Archive for Herbalism

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

They’re here! Poison ivy that is, and her two toxic siblings poison oak and poison sumac. The bane of summer enjoyment for gardeners, landscapers, campers, hikers, and lovers of all things outdoors.

Each year, 50 million Americans endure the ramifications of a toxic encounter with poison ivy and her two pernicious allies. However, it was only recently that researchers identified the molecular pathway that had eluded them in the past. More about that in a bit.

Yet, for those who lead plant identification groups, “Is that poison ivy?” has to be one of the most commonly asked questions and for good reason. Poison ivy does not always present exactly the same, but once one masters its ambiguous nature, it seems to pop out of everywhere. So let us learn a bit more.

Know Your Enemy

Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and the Japanese lacquer tree are part of the cashew plant family. Originating as a North American native plant, poison ivy is found from coast to coast in Canada, the continental United States (except for California where poison oak abounds), and Mexico. It has a great ability to adapt to many different habitats which is why it can be found growing almost anywhere except in the desert or at high elevations.

In the eastern part of the United States one will typically see poison ivy as a climbing vine that looks like a hairy rope with flowers of green or yellow. While western poison ivy, although similar in appearance, typically does not climb, but instead grows into a low-lying shrub. To confuse the issue, western poison oak has a vining growth habit.

The edges of the leaves are called margins. They can either be smooth or toothed. Sometimes on different plants, and sometimes even on the same plant as in the one depicted below. Also, poison ivy can also present with many “teeth” on the toothed margins, not only the one notch depicted here.

The young plants or leaves usually have a “high-gloss” appearance and can range from green to greenish-red to deep red color. In the autumn, poison ivy leaves turn a deep orange to red color. It is simply beautiful to behold.

~ Leaflets of Three, Let It Be ~

While the edges of the leaves can be either toothed or smooth, the leaves themselves are pinnately-veined, making them a dicot. Dicots are a grouping of flowering plants that typically have four or five petals. Poison ivy flowers have five petals which flower in June.

~ Longer Middle Stem, Don’t Touch Them ~

The leaf presents at the end of a petiole in a grouping of three leaflets called “trifoliate” or “ternate.” A petiole is the “leafstalk,” which is a slender stalk that attaches the leaf or leaves to the stem of a plant. Also note in the photo above that the center leaflet has a longer stalk than the two opposite leaflets.

Poison Ivy (Center)
Poison Ivy in Bud

The fruit of poison ivy is called a drupe which is a fleshy fruit that surrounds a single stone-like seed and is colored greenish-yellow or amber. These fruits are a valuable source of food for birds during mid-winter when food is scarce.

Two simple mnemonics are just not enough to describe this “plant of many presentations.” Therefore, when describing the eastern poison ivy it is important to take note of that hairy vine. What child would not delight in repeating the phrase “Hairy rope? Don’t be a dope!” So let us stick with more refined terminology, “Hairy vine? No friend of mine!”

~ Hairy Vine? No Friend of Mine! ~

The next photo shows three poison ivy vines, two of which are quite thick. Touching any part of poison ivy plant can result in a form of contact dermatitis called “poison ivy rash”, which is a type of skin poisoning.

The photo below is a close up of those “vine” hairs for your consideration, but did you know that poison ivy is neither a vine nor a plant called a bine? A vine has tendrils which are used to climb, think of a grapevine, sweet pea, cucumber, or passionflower.

A bine uses its main stem to wrap around the thing that it is climbing like a fence post or a tree. Examples of plants that are bines would be hops, wisteria, honeysuckle, morning glories, or clematis.

Poison ivy is neither a vine or a bine. It is actually a parasitic plant. Those “hairs” used to attach itself to trees are, in fact, aerial roots which gain nourishment from its host.

~ To learn more about botany and the medicinal properties of plants consider the Master Herbalist program at Genesis School of Natural Health! ~

Toxicondendron radicans while native to North America can also be found alive and well in Europe and Asia, and disbursed from there all over the world. In the fall of 1784, “Philadelphia horticulturalist William Bartram wrote out a list of 220 “American Trees, Shrubs, & herbs” in his fine, flowing handwriting. He was packing up seeds and young plants to send across the Atlantic, as he had many times before. European collectors were eager to buy New World trees and plants, whether useful, ornamental, or simply unusual.”[1] Number 120 on his list was poison ivy.

From there poison ivy began to be cultivated in English and French royal gardens. It was not long before the plant’s irritant effects became well known and its popularity dwindled. I wonder is it just me, or can anyone else picture a wry smile on ol’ Bartram’s face as he was writing out his list?

Poison ivy is a rich source of tannins, saponins, alkaloids, etc. It is also high in antioxidants and in antimicrobial activity.[2] The oily mixture of sap contains Urushiol, a clear chemical that causes skin irritation and itch. Urushiol found in the Japanese urushi or “lacquer” tree is also found in poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and the skin and plant parts of mangoes.

It is the alkyl functional groups that make urushiol non-polar and hydrophobic. This means it does not dissolve in water. When oily urushiol touches the skin, it sticks and begins to be absorbed right away into the dermis over the next eight hours or so, unless measures are taken to stop it.

If not removed from the surface of the skin an itchy rash generally begins to appear in as few as 24 hours from the initial exposure. The molecular pathway for this irritating effect of urushiol had previously eluded scientists, until now.

Florian Winau, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School found that “when urushiol comes into contact with Langerhans cells in the skin, the Langerhans cells load urushiol on CD1a molecules that activate the immune system’s T cells. The T cells produce interleukin 17 and interleukin 22, which cause inflammation and itchiness. It was these two interleukins, known to be active in psoriasis as well, that prompted Winau to suggest that a similar mechanism — and a similar therapeutic target — may be involved in both the poison ivy response and in psoriasis’ auto-immune reaction.”[3]

Why had this evaded researchers for so long? Well, lab mice are often used in immunology study and while they are valuable resource in many respects, no one considered that they don’t produce CD1a, the molecular pathway found in humans allergic to urushiol.[3]

~ “Phytochemistry”, understanding how and why plant medicine works, is foundational in the Clinical Master Herbalist program here at Genesis School of Natural Health! ~

~ Ewww! Get it off-fa me! ~

While we need to be able to avoid direct exposure to the poison ivy plant, we also need to be cautious about possible secondary exposures as well. Toxic urushiol can remain active for up to five years on clothing, bedding, shoes, tools, gloves, and pet fur if not cleaned off. Dead, dried-up poison ivy still has the oil on it. So beware.

“Urushiol must penetrate the skin to cause a reaction, and can depend on the amount of sap, the length of exposure, and the parts of the body exposed (skin can be thicker or thinner depending on the part of the body). It will also depend on your individual sensitivity.”[4]

Urushiol Oil Induced Contact Dermatitis

To remove the urushiol, use lukewarm to cool water and scrub with a cloth. It is the friction that actually removes the oil, so don’t be afraid to give a good scrub. Do not use hot water as it opens the pores of the skin and increases the rate of absorption. Believe it or not cool water and friction are more effective at removing poison ivy oils, than even soaps and chemical products. The best practice is to soap up, scrub, and rinse two to three times making sure to get any place on your body that you may have touched with your hands.

Do not bathe in an attempt to remove urushiol. The still unabsorbed urushiol can float on the bath water and find its way to other parts of the body. There are products like Tech-nu and de-greasing soaps that are marketed, but by far the most effective way to remove urushiol is by pure friction.

Remember to clean well under the nails because urushiol can stay active for quite a while in that hiding spot.

~ Stop the Itch! ~

So ya got yerself some poison ivy goin’ on. Well, of course, it was before you read this article and knew all about it, but that does not change the fact that now there is an inflamed rash that itches like a bugger. What can help while the body is healing? First, do not scratch or break open the blisters. The blisters are self-protective fluids that help to cushion the wound, keep out infection, and heal the skin.

Here are a number of things to try, so don’t give up.

~ Cool as a Cucumber! ~

  • My personal favorite soothing, anti-heat, anti-itch remedy is to place lengths of thinly-sliced cucumber directly upon the rash and wrap it in a layer of paper toweling secured by cellophane wrap. I may look like a country bumkin in that getup, but there is nothing more soothing than cucumbers which are especially cooling. Such a relief from the heat of the inflammation and the incessant itch. Cucumbers are also astringent which helps contract the tissues and diminish the secretions.
  • Another way to use cucumber is to liberally rub the juice over the rash. Let it air dry after the application, then apply a second coat. This provides a protective layer over the rash that keeps it from being irritated by fabrics and things one brushes up against throughout the day. Two coats each time seems to do the trick, is easy to reapply, and lasts a few hours. Others swear by watermelon rind or the inside of a banana peel, but I don’t know if they have tried cucumber. Try whatever is available to see what helps your situation the most.
  • Aloe (Aloe vera) – Now might be a good time to slice open a leaf of that plant you keep around for burns and sunburn and smear it all over that rash. Aloe gel can help too.
  • Activated Charcoal can be helpful, especially where there is severe swelling. Take 8 tablets or mix 1 rounded teaspoon into a small glass of juice or water two times each day. Remember to increase water intake while using activated charcoal. Discontinue once the swelling has dissipated.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Saturate a cotton ball and apply topically with a saturated cotton ball.
  • Oatmeal Paste – Use plain or stir in some baking soda.
  • Calamine lotion is commonly applied to urushiol rashes.

~ Poison Ivy Herbals ~

According to Dr. John R. Christopher, naturopathic physician and herbalist, poison ivy is listed along with herbs that are known irritants. Irritants are “Herbs that produce a greater or lesser degree of vascular excitement when applied to the epidermis or skin surface.”[5] It is included along with the Herpetic herbs, those that are healing to skin eruptions which relate to the herpes virus and scaling diseases such as ringworm etc.[5] It is also rubefacient, stimulant, and narcotic.

Herbal Remedies by Dr. John. R Christopher [5]

  • Plantain (Plantago spp.) – Make a poultice of the fresh, bruised leaves and apply to the rash. Change before the poultice dries out.
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) – Use the infusion internally and with frequent external applications as a wash.
  • Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) – Applied topically as a component of Dr. Christopher’s Asthma Remedy.
  • Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) – Apply as a poultice – 1 part lobelia to 2 parts slippery elm.
  • Virginia Snake Root (Aristolochia serpentaria) – Apply a wash of the fluid extract.

“Mrs. Maud Grieve was the Principal and Founder of ‘The Whins’ Medicinal and Commercial Herb School and Farm at Chalfont St. Peter in Buckinghamshire, England. The training school gave tuition and practical courses in all branches of herb growing, collecting, drying and marketing. Grieve had also been President of the British Guild of Herb Growers, and Fellow of the British Science Guild. Her work A Modern Herbal contains medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and economic properties, cultivation and folklore of herbs.”[6]

Herbal Remedies by Mrs. M Grieve, F.R.H.S. [7]

  • Alkaline lotions – Baking soda in baths and pastes, hyposulphite of soda – use to moisten skin frequently.
  • Vervain Root (Verbena spp.) – Boiled in milk and water with the inner bark of the White Oak (Quercus alba).

Dr. John Heinerman traveled the world to work with folk healers and top doctors and scientists. Here are some of his suggestions to ease the pain of poison ivy.

Herbal Remedies by Dr. John Heinerman [8]

  • Beech (Fagus grandifolia) – Steep bits of tree bark from the North side of the tree in 2 C slightly salted hot water until color is dark. Bathe affected rash as needed.
  • Cattail (Typha Latifolia) – Make a paste of the root powder, spread a thin layer on rash, change after several hours.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) – 1 TSP powdered root to 1 pint hot water. Dab on rash. Taking internally is beneficial as well. NOTE: If possible, use the other remedies as Goldenseal is overharvested.
  • Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) – Rinse and crush well. Rub over affected areas. NOTE: Jewelweed is often found growing in the same location as poison ivy. Look for it as it should be used right away as an antidote for the urushiol.
  • Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) – Dig and clean fresh root, then hammer to a pulp. Apply a poultice of mashed root and leave for 24 hours or boil 1 C chopped root in 1-1/2 pints distilled water, covered, for 15 minutes, cool, strain, and wash skin with the tea.
  • Sumac (Rhus glabra) – Make sure you have identified the correct species! Add 1 TBSP each of the bark, leaves, and berries to 1 Qt boiling water. Simmer covered for 30 minutes, then steep for 30 minutes, strain, refrigerate. Once cool, use as a wash.

~ Homeopathic Rhus Toxicondendron ~

  • Itching Skin Diseases – Use the homeopathic both internally and externally for poison ivy/oak/sumac, rashes, ringworm, etc. Homeopathic Rhus Tox is also utilized to prevent/lesson an allergic reaction and to treat a rash.

~ Homeopathic Cell Salts[9] ~

  • Natrum Muriaticom & Kali Sulphuricum – For topical use only. Both must be used together. Use either the 3X or 6X potencies. Add to cool/lukewarm water, then apply directly to the rash using a clean cloth.

Due to its potent actions and the risk of toxicity, use of poison ivy as a medicinal has fallen by the wayside. Poison ivy was included as a remedy in the Merck Manual of 1899 as was Rhus Toxicondendron, the homeopathic. A fluid extract can be prepared from the fresh leaves, however, if taken orally a blistering rash may occur internally. With so many more suitable herbs, an herbalist would have no difficulty finding another to replace any potential benefit of Toxicodendron radicans.

Most skin rashes caused by urushiol are limited and cause only a minor although very irritating, sometimes painful, hot, itchy rash anywhere from five days to a few weeks.

It is important to not attempt to burn poison ivy as the oils are carried in the smoke and upon inhalation, can cause internal damage to the esophagus and the lining of the lungs. This condition is extremely painful and potentially deadly.

Should too great “a portion of the body be covered with blisters, respiration and excretion of poisonous wastes through the pores is impeded. This, in turn, may lead to a fatal toxemia.”[10] The remedies included here are only intended for use with non-life-threatening conditions.

Hopefully, becoming knowledgeable helps us to avoid this beautiful-but-o-so-irritating plant. In the event that poison ivy makes itself known, we are now also armed with remedies to prevent and deal with the rash. Do you use natural remedies for poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Enjoy the outdoors this year!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

References:

  1. No Ill Nature: The Surprising History and Science of Poison Ivy and Its Relatives
  2. Investigation into the Phytochemical Composition of Poison Ivy and its Antimicrobial Activity by Hinchong Hanse, Mondeep Gogoi, Pronot Langthasa, Elufer Akram, Priya Islam, Taku Oniya
  3. From Leaf to Itch by Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer
  4. The Truths and Myths About Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac
  5. School of Natural Healing by Dr. John R. Christopher
  6. Collection of material relating to Mrs. Maud Grieve, F.R.H.S (fl.1937)
  7. A Modern Herbal by Mrs. Maud Grieve, F.R.H.S.
  8. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs & Spices by Dr. John Heinerman
  9. The Healing Echo Discovering Homeopathic Cell Salts by Vinton McCabe
  10. What Causes the “Itch” in Poison Ivy? Journal of the Franklin Institute, vol. 255, no. 3, pp.266-267

Other Resources:

How to never have a serious poison ivy rash again
CDC Other: POISONOUS PLANTS
MALDI-MS Imaging of Urushiols in Poison Ivy Stem

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm. The herb of many talents. This is one of the few herbs known as a veritable ‘medicine chest’. It’s actions are many. It’s mild, yet potent, acting almost like an herbal blend all by itself. However, in a herbal blend it has a reputation of being a powerful potentiator for the other herbs. Lemon Balm is definitely a “must have” herb for every apothecary.

COMMON NAME: Lemon Balm, Sweet Balm, Honey Balm, Bee Balm, Balm

LATIN NAME: Melissa officinalis

FAMILY: Lamiaceae (Mint)

PLANT PARTS USED: Leaf, Essential Oil

ENERGETICS: Warming (Ayurveda) or Cooling (TCM & Western Herbalism); Moistening

TASTE: Sour, “Lemon-y”, Aromatic

ACTIONS: Anti-depressant, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-viral, Carminative, Cholegogue, Diaphoretic, Emmenogogue (mild), Hepatic, Hypnotic, , Memory/Cognition Enhancer, Nervine, Sedative, Spasmolytic, Trophorestorative, Beneficial cardiovascular effects: Antiarrhythmogenic, Hypotensive, Infarct Size-Reducing, Negative Chronotropic & Dromotropic, Sedative Stimulation of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthesis, Styptic, Vasorelaxant, Vulnerary

SYMPTOMS:
Internal Use Anxiety, Cold, Colic, Depression, Digestion (poor), Excitability, Fever, Flu, Gas/bloating, Graves Disease, Headache, Heart Palpitations, Herpes Viruses, Hyperactivity, Hypertension, Hyperthyroidism, Memory and Cognition Booster (in low to moderate doses only), Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Insomnia, Delayed Menstruation, Nausea, Restlessness, Stomach Cramps, Teething, Urinary Infections, Viral Infection

The juice of balm glueth together greene wounds.

John Gerard, English Herbalist

Topical Use Apply the leaves to skin diseases and wounds, including chicken pox eruptions, psoriasis, eczema and venomous stings.

It is now recognized as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make excellent surgical dressings: they give off ozone and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Being chemical hydrocarbons , they contain so little oxygen that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out, and the resinous part of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up and effectually exclude all noxious air.

Mrs. M. Grieve

ABOUT: Lemon Balm is a herbaceous perennial plant in the mint family. When it flowers it is an attractant for bees, hence the name “bee balm”. Originally, it comes from Greece and was spread by the Romans in their travels. It is most commonly considered a native of Europe, central Asia, and Iran.

Lemon balm… “Caus(es) the mind and heart to become merry.”

~ Nicolas Culpepper, British Botanist, Herbalist & Physician (1616-1654)

Clinical trials have revealed some of the positive effects of Lemon Balm due to its ability to stimulate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine receptors. This affects mood, memory, sleep and cognition. It also stimulates GABA A receptors which have significant physiological and therapeutic implications due to Lemon balm’s ability to inhibit certain responses in the Central Nervous System and throughout the body. GABA’s ability to attach to these receptors plays a significant role in modulating anxiety, fear and stress.

Lemon Balm has traditionally been known to relieve heart palpitations, this has also been demonstrated clinically in humans. It appears that its polyphenols have antioxidant properties and the ability to scavenge free radicals. It ameliorates oxidative stress, has anti-inflammatory effects, activates M2 and antagonism of β1 receptors in the heart, is able to block voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, stimulates endothelial nitric oxide synthesis, prevents fibrotic changes, and more.1

There are herbalists who assert that Lemon Balm has the ability to normalize thyroid hormones. Scientific studies generally look at Lemon Balm’s ability to normalize hyperthyroid conditions such as Grave’s Disease but do not generally consider its balancing properties for the underactive thyroid.

DOSE:
Oral = Tincture 2-6 dropperfuls 3x per day
Infusion (dried or fresh)= 2-3 TSPS herb per Cup 2-3 times per day

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Using Lemon Balm as a whole herb carries no significant contraindications. However, as is it a known potentiator when used with herbs it would be wise to use it apart from pharmaceuticals as well. Additionally, its sedative properties should be considered when driving or operating heavy machinery – especially at the higher dosages. It is considered safe when used in moderation during pregnancy.

FOOD ENHANCEMENT: Beverages, add a few leaves to salad, soups, sauces, marinades, etc.

Sources:

Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffman

A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Chamomile

COMMON NAME: Chamomile, German Chamomile, Blue Chamomile, Camomilla

LATIN NAME: Matricaria recutita, Matricaria chamomilla

FAMILY: Astraceae

PLANT PART USED: Dried Flowers

ENERGETICS: Cooling, Drying

TASTE: Slightly Sweet, Floral, Fruity (apple-like scent)

The actions of German Chamomile are gentle and slow. However, it’s effects can be expected to be long-lasting when used consistently and in moderation over a lengthy period of time.

PRIMARY ACTIONS: Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Astringent, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Hypnotic, Hypocholestrolemic, Hypoglycemic, Inflammation Modulator, Nervine (Anti-Anxiety & Antidepressant), Nutritive, Sedative (mild), Spasmolytic, Vulnerary

SECONDARY ACTIONS: Anti-Inflammatory, Bitter, Antimicrobial, Nervous System Trophorestorative

SYMPTOMS:
Internal Use – Anxiety, Depression, Irritability, Restlessness; Colic, Spastic Constipation, Diarrhea, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Gas/Bloating, GI Cramps, GI Ulcers, Indigestion, Nausea, GERD; Bacterial Infections of the Skin, Burning Mouth Syndrome, Common Cold, Gout, Hay Fever, Menstrual Disorders, Migraines (non aura), Neuralgia, Muscle Spasms, Nerve Pain, Rheumatic Pain, Sciatica

Topical Use – Bacterial Infections of the Oral Cavity & Gums, Boils/Carbuncles, Skin Irritation and Inflammation, Blocked Tear Ducts, Bruises, Burns, Canker Sores, Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye), Diaper Rash, Ear & Eye Infections, Eczema, Eye Irritations, Hemorrhoids, Mastitis, Menstrual Pain, Nasal Inflammation, Poison Ivy, Teething, Wounds

ABOUT: Chamomile is perhaps the most popular herbs used medicinally in the world today. It is native to southern and eastern Europe. In ancient history Chamomile was a medicinal used by the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. It’s medicinal use dates back at least 5,000 years.

Modern science is only beginning to uncover the mechanisms of German Chamomile but have found it beneficial for such conditions as migraines (without aura), burning mouth syndrome (which worsens under stress), enhance overall sleep quality (although not proven to help insomnia to date), and General Anxiety Disorder in long-term studies. However, this did not appear to reduce the rate of relapse when Chamomile was removed. It is likely that the studies were too short only being 12 or 26 weeks. Chamomile also appears to be antidepressant as well as beneficial in mitigating anxiety.

Studies investigating the role of Chamomile in dysmenorrhea and in the reduction of menstrual bleeding have found that oral Chamomile was more effective than NSAIDs as a pain-reliever and had a positive effect at reducing blood flow.

The chemical chamazulene has demonstrated an ability to significantly reverse the inflammation that accompanies osteoarthritis.

Chamomile also may be helpful in helping with obesity and metabolic syndrome. It improves insulin sensitivity and reduces glucose intolerance. The polyphenols in Chamomile appear to be effective at protecting against oxidative stress-related diseases such as metabolic syndrome (diabetes II) and obesity. These antioxidants appear to transfer into the plants essential oils as well. Certain studies have found Chamomile to be inhibitive to the digestion of carbohydrates and absorption of glucose in the intestines. Additionally, it demonstrates hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic actions.

This statement written into one study on obesity and metabolic syndrome is very revealing about the synergistic nature of plants remedials versus isolated components.

“Chamomile flowers contain a wide range of polyphenolic compounds and essential oils that possess various biological activities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and energy metabolism modulating effects. Due to these properties chamomile preparations can be effectively used for obesity prevention and treatment. Whole chamomile extract seems to be more effective than isolated individual components since the latter show some differences in cellular and protein targets and together may demonstrate synergetic effects.”

Bayliak MM, Dmytriv TR, Melnychuk AV, Strilets NV, Storey KB, Lushchak VI.
Chamomile as a potential remedy for obesity and metabolic syndrome.
EXCLI J. 2021 Jul 26;20:1261-1286. doi: 10.17179/excli2021-4013.
PMID: 34602925; PMCID: PMC8481792.

DOSE:
Oral = Tincture, 2-5 dropperfuls/ml (20 drops/ml), three times per day
Infusion = 1 Tbsp./C, two to four times per day
Topical = Baths, washes, infused oil, diluted essential oil; as needed

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Generally, people tolerate chamomile well when consumed in moderation. It is not advised to take high doses during the first trimester of pregnancy. Sensitivity may occur in those allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family such as daisies, chrysanthemums, marigold, or ragweed.

Although uncommon, side-effects have been known to include allergic reactions such as skin irritation, itching, rash, redness or swelling when applied topically (rarely anaphylaxis), nausea and dizziness.

Chamomile has potential to interact with certain drugs (especially when over-consumed) such as the blood thinner Warfarin, NSAIDs, Naproxen, antiplatelet medications, and Cyclosporine used in transplant patients to prevent rejection of the organ. Check with your physician to rule out the possibility of drug-herb interactions.

One final thought. While the mechanisms are not understood by science, it has verified that Mexican American women who use Chamomile have a reduction in all cause mortality. Science continues to search for the pathways that explain this occurrence. However, it does not surprise me in the least that an unassuming herb with the power to reduce anxiety and relieve depression in this stress-filled world would humbly and quietly boost longevity in those who esteem its simplicity. May I offer you some Chamomile?

Sources:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlmmigraine.nih.gov/29849976/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19593179/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27912875/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3600408/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5710842/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8242407/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8481792/
https://academic.oup.com/bbb/article/84/2/402/5955611?login=true
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16628544/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5181385/

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Oatstraw & Milky Oats

COMMON NAME: Oatstraw; Milky Oats, Oats Flowering Tops; Oats

LATIN NAME: Avena sativa

FAMILY: Poaceae

PLANT PART USED: Stems (Oatstraw) & Premature Seeds (Milky Oats)

ENERGETICS: Neutral to cooling, moistening

TASTE: Sweet

PRIMARY ACTIONS: Antidepressant, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory (topically as colloidal oatmeal), Anti-insomnia, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Cardiotonic, Capillary-Strengthening, Diuretic, Galactagogue, Hypolipidemic, Nervine Tonic, Nutritive, Vasodilator, Vulnerary (Demulcent & Emollient)­

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Many herbal professionals would agree there are no problems with using oatstraw or milky oats, In theory, caution should be exercised with those who are celiac or have a recognized gluten sensitivity. While oats do not contain gluten, those with Celiac disease or gluten allergies must take care to verify the oats they select are not cross-contaminated in a facility that processes other gluten-containing grains.

Milky Oats

ABOUT: ‘Milky oats’ are the premature oat that has not yet formed a seed. When harvested at the right time the premature green seed head can be squeezed and a sticky whitish “milk” will be released.

The ‘oat straw’ is the grassy stalk of the plant that should be harvested while the oats are in the milky oats stage.

As food, oats are the seed of the mature plant that is harvested for food commonly called oatmeal or baked and added to granola or muesli. Oatmeal is a calcium channel blocker that helps to lower blood pressure. When soaked and strained the oat ‘milk’ can be consumed as a beverage or medicinally added to bath water to soothe skin conditions or applied topically to soothe skin conditions including contact dermatitis, dryness, itching, rashes, eczema (weeping), and burns.

The most common herbal remedies are those made of the oatstraw infusion and of the milky oats tincture. Though they appear simple, one should not underestimate their healing potential. Oatstraw or milky oats should be considered remedies for most anyone at any time throughout life.

Oat Straw with Milky Oats

Oatstraw can help brighten one’s mood and lift depression by inhibiting the ability of monoamine oxide-B to break down a neurotransmitter called dopamine important for mood regulation. Oatstraw also keeps phosphodiesterase-4 from causing inflammation often connected to anxiety and depression. Additionally, oatstraw increases focus through vasodilation, therefore, it may be beneficial for those with ADHD.

Oatstraw infusion is supportive of those suffering from bed-wetting, boils, flu, coughs, bladder issues, joint pain and rheumatic complaints, exhaustion, frostbite, gall bladder issues, gout, heart and/or liver issues, impetigo, lung weakness, nervous conditions, sexual debility, etc.

Ayurvedic practitioners have used a decoction of Avena sativa as an elixir for opium addiction and noticed that certain people also have found it supportive for smoking cessation.1 While this may be controversial, it is not surprising that addictions stemming from anxiety may be helped by this gentle, yet powerful nervous system trophorestorative.

To make an oatstraw infusion, place 1/4 cup of chopped organic oatstraw into a mason jar. Fill the jar with steaming hot/boiling water and cover. To extract all the minerals, allow the infusion to set overnight for a minimum of 8 hours. Then strain and drink. Keep refrigerated for up to three days. An adult may consume one cup up to three times per day.

Oatstraw tea is even safe for infants (in small doses), children, women who are pregnant or menopausal, the elderly, the convalescing and in just about every life-stage and condition of health.

The milky oats of the oat plant are made into a tincture. It must be done at the premature milky stage of the oat seed. The best tinctures are made using a very high-percentage alcohol solvent as this is necessary to extract the milky white latex exudate from the immature seed.

Milky oats is a traditional remedy used to support and restore the nervous system. especially after long periods of prolonged stress The tincture would likely be faster-acting and more appropriate in an acute situation. Old-time practitioners used milky oats tincture to promote healthy heart and nerve function as well as to encourage healthy sleep patterns, An adult dose of milky oats tincture ranges from 20-40 drops 3 or more times per day.

The Ultimate Immune Booster

Boost Your Immune System & Reduce Your Viral Load Through Forgiveness

Good health includes many health-promoting practices from eating the right foods and drinking pure water, to avoiding chemicals and getting proper rest. Spiritual and emotional factors are also important. While designed to live in the present, all of us at some point have to deal with something that keeps us emotionally and physically tied to an unpleasant person or event, and that is unforgiveness. The decision to withhold forgiveness has the deleterious power to bind us to the past through either ours or another’s action or inaction.

Unforgiveness can be thought of as an anchor that holds the emotions of hatred or bitterness, anger or rage, resentment, retaliation and even murder in place. Unforgiveness is an emotional “toxin” and an underlying factor in much physical or psychological dysfunction. Simply stated, the body cannot thrive while holding onto toxicity of any kind.

Just like an anchor is designed to keep a boat from floating away on the water, so our ability to overcome daily stressors is drastically hindered with these ties to past wounds, traumas and offenses.

When bound to the past through toxic decisions such as unforgiveness, the soul (mind, will and emotions) simply cannot operate at maximum capacity. This causes our body to enter into a heightened state of chronic stress which causes physical vitality begin to wane. These toxic emotions keep the body under chronic levels of stress, hindering the ability to repair itself.

As innervation (the excitation of nerve fibers that causes an organ, gland, muscle or body region to react beyond what is required for homeostasis) occurs, among the first systems that become affected are the amount and quality of sleep, proper digestion including the assimilation of nutrition, and the proper elimination of wastes. The mind is often inordinately occupied with wrong(s) done, rehearsing things that did not happen that might have been better said or done in the moment. This chronic insistence of holding on to the “Fight” or “Flight” of the autonomic nervous system’s “Fight or Flight” response hinders the healing processes that occur when the body returns to the “Rest and Digest” of the parasympathetic nervous system keeping the body from returning to a state of peace.

Eventually, a dip in energy levels with increasing fatigue occurs while the body adjusts to the constant state of unresolved stress. This manifests in the physical body through an energetic pathway connected to the autonomic nervous system. (For more information about this newly-discovered organ system, read about the Primo Vascular System HERE.)

Negative emotions increase the risk of having adverse health experiences, for instance, a stroke. In one study “three potential triggers stood out: anger, negative emotions – guilt, fear, nervousness, irritability, and hostility – and sudden posture changes due to a startling event. Nearly 30% of participants reported at least one of those experiences two hours before their stroke. …There was a 14-fold increase in stroke risk with both negative emotions and anger.”1

While it is not known exactly how years of negative feelings and anger affect the risk of having a stroke, it is a good idea for those who experience intense negative feelings to incorporate skills such as forgiveness to release this build-up of inner tension in a healthful manner. We will discuss this in more detail later.

A study published in the European Heart Journal on March 3, 2014, confirms these findings. “Researchers found in the two hours after an angry outburst, a person’s risk for a heart attack increased nearly five times and their risk of stroke shot up more than three times, compared to when patients were not angry. Risk for arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, was also increased.”2

It is important to understand that for any negative emotion, overexpression, suppression or pretending the problem is not there takes tremendous emotional and physical resources as well as communicating toxic messages to the body. This is always harmful. This would explain why it is most beneficial for maintaining and regaining health and longevity to release the root cause of these emotions. Forgiveness of self and others often plays a key role.

In relationship to anger and cancer, researchers have found that “Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis. Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial for patients to mobilize anger to battle their cancer.”3

Another study found that natural killer cell counts are negatively influenced by outward expressions of anger. Natural killer cells are important in the body’s anti-tumor immune response. It is significant to note that other factors were measured which did not appear to affect natural killer cell counts such as inward anger, clinical anxiety or depression. The results of this study suggest that the unregulated expression of anger may suppress the body’s innate immunity.4 There is always unforgiveness lurking behind anger. So if someone wants to deal with anger issues, they should consider the need to forgive.

Do you want to boost your immune system and reduce your viral load? Then forgive!

A study of those living with HIV presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions “shows individuals who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status.”5

CD4 is a type of protein that is found on immune cells such as T-cells, macrophages, and monocytes. CD4s do not neutralize infections; however, they trigger the body’s proper response to infections. The results of a blood test CD4 T-cell count are used to indicate the health of immune function. It is most commonly used in people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). In this next study, CD4 cell percentages correlate to the health of the immune system with a significant relationship to the level of forgiveness.

“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and
expecting the other person to die.”

“We hypothesized that higher levels of forgiveness would be associated with higher CD4 cell percentages controlled for demographic and behavioral variables as well as viral load,’ Dr. Owen told Medscape Medical News. ‘And none of these variables accounted for the relationship between forgiveness and CD4 cell percentages. So, there is something special going on between forgiveness and CD4 cell counts.”5 Interestingly, this study also equated the greater the forgiveness, the higher the CD4 percentages which boosts the immune system and reduces viral load.

It has also been found that forgiveness improves immune function in those with HIV. A new study was presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions. This study included people who were living with HIV. It revealed that “individuals who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status.”6

Another study confirms the correlation. It found the more unforgiving nature a person has, the worse mental and physical health were experienced, and conversely, demonstrated that there is a positive interaction of those who practice having a forgiving nature and a correspondingly weaker effect of stress and adverse mental health in an individual’s life.7

Caution: Unforgiveness may be detrimental to your health!

What Unforgiveness IS ~
Reverend Michael Barry, PhD, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania explained, “…Unforgiveness is a state where a person retains negative emotions, including anger and hatred, for a perpetrator of harm. ‘This creates a state of chronic anxiety, and chronic anxiety has a predictable impact on a wide range of bodily functions, including the reproductive system, the digestive system, and the immune system,’ he said.

‘There is a direct correlation between unforgiveness and our immune system, which directly affects our healing processes.”

Rev. Michael Barry, Ph.D.

For example, stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenalin, have been shown to reduce the production of natural killer cells — the ‘foot soldiers’ in the fight against cancer, he noted.

Dr. Barry’s own research has shown that almost two-thirds of cancer patients identified forgiveness as a personal issue for them, and 1 in 3 of them indicated they had severe forgiveness issues, ‘so we are aware of the emotional pain that many of our patients are in.”8

Caution: Forgiveness may be beneficial to your health!

What Forgiveness IS ~
Forgiveness is something one does for themselves. It is solely for the individual, not anyone else. Incorporating the practice of forgiveness into one’s lifestyle brings health-promoting separation for the soul and the body, breaking its destructive negatively-charged chronically stressful emotions, thoughts and behaviors anchored to a toxic past.

For those who have experienced the release of deeply forgiving another person, it is a truly liberating, burden-lightening decision for the restoration of health.

What Forgiveness is NOT ~
The act of forgiveness does not make light of or diminish the violation, pain or suffering of the wounded in any way. The kind of emotional turmoil associated with traumatic events follow people throughout their lifetimes. Sadly, unforgiveness towards self or others can affect one’s ability to succeed, experience healthy and fulfilling relationships, feel the depths and the heights of love, hope, peace and joy, and even a dramatic lessening of physical vitality.

Forgiveness is not forgetting, nor does it approve of a wrong done. It is a powerful technique that can bring separation, lessening of emotional angst, and increased ability to live with joy in the present and with confidence toward the future.

Reconciliation may or may not be appropriate as a result of forgiveness. This is different for each individual as there are situations where reconciliation is not recommended. A safe distance of separation should be kept if there is any possibility of continued emotional or physical abuse to the forgiver or their children. In some instances contact should be completely avoided.

How To Forgive? Some Pointers…
Forgivers are predominantly “faith-oriented and empathetic people who understand the meaning of forgiveness as letting go of negative emotions.”9 Their primary tools are prayer and meditation. Fostering a willingness to forgive along with a decision to not carry past burdens into the present gives the fortitude to release others deeply within their soul. The most successful forgivers fill their minds with good thoughts about themselves and their future, scripture is often used and gives added direction when walking out from past offenses.

Helpful Hints:

  • Understand what forgiveness really is
  • Acknowledge that the negativity is affecting your emotional or physical health
  • Put your feelings into words.*
  • Garner the support of family or friends*
  • Be specific. A generalized “I forgive everybody” type of prayer is not effective.
  • It is best to start small and work one’s way up to the more difficult transgressions.
  • Write down the date you have deeply forgiven someone, just in case you need a reminder.
  • Repeat forgiveness exercises as needed.

*Verbalizing one’s feelings lessen the intensity of the emotions. The reason is that the attachment of a word to an emotion decreases the amygdala’s response. As a result, this increases the response of the prefrontal cortex where thinking occurs.10 This is why people find talking about emotional issues with family, friends, or a counselor can be helpful.

Do people need to know I’ve forgiven them?
Well no, not really. Especially if they don’t know they have caused an offense. Simply forgive and enjoy the release that you have gained while moving on with your life.

Can I forgive someone who has died or left me that I will never see again?
Absolutely! Remember that forgiveness is for YOU! It’s about you and releasing your negative connections with any person or situation in the past. Freedom is merely a deeply heartfelt decision away.

Wounded People, Wound People…

Let’s face it. All of us have been hurt, and in turn have hurt someone at one time or another. The most honorable thing we can do is diligently practice forgiveness in our own lives, and where we have wounded others ask for forgiveness. In this way we help them find the release that they need by experiencing forgiveness for themselves.

Personal Story ~
When my father passed, I felt very disoriented and surprised at the effect his death had on me. Within days, the mother of friend approached me and confessed that she resented how I could be so happy all of the time. Still grieving, I was not exactly feeling “happy”.

As I looked into her pain-filled eyes and heard her words I understood that she didn’t come to accuse me, rather, she came for help. She had a point, I usually did exhibit a joy that she wanted for herself, but it wasn’t until later that I understood why.

Taking responsibility for the role I had in her offense, I replied, “I am so sorry to have caused you pain. Will you forgive me.” To which she graciously did. It wasn’t until later that the thought occurred to me that I had seen this woman almost every week, but never “noticed” the burdens she silently carried due to the painful connections to her past, until that day.

I am grateful for that exchange. Although it cost me nothing, it made me a better person and lifted a burden of precious woman who had endured much suffering during her lifetime.

How To Ask for Forgiveness? Some Pointers…
To maximize the effectiveness of requesting forgiveness, it should be thought of as a transaction. Both parties have a role.

The Process:

  1. Turn off the cell phone and eliminate all interruptions
  2. Make solid eye contact
  3. Listen and take responsibility: “I’m sorry that I (Use their words). Will you forgive me?”
    (Don’t say: “I’m sorry ‘if‘ I…” The word ‘if’ inserts doubt and shows unwillingness to take full responsibility. This makes the apology less sincere.)
  4. Wait patiently for their response
  5. Ask: “Is there anything else you need to share?”

Of course, the response you would like to hear is “Yes, I forgive you”, but that does not always happen. If you don’t get that answer, gently persist. Remember, you have nothing better to do than help this person become free. It may take time and tears for someone to verbalize or process forgiveness for a deep wounding – or for an offense that touches another deep wounded place.

If they need more time and persistence, kindness, gentleness, and love from you, agree to come back to forgiveness again later. If so, make an appointment and keep it. When ready to restart the forgiveness process, begin again at step number one.

The Most Important Thing to Teach a Child is how to Forgive.

Forgiving and needing to be forgiven is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of our humanity.

Some health issues are being discovered that are not only rooted in unforgiveness, but in self-unforgiveness or even the need to forgive God for situations and deeds caused by others that were then attributed to Him.

With practice, forgiveness becomes easier. We become more prone to forgive and establish that trait in our lives. In the end it benefits our physical and mental well-being, making it much easier to experience joy and gratitude.

At Genesis School of Natural Health it is our desire that you experience vibrant health; rewarding, deep and lasting relationships, and discovery of the joy and peace that comes with forgiveness.

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HERBS TO LIVE BY… Rhodiola

COMMON NAME: Golden Root, Roseroot, Arctic Rose
LATIN NAME: Rhodiola rosea
PLANT PART USED: Roots/Rhizomes
ENERGETICS: Cool, Dry, Aromatic
TASTE: Sweet, Slightly Bitter, Spicy

PRIMARY ACTIONS: Adaptogenic, astringent, antioxidant, cardioprotective, immuno-stimulant, neuro-stimulant, tonic

ABOUT: R. rosea is primarily found at higher elevations in the cold mountains and sea cliff rocks of Scandinavia, Tibet, Siberia, China, Himalayas, and North America. There are over 50 species of Rhodiola. The studies and use of the herb only apply to R. rosea L. (Linnaeus instituted plant naming in the 1700’s).

R. rosea is a perennial succulent that can grow approximately 12 to 36 inches in height and 12 inches across. The fleshy leaves are whorled toothed with an oblong shape. The small, yellow flowers are terminal and multiple. The thick root and rhizomes smell of roses when cut. As a dioecious plant, it requires both male and female plants to be grown in the same area.

INDICATIONS / SYMPTOMS: Rhodiola is used to help combat fatigue, psychological stress and depression, restore energy, improve over-all vitality and longevity, increase mental performance and the ability to concentrate, modulate and support the neuroendocrine system (HPA-axis and more), increase cellular energy, protect and restore nervous system and brain, enhance physical performance, improve resistance to high-altitude sickness, help recovery from head trauma, strengthen immune, and protect cells from chemical and radiation damage. It is stimulating but not anxiety producing – in spite of the energy increasing effect it helps improve sleep quality. While it may seem counter-intuitive, one of the benefits of Rhodiola is that it helps regulate sleep and improve the quality of sleep.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Not recommended for use during pregnancy and lactation or for those with severe anxiety or mania.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE:
Tincture (1:5): 30-90 drops, one-two times per day*
Standardized Product: 75-100 mg, one-two times per day* (Standardized products should contain at least 3% rosavins and about 1% salidroside as this is close to the natural composition within the roots.)

*Always start at a lower dose and increase slowly to find the best individual dose. Low doses tend to be more stimulating and high doses tend to be more sedating.

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Mullein

COMMON NAME: Mullein, Great Mullein, Common Mullein, Aaron’s Rod
LATIN NAME: Verbascum thapsus
PLANT PARTS USED: Flower, Leaf & Root

ENERGETICS:
Leaf – Slightly moistening, cooling
Flower – Moistening, cooling
Root – Warming, drying

TASTE: Leaf – Sweet & Bitter

PRIMARY ACTIONS:
Leaf – Anticatarrhal, Expectorant, lymphagogue, mild spasmolytic, mucilage, vulnerary
Flowers – Demulcent, sedative (mild), anodyne
Root – Urinary tract/bladder tonic, Musculoskeletal support; Analgesic
Stalk, Root & Flowers – Mild sedative

Mullein Flowers

SECONDARY ACTIONS: Astringent

ABOUT:
Flowers – For ear infections combine with anti-microbials (e.g. garlic oil), works best when heated gently. For respiratory ailments use the oil as chest rub. It can also be applied to ulcers that are especially painful.

Leaves – The most well-known and commonly used part of the Mullein plant are the leaves. Folk use considers mullein a primary remedy for afflictions of the lung such as congestion, and breaking up mucous in dry coughs, dry coughs with hollow wheezing, tuberculosis and “old coughs”. It can also be used blended with plantain when lung irritants (such as dry particles of hay, smoke, pollen, dust, etc.)

Freshly chopped leaves are used as a compress for glandular swellings. Pour a hot decoction over freshly chopped leaves and place over swellings.

Leaves, Smoking Herb – Mullein is a favorite herb used in smoking blends as it soothes tissues. However, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, ALL smoked herbs are drying and although Mullein has soothing properties, its overall effect is to dry the tissues. Mullein can be helpful where there is lung congestion, especially when smoked in a blend with other respiratory herbs. Smoked Mullein interferes with mucous production; therefore, it is not recommended for dry coughs as it interferes with the necessary mucous secretions of those dry tissues and can make a dry cough worse. Lastly, other than its ability to soothe, when smoked most of Mullein’s other properties are lost.

Root – Mullein root is helpful for reducing inflammation due to its mild astringent properties. It can be used with recurring bladder infections, urinary incontinence, benign prostatic hyperplasia, chronic cystitis and interstitial cystitis. It helps to soothe the mucosa lining of the urinary tract, having a tonic effect when used long-term.

Flower, Salk & Leaves – Herbalist Susan Weed shares that she harvests the shole stalk of the young plants from the ground up, for use in tinctures as she finds the mild sedative qualities found in the stalk (and to a lesser extent in the flowers) beneficial in cases of breathing difficulties.

INDICATIONS / SYMPTOMS: Cough (wet); Cough (dry); Inflammation; Asthma; Earache; Otitis media; Upper respiratory infection; Bronchitis; Pneumonia; Pain (acute injury); Discopathy; Back strain; Back sprain; Back injury; Pain (chronic related to old musculoskeletal injuries); Pain (joint); Arthritis (w/ aching pain); Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Cystitis (chronic); Interstitial cystitis; Pain (facial); Pain

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Do not put oil in ear if the tympanic membrane is perforated. Possible skin irritation may occur due to leaf hairs (be sure to strain well). Mullein’s colloquial use as “cowboy toilet paper” might not be for everyone. While the hairs, appear smooth, they have been found to be irritating to the skin.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE:
Cold infusion/Infusion: 2-3 tsp/c 3 times per day. A cold infusion best extracts mucilage.
Tincture (1:2-1:3): 40-100 drops 3 times per day
Flower Infused in oil: 2-4 drops in ear 2-4 times per day
Topical: Use freshly chopped leaves as a compress

FOOD: Other than a medicinal tea made of the leaves, Mullein is not used as food.

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Marshmallow

COMMON NAME: Marshmallow; Althea

LATIN NAME: Althaea officinalis

PLANT PART USED: Root & Leaf

ENERGETICS: Moistening & Cooling

TASTE: Sweet & a bit Salty

PRIMARY ACTIONS: Anti-putrefacient, Demulcent, Emollient, Vulnerary

SECONDARY ACTIONS: Diuretic

ABOUT: Marshmallow is an often-underestimated herb that is very gentle and soothing for internal or external use. Its anti-inflammatory benefits are well-known and lend support to the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts (including the skin). As its properties are soothing and moistening, it is best used for conditions that are dry, hot and inflamed.

Dr. Christopher, the renowned herbalist, was unique among herbalists in that he successfully used external marshmallow fomentations and soaks to treat gangrene. He also recommended the person take marshmallow decoction internally.

INDICATIONS / SYMPTOMS:

Internal: Asthma, Bronchitis, Colitis, Crohn’s/Ulcerative Colitis, Cystitis, Dry Coughs/Mouth, Gastritis, GERD, IBS, Indigestion, Inflammation (throughout the body), Hyperacidity, Kidney Irritation and Pain (including Stones), Leaky Gut, Peptic Ulcers, Skin Inflammation, Sore Throat, and Pharyngitis.

External: Bruises Burns, Skin Irritations and those of the Rectum, Vagina and Perineum, and Mastitis. Marshmallow is a “draw”-er., Poultices can be used in the case of abscesses, boils, poisons, swollen tissue and tumors to draw substances to the surface of the skin.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Avoid taking Marshmallow with other herbs or medications as the mucilage coats and may impair absorption. It is possible that Marshmallow root may lessen the need for drugs to lower blood sugar. There are no current significant studies regarding the use of marshmallow root in pregnancy and lactation. However, this herb has been used by pregnant women for thousands of years of folk medicine and is generally considered safe when used in moderation.

­­­PREPARATION / DOSAGE: Consider marshmallow root a “tea herb” as its mucilage is best extracted in water. There is more mucilage found in the root than the leaf of the marshmallow plant. Cold or hot infusions can be taken three times per day, or more often for acute symptoms. They can be further sweetened with stevia or honey, if desired.

Hot Infusion: Infuse 1 TBSP of chopped/shredded root per 1.5 C water and simmer for 20 minutes.

Cold Infusion: Place 4 TBSPS of chopped/shredded root in 1 quart of cold water for 8 hours or overnight.

Poultice: The leaves work well for topical poultices to reduce inflammation, irritation, insect bites, eczema/dermatitis, burns, wounds and chapped skin. 

FOOD: Euell Gibbons, author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Stalking the Healthful Herbs, writes about boiling and then frying marshmallow roots with butter and onions.  He also noted the usefulness of the mucilage that remained after the boil as a vegetarian egg white replacement when it was whipped to a froth.

The tender spring greens (tops and leaves) can be eaten in salads and benefit by stimulating the kidneys.

Menthol Chest Balm

by Johanice De Jesus
Student: CMH, MH & TND programs

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in those store-bought menthol chest rubs?

When you are congested, with cloudy eyes and you feel like your body is going to fall apart, it does not even cross your mind to read the ingredients, but I warn you, you will not like to discover what you have just rubbed on your chest. Commercial chest balms contain a mixture of derivatives that one would not expect. Although it will give some relief to the respiratory tract, you have just made an innocent, but serious mistake that can have serious consequences on your health.

Classic over-the-counter chest rubs generally have less than 10 percent herbal ingredients and are about 90 percent petroleum jelly in gel or cream form, which is usually combined with turpentine. When petroleum jelly is not properly or completely refined, as is sometimes the case in the U.S., it may be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens, especially when used for an extended period of time.

Fortunately, there are excellent natural and organic respiratory chest rubs that you can make right at home that will offer sincere and safe relief for your health and the health of your entire family (especially for the little ones!) with all the benefits of herbs and without carcinogenic ingredients. . . such as those found in: Vaseline, or other P.A.H.S. pollutants.

So, allow me to share some information with you since the cold and flu season is upon us and we turn to products such as these in search of relief. If this is the case, be sure to always seek a natural response and use the opportunity to develop your trustworthy herbal passion.

Let’s Get Started!

Gather the following ingredients to create your respiratory remedy:

Menthol Chest Balm

Ingredients:

  • Bees Wax – 40 grams
  • Menthol Crystals – 30 grams
  • Grape Seed Oil – 10 oz.
  • Eucalyptus Leaves – 3 oz.
  • Mint Leaves – 3 oz.
  • Rosemary – 3 oz.
  • Vitamin E – 1 Tsp

*At the end add 5 drops each of Rosemary, Lavender and Eucalyptus essential oils.

STEP #1 ~

Place the following ingredients into a glass mason jar.

  • 10 oz. Grape Seed Oil
  • 3 oz. Eucalyptus Leaves
  • 3 oz. Rosemary
  • 3 oz. Mint Leaves

STEP #2 ~

Put the jar into a bain-marie water bath for 4 hours on a low temperature. During the maceration time, occasionally stir using a wooden utensil.

STEP #3 ~

When the maceration process in the water bath is finished, proceed to strain the oil to remove the herbs. For this, use:

  • Clean Glass Bowl
  • Strainer

During the casting process be carful to not to let any particular herbs pass into the oil.

*At this point the oil has a spectacular smell! This is an indication that everything is going well, and the extraction of the herbal properties that was expected in this process, has occurred.

Such a Heavenly Aroma!!

STEP #4 ~

Once the oil is completely strained, place the glass container in the warm water of the bain-marie and add the beeswax. Use 40 grams of beeswax.

Next, using a wooden utensil, stir the beeswax so that it melts quickly. , taking advantage of the heat that the water conserves where we carry out the maceration process.

STEP #5 ~

Once the beeswax is melted, remove the glass container with the oil from the warm water and proceed to add the rest of the ingredients.

Adding the Remaining Ingredients…

STEP #6 ~

First add the menthol crystals (approximately 30 grams). Allow them to dissolve in their entirety.

STEP #7 ~

Next, check the temperature of the oil before adding the rest of the ingredients that make up this balm.

When the temperature drops to approximately 130 degrees F, continue.

STEP #8 ~

Then add the small teaspoon of Vitamin E. This ingredient protects all of the ingredients in the balm. Since the recipe is oil-based, Vitamin E acts as a preservative for the product.

STEP #9 ~

Now add 5 drops each of rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils. Then stir well to incorporate.

Now the balm is complete! I am super-excited to see the finished product. The aroma of this balm blend has blown me away. We are all eager to know how it will look and to sample it.

Decant the Product

The next step is to place our balsam mixture in the containers previously sterilized with alcohol.

This time I decided upon a beautiful 4-ounce glass container in blue to protect the final product very well.

Finally, while the balsam mixture is still warm enough to pour easily, pour it into the containers, then wait for it to harden. Once hardened, I will verify that the consistency is as I expect – a firm but creamy consistency.

I waited about one hour to make sure it was completely hardened. When it was completely cooled, it was time to complete the packaging process.

I am very happy with the packaging that I selected since it brings additional protection to the product that, in addition to looking very good, will offer security to the consumer.

My product is finally packed! Now with help from the canvas program, I am able to create beautiful labels for my product.

This is the information that I included:

  • Product name
  • Product weight and quantity
  • Product ingredients
  • Description and usage suggestions

Well, I won’t make them wait any longer. This is the result and I love it, and my whole family does too!

I really enjoyed this project and must say that In the end I am very satisfied. I tried as much as possible within my knowledge to take care of the details, but I know that there is a lot to learn and I am very eager to do so. I find it to be very exciting, the idea of having the ability to create something that is for the well-being of others and that helps them to live better and in a more natural way. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this beautiful race.

Herbs for Your Bug-Out Bag

A well-equipped backpack is a must have for any sportsman or woman such as hikers, backpackers, hunters and survivalists. However, everyone can benefit by giving some forethought and preparation to some herbal basics for emergency situations.

A bug-out bag or “BOB” as it is sometimes called, is prepared in anticipation of a disaster event to last a minimum of 72 hours. It is self-contained with the basic components necessary for survival. In other words, one’s BOB should be a complete set up for the individual. Every individual ought to know how to proficiently use the components of their BOB and not be dependent upon another person in the event of separation or injury.

Additionally, each BOB should contain thoughtfully-considered items to provide for short-term necessities such as a basic shelter/sleep system and cordage, navigation, fire-starters, emergency food, utensils for cooking and eating, extra essential clothing, water purification supplies, a first-aid kit, emergency food, a knife, etc.

While this blog will only consider four valuable herbs that should be included, there are a host of videos and articles available on the internet that can easily be located to instruct one on the art of survival and identifying the bare necessities for a bug-out bag.

Here we will begin with the first essential “herb” one should carry.

Salt

Essential for life as our bodies cannot produce it, salt is a catalyst in many important functions within the body. It is crucial in that it assists the body in retaining water. Sweating, fever, vomiting and diarrhea deplete the body of fluids and can cause a medical emergency.

Heavy perspiration can cause a rapid loss of essential salt thereby throwing off the body’s electrolyte balance causing cramps and spasms, change in the regular beating of the heart, brain fog and the like. Salt also aids in activating salivary enzymes and producing hydrochloric acid, both of which are necessary for the proper digestion and absorption of food.

How much salt do we need each day? The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) recommends consuming one and one-half teaspoons of unrefined salt each day. Be sure to remember that with exertion and perspiration more salt is lost through the skin and must be replaced beyond the recommended daily dose.

Hilda Labrada Gore of the WAPF writes, “Low salt consumption has been linked to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, poor digestion, parasites, and even depression. Salt is critical for proper brain and body functionality.”1

It is best to select an unrefined sea salt such as Celtic or pink Himalayan salt. The grind you choose is up to you. For myself, I prefer a course grind of salt in this application for ease in handling (fine ground salt is a bit easier to lose out of a zip-lock baggie. Plus, I like the idea of tossing a few grains of salt in my mouth to suck on as I walk along.

Additionally, the daily allotment can be used to boost the flavor of foraged foods.

Perhaps it could be argued that “technically” salt is a mineral and not an herb. However, there are herbs that contain mineral “salts” including sodium chloride. For those who live in areas without access to salt reserves, foraging for herbs like hickory roots, coltsfoot and lambsquarters (among others) can provide a source of salt and were used by our ancestors.

In those first few days of a disaster scenario, it may just prove simpler to have already packed a salt source, saving the necessity of foraging for later.

Every year roughly half a million people in the United States end up in the hospital, primarily due to dehydration. Intravenous (IV) rehydration (saline) is used to treat moderate to severe cases of dehydration. Children are more likely than adults to become dangerously dehydrated when they become ill.

Awareness is key to maintaining health and avoiding additional challenges when dealing with emergency situations.

The solution to the health problems of the world today is to be found in natural remedies, not in poisoning the system with chemicals. Although they may appear to bring temporary relief, they add a debt of debilitating poison which will later result in serious problems.”

John Harvey Kellogg, MD 1852-1943
(Founder – Kellogg’s Corn Flakes)

Chia Seed (Salvia Hispanica L.)

As a food, Chia is a veritable nutrition explosion! The following are some nutrition facts would garner appreciation from any health food aficionado.

Chia has been an ancient source of food for well over 5,000 years. Highly esteemed by the Mayan and Inca peoples, the seeds of the Chia plant were likely the most important part of their dietary staples. It was once called “warrior’s food” and only one tablespoon of this nutritious seed was said to provide a whole day’s worth of energy.

Chia is one of the highest sources of plant-based protein that includes all nine of the essential amino acids we need. It is high in the vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3; the minerals calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron; and it is high in antioxidants! Chia also contains phosphorus, potassium, boron, and copper and zinc.

What a Mighty Little Seed!

To learn more about the benefits of chia seed read our blog entitled: Chia ~ Salvia Hispanica

It is recommended to rehydrate chia by mixing it in water and allowing it to set for 15-20 minutes prior to eating or drinking. It is also suggested that an adult not consume more than two tablespoons of chia seed in one day.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal (AC) powder is pure carbon created by burning substances like hardwood, coconut shells, bamboo, etc. (yes, these substances are herbs!) at high temperature in an oxygen-deprived environment. The result is regular charcoal.

It is important to note that activated charcoal is NOT the same as those “charcoal briquettes” folks purchase by the bag from the grocer or the home store for grilling food. This type of charcoal is saturated with toxic chemicals and is detrimental to one’s health. It should never be used medicinally.

However, regular charcoal can be ground to a powder and used in the same manner as AC, however, a significantly greater quantity must be used.

Activated charcoal, unlike regular charcoal has undergone additional processing with chloride salts that increase its surface area by developing a network of pores. In fact, so much additional surface area is created by this process that a single teaspoon of charcoal powder that has been “activated” has a surface area equivalent to that of a football field.2 Now that’s something!

The surface area of a single teaspoon of activated charcoal powder is equivalent to that of a football field.

Charcoal has a remarkable capacity to ‘adsorb’, whereby atoms or molecules from certain substances are attracted to and collect upon its surface. “This function is not to be confused with “absorb”, as when a towel soaks up water. …As the charcoal travels through the stomach and bowels, it will capture and neutralize poisons. Charcoal is not absorbed by the body and does not pass into the bloodstream.”2

The uses of activated charcoal are bountiful. It is commonly used in air and water purification, odor reduction, beauty products, and in gardening. In fact, AC can be used to make a primitive water filtration system in an emergency situation. Activated charcoal’s unique adsorptive qualities make it a dynamic emergency herbal that can be used both internally and topically.

Internally, one of activated charcoal’s outstanding characteristics is its ability to neutralize toxins through adsorption thereby assisting the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Activated charcoal is a “well-known detoxification agent, it is used daily in hospitals and recommended by Poison Control Centers to treat poisoning emergencies.”3 So on the trail, should diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, stomach bug, or food or chemical poisoning occur, don’t delay – reach for the AC.

Using Activated Charcoal Internally

Caution: There are no absolute contraindications for use in poisoning, however, activated charcoal is not equally effective for all toxins.

It is also important to be aware that ingesting activated charcoal can have a detoxifying effect upon any pharmaceuticals a person may be taking. Therefore, medications may not reach full potency, nor last as long. The following instructions are for emergency situations and not for chronic use of AC.

Ingested acids must be neutralized with baking soda and water. Caustic/corrosive agents must be neutralized with vinegar and water. Additionally, activated charcoal may obscure endoscopic visualization of esophageal and gastric lesions caused by the corrosive agents.4 If possible, call poison control or 911 for advice. (The phone number is in red text below.)

In severe acute poisonings oral activated charcoal should be administered repeatedly, e.g. 20 to 50g at intervals of 4 to 6 hours, until recovery or until plasma drug concentrations have fallen to non-toxic levels.

In addition to increasing the elimination of many drugs and toxins even after their systemic absorption, repeated doses of charcoal also reduce the risk of desorbing from the charcoal-toxin complex as the complex passes through the gastrointestinal tract.

Charcoal will not increase the elimination of all substances taken. However, as the drug history in acute intoxications is often unreliable, repeated doses of oral activated charcoal in severe intoxications seem to be justified unless the toxicological laboratory has identified the causative agent as not being prone to adsorption by charcoal.

The role of repeated doses of oral activated charcoal in chronic intoxication has not been clearly defined.5

Neuvonen PJ, Olkkola KT. Oral activated charcoal in the treatment of intoxications. Role of single and repeated doses. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp. 1988 Jan-Dec;3(1):33-58. doi: 10.1007/BF03259930. PMID: 3285126.

While there are discrepancies between the various sources regarding proper amounts for dosing, the following oral dosing recommendations will serve as a guide. There are also dosing instructions on the “Herb Label PDF” available below. You can attach these labels directly to your baggies containing your herbal remedies.

Don’t worry about giving too much activated charcoal in an emergency. AC will not harm a person beyond potentially causing constipation and black stools. Constipation can be avoided by having the person drink an additional two (2) glasses of water after taking each dose.

In an emergency…

Call 911 or the Poison Control Center
1-800-222-1222

Then, while you are waiting, give activated charcoal…

Oral Dosing for Poison Ingestion6

Adult – 50 to 100 grams = 5 to 10 TBSPS
12+ Years – 50 to 100 grams = 5 to 10 TBSPS
1-12 Years – 25 to 50 grams = 2.5 to 5 TBSPS
Under 1 Year – 1 gram = approximately 1 rounded ¼ TSP

Repeat doses in 10 minutes, and again if the dose is
vomited up, and should symptoms begin to worsen.2

Activated charcoal is tasteless but does have a slight powdery/gritty texture. Children who need to be encouraged to drink “black” water can be helped by using a straw, adding the AC to apple juice (if available), and having the grownup ‘enjoy’ a glass of “black” water too.

“Small children will resist and must be held. Laying a child on his back will prompt him to swallow reflexively. Use a spoon or small bulb syringe to give the charcoal mixture.”2

Slurry or Grey Water – Used for babies (colic, digestive) and individuals with digestive sensitivities (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, IBS, etc.). Stir 2-3 tablespoons AC powder into a quart of warm water, allow the AC to settle, then pour the grey water into a glass or baby bottle. Repeat several times by adding water to the remaining AC, stirring, and settling out again.

Note: Activated charcoal dissolves more easily into warm or hot water.

In addition to taking AC internally, should the liver or kidneys not be functioning properly or in the event of snake or insect bites a poultice should also be applied to the appropriate area(s) topically.

Using Activated Charcoal Topically

Apply a plain poultice or the even more effective ‘jelly poultice’ (wound dressing).

A plain poultice made with only activated charcoal will dry out rapidly making it quickly lose its effectiveness. A jelly poultice holds water much longer and is made by mixing the AC with another substance that “gels” when water is added. Soaking this substance for 15-20 minutes is reasonable. Mucilaginous herbs are best for a jelly poultice. Those such as ground flaxseed, slippery elm, marshmallow root, sassafras – or even that chia seed that you packed (works best if ground). More possibilities are cornstarch, arrowroot, tapioca starch, potato starch (basically anything starch-y), lentils, xanthan gum, and the like.

While not the most effective these other herbs (and herbs like them) can be foraged for depending upon the season and used mixed with activated charcoal for a poultice. Note: this list is incomplete – Aloe vera, American ginseng, angelica, asparagus, burdock, chickweed, dandelion, fenugreek, horse chestnut, Irish moss, mullein, osha, plantain, psyllium husk, etc. Plantain and dandelion greens can sometimes be found even underneath snow.

Apply the wet jelly poultice to a cloth or paper towel and apply another cloth or paper towel over the jelly and apply wet-side down on the area to be treated. Cover with plastic and leave in place a minimum of 2-4 hours for a maximum of 12 hours. A poultice needs to be changed a minimum of twice per day.

Did You Know?

Dr. John R. Christopher, American Herbalist, 1909 – 1983 recommended charcoal as one of the useful herbs for healing the condition of gangrene.

A plain poultice (AC and water only) is assembled and applied in the same manner, but will need to be kept moist with filtered, boiled, and then cooled water to remain effective. It is possible to mix with substances that swell with water like soaked oatmeal (especially ground) but this will still dry out and need repeated applications of purified water.

*To deal with circulating venom from bites and stings or toxins from infected wounds, AC must also be given internally to help with the removal of toxins.

Charcoal Bath – For multiple stings, scrapes, or poison ivy/oak, soak the injured limb(s). Add 2 cups of activated charcoal powder to a warm bath. Immerse body or limb for up to 1 hour.

Activated charcoal is not generally found in most first aid kits. You’ll be glad you took time to include this indispensable herb in your bug-out bag.

Keep reading to learn about the last (but not least) indispensable herb you will want to carry in your emergency supplies.

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) Powder

Cayenne comes form the dried pods of chili peppers. It is a pungent herb that can add flavor and a heat to food, but is that any reason to carry it around in your survival sack? Well, there’s a lot more to cayenne than its well-known ability to spice up one’s life. It is also a powerful medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years. Read on to learn more.

If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.

Dr. Richard Schulze ND, MH
American Herbalist & Natural Healer

Cayenne is what is known in natural medicine as an herbal stimulant. “Stimulants quicken, excite and increase nervous sensibility, thereby stimulating energy in the body and enhancing its function. These herbs stimulate naturally, in contrast with unnatural drugs and alcohol which irritate and debilitate the system, and in the case of alcohol, depresses it. Stimulants increase the power of the pulse and carry blood to all parts of the body equalizing and restoring the circulation in all parts.”7

In addition to adding heat to the pepper, capsaicin acts to reduce platelet stickiness and relieve pain. Other constituents of cayenne are vitamins E, vitamin C and carotenoids. Today cayenne is used worldwide to treat a variety of health conditions, including poor circulation, weak digestion, heart disease, chronic pain, sore throats, headaches and toothache. Cayenne is the greatest herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a regular basis.”8

The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin (the active chemical) it contains, and the more capsaicin the pepper contains, the more potent and effective of a medicinal it will be. There is little medicinal effect in the cayenne spice purchased at the grocery store. As a spice, cayenne generally offers only about 34,000 HUs (heat units). To use medicinally, look for a minimum of 160,000 HUs, preferably 200,000 to 300,000 HUs or more as is found in African Bird cayenne or in Mexican Habanero.

Taken internally, “cayenne influences the heart immediately, then gradually extends its effects to the arteries, capillaries, and nerves. The frequency of the pulse is not increased, but it is given more power. In equalizing the bold circulation, cayenne produces natural warmth, and in stimulating the peristaltic motion of the intestines, it aids in assimilation and elimination. It rebuilds the tissue in the stomach. It also heals stomach and intestinal ulcers.”7

Cayenne Powder

“Due to its high capsaicin and beta-carotene content, cayenne pepper is an excellent decongestant and expectorant.  This makes it useful in cystic fibrosis where the transport of mucus is altered. It helps to loosen the sticky mucus and eases elimination. It reduces swelling and inflammation in the respiratory tract, improving breathing.”9 Also, this thinning of mucus will help the mucus membranes throughout the body. It can be useful to open the airways with asthma, to clear the sinuses, nasal passages, lungs and urinary tract.

Using Cayenne Internally

Cold, Stuffed Nose, Headache, Internal Bleeding, Cramps, Circulation, Blood Clots, Digestive Issues, Enzymes, Low or High Blood Pressure, Muscle Pain or Stiffness – Use ½-1 teaspoon to 1 cup hot water, steep 10 min, 2-3x per day.

Sore Throat – (same doses as above) taken as a gargle, repeat as needed.

Epilepsy –1 teaspoon 1x/per day.

In an emergency… Call 911 while you are preparing and giving or taking this remedy. It is not to be sipped it is to be “chugged.

Cayenne is said to stop a heart attack in under a minute. It acts as a styptic internally as well as externally so it can stop bleeding such as happens in a stroke.

Stroke or Heart Attack, Chest Pain, Issues with Circulation, Shortness of Breath – Put 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne in 1 small cup warm or hot water (2 to 4 ounces water). Have the person “chug” it. It will be HOT/uncomfortable. If they sip it they may not get a sufficient dose. You can follow with extra pure water if desired. Repeat dose as needed.

Heart Attack– Put 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne OR 2 teaspoons of chili powder OR 3 teaspoons of finely ground black pepper (cayenne pepper works best – but use what you have) in 1 small cup warm or hot water (2 to 4 ounces water). Have the person “chug” it. It will be HOT/uncomfortable. If they sip it they may not get a sufficient dose. You can follow with extra pure water if desired. Repeat dose as needed.

Call 911

Warning: Pregnant or nursing women and those using blood thinners, seizure medications and muscle relaxants should not use cayenne internally.

Using Cayenne Topically

Sprinkle in Socks or on Feet and in Gloves/on Hands – Increases warmth and circulation. Do not touch your eyes if you get cayenne on your hands. Cayenne causes a burning sensation in the eyes, but will not harm them. In fact, cayenne is one of the healing herbs included in Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Eyebright Formula!

Inflammation, Joint/Arthritis Pain, Gout, Musculoskeletal (Acute Back & Neck) Pain, Slipped Disk, Neuropathy, – Mix 1 tablespoon to 4 tablespoons of cayenne powder with butter, oil, or a gel and massage area for 15 minutes 2x per day.

Wounds/Gangrene – Flush wound with clean water mixed with 1 teaspoon cayenne first, THEN pack with cayenne. It is styptic and will stop bleeding fast.

All of these conditions will benefit by taking cayenne both internally and externally. Internal “doses” for chronic conditions can be added to food, if desired.

*Internal or external burning sensations may cause discomfort, but they do not cause harm.

CLICK THE LABELS IMAGE BELOW TO OPEN, DOWNLOAD & PRINT YOUR HERB LABEL PDF!
Opens in a new tab!

STEP #1 – Print your labels. These labels are formatted for a 10-per page (2″ x 4″) shipping label such as PRES-a-ply #30609 or Avery template #5163.

WAIT!!
Do not fill the bags with herbs until steps 2 & 3 are complete!

STEP #2 – Attach each label to a small zip-lock snack bag. The salt and chia seed bags will only require one label each. The activated charcoal and cayenne snack bags will both need two labels. Place an ‘internal’ label on one side and a ‘topical’ label on the opposite side of each bag.

STEP #3 – Place a layer of clear packing tape over each label on the bags. This is to preserve the text from potential water damage.

STEP #4 – NOW add the herbs to the bags. (It is helpful to have an assistant hold each bag open while herbs are being added.)

STEP #5 – For extra protection, use a sandwich-sized zip-lock bag to double-bag the herbs, especially the activated charcoal and cayenne. If either of those two opened inside your bug-out bag that would be terrible.

STEP #6 – Place the herbs (including the double-bagged herbs) together inside a one gallon zip-lock bag within your BOB.

The key to using these herbs is to not have to solely rely upon them. They can be very effective used during the time it takes for emergency personnel to arrive or during transport to medical facilities.

There are literally thousands of herbs. Many are worthy of mention because they are helpful in so many different circumstances. The herbs chosen specifically for this article are those with a broad range of use that cannot quickly or easily be foraged for in a medical emergency.

The student of herbalism benefits by becoming well-acquainted with a number of common herbs. It is important to know how and where to forage for, process, and use these herbs for food and medicine. Here are a few of the most common, multi-use herbs to study: Yarrow (a favorite among herbalists for wounds and as a fever-reducer), plantain “the draw-er” and so much more, pine, burdock leaves and root, white oak bark, boneset, mullein, nettle, dandelion and so much more!

If you are interested in learning about the benefits of dandelion – the whole plant! – read our blog entitled: 3 Reasons to Love Dandelion

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We hope you learned something new from this blog today. Do you have a bug-out bag for emergencies? Are there other herbs that you believe should be considered for emergency first-aid use? What herbs do you carry in your BOB? Comment below and tell us about it! We would love to hear from you.

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