Natural First Aid Kits

Spring has sprung and nature is budding with new life, which beckons many families out of their homes to play, garden and enjoy the beautiful North State landscape. With adventures there are sure to be some minor mishaps that ensue, such as encounters with poison oak, cuts, sunburns, allergy flare-ups and maybe even a slight cold too. It is wise to have a first aid kit on hand for such incidents. Some experts, like The American Red Cross, recommend parents have one handy in their car or even carry a small one in a pack for extended expeditions.

Of course, parents can create a traditional first aid kit with over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen for pains, antibacterial ointment for scrapes and an antihistamine for any type of allergic reaction. But, while these remedies are wonderful treatments in case of an emergency, these products can sometimes come with side effects, many of which can be quite unpleasant, especially for children. Many parents are searching for alternative remedies. Natural medicines such as herbs, essential oils, botanical tinctures, syrups and salves have been used for centuries to treat ailments and support the body’s overall wellness. These were, after all, the original pharmacy – nature’s pharmacy. 

Rosemary’s Garden, located in Sebastopol, CA, was originally started by famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970s and the store is currently owned by Lena Moffat. Their selection includes an abundance of herbs, tinctures, salves and syrups – all of which are available for purchase online. Erin Parker, a buyer for Rosemary’s Garden, discusses why parents might want to consider turning to natural medicines.

“There are definitely alternatives to traditional medicines and there are herbs that do the same things as those medicines if not better. These herbs nourish the body by supporting its natural immune response. Often times they work on the deeper root cause of the ailment instead of scraping the surface with symptomatic relief,” Parker says.

Currently, herbalism and essential oils are gaining popularity on the dovetails of organic, non-GMO, biodynamic and local movements for produce, products and services. Many companies are answering the consumers’ call with an array of natural botanical medicines, some of which are specifically formulated for a child’s needs. Parker explains that while many natural herbs, essential oils and other forms of natural medicine are appropriate for children’s needs (with little to no side effects), some herbs, just like traditional medicines, are not appropriate and should be avoided. “Kids don’t need some of the strong, more heavy hitting herbs. It’s important to do research and know what’s safe and what herbs and other types of natural medicines you can feel good about using,” Parker says.

Rosemary’s Garden does give out recommendations for local herbalists in the area that consult in case of questions, and it is always wise to confer with one’s physician if there are any questions about how a natural medicine may react with another medication. Luckily, there are some herbs that have a proven history of being safe and effective to assist in a child’s wellness for a naturally safe, fun and healthy summer.

Rosemary’s Garden is located at 132 North Main Street, Sebastopol, CA, and their phone number is (707) 829-2539. You can also find them on their Facebook page Rosemary’s Garden, on Instagram @rosemarysgarden72, or visit their website http://www.rosemarysgarden.com.

Saltea Herbs, in Orland, CA, is an exciting new resource in the North State promoting a natural approach to overall health. Their aim is to encourage families to explore herbal remedies, specialty culinary herbs and health food options. They offer remote consultations via video chat for professional advice from their two licensed health practitioners. Their store offers ready-made kits ranging from first aid kits to cooking kits to make your own gummy vitamins.

The Saltea first aid kits offer herbs to provide pain relief and to treat fevers, colds, flu, sore throats, cough and lung congestion, and swelling from minor injuries. You will find remedies targeting different ailments from everyday digestive issues to flu-related nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There are also salves for poison oak, insect bites and burns.

All of Saltea’s kits include the western and/or Chinese herbs, information on dosages and simple preparation instructions to make your own teas, tinctures, oils and salves. You can shop in their store or online for your convenience.

Saltea is located at 701 Fourth Street, Orland, CA, and their phone number is (530) 988-3181.

You can also find them on their Facebook page Saltea Herbs, on Instagram @salteaherbs, or visit their website http://www.salteaherbs.com. 

Featured is a small sampling of medicinal and culinary herbs available at Saltea Herbs in Orland; the North State company offers products both in store and online.

COMMON HERBS AND THEIR USES:

Elderberry: for respiratory

Elderberry Syrup, made from the berries of the tree, is an excellent go-to for children who are complaining of respiratory issues and are colicky. This sweet, berry flavor is a treat to swallow. It opens up the airways, especially in the deeper parts of the lungs; it may even promote a more productive cough. A small bottle of Elderberry syrup can easily be tucked into a first aid kit. Syrups and glycerin-based tinctures are widely available.

Mullein: for ear infections/respiratory

Also known as lamb’s ear, Mullein is a soft plant that grows extensively throughout the area. This plant is known to dissipate mucus in the ear, and it is helpful in treating head and lung congestion. Parker explains that in tea form the plant has fine, tiny hairs, and if not strained it can be irritating for the throat, so she suggests children take it in a tincture form or mixed into a syrup. For ear infections, Mullein ear drops can be found at many health food stores. The product is often diluted with olive oil or garlic oil. These drops can be placed directly in the ears.

Nettle: for allergies

It grows wildly in the Pacific Northwest and many see the plant as a nuisance since the prickly hairs on the stalk can cause a rash or burning sensation; yet these hairs contain formic acid, which provides the plant with part of its allergy-lessening solace. The leaf can be brewed as a daily nourishing tea, and for aiding with allergies – local honey is often added. This herb is appropriate for the whole family and tinctures are also available for a more potent dose. The tincture or tea packets are small and easy to add to one’s first aid kit.      

Lavender: for burns

It grows in many home gardens, and the discovery of its soothing properties for burns as an essential oil is an interesting read. Parker, from Rosemary’s Garden, explains that Lavender hydrosol spray is awesome for kids because it’s not as potent as the essential oil, but it helps to take the heat out of everything from a sunburn to a campfire marshmallow burn. The hydrosol can be mixed with aloe vera for a soothing rub.

Calendula: for cuts/scrapes/rashes

Also known as Marigolds, these sunshine flowers have a magical ability to soothe burns, bites and itchy skin (even from poison oak.) It also encourages the skin to heal. There are many good all-purpose salves out there, and they may contain other herbs like Plantain, Chickweed, and Goldenseal (which is anti-bacterial), all of which are supportive for the whole family. 

Ginger: for upset stomach

Along with Fennel, Peppermint and Spearmint, Ginger in a tea form can be beneficial for an upset stomach. They can get things moving or help settle the stomach down. For more potent doses look for tincture blends. Parker suggests one by WishGarden Herbs, a company that makes products specifically formulated for children.

Chamomile: for sleeping/relaxing

Known as the children’s herb, Chamomile has a long history of bringing calm to the situation because it acts as a nervine, which helps to relax the central nervous system. Tea packets can easily be stashed away into one‘s first aid kit, and tinctures are also available – sometimes in blends that include Lemon Balm and Catnip, which are also safe for children.

Courtesy of Rosemary’s Garden

Sarah Kirby
About Sarah Kirby

Sarah Kirby is a certified yoga instructor, holds a Masters Degree in English and has a passion for natural medicine. She lives in Mt. Shasta and hopes to be a parent one day.

Comments

  1. Very informative!

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