Wheat Hot-bag

aradhanaSeptember 26, 2001

I should like to make a lavender hot-bag containing

wheat grain. Can one use ordinary wheat, or what?

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I had one with cracked bulgar...........whatever that is.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2001 at 7:24PM
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The following is some general information I found for you, and which I urge you to read carefully. There is also an answer for Robyn about bulgur (correctly spelled bulghur by the way, but nobody seems to know it!). Someone used to make and sell wheat-bags at a local markets nearby, but had to stop at the request of the local hospital as a result of burns caused by them. They really DO hold the heat in. The concensus of opinion seems to be that they are too potentially dangerous to be worthwhile, and should NEVER be used by children.

"These units can be heated in the microwave until they reach a desired temperature (according to the manufacturers instructions).

Investigations of these therapeutic wheat bags have revealed that the wheat can ignite during heating and when used as a warmer in bed. In most cases the packs have been used for
sometime, which constant use resulting in the reduction of the moisture content of the wheat,causing overheating of the wheat resulting in a fire.

The following are some safety hints when using the therapeutic wheat bags:

Only purchase bags which have an information sheet, which states how to use the item.
Read and follow manufacturers instructions carefully.
People who make the bags should include an information sheet which provides a method for the use of the bags.
When making the bags, it would be preferable to use flame retardant materials. Never use rubber or plastic backed materials.
Be in attendance when heating the bag.
Avoid using wheat which contains dust.
Watch for signs of over use, e.g. cooking or burning odours, charring of the bag. If these signs are present dispose of after it has cooled down.
Do not store away until cold. Leave to cool on a non-combustible surface.
Check the life of the heat pack according to manufacturers' instructions.

Bulgur is a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that has been cleaned,parboiled, dried, ground into particles and sifted into distinct sizes.....with a pleasant, nut-like flavor and an extended shelf-life that allows it to be stored for long periods. Often confused with cracked wheat, bulgur differs in that it has been pre-cooked. "

Taking note of the safety advice above, just choose a suitable material and sew up three sides. Fill it with wheat grains. You can add a few sprigs of dried lavender or other dried herbs if you want it to smell pretty, but be careful - this makes the bag even more flammable - the dried herbs could easily ignite when the bag is heated up and it doesn't take a very great heat to do that. Don't overfill it - you want to be able to wrap it around the sore parts, and also allow for heat expansion. It should be more flat, not plump like a cushion. Sew up the fourth side ,and there you have it. They were originally called Wagga bags (from a town in New South Wales, Australia called Wagga Wagga, pronounced Wogga), made by shearers who sewed several together to make a warm quilt. They are best made out of some stout material, like mattress ticking or you could use jute flour or sugar bags. Bearing in mind the safety precautions, I wouldn't fuss about lace which might be flammable. You can heat them up, or use them cold, depending on the medicinal requirements. I'd be very careful. You can sustain serious burns if they are too hot, and they can, and frequently do, explode. Annette

    Bookmark   September 27, 2001 at 3:30AM
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Annette, what do you do for a living? I noticed that you are quite knowledgeable about a lot of things! You go!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2001 at 11:09AM
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Thanks Annette, for the warning and information. I
have bought some bulgur and am experimenting care

    Bookmark   October 3, 2001 at 1:56PM
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Just wanted to add to the other comments that the ones I have are filled with bird seed. I have heard of people using cherry pits but I don't know where on earth a person would get those - also they might get to hot!
I've used the bags for my back and as long as you don't get them to hot they are divine when you have a sore muscle!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2001 at 9:41PM
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nora_in_vancouver(8b Wet Coast)

I have seen the cherry pit bags as a local handi-craft. I guess they must live near a juice factory or have an orchard. When I was pregnant the hospital gave me a brown rice bag, same idea.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2001 at 9:00PM
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Just letting you know that we grow wheat that is used for wheat bags. We are the largest suppliers of wheat for this use in the UK. A quick tip if you are heating wheat bags in the microwave. Put half a cup of water in with the bag when you are heating it. This keeps the wheat damp. It also makes it smell a little more like baked bread, and the smell of any herbs in the bags stand out better.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brow Farm Wheat Bags

    Bookmark   December 9, 2001 at 7:38PM
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So you all agree that Bulghur is the best wheat to use to actually make a "Wheat Hot Bag" ?
Anyone know where i can get this wheat?? I really want to make one, but i want to make it correctly and also safely. I would really appreciate anyone's help on this matter.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2002 at 9:37AM
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Martin_Caunce(Lancashire, UK)

I can't see the point of using Bulgur wheat. It is a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, ground into particles and sifted into distinct sizes. You are going to keep reheating the wheat in the wheat bag. So you will be cooking it over time anyway. I would just use a whole grain wheat. One that is used for bread flour would do fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brow Farm Wheat Bags

    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 6:53AM
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I used whole dried peas to make little hot bags. Also made some into little bear shapes. The peas stay nice and warm and do not have any odour like the rice or wheat ones that I made. The peas make a heavier bag though.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2003 at 3:02PM
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I always made them with rice (white & medium grain, not instant). I was thinking of making teddy bears filled with rice. Tho wheat sounds like it would smell better (not that rice smells bad). Who doesn't like the smell of baking bread?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2003 at 3:37PM
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We have been using the long grain white rice for heat packs. Whatever used, it is important that it be something durable that will retain heat and that will not become rancid because of oils being released from the heat (example: flax seed). When dried herbs are added for the aroma therapy we remember the herbal qualities: lavender is for relaxation as compared to rosemary for mental stimulation. Both of these are more durable herbs than some others, such as mint, that can quickly turn into powder. The powdered herb can leak out through the covering of the heat pack. We have seen suggestion to use a drop or so of preferred herbal oil for the desired aroma. An easy way for a conveniently sized heat pack is to cut a pillowcase in half, for what ever shape desired, either legnthwise or crosswise. Sew the unhemmed part into the pack to contain the grains and herbs. Sew the hemmed part to make a case to protect the herb pack. Even a tube sock can be used to contain the grain and herbs. Initially, heat in microwave one minute or fraction of a minute at a time to determine the preferred warmth. We have found the maximum heating time in our microwave to be no more than 3 and 1/2 minutes. These packs feel wonderful, used as heat and aroma therapy. Also, periodically, we open up the pack, remove the grains and wash the cover or make a new cover. This is also a good time to evaluate the conditions of any herbs that were included and replace anything that has become overly dry.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2003 at 2:06PM
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Posie(z3 MN)

I've used both wheat and rice and they work well. Many things in this world can be dangerous if you don't use common sense. So burns and fires are the result of not being careful! A little water sprinkled on the bag or a cup of water in the microwave help. Just be sure to test the bag before applying. I've used wheat ones for three years now and they are still nice.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2003 at 11:28PM
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Hello all hot baggers everywhere. In my area B.C Canada, they are sold with a treated corn filling. I have made them for myself out of peas or peas mixed with lentils with success. Staight peas were more odiferous.
I did burn one bag when I inadvertantly put it into the microwave on top of some oil left behind by popping corn. A smoking, burnt bag should of course go outside or under water.
I found that white rice was very sour smelling and most unpleasant. I did see a craft store with treated corn for this purpose for sale and I am currently using a corn bag I bought at the drugstore.
They are great used with common sense. You could burn yourself with any hot item, even a hot water bottle.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2003 at 2:00PM
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Martin_Caunce(Lancashire, UK)

I'm glad to hear that so many people are useing a natural remedy for pain releaf, instead of going straight for the drugs option. I'm not saying HEATED WHEAT PRODUCTS work for everyone. But with the number of people that tell us it works for them there must be some thing in it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brow Farm Heated Wheat Products

    Bookmark   February 9, 2003 at 6:03AM
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What is the suggested time for heating a 2-pound wheat bag in the microwave? (1100 W Micro) It is probably something you find out pretty quick, just how long to heat, right?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2003 at 11:47PM
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I have made hot bags for years and they are filled with flax seed and lavender essential oil. I heat them in the microwave and have never experienced any problems with them going rancid. Even after many many warm ups, the flax seed remains moist.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2003 at 4:58PM
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Thanks for that tip herbalannie - maybe it's because they have a hard shiny outer coating that prevents their moisture from escaping? Just guessing... Think I'll try it :)


    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 7:51PM
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The flax seed bag I made did catch on fire. (This was years ago.) Yes, I *know* I put it in too long! I had two bags, one big one of rice and one "wrist rest" sized one of flax seeds and I got my times mixed up. The next thing I knew, the flax seed was popping like popcorn and the bag was scorched and on fire! (Boy did it stink!)
Needless to say, it went directly to the sink, got dunked and then tossed!
Oh, well. So much for home crafting.
If it's any use, I also had eucalyptus in it. Maybe lavender and mint, too. I can't remember for sure.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2003 at 3:35PM
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I plan on making about 150 of these bags for Christmas. I thought I would use 2/3 buckwheat hulls and 1/3 dried herbs plus a few drops of essential oils. However, I'm considering cutting down on the amount of dried flowers because I don't want them to catch fire if a client heats them. I like the heaviness of the rice but I've heard the hulls are more..uh..flowy.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2003 at 12:09AM
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Martin_Caunce(Lancashire, UK)

We have used rice in heatable bags but it did not stand up to being reheated over and over again. The grains fell to bits. So we started to us wheat grains. We add lavender to some of our wheat bags. We found it stands upto reheating very well and it out lasts other dried flowers, leafs and herbs for the length of time keeps its scent. Some herbs dry and crumble to dust after being reheated many times, and the dust can start to come through the bag cloth. But lavender flower buds do not seem to do this. I'm not a big fun of oils. I could never find the little bottle with the oil in it when I needed it. Then there is the thing of how much to drip on the wheat bag. When is the best time to add oil to the bag? before you heat it or or when the bag is removed from the microwave. Heating a wheat can be a bit of trial and era. A 1kg (2.2lb) wheat bag can be heated for 1 1/2 mins in a 800w microwave oven. Then try the bag. We would no recomend that you rehaet the bag again until it as fully cooled. We tell people to put a little water in a cup with the bag when they are heating it in the microwave oven. This helps the wheat grains keep some moisture in them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brow Farm Wheat Products

    Bookmark   October 22, 2003 at 7:19PM
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LCBrown917(Z6 NE TN)

I'm a lurker, but I just thought I'd post my personal experience with this -- and a caution.

I use a heated homemade rice bag for pain relief and made the mistake of using it for a sinus headache. I put the heated 2 lb bag on my forehead and over my eyes for about 20 minutes. The warmth felt soooo good. But when I got up and opened my eyes, I was looking through a thick "fog." You're never supposed to put weight on your eyes, especially heated weight. I semi "cooked" my corneas and it took weeks to fully recover my non-blurred sight. Put weighted heat everywhere else, but NOT on your eyes!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2003 at 4:27PM
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I dragged one of these bags all over England before they became popular here (in the US) and they are wonderful. As with anything using heat, common sense dictates, hot water bottles, heated washcloths, etc. I've used mine for headaches, neck, back, stomach cramps, etc. Mine came with very nice instructions: Heat for NO more than 4 minutes EVER, then as with a baby bottle, toss the bag around a bit to distribute the heat. Heat with a cup of water w/ or without fragrance oils or put a couple of drops directly onto the bag before heating. Using the cup of water in the middle, wrapping the bag around it works for me. I love these bags.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2003 at 4:52PM
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Hi Martin

Thanks for your input. Since you're in the bag business I appreciate your generousity in sharing your expertise with the rest of us, who for the most part have been re-inventing the wheel. Trial and error is a valuable experience, but it helps to hear from someone who has been through the process, and is willing to pass it on.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2003 at 9:43AM
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Martin_Caunce(Lancashire, UK)

The way I look at it is "If your going to made something yourself then make it right" If you use the wrong cloth or filling and end up burning yourself or someone else gets hurt using a bag you made. Than the next time you see one of our heatable wheat bags in a store your going to tell people "you think they're not safe" So if I tell you how we make the wheat bags and that we put wheat in them and we don't use man made cloth only 100% cotton. Then heat a 800g wheatbag for 2 mins in a 650watt microwave oven & 1 1/2 mins in a 800watt microwave oven. Then when you get years of use out of your home made bag you will tell people how good they are. So when they see Brow Farm Wheat Products Heatable Wheat Bags in a store they'll buy one too. And by the way wheat bags make great cold packs. Just put one in a plastic bag and freeze it for at least 1 hour or just keep one in the freezer all the time. (Looks better than a pack of frozen peas on your head!! So happy sowing. And if I don't drop in again this year "HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL"

Here is a link that might be useful: Brow Farm Wheat Products

    Bookmark   November 30, 2003 at 7:30PM
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RE: Wheat Hot-bag
Posted by Rosiebeast (My Page) on Sat, Aug 21, 04 at 22:41

Does anyone know where the pattern for these gems can be found. I've spent hours on the net looking tonight. I bought bags from a nurse at our hospital....and they have the instructions...Common sense. They have a flanelette covering and we have 5 in our home. Good to reiterate the warning that the parent should be microwaving them not the children. My Grandchildren have them for "growing pains" in their legs....and my husband and I use them for back aches and shoulder aches. A hot water bottle can burn someone if not used with common sense - so parents should be the ones to heat them...for 1 1/2 minutes in your microwave. Flip it over if its in for 2 minutes. You want warmth not heat. Use cleaned raw wheat or raw barley.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2004 at 10:46PM
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Hi Rosiebeast, don't know if you've been back to this site but I've just found it on my long search for wheat heat bags! I've found an interesting link where someone gives you very simple instructions on how to make them, it's http://www.cancerlynx.com/morericebag.html Hope you find it useful... I have! Happy heating!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 2:26PM
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I always just used white rice, I think it smells nice, kind of nutty on its own. But for gifts (I made about a dozen for last xmas) I soaked a cup of the rice in eucalyptus oil overnight and sprinkled in about a teaspoon for each bag. The instruction sheet can make a nice card if you do it up really nice. And I just used half a dishtowel from the dollar store for the bag...I even managed to match the decore of some familys' homes.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 10:37AM
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It's just a tube, or a square, filled with the grian and sewn shut. Use a medium cotton for the inner cover, and make a removable cover (washable).

Makeing a series of connected tubes keeps the grain from shifting .

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 8:06PM
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OK: I got curious and tested Flaxseed, wheat (hulled) and buckwheat (unhulled). The test consisted of microwaving a cupp full of the seeds, and measuring the temps a couple of minutes after removing from the oven, then every 10 minutes.

Flaxseed got hotter in that minute, but cooled off faster (better heat transfer on the small, close-packed seeds). Buckwheat was not as hot to start, but was the slowest to cool (hulls - minimize ability to heat, but also minimize heat loss). Wheat berries were in the middle for heat gain and loss.

CONCLUSION: The differences were not significant ... but at 180-195 ALL OF THEM WERE HOT ENOUGH TO BURN ANYONE WHO COULD NOT GET AWAY FROM THE BAG!!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 10:23PM
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Just joined the forum after having browsed it from the outside for a good year or so...don't like to jump into these things too quickly !!

Just wondering if anyone knows where and how I can get hold of the 'Hug Me Better Bear' wheat bag teddy bear at wholesale price ?? i.e. a wholesaler or even the manufacturer would be great.

As you might already know, I already offer a range of wheat bags, but am looking to offer this cool little bear in my product mix. Any help most appreciated.


Matt @ Hotbags-coolsacks

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 7:54AM
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Udon(14 Thailand)

May I add that for a 1 Kg WHEAT bag in a 1000W microwave.
Heat it for one minute , turn it upside down and 1 minute more.
Check to see if it is hot enough but NEVER heat without the cup of water. 30 second increments is advised and only use 100% cotton covers.
If you want to add lavender, spray it on after the bag has been heated.
Play safe! ;-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 12:32AM
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marie_in_wa(8 (coastal))

I just took a brand-new tube sock, filled it with rice, tied it with a knot, and heated it up.

After a couple of weeks, I un-knotted it, dumped out the rice, and put more in.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 5:24PM
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There are many companies out there producing wheat bags today. Lavender is my favourite scent for these types of bags, and a safe option too. I do use these bags and have bought from various online retailers - my only warning is, look out for the quality - these, if made well, can last years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wheat Bags - Lavender and Cotton Velvet

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 4:29AM
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Does anyone heat up their wheatbags with a method other that the microwave? We don't have one by choice, because I don't believe that it is good to eat microwaved food. However, I've never seen another way to heat these referenced. Has anyone tried, maybe, steaming the wheat bag, or heating it in the oven?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 10:52PM
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Hello everyone! I want to make a heating pad, but not using wheat. I was thinking of using red lentils, which are like split yellow peas. Would they be okay to use? I'm wondering if they are too small. If so, what would be the best kind of bean to use, one that would hold the heat well, but not smell funny. Any ideas are appreciated. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 7:52PM
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