The History Behind Poultice
The History Behind Poultice


By Anthony Howe, 5th Generation Horseman, CEO, Finish Line Horse Products 

The history of poultices goes back many millennia. For as long as humans have existed, we have found ways to make healing remedies from our surroundings. Finding the origin of poultices may be difficult as these compounds were being made before the invention of writing. An ancient artifact in the form of the first known medical tablet was found in Nippur, Mesopotamia, or modern-day Iraq, which dates back to 2400 BC. It is believed to be the first written prescription and includes directions for making an ancient poultice using finely ground herbs and botanicals. The paste was then applied with oil to the affected area of the body to help assist with healing. 

A better-known example of a poultice from the ancient past lies in the history of ancient Egypt. Cleopatra was known to have used clay from the Nile River for her facial masks. The clay from the Nile River was rich with nutrients and minerals and the clay helped draw out toxins and promote healthy skin. Poultices have found their way into more recent history as well. During the American Civil War, medicines such as morphine and iodine were limited in supply, which prompted the use of natural remedies like poultices. Poultices were applied over gunshot wounds and were believed to help prevent infection and promote healing. 

Today, poultices are still being used for some of the same medicinal purposes as millennia ago. As a fifth-generation horseman, my father and founder of Finish Line® Horse Products, John Howe, used to tell stories about how my great-grandfather mixed and applied his own poultice to help give working horses’ legs comfort after exercise. These formulas and secret family remedies were passed down through several generations and were the inspiration for Finish Line’s very first product, Original Premium™ Poultice. Over the years, Finish Line has developed various formulas and strengths, but the benefits of our proprietary poultice and our quality have remained the same. 

Now, with a line of over 40 different horse products– including three strengths of poultice and one hoof pack– Finish Line Horse Products has quality, effective natural solutions for many types of horse conditions and ailments. Nearly 50 years after my father founded Finish Line, we remain committed to the horse and its well-being and continue to research and develop natural remedies to serve generations of horsemen and horsewomen to come. 

To learn more about our poultice and browse through our external application products you can click here.

For more information about the benefits of poultices and how to apply a poultice, you can click here.


4 Clay masks to try for healthy, happy skin. (2017, April 26). Retrieved from Herb’neden

Leichty, E., & Linaerman, C. (n.d.). An Artifact Speaks – Artifact Information Sheet. Retrieved from University of Illinois

The History of Pharmacy. (n.d.). Retrieved from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

The personal cost of war: injuries from firearms and their treatment during the Civil Wars. (n.d.). Retrieved from Civil War Petitions



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