The Healing Powers of Quark

Cultural differences account for some confusion and hesitation when seeking medical and dental care in a foreign country. At Praxis & Klinik, we appreciate these differences and strive to bridge the gap for fewer troubling misconceptions, misunderstandings, and confusions. With that, we would like to introduce Quark — No, not the molecular particle that combines with others to form hadrons. In German, Austria, and other parts of Europe, Quark is found in many recipes and shops; it’s a soft cheese, often sold in plastic containers alongside yogurts and cheeses in the dairy case.

Although Quark is relatively simple to make, and not too different in design from thick Greek yogurts or softer cream cheeses, it is rare to find in the U.S. so many of our newer American patients are unfamiliar with this incredibly versatile creation. On a nutritional level, Quark provides a high-protein, low-fat, calcium-rich treat that can easily be enjoyed as a snack with sweet fresh or dried fruits and nuts or savory toppings. It can be used in place of cream cheese with breakfast, or in place of sour cream or creme fraiche with baked potatoes, chili, soups, or tacos.

Quark can be enjoyed in place of yogurt, alone or with muesli or however you like it. Quark has a smooth, non-tangy taste and texture that many find more pleasant than cottage cheese or traditional yogurts. For those that have yet to discover, many yogurts sold in Europe do not even remotely come close to providing the high-protein content of popular yogurts in the U.S. so Quark can be a great dietary supplement as well, and the versatility of the smooth, non-tangy taste often appeals to children and picky eaters that don’t particularly go for yogurt — so it’s worth a try!

This is all well and good, but what does Quark have to do with Praxis & Klinik?

Alpine Cow

Well… Quark actually has healing powers! When going for the Gold a couple of years ago, American Olympic skiier Lindsey Vonn made headlines for spreading cheese on her leg — this technique is often used with Quark and similar cheeses to reduce swelling, inflammation, and soreness from injury or surgery. It can be referred to as a Quark Compress or Quark Poultice and the idea often garners strange looks from our foreign patients when we suggest its use.

Preparing and Using a Quark Poultice / Quark Compress

Quark is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at almost any supermarket, grocery store, or an organic market in your area. Ambitious people can make Quark from scratch, but it’s easiest to buy from a shop when using to enhance healing. It can be convenient to purchase several 500g (a little over 16 oz.) containers at once so you have enough to do several applications over the course of 1-2 days.

Using cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel, moisten the cloth with water and fold to a size that will just cover the affected area. Spread the Quark over one side. It helps to spread the Quark a little thick, at least 1/4-inch. Place the cloth, Quark side down, over the affected area where the swelling and inflammation is.

Cover the Quark poultice with another cloth or wrap loosely with a bandage to hold in place. Leave in place for approximately 2 hours, or until the Quark feels as if it has begin drying out. As the Quark dries, it draws toxins from the affected area, relieving heat, inflammation, and swelling to help tissue heal faster and provide comfort for patients during the initial healing phase.

After removing the Quark poultice, the skin may be rinsed and a new application can be prepared using a clean cloth and fresh Quark; discard the previous Quark and cheesecloth (or, if using a kitchen towel, rinse thoroughly and reuse or put in the wash).

Do NOT cover the eyelids or open wounds directly with the Quark; the enzymes in Quark will start to “digest” tissue if placed on an open wound and the dairy can affect the mucous membranes in eyes if covered directly. If skin is typically sensitive and begins feeling irritated from the Quark poultice, remove and wash the area immediately. Consult the surgeon if irritation persists.


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