Yarrow Liver Compress and Nutritive Bath

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By: Eileen Bristol

What are some supportive therapies we can offer to others or do for ourselves at home? One simple suggestion is to establish a strong rhythmic element in the day's activities: regular waking, sleep­ing and meal times support the rebuild­ing of health. Regular and frequent applications of simply ext6rnal com­presses such as a yarrow compress over the liver area or the giving of a nutritive bath can also provide support over time.

Yarrow Liver Compress
This compress is useful for support­ing liver function. It should be applied regularly over a period of time. You may want to begin with daily applications for one week and then continue for a few more weeks, 3 times per week for a month or more. In serious chronic conditions, you can continue one to three times per week for the duration of your treatment. At anthroposophical clinics in Europe, many patients will receive a daily yarrow compress over the liver during the rest period after lunch throughout their entire hospital stay.

These directions offer a simplified version which anyone should be able to do at home, for themselves or an­other.

Gather together the following:

1. hot water bottle

2. dried or fresh yarrow (whole plant or whatever is available)

3. a piece of cotton cloth (from an old sheet or T-shirt is fine) large enough to fold and cover the liver area (on the right side, below the breast, extending a little below the rib cage, above the navel and extending around the side closest to the bed with the patient lying).

4. If you have nothing else, use a soft, clean washcloth.

5. another piece of non-synthetic cloth for a wrap, not too thick (so it will be comfortable underneath the patient) and large enough to cover the area of the compress and wrap around the entire torso 1-1/2 times, overlap­ping enough to tuck snugly or pin together comfortably with diaper pins. 

6. diaper pins - if wanted (avail­able at many drugstores or conve­nience stores).

Gather together your supplies in ad­vance. Pick a time which is either bed­time or a time when the patient can lie down for about an hour. Open the long wrap and spread on the bed, correctly placed so it will wrap around the torso and cover the liver area. If you are doing this for someone else, have them lie down and wait. Be sure the room is comfortably warm and there is no draft.

Fill a hot water bottle 1/2 full with hot, but not boiling water. Screw in the cap partway. Carefully squeeze out the air until the water rises to the top. (Avoid burning yourself with the hot water) and screw in the cap. If you leave the air in it will swell up like a balloon as the air heats up. Wrap the hot water bottle in a towel and set aside.

Boil a quart of water and steep 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dried herb (more if fresh). Wrap the herb in a small handker­chief or piece of cheesecloth and tie with a string or twist-tie to create a sort of teabag. After 5-15 minutes, remove the yarrow and then dip the compress (small) cloth into the tea and quickly wring out, as dry as possible. You may want to wrap a towel around the compress cloth or wear very thick, lined rubber gloves as you wring it to avoid burning your hands. Flap it quickly against the patient's skin so that they can adjust to the heat and then apply directly on the skin over the liver area with the patient lying on the wrap cloth. Immediately bring the wrap around to cover the compress and tuck or pin snugly, but not too tightly.

If you have placed the long wrap on the bed with the ends that extend beyond the sides of the patient rolled up like a scroll, it is possible to unroll it quickly and smoothly when the compress is in place. Place the hot water bottle, wrapped in a small towel, over the liver area. Pull the covers up over the patient and have them rest. After 20 minutes remove the hot water bottle. Continue to rest another 40 minutes, or go to sleep for the night. When you remove the compress it should be dry or nearly dry. The body's heat will have dried it out providing you have wrung it out sufficiently.

If you are doing this for someone else, it is a wonderful help to experience it once yourself so you will better understand the process. Always be calm, but cheerful and gentle in your work. Remember, a rhythmical frequency of application will increase the benefits. The procedure may seem complicated at first, but once you have done it a few times it becomes very simple.

Nutritive Bath
This bath can be a help in restoring someone who is in an exhausted or weak­ened condition. It can be repeated daily for 3 -7 days and then once or twice a week until the patient is feeling stronger.

Supplies needed:

*1 lemon and a knife to cut it

*1 cup best quality milk available (raw organic if possible, otherwise the best you can obtain)

*1 best quality egg available (from free ranging chickens if possible)

*a clock or minute timer

Have the bathroom at a warm tem­perature, free of drafts. Fill the tub with warm (baby bottle temperature) water -not too cool, but not hot. Mix the raw egg into the cup of milk. Pour this into the tub of water and stir in briefly. Place the whole lemon under water and slice the skin in a number of places to release the oils. Squeeze it to release the juices. Hold the lemon in one hand under water or set temporarily on the side of the tub. With large, slow movements, bring the water into motion in a lemniscate (figure 8) form. It should not slosh about. If it does, slow down. Continue this movement no more than a few minutes, only until the water begins to feel softer.

Try and bring a helpful, positive mood to your prepara­tions. Helping thoughts and feelings are real and do support the effectiveness of the therapy. Place the lemon in the water. Have the patient enter the water, sub­merging as much as possible. Only stay in the bath 7 minutes maximum. This should be a peaceful, quiet time without other stimulation than the bath itself. This allows the patient to fully experi­ence the qualities of the therapeutic bath. A young child, of course, should be al­lowed what is needed to enjoy the bath, such as a tub toy. It will feel good and the patient may wish to stay in longer, but it can have a tiring effect to stay in too long.

Have the patient dry off without rinsing. Pat and don't rub. The silky quality of the bath water leaves the skin soft to the touch and is not sticky as one might imagine. Have the patient go to bed to sleep immediately, being sure that they have sufficient covers to feel snug and cozy. You do not, however, want the patient to sweat. Always be sure and to maintain a patient and positive mood. If you are doing this for someone else, it is helpful for you to experience it once for yourself. It is wonderul!


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