A poultice is a mixture that is used to treat sore or inflamed areas of the body. The mixture can be made of different things, with the common denominator being that the poultice is usually soft and moist. The word poultice actually comes from the Latin word puls/pultes, which means porridge. In fact, in the old days, porridge was actually used in the way we use poultices nowadays. An alternative term for poultice is cataplasm.
There are many kinds of poultices depending on the materials used. One of the most commonly used materials is cereal. Anything from oatmeal to bran can be used. These kinds of poultices are often used on animals when they have problems with inflamed joints. Some traditional healers still use poultices on people, especially when they have a chest cold or a cough. Poultices of this type can be made from a mixture of herbs and sometimes, onions are also used.
When making a poultice, the ingredients are mixed together and then spread on a piece of cloth. It is imperative that the poultice is warm upon application. The heat is actually part of the healing process.
Today, most people tend to prefer heating pads to poultices. This is perhaps because making a poultice can be tiresome. Why spend time and effort making one when you can buy a heating pad that can do the job? However, there are still those who prefer to use traditional poultices as they believe that the ingredients add to the healing effect.