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Wraps are old home remedies, and potato wraps are a traditional recipe for sore throats, colds, and other ailments. How do such potato wraps work? And how do we apply them? We will answer these questions below.
Potato wrap - overview
- Description: Potato wraps are hot potatoes that are packed in a cloth and placed on the skin.
- Effect: They do not work through the ingredients of the potatoes, but by giving off heat evenly. Warming the body promotes blood circulation and thus the supply of oxygen, relieves pain and strengthens the body's defenses.
- Application areas: Warm wraps with potatoes can help with abdominal pain, colic, muscle pain such as sore muscles or tension, tendonitis and osteoarthritis. Potato wraps are also natural home remedies for coughs, colds and cystitis.
- Contraindications: You should not use heat for healing in the case of complaints that are aggravated by heat, such as high fever or when there is a risk of thrombosis.
What do potato wraps work against?
Potato wraps serve as home remedies for
- To cough,
- Sore throat,
- rheumatic problems,
- Stomach pain,
- Muscle tension,
- Skin rash,
- impaired blood circulation,
- Colic (cramp-like pain)
- and an inflamed bladder.
Wraps with potatoes are also a good home remedy because they are usually found in every household or can otherwise be obtained immediately from the shop around the corner.
Healing through warmth
Potato wrap does not heal through the ingredients of the potatoes, but through the heat given off. This can also be achieved in many other ways. Potatoes, however, have a special thermal conductivity. When heated, they give off heat slowly and continuously. That is why they are particularly suitable for evenly supplying body parts with heat for about half an hour. Water in hot water bottles, for example, cools down much faster.
What does heat help against?
Applying heat is considered to be a means of relieving chronic pain, such as that caused by rheumatic diseases or osteoarthritis, but also for tense muscles or sore muscles. When a part of the body warms up, the blood can flow better and metabolic end products are removed faster. The metabolism is stimulated, defense cells build up faster and the immune system stabilizes. Muscles and tendons relax and the nerves are less sensitive - which relieves the pain.
That is why warm potato wraps work against all forms of pain that are relieved by better blood circulation and thus oxygenation: muscle pain, rheumatic pain and cold pain.
With cough and mucus, heat helps to loosen or liquefy the mucus. Warm breast wraps with potatoes are suitable for this.
What are wraps?
Wraps are wipes that are either wrapped around the body (whole body wraps) or around individual parts of the body. The towels are warmed or cooled, sometimes with certain liquids or coated with substances. Pads, compresses or envelopes also produce a similar effect. In contrast, they are not wrapped around the body part, but are only put on. Wraps, which distinguishes them from associations, are only launched on short notice.
How do wraps work?
Wraps work in different ways. On the one hand, they act directly on the body by giving off temperature stimuli (hot wraps, cold wraps). For example, this promotes blood circulation, relieves pain (cold wraps), soothes the skin and promotes wound healing. Warm potato wrap and envelopes relieve a sore throat because the heat promotes blood circulation.
On the other hand, wraps have a pharmaceutical effect if medically active substances are coated on them and then absorbed by the skin. These include medicinal plants such as yarrow, chamomile or sage.
The psychological effect
Potato wraps are an old home remedy. This is partly due to the fact that, unlike prescription medicines, potatoes and towels were present in every household, but partly due to the way people live together: Wraps also affect the psyche. Wrapping a sick person means being physically close to them, taking care of them and is often associated with feelings of trust and security.
A win-win situation arises: those affected have the feeling of being cared for; Parents, grandparents and partners enjoy doing good things for their loved ones with their own hands. Care is an evolutionary part of healing.
What is a wrap made of?
A wrap consists of three layers. Inside is a cloth made of cotton or, in earlier times, made of linen. In between there is a cloth made of cotton or wool. Outside there is a third large cloth (for example a towel or a blanket) made of sturdy material such as terry cloth.
Instructions for breast wrap with potatoes
First we cook four to six large floury potatoes. Then we spread the outside towel on the bed. We put the intermediate cloth over it and the inner cloth over it. We wrap the inside cloth so that the potatoes cannot fall out.
We cook the potatoes softly and crush them. We spread the mashed potatoes on the inner cloth. Attention: The hot potatoes need to cool down a bit. They should stay warm, but should not be so hot that the person affected burns them.
We now place the warm potatoes wrapped in the inner cloth on the chest or back. We now wrap the upper body with the intermediate cloth and the outer cloth. Then we cover the person with a blanket. The wrap remains on the skin until the potato mass is cold.
First we make the wrap like the chest wrap. However, the outer cloth can be smaller because the neck is smaller than the chest. We put the mashed potatoes wrapped in the inner cloth around our necks and cover it loosely with a cloth made of firm fabric - traditionally with a towel made of terry cloth.
If the mass has now dropped to a temperature that those affected feel comfortable with, we attach the outer cloth to the neck from the neck. The cloth remains wrapped for half an hour. Then we take it off, but let the person rest for another half an hour. We can apply this wrap several times a day for neck and neck pain, unless it is perceived as unpleasant.
Potato wrap for cough
Potato wrap is also used as a natural home remedy for cough. To do this, we cook five potatoes without peeling them, put them hot on a dish towel, which we cover beforehand with household paper (or newspaper). We fold a packet out of it and close it with plaster.
Potato wrap - with or without peel?
Potato wraps work through their heat, which is evenly distributed in the potato mass. It makes more sense to cook the potatoes unpeeled, as the skin stores the heat inside the potatoes while cooking, while peeled potatoes give off the heat quickly when they are removed from the hot water.
For a packet with mashed potatoes for cough, the potatoes can remain unpeeled, in the case of breast or neck wraps, the potatoes should cool a little so that those affected do not burn themselves. To cool down, it is advisable to peel the potatoes cooked in their shells after cooking, this also gives a more even mass when you mash the potatoes, which you knock into the towels.
When should you not use warm wraps?
Under no circumstances should you use hot-warm wraps for all complaints that are aggravated by heat. So never at
- high fever,
- a very swollen throat,
- and an increased risk of thrombosis and varicose veins.
Danger: If you suffer from chronic diseases, you must check with your doctor whether hot wraps are associated with risks.
What should you watch out for when wrapping potatoes?
- The inside of the wrap should be made of linen or cotton, the outside of terry or wool. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, can prevent the skin from breathing, and so the heat can build up.
- A wrap should always be on the skin. Air bubbles prevent the body from heating up evenly.
- You must not leave those affected alone, sometimes the wrap triggers feelings of fear. In addition, "taking care" is part of this treatment.
- If the skin tightens after wrapping, then body oils are ideal for rubbing it in.
- It is important to wrap those affected in a relaxed atmosphere, to give them rest and to take their time.
- Potato wrap is not a substitute for a doctor, and you should see a doctor if symptoms of cough, cold, tension, etc. persist. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Annegret Sonn, Ute Baumgärtner, Brigitte Merk: Wickel und Auflagen, Georg Thieme Verlag, 2014
- Ursula Uhlemayr and Dietmar Wolf: wraps and pads. Advice, selection and application, Deutscher Apotheker Verlag, 2015.
- Jennifer A. Woolfe: The Potato in Human Nutrition, Behr's, 1996
- JoAnne D. Whitney, E. Patchen Dellinger, James Weber, Ron Edward Swenson et al .: The Effects of Local Warming on Surgical Site Infection, in: Surgical Infections, Vol. 16, No. 5, Oct. 2015, 595-603, PubMed Central
- G.W. Cherry and J. Wilson: The treatment of ambulatory venous ulcer patients with warming therapy, in: Ostomy Wound Management, 45 (9): 65-70, September 1999, PubMed