EmHERBency! All-Natural First Aid
With everybody on the run since school is back in session it felt like a good time to go over some quick fixes for everyday emergencies and ailments. Some of you may have seen my EmHerbency™ Kit at classes or in real use. This is the kit I’ve developed over the years to keep in my car and handy at home in lieu of the traditional “first aid” kit filled with over the counter symptom relievers. I have not run into something we couldn’t handle with the kit in the last six years, even with our schedule and four kids.
The first essential is five-flower formula, a flower essence for trauma or shock. When Aaron split his forehead into a twenty-four stitch gash, the nurse commented on having never seen such a calm group of people covered in blood. As soon as we were in the car, Micah gave each of us a drop; at the age of 10 he was already well aware of the value of the remedy. Several of my clients have successfully used this to counter anxiety attacks as well, either placing a drop under the tongue or on the pulse points. Distress remedy adds homeopathic tinctures of arnica and calendula to help with physical strains and pains as well.
Herbally, I use primarily alcohol extracts in my kit, a departure from my usual preference. Since children under four can’t process alcohol well, and because of it’s generally depressing effects I stick to glycerine based extracts for normal use. In a first aid situation, however, alcohol acts as a carrying agent to get substances circulating more quickly. I keep five extracts in my kit: capsicum, valerian, lobelia, golden seal parthenium and licorice. Capsicum is the only substance known to increase circulation without increasing blood pressure. I have used it to keep fingers and toes warm when we faced out-of-season-snow without the right clothing. If I were having a heart attack, I would really hope someone was pouring some down my throat and rubbing it onto my hands and feet to get blood moving to the extremities. Topically, capsicum is excellent for stopping bleeding; surprisingly the sting from the alcohol is worse than the pepper burn most people expect.
I use a Valerian combination extract for pain relief both internally and externally. Valerian is quite high in calcium and works to stimulate correct nerve function. When an uninsured friend stuck a large nail all the way through his fingertip and opted not to hit the emergency room, we cut halfway through the finger to remove the nail. It healed beautifully in less than two weeks, with no scarring and absolutely no loss of sensation in the finger. As a calmative, friends have used it for long car trips with several small children, both to keep the kids from climbing out the windows and to keep the father from encouraging them!
Lobelia essence has traditionally been considered anti-spasmodic, which is it’s primary purpose in the kit. I have used it topically for rapid relief from cramps and muscle spasms from overstress and injury. Internally, it is one of the components in my herbal inhalant. I was once at a meeting where a woman began having a severe allergic reaction that seriously impaired her breathing. We used lobelia essence internally and on her throat and the reaction stopped in moments. Since it removes obstructions, I often use it when I’m working with a fresh injury to keep the lymphatic fluid moving freely.
Golden seal / parthenium is my substitute for first aid sprays. Golden seal has documented antibacterial activity and parthenium is a wonderful lymph builder. Since echinacea has been “discovered” many people have let parthenium slide into disuse, thinking it was just the plant mistaken for echinacea (since it was, in fact, so classified!). In fact, I find it very effective in it’s own right. On vacation I once doused a sore throat — complete with white spots — with this extract. I was fine for the rest of the trip. When Rachael stepped on a nail in the driveway I simply forced the wound to bleed and then cleaned it well with the extract, all with perfect results.Licorice supports the adrenal glands which are essential for stress response. They produce adrenalin and cortin, which is what cortisone is imitating. I use it for inflammation, itching, and shock, normally internally but on occasion I’ve used it on allergic or stress rashes. Many people use it to stabilize blood sugar in hypoglycemic episodes
I do have some capsules in my kit. Charcoal is a quick remedy for gastric disturbances which I use for food poisoning, gas, etc. It can also be made into a paste with water or herbal trim as a poultice for boils, infected bites, etc. I also carry capsules of a valerian and wild lettuce combination. I offer that when I’m asked if I have an aspirin for a headache; it’s fun to hear the surprise in people’s voices when it works so quickly and well.A few topicals round out my kit. I use the herbal skin soother for immediate relief from rashes, bites and stings, hives, etc. I use golden salve rather than commercial antibiotic-type creams to fight infection and speed healing of cuts, scrapes and so forth. My most versatile is a Bio-Water spray, which my kids have always called “owie juice”. I have had dramatic recoveries from very severe burns using nothing else. As a catalyst water, it also accelerates the effectiveness of any other products used, and can be taken internally as well.
Tei fu oil is another versatile product. It is unbeatable for increasing circulation to injuries, especially to joints and muscles. Micah was once hit in the eye with a baseball bat when he threw off his catchers mitt to catch a stray pitch. At the end of the inning a few minutes later I put the oil around the eye socket. He complained a few days later when he was trying to impress a girl with the tale of his deed…and had nothing at all to show for it! There was no sign of bruising or swelling, although it had been puffy and red when I applied the oil.It’s also helpful for respiratory stress when applied the the chest and throat; to the sinuses for open stuffy noses and relieve related headaches, and to the neck and temples for tension headaches.
I round out the kit with an antiseptic tea-tree soap. and keep the whole in a sturdy plastic case in refillable bottles. Bought individually, full size bottles of all the products would cost well over $100.00. To make it possible for everyone to have the kit, we repackage a several-use supply of each with full size bottles of the Tei Fu oil and five flower formula. Others can be purchased individually as you need to refill. We also included a laminated instruction sheet. More information is also available on a 90 minute audiotape titled “EmHerbency” 9-1-1. Email me (kimsoffice at gmail dot com) with questions or to place your order.