A DIY Herbal Poultice To Help Kick Your Cold To The Curb

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ePhoto: Courtesy of Six Senses Laamu.
There's nothing like a medicine cabinet overflowing with pills and powders to signify that cold and flu season is at its peak (thanks, polar vortex!). But, if you need a break from the conventional remedies used to tackle the sniffles, we've got a DIY treatment that's a heck of a lot more pleasant than chugging down Theraflu. Enter the poultice, a soft, moist substance that works in a medicinal manner to draw out infection and speed up the healing process when applied directly to the skin. Poultices have been around for eons and if you poke around the Internet, it won't take you long to discover that there are many different versions — from ones that use bread to milk to mustard. But, don't worry. We're not about to let you smell like the insides of your fridge.

Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives shared with us an old-time, Thai, herbal remedy that's used at its spa. This particular poultice dates back to Thailand's Ayutthaya period, from the 14th to 18th centuries, when the fragrant hot packs were administered to bruised soldiers returning from the war. The recipe below is designed to increase blood flow and circulation, relax tense muscles, and alleviate pain and inflammation. So, as much as you'd probably prefer to chill in an over-water villa in the Indian Ocean, this handy-dandy DIY will have to do for now. Take two and call us in the morning.

Six Senses Thai Herbal Poultice Recipe

Ingredients:
Fresh or dried herbs of choice, including kaffir lime, galangal, camphor, turmeric, and lemongrass. Note: Before making your poultice with other herbs, be sure to research their properties to ensure they aren’t irritants.
Yarn/thread
White cloth or muslin
Bowl for mixing

Steps:
1. Put 1 cup of each herb in a bowl and mix it well.
2. Take a large handful of the herbal mixture and place it into the center of your cloth, making a firm bundle (no bigger than a tennis ball in size).
3. Tie the top with yarn or thread to create a handle. Keep it tight so that it won't become loose when in use.
4. Using a steamer or a hot pot, boil water and drop in the poultice until steamed, about 30-to-45 minutes.
5. For application, first check the heat of poultice on the inner forearm. Once the temperature is to your liking, place with pressure on the body on areas that are tense and/or painful for up to 30 minutes.
6. Use your Thai herbal poultice up to four or five times each before making a new one.