at the end of that time and discard.  The skin can be cleaned with water and dried.
8. This procedure can be repeated as many times as desired.  Usually 3 or 4 applications once or twice a day is all that is needed to relieve the pain and hasten healing.

Indications to use a charcoal poultice:
1. Insect bite or chemical local allergic reaction.
2. Bruise or contusion with skin intact.  If skin is not intact there is the danger of tattooing.
3. Painful tendonitis or bursitis
4. Sore muscles
5. Certain non-serious infections or inflammations.
6. Grade 1 sprains (slight or moderate sprains)

Charcoal Poultice with Psyllium Powder

(This is a poultice that is rolled out like dough and applied to area.)

The proportion of psyllium powder to charcoal to is 1 to 3.
Put newspaper on counter and get a good-sized bowl to mix them in.
Measure: 1/4 cup psyllium powder

                   3/4 cup charcoal powder
into the bowl very carefully so it will not fluff over everything.
Mix well with a good-sized spoon until all the psyllium is mixed in the charcoal.
Add to this mixture:
                 1 3/4 cups water
Mix gently and carefully until the water is all absorbed into the mixture and it is about the consistancy of pie dough; it may need more aggressive pressing with the spoon to get the lumps mixed in well.
Take Saran wrap and put 16 inches of it on a dampened surface.
Place about 1/2 cup of the charcoal/psyllium "dough" on the center of the Saran wrap.
Place another 16 inch piece of Saran wrap above the "dough" and press down.
Roll the "dough" with a rolling pin between the 2 pieces of Saran wrap until about 1/8th inch thick.
Fold or roll up and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. (May even be frozen, if not used in a week or two.)
When putting on a painful area or inflammation, cut the poultice to size of the area you want to cover, cutting off the extra Saran wrap on the edges.
Peel off one side of the Saran wrap "sandwich" and place the open charcoal surface face down against the skin.
Use adhesive tape (1" best) to adhere the edges to the skin so the poultice will stay in place and the charcoal will not be squeezed out and mess things up!
I prefer the Durapore surgical tape which is a "paper" tape that is easier to remove and is more gentle to the skin. (Most drug stores carry it.)
Leave on for about 8 hours or overnight.