Prairie Magic Herbals

Prairie Magic Herbals

giving voice to the medicine plants

Herbal First Aid Notes from MENF 2016

Legal Disclaimer/ Limitations on Liability
  All material is provided for general information purposes only . Any suggestions made and all herbs discussed/listed are not intended to diagnose, treat,cure or prevent any disease nor be considered medical advice or consultation. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the herbs/plants discussed. Any statements made about products, herbs, and/or remedies have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.).  Joanne Bauman, Prairie Magic Herbals assumes no responsibility for the results of self-diagnosis and/or self-medication. If you are on other medications/ drugs, or are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a diagnosed medical condition, please consult your health care professional before taking any herbs/botanicals,dietary, nutritional,or homeopathic products.
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Herbal First Aid Presented at Mother Earth News Fair Topeka,KS Oct 23,2016
Joanne Bauman   

If you are intrigued by herbal first-aid but simply don’t know where to begin, start slowly by stocking your first aid kit with a dozen or so basic, versatile herbs and herbal products that can be used to treat minor conditions.  As your comfort level  and experience with herbal preparations increases, you may find yourself turning to herbs first in most situations. Eventually, you may find yourself preparing your own herbal kit and maybe even growing the plants you frequently use .
Choose items that best suit the needs of your family. Many of the things you will need can be purchased at natural food stores or you can support a herbalist or make your own.
My approach is to give you variety of options—more tools in tool chest. May have this but not that available.

Sanitizing Naturally
 You can make this and put in a spray bottle for use at home and away. Use it topically to disinfect surfaces, including skin.  You can take Four Thieves Vinegar by the teaspoonful, use it as a salad dressing, or even add a spoonful to your bath water.
Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe: Use equal parts (about 2 Tbsp) of each the following herbs or what you have available:
•    Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Hyssop, Peppermint,  Oregano, Basil, Monarda…
•    A handful of garlic cloves (optional)—cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg,
Blend ingredients in a glass jar and cover completely with apple cider vinegar. Cold infuse (let sit at room temperature in a cool place) for six weeks and then strain off herbs and garlic.

Insects: Bites, Stings :How to Deter and Ease

Native Americans used plants such as sweetgrass , rosemary, cedar, catnip,  and yarrow  to keep mosquitoes away. Eat a plantain leaf a day.
•    Plant insect repelling herbs in your yard--lavender, thyme, mint and citronella near  patio.
•    Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family  (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, basil, lemon balm,etc or citronella, lemongrass, etc.)to deter insects.
•     Yarrow (Achillea millifolium) 

•    If you use Essential oils (lavender, cedarwood , basil, eucalyptus..) suspended in a base of water and witch hazel or alcohol. (Caution: essential oil is specifically contraindicated for so many people - especially pregnant women. It is powerful and can effect people and pets in the vicinity of the user. Keep oil away from eyes and mouth—take care not to rub your eyes right after applying the repellent with your fingers. Keep all oils away from children (ingesting e.o.’s can be fatal). E.O not sustainable (takes large amount of plant to make 16 oz.
Essential oils are not earth friendly or sustainable.Use them sparingly ; never take internally or ingest them.  It takes  250 pounds of lavender . Three tons! of Melissa,  10,000 pounds of roses to make 16 oz of those essential oils. Use plant infused oils which use a lot less plant, typically a jar or hydrosols which may use 6 cups to make.

Ticks---  Do tick checks. Eat garlic/onions. pyrethrum (Pyrethrum is found in the Chrysanthemum plant, Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) . 
Rub food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) into your dog's coat after traveling through tall grasses or other tick habitat.  diatomaceous earth kills many insect pests. Note: avoid inhaling the dust as much as possible and do not do this if you or your dog has respiratory problems.
Essential oil of rose geranium Pelargonium capitatum x radens.

If  you do get a tick bite, Susun Weed suggests echinacea tincture for immune support. Or a dropperful of St. John’s  wort (Hypericum) tincture three times a day to help inactivate the Lyme's organism. (SJW can move meds out of the body faster;caution with birth control pills or meds). Herbalist Stephen Buhner is the “go-to” has written Lyme books.

What To Do When You Get Insect Bites

Mosquitoes, oak mites…Plantain  called “nature’s bandage,” plantain has the wonderful trait of being able to adhere to the skin without any artificial means. Identify it by the five parallel veins running the length of each leaf. (Most leaves have a central vein with smaller ones branching out from it.) You may find broad leafed, with wide leaves and a tall seed head, or narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata), with long thin leaves and a small flower head. Either can be used.  Plantain stop the itch, sting and irritation of bites, reduces the swelling, promotes the skin healing, draws out foreign matter.
How to use plantain? Make a fresh leaf poultice. Pick a leaf, chew it well (or bruise it up) and put it on the bite. "Like magic" the irritation, heat, and swelling get fast relief! (Yes, you can dry plantain leaves and carry them in your first aid kit. Chew like you would fresh leaves.)

Plantain oil--for when you can't get fresh
Pick Plantago leaves when they are vibrant and green and no dew. Chop them coarsely and pack (full but not jammed) into a clean, very dry jar. Add olive oil, dislodge air bubbles with a knife or chopstick until the jar is filled to the very top. label and cap securely. Let sit out of direct sunlight (e.g., kitchen cupboard). Decant after six weeks, pouring off the oil and squeezing out what remains in the plant material. Compost the herb. Use this for insect bites, all itches, and minor cuts, scrapes.

Mud is the oldest and simplest poultice. Powdered white clay, which should be mixed with a little water can be applied directly to the sting as soon as possible. The clay pulls the poisonous material from the bite or sting to the skin’s surface and keeps it from spreading. Clay can be kept on hand at all times and is less likely to contain fungal spores than the real thing. Finely ground grains such as rice or oatmeal, or bland starchy substances like potato, or arrowroot powder also used as soothing poultices to ease itching and pain from insect bites.
You could also combine plantain or echinacea tincture with bentonite clay into a tacky paste poultice. Echinacea dramatically lessens any allergic response that might occur. Restrict activity for at least 20 minutes to prevent the venoms from circulating through the bloodstream. Lavender also stops itching and reduces swelling.

Bites and stings can cause allergic reactions. If you know that someone is allergic to a bite or sting from a particular insect, do not depend solely on herbal first-aid—immediate medical attention is required. Wheezing, swelling and hives are all indications of a serious, possibly fatal problem that requires immediate medical attention.
Gentian Bach essence is helpful for Anaphylactic shock (pale, cold, difficulty breathing and staying conscious) from stings, food allergies,etc..   Osha root tincture (Ligusticum porterii); . Because over-use and over-harvesting endanger this plant,  use osha in tiny amounts (3-5 drops) and only in emergencies. A half- ounce bottle of osha root tincture in a kit would do.

Drawing Out/Boils/Splinters
To draw out insect venom,draw boils to a head, draw out splinters,thorns or foxtails….add a half a cup plantain,  burdock or comfrey leaves or fresh chickweed or calendula flowers to 2 cups boiling water. Let this steep for about 10 minutes, or to luke warm tolerable temperature. Take a clean wash cloth or cheesecloth and dip the cloth into the plant water. Then apply as a compress to area--it is ok if some plant is applied with the compress.
If you can-if the area is a foot or finger, you can immerse the area into the soak for drawing.
Black Drawing salves with charcoal or White pine sap salves are also used.

Minor Cuts, Wounds, Scrapes,Abrasions 
Minor scrapes, cuts..The first order of business is always to staunch the bleeding and prevent shock in serious injury. Again, get to the emergency room with major wounds or open abrasions.  Clean and wash wound well (soap and water) making sure you debrid—get dirt, gravel,etc out; wash with dried or chopped Echinacea or Yarrow. Echinacea boosts the immune system and increases the supply of white blood cells to an infected area. Echinacea (and yarrow)are also antibiotic and antibacterial to gram positive bacteria such as strep or staph.

Those allergic to pollen of other members of the aster family, such as ragweed, may also be allergic to Echinacea. Echinacea used internally may not be appropriate if you have an impaired immune system response.

Yarrow (white)aka woundwort stops the bleeding quickly, brings the edges of the wound together, and promotes healing with the minimum scar tissue.. Yarrow also assists in dispersing pooled blood from under skin. Herbalist Matthew Wood (Book of Herbal Wisdom) shares amazing stories of yarrow’s ability to help in several accidents –one a chainsaw, a lawnmower, and a barb wire fence accident. 

 Plantain (Plantago major) can be used directly (apply bruised leaves) to halt bleeding of minor scrapes and cuts and allow outlet vent for pus.

Do not apply Comfrey, Calendula, Goldenseal on a open,deep wound, puncture wounds, or wound likely to infect--- the rapid skin growth that comfrey leaf  and calendula initiate can allow infection to get trapped and proliferate underneath.  Herbalists caution against sealing up inflammation, pus, and dirt, resulting in systemic infection rather than cure.

Tea Tree oil. (Melaleuca leucadendron) oil has strong antifungal, antibiotic properties. dilute two drops in 1 cup of water to use as an antiseptic wash for wounds. Apply one drop to a bite or sting.
Eastern Red cedar— (Thuja plicata) likewise is antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and is more bioregional to us than tea tree.
A small amount of bleeding cleans dirt and foreign particles from a wound. Some herbs can be applied directly as a poultice (yarrow, plantain…shepherd’s purse ) or 10 drops of yarrow or shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa) tincture/alcohol extract can be diluted in 1/4 cup water.
Place an herbal compress over the injury and apply pressure. Try to slow the flow of blood by raising the injured area higher than the heart. For deep cuts, or if bleeding does not stop within a minute or two, be sure to get medical help.
Once bleeding is arrested, the area needs to be cleaned and disinfected with an antiseptic.

Keep an Onion around---apply slices to a bruise/sprain to reduce swelling and discoloration. Loosely wrap a cloth around to keep in place. Leave on 15-20 minutes; repeat a couple times at least or as needed.

The best herbs for treating bruises are those that discourage swelling and promote quick healing, such as arnica, Saint-John’s-wort and witch hazel. May use fresh (infusion), or tinctures as compress or use oils or gels. 
Arnica. (Arnica montana). Best immediately after an injury and the longer one waits to give arnica, the less dramatically will it work. Arnica should not be used longer than 2 weeks.  Do Not use arnica on open / broken skin.  Arnica makes a great massage liniment for sore and cramped muscles. Arnica is available as a topical gel, oil,and combined with witch hazel, and internally, homeopathic arnica tablets .

Our bioregion equivalent to arnica is Saint Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) Should be made with fresh  aerial parts/ blossoms at peak (June 21st or so).    
Hypericum preparations include: alcohol extracts, infused oils, hypericum witch hazel. 

Minor Burns and Sunburn
Talking primarily about sunburn.  When intense heat is applied to the skin the living cells are destroyed.
•    First degree-- the outer layer of the skin is involved; red, rough, painful tissue.

Whenever you are in doubt about a burn’s severity, seek help from a professional health care practitioner. Burns from chemical and electric shocks require special treatment, and a superficial burn over a large area can be more serious than a deep, small burn, because extensive nerve damage and dehydration are possible. After a doctor has treated even serious burns, herbal preparations can incorporate into your follow-up care.

If a minor burn occurs, there are several steps you can take for immediate treatment of the burn. Run cool water, not ice water, over the areas where the skin is unbroken 10-15 minutes.  Soak the burned skin in this cool water. Do not apply water if the burn occurred in a cold environment. Instead, use a clean, cold and wet towel to reduce the pain. Use nonstick pads only or sterile bandage to protect a burn from friction and pressure.
Do not apply oils, butter or creams to a burn.
•    Aloe fresh cut and squeezed  or aloe gel is helpful.
•     Plantain leaf or fresh hypericum/st johns blossoms infused and cooled as a wash.
•    Lavender: For burns you can add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to aloe gel or a wash.
•    Tea: For too much sun sunburn, always keep tea bags, especially black tea,Earl Grey,or chamomile around. Make a strong tea 4 bags. Family size bags work good for a tub. Never soak a burn in hot water.  Let tea cool, swish around.  To use, lay the cool, wet teabags on the burned skin for a period of ten to twenty minutes. You may also soak a cloth into the tea infused water and gently pat onto the sunburned skin.  Repeated every 45 minutes or so until bedtime.
•    Herb Vinegars:  (do not apply near eyes).  sunburn vinegar for topical spray 1 part vinegar to 1 part good water. For the sunburn vinegar, make a jar of any helpful herbs, cover with apple cider vinegar, let sit and steep in cupboard 6 weeks. Strain off herbs.  Options:  Calendula, chamomile, rose petals, plantain leaf, violet blossoms, lavender, and elder flowers.

Bee Balm/Sweet Leaf (Monarda fistulosa)
Matthew Wood says in Native American healing, burns should not be treated with cold but with heat. Cold only drives the heat further in, but heat allows the burn or fire to flow out in its similar so to speak, into the hot medicine. Matthew Wood explains that sweet leaf is a fiery hot remedy that will draw the heat back to the plant and out of the body. The flower tops need to be exposed to saliva to unlock the burn medicine in the plant so they are chewed and placed on the wound. Sweet leaf is especially effective for burns where there is a cold sweat. .

Rashes/Poison Ivy/Oak

If you are allergic to poison ivy, you're more likely to be allergic to poison oak and poison sumac, because all three plants contain the same rash-triggering plant oil called urushiol (pronounced yoo-ROO-shee-all). Immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and cool water, or sponge with alcohol to remove the oily resin.

Baking soda wash helps as does bentonite clay which draws the irritating oils out.

Plantain and chickweed or Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) wash or compress. Fresh bruised and squeezed

Jewelweed ( Impatiens capensis) on poison ivy,etc.  You can also make a spray with witch hazel to preserve jewelweed. There are sprays at natural health stores, etc. Some people find jewelweed soap soothing but soap depends on how it is made and may not be beneficial.

Other remedies include Grindelia (Grindelia camporum), also known as gumweed, contains resins and tannins to ease the pain and itching of plant rashes. It’s available as a tincture and also as a spray specifically for treating poison oak/poison ivy rashes.

Calendula gel or sprays or blossom washes .

Homeopathic Rhus tox tablets or gel, sprays (Triflora gel from Boericke and tafel homeopathic gel). Oatmeal poultice can quiet itch and help heal.

Bruise 1 c. nasturtium flowers and leaves and tie them in a cloth or muslin bag. Place it in a bath or gently scrub yourself with it.

Bach Rescue remedy. This flower essence  was created by Dr Bach to deal with emergencies and crises – (Impatiens. Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose, Clematis) Rescue Remedy helps us relax, get focused and get the needed calmness. At the very least keep some on hand at all times, as it is applicable to any situation where shock, panic, trauma or stress of any kind is involved.  Used for emotional trauma for all ages, flower essences work quickly. Rubbing the drops on the temples and wrists if unable to take anything orally will have an immediate calming influence. Rescue Remedy is also available as a spray, lozenges and gum.

Rose elixir  use like Rescue Remedy, for any trauma, panic, fear or stressful situation for child, adult or animal. It’s calming, pleasant and helps to move someone out of a paralyzing shock or stuck emotion.  calming without sedating.

 Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) invites you to crawl into her lap to quiet nervous irritability, tension, eases upset, all while soothing and strengthening the entire nervous system.  As tincture, 20 drops can alleviate frazzled nerves, emotional upset when you can't seem to get ahold of yourself.

Sickness/upset tummy
Ginger capsules/crystallized ginger. Great remedy for tummy upsets, including motion sickness, morning sickness and gas.

Chamomile tea calms “belly aches” gas and bloating. Mints such as Peppermint, Spearmint, Catnip..can ease upset stomachs—home you can keep fresh on hand or put tea bags in your kit.

Dandelion (all parts in an herb vinegar), dandelion tea, dandelion root tea, supports digestion, eases indigestion.

 Supplies For Your Medicine/First Aid Kit (Ideas Anyway)

 A First Aid Manual/or book similar to “Where There is No Doctor” by David Werner, Jane Maxwell. Or The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way by Joseph Alton and Amy Alton
• Adhesive bandage strips: Various sizes, including butterfly closure bandages.
• Bandage materials: Sterile gauze pads, a roll of gauze, adhesive bandage tape. Nonstick pads, etc.
• Elastic bandage like Ace: For sprains or strains.
•Dr. Bronner’s or other biodegradable soap
• Alcohol (rubbing): Small plastic bottle for removing poison oak/ivy oils from the skin.
•    Hydrogen Peroxide to clean wounds
• Cosmetic clay (Bentonite/Kaolin): With drying and drawing properties, clay is useful for healing skin rashes and insect bites and drawing out. Store in a small plastic container.
•    Charcoal tablets (possible poisoning) also drawing
• Electrolyte replacement: Powdered drink packets such as Emergen-C.
• Moleskin: Blister treatment.
• Scissors: Small pair for cutting bandages, adhesive tape, moleskin.
•    Keep a couple needles in a jar/bottle. Safety pins are also good to have around.
• Matches
• Thermometer: Instant-read type.
• Tweezers: For removing ticks and splinters.
• Waterless hand sanitizer: Travel-size bottle.
•    Latex Gloves
Cotton—Balls and Pads
Moistened Towelettes or Wipes

Any of the above mentioned herbal items… needs specific for your family.

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