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Word Smith: Poultice

There was a reference in my Bible reading today about King Hezekiah and his near death experience. He had a seriously infected boil and felt he was going to die, so he sought help from those around him. The profit Isaiah was able to suggest that Hezekiah’s servants could relieve his pain by applying a poultice of figs to his wound.[1] Seeking more insight on this strange practice, (was it all about the figs?), it was time to look it up.
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a soft, moist mass of material, typically of plant material or flour, applied to the body to relieve soreness and inflammation and kept in place with a cloth.
apply a poultice to.
“He poulticed the wound with a fig concoction.”
Some references talk about poultice (cataplasm) as a piece of cloth covered with a thick, often warm substance that can be wrapped around an injury, such as a boil, to reduce pain or swelling or both.[2]
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And although figs may taste great as well as having some wonderful medicinal qualities and uses, they are not alone in the poultice world. Potions and lotions of nearly every sort show up: herbs, salts, clays, plants, mixtures, roots, leaves, etc.
Charcoal anyone?
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Although I have never applied a chemical, clay, charcoal or plant-based poultice, I have seen them “draw out” the venom from stings, bites, and inflammation below the skin. Although humans continuously look for ways to inject our bodies with known toxins, depressants and stimulants, the body knows better. Our systems will search for the best (fastest) ways to rid the body of those toxins and eject them altogether: vomiting, diarrhea, and rejection, even if that means pulling them out through the skin. Now that I think about it, of the three, a poultice seems the safest and most civil.