External Home Remedies
The body scrub is used to: help activate circulation, promote clear and clean skin, help discharge fat that has accumulated under the skin, and open skin pores in order to promote smooth and regular elimination of any excess fat and toxins. The body scrub is to be done once or twice daily, in the morning and/or at night, before or after a shower or bath, but apart from it.
- Dip a small cotton towel or cloth in hot water. Wring out excess water.
- Scrub the whole body, dipping the towel or cloth into hot water again when cool. Include the hands and feet, each finger and toe.
- The skin should become pink or slightly red. This result may take a few days to- achieve if the skin is clogged with accumulated fats.
The ginger compress is used to dissolve stagnation and tension, and to stimulate blood circulation.
- Boil about one gallon of water.
- While the water is heating, grate enough ginger root to equal the size of a baseball.
- When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and place the ginger into a double layer of cheesecloth. Tie with a string and squeeze the ginger juice from the cheesecloth sack into the water. The water at this point should be just below the boiling point.
- Place the sack into the pot and allow it to steep in the water without boiling for about five minutes.
- Dip a towel into the ginger water, wring out tightly, and apply it to the desired area on the body. Cover with a second dry towel to hold in the heat.
- Change the towel every two or three minutes, replacing it with a fresh, hot towel. This can be done by using two towels and alternating them so that the skin does not cool off between applications.
- Continue the applications for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the area becomes pink.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For people with a serious illness such as cancer, do not use a ginger compress more than once or twice, and for no more than a total duration of four to five minutes each time.
Ginger Body Scrub
The same as above, using ginger water. See the following directions for ginger compress (steps 1-4) as the process is the same. You may reuse left over ginger compress water for a body scrub.
Daikon Hip Bath
The daikon hip bath warms the body. In addition, it aids in extracting body odors caused by the consumption of animal foods; and draws out excess fat and oil from the body. Therefore, it is good for the resolution of skin problems. It is also good for women’s reproductive organs.
- Dry fresh daikon leaves in a shady place until they are brown and brittle. If daikon leaves are not available, use turnip leaves or a handful of arame seaweed.
- Place about four to five bunches of dried leaves or handful of arame in a large pot.
- Add about four to five quarts of water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a medium flame and simmer until the water is brown.
- Add approximately one cup of sea salt to the pot and stir well to dissolve.
- Pour the hot liquid into a small tub or bath. Add water until bath level is waist-high when sitting in the tub.
- Keep the temperature as hot as possible and cover your upper body with a large towel, to induce perspiration.
- Stay in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes, until the hip area becomes very red and hot.
- Keep the hip area warm after coming out of the bath.
- This bath is best and most effective just before bedtime, but at least one hour after eating.
Salt Hip Bath
Same process as Daikon Hip Bath, using a handful of sea salt in the hot bath water.
Douching is used to help eliminate stagnated mucus and fat in the uterus and vagina region
- Use one quart of bancha tea, cooled to body temperature.
- Add 4 or 5 pinches of sea salt, the juice of _ lemon, or 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar or umeboshi vinegar.
- Stir, pour into douche bottle and douche after a hip bath.
A foot bath is used to help stimulate blood and energy flow, and to warm the body.
- Place a handful of salt in hot water.
- Immerse feet in ankle-high water for 10 to 20 minutes.
- A foot bath is best done before bedtime.
A salt pack is used to heat and ease the tension in various parts of the body (stiff muscles, the abdominal area in the case of diarrhea, menstrual or intestinal cramps, stomach cramps).
- Dry roast 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of salt in a stainless steel skillet until it is very hot.
- Wrap the hot salt in a thick cotton towel and tie securely with string.
- Apply to the affected area.
- Change the salt or reheat when it starts to cool off.
- Save the salt as it can be used for a salt pack again. Discard when the salt becomes gray and no longer holds heat.
Taro Potato Plaster
The taro potato plaster is traditionally known to be helpful in drawing out blood, pus, carbon, excess protein and fat from boils and tumors.
Before applying the taro plaster, you may do a very brief ginger compress (three to five minutes) to warm up the skin and to increase the effectiveness of the plaster.
If the plaster feels too cold, a salt pack may be placed on top.
If the plaster feels itchy, you may rub sesame oil on the skin before the next time you apply this plaster.
- Remove the skin from the taro potato. Grate the potato.
- Add 5% grated ginger and mix. (if the paste causes too much itching, you may omit the ginger.)
- If the paste is very wet, add a little unbleached white flour for a firmer consistency. The paste, however, should remain moist and have the consistency of wet cement or mud.
- Spread the mixture about one-half inch thick on a clean cotton cloth.
- Apply the mixture directly on the infected area (not the cloth side). Leave the plaster on for about four hours.
- If the plaster has dried and is difficult or painful to remove, apply enough warm water to moisten the paste.
Regular Potato Plaster
Although the regular potato plaster is not quite as effective as the taro potato plaster, you may use this plaster if taro potatoes are not available.
- Grate potato (green potatoes are best).
- If the potato is very watery, place it in a double layer of cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess water before combining it with the other ingredients.
- Mash equal amounts of chopped raw leafy greens in a suribachi (kale, collards, watercress, etc.).
- Add about 10% grated ginger to the mixture, and mix everything well.
- If the paste is still too watery, add some unbleached white flour to thicken it to the consistency of mud or wet cement.
- Apply as you would the taro plaster.
The buckwheat plaster is helpful in drawing out retained water or other fluids when the plaster is applied to swollen areas on the leg or arms.
- Mix buckwheat flour with a little sesame oil and enough hot water to form a stiff, hard dough.
- Spread the dough on a cotton cloch, about _ ” thick.
- Apply the dough side (not the cloth side) directly to the swollen arm.
- Remove after one to two hours.
- As the plaster draws out the fluid, the dough will become soft and watery. When this happens, replace the plaster with a new, stiff dough.
The tofu plaster is traditionally known to help with concussions, hemorrhoids, fevers and burns. In many cases, it is more effective than ice.
- Squeeze out the liquid from a block of tofu and mash tofu in a suribachi.
- Add 10-20% unbleached white flour and 5% grated ginger. Mix well.
- Apply the mixture directly to the skin and cover with a towel. You may want to secure it in place with a bandage, or tie with a cotton strip.
- Change the plaster every two to three hours, or when it becomes hot.
Tofu & Grain Plaster
Same as above. You may use this plaster as an alternative if the tofu plaster feels too cold.
- Mix 50% cooked whole grain which has cooled to room temperature (rice or barley) with 50% mashed tofu.
- Proceed as indicated above.
The chlorophyll plaster is helpful in lowering fevers and relieving burns.
- Finely chop several green leafy vegetables such as daikon leaves, kale, collards, or Chinese cabbage.
- Place green leafy vegetables in a suribachi and mash well.
- Add 10-20% unbleached white flour and mix into a paste.
- Spread the mixture about _” thick on a towel or cloth, and apply the greens mixture directly to the skin (not the cloth side). Leave on for two to three hours.
Green Clay Plaster
The green clay plaster is traditionally known to draw out excess fluid and fat, to provide relief from aches and pains in the joints; and to help reduce any fat accumulations.
- Mix green clay with enough water to make into a sticky paste.
- Apply paste directly onto affected area and cover with a cotton towel.
- Leave on three hours or overnight.
Brown Rice/Miso Plaster
The brown rice/miso plaster is used to soften accumulated, hardened fat.
- Use cooked brown rice (cooled to room temperature) and mash well in a suribachi.
- Mix with an equal amount of miso.
- Add 3-4% grated ginger and mix together thoroughly, adding a small amount of water to make into a soft plaster.
- Spread this mixture in _” to 1″ thickness on a cotton cloth.
- Apply the mixture directly to the skin (not the cloth side) and leave on for three hours or longer. Secure in place with bandage or tie with cotton strip if necessary.
The kombu plaster is good for burns from radiation, skin lesions, and scars.
- Soak strips of kombu (the length depends on the area to be covered) and cut to proper size, enough for a double layer.
- Apply the soaked kombu to the affected area, directly on the skin, in double layers.
- Cover with a cotton cloth and leave on for three hours or longer.
A mustard plaster is good for dissolving stagnation and stimulating circulation (especially good in cases of lung troubles, such as mucus accumulation or coughing). It is also good at relieving muscle stiffness.
- While preparing the plaster, warm up two towels.
- Crush enough mustard seeds to obtain a handful of mustard powder. You may also use mustard powder or mustard spread from a jar.
- Bring some water to a boil and add enough to the mustard to make a paste.
- Spread the paste onto _ of a triple layer of paper towels or one layer of waxed paper. Fold in half to cover the paste on both sides.
- Spread a towel on the area to be treated. Place the mixture in its wrapper of paper towels or waxed paper on top of the towel and cover with the second towel.
- Leave the plaster on until the heat starts to feel uncomfortable, usually about 10 to 15 minutes.
NOTE: DO NOT APPLY MUSTARD DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN, AS IT WILL BURN.
- The skin will become red which is normal.
- When using this plaster on children, mix in an equal amount of flour.
- If some mustard were to inadvertently leak and burn the skin, spread a small amount of olive oil or other light vegetable quality oil on the affected area of the skin.
- For lung troubles, you may apply the plaster on the chest or on the back, or both.
- In the case of an acute condition, you may apply the plaster two or three times a day, but please refrain from too frequent use as it may burn the skin when repeated too often.
Lotus Root and Ginger Plaster
The lotus root and ginger plaster is traditionally known for its effectiveness in dispersing and moving stagnated mucus in the bronchi, throat, lungs or sinuses.
- Grate enough fresh lotus root to cover the area about 1/2 ” thick.
- Mix thoroughly with 5% grated ginger and 10-15% unbleached white flour.
- Spread the mixture on a cloth or paper towel and apply directly to the skin (not the cloth side).
- Leave on for 20 minutes to one hour.
- This application is more effective if preceded by a ginger compress for five minutes.
- To dissolve mucus deposits in the sinuses, you may leave the plaster on for several hours or overnight. In this case, sew a gauze mask with holes for the nose and eyes. Lotus plaster should cover the area around the eyes and above the nose. This application should be repeated for seven to ten days, and may sometimes take up to two or three weeks to be effective. But it can be very powerful to clear the sinuses. Watery or thick mucus may start to be discharged from the eyes or nose.
Pearl Barley Plaster
The pearl barley plaster is used to harmonize body energy, and draw out and soften excess hard fat or protein.
- Use pearl barley, also called Hato Mugi or Jacob’s Tears. Cook to a soft consistency, using one part grain to three parts water. Let the grain cool to room temperature.
- Mash cooked grain in a suribachi until it becomes a paste.
- Add 5% grated ginger. Mix thoroughly.
- Spread the mixture to 1/2″ to 1″ thick on a cotton cloth.
- Apply the mixture directly to affected area (not the cloth side). Secure it in place with a bandage or tie with cotton strip. Leave on for several hours.