Herbal Actions For Topical Treatments On Skin

Antifungal: Angelica archangelica radix, Calendula off., Melaleuca alternifolia, Olea europa folia, Tahebuia impetigosa, Usnea barbata Anti-inflammatory: Calendula officinalis, Hypericum perfolatum, Lavandula officinalis, Matricaria recutita. Plantago species Antimicrobials: Baptisia tinctoria, Berberis species, Echinacea species, Hydrastis canadensis, Lavandula off., Melaleuca alternifolia, Rosmarinus officinalis, Usnea barbata Antipruritic: Avena sativa, Calendula officinalis, Hammamelis virginiana, Hypericum perforatum, Lavandula officinalis, Stellaria media Astringent: Achillea millefolium, Aesculus hippocastanum, Agrimonia eupatorium, Geranium maculatum, Hamemulis virginiana, Potentilla tormentilla, Quercus alba, Rhus aromatica, Rubus species, Thea sinensis Emollient: Althea officinalis, Ascophyllum nodosa, Cetraria islandica, Fucus vesiculosis, Linum usitatissimum, Malva sylvestris, Symphytum off., Ulmas fulva cortex Vulneraries: Calendula off., Commiphora mol-mol, Echinacea spp. radix, Equisetum arvense, Impatiens capensis, Lavandula spp., Matricaria recutita, Populus balsamifera, Prunella vulgaris, Stellaria media
Select the herbs from the appropriate herbal action category as indicated by the patient’s condition. You may choose to brew a pot of tea and apply locally as a fomentation or brew a...

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Introduction to Baths

Herbs have a long and well-documented history of use in folk traditions, on the battlefield, and in the clinic. Emergencies and acute and chronic conditions have been successfully treated with herbal remedies taken internally and acting systemically. When herbal remedies are topically applied they tend to act locally, affecting mainly the tissues with which they come into direct contact, and the adjacent tissues through perfusion of the medical elements if they are in a suitable carrier. What conditions are we likely to see in the home and which external treatment protocols are practical, appropriate and harmonious? Father Sebastian Kneipp developed a wonderful system of Hydrotherapy which included soaking the whole body or body parts in temperature controlled water. Adding herbal extracts of teas, tinctures, essential oils, hydrosols and salts provided an enormous variety of treatments, and is itself a complete subject of study. The following herbs are still used in...

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Ginger Fomentation

Fomentations are a category of treatment in which strips of cloth are soaked in a liquid herbal extract e.g. tea, tincture or succus, and placed over the treatment area on the skin. An occlusive covering such as plastic wrap or waxed paper covers this and is held in place with tape or more bandages for a measured period of time.
There are several ways to apply ginger (Zingiber officinalis) to the body: A ginger bath is made by adding a decoction of the root to the hot bath water and soaking the whole body is one. This is done to open the circulation and release the interior heat at the start of a fever management protocol. Another way is to focus the treatment on a particular set of organs and target the circulation of those tissues. Stagnation in any viscera can be alleviated by a ginger compress or fomentation. There...

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Euphrasia Fomentation

Fomentations are a category of treatment in which strips of cloth are soaked in a liquid herbal extract e.g. tea, tincture or succus, and placed over the treatment area on the skin. An occlusive covering such as plastic wrap or waxed paper covers this and is held in place with tape or more bandages for a measured period of time.
A euphrasia fomentation is indicated where there is eye inflammation and/or infection.
  1. Combine 10g. each of the following dried herb:
  • Eyebright – Euphrasia officinalis
  • Chamomile – Matricaria recutita
  • Golden Seal – Hydrastis Canadensis
  1. Bring 250 ml of pure water to a boil
  2. Infuse herbs until cool, then strain
  3. Soak folded gauze in infusion and place over the patient’s closed eyes
  4. Have patient recline for ½ hour
  5. Repeat ad lib

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Arnica Fomentation

Fomentations are a category of treatment in which strips of cloth are soaked in a liquid herbal extract e.g. tea, tincture or succus, and placed over the treatment area on the skin. An occlusive covering such as plastic wrap or waxed paper covers this and is held in place with tape or more bandages for a measured period of time.
An arnica fomentation is indicated for sprains, haematomas, contusions with swelling, and for the resorption of blood. CAUTION: DO NOT USE ON OPEN WOUNDS. May be painful and toxic if absorbed systemically.
  1. Mix tincture of Arnica Montana with pure water 1:4 (20% solution)
  2. Soak gauze in solution and place several folded layers over effusion
  3. Cover with occlusive dressing & Repeat BID until resolved
 

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Astringent Fomentation

Fomentations are a category of treatment in which strips of cloth are soaked in a liquid herbal extract e.g. tea, tincture or succus, and placed over the treatment area on the skin. An occlusive covering such as plastic wrap or waxed paper covers this and is held in place with tape or more bandages for a measured period of time.
An astringent fomentation is indicated for the treatment of cuts, scrapes, abrasions, wounds with exudates and cracked & sore nipples. As a preventive treatment to prepare the nipples for breastfeeding and help preclude mastitis.
  1. Choose appropriate astringent herb by strength and availability.
  • Oak - Quercus spp
  • Sweet Sumac - Rhus aromatica
  • Comfrey - Symphytum off. fol.
  • Yarrow - Achillea millefolium fol.
  • Coneflower - Echinacea spp. rad.
  • Self Heal - Prunella off.
  • Shepherd’s Purse - Capsella bursa-pastoris
  1. Boil 15 minutes in pure water to make a...

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Let the Trees Sing

Many years ago during the first lunar mission, I watched an earth-rise across the lunar horizon on television. It seemed profoundly significant that people all around the world were simultaneously sharing in this vision of our earth as one being, illuminated by the sun. Blue oceans, brown deserts and green jungles could be seen with white clouds streaming over it all. More recent aerial photography has revealed a few startling major circumstances. The desert areas are expanding and the jungles are shrinking at an alarming pace. What intrigued scientists the most, though, was the formation of clouds by forests. You can literally see clouds being born and lifting out of the forests and traveling around the world. In other words, lack of rain does not cause droughts and deserts, lack of forests do. During our Canadian winters we can all see our own breath as we exhale. What we don’t...

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We Need Herbs

We are presently living in a world that is in constant upheaval. To find stability, we must hold onto something that is deeply rooted. Traditional Herbal Medicine arose long ago, at a time when mythology and history were indistinguishable and cultural values were very different than our own. It is the source from which modern (scientific) herbalism, pharmacological medicine, hygiene & dietetics and holistically oriented herbal medicine are nourished. Taproot and heartwood lay hidden whilst we harvest fruit and leaf. What are the perennial truths in medicine and in our understanding of life? Herbs have taken a special position in our ecology. They have as their purpose the joyful task of reconnecting us to our roots, reintegrating us with the other life beings of this planet Earth, nourishing all life, reminding us to breathe fresh air and to bathe in the light. Herbs in various forms and formulations can help...

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We Have It On Good Authority

There is a time in everyone’s life when we rebel against authority. We all develop or gather our own ideas, principles and values to help us navigate through life. Authority is the power to compel action from others. The authorities can come and take you away. We all want to have free will and prefer to choose how we will decide on issues. On the other hand, when we are researching information in order to help us choose a course of action like purchasing a car or selecting a surgeon or treating cancer, we want to find authoritative sources. This kind of authority is compelling in that we are linking knowledge to truth. When we say someone is an authority on a subject, we mean that he or she is able to comprehend it and make their understanding available to us, the public. We consult the authorities when we need...

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Universal, Eternal and Comprehensive

During the Peloponnesian war, the great Athenian leader, Pericles, could see the end of the golden age of Greece. His building and rebuilding of the Acropolis left a legacy for the world. Using his tremendous oratorical skills he told the citizens of the great city-state that they should not mourn the demise of Athens. He explained to them that the Parthenon would last a long time but the exalted lifestyle of the citizens not so long. To assuage their grief, he expounded how Athens was not just a city-state but a state of mind. Pericles elucidated his vision of Athens as the eternal city, placing it into the realm of ideas and concepts of justice and democracy. Plato wrote The Republic to describe the perfect city-state with comprehensive descriptions of all facets of life. When Gandhi began his Satyagraha movement, his compatriots chided him that he and all he stood...

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