Field Poultices, Tinctures and Essential Oils for Traumatic Injuries

Follow these herbal recipes for burns, bites, stings and wounds.


| March 2018


Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals, Volume 1: Digestion and Elimination, including the Gastrointestinal System, Liver and Gallbladder, Urinary System, and the Skin (Chelsea Green, 2018), by Jill Stansbury, ND, is a helpful guide for beginning herbalists all up to advanced. Stansbury provides many recipes for an ailment or condition, this allows patients and readers to find the one that works for them. Find this excerpt in Chapter 5, “Dermatologic Conditions.”

Creating Herbal Formulas for Dermatologic Conditions

One of the greatest philosophical differences in herbal versus allopathic approaches to the treatment of skin disorders is that most herbalists and alternative medical practitioners emphasize the importance of gastrointestinal health on the health of the dermis. Accordingly, many herbal formulas for acne, psoriasis, boils, and dermatitis include the use of alterative and bowel-supportive herbs such as Arctium lappa, Mahonia aquifolium, or Taraxacum officinale root. To this same end, many herbalists and naturopathic physicians also work with people on their diet to support intestinal health and optimize nutrition as a way of treating chronic skin conditions.

Many skin conditions may also be related to underlying allergic and atopic phenomena, and herbs that affect mast cells, histamine, and inflammatory mediators are other important ingredients in dermatologic formulas. Tanacetum parthenium, Angelica sinensis, Curcuma longa, and many other herbs may reduce inflammation and atopic phenomena in the skin.

In other cases, vulnerary agents such as Calendula officinalis, Equisetum arvense, or Centella asiatica are included to support wound healing and connective tissue regeneration. Centella asiatica contains the triterpenoid wound-healing compounds asiaticoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid, which are found to reduce excessive fibrosis in situations of scleroderma, extensive scar formation, and keloids. Both epithelial and vascular regeneration are promoted by Centella asiatica, and research shows Centella asiatica to be an angiogenic agent, promoting growth factors and extracellular hyaluronic acid-binding proteins.

Both poor circulation and diabetes can contribute to chronic fungus, skin infections, and poor wound healing. Some formulas include Ginkgo biloba or other circulatory-enhancing agents that aid when poor perfusion contributes to skin complaints. Hypoglycemic agents such as Cinnamomum spp., Allium sativum, or Opuntia ficus-indica are also featured in formulas for cases when high blood sugar and diabetes contribute to nail, foot, or other skin fungus.



All these botanical therapies are aimed at improving the entire “ecosystem” of the skin, making it less hospitable to acne bacteria and fungi and less susceptible to inflammatory processes, poor wound healing, or excessive scar tissue formation. Herbalists contend that supporting optimal microbiota in the skin is a superior therapy for treating common acne and fungal infections of the skin than is the use of antibiotics such as tetracycline for acne or steroids for eczema. In nearly all cases, acne and eczema will recur when such antibiotic and steroid medications are discontinued, which is evidence that they are superficial therapies that do nothing to change the underlying pathology, and are detrimental to overall health when used long term. The following formulas explain and exemplify how to work at a deeper level, using herbs to treat common skin complaints and diseases.

Formulas for Burns, Bites, Stings, Wounds, and Trauma








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