External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Potato Sternum Compress

Guiding principle

Mashed potatoes are excellent warmth accumulators that can absorb a lot of heat and hold it for a long time. The moist warmth penetrates into the depths of the body’s tissues and creates dynamic chaos. This dissolves blockages (tension, hardening), stimulates local metabolism and enables the body to form a new order. The whole inflammatory process calms down. This also attenuates coughing irritation in bronchitis and pneumonia, enabling the patient to fall asleep.

Indications

  • Acute bronchitis
  • Tormenting irritation of the throat, also with pneumonia

Instructions

Particularities:

  • Warmth is needed for the healing process, but the skin in the chest area is sensitive. Be careful not to burn the skin. We therefore recommend the following: when the finished pack is lying on the patient's chest, it can be lifted off several times and put down again until the heat is tolerated.

For this compress you can use boiled potatoes, which you mash and wrap in a piece of cloth, or store-bought mashed potato powder, which you stir into hot water.

Materials:
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of mashed potato powder (powder must not contain egg or milk, otherwise it cannot hold the heat well)
  • or 2 medium-sized, unpeeled boiled potatoes
  • 1 small basin
  • 1 spoon
  • 400ml very hot but not boiling water, apr.70-80°C (for the potato powder version; do not use milk!)
  • 1 kitchen board
  • Piece of fabric approximately 40 x 25 cm
  • 1 intermediate cloth
  • 1 outer cloth


How it is done
Prepare the patient and the room

Option 1: using potatoes
  • 2 medium-sized boiled potatoes with skin
  • Piece of fabric: 25 x 40 cm, lay it on a kitchen board
  • Put the potatoes on the fabric, on the board
  • Leave them in their skins and mash them
  • Fold the cloth back from all sides to create a pack about the size of a hand
  • Place this pack on the entire length of the sternum (leave out thyroid and heart)
  • Wrap the intermediate cloth around it (not too tight)
  • Wrap the outer cloth around it


Option 2: Using potato powder
  • Moisten 4 heaped tablespoons mashed potato powder with boiling water. The mashed potato should be drier than if you prepared it for eating. Due to the large quantity of the cool powder, the heat of the water is already cooled down. 
  • Apply the mash to the piece of fabric
  • Fold in the sides and only then press it to distribute the mash inside the cloth to the size of one hand
  • Place this pack on the entire length of the sternum (leave out thyroid and heart)
  • Wrap the intermediate cloth around it (not too tight)
  • Wrap the outer cloth around it
  • Settle the patient in the bed


Duration:
  • 30–45 minutes, as long as it feels comfortably warm
  • Post-treatment rest: 30 minutes


Follow-up
  • Discard potato substance
  • Wash out the inner cloth

Evidence
A very often proven application
Dosage
1–2 x daily, as needed; especially suitable for the night
Onset of effect
Immediate
Length of therapy
As needed
Warning
Caution! Avoid skin burns in the chest area

Case example

Currently no example case

Author

SK

Substances