Herbal compresses are great for promoting the skin's natural healing process. Depending on the herb you choose, you could use a compress to stop bleeding, relieve pain, soothe itching, and much more.
An herbal compress is made by first making an herbal infusion, then using an absorbent material (such as cheesecloth) to strain the herb. The damp material is then gently pressed onto the area of the body it is needed.
I often (... more often than I'd like to) make an herbal compress using yarrow when my kids get minor cuts and scrapes when playing outdoors. Yarrow is a superb herb for stopping bleeding. For this reason, I tend to keep a small kraft pouch of yarrow in my purse, along with my Herbal Salve (also made with yarrow). The two combined make great additions to any first aid kit. If you're looking to transition your first aid kit to include only natural ingredients, adding yarrow is a great first step.
Herbal Compress Recipe (for minor cuts & scrapes)
1. First, make a semi-strong tea with yarrow (1 Tsp per 3-4 oz water). You can either put the herb in a tea bag and then steep in the hot water 2-3 minutes, or simply pour the hot water over the herb in a small bowl.
2. Once the herbal infusion (tea) has cooled to a temperature your skin can handle, soak a clean piece of fabric in the tea and squeeze out the excess liquid.
3. Place the soaked cloth on the affected area and gently press. Any bleeding should stop within a minute or so.
I always follow up a yarrow compress with my Herbal Soothe Salve to help promote wound healing and fight infection.