External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Ginger Breastbone Compress

Kind of substance

Ginger, freshly grated

Guiding principle for the application

External application of ginger to the breastbone stimulates vigorous inner warmth in the body, which enables deep warming and thus relaxation.  The soul is invited to join more intensively with the body, which can be seen in deepened breathing, among other things. The patient can calm down. Emotional and physical tension can be released.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Bronchial asthma (see example case)
  • Bronchitis
  • COPD
  • To stimulate the warmth organism:



  • This is an individual case description, which was not administered as a wrapped compress, only as a simple one applied during outpatient treatment.

  • Ginger, freshly grated
  • Paper towels
  • Wool cloth

  • Spread 2 tablespoons of grated ginger on a kitchen towel and place warmed up on the patient’s breastbone, cover with a woolen cloth
  • Leave on for 5–6 hours

One case
Onset of effect
The warming begins after 10 minutes, it then takes up to one hour until the asthma attack is completely over.
Length of therapy
As long as needed, possibly daily
Other recommended therapies
If the skin is irritated by daily compresses, it can be helpful to alternate with a lavender oil compress.
The skin can be slightly damaged if ginger is applied every day – depending on the skin type.

Instructions to download

Case example

An 80-year-old man developed severe bronchial asthma after 4 anesthesias 2 years ago, which can be controlled during the day with cortisone spray. At night, when he had to go to the toilet and came from the bedroom into the cool hallway, he suffered such strong suffocation attacks that he needed the emergency doctor 2–3 times a week at night. During the suffocation attacks he was no longer properly responsive and always spoke of his experiences as a child in Africa. This went on for several weeks. After his wife heard a lecture about external applications, she put a fresh ginger compress on his breastbone one evening. He fell asleep with it on and the compress remained in place for 5–6 hours. She did this every evening and the emergency doctor never had to be called again, the patient can now even sleep through again. After about three months he no longer needed a ginger compress, it was enough for him to apply bronchial balm or lavender oil to his sternum every evening – this warmed him up and did him good. He still uses the cortisone spray during the day.


Red., AF