External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Equisetum Kidney Compress

Kind of substance

Equisetum arvense tea

Guiding principle for the application

Equisetum is a rhythmically structured plant without flowers. It emphasizes maximized formative forces by focusing on a pure stem principle. 90% of the plant grows underground, so it absorbs large amounts of water and silica from the soil.
Instead of forming leaves, this plant takes its respiratory surface inwards, its roots penetrate into the soil like richly branched nerve fibers – it brings “light into the darkness”. It is often found as “drainage” in watery, cool, loamy soils. Equisetum, with its inward breathing activity and its ability to organize watery things, is an obvious medicinal plant for kidney treatment and can also be helpful where liquid accumulates and encapsulates itself in the organism and causes the associated metabolic processes to become chronic.

Basically, the kidney is always treated with warmth to support its activity and to give shielding to the mental component related to this organ. The kidney that reacts to the life of soul is often affected where people have experienced strokes of fate or have had to cope with severe illness. The pleasant warmth and the support of a suitable substance can release this organ from “rigidity” and support it in its function.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Ascending urinary tract infections with fever
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Renal colic
  • Pyelonephritis, acute, febrile (see example case)
  • Pyelonephritis, chronic
  • Convalescence
  • Shock (traumatic)


Place a hot, flat-filled hot-water bottle under each of the finished compresses on the left and right, leave out the spine.


  • Outer cloth
  • Intermediate cloth
  • Inner cloth
  • Wringing-out aid
  • 2 hot-water bottles
  • Medium-sized basin
  • Equisetum tea:

Put 1 tablespoon of Equisetum greens in half a liter of water overnight and cook for 10 minutes the next day.
OR without soaking in cold water, simmer covered directly for 40 minutes on a low heat
Then strain into a thermos.

  • Lay the outer and intermediate cloths onto the bed at the level of the upper abdomen
  • The patient lies down on them
  • Pour the hot tea into the basin
  • Immerse the folded inner cloth in the tea, wring it out well!
  • The patient sits up in bed or turns all the way to the side. Initially fan the body with the hot cloth, until the heat is tolerable, then lay the inner cloth folded 4 times from axillary line to axillary line over the kidneys, and then quickly mold the other wrapping cloths around the body.  Place the hot-water bottles from the left and right under the kidneys (leave out the spine)
  • Cover the patient, including the shoulders and feet
  • After 30 minutes, remove the hot-water bottles and the compress, cover this part of the body again (e.g., pull down the T-shirt that had been pushed up)
  • Another 30 minutes of post-treatment rest

Rinse out the cloths, hang them up

Well-proven in many patients

1 x daily
Onset of effect
Immediately, up to several days
Length of therapy
As long as needed
Not for use in pyonephrosis

Instructions to download

Case example

A young woman in very difficult social circumstances, 3 months after the birth of her first child, got a fever and complained of pain in her back, so that she was no longer able to care for her child. After a few days she went to the doctor, who prescribed an antibiotic, which did not help (leukocytes and blood in the urine remained high, even the pain in the back remained). Then the antibiotic was changed, even the new one didn’t help. The back pain was increasing. The patient did not follow the advice of a doctor friend to go to the hospital. A nurse gave her an Equisetum kidney compress, which immediately alleviated the pain, as well as the weakness. The patient could sleep again and take care of her child. Her urine also improved, but not sufficiently, so that she was urgently advised to see a doctor or go to a hospital, which she refused.


Red.  US


  • Sommer M. Healing plants. Herbal remedies from traditional to anthroposophical medicine. Edinburgh: Floris Books; 2014.