Herbs & Tinctures in External Use

11 Nov


NOTE: Never apply Arnica externally to open wounds, cuts or grazes — that is, to broken skin, as it can cause a nasty rash. For open wounds use ‘Calendula instead’.

Veterinary Uses

Pressure Sores: Use for the  first stage of pressure sores caused by a long confinement or laying on hard surfaces.
Bruises: Apply the ointment, cream or lotion directly to the affected part (remembering to use it only on unbroken skin) as soon as possible. If you can do this before the bruise has started to discolor (even if it has already swollen), it will simply be re-absorbed by the body, especially if you give homeopathic Arnica internally in potency as well. Rub ointment or cream in gently, or if you are using lotion apply it on a piece of lint or gauze and keep in place until the swelling has subsided — usually a matter of several hours.
Sore Muscles: Rub Arnica ointment or oil into sore, bruised muscles after exertion (such as working animals, racing, competitions, running) and give the appropriate internal remedy if the animal’s symptoms are severe.
Sprains and Strains ( rst stage): Rub in Arnica ointment or cream, or wrap the sprained joint in a lotion-soaked bandage. This will deal with the initial swelling.
Arnica mother tincture should not be ingested internally.


Warning: Calendula helps the layers of the skin (the epithelium) to ‘knit’ back together and will mend a clean wound in a matter of hours. It heals so rapidly that it can seal dirt into the body, so always clean the wound very carefully before applying Calendula. Never use Calendula on an abscessed wound unless it has completely drained and is ready to close.

Veterinary Uses

Burns/scalds (second degree): Use Calendula cream or lotion for the later stages of a burn once the pain has passed. Calendula will promote new skin growth and is especially useful where blisters have broken.

Cuts/wounds: Apply ointment or cream to minor cuts, and bandage if necessary. For serious wounds apply lotion on a piece of lint or gauze and keep in place. Use a spritzing or spray bottle containing the lotion to keep the dressing damp but don’t remove the dressing until the bleeding that has stopped and healing is well under way.

Tooth Extractions: The mouth can be bathed around the extraction site with a Calendula infusion to help close the area and prevent infection.

Cracked Nipples or Teats: If Phytolacca has failed to help, apply Calendula ointment, or cream if sensitive to lanolin, to heal cracked, painful nipples.
Hand Cream: Calendula cream makes a marvelous hand cream after gardening or working on the car when there may be little cuts in the skin.

Mouthwash: Use a strong lotion after tooth extractions or after any sort of dental work where the gums have been cut.

Urine burn or rash: Use ointment or cream several times daily, making sure that the whole area is clean and dry  first (wash with water and a mild, unscented soap). Also see Symphytum.

Sunburn: Use the lotion or cream (see Burns above).

Thrush: For vaginal thrush, douche with the following mixture to relieve soreness and itching: make one pint of chamomile tea (one pint of boiling water to one tablespoon of dried chamomile leaves or one chamomile tea bag). Leave to cool, strain, add 40 drops of Calendula tincture and douche twice daily for up to a week only. You can buy a re-usable douche from drug stores (not the disposable type which comes with its own solution). Douching will not cure the complaint; it will only help during the acute phase, and you should seek professional help.

Glossitis (swelling and ulceration of the tong in felines); dilute an herbal tincture (one part water, one part tincture) it is also very good for haws (protrusion of the third eyelid). All eye problems are helped by marigold tincture and washings with the infusion. An ointment can also be appliedto the eyelids as a healing agent. Bruising a fresh  ower head and rubbing it over a wasp or beesting will relieve the pain and disinfect the site of the wound.


The topical solution may be purchased under the registered trade name of Hypercal ® or you can make your own by adding 10 drops Hypericum mother tincture and 10 drops Calendula mother tincture to a half a pint (250 ml) of cool, previously boiled distilled water. Bathe the affected area with cotton balls, soaked in the solution, 2 or 3 times daily. If the animal is not sensitive to a spray bottle, it can easily be applied by spritzing it on.

Can be used on any wound, stitches at a surgical site (neuter/spay) or burn to ease pain and prevent or treat infection.


Eye infections/infammations/injuries: Use Euphrasia whenever the eye needs bathing — whether it is sore after the removal of dirt or grit, after swimming in a chlorinated pool, when irritated by allergies or when actually infected or inflamed. If Euphrasia doesn’t help, use Hypercal tincture . Some  nd it more effective, especially in the case of infection.

Use 20 drops in 250 mL (1/2 pint) of water, mix well. It is essential to use cooled, boiled distilled water in an eye bath, and to clean the eye bath itself with boiling water after each eye is bathed to prevent the spread of infection.

Hypericum( St. John’s Wort)

This is an excellent herb for wounds and is bene cial for all nerve injuries. St. John’s wort is suitable for the preparation of tea infusions, fresh ointment, infused oils, compresses, poultices and tincture. This oil is also used for all wounds and swellings, especially glandular swelling.Massages with the herb bene t rheumatism, arthritis and back pain. It is also soothing for sunburn, scalds, grazes and burns.


The fresh leaves have been employed as a poultice for inflammation and indolent ulcers with most beneficial results. An ointment of the fresh plant or the dried herb absolutely works miracles on anything, anywhere that ITCHES. A poultice of Chickweed enclosed in muslin is a sure remedy for a carbuncle or an external abscess. The water in which the Chickweed is boiled should also be used to bathe the affected part which will help prevent or treat infection.


Bleeding: A topical solution of an herbal infusion can be applied as a compress to the affected area. Standard poultices are applied to infected wounds, cancerous growths and ulcers. Horsetail is primarily a kidney herb, and to aid in the treatment of this organ, a poultice can be applied.
For allergic skin conditions, and miliary dermatitis, an infusion used for continual washings and compresses of a strong decoction of horsetail, are most beneficial. These are also useful for infections of the nail bed. Normal strength infusions can be used for inflammation of the mouth, and inflammation and bleeding of the gums. Horsetail is suitable for infusions, poultices, baths, fresh ointment, compresses and tinctures.


Comfrey (Symphytum) is esteemed as a truly remarkable wound and bone-setting herb. In external application it is particularly effective in treating non-union of fractures, back pain ,rheumatism and swollen joints. Even arthritis that has caused extensive damage will benefit from its use. For paralysis, the tincture can have astonishing effects. Massage well into the joints and muscles of the affected parts several times a day. Where paralysis is due to strain, shock, dislocation or sprain, apply scalded leaves of comfrey as a poultice.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Coltsfoot leaves, which appear in late May, are richer in medicinal virtues than the  flowers. A poultice of fresh ointment made from them is very bene cial for the chest in cases of pneumonia and swellings due to bruising. Make a compress from a long-brewed decoction of the leaves for wounds that will not heal, and the sores and ulcers caused by foreleg paralysis. Steam baths should be prepared from the leaves and  flowers of Coltsfoot to help chronic bronchitis and shortness of breath and will bene t cats suffering from asthma. Also apply a compress to the chest made from a strong infusion. Ear infections can be helped by the fresh juice. Strangely enough, it is one of the great therapeutic smoking herbs (taken to relieve any condition that obstructs the breath) and formed the predominant basis of the Herbal Tobacco, so popular in Britain until World War ll.

Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

The extracted juice of the plant, can be used externally and is successful in the treatment of ringworm, malignant skin diseases, cataract, spots on the cornea, defective vision, and a bleeding or detached retina. A homeopathic tincture of greater celandine is available from chemists and herbal tinctures from reputable dealers for these disorders, but for cataract and impaired vision, the fresh juice is best obtained. It can be made by bruising a washed, wet leaf-stem of greater celandine between the forefinger and thumb, and then smearing it over the closed eyelid and into the corners of the eye. It is not actually rubbed into the eye. Take care when treating cats or dogs in this way, as your skin should not absorb and quantity of the juice (it is an irritant in large doses). An infusion of the herb can be made, the juice can be used, however, the homeopathic mother tincture referred to above is best purchased from a lab than attempting to prepare it yourself.

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Plantain is an impressive wound herb, and when washed, bruised and placed on an open wound, the leaves bring rapid healing. They are also good for cuts, scratches, dog bites, snake bites and stings and bites from poisonous insects. The fresh, bruised leaves have been used to treat cancerous and other aberrant growths, and for malignant glandular disorders. Marjoram oil is dabbed well onto the appropriate parts, and bruised plantain leaves are laid over the oil and held in place by a bandage. For cats suffering from iliac thrombosis, the fresh leaves, crushed and applied at the site of the thrombosis along the aorta (up the abdomen to the heart), should be regularly administered after the patient has been treated by the vet. Plantain can be used to make infusions, tinctures, fresh ointment, poultices and dressings from the fresh leaves.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

One of nature’s most potent herbs! The fresh ointment is used to bring wonderfully swift and cooling relief to any area of the body that is painfully swollen and infected. Use the stinging nettle to make tea infusions, decoctions, compresses, poultices, ointment, baths and tincture.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium; Soldier’s woundwort)

For feline respiratory disease, a tea infusion of yarrow, can bring comfort to the discomfort of running eyes. wash the eyes with the tea infusion, several times a day. The fresh pulped leaves, put onto a decaying tooth, will take the pain away, and help to halt the putrefaction and decay.

Washing the coat with a decoction of yarrow is very helpful for alopecia (hair loss) and for feline miliary dermatitis.

To aid in anal sac impaction and expressing the glands, use a warm compress made with a yarrow infusion.

Yarrow can be used to make tea infusions, decoctions, tinctures, ointment, poultices, compresses, oil and baths. The ointment is particularly good for anal irritation and healing wounds. When making an ointment, use plenty of  flowers, if available, and an equal part of raspberry leaves for every part of yarrow (a part is a measure. It can be any amount specified in a formula. It could be a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a cup or a wheel barrow full.

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