April 23rd, 2008Herbal First Aid Part I - Introduction to Herbal First Aid
You never know when you will need first aid:
“What if there was no electricity? What is food distribution is shut down? What if there is a national disaster? What if you had to survive in the woods? What if you were attacked by an enemy and had to flee?” (Kurt King, Master Herbalist and author of Herbs to the Rescue). Herbal first aid helps you be prepared for the “what if’s.” It doesn’t have to be as drastic as a national disaster or having to survive in the woods, though. What if you are walking in a parking lot and your daughter falls down and skins her knees badly? What if one of your children runs through the neighbor’s yard (that has been sprayed for weeds) barefoot and gets poison running up her leg? What if you slice your leg open while plowing the snow? What if you are on a trip and someone gets hypothermia? By knowing basic first aid and having some basic supplies on hand, you can treat each of these “what if’s” (by the way – each of these experiences has happened to David and Fawn Christopher and their family – and they knew how to take care of them using herbal first aid).
Shouldn’t you just go to a hospital? Can’t you just use the first aid kit that has been under your bathroom sink for 20 years? Here is what David Christopher, Master Herbalist and Director of The School of Natural Healing, said:
“Herbs are the safest, most effective tool available for health care. Unlike drugs, which have a myriad of side effects that can and do cause harm, herbs can be used with confidence and you will do no harm. Many people are aware of the wonderful tonic effect of herbs that, when taken in small quantities over a long period of time, miraculously correct old chronic conditions; but…herbs can work just as fast and even more effective than patented, synthetic drugs in dealing with acute emergencies” (Herbs to the Rescue, Forward).
Please note that we are not saying to never go to the emergency room – doctors are great for certain situations – only you can make that decision. You should be prepared, though – to handle any emergency – as Kurt King points out, “What if?” What if you can’t get to an emergency room? What if the situation required immediate care – before you could get to the hospital? What if you are camping and are many miles from help? You can feel confident knowing that you could handle almost any situation.
This newsletter, over the next few weeks, will cover a few basics (Herbal First Aid could be an entire class). We can’t possibly teach you all you should know! But we will help you know what herbs should go in a first aid kit, what resources you should have, and how to handle a few emergencies. We will give you resources for other herbal first aid situations.
Your primary weapon is knowledge. For example – if you get into some Poison Ivy in the woods, did you know that the cure is always growing nearby? If you have educated yourself then you will be able to find the plantain nearby, know how to use it, and get on with your day. Without making this sound too much like an advertisement, we are confident that your very best source of education is The School of Natural Healing. Dr. John R. Christopher had the vision to see a Family Herbalist in every home and a Master Herbalist in every community. The Family Herbalist course will teach you how to handle most medical situations at home. You won’t find a Family Herbalist who doesn’t feel like they got much more out of the course than they paid for it. For more details please visit The School of Natural Healing at http://www.snh.cc.
We also encourage you to go on an herb walk in your area. Check with your local health food or herb store to see if they are aware of any. If you hear of one, please let us know so that we can send it out to everyone on the list! Your fellow subscribers in your area would greatly appreciate it! Take a camera, a notebook, good hiking boots and a hat with you and enjoy an herb walk. After doing an herb walk (as long as it is led by someone qualified) you will be able to identify many different herbs in your area.
To get you started, there is one herb you shouldn’t be without - cayenne. Why cayenne? “Cayenne helps restore normal body functions, relieves rheumatism, counteracts putrefaction and infection, relieves nervous irritability and spasms, condenses and firms the tissues, excites intestinal peristalsis, relieves spasms, promotes expulsion of gas from the gastrointestinal tract, seasons and flavors foods, induces vomiting (in large doses), is hot and penetrating, stimulates local circulation and skin redness, increases saliva and aids digestion, causes profuse perspiration, stops bleeding, is a general all around stimulant to activity and energy, and heals wounds” (information from Dean Alter, Master Herbalist).
Next week we will go over the first six things you should do in an emergency. Then we will discuss what herbs you should have in your first aid kit. After that we will discuss several common situations and how to use herbs to treat those.
“Kurt and I [David Christopher] sat down together recently, swapping herb stories, discussing case histories, and exchanging remedies. In the course of our reunion, and after much discussion, we decided that a usable book on herbal first aid was greatly needed.
“Because of time restraints, I bowed out of the project and encouraged Kurt to write the book. After reviewing the book I can say that he’s put together a wonderful guide to not only first aid but health care in general.
“At the risk of sounding trite, let me say, study this book, use this book, and please ‘don’t leave home without it.’” (Herbs to the Rescue – Introduction by David Christopher).
Kurt King’s excellent book, “Herbs to the Rescue: Herbal First Aid Handbook” is a book that you need a copy of with every herbal first aid kit you have. While only 90 pages long, you would be hard-pressed to come across an emergency that this book doesn’t cover. And for only $7.95, you can’t afford to be without a few copies!
To learn more or purchase a copy, please visit: