Fomentation

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fomentation

 

a therapeutic procedure for influencing a disease process by the local application of medicaments or hot and cold compresses.

Hot or cold water, aqueous extracts of plants, and solutions of various medicinal substances are used for fomentation. Pieces of gauze, clean canvas or linen cloths, or swabs of hygroscopic cotton wads moistened in these fluids are applied to the affected part of the body. With some eye diseases fomentations are applied to the closed lids. Sometimes the agents used for fomentation, such as lead water, are also called fomentations.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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An excellent example is foxglove (digitalis), which can be fatal if ingested, but can be used to make a fomentation to promote wound healing.
Cayenne is a warming herb with pain-relieving properties, especially if applied regularly, so cayenne added to any herbal tea works well as a fomentation. Just be careful not to touch your eyes or your dog's eyes or mucous membranes with cayenne.
(17) Using a sterilizer, clothes wringer, and large holding forceps, nurses recycled old blankets cut into strips to make hot fomentations that were covered and secured by rubber sheeting and dry blankets.
Dudley Wilson (1988: 23) gives an overview of Riolan's position and says that 'these adjustments may include surgical intervention, they may merely be a matter of "fomentations, emollientes, & demy-bains reiterez, frequente traction du scrotum pour le dilater & faire place aux testicules" ...