Herbal First Aid Kit

I would like to share with you all my herbal first aid kit and the uses that the herbs and oils have for different ailments.  A herbal first aid kit is great to have on hand for your family, I like to take a smaller pack when I am outdoors exploring nature.  The smaller kit is also great for festivals and other adventures.

100% pure Lavender essential oil 10ml                    Clean dressings

Arnica cream (travel size)                                         Plasters

Nettle tincture 100ml                                                 Tuba-grip

Myrrh tincture 30ml                                                   Chamomile tea bags

Honey (travel size jar)                                               Rosemary tincture

Bicarbonate of soda (small pouch)                          Tweezers

Vinegar 10ml                                                            Safety pins

Comfrey cream (travel size)                                    Pain killers (your choice)

Allergies: nettle tincture

Nettles have an anti-histamine effect helping to reduce inflammation and allergies

Nettles have an anti-histamine effect helping to reduce inflammation and allergies

Bites: I also turn to plantain for any form of bites, this can be from gnats, fleas or other animals.  You can chew up a leaf (or mash it to extract the moisture) and then apply it to the bite to reduce swelling. Lavender essential oil can also be used. Add lavender essential oil to rosemary tincture to make an effective insect repellent and soother for insect bites.

Bleeding: To stop bleeding plantain leaves can be harvested from almost any green area of land.  I turn to plantain and yarrow when cut outdoors.  Once I cut myself to the bone with my pen knife repairing a friend’s electric fencing for her horses.  We were miles from any assistance, plantain leaves help to stop the bleeding and bind the flesh.  I was good to go in 5 minutes despite it being on a finger joint.

This is Plantago major, but P, lanceolata can also be used.  The key to identification is to look for leaf ribs which are parallel to each other

This is Plantago major, but P, lanceolata can also be used. The key to identification is to look for leaf ribs which are parallel to each other

Bruises: Arnica cream is great for supporting the resolution of bruising.  If you or your family have hurt themselves and you feel that it might bruise then you can apply arnica cream to the area.  You do not have to wait till a bruise has developed although in some instances the bruising process can be instantaneous.

Burns and scalds: Where possible place the burned skin under running water for ten minutes or plunge it into cold water (A chemical burn needs 20 minutes). I have burnt myself cooking and ironing many a time and I always turn to lavender essential oil, although it is an oil I find that it cools the burn and helps to reduce the pain.  If the burn is as large as or larger than the palm of the hands then please seek medical attention as soon as possible.  Do not put anything on a burn of this size as it may compromise the possibility of a skin graft.  Children and diabetics should always go to hospital.  Never prick a blister due to risk of secondary infection.  Other herbal treatments to help improve burns are aloe vera and a cold compress of chamomile tea.

Chamomile can be bought in tea bags from your local supermarket for ease of transportation and use

Chamomile can be bought in tea bags from your local supermarket for ease of transportation and use

Cuts: If you or a family member cuts themselves, where possible clean the wound, apply pressure and elevate the limb.  Lavender essential oil can be applied to a cut, it is antiseptic and can promote healing.  Comfrey cream can be used to heal the cut if it is shallow.  If it is deep the comfrey may close the wound to fast can cause an abscess. (See bleeding)

Indigestion: Chamomile tea can help to soothe heartburn and indigestion

Prickly heat: Nettle tincture taken internally will help to reduce the inflammation.  Prickly heat is down to clogged sweat glands which is an indicator of poor elimination within the body.  Increase your intake of water and reduce sugar and junk food intake.

Septic wounds: Apply tincture of myrrh neat to the wound using a clean dressing.  If you cannot get to a primary care provider it would be worth taking the myrrh tincture internally as well to support your body in reducing the risk of septicaemia

The myrrh tree growing wild - ensure that you purchase cultivated sources and not wild-crafted

The myrrh tree growing wild – ensure that you purchase cultivated sources and not wild-crafted

Shock: lavender essential oil apply to the collar of the person affected to allow the aromatic oils to calm them.

Sore throat: You can dilute the myrrh tincture with water and gargle with is like a mouth wash.

Splinters: apply honey to the area and cover with a plaster, the honey acts as a drawing agent to bring the splinter to the surface, it also provides an antibacterial and antifungal layer of protection to prevent infection.  If you are outdoors and there are pine trees in the area the resin from the tree has a similar drawing agent and is antiseptic.

Sprains/strains: Comfrey cream is excellent to support the healing and repair of sprains and strains.  It is best to rest and elevate them (where possible), apply cold compresses to bring down the swelling.  If you have to use the joint affected support it with a tuba-grip.

Stings: If you are stung by a bee you need to neutralise the acid – bicarbonate of soda is alkaline, create a paste with a little water and apply to the sting.  Wasps and jelly fish stings are alkaline and require vinegar to neutralise them.

I hope that you find this useful.  Please share with others who may also benefit.  Also I look forward to hearing you feedback and what other botanicals you use in situations such as the ones described above.

 

I have been blogging for nearly a year now

I would really love to know what you think of my blog and the articles that I have been writing about.  Therefore please could you complete this poll.  If there are any topics which you would like to read about please add them to the comments below.  I am more than happy to tailor my topics based on what people want to read about.

Happy World Kindness Day

Sending love and light out to everyone with brightest blessings.

Happy World Kindness Day :)

Happy World Kindness Day 🙂

Today is world kindness day 🙂

Kindness is universally appreciated so why not show some? 🙂

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Mark Twain summarised kindness when he said it is “the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”.

World Kindness Day has been recognised in many countries throughout the world for a number of years. Driven by The World Kindness Movement, the day involves people around the world showing that we can think about more than ourselves and make the world a better place because of it.

Everyone’s idea of kindness is different. Helping an elderly person cross the road, giving someone a compliment, volunteering at a local children’s charity, or distributing baked goodies in your workplace – it all counts. We can make the world better by being kind to the people around us. Its so simple yet so true.

So, whether you hold your tongue and don’t voice mean thoughts or do something proactive to be kind to others, you can play your part in the day.

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For half a minute on 13th November, you are asked to contemplate kindness and selfless acts that have had a lasting impact on you. Nothing huge, or shouting it from the rooftops – it’s a gesture as gentle as the notion itself.

Remember what Wordsworth said; “the best bits of a man’s life are the simple, random acts of kindness and love”.

It really doesn’t take much to show someone somewhere an act of kindness so what will you do today? Or have you already done it?

 

Indoor Allergy Awareness

I have been trying to post a new article each day for National Blog Posting Month but I have failed this weekend.  I was attending  conference for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust regarding the conservation of forests.

Did you know that this week is national indoor allergy awareness week?  Do you feel like you have cold symptoms all year round? You might be suffering from non allergic rhinitis.  Allergic rhinitis is hay fever but if you have hay fever symptoms all year round then you may be interesting in what I have written.

Non-allergic rhinitis is also called vasomotor rhinitis and is where blood vessels in the nose are over-sensitive; certain environmental triggers, such as cold weather or smoke, cause them to expand, causing congestion.  The inflammation and swelling is usually the result of swollen blood vessels and an accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the nose.

This leads to nasal congestion and stimulates the mucus glands in the nose, resulting in typical symptoms, such as nasal obstruction, catarrh (a build-up of mucus in the nasal cavities) and a runny nose.   For reasons that are unknown, people with vasomotor rhinitis have very sensitive nasal blood vessels. Environmental triggers can make the blood vessels expand, leading to congestion and a build-up of mucus. Common triggers include:

  • chemical irritants, such as smoke, perfume or paint fumes
  • changes in the weather, such as a drop in temperature
  • alcohol
  • spicy food
  • stress

Allergic rhinitis and asthma are closely linked. Studies have found that up to 80% of asthma patients also had allergic rhinitis, which for some caused an increase in their asthma symptoms.

There are a number of useful lifestyle tips which you can incorporate to reduce the symptoms of rhinitis and these include:

  • Avoid allergens as much as possible once you are aware what is causing your allergy.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet to support your immune system.  Foods high in omega 6 are grains, hence sunflower oil is, as is bread, corn fed meats etc.
  • Vacuum carpets and dust regularly with a damp cloth, use aerosol sprays in a room away from you with the door closed as these airborne chemicals will aggravate the condition.
  • Wash clothing and hair regularly because pollen, smoke, chemicals and other allergens can stick to them.
  • Change bed sheets regularly and cover mattresses with mattress protectors.
  • Keep your home well-humidified – did you know that air pollution is at least 10 times greater indoors than it is outdoors?  This is due to the use of chemical cleaners, air fresheners, plastics which release toxins into the air and many other factors which are then concentrated as there is minimal air circulation throughout the house.  Open windows regularly to allow fresh air in.
  • If you have pets it may be worth keeping them out of the bedroom for a month to see if this improves your symptoms.
  • Alcohol can be dehydrating and increase symptoms of rhinitis. (unfortunately)
  • Having house plants which help to detoxify the air from several chemicals and pollutants.
Air purifying plants can reduce the levels of dir pollution indoors which can be up to ten times greater than outdoors!!

Air purifying plants can reduce the levels of dir pollution indoors which can be up to ten times greater than outdoors!!

I have attached Allergy UK’s leaflet with more tips and techniques in it for your information: allergic rhinitis

Trotula of Salerno recipes

Trotula of Salerno was a female physician, alleged to have been the first female professor of medicine, teaching in the southern Italian port of Salerno, which was at that time the most important center of medical learning in Europe.  She is regarded as the world’s first gynecologist.

Her works on women’s health, collectively called The Trotula, served as the primary manuscripts on women’s health in Europe for more than 400 years, and set the course for the practice of women’s medicine for centuries.

Here are some recipes from her work which are still applicable today 🙂

Marigold ointment

500ml of infused marigold oil (Calendula officinalis)

40g cocoa butter

40g beeswax

Warm the oil gently, melt in the cocoa butter and beeswax and stir until melts, allow to cool where it will thicken into an ointment/salve.  You can store this in sterilised glass jars.

Use for wounds, infected grazes, athletes foot and burns 🙂

This next one is great for fighting off infections which are more prevalent as the weather changes:

25g coltsfoot leaves

25g fennel

10g fresh ginger root

225g honey

900ml boiling water.

Add the herbs to the water and simmer till the liquid has reduces to 300ml.  Once the liquid has cooled add the honey.  For people who have a cough, are feeling chills or are experiencing catarrh. Take 5ml three to four times a day.

Healing womb

10g ladies mantle

10g mugwort

Make a herbal infusion/tea with the herbs and take for up to 3 months to strengthen and repair the womb – do not take in pregnancy.

Infertility tea

15g marshmallow root

15g mugwort

600ml water

Decoct the root on a hob simmering for 10 minutes then add the mugwort and take off the heat to make a herbal infusion/tea.  Use 1 cup of the herbal infusion to douche twice a week having a nourishing and tonifying effect.

Improve Circulation

10g dried hawthorn flowers

10g dried lime flowers

15g lemon balm

Mix together the dried herbs and place a 5ml spoonful of the mixture in a cup of boiling water, allow to steep for 10 minutes.  Strain and drink one cup daily for 4 weeks, rest for 1 week then repeat the dose.

I hope you have found these recipes interesting – As a herbalist these are herbs which are still used today for similar conditions.  As a pioneering woman she was definitely ahead of her time and intelligent in her understanding of herbs and how they are used to support health and wellbeing.

Stress Awareness

Today is Stress Awareness day.  We are all aware of stress as it has become a bit of a buzz work and can aggravate many issues whether social, financial, emotional , mental or physical.  I have decided to share a workbook that I designed which helps you to understand your personal stress levels, how stress affects you and what you can do to improve your tolerance levels to stress.

Stress personal workbook

This workbook has been produced by Emma Warrener for Herbs for Health and Wellbeing Ltd.  It is a resource to help you to understand the stress in your life.  By understanding what it is that raises the stress levels in your life then you are better prepared to work on reducing them and therefore experience a happier more carefree life.

 

Psoriasis Awareness Week

This week is National Psoriasis Awareness week and I have been posting about this condition on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HerbsForHealthAndWellbeingLtd as well as tweeting lifestyle tips and techniques on my Twitter account: https://twitter.com/GrimsbyHerbalUK

I would like to write about this condition in a bit more detail.  Herbal medicine is effective at managing psoriasis which is where skin completes its cycle in a few days instead of taking a month and therefore scales or plaques of skin occur usually around the elbows, ears, knees, legs, scalp and lower back.  The skin condition is usually symmetrical in appearance and can also affect finger nails causing them to be pitted and cracked.  Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition where the bodies inflammatory response doesn’t resolve naturally.  There is a hereditary link with 10-30% of family members having psoriasis, sufferers may have had an emotional event prior to psoriasis occurring and there is also a possible link to allergies or intolerances which may trigger a psoriasis outbreak.  Doctors do not know why people experience this skin condition.

Modern medicine approaches treatment by giving anti-inflammatories including steroids, as a herbalist this condition is approached in a radically different way treating each person individually as their events, symptoms and there effects on their life will be completely different despite the condition being the same.  A consultation investigates possible immunological issues as well as looks for links between the skin symptoms and events deep in the body.

Skin diseases can be seen as signals of inner toxicity and indicate the need to cleanse the body and assess which toxins may have been aggravating the situation.  If it is deemed that the immune system is a factor in psoriasis then the digestive system should be closely assessed and several elimination diets completed to determine which foods cause an inflammatory response in the person.

People who suffer with psoriasis may have low levels of the mineral bromine and should also look at their levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium and Zinc.  As a herbalist I can offer a quick and easy zinc test to determine if you are deficient.

There has been success reducing itching and redness of psoriasis by having regular oat baths.  Take a cup full of rolled oats and place in a muslin bag or an old pair of tights and when running your bath allow the water to run into the oats to create a sumptuous milky bath similar to Cleopatra’s in her day 🙂 When taking these baths on a regular basis the psoriasis can even reduce or clear up.

When looking at diet it would be worthwhile reducing (and even excluding) the levels of sugar, yeast containing foods and all refined carbohydrates as these usually aggravate psoriasis and contribute to inflammatory states.  Excluding dairy would also be worthwhile trialling for at least a month to see if the condition improves.  Introduce more oily fish, pumpkin seeds and apple cider vinegar to your diet.  Why not try dandelion root coffee – a bitter caffeine free drink which helps to support the body especially in cases of psoriasis?

Try to reduce the amount of fried food you consume, reduce sweets and pastries, sausages, alcohol, caffeine and foods containing artificial colours and preservatives.  A study found that psoriasis flare ups can be caused by artificially coloured or flavoured foods.

If you have any questions about this condition or how herbal medicine can help to support you in managing your psoriasis please do not hesitate to contact me on: http://www.herbsforhealthandwellbeing.co.uk/how-to-contact-a-herbalist-in-grimsby.html