Part of my ongoing medical difficulties include reoccurring bacterial infections, something my naturopath says can be cured, but will take some time to completely go away. Over the past couple of weeks, I've specifically been fighting a large, painful Staph infection. When my naturopath saw it, I didn't expect her to prescribe antibiotics, like the average MD would. But when she told me to fight the infection with a potato...I admit, I laughed.
I love to read old household guides, so I knew that in the old days, a potato poultice was often used to fight infections - but I guess I assumed this was among the old timey medical ideas that was nonsense. Boy, was I wrong.
This infection has been extremely painful. Bring tears to your eyes painful. The most painful pain I'd ever felt pain. But those potato poultices felt so soothing. And I do believe they are healing. For example, at first my infection was black, blue, and green. I put on my second potato poultice, and when I removed it - all those colors had completely disappeared! The infection was now pink. And slowly, as I applied the poultice several times each day, the infection got smaller and smaller.
(Important note: My infection really started to do some serious healing, however, after I asked for prayer on Facebook. Within 45 minutes, the terrible pain was gone, and a day later, the infection was draining, and half it's original size.)
Then I had an even bigger surprise: Not only do herbalists and naturopaths use potatoes to fight infections, but modern scientists do, too! Scientists know that more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, so they are studying different ways to fight these types of infections...and they are looking to the humble potato for help. It turns out, a substance in potatoes prevents bacteria from attaching to human cells - preventing infection. Soon, doctors may have us use a potato extract to prevent and reduce bacterial infections of every kind.
How to Make and Use a Potato Poultice:
1. Scrub your hands with warm water and soap for 30 seconds.
2. Using a vegetable brush and warm, running water, scrub the potato. And organic is best - fresh from the garden is even better. Do not peel the potato! (The compound being studied as a way to treat bacteria is found in the first few millimeters of the vegetable.)
3. Using a grater just washed in hot, soapy water, grate a small amount of the potato - just enough to cover the infected area about 1/4 in. deep.
4. Apply the grated potato to the skin. Cover with a clean hand towel. Keep in place for 20 - 30 minutes.
5. Gently remove all the grated potato and dispose of in the trash. (It's not a bad idea to dump the used potato in a plastic bag, seal it, and toss it in the trash can.)
I used my potato poultice three times a day.
Of course, infections of any kind can be quite serious. My naturopath advised me to take my temperature twice a day - once in the morning, and once in the early evening. If I'd developed a fever, I would have rushed to the doctor. In addition, if the infection had spread or took a long time to heal, my doctor would have prescribed more medical intervention.