Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Happy (Herbal) Halloween!

Some of you have probably heard that the first witches were actually probably women who specialized in the use of herbs to heal a variety of maladies. When used properly, herbs can be highly effective medicines, which is probably why medieval doctors felt so threatened by them. Anyway, in tribute to our favorite holiday of potions and cauldrons, I'm going to share a few of my favorite herbal remedies with anyone who happens across this blog today.

Comfrey- This is a highly effective styptic (stops bleeding). We have it in our first aid kit and it has come in very handy a few times. One time we were up in the mountains building a campfire and Malamute cut his finger on a saw. It wasn't life threatening, but it was bleeding quite a bit. I applied a little comfrey powder and the bleeding stopped right away. It does burn a bit going on though. Cayenne powder is also a highly effective styptic. Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy Syllabus contains a fascinating account of an eight year old who was accidentally shot when he played with a gun while his parents were gone. One of Dr. Christopher's students lived next door, heard the gun shot and ran over to investigate. She found the boy with two gushing wounds and quickly put a tablespoon of cayenne powder into a glass of water and made the boy drink it and then called an ambulance. The emergency room attendant said that the boy would probably bleed to death in the time it would take for him to reach Primary Children's Hospital which was 18 miles away. However, when he arrived, the boy was not only alive, but coherent and no longer bleeding. Dr. Christopher treated four other gunshot victims with cayenne that year, all lived.

Arnica- This is great for pain and for wound healing. I've used it on a number of "ow-ies" Duckling has had and it always helps him heal up quickly and stops the pain quickly so he doesn't cry for very long. After Malamute's cut from the saw closed up, we used it on him and also had a very quick heal. One of my personal favorite forms of arnica is Mountain Rose Herbs Injur-Heal Balm. This is also in our first aid kit. Never leave home without it.

Slippery Elm Powder- Malamute has a number of food sensitivities and if he eats dairy or tomatoes he tends to react quite badly with a lot of lethargy and general malaise. I found out about this handy little remedy from Botanical.com, an online version of Mrs. Grieves Herbal. I have found this to be highly effective in getting the irritation out of his gut and solve the reaction. I always keep this on hand, just in case...

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