What do you do when the world explodes around you and you want to help but you don’t know how? In this offering I hope to prepare you for impromptu first aid in different scenarios, and offer resources and ways for you to get further training that will complement or add to your skills as a herbal clinician without requiring additional licensure. My goal is to give you tools and empower you to bring herbalism to the streets of your community. Make yourself and your offerings accessible. Think proactively, don’t wait for clinical opportunities. Look for them.
General Guidelines and Why you may want to consider pursuing this form of 1st aid
• Clinical Experience You can create your own clinical experience at festivals, during disaster response, or at street protests. By putting yourself out in to the community you will gain clinical experience, something many herbalists have to look long and far for. You do not have to live in a progressive city for this to happen, you only need to think creatively and be persistant
• Decision Making Skills Spontaneous support helps you to have to make quick decisions, and not overthink something. It helps you to be more efficient when you don’t have time to spend 2 hours with someone to offer first aid.
• Acute Care and how it differs from longer term clinic support Acute support many times thinks less about humoral energetics and constitution and more about symptom management, through differential assessment so that someone can get stabilized. Later, constitution can be addressed more thoroughly.
• Additional Skillsets to acquire sans Licensure Many times not being a licensed medical worker can actually be beneficial. Sometimes folks with a license cannot help out in first aid response without risking losing it, depending on the situation. Some things to look into if you would like to pursue this path would be becoming a Reverend, Basic First and CPR certification, Wilderness First Aid, or First Responder training. Sometimes self defense training can also be helpful.
• Scope of Practice If a situation presents itself that is outside of your scope of practice do not feel obligated to act on it. Do not pretend that you can handle something if you can’t or are not sure. Guessing in an emergency first aid situation can have undesirable results…or not. I don’t know are 3 powerful words
• Look before you leap Ask yourself: Why are you here? What is your commitment level to the situation or first aid support you are offering? Safety. Having a buddy is always a good idea. Going by yourself into herbal first aid situations can be a bad idea. Is the situation you are entering safe for you?
• How to dose safely
You must make sure you know how to ask the right questions and understand drop pulse testing, or other methods of offering herbs safely.
The Knitty Gritty, forming a temporary clinic
Backwoods: Clinic support in areas without power, water or other infrastructure and basic access to supplies to support it.
Pros: Usually lots of space available to you and it is usually a laid back experience. Consults can be both for both short and longterm support. Easier to follow up, most people who are partaking of your services know you are there. Cons: Lack of supplies like ways to administer can be a problem. Dealing with waste needs to be considered, plan B and Plan c for emergencies that cannot be dealt with there should be thought of ahead of time.
City Streets: Clinic support offered on the streets of cities, may be for disaster support or protest support. Pros: Access to first aid supplies and other needs, donations, and other emergency first aid workers can be more easily come by. Places like bus stops and other structures can be made into shelters. Cons: Hard to keep a space without police harassment, especially if it is protest oriented. MANY times we have had supplies confiscated by police, you can end up more easily in a potentially volatile situation. Harder to follow up
with clients if you have to change locations.
Mobile: Clinic support offered as you move around an area. This can be done with a bike, on foot, or even a car(for disaster support) Pros: You can move to where you are needed and find people who need help. You can get out of dangerous areas Cons: Follow up is hard. Amount of supplies you can carry is limited. Always have a buddy
Event Oriented: Clinic support at a single event—usually 1-2 days. This may be for a festival, or other community event, farmer’s market, health fair, natural disaster etc. Pros: May end up with a lot of clients, fast-paced, and fun if not for a natural disaster. You can usually set up all of the supplies you need to have Cons: No follow up. People’s attitudes can be mixed, depending on the event.
Setting Up A Temporary First Aid Station/Clinic: A Herbalist’s Perspective
Things to Consider: Besides herbs, what other supplies are needed? Tables, chairs? Covered structure? Where are you going to put your supplies? Waste? How many people you are serving? How long you will be there? When will you take breaks? Whats the weather like? Do you have water? Who is at the herb station with you? Who is going to be administering? Do not work with people you do not know unless they can have 2 people vouch for them in person. Best type of water is plastic water bottles with squirt tops#1. Dress for the weather—carry a backpack with your own stuff(Hats). For political protests: no contact lenses and Gas Masks are not a
bad idea. Long sleeved light colored clothing. Armbands signifying you are a medic that can come off quickly if you need to disappear. Do not carry identification while at an action or any important personal items except for any medications you may need. You must be able to disappear if you need to
The Herbal First Aid Kit Basics kits geared more for potentially volatile situations and can be amended and added to in different scenarios.
Stationary Kits: Divide set up into herbal and nonherbal supplies. No one should be touching the supplies who is not part of the herbal clinic. Set up can be to your own liking, choose a place for waste and a way to handwash.
Mobile Kits: Nonherbal supplies that are helpful: A bag with multiple pockets, bandages, nonlatex gloves, saline solution or water bottles with squirt nozzles, pads of different sizes, tape, rehydration solutions, epi pens, inhalers, plastic bags for waste, —sweets of some sort like energy goo or bar, sharpies, hot cold pads, band aids, whistle, tampons, pad of paper, Arnica homeopathic—for any trauma, Rescue remedy for Stress and people freaking out. Can even add it to water, clay
Basic Herbal Supplies for both Mobile and Stationary Clinics by Action
Blood, Bleeding, Bites, Bruises(styptics, astringents):
• Yarrow(Achillea)-stops blood flow, blood mover internally—good for bruises and swellings, concussions, relieves itchy bites—don’t use if in first trimester
• Plantain(Plantago)-stops bleeding, relieves itchy bites
• Cayenne(Capsicum)—for shock, pain or bleeding(unless they have an allergy)
Infections/Poisons to prevent or treat(antimicrobials):
• Agarita/Goldenseal/Barberry(Mahonia or Berberis sp)—not for first trimester major alteratives with affinity to GI tract
• Chaparral (Larrea sp) also a potent antioxidant see dehydration/Sun
• Echinacea—topical for poisons, internal for energy shifts—to stimulate and energize—may cause allergies if person is allergic to Asteraceae • Essential Oil Spritzers( see lavender below )
• Plantain see above, also treats fungal, urinary tract and other infections
External Structural Shock,Trauma, Pain, Inflammation, Spasms, Bruising to the body(antispasmodic calming agents, antiinflammatories)
• Anemone-for shock and trauma—drop dosage-drug like effect of grounding the person. I have also found a mix of peppermint and vetiver that someone sniffs will bring someone back.
XXX • Arnica-Homeopathic-internally. Full strength Arnica oil—external for swellings, pain and bruising—Allergies and Toxicities to consider here
• St Johns Wort Oil(Hypericum perforatum)—burns, spinal injuries, inflammation, neural pain, may cause photosensitization
• Ephedra—drug like effects—will stop asthma attacks, other inflammatory responses XXX
• Lobelia—drug like effects—can immediately stop spasming, coughing fits, and calm someone down—drop dose too much can make someone nauseousXXX
• Flower Essences
Internal Shock, Trauma, Pain, Spasms, Anxiety, Depression, Hysteria, Sleep(calming agents)
• Anemone-for shock and trauma—see above
• Skullcap(Scutellaria)—calms them down helps them sleep—helps reduce pain–gras
• Wild Oats(Avena)—helps to rebuild nervous system and calm folks down gras and RESTORATIVE
• Lavender(Lavendula) or other Essential oil spritzers, to calm folks and clean wounds and first aid stations
• Lobelia see above
• Flower Essences
Stomach and Reproductive Complaints, Diarrhea, Indigestion, Cramping Pain, Poison
• Aloe Juice: Gel of leaf in a drink for stomach and reproductive pain, mild diarrhea
• Ginger(Zingiber)- carminative for upset stomachs, cramps, nausea, and pain and reproductive cramping and pain. Topical Pastes are wonderful
• Astringents for diarrhea–Walnut Leaf-(Juglans), Plantain(Plantago), Oak(Quercus)
• Catnip(Nepeta) or Chamomile(Matricaria) to calm stomach or reproductive pain
• Yarrow see above to regulate bleeding if reproductive, good digestive bitter aromatic for digestive irregularities
• Echinacea/Charcoal/Clay for poisoning
• Echinacea(see above) drop dosage to shift and energize
• Eleuthero—helps strengthen the entire body, gives greater endurance against stress
• Schizandra- stimulating and brings focus
• Flower Essences