Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Herbal First Aid Kit

Things that I like to have in my herbal first aid kit:

Activated charcoal capsules – neutralize poisons, bites

Aloe gel – burns, sunburn, radiation burns

Arnica cream – bruises, sore muscles – don't use on broken skin

Arnica homeopathic – bruises sore muscles – when you can't use the cream

Bentonite clay – bites, diarrhea, colon cleansing, skin mask, itching, infections, detoxifier

Burts Bees Res-Q – healing, anti-inflammatory

Catnip – bring down fever, colic, stomach ache

Cayenne – warming, stop bleeding, heart attack, frostbite, hypothermia, shock, trauma

Chamomile – headache, stomach ache, spasms, morning sickness, calming, anti-histamine

Echinacea – viral and bacterial infections, snake bite, spider bite, immune system booster

Fennel seed – stomach ache, colic

Garlic oil caps – viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, ear ache, parasites, repel mosquitos, mosquito bites

Ginger – nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness

Nutribiotic – liquid and tablets – parasites, infections, wounds, disinfectant, sore throats, boosts immune system

Peppermint – stomach ache, sinuses

Raw honey – sore throat, burns, healing

Rescue Remedy – cream, spray, and/or drops – calming, trauma

Respiration – herb blend for strengthening the lungs

Salt – sore throat gargle

Sunbreeze oil - sore muscles, headache, sinuses

Essential oils (Therapeutic grade) including:

Tea tree – antiseptic, antifungal
Lavender – calming, burns, skin irritations, soothing, cuts
Peppermint – digestion, fatigue, respiration
Rosemary – muscle soreness
Thieves – anti bacterial

I am not trained as an herbalist. It is recommended that you check with an herbalist or with reputable books or websites before using herbs medicinally.

What herbs and herbal formulas do you have in your first aid kit?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Emergency Kit

The events around the world are a good reminder that we should have an emergency kit in case we need to evacuate whether due to earthquake, storms, or a house fire or gas leak.  In fact having a kit in our cars, at work, and at school is a good idea in addition to a kit at home.  Even if you don't feel that you have the money to get things for a kit you should be able to find a minimum of items around your house that would at least make a temporary kit.  It is better to have something than nothing.  Your kit should be able to help you survive for a minimum of three days.  If you can just begin with a one day kit that is at least something.

My first kits were assembled before I had children.  Over the years I changed and expanded them.  At first I used 5 gallon plastic buckets.  You can buy orange ones at Home Depot for less than $4.  Sometimes you can get them from a bakery for free or low cost.  If you have backpacks or duffle bags you could use them.  Garbage bags or a clean garbage can with a lid would work also.  Ideally your items would be in something that could be carried.  I later switched over to backpacks which I store in totes.  If I am able to leave in the car I can just throw the totes in the back.

Store your container in a location that would be easy to access and not prone to damage.  Check your kits at least yearly in case needs have changed or items are no longer usable. I had diapers in my 6 year old daughters kit - I had no idea it had been that long since I checked it.

The main items you would need are for survival so water is the most important thing.  You can buy bottled water but do not use the one gallon jugs like milk and spring water come in.  The plastic breaks down and they will leak or the water will evaporate.  One gallon per person per day is the recommended minimum.  Do not reuse bottles which contained anything toxic - including bleach.

Food items which can be prepared without cooking and preferably without additional water and are lightweight are ideal.  It may be difficult to find foods which fit all three at least at first.  Canned tuna, peanut butter, and jerky will all provide protein.   If using canned foods don't forget to pack a can opener.

Items for shelter and warmth may be critical depending on your climate and the time of year.
A change of clothes, first aid kit, some change, toilet paper, garbage bags, a few candles (tea lights are great), matches, phone numbers, copies of birth certificates, paper and pencil, and a whistle would all be great additions.  Garbage bags can be used for shelter, garbage, or a poncho.
More ideas of what to add.

Keep your cell phone charged and gas in your car.
Having an out of state contact for your family is a good idea.  In case of emergency it may be easier to call out of state than within state.  If all of your family members know who to call you can find out from that contact where everyone is and if they are ok.

Water and food storage information

You may also want to put together an herbal first aid kit: 
Herb Companion magazine herbs for a first aid kit create a natural first aid kit
ehow first aid kit herbal remedies first aid

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) is considered to be the lemon herb with the best lemon scent and flavor.  Lemon Verbena is hardy to zone 8 so I grow mine in a pot and place it outdoors for the summer.  Before bringing it back indoors I prune and spray with insecticidal soap to prevent insects from hitchhiking indoors.  The prunings can be frozen or dried for later use.

Lemon Verbena can be purchased as a plant and is fairly easy to propagate.  Just cut an end of a growing stem, strip off all leaves except the top two pair or so, and stick in vermiculite, a compressed peat disk which has been hydrated, or in your Aerogarden.

Lemon Verbena can be used to flavor herb tea, fish, chicken, sauces, salads, soups, jellies or any recipe that calls for lemon flavor.  The leaves can also be used in potpourri.

Lemon Verbena Sorbet
Lemon Verbena in slushies