I am continually amazed at the remarkable talent dogs have for injuring themselves. In my veterinary practice, a high percentage of the cases that walk in the door are wound cases from trauma; like the dog that skewered himself on a tomato stake because he was climbing a tree trying to get to a squirrel. Or the dog with the nasty electrical burns on his lips from chewing on a lamp cord. Or the dog that….well, you get the idea. Yup. Dogs are dumb.
Sometimes we as humans are dumb too. For example, who was the sadistic maniac that invented the mandolin? I’m not talking about the musical instrument, I’m referring to that evil device of culinary torture that was designed to lop off the fingertips of distracted cooks. Or the cheese grater! How many of us have nipped a knuckle on one of those devils? And don’t even get me started on kitchen knives! Then there are the stoves and ovens and pots and pans, all of which will eventually give us a burn worth remembering.
As the holiday’s roll into full swing, our kitchens get more crowded, more chatty, and less focused on the myriad perils facing our poor, unsuspecting fingers. Invariably, someone is going to get a bad owie before it’s all over!
But there are other perils from our kitchens! All of that amazing holiday food! Along with the delicious delights and delectable deserts come the wild swings in blood sugars, the dietary fat levels we haven’t seen in a year, and the extensive over-distention of stomachs and other innocent innards that really aren’t equipped for that many tasty wonderments in one day. Our poor bodies try to warn us that this sort of overindulgence is a bad idea. They plead with us by giving us headaches, bellyaches, sore joints, and other aches and pains hoping that we’ll learn from our mistakes and remember not to do this again next year. Yeah…probably not going to happen.
Well, there’s good news. God knew when he put this whole thing together that we’d cut ourselves, burn ourselves and traumatize our innards with our holiday cooking adventures so He prepared some wonderful plants to help us heal our woes.
Yarrow and cayenne are both wonderful for stopping bleeding when applied topically. Dusting that cut with a little powder of either one before putting on the Band-Aid will generally stop the bleeding very quickly. And, as if stopping the bleeding wasn’t enough, both of those herbs have some good bug-killing properties that can help to prevent infection of the wound as well. Calendula flowers are another wonderful antibiotic and also a great anti-inflammatory. Of course, the real hero for wound healing is Comfrey. Comfrey contains a chemical called allantoin which is the physiological equivalent to smooth jazz and chocolates and causes cells to reproduce like crazed bunny rabbits, markedly accelerating wound healing.
Of course, the old stand-by for burns is Aloe vera. Many homes have an aloe vera plant growing on the kitchen window sill. The gel in the leaves has an osmotic property that draws the edema and swelling from a burn and thus relieves the pain. But aloe isn’t the only good burn remedy. Purslane, that weed growing in your sidewalk cracks, is every bit as good. Just grind up its little succulent leaves and apply the goo to the burn. Hens & Chicks is another great burn remedy. Like the succulents above, it is very effective on burns. So effective in fact, that the Babylonia King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that every village in his realm grow hens & chicks. Another good choice for burns is the prickly pear cactus. Just fillet the cactus leaf and slap that rascal right on the burn. Umm…do make sure that you put the correct side of the leaf facing down though. Both hens and chicks and prickly pear have the advantage of overwintering in places that actually have winter and of being just as useful in December as they are in June.
Brains, Bellies and Bowels
Interestingly, some of the same herbs that are good for headaches are also excellent for stomachaches, colic, and other post-prandial pains. About any of your kitchen spices will help as will about any member of the mint family. Of course, almost all of your kitchen spices are in the mint family, hence the correlation. Rosemary, basil, and peppermint are all good for either headache or bellyache. Fennel, ginger, and chamomile are really good choices for tummy troubles as well.
How About Having Some Things On Hand…Just in Case?
This Holiday season, I encourage you to do your body a favor and have a few herbs on hand to protect it and patch it up after the inevitable kitchen consequences of the season. To that end, I encourage you to have a look at these two nifty herb kits.
Have a great day!
~ Doc Jones
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