Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DIY: FIRST AID SET -for out of the country travel!-


- Party of 15 - to Nicaragua - March, 2013 -

*fine print* - This is not a first aid training, or an herbal training. This is simply to show what is packed in the kit. You take all responsibility for the contents and use of this information.
**This especially does not cover severe emergency protocols, ie; broken bones, eye injuries, CPR, anaphylaxis, seizures, concussion, or any other medical emergency that should be tended by a medic. Always know your emergency contacts!
Resources for first aid training can be found at the very end of the article.

Oh Great Spirit,

I am the woman walking in the fields

collecting plants to heal the people.

I give thanks to this plant

and I have faith with all my heart

That this plant will heal the sickness of the people.

~ Gathering prayer of Belize ~

We started with a workshop

Where we discussed the possible hazards, and basic first aid protocols.

Together, we made a super-sticky spruce resin salve, and a tincture they named 'after-bug care' which contained 3 kinds of Artemesia and a little Rue. Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) is specific for malaria, so we made this the primary ingredient, backed up by Mugwort (A. vulgaris) and Wormwood
 (A. absinthium). Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a well loved anti-venom and anti-parasitic, so we added a bit of that too.

We discussed Chewing Herbs, and their effectiveness, ease and versatility for travel.

I packed them up together, one pouch for each traveler. Clove, Licorice, & Osha.

After our super-fun workshop where we donned bandanna fashions and fumbled with rubber glove removal,  as well as tasted various elixirs both candylike and heinous, I got busy assembling the full kit.

The goals of the kit were several: 
  • 1) Lightweight enough to carry - so I used primarily plastic 1/2 oz tincture bottles.
  • 2) Address all of the circumstances the group brought up in class, and traditional ones necessary.
  • 3) Be well organized, accessible, and efficient to use.
  • 4) Be incredibly versatile, so each herbal packed can serve at least a few purposes.
  • 5) Be theft-resistant - proper sizes so no trouble at the airport, and of the major sets, there are 2, packed with different travelers - so if one suitcase is lost or stolen, there will be another kit sufficient.
  • 6) Be non-breakable and non-meltable, it's hot there. 

The team (13 teens and two adults) from North Star have been working together for months - practicing Spanish, learning stove building techniques, understanding travel responsibilities and logistics, fundraising, learning how to obtain a passport, insurance, and proper items to pack. 

They've also done team building initiatives with seasoned Outward Bound Mentor, Pandora. Who was seriously spectacular and fierce.

They've spent time also learning about the landscape, the climate of Nicaragua, and some of the Native culture and daily life of the people. They've each done a research project on something specific. My daughter studied the bugs, which are not only fascinating, but also a wee bit scary!

So ... for the final outcome, here is the full contents of the kit. If you are traveling with a group, you can use the following documents to help you assemble your own, or reduce/adjust to your own needs for the size or location of your adventure.

These INFO CARDS, to go into the 3 main baggies. I laminated them for waterproofing, and then paired them together into what seemed logical herbal/sanitary overlap. Click to download & print:

(*note: cards not organized how the bags are - I made them first :)

Then I took stock of all the contents, and packed them up into their thematic baggies.

And a little Jitterbug Perfume Oil - aka bugs don't like this smell and it's good for those of you who like patchouli and get a headache from too much rose-geranium. Alas, you still must bring and use deet, so I hear.

Bug Essential Oil Blend: 
Cedarwood 3 parts, Patchouli 1 part, and a touch of vetiver and mugwort, with a little jojoba oil. I did put these in little 1/4 oz glass roll on bottles, as essential oils really need to be in glass.

Here are the ingredients for a few of the other combinations found in the kit: 

Burn Dressing

to a 2 1/2 oz bottle, color coded cap blue:
Aloe Vera Gel, Rose Hydrosol, Witch Hazel Hydrosol, equal parts.
St Johnswort tincture, about a tablespoon
Lavender essential oil 6 drops
Blue Chamomile essential oil 6 drops
Helichrysm essential oil 6 drops

Wound Wash

to a 2 1/2 oz bottle, color coded cap green:
Yarrow tincture, 2 parts
St. Johnswort tincture 1 part, 
Witch Hazel hydrosol 1 part
essential oils of Lavender & Blue Chamomile (7 drops ea)

Alien Elixir: (aka random fears)
Equal Parts Skullcap and Passionflower tincture

Panacea III - Traveller's Insurance essential oil blend 
10 ml glass eo bottle
(this blend is a proprietary recipe, but I will offer the ingredients and you can either create your own version or commission an essential oil practitioner to. Summer and fall I usually have it for sale.)
contains:  Pure Essential Oils of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Roman Chamomile,
Peppermint, Blue Chamomile, White Sage.  

So, here they go! Geared up, and ready for a transformational adventure. 

It's been a great honor and joy for me to do this project, both as an herbalist, and a mom. In addition it has fulfilled my goal in giving something this year - the first time I've made a philanthropic goal, and what better way to start that tradition in my work. I look forward to most of the medicines being unneeded, but also look forward to hearing what was successfully utilized.

Now, I ship my open heart off to Central America, and hope it returns to me still beating strong, maybe even stronger.

Thank you to North Star for being a truly remarkable place for teens to flourish, and to all of our friends and family that supported my daughter in making this dream come true - from donations, to gifts of colorful bandannas, and help with everything inbetween.

It takes a village.

(now if you need some comic releif after the sap I just poured on you, here is North Star's rendition of the Harlem Shake!)


SOLO Wilderness First Aid Certification (manual seen in second photo)

( I receive no compensation for these endorsements - they are my personal recommendation)

travel smart, travel safe!