18 October 2010

Easy Charcoal Poultice

A couple of weeks ago, on our last "moving" trip to the farm,
we arrived at Poppa J's late Wednesday and made haste to crawl into bed.
I have a pallet on the floor of the small room where we sleep when we are there
that I keep made up for the Treasure
and I simply opened it up for her and she snuggled in for the night.

Next morning, Thursday, when she awoke, she showed me an "itchy spot"
on her upper left arm, on the inner aspect,
that looked like a mosquito bite:
small open area in the center with about a half-inch diameter of swelling,
and it was reddened from her scratching.
We'd had the windows open during the night,
I'd seen mosquitoes outside during the day,
so I didn't think much of it,
and besides we needed to get going for the day.

That night, she showed me the area again
and complained of pain with the itchiness--
and I was alarmed to see that the swelling around the bite
had reached a diameter of two inches and was red and warm.
(I didn't have my camera with me, so no photos of the lesion.)
It dawned on me that there is an occasional brown recluse spider
to be found in that house,
and it was possible that one might have bitten her during the night.

I have found, over many years of experimenting with natural remedies,
that one of the most critical factors in the success of these methods
is starting treatment as soon as possible.
Therefore, upon considering the possiblity of a brown recluse bite
I sprang into action.

I found a clean gallon sized zipper bag
and into it I measured 1/3 cup psyllium husk fiber
and 2/3 cup activated charcoal powder.
The psyllium husk fiber I purchased at Walmart,
and the activated charcoal can be purchased at a health food store or online.
I closed the bag and mixed the powders together,
then opened the bag carefully
(charcoal powder can leave a stain on some materials)
and gradually poured in 1+2/3 to 2 cups of water.

Zipping the bag up again, I mushed the whole mass around
until it was well mixed and I had the lumps mashed out.

This shows the gook after adding part of the water--
it was still too dry so I added some more.
(I usually do this by feel, but this time I measured
so I could give you more exact proportions.)

As the psyllium husk fiber absorbs water it expands greatly in size!

Once the mass was thoroughly mixed,
I patted it out inside the bag to about 1/4 inch thickness.
I opened the bag a little to expel the air as I did this--
by this time the charcoal powder was well mixed with the
psyllium husk fiber and wet and did not go "poof" all over
like it is prone to do when dry.

At this point the charcoal poultice is ready to be used.
I took a knife or some scissors and trimmed a square to cover the raised and red area
on the treasures arm and placed it there,
then covered it with a telfa/non-stick dressing
and secured it in place with an ace-wrap type bandage.

I removed the poultice in 20 minutes and replaced it with a fresh one,
repeating this cycle every 20 minutes for an hour.
At the end of the hour cycle, it was late,
so we put the fourth poultice in place,
placed the remainder of the poultice-gel material
in the refrigerator in the bag I'd mixed it in, and went to bed.

Next morning, Friday, we removed the poultice
and the area was still swollen and red,
so we changed the poultice and left it on until evening.
That night, 24 hours after placing the very first poultice,
we saw some sign of improvement,
so we applied a fresh poultice and left it while sleeping.

The following morning, Saturday, the area was markedly improved,
but we again applied a fresh poultice,
and we changed it again that night.

On Sunday morning the redness and swelling was completely gone,
and I breathed a sigh of relief!
Whatever kind of venom it was that caused that large reaction
had been completely pulled out of her skin tissues
and adsorbed by the charcoal
and we were extremely grateful to have avoided
the cost and inconvenience of a trip to the doctor,
not to mention the pain and discomfort
and possible disfiguration she might have suffered
if it actually was a brown recluse spider bite.

This is the easiest way to make a charcoal poultice that I have found so far,
thanks to the advice and instruction of my good friend Mrs. S.
This can be made up ahead of a crisis and stored in the freezer if you wish.
(If left in the refrigerator too long, we have had it mold.)

From personal experience, we have found this to be a very effective
and inexpensive treatment for various bites, stings and infections.
It is important to change the poultice every 20 minutes for the first hour,
and I would recommend changing it every hour for about 6 hours while awake,
then at least twice a day until no longer needed.
The charcoal is very effective in drawing toxins out,
but you don't want to leave those fresh toxins at the site at first
because they can become re-absorbed by the skin.

Another precaution is this:
if you have an open draining wound,
this kind of gel poultice needs to be changed frequently,
and do NOT cover and tape the area to make it air-tight!
Bacteria and infection love dark warm moist places
we have had some challenges in overcoming an infection rapidly when we did this.
Change the poultice/dressing frequently,
tape or bind it loosely so air can circulate to the wound,
and give the wound some time to dry out periodically.

Three resources I'd like to recommend to you for further learning
about the many uses and health benefits of activated charcoal:

First, a website: Charcoal Remedies.com

Next, two books:
1. Rx: Charcoal by Agatha Thrash, M.D. & Calvin Thrash, M. D.
2. Charcoal Remedies.com By John Dinsley

We have found charcoal to be indispensible in our first-aid kit and home,
and we recommend everyone learn to use it and keep it on hand!

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