Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Herbal First Aid Bag

Carrying herbal remedies with us when we travel is another way to be prepared when accidents happen, which happen to happen more often when traveling with kids. I've had many different ways to carry my herbal first aid kit over the years. Sometimes it has worked great and provided just what I needed. Other times I've found myself not having access to a needed remedy or adequate supplies. This spring I brushed up a bit on herbal first aid with 7Song's herbal first aid course through Learning Herbs. 7Song runs the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. He has mega first aid experience and his herbal first aid bag is incredible. The course really inspired me to put some more thought into my own first aid bag and really think about the remedies and supplies I might need. It's still a work in progress, but I feel it is at least ready to use, and therefore present as one solution to the question...

So what does an herbal first aid bag look like?

I wanted a bag that was sturdy, light weight, not too fancy, not too big, but adequate for carrying the supplies I needed. I finally decided on a small canvas that cost me less than ten dollars. It looked very drab and militaristic, so I sewed on some fabric more to my liking. I'm sure the appearance will continue to morph over time, but for now I am happy with the bag itself.

Everything inside is packed neatly and securely, but within easy access. There are two smaller, zippered bags which are foam lined inside the main compartment. I used these to hold my glass bottles so there is no risk of breakage. Other items are tucked around these two bags.

The zippered bags are easily removed from the big bag.

The first zippered bag basically contains the contents of what used to be my whole first aid kit. These items are my essential that I don't leave home without...the bare minimum. You can see how the writing on the labels is faded and smudged. These remedies have traveled with me for a few years now and have been quite used. They include...a liniment, blackberry root glycerite, skullcap tincture, shepherd's purse tincture, echinacea tincture, anti-spasmodic tincture, rescue remedy, lavender essential oil, a bag of bandages, and a handkerchief. If I need to travel light, I can simply remove this small bag and toss it in my shoulder bag.

The second zippered bag carries the additional tinctures I wanted to add to my first aid bag. They include oregon grape root, propolis, osha, cramp bark, yarrow, and calamus. I've also included an empty dropper bottle in case I need to mix up a combination tincture for someone or give them a dosage bottle. The last item in this bag is one eye piece from a an old set of swimming goggles. This is to be used as a travel eye wash cup so I don't need to pack a glass one. (I can't remember who gave me that idea, but I think it is genius.) All of the glass dropper bottles are half ounce size.

The rest of the contents of the big pocket are tucked around the two zippered bags. They include my inventory list, a thermometer, a bandage roll, a roll of vet wrap, three kinds of tape, charcoal powder, cayenne powder, an anti-inflammatory salve, an all purpose salve, a burn salve, a throat spray, a pair of reading glasses (useful when removing small splinters), and two ABD pads.

My bag also has two small pockets on the front. In one of these I have bandages of various sizes, including butterfly bandages and steri strips. In the other I have gauze and a pair of latex gloves.

And that's about it. Like I said, it is a work in progress and I'm sure it will morph over the years, but I'm  pretty happy with it for now. My bag hangs on a hook in the mud room, not far from the car keys. On my way out the door I grab it and plunk it in the car, which is usually where it stays, as I'm not often too far from the car these days. But it is light weight enough that it wouldn't be a problem to carry it along either. The removable essentials bag inside is great for conveniently carrying my most basic remedies (I will not be caught again at a wedding without my blackberry root...my students know what I refer to here). Many thanks to 7Song for inspiring this process and for his herbal first aid teachings!!!