A fomentation is a special preparation that allows herbs to be absorbed through the skin. It is prepared by first making a strong infusion, or tea, from the herb parts (usually the leaves, roots, or flowers). A clean cloth is then dipped into the warm tea and applied to the skin. When it cools, the cloth must be wrung out and dipped again to keep it warm. The fomentation should be applied for several hours at a time and perhaps for several days, depending on the condition being treated. Redness of the skin is normal and indicates increased circulation, so do not discontinue unless skin feels painful.
Properly used herbal remedies treat the underlying cause of problems. Therefore, it may take some patience for those of us who are used to the almost instant results obtained from conventional treatments that often only mask symptoms and drive disease deeper into tissues. With perseverance, however, herbal remedies can help the body heal itself from the inside out, yielding lifelong results.
This example is a comfrey and plantain fomentation I made to treat a small area of eczema on Marianne’s leg. Results will be posted soon.