External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Borage Leg Compress

Kind of substance

Borage essence

Guiding principle for the application

Phlebitis, lymphangitis, thrombosis and lymph congestion cause pain and/or a feeling of tension in the congested extremity. Movement is restricted. External warmth and letting the limb hang down worsens the problem. Borage has a refreshing, pleasantly cooling, enlivening effect on the lymph vessels and veins.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Congested lymph
  • Congestion edema during pregnancy
  • Lymphangitis (see example case)
  • Phlebitis
  • Thrombosis


There is also an Instructional video for this compress


  • Apply only to the calf or else to the entire leg, including the groin, depending on the indication
  • Always include the feet in the compress

  • Moisture protection for the bed
  • 2 inner cloths for a calf compress, 2–3 inner cloths for an entire leg up to the hip, always include the foot
  • Intermediate and outside cloths depending on the area of application
  • Basin with 300 ml water (cool, ca. 25°C or 77°F for inflamed/hot limbs), (ca. 40°C or 104°F for cool extremities with poor circulation)
  • 1 Teaspoon/ 6 ml borage essence 20%

Applying the compress
  • Possibly work as a pair
  • Protect the bed from moisture, place the outer cloth ready in the leg area
  • Mix the water with 6 ml borage essence
  • Roll up the inner cloth, dip it into the mixture and thoroughly wring it out
  • Wrap the inner cloth around the leg, beginning at the foot (leaving the toes free), and continuing upward
  • Do the same with the intermediate cloth
  • Cover the wet pack with the outer cloth
  • If the patient feels cold, or if too much warmth accumulates due to the compress, stop the treatment
  • Normally the treatment lasts 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of post-treatment rest

6 ml Borage-lotion in 300 ml handwarm water
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
As needed

Instructions to download

Case example

Lymph vessel inflammation accompanying a case of polycythemia vera
A 55-year-old male patient with polycythemia vera suffers repeatedly from inflamed lymph vessels in the calf below the left knee following vigorous physical activity. A colour-coded Doppler ultrasonography shows nothing remarkable. The approx. 15 cm wide almost circular red-livid area is overheated, painful and swollen. The patient has to lie down most of the time. Quark compresses are initially prescribed. But after a few days the patient finds borage compresses, which he applies up to four times a day, to be more effective and very pleasant. The problem clears up within three weeks.


US, BW, GS, Red.


  • Fingado M. Compresses and other therapeutic applications. A handbook from the Ita Wegman Clinic. Edinburgh: Floris Books; 2012.