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Poultice in Witchcraft: Explanation & How to Make One

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

If you love the healing power of herbs, a poultice can be a wonderful tool to care for your body while enjoying the incredible benefits of nature.

In this article we are going to learn more about poultices, how to make them and which are the best combos for some amazing results.


In witchcraft, a poultice is a herbal preparation applied externally to soothe and heal various ailments.

It involves crushing or finely chopping herbs and mixing them with a liquid base like water or oil to form a paste.

Once prepared, the poultice is applied directly to the affected area and covered with a cloth or bandage.

Common herbs used in poultices include comfrey, plantain, calendula, and yarrow, each chosen for their healing properties.

What is a poultice?

By poultice we mean a very particular treatment which consists in the application of bandages, gauze or cotton cloths soaked in water mixed with essential oils to the skin.

Poultices represent an interesting use of aromatic waters that dates back to ancient times: today, poultices are also commonly performed for therapeutic purposes, replacing the classic essential oils with more powerful and appropriately diluted bio-aromas or medicated drops.

However, there is no shortage of “neutral” poultices made only with bandages and hot or cold water without the addition of medicines or essences: in this case, the therapeutic/beneficial action of the treatment is subordinated exclusively to the temperature of the water used the poultice is performed.

How to prepare one?

The preparation of a poultice is very simple, but to exploit maximum therapeutic effectiveness, it is necessary to know (and put into practice) the correct method of use.

Before proceeding with the creation of the poultice, it is necessary to prepare all the equipment:

  • Water (hot or cold, depending on your needs and the ailment you want to heal)
  • Essential oils or medicines in the form of drops
  • Bandages, gauze, folded cotton or flannel cloth

Poulticed bandages In general, poultices are prepared by adding a few drops of the chosen essence into a container containing cold or hot water.

After having immersed it in the aromatic water, the bandage (or gauze) must be immediately removed, wrung out well and applied directly to intact, clean and dry skin.

The poultice should be kept close to the affected part until its temperature has reached that of the body.

The operation must be repeated several times to fully benefit from the effectiveness of the poultice.

Herb SelectionChoose herbs, plants, or other natural ingredients that align with your magical intent and intended use of the poultice. Consider their healing properties, correspondences, and associations in magical practice when selecting ingredients.
PreparationPrepare the herbs or plants by washing them thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities. Chop or crush the ingredients to release their beneficial compounds and increase their surface area for extraction.
Mixture CreationCombine the prepared herbs or plants with a binding agent such as water, oil, or clay to form a thick, paste-like consistency. Experiment with different ratios of herbs and binding agents to achieve the desired texture and consistency for your poultice.
ChargingCharge the poultice with magical energy and intention by visualizing or channeling your desired outcome into the mixture. Focus your thoughts and intentions on the healing properties of the herbs and the intended magical goal of the poultice.
ApplicationApply the poultice directly to the affected area of the body, such as a wound, bruise, or sore muscle, using clean hands or a sterile cloth. Gently massage the poultice into the skin to ensure full coverage and absorption of the herbal properties.
Healing RitualPerform a healing ritual or ceremony to enhance the effectiveness of the poultice and promote holistic healing on all levels. You can incorporate visualization, chanting, or energetic techniques to amplify the magical energy of the poultice and align it with your intentions.
Table: DIY Process for Making a Poultice

Different types of poultices: hot and cold poultices

The only element that distinguishes hot poultices from cold ones is the temperature of the water in which the essences are dispersed. This detail, apparently insignificant, is actually very important to distinguish the various types of poultices and their therapeutic purposes:

  • Hot poultices – which must be kept on the skin until the bandage cools, thus reaching the same body temperature – are particularly indicated as a support for the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and back pain
  • Cold poultices – which must be kept on the skin until the bandage warms up, thus equalizing the body temperature – are particularly suitable for the treatment of headaches, strains, hyperthermia (fever) and all other disorders characterized by heat or swelling.

Hot and cold poultices base their therapeutic activity exclusively on the temperature of the water. In any case, to enhance the desired effect it is possible to add essences or medicines to the water: in these cases the temperature of the poultice facilitates the absorption of the substance contained in the liquid (in which the bandage is soaked).

In fact, the humidity imparted by the poultice to the skin tends to “macerate” the skin, thus favoring the absorption of the essence.

The therapeutic action is an expression of the temperature of the poultice and/or of the functional substance dispersed in the liquid

Intention SettingBefore making or using a poultice in witchcraft, set a clear intention for its purpose and desired outcome. Focus your thoughts and energy on your magical goal as you prepare and apply the poultice, infusing it with your intentions and will.
ConsistencyExperiment with different ingredients, ratios, and formulations to find the poultice recipe that works best for your needs and preferences. Pay attention to the consistency, texture, and aroma of the poultice, as well as its healing effects on the body and spirit.
CleanlinessPractice good hygiene and sanitation when making and applying poultices to prevent contamination and infection. Wash your hands, utensils, and workspace thoroughly before and after handling herbal ingredients to ensure the purity and potency of the poultice.
Table: Tips for Using Poultices in Witchcraft

Aromatic waters

Since time immemorial, aromatic waters have been used to promote the well-being of the skin and spirit: as we know, perfumed waters (hydrolats) – a fundamental ingredient in the preparation of an aromatic poultice – are made up of an aqueous base enriched with essential oils.

The choice of scented water in a poultice is very important because the final therapeutic-like effect will depend on it.

Let’s see, therefore, which aromatic waters are most used in the preparation of a poultice:

  • Rose water: has refreshing, toning and astringent properties, ideal for treating reddened skin. Rose water can also be used in poultices for oily hair
  • Lemon water: has astringent, purifying and disinfectant properties, suitable for the treatment of impure skin and greasy hair
  • Orange flower water: its delicate effect is indicated for the treatment of sensitive and reddened skin
  • Lavender water: its detoxifying and regenerating properties make it suitable for skin affected by acne, rosacea and blackheads. Poultices with aromatic lavender waters are also indicated for fortifying muscles, relieving itching from mosquito bites and insects in general, and relaxing the body (anxiolytic properties).
  • Water flavored with essence of gotu kola or butcher’s broom: the microcirculation-stimulating properties of these plants are indicated in the treatment of skin adiposity. It is no coincidence that centella, butcher’s broom and horse chestnut extracts are used to make poulticees, muds or anti-cellulite masks.
  • Water enriched with arnica essence: arnica extract is widely used in phytotherapy to combat rheumatic pain. It is no coincidence that the anti-inflammatory (anti-inflammatory), analgesic, revulsive (stimulating the microcirculation) and anti-neuralgic properties of the plant are indicated in traumatology in the presence of post-traumatic edema and traumatic joint disorders in general.

Disclaimer: Aromatic poultices, as well as neutral ones made without the use of essential oils, should not be considered drugs: in fact, generally these treatments do not resolve the pathology, but can still attenuate or temporarily mask a certain disorder, supporting any therapy medical.


Use poultices with an open mind choosing the herbs for their healing properties that are more align with the type of results you would like to enjoy.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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