I was working on an herbal first aid kit for a friend earlier this week and they asked if I could make a cheat sheet for the items included. So, I am writing this blog to do a quick materia medica on a few things you may want to consider having in your first aid kit.
When choosing what items will be in your personalized first aid kit consider the type of ailments that tend to slip into your life and those you spend a lot of time around. For example: Got allergies? Anti-histamines. Have children in your life? Lots of stuff for cuts and scrapes. Make sure you have something to cover those basic ailments.
Here are the items I put in this particular kit and some uses as well as basic medicine making information.
Ragweed - Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Ragweed is used as an herbal anti-histamine. Dosage can be on the higher end of things, particularly in first aid. Used internally. I would begin with a loading dose of 4-5 mls and would take every few hours until symptoms subside. Combines well with Eyebright - Euphrasia. I know it might seem odd as Ragweed causes allergies for many people. However it is the pollen in the respiratory system that causes these reactions. When you gather this plant to make a fresh plant tincture it is best to gather before the Ragweed begins to bloom. It can be tinctured fresh in 75% alcohol 1:2.
Oregon Grape Root - Mahonia species also species of Berberis can be used as well.
As my herbal mentor, 7Song, would say Oregon Grape Root is used to "KILL SHIT". It can be used when infections are present (viral, bacterial or protozoa) internal and external use. Take 4-5 mls every few hours while infection is present. If protozoa is suspected consider using Activated Charcoal as well (see below). I tinctured this root dried 1:4 50%.
White Willow - Salix species
Willow is Anti-inflammatory so can be helpful for a variety of ailments. Sprains and other injuries, headaches and arthritis are some examples where this might be a helpful plant. If asprin usually helps someones ailment this is a good plant to give a shot. Experiment with dosage here start with a few mls and if no difference is noted take some more 10 minutes later. All Salix species will work, the bark is tinctured fresh or dry. Fresh 1:2 75%, Dry 1:4 50%. Note that Willow can thin the blood a bit so there are some cases where it should not be used.
Activated Charcoal Powder
Activated Charcoal can be used externally and internally. When using externally you should make a poultice by combing the powder with a little bit of water and then applying. The charcoal adsorbs anything it comes in contact with so is a go to for staph infections externally and also internally for infections of the digestive system and food poisoning. When taking internally it is best to take it alone without food or medicines as it may reduce their effectiveness. Internal dosage recommendation is 1-2 teaspoons 2 times a day until symptoms subside. Note: your stool will be black if you take the charcoal do not be alarmed!
Digestive Aid Tincture - Blend of Ginger Glycerite - Zingiber officinale - and Medowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria (Chamomile - Matricaria chamomilla and Catnip - Nepeta cataria would also have worked nicely in this blend.) This blend can be used for upset stomachs and nausea.
Echinacea - Echinacea purperea
Echinacea is used as an immune stimulant. So is helpful anytime the immune system could use a boost. Take Echinacea in high doses every few hours throughout an illness for best effects. Can be combined with Elderberry and other immune support herbs. I like to make a combination tincture of root and flower. Echinacea is best tinctured in high proof alcohol. Long term use of Echinacea for individuals with auto-immune disease could be of concern as it stimulates and already overactive immune system.
Kava Kava - Piper methysticium
Kava Kava is a skeletal muscle relaxant and also can help aid sleep. Kava can also be helpful in situations of anxiety. Some individuals find that it makes them a little hyper before making them relaxed so it might work best taken an hour before desired bed time. Tincture can be made fresh or dried. Dosage varies person to person for this particular plant.
Nettle - Urtica diocia
Nettle is nutritive as well as diuretic. Can be helpful when edema is present. Could be a helpful plant to add into a formula for someone who is nutritional depleted as well. Some individuals find it helpful in allergy blends also. Tincture fresh 1:2 75%.
I hope you got some good ideas for starting your first aid kit! More herbal first aid to come. Feel free to post in comments with any questions or if you have any particular plants you would like us to cover as far as first aid use goes.