Monday, July 11, 2016

The Herbal First Aid Kit

The Herbal First Aid Kit:

I (Briel) just spent 9 days doing First Aid at the National Rainbow Gathering in Vermont. At CALM (the First Aid Station) we treated everything from scrapes and cuts to diarrhea and back around again. We had a great team of healthcare providers including an emergency room doctor, some EMT, WFR and Street Medics, Acupuncturists and a ton of herbalists. We even held two dental clinics in the woods, there was a hygienist and and emergency doctor that gave people fillings right there at CALM!

Every First Aid situation is different. What you are going to need in the woods at a Rainbow Gathering is going to be very different than what you will want/need if you are doing First Aid on the Streets at a political event (what I will be doing next week). So, when you are preparing your kit you have to ask yourself some questions. Here are a few I think about:

-What is the setting of the event?
-What is the weather forecast?
-Will doctors/hospitals/emergency services be nearby if needed?
-What types of injuries/illnesses could arise from the setting I will be working in?
-If you haven't worked this particular setting before ask someone who has and see if they can offer you insight as to what type of injuries you may encounter. 
-In this setting, what things do I need to make myself and my gear comfortable? 

At Rainbow Gathering people came to CALM for all sorts of reasons. I had worked a Rainbow Gathering before so expected some of the following which made it easier to choose what to bring in my kit. Here are some of the things I treated/helped people out with this time around:
-staph infections
-sore throats
-sprained ankles
-plantar fasciitis/tendonitis 
-allergic reactions
-menstrual cramps
-chronic health care questions
-trouble sleeping
-asthma attacks
-animal bites
-muscle tension
-ear aches

Another thing worth noting about Rainbow is that there are a LOT of drugs going around and even more cigarette smoking on top of those. So another big thing we spent a lot of time doing were encouraging sobriety, consulting people wishing to stop smoking and helping people through difficult drug use experiences.
Considerations when making the kit and other tips: 
Cleanliness and Sanitation of kit and supplies in kit: This is very important! For example, you do not want to put fingers or used q-tips into the salve jar and contaminate it! It is also great to have everything in plastic bags so it can be wiped off and cleaned with alcohol after an event. If you think something has been contaminated - THROW IT OUT!

Something else to consider when you are making your kit is that for various reasons some individuals are not able to have alcohol. So, having some glycerites and vinegars or other non-alcohol based medicines in your kit is a good idea.

Weight of the kit: Are you going to be walking around with this thing or be stationary? If you are going to be walking around it is important to make sure your pack is comfortable and you just have the essential items.

Have a list of what you have in the kit! That way in quick/emergency situations you are able to reference a list, decide what you want and then go for it instead of rummaging around in the pack and wasting valuable time.

Carry around a small notebook and when you have downtime document what you see and use, this will help you prepare a better first aid kit for future events.

Here are some things I included in my kit that you might consider having in your own First Aid kit and a note or two on what they might be used for/tips:
Ace Bandages - for sports injuries
Acupuncture needles - only if you know how to use these :P
Alcohol prep pads
Face masks: for personal protection when working with specific patients
Bag for trash
Gauze pads/wraps - various sizes and uses
Gloves - to protect yourself
Medical tape
Q-tips - to use when getting salves and ointments out
Steri Strips/bandaids - various sizes
Tooth tools
Dixie cups (to dispense medicines out in)
Water bottle (for eye washes and/or to administer peoples medicine in their Dixie cups)

Aloe Vera Gel - for sunburns and burns
Aloecaine - a medicated pain relieving aloe burn gel
Calendula salve
Hot and Spicy Salve - for joints and arthritic conditions
Plantain Salve
Rose Hydrosol and Which hazel combo - for sunburns and burns
Tiger Balm - for muscle pain/soreness
Vapor rub stick - congestion

Phara Drugs/Homeopathic/supplements:
Activated Charcoal Powder - for food poisoning/stomach illness and staph infections
Benadryl - allergies and allergic reactions
Herba Tussin Cough Syrup
Niacin B1
Throat Coat Herbal Pastilles
Tummy Soother Pastilles
Vitamin C powder/emergen-C packs- immune support

Herbal Extracts - 2oz of all unless otherwise noted.
When you are starting to think about what herbs to include in your kit. Reference back to what you brainstormed about the environment that you will be working in and what you might be treating. Also, consider what you have on hand and use it!

Categories can be helpful here. Consider the following categories and think up any other ones that might be relevant for your setting: Nervine/Anxiolytic (Anxiety/Stress Relief, Feeding Nervous system), Digestive Aids, Analgesic (Pain Relief), Sedatives (Sleep Aid), Respiratory Aid,
Anti-inflammatory, Skeletal Muscle Relaxants, Smooth Muscle Relaxants, Anti-histamines/Allergy support, Immune Support/Stimulant and Anti-microbial/viral

Here are some plants that ended up in my kit:
Achillea millifolia – Yarrow: Colds and Flus
Ambrosia artemesifolia – Ragweed: allergies/anti-histamine
Arnica Montana – Arnica: anti-inflammatory, LOW DOSE
Arnica Oil and or Linement: for external use, anti-inflamatory
Berberis aquifolia – Oregon Grape Root: to "kill shit" microbes and things
Bitters – Dandilion and Gentian: Bitter, digestive aid
Centella asiatica – Gotu Kola: Connective tissue repair
Clematis Virginiana – Virgins Bower: idiosyncratic headaches
Comphry Oil: tissue repair for external use
Diosclera vilosa – Wild Yam: Smooth muscle relaxant, great choice for menstrual cramps
Echinacea purpurea: Immune stimulant, colds and flus
Echinacea purpurea – GLYCERITE: Immune stimulant, colds and flus
Eschscholzia californica – California Poppy: Nervine
Garlic Oil - ear infections
Humulus Lup - Hops (4oz): Sedative
Hypericum perfoliatum – St. Johns Wort: Anti-viral, herpes, cold sores
Inula – Elecampange: Lungs, coughing all types of coughs
Inula helnium – Elecampange VINGEGAR
Juglans Nigra LINEMENT (not for internal use) – Black Walnut Hull: tinea
Leonorus cardiaca – Motherwort: Nervine, Bitter
Lobelia inflata: LOW DOSE, Asthma attacks, dilates bronchi
Lobelia inflata – Lobelia VINEGAR
Mellissa officinalis – Lemonbalm GLYCERITE: Nervine
Monotropa Uniflora – Ghost Pipe: Pain relief, assist those having a bad trip
Nepeta cataria – Catnip: Digestive aid, nervine
Ocimum tenuiflora – Tulsi GLYCERITE: nervine
Passiflora incarnata – Passionflower: nervine, sleep aid, circular thinking
Piper methytsticum – Kava Kava: Smooth Muscle Relaxant, Sleep aid
Piscidia pis. – Jamaican Dogwood: Pain
Propolis tincture: liquid bandaid
Prunus serotona – Wild Cherry Bark: sore throats
Rubus vil. – Blackberry Root tincture: Stop diarrhea
Salix spp.– White Willow (4oz): anti-inflammatory
Sambucus nigra elixr– Elderberry Elixr: immune boosting.
Solidago spp. – Goldenrod: Anti-inflammatory
Symphytum – Comphry
Sypyotricium nova-anglae – New England Aster: asthma
Tanacetum par. – Feverfew (headaches)

Turnera difusa – Damiana: Nervine
Valeriana officinalis – Valerian: Sleep Aid
Zingiber officinalis – Ginger GLYCERITE: Digestive Aid, Flavoring agent

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