YOU CAN BUILD AN HERBAL FIRST AID KIT YOU’LL ACTUALLY USE!

LET’S BUILD AN HERBAL FIRST AID KIT YOU’LL ACTUALLY USE!

Because I know when I first started using herbs, I read a lot, wrote a lot, made a TON of different salves, oils and tinctures and sad as it is to say, they sat on a shelf or in a pretty box and were never used.

 

I had experienced herbal remedies that worked on myself and others, but actually using the creations I made myself was a bit scary. Not to mention it is easy to forget you have them. Or not be 100% sure what it is you have made or how to use it when you are trying to do it on the fly!

keep it basic

That is why today we’re going to talk about your basic herbal first aid kit. We’ll go over what you should have in it to begin with and how to ensure you’ll use the lovely creations in situations where you may not be thinking straight.

While your basic herbal first aid kit may grow to be something so much more than basic, it is best to start with just a few herbs. I recommend keeping it very simple and starting with herbs that are local to you.

As I write this post I’m struggling to choose just a few herbs to talk about. Even just using local herbs, the list is long and wide and wonderful. I’ll start with the herbs I use most and have had the most success with for first aid. If these names seem foreign to you, don’t worry. They are very easy plants to get your hands on and I can help you with that if you have trouble. Just ask!

 

Let’s get started!

YARROW

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium
Parts used: Flowers, leaves, roots

Where and when to find:

Yarrow grows everywhere. Where I’m at I find it in June growing wild everywhere. I love riding along in the car, scoping it out as we pass by all the open fields. Because climates vary, June may not be the month for yarrow in your area. It may be helpful to know Yarrow thrives in hot dry conditions. Check out pastures, fields and such. I harvested my plants from our local county lake. I even brought a plant home to start growing my own.

When looking make sure the area you harvest from has not been sprayed or is not to close to a road way where vehicle toxins and road dust have settled onto the herb. Also when wildcrafting refrain from over harvesting. Take only what you need and if that is a lot and there is not a large supply where you are, rethink harvesting in this particular place. We want them to be there later. This is why I took a plant home to start my own patch.

 

Why this belongs in your first aid kit:

Yarrow can help with nearly every first aid situation! It helps prevent infection, stops bleeding, promotes circulation, helps relieve pain, fights colds and flu, fevers and so much more.

Using this plant straight from the ground all the way to a tincture is very simple. Once you have this herb on hand and begin using it you’ll wonder what you ever did without it. Keeping it within arm’s reach in the kitchen or in the medicine cabinet is beneficial to you and your family.

 

PLANTAIN

Plantain: Plantago major
Parts Used: Young leaves, roots, seeds

Where and When to find:

Plantain, like Yarrow grows nearly everywhere. Unlike Yarrow you probably have it in your own backyard. Even if you live in a city, chances are you can find plantain under foot. It is a very adaptable plant that starts popping up in spring.

Why it belongs in your first aid kit:

Plantain is a drawing herb among its other many attributes. (Meaning it can pull toxins, such as the toxin that causes a sting from a wasp or objects such as splinters, out of your skin) It is the go to herb for bites or stings. It is a fantastic plant to use on inflammation, swelling and burns. I’ve had success using it for many different skin irritations. It’s usually the first herb I’ll try with a skin complaint.

Using this herb straight from the yard as a spit poultice, to creating salves and oils, is very simple and can be done in the midst of your busy life. Carrying a little with you at all times is also very easy to do and very important.

 

LAVENDER

Lavender: Lavendula spp.
Parts Used: Flowers

Where and When to find:

Lavender is a plant you can find at most greenhouse stores. Its fairly easy to grow in a container but if you have the space, growing it in the yard can yield more plants to work with.

If you don’t have the time or the resources to grow lavender on your own, you may be able to find a local lavender farm. I have one near me that has a large festival during harvest season and you can go and purchase fresh lavender and enjoy a wonderful day full of beautiful scenery and fun events. Having lavender essential oil on hand is not a bad thing either.

Why it belongs in your first aid kit:

So many people think only of the wonderful scent of lavender but it’s uses go much farther than just making your soap smell wonderful. And while it is a pretty cheap essential oil to purchase there is just something about having the plant at your finger tips. I have used my own lavender in remedies for burns, my own version of topical antibiotic ointment and many other healing remedies.

 

CALENDULA

Calendula: Common name Pot Marigold, not to be confused with common marigold which are of the genus Tagetes.
Plant Parts Used: Flower buds, flowers and leaves.

Where and when to find:

Calendula is an extremely easy plant to grow from seed. In fact when I first started out I searched all over for a plant to purchase and just transplant into my yard with no luck at all. I found out later this is because it is so easy to grow on your own. When I was on the look out I found so many different marigold plants but none of them with the name Calendula. It can be a bit confusing but just remember if it has Tagetes in the name it is not the plant you want.

Why it belongs in your first aid kit:

This herb is another go to herb for skin conditions. In combination with plantain or on it’s own it is a powerhouse herb that soothes inflammation, promotes healing and so much more. It is a wonderful herb for the mucus membranes. I’m using it right now for gum health!

I love it as a salve or an infusion. Using the infusion topically can be so soothing! Both of these are so simply and quickly made you’ll have no trouble implementing them into your day to day life!

 

COMFREY

Comfrey: Symphytum officinale
Parts used: Leaves and roots

Where and when to find:

I grow Comfrey in my yard. It is a large plant with a large root system but it is possible to grow in a container. I have a very large well established plant now and it started from a small plant I purchased. I purchased three, one survived and now from that one small plant I have an abundance of comfrey.

Why it belongs in your first aid kit:

Even with the abundance of Comfrey I have growing in my garden, after the year we’ve had with my family, I have decided I need a much larger crop! Comfrey is wonderful for bumps, bruises, sprains, strains and broken bones! We have had to many of those in my family this past year that even with a large harvest, I’ve ran out of supply! The people demand MORE!

In the beginning I was not sure how to use comfrey all year long in more than just a salve, which is very effective but using the actual plant provides better results. Now I am able to use comfrey all year long by storing poultices in the freezer…who knew!

CREATING THE REMEDIES

Now that you know about my top five herbs and why I keep them in my first aid kit let’s talk about how I create with them.

If phrases like infused oils, salves and tinctures freak you out or overwhelm you, I’m here to help you through it!

Let’s talk a little bit about these terms.

  • Infused oils are simply plant parts soaked in an oil to extract their healing properties into the oil. While it can take a few weeks to get the end product it only takes a short amount of time to make the oil.
  • Salves and creams are created using infused oils and an agent that will harden the oil such as beeswax or a butter like cocoa or shea.
  • Tinctures can be made with alcohol or vinegar and it is the same process as making an oil. The minstrum (alcohol or vinegar) will pull the healing properties out of the plant and into the minstrum.
  • Teas are herbs brewed in water for a short time, infusions are herbs brewed in water for an extended period of time.
  • Poultices are plant parts squished till the juices come out and are used topically.

Each one of these remedies can be made in a very short amount of actual hands on time and once you get the hang of it you’ll find all sorts of time to get cookin’!

Once you learn how to make these remedies it is easy to go overboard making all sorts of different concoctions that’s why I recommend you start with the five I listed above. If you go to crazy you’ll find your shelves full of remedies that you are unsure how to use!

 

SO HOW DO I USE THESE?

I have two first aid kits. I have one I travel with and one that is scattered about my house! In these kits I have dried herbs, salves, oils, tinctures and so much more!

Initially I created a first aid kit for on the go that was heavy, messy and full of things I did not know how to use. Once I started using the herbs in the comfort of my own home I was able to decide what herbs would be best for me to carry!

Even just using them at home in the beginning was hard. I had a tackle box that I turned into my first aid kit and I shared out a bunch of my concoctions to family and friends for them to test out. The problem was, we all took them and put them away and never thought to use them again. That was until I changed things up a little bit. I still have a few boxes tucked away with extra remedies in them, but now I keep my concoctions out in the open.

I store my Lavender antibiotic salve by the band-aids and I keep my Yarrow tincture by the tea I reach for when my throat hurts. Little tricks like this remind me that I have these wonderful tools to help me when I’m in need.

Once I became familiar with using herbs at home, I was able to practice taking herbs on the go. I made a few of my salves a little harder so the wouldn’t melt if it was too hot out for them, I found the right containers to carry making it easier to use the herbs I had on the go. There was a lot of trial and error but it was worth it! I love having my own herbal remedies with me to use for myself or to share with others!

Building your own herbal first aid kit will be full of a lot of trial and error but you can do this!

 

Also please get in touch if you have any questions about anything herbal or any requests for more information!

Until we meet again!