The following information is provided as a supplement to the column “International Trends: Herbal Healing” by Sarah Kajonborrirak running in the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine. For more information about the history and treatment uses of herbal compresses, see the International Trends column written by Sarah Kajonborrirak in the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
International Trends: More Healing Herbs
Herbal compresses can help soothe a variety of aches and pains, including inflammation, swelling and skin conditions. Though originally thought to have developed in Thailand, therapists from various nations have worked to develop their own herbal concoctions for their own stellar healing compresses.
Discover the aromatic differences with these traditional recipes, each of which include enough ingredients for about two sachet pouches. Each will also require two pieces of terry cloth, cotton string and a steamer.
Chinese herbal compress
Sweetly scented cinnamon gives this compress a homey aroma.
70 grams cardamom pods
4 teaspoons cinnamon powder
6 teaspoons ginger powder
2 teaspoons galangal powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
9–10 teaspoons barley flour
Japanese herbal compress
These ingredients have a slightly more medicinal feel.
4 teaspoons dried kudzu (Japanese arrowroot)
4 teaspoons dried catnip
2 teaspoons comfrey root powder
6 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 cup cooked glutinous rice
Laotian herbal compress
This blend of herbs creates a spicy smell.
3/4 cup cooked rice
1/3 cup fresh ginger or prai, crushed
1/3 cup fresh lemongrass
1/3 cup anise basil
1/3 cup fresh pepper leaf
5 pieces cinnamon
Directions for use
Always use two sachets for each treatment so one sachet can be heating on a steamer while the other is being applied to the body.
1. Mix all ingredients and wrap in a piece of terry cloth fabric. Tightly tie the edge of the compress pouch with a string.
2. Bring water to a boil in steamer.
3. Lightly sprinkle the pouches with water, and steam for 10 minutes.
4. Compress gently on the skin, making sure not to hold on any one spot for very long—simply touch, press, lift and move in a constant and rapid fashion.
5. Repeat for all desired areas of the body.