Aug 21 2015 In Ask the Herbalist By Kenneth Roberts
The Herbalists' First Aid Kit
Chances are good that you have a first aid kit. Maybe in your car or under the bathroom sink. It could be as simple as a small box with bandages and some aspirin, a few ace wraps, scissors and gauze patches, tape. All of these have a purpose, but whether you are surviving in the wild, camping for a weekend, or hanging out at home there are many simple herbs to keep around for a variety of needs.
Lavender: I consider lavender to be an almost universal herb for health and wellbeing. Its anxiolytic properties help with anxiety and stress (as in our Earthbound Angel house blend); it can act as a neurosedative to help with sleep (it is actually a component of our Sleepeeze WellTeaing blend); its antimicrobial properties make it ideal as a natural antiseptic and antifungal; and also helps ward off insects. Lavender can also aid in healing burns; however, you should always test it (and any other skin treatment) on a small unaffected part of the body first to make sure your body does not have an idiosyncratic reaction to it.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass, which has anti-inflammatory properties, can be infused as a tea (such as in our Slimming Goddess Oolong or Peaceful Pathways house blends), or simmered on its own for 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. You can take this concentrate and mix it with water in a spray bottle to help repel insects, soothe insect bites, and use as an antiseptic for minor scratches and wounds.
White Willow Bark: White willow bark is a highly concentrated source of salicylic acid, which is what aspirin was derived from. As such, it is a potent natural analgesic and antipyretic; great for pain relief and lowering fevers. In bark form with all of its natural constituents, it metabolizes easily in the body and is more gentle on the liver than most over-the-counter NSAIDs. However, it should still be used in moderation as some people can be overly sensitive to it. I use white willow bark in our ArthriTea WellTeaing blend for joint and muscle pain relief.
Dandelion: As I mentioned in my dandelion blog, there are so many uses for this wonderful giver of healing. It cleanses the blood and supports the liver, kidneys and bladder in doing their job more efficiently. By itself, it can be made into a tea that may help with digestive issues, but the taste can be bitter. This is why I blend it with rooibos, honeybush, and other health-promoting herbs in my ArthriTea, Gentle Cleanse, Happy Heart, and Lymph Mover WellTeaing blends. Healthy can taste good!
Chamomile : Chamomile is mother nature’s calming wonder. It can help with digestive issues like an upset stomach or intestinal cramping. It also has an amazing ability to calm the nervous system, which can help with stress in survival situations or just helping you get to sleep. Chamomile is also calming for the skin, it is great to help with an itchy rash or hives and can even help when used as a poultice for poison ivy or poison oak. We carry it separate but it is a crucial part of our AnxieTea and Sleepeeze blends.
With just a little research you can cut down on the number of over-the-counter medications you rely on, and also have another option in case of emergencies. Just remember, whether herbal or not, first aid kits are not a substitute for serious medical treatment and should not be treated as such. Also, when you are building an herbal first aid kit, be sure that your herbs (if dried) were at least picked fresh from reputable sources, and to be most effective, make sure they do not grow stale!