Thursday, July 26, 2012
Herbs as Medicine Week 1-Bee Balm
This week I will be profiling Bee Balm, also known as horsemint, oswego tea and bergamont.
This plant does grow in the wild, so learn what it looks like and how to identify.
Background: The Blackfoot, Menominee, Ojibiwa and Winnebago tribes all used this plant to treat illness in their tribes.
Let's get the standard warnings out of the way: I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet. Always ask your doctor before trying new herbal remedies, it's bound to get you a few odd looks. I have asked my doctor about the use of this herb and in my present physical condition, I got the green light to use it. However if you are pregnant or nursing or using this on a small child, always be cautious with any herbal remedies. If you are using this herb as a homemade essential oil or you purchase this herb as an oil, DO NOT expose area to direct sunlight. You will look as bright as a boiled lobster!
Now that the doom and gloom warnings are out of the way. Say the end of the world has hit, you managed to survive on your preps for the last 13 months. You've started a garden, your animals have been producing and breeding things are looking up but your medicine stock is way down or non existant. How are you going to replenish it?
Bee balm is one of those plants that can help you restock your medicine cabinet.
Bee balm has ANTI EMETIC action (from mint family most mints do)
Has a strong ANTISEPTIC action
Has a ANTI PURTIC AND ANAGLESIC action.
(So what do these fancy terms mean??)
----For fevers, pain and nausea----Crush dried or fresh leaves and make a hot tea (use 1 tbsp per 8 oz of water)
----For skin infections----Crush fresh leaves and put on top of affected area. Draws infection out.
Here is my #1 use for Bee Balm. Let's face it, after TOTW dentists will be few. Brush, floss daily but I can speak from experience, this is a LIFESAVER.
This needs to be done ahead of time, takes 3-4 weeks. Gather bee balm flowers and leaves, wash, add to a mason jar and cover with vodka. Leave to sit on the counter where you will see it and shake daily. After 3-4 weeks, strain the bee balm leaves out. (Keep in a cool place after this)
Use this topically or as a mouth wash on gums where infection or affected tooth is. This gives temporary INSTANT pain relief and with its antiseptic effect helps with healing. I personally without giving too much personal info out have had this cut my healing time from 8 weeks to 4 weeks with dental surgery.
Just a side note here now--To save bee balm seeds, allow the flower heads to dry completely on the plant, cut them off and crumble the flower heads. The seeds will be small and oval shaped.
---If you are planning a herbal medicine chest in your preps, some items that I would suggest you get now are a mortar and pestle, a tea ball or press and seal tea bags, I would stock up on witch hazel and vodka as well for your bases for tinctures and such. Some use rum for tincures I prefer vodka since its clear and as a non drinker I tolerate it better. A wooden drying rack from the hardware store and clothes pins help with the drying process when there is no power.