External Treatments using Kitching Ingredients

Here are three simple ways to try to keep an illness process moving!  And they only involve ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen cabinets or pantry.   Sometimes our body just needs a little extra help so that a process doesn’t get stuck.


Chamomile steam for a badly congested nose and sinuses, or for an ear that won’t “pop” after air travel:


Boil several cups of water, and then pour them into a broad bowl.   Add several teaspoons of chamomile tea (loose tea works a little better, or break open the tea bags if all you have is packaged tea).  Stir in well and then with a towel or sheet make a little tent over your head and breathe in the chamomile steam.  It can get hot and humid, so be sure to take breathes of cool air so that you don’t become light-headed and fall over!  You can often even find chamomile teabags in a hotel, which is handy if your ear won’t pop after you have traveled far away from home…


Mustard foot bath, for sinus pain or the early stages of a migraine, especially if your feet are cold:


Find a large bucket or bowl, hopefully broad enough that both of your feet can comfortably rest on the bottom, but deep enough that the water will come up over your ankles and even go up onto your calves.  Fill it ¾ full with body temperature water, then add 1/4-1/2 cup of yellow mustard powder.  Let your feet bathe for 10-20 minutes.  Depending on the freshness and amount of mustard powder you use, a warm sensation will develop in your feet.  When they are feeling good and warm take them out, wipe off any residual mustard powder with a warm washcloth and put on warm socks.  If your bath becomes uncomfortably hot very quickly use less mustard (you may even need to restart the process), or if you stick your feet in for five minutes and you feel no warmth, add more mustard or get some fresher powder from the store.  When the feet are warm, rest.  Not 100%, but works really well when the timing is right.


Cottage cheese compress, for mastitis:


Many breast-feeding moms experience blockage of milk ducts, which can result in redness, heat and tenderness.  The original indications for this compress call for “Quark” a simple European farmer’s cheese, but cottage cheese is a relatively close substitution that still seems to work well.  Use 1-2 tablespoons, place them on a washcloth and then put the cottage cheese directly over the sore part of the breast.  It’s sometimes easiest to just slip it inside of a nursing bra and then keep it in place for 30 minutes up to a couple of hours.  This helps to relieve congestion, and can reduce the need for antibiotics.

A reminder–these tips are not intended to replace a physician’s diagnosis.  If you try them and things are not getting better, please seek proper medical attention.  But sometimes a simple kitchen treatment is enough and can help us build confidence in our own body’s healing activity.


Be well!

Dr. Blanning

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