External Applications and Compresses
Circulation • Healthy Skin • Discharge Excess
This simple daily practice helps activate circulation and promote clear and healthy skin. It is also useful in helping the body discharge fat that has built up just below the skin and opening clogged pores in order to promote smooth and regular elimination of toxic excess through the skin, which is the body’s largest organ of discharge. It can be done as often as once or twice daily, in the morning and/or at night, before or after a shower or bath, but apart from it.
Dip a small cotton towel or cloth in hot water. You can do this by running hot water from the faucet and holding the towel under the flow. Wring out excess water.
Scrub the entire body, holding the towel or cloth under hot water again when cool. Begin with both hands, and proceed up the arms to the neck, face, and shoulders, then down the back and front, down both legs and finishing with both feet and toes. A mini version of the body scrub can be done by scrubbing the hands and fingers, the arms up to the elbow, the legs from the knee down, and the feet and toes.
The skin should become pink or slightly red. This result may take a few days to achieve if the skin is clogged with accumulated fats.
Softens Fat • Infection • Radiation • Burns • Cuts
BROWN RICE/MISO PLASTER
A brown rice plaster can be used to soften accumulated hardened fat, heal skin infections and allergic conditions, and treat radiation, fire burns, and simple cuts. If the area is red and irritated, a plaster containing miso is good to heal and prevent infection. However, if the skin is ruptured, don’t apply. The salt in the miso causes the affected area to shrink. By adding 50 percent brown rice, the shrinking is reduced. The rice further serves to calm and soothe. Together the rice and miso soften, make the skin smooth and cool down. This plaster may also be applied for muscle tension or tissue tension, as well as bruises, broken bones, and accidents.
Use cooked brown rice (cooled to room temperature) and mash well in a suribachi.
Mix with an equal amount of uncooked organic miso.
Add a pinch of grated ginger (optional) and mix thoroughly, adding a small amount of water to make into a soft plaster.
Spread this mixture to one-half to one-inch thickness on a cotton cloth.
Apply the mixture directly to the skin (not the cloth side) and leave on for three hours or longer. Secure in place with bandage or tie with cotton strip if necessary.
Eliminating Fluids • Swelling on Legs or Arms
A buckwheat plaster is helpful in drawing out retained water or other fluids when applied to swollen areas on the legs, arms, etc. Buckwheat is very yang (a cold northern grain) and attracts and draws out water or liquid, whose form is more yin. It is more effective to make fresh flour from whole buckwheat groats than to use packaged flour. But if groats are unavailable, use buckwheat flour.
Apply first a Hot Towel Compress or Ginger Compress to the affected region to make the area hot before applying this plaster. The plaster should be as stiff, hot, and dry as possible.
Mix buckwheat flour with a little sesame oil and enough hot water to form a stiff hard dough.
Spread the dough on a cotton cloth, about three-quarters of an inch thick.
Apply the dough side (not the cloth side) directly to the swollen area.
Remove after one to two hours.
As the plaster draws out the fluid, the dough will become soft and watery. When this happens, replace with a freshly made plaster.
CABBAGE LEAF PLASTER
The cabbage leaf plaster is used for a longer time than the cabbage leaf compress to dissolve lumps and facilitate healing.
Carefully remove whole leaves from a head of cabbage or Chinese cabbage.
Flatten them slightly by scoring the spine horizontally with a vegetable knife.
Apply the leaves 2 layers thick on the affected area. They may be held on for 2–3 hours by wrapping with a piece of cheesecloth. They are generally not reusable.
Note: The cabbage leaf compress is used short-term to cool down. It can be recycled by dipping the used leaves in cold water then reusing them.
Lower Fevers • Burns
The leaves of large, leafy green vegetables are very helpful to lower fevers, neutralize inflammation, and relieve burns and bruises. Cabbage is particularly good because it is a more yang vegetable and has drawing, or contractive power.
Finely chop several green leafy vegetables such as daikon leaves, kale, collards, Chinese cabbage, etc.
Place in a suribachi and mash well.
Add 10-20% unbleached white flour and mix into a paste.
Spread the mixture about one-half inch thick on a towel or cloth, and apply the greens directly to the skin (not the cloth side). Leave on for two to three hours.
Female Reproductive Health • Discharging Odors
DAIKON HIP BATH
This traditional macrobiotic remedy warms the body and is especially recommended for female reproductive disorders as well for skin conditions. The daikon hip bath aids in extracting body odors due to the consumption of animal food while drawing out excess fat and oil from the body.
1. Remove the green leaves from fresh daikon root. Tie the leaves with a string at the base of the stem and hang upside down to dry, preferably not in direct sunlight. Leave until the leaves turn brown and brittle. If daikon leaves are not available, use turnip leaves or a handful of arame seaweed.
2. Place about a cupful (approximately the amount from one daikon root) of dried leaves or handful of arame in a large pot.
3. Add about four to five quarts of water and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to a medium flame, cover, and simmer until the water is brown (about ten to fifteen minutes).
5. Add approximately one handful of sea salt to the pot and stir well to dissolve.
6. Strain the hot liquid into a small tub or bath. Soak your lower body in the bath. Add water until the water level is waist-high when sitting in the tub.
7. Keep the temperature as hot as possible and cover your upper body with a large towel, to induce perspiration.
8. Stay in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes, until the hip area becomes red and hot. Keep the hip area warm after coming out of the bath.
The hip bath is best not done during pregnancy, menstruation, or during active fever or inflammation. Those with complications of diabetes are advised not to do this bath.
The bath is best and most effective when done just before bedtime, but at least one hour after eating.
Blood Circulation • Discharges Animal Fat • Bruises • Toothaches
The Daikon Plaster is a simple, quick application for local stagnation and infection and to improve blood and energy circulation. The Daikon Plaster dissolves hard animal fat on the periphery of the body such as chicken fat, dairy fat, or anything clogging the capillaries beneath the skin and blocking circulation. It is also good for bruises, surface burns, fevers, inflammations, swellings, or toothaches and abscesses. It helps to cool and staunch internal bleeding.
Daikon has a pungent, stimulating effect. Use only for a short time until the skin becomes red. If left too long, it may irritate the skin. The Daikon Plaster is milder than the Mustard Plaster. Because it is pungent, grated ginger is not needed to activate it as with some other plasters. If it becomes too hot, take it off.
1. Grate several ounces of daikon. Do not use the juice. Mix with a
2. Apply to the bruised or affected area in a cheesecloth. Leave on for 15 to 30 minutes. For large bruises, repeat several days.
Variation: Turnip or red radish may be substituted if daikon is unavailable.
Blood & Energy Circulation • Insomnia
A nightly footbath helps stimulate blood and energy low and warm the body. It promotes calm and restful sleep. Footbaths may be divided into two types: those with hot water and those with cool (actually room temperature) water. Generally, hot footbaths are given for conditions caused by more yang, contractive factors or a combination of yin and yang, while cool footbaths are usually given for conditions caused by more yin, expansive factors. (Those with yin conditions are often weak, cold, or have poor circulation to begin with, so room-temperature water is better than cool or cold water.)
In turn, footbaths may be made with 1) plain water, 2) water to which a tiny amount of ginger juice has been added, 3) water to which a handful of salt (any kind) has been added, 4) water to which both ginger and salt have been added, and 5) water in which sea vegetables have been cooked. Each type has slightly different uses and effects. Ordinary hot water may be used for overly tight conditions, to relax, and to bring the energy in the body up. For example, this is good for prostate problems, tight kidneys, and stress. Contraindication: ovarian cancer. (Japanese hot baths, hot springs, and other hot immersions are also good for yang conditions.) Ginger may be added to hot water to increase warmth and circulation and bring the energy to the periphery or outside. This type of footbath may be helpful for arthritis, rheumatism, Alzheimer’s disease or other condition arising from extreme yin and yang factors. Contraindication: ovarian cancer.
Salt may be added to either hot or cold water to bring the energy down and inside. A salted hot footbath is helpful for someone with kidney tightness or insomnia (especially at night after 2 a.m.). A cool saltwater footbath is beneficial to help relieve diabetes, kidney weakness, or insomnia (especially at night before 2 a.m.)Salt may be added to ginger water to bring the energy inside and to balance and control the activating power of the ginger. A hot ginger salt water
footbath may be prepared for someone with hypoglycemia to stabilize and balance extremes of yin and yang that give rise to frequent mood swings.
The water from cooked sea vegetables (boiled, strained, and cooled to room temperature) may be used to prepare a footbath with a slightly more strengthening effect. A cool footbath with sea vegetable water may be prepared for someone with diabetes or an inflammatory breast tumor on the left side of the body to bring the energy down and inside. A hot footbath with sea veggies is helpful for someone with cervical, testicular, or other external reproductive organ difficulties, to bring the energy up and inside.
The footbath is generally administered just before bed. To prepare, place a basin or tub in the bathtub or sink and fill with about 6 inches of hot or room temperature water.
Add juice from squeezed-out ginger, a handful of salt, or the liquid from cooked sea vegetables (such as kombu, wakame, hiziki, or arame), if applicable.
Place basin or tub on floor and immerse the feet ankle deep in the water for 3–5 minutes.
Dry feet with a towel and go to bed.
• Ideally, the footbath should be made fresh each time. However, the liquid will keep for up to 24 hours and may be reused, though its energy will be diminished.
• If you are uncertain of the yin/yang dynamics, generally a salt hot water footbath moderates extremes
• Avoid using ginger in a footbath is
you have an inflamed condition.
Blood & Energy Circulation
GINGER BODY SCRUB
This is similar to the Body Scrub but stronger. The purpose is to promote better circulation and energy flow through the entire body.
1. Heat about 1 gallon of water until it is hot but not boiling.
2. Grate enough gingerroot to equal the size of a small baseball.
3. When the water becomes hot, reduce heat to low, and place the ginger into a single layer of cheesecloth. Tie with a string and squeeze the ginger juice from the cheesecloth sack into the water. (The water at this point should be just below the boiling point.)
4. Place the sack into the pot and allow it to steep in the water without boiling for about 5 minutes.
5. Dip a small cotton towel or cloth in hot water. Wring out the excess water.
6. Scrub the whole body, dipping the towel or cloth into hot water again when cool. Be sure to include the hands and feet and each finger and toe.
7. The skin should become pink or slightly red. This result may take a few days to achieve, if the skin is clogged with accumulated fats.
Note: Water left over from a Ginger Compress may be used for this scrub.
Blood & Lymph Circulation • Dissolving Stagnation • Relaxation
This standard external remedy is helpful in dissolving stagnation and tension and stimulating blood and lymph circulation. Because the ginger compress has powerful heating and dispersing effects, there are a number of conditions for which it is not used. See the list of contraindications below.
Bring about one gallon of water up to, but not over, the boiling point.
Meanwhile, grate enough ginger root to equal the size of a baseball.
Just before the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and place the ginger into a double layer of cheesecloth. Tie with a string and squeeze the ginger juice from the cheesecloth sack into the water. (The water at this point should be just below the boiling point.)
Place the sack into the pot and allow it to steep in the water without boiling for about five minutes.
Dip a towel into the ginger water, wring out tightly, and apply it to the desired area on the body. Cover with a second dry towel to hold in the heat.
Change the towel every two or three minutes, replacing it with a fresh, hot towel. This can be done by using two towels and alternating them so that the skin does not cool off between applications.
Continue the applications for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the area becomes pink.
Note: You may use the leftover ginger water for a hot towel body scrub. Dip the towel into the hot ginger water and proceed as described previously. You may also soak both feet in the pot with the hot ginger water until they become warm and/or red.
Contraindications: The ginger compress is best not used in the following circumstances:
During fever, menstruation, or active heat or inflammation
For persons with cancer
On the face, head, brain, neck, or front of the chest (it may be used on the abdomen)
On children or babies
On wounds or active skin disorders
GREEN CLAY PLASTER
The green clay plaster helps draw out excess fluid and fat, provide relief from aches and pains in the joints, and reduce fatty accumulations.
Mix green clay with enough water to make into a sticky paste.
Apply paste directly onto affected area and cover with a cotton
Leave on three hours or overnight.
Tension • Pain • Headaches • Cramps
HOT OR COLD TOWEL COMPRESS
Hot towels can be used to relieve tension and reduce pain, especially on areas of the body that are tight from overconsumption of animal food, salt, baked food, or other stronger yang foods. For example, a headache in the back of the head is usually called by excessive intake of these foods, and applying a hot towel will help ease the ache.
Cold towels can be used to relieve tension and reduce pain caused by too much sugar, sweets, soft drinks, fruit, ice cream, and other strong yin items. For example, a headache in the front of the head is usually caused by these type of foods, and applying a cold towel will help ease the ache.
In some cases, hot and cold towels may be alternated every few minutes. For example, a headache on the side of the head is usually caused by too much oil, fat, or greasy food containing extremes of both yin and yang.
Also leg cramps (usually caused by extreme yin foods, but characterized by yang cramping) can be treated in this way. First massage towards and immediately above the cramping region (but not on it directly). They apply alternately towels drenched in hot and cold water.
1. Dip plain, cotton towels in hot or cold water and apply to affected area.
2. Remove towels as they lose their strength, replacing them with fresh towels for up to 7 minutes or until area becomes pink.
Inflammation • Burns • Bruises
LEAFY GREEN COMPRESS
The leaves of large, leafy green vegetables (such as collards) are very helpful in cooling down fevers, neutralizing inflammations, and relieving burns and bruises. Often just putting big leaves on the head, chest, or arms will provide immediate relief. This compress is used to cool down quickly, and can be recycled by dipping the used leaves in cold water and reusing.
Carefully remove several whole leaves from a bunch of collards, kale, or Chinese cabbage.
Flatten them slightly by scoring the spine horizontally with a vegetable knife.
Apply the leaves 2 layers thick on the hot or inflamed area. They may be held on for a short time by wrapping with a piece of cheesecloth. As the leaves become heated, they may be cooled in cold water and reused.
A mineral-rich kombu plaster helps ease burns caused by radiation and relieve skin lesions and scars. It also helps relieve stagnation and tumors caused by dairy consumption.
Soak strips of kombu (the length depends on the area to be covered) and cut to proper size, enough for a double layer.
Apply the soaked kombu to the affected area, directly on the skin, in double layers.
Cover with a cotton cloth and leave on for three hours or longer. (Do not sleep with on overnight).
This version of the traditional Japanese Yuzu (citrus) bath helps open clogged pores and sweat glands and dissolves accumulations of salt at the surface of the body. It is good for relieving stress and tension.
Slice four to six lemons in half. Place in cheesecloth and tie the ends to form a bag.
Run hot water in the tub and place the lemon bag in the water.
Add enough water to soak your entire body. Add more hot water if the bath water cools.
Squeeze the lemon bag from time to time to extract additional juice.
Stay in the bath for about 15 minutes before toweling off.
It is best not do the bath during pregnancy, menstruation, or during active fever or inflammation, or when bathing. Those with complications of diabetes are advised not to do this bath.
The lemon bath produces deep relaxation so it is best to do right before bedtime and not more than once per season.
LOTUS ROOT AND GINGER PLASTER
Traditionally known for its effectiveness in dispersing and moving stagnated mucus in the bronchi, throat, lungs or sinuses.
Grate enough fresh lotus root to cover the area you wish to treat to about one-half inch thick.
Mix thoroughly with 5% grated ginger (optional; condition permitting) and 10-15% unbleached white flour.
Spread the mixture on a cloth or paper towel and apply directly to the skin (not the cloth side).
Leave on for 20 minutes to one hour.
Hippocrates recommended the use of a Millet Compress for acute pain and discomfort in his classic essay On Regimen in Acute Disease composed about 400 BCE. He advised: “Toasted millet in woolen bags is excellent for forming a dry fomentation, for the millet is light and soothing. A soft fomentation like this soothes pains, even such as shoot to the clavicle.”
This compress may be placed on the sinuses, muscles, joints, or other area for relief of pains and aches.
1. Heat 1/3 cup of millet in a skillet for several minutes, stirring gently to prevent burning.
2. Place hot millet in a sock (cotton, wool, or other natural fabric) and knot the end so the grains don’t come out.
3. Apply the hot sock to the affected region. If too hot, let cool for a few moments.
4. Hold until the compress cools and then repeat as many times as you like. Unknot the sock, pour millet back in skillet, reheat, and put back in sock.
Note: The compress may be reused several days in a row. But discard the millet and wash the sock regularly and start fresh.
Burns • Cuts • Bleeding • Bee Stings
Soybeans have a cooling effect on the body. Raw soybeans soaked in water, crushed, and applied on the affected area can take out fever. Raw miso applied directly on the body is good for burns, including those from radiation. It is good for cuts and will stop bleeding, but should not be used for puncture wounds. The enzymes in miso neutralize bacteria and help to prevent infection. In the kitchen, nicks and cuts when cutting veggies can be treated with a dab or miso on the hand or finger.
A Miso Plaster can also draw out bee stingers, help relieve itchy skin disease, and reduce any kind of swelling.
1. Place raw miso over the affected area, about one quarter to one-half inch think.
2. Wrap with a single lawyer of cheesecloth.
Note: When putting miso directly on the skin, do not pack it down firmly, as this can cause scarring.
Strengthening • Multiple Sclerosis • Dying
Moxabustion (or moxa) is a traditional Far Eastern healing art that employs heat along the meridians and points to activate and supply energy to specific regions, organs, systems, and functions of the body. Moxa can be used for general strengthening, such as on Stomach Meridian Point 36 on the leg for health and longevity; to help relieve specific symptoms, e.g., Large Intestine Point 4 on the palm; or for chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis on certain points along the spine. It has also been helpful for acute symptoms, such as food poisoning, and for reviving someone who is dying.
Traditionally, dried mugwort is used, and long sticks of moxa or small moxa cones are available at acupuncture clinics, Oriental markets, or selected natural food stores.
1. To apply, light the moxa stick and approach the point in a slow, gentle clockwise spiral.
2. Hold moxa stick above the point (not touching the skin) for several seconds until the person feels strong heat.
3. Then pull back the stick and after a few seconds apply again in the same way. Usually 5 times is sufficient for most applications, though emergency treatments may take longer.
• A thorough understanding of meridians is recommended before using this method.
• Fire is yangizing and moxa is generally not used for yang conditions or symptoms.
• If a moxa stick is not available, a cigarette may be used.
Blood & Energy Circulation • Lungs • Muscle Stiffness
This plaster dissolves stagnation and stimulates circulation, especially in the lungs. It can relieve mucous accumulation or coughing and is good for muscle stiffness.
1. While preparing the plaster, warm up 2 towels.
2. Crush enough mustard seeds to obtain a handful of mustard powder. You may also use mustard powder or, if unavailable, mustard spread from a jar.
3. Bring some water to a boil and add enough to the mustard to make a moist paste. The consistency should be light and soft, something like mustard from a jar.
4. Spread the paste onto one half of a triple layer of paper towels or one layer of waxed paper. (The area should be large enough to cover the chest if it is being used for the lungs or upper back.) Fold in half to cover the paste on both sides.
5. Spread a towel on the area to be treated. Place the mixture in this wrapper of paper towels or waxed paper on top of the towel and cover with the second towel.
6. Leave the plaster on until the heat starts to feel uncomfortable, usually 10 to 15 minutes.
• The skin will become red, which is normal. The effects will last as long as the red color remains.
• Do not apply mustard directly on the skin as it will burn.
• When using this plaster on children, mix in an equal amount of flour.
• If some mustard leaks and burns the skin, apply a little olive oil
• For lung troubles, apply on the chest, back, or both
• For acute conditions, apply 2-3 times a day, but be careful of burning the skin
Dissolve Animal Protein • Beautify Skin • Moles, Warts, Boils
PEARL BARLEY/BARLEY PLASTER
Barley and pearl barley (hato mugi) help to harmonize body energy and draw out and soften excess hard fat or protein. It is especially good for clearing up moles, warts, and boils.
Use pearl barley, also called hato mugi or Job’s tears, if available. Cook to a soft consistency, using one part grain to three parts water. Let the grain cool to room temperature. If pearl barley is not available, organic whole barley can be used instead.
Mash cooked grain in a suribachi until it becomes a paste.
Add a pinch of grated ginger (optional). Mix thoroughly.
Spread the mixture to one-half to one inch thick on a cotton cloth.
Apply the mixture directly to affected area (not the cloth side). Secure it in place with a bandage or tie with cotton strip. Leave on for several hours.
Tip: If the affected area is in the breast area, an old sports bra works well for holding this mixture in place.
Note: Grated green cabbage can also be added to the plaster for additional soothing and cooling effects. Add the cabbage at step 2.
Dissolves Animal Protein • Boils • Cysts • Tumors
The potato/cabbage plaster is helpful in drawing excess protein, minerals, and fat from boils, cysts, and tumors. Try to use organic potato and cabbage when preparing the plaster.
Grate one or two small to medium-sized potatoes.
Grate half that amount of green cabbage.
Place in a mixing bowl. Mix the potato and cabbage and add enough unbleached white flour to form a thick paste, like mud or wet cement.
Spread the mixture about one-half inch thick on a clean cotton cloth.
Apply the mixture directly on the infected area (not the cloth side). Leave the plaster on for about four hours or overnight.
If the plaster has dried and is difficult or painful to remove, apply warm water to moisten the paste.
RICE BRAN PLASTER
Generally, commercial soap, creams, and lotions clog the meridians, pores, and sweat glands, impeding energy flow. People who eat dairy food are especially attracted to these products. Dry skin comes from a layer of oil and fat blocking the skin, not from a lack of oil. Rice bran is very helpful for this and many other skin conditions. It is soothing for broken bones and may also be put on the toes for frostbite lesions. Traditionally, rice bran (known as nuka in the East) has been used for thousands of years. Rice was kept unpolished until eaten, and the polishings, or bran, were kept for pickling and soap. Nuke will make the skin very clean and shiny.
1. To a handful of rice bran, add about 1/3 as much flour and mix. Use rice flour if available or hato mugi flour. Otherwise use wheat or white flour.
2. Add cold water as needed to make a thick paste.
3. Put the mixture in a cheesecloth, dip in hot water, and apply on the skin.
4. Rinse the plaster off and apply a fresh one when it becomes warm.
Note: Nuka water can be applied around the vagine, but do not use as a douche because the brany texture may be irritating. Nuka may also be added to the bath.
Variation: Use wheat or oat bran if rice bran is not available.
Cleansing • Relaxation
SALT HIP BATH
The bath is best and most effective when done just before bedtime, but at least one hour after eating.
Run hot water in a bathtub. Add one or two handfuls of sea salt. Soak your lower body in the bath. Add water until the water level is waist-high when sitting in the tub.
Keep the temperature as hot as possible and cover your upper body with a large towel, to induce perspiration.
Stay in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes, until the hip area becomes red and hot.
Keep the hip area warm after coming out of the bath.
Note: The hip bath is best not done during pregnancy, menstruation, or during active fever or inflammation. Those with complications of diabetes are advised not to do this bath.
Pain • Cramps • Diarrhea
The roasted salt pack is a gentle yet effective remedy for pain relief. Use it to heat and ease tension in various parts of the body (stiff muscles, the abdominal area in case of diarrhea, menstrual or intestinal cramps, stomach cramps, etc.).
Dry roast one to one and one-half cups of sea salt in a stainless steel skillet until it becomes hot. Test with your fingers from time to time to make sure it doesn’t become too hot.
Pour the hot salt in a small or medium cotton towel and tie securely with a rubber band, string, or shoelace.
Apply to the affected area. Leave on until the salt cools.
You can reheat for subsequent applications.
Save the salt as it can be used again. Eventually discard when the salt becomes gray and no longer holds heat, usually after four or five applications.
Note: You can use less expensive sea salt, such as that available at natural food stores and supermarkets, to prepare the salt pack.
Arthritis • Rheumatism • Dandruff • Radiation Stiffness
SESAME OIL-GINGER RUB
In the Far East, sesame seeds were considered medicine for longevity and for soothing sore or painful conditions. By adding a little ginger oil to the sesame, its effectiveness is enhanced. This remedy is good for bone problems, especially arthritis, rheumatism, or pain in the joints. It is also good for dandruff and hair falling out and for stiffness arising after radiation therapy. It may also be put in the ear or eye. Use toasted dark sesame oil if available. Otherwise, use light sesame oil.
1. Mix raw sesame oil (1 part) with the juice squeezed from freshly grated ginger (1 part).
2. Shake well before using and soak a cotton linen in the mixture.
3. Rub the stiff area with the cloth to make the muscles relax.
4. For rheumatism and arthritis, rub on the stiff area for 10–15 minutes and wipe the oil out with a warm towel. This may be repeated every day or every other day for 2-3 weeks.
• If a burning sensation results, reduce the ginger.
• If put in the eye, first heat the oil, let it cool, and strain through a handkerchief.
• For stiffness, after radiation treatment, the muscles often get stiff and pain results when moving. After 10 minutes, clean the skin with a warm towel. Do twice a day.
Boils • Benign Tumors
TARO POTATO PLASTER
Taro is a small, hairy tuber native to the Pacific and other tropical regions. Traditionally, the Taro Plaster has been used to draw out blood, pus, carbon, and excess protein and fat from boils, benign tumors, and other hard, yang symptoms.
It is not recommended for cancer of any kind, and it should not be used on the prostate, ovaries, or other yang orders that are located close to other organs and which could cause the condition to spread.
Before applying the Taro Plaster, do a brief Ginger Compress (3–5 minutes) to warm up the skin and increase effectiveness. If the plaster feels cold, a salt pack may be placed on top. If itchy, rub sesame oil on the skin before the plaster is applied the next time.
1. Remove the skin from the taro potato and grate the potato.
2. Add 5 percent grated ginger and mix. (If the paste causes too much itching, omit the ginger).
3. If the paste is very wet, add a little unbleached white flour for finer consistency. The paste, however, should remain moist and have the consistency of wet cement or mud.
4. Spread the mixture about ½ inch thick on a clean cotton cloth.
5. Apply the mixture directly on the infected area (not the cloth side). Leave the plaster on for about 4 hours.
6. If the plaster has dried and is difficult or painful to remove, apply enough warm water to moisten the paste.
Concussions • Hemorrhoids • Fevers • Burns
Traditionally known to help with concussions, hemorrhoids, fevers and burns; in many cases, more effective than ice.
Squeeze out the liquid from a block of tofu and mash tofu in a suribachi.
Add 2-3 tablespoons unbleached white flour and 1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional). Mix well.
Apply the mixture directly to the skin and cover with a towel. You may want to secure it with a bandage, or tie with a cotton strip.
Change the plaster when it becomes hot.
TOFU AND GRAIN PLASTER
You may use this plaster as an alternative if the tofu plaster feels too cold.
Mix 50% cooked whole grain, which has cooled to room temperature (rice or barley) with 50% mashed tofu.
Proceed as above.
TOFU CABBAGE PLASTER
This simple application can serve as a quick alternative to the tofu plasters outlined above.
Slice tofu into 1⁄4 to 1⁄2-inch thick slices. Use a paper towel to press the liquid from the tofu slices.
Pull a leaf from a head of green cabbage.
Place the tofu slice in the center of the cabbage leaf (the leaf serves as a “cup” for the tofu slice.
Place on the forehead or other area so the tofu comes in direct contact with the skin.
Remove and replace with a fresh application when the tofu becomes hot.
Broken Bones • Wounds • Joints
WILLOW LEAVES COMPRESS
Willow trees with their long, slender leaves and vines are soft and flexible. Willow leaves and bark have been used in folk medicine by many ancient cultures as a remedy for aches, pain, and fever. Willow contains salicin, the active ingredient in modern aspirin.
Willow leaves have traditionally been used to treat wounds, bring down inflammation, and to heal sore joints or strengthen broken bones. They help soften hardened or bruised regions and restore flexibility and resilience.
Method A: Boil a handful of willow leaves in water, let the liquid cook, and apply cool compresses with it. This is very helpful on bruises and wounds.
Method B: Mix willow leaves with wheat flour and some water. Apply this paste on fractured bones, or on sprained joints or strained muscles. Leave on for several hours and repeat as necessary.