Herbal Cures: Bed Sores

The basic concept of classical homeopathy is based on the knowledge that drugs cure similar diseases, as they can cause symptoms when used on healthy people. In therapy and diagnostics, homeopathy is usually systematic and involves not only the disease-related symptoms and changes, but all the striking features of the disease patients as a whole, of spirit, soul and body.

Also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, and trophic ulcers, bedsores develop where the skin endures unrelieved external pressure. Those who are paralyzed, unconscious, or immobile and anyone confined to a bed or wheelchair for long periods of time are most susceptible. Herbal remedies with antiinflammatory properties are effective against them.

The sores occur most commonly on the buttocks, as well as on the shoulders, elbows, lower back, hips, knees, ankles, and heels. They begin as red, tender patches of skin that slowly thicken and swell. Blisters and openings in the skin are common. Ongoing pressure prevents the sores from healing and invites infection. Severe bedsores, which always require medical attention, can expose the bone and may require surgery and skin grafting.

Because bedsores are difficult to treat, prevention is the best medicine. To minimize pressure in any one place, the patient’s position should be changed every two hours. Pressure areas should be washed and dried carefully-sponge gently and use a small amount of soap. (Wet skin, especially if caused by incontinence, is prone to infection.) Padding beds with wool blankets can help relieve pressure.

Cornstarch and talcum powder- often sprinkled on damp skin and open sores-can help keep skin dry. Other measures include foot and leg exercises, gentle massage, and a vitamin-fortified diet.

Myrrh

To make an astringent and antiseptic tincture, mix 1 part resin of the myrrh shrub with 5 parts 90 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Commercial tinctures are also sold. Test on healthy skin first to make sure further irritation does not occur. Never apply to an open sore.

Aloe vera gel

Carefully slice along the center of the aloe leaf, peel back the edges, and scrape out the gel. The gel is available in most stores, but the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect of the fresh gel is much greater.

Arnica

The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities of the flower heads are captured in commercial tinctures and ointments. Apply with a cloth or add to a poultice. Long-term use may cause dermatitis. Do not take internally.

Calendula

Use 1 to 2 teaspoons flowers to make a standard tea (for external use), tincture, or ointment. Apply the steeped tea with a clean cloth. Or use a commercial ointment.