Hitting the trails with your herbal first aid kit
I’m going camping in June and I was wondering if there are herbal remedies that
I should take with me. Thanks, Karen in Idaho.
Now is a great time to plan your outdoor activities, and your herbal first aid kit. I normally pack a larger first aid kit for the car or campsite, and then take what I need and put it in a smaller pack, depending on where I am or what I am doing.
First aid essentials:
Bottle of water. A no-brainer, I know, but many forget to pack this. There are even sealed packs of water that you can put in your kit for drinking or wound cleaning.
Water purification tablets. It’s easy to drink all the water you have, especially on a long hike. If you find yourself in need of water but have none, using these pills may help you to be able to drink the stream water. Just make sure you do your research to find exactly what you need before leaving the house.
Small piece of naphtha soap. This is great for removing poison ivy, oak, sumac or any other irritant. Just use it right away. If you don’t plan on bringing soap and water, be familiar with what jewelweed and Virginia creeper look like. Crush the leaves of either and put them on the part of the irritated skin as soon as possible.
Cayenne pepper. Cayenne is a natural styptic (stops bleeding), wound cleanser and anti-inflammatory. If you get a cut, wash with the soap and water and put some cayenne over the wound and hold till the bleeding stops. You can also put it under a bandage. Just carry a small baggie of it with you.
Tea tree oil. Just take a very small bottle with you. This is great for bug bites and small wounds.
Ginger root. Ginger is great if you’re feeling a bit nauseous. Just chew on a piece or make a cup of tea. Tea is best if simmered for about 15 minutes. Just cut up a small root and put it in a small bag.
Activated charcoal. If you’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree, activated charcoal will help dilute the ‘toxin’ and bind to it so that it passes through you faster. You can buy this in bulk and just take a small baggie with you.
Aloe vera leaves if you have the plant, or gel if you do not. Take a couple of leaves with you in case of sunburn or scrapes. Just break the leaf and use the gel-like substance directly on your skin.
Besides the herbal antidotes, I always carry aspirin, bandages (gauze, tape, Band-Aids and ace bandage), hydrogen peroxide, a Swiss Army knife with small scissors, a good tweezers, and a portable phone charger (pre-charged) and my cell phone. I also carry a protein bar or a small amount of food. This is especially important if you have any blood sugar issue (i.e. get dizzy if your body needs food). I even carry pieces of hard candy to suck on or give to some one else in distress. Other items to include are a flashlight, a magnifying glass, a compass, disposable gloves, an ice pack (the ones that you break to activate), an herbal guide book and some extra money.
Now you are ready to go an explore the trails!
Jayne Tamburello has a Master's Degree in herbal medicine from MUIH and is the founder of Invibe Herbal (www.invibeherbal.com). She is also a licensed nutritionist in the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware and lectures around her home of Rehoboth Beach, DE, educating others on the use of herbs as medicine.