Last week we talked about traveling with herbs. We had some good comments from readers on what they carried around and why. This week I'd like to talk about what sorts of things one could carry in an herbal first aid kit that would cover all the bases.
Speaking of Herbal First Aid, I'll be doing a live presentation on YouTube this Friday at 7 pm Mountain Time on this very topic. If you're reading this five years from now, fear not, the webinar will be recorded and is likely still on my channel. Check it out (and subscribe to the channel to get notified of other new videos and live webinars.) Here: YouTube.com/c/HomeGrownHerbalist
But I digress...meanwhile, back at the blog article...
So, what sorts of things could one experience and what herbs would one want to have on hand to address them? Well let's have a look (in no particular order)...
Kidney & Bladder Issues
Urinary tract infections are no fun. I'd recommend a formula with some Uva ursi and marshmallow as a minimum. Chamomile, corn silk, parsley and cranberry are good additions as well (Kidney & Bladder - U.T.I.). If someone in your herd is prone to stones, I'd have something for that handy as well. Gravel root and parsley root are great for stones. A little Lobelia and marshmallow as well as a good diuretic help things move along as well. Have a look the the ingredients of this formula for other ideas: Kidney - NoStonz
Lacerations and other notable owies can often bleed enough to be alarming. And, of course there may also be more serious cases where internal bleeding is an issue. Herbs like yarrow, cayenne, shepherd's purse and bugleweed can be effective both topically an internally. For topical applications, I prefer to use powdered herbs, for internal bleeding I like tinctures. Have a look at this formula Bleeding.
Cayenne: Yes, I know cayenne isn't an emergency...but it feels like an emergency when you take it! All kidding aside, not having some cayenne in your kit is just silly. It's a premier crisis herb and is excellent for shock as well as bleeding. It's also wonderful for sinus congestion. Don't believe me? Poke a little in your mouth and see how long it takes your sinuses to drain. :0) (Single Herb Tinctures)
These are common situations. Anything from bellyaches to diarrhea and constipation. My first grab for about anything G.I. related is chamomile and marshmallow. Most of the mint family cousins have good digestive actions as well. Have a look at these formulas for some ideas: Digestive Support, Colon-Dire Era, Colon-Constant Patience.
If allergies are an issue for your clan some anti-histamine herbs would be a good idea. My favorite is Brigham tea. Nettles can be good as well as can several of the liver tonic herbs like Oregon grape and burdock (the liver is the organ that eliminates histamines from the body). This is what I carry: Histamine
Wounds & Infections
There are a lot of herbs that can be used internally or topically for wounds and infections. Have a look at these formulas for a good list of ideas. INFXN-BugBuster, Poultice
Muscle & Joint Issues
No, not those "joint herbs"! I'm talking about herbs that help you move more freely when things stiffen up a bit. There are a lot of good anti-inflammatory herbs out there. I particularly like a combination of turmeric and Boswellia (frankincense). Other herbs like white willow, devil's claw and yucca have nice anti-inflammatory properties as well. Look at this formula for other ideas: Joint Support. Muscle spasms are no fun either. Fortunately, the good Lord anticipated that life would be a pain in the neck and gave us great anti-spasmodic herbs like cramp bark, gumweed and Lobelia. (Muscles-NoMoSpazmz)
If you're taking your lungs with you on your trip, having some respiratory herbs handy is a good idea. Cough-suppressant herbs like mullien or wild cherry bark are a great idea. There are also good expectorant herbs like gumweed or elecampane for getting the goobers out. And, of course, if asthma is an issue, Lobelia, cramp bark or gumweed can really help. Have a look at this category for an idea of other respiratory plants and formulas: Respiratory Formulas.
Mind & Mood Issues
Can't sleep? Take some valerian, skullcap or chamomile (Rest Easy). Feeling anxious? Take some valerian, skullcap or chamomile (Rest Easy)...wow...deja vu! Need to stay awake for the drive home? Try some Panax ginseng mixed with Gingko (Memory & Alertness). Just feeling frazzled and stressed? Oat straw is the bomb! Well...in a soothing, peaceful sort of way like a soothing, peaceful sort of bomb...OK, never mind forget the whole bomb thing....Oat straw is wonderfully unfrazzleing! (Single Herb Tinctures).
Bites & Stings
For mosquito bites, poison ivy, or bee stings, some plantain topically works wonders. For serious spider or snake bites a formula of plantain, Echinacea, marshmallow and dandelion are must-haves (Venom & Sting Formula). Speaking of mosquitoes, some lemon balm tincture (Single Herb Tinctures) or just the fresh leaves rubbed on the skin, makes pretty good bug repellant. All the other strongly aromatic mints works too. Try some peppermint.
Speaking of lemon balm. It's great for cold sores. Put the tincture on topically at the first signs and continuously throughout the day while the sore lasts and you'll be pleased with the results (Single Herb Tinctures).
So there you go, some ideas for your go-to Herbal first aid kit. If you have other ideas or questions/comments, please chime in below. We'd love to hear from you. More brains = more learning. :0)
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