During the summer when I was about 8 or 9 years old in the mid 70s, I was picking blackberries way out in a rural part of Southwestern PA, about an hour from where I live today. I happened to step upon a bed of yellowjackets and they attacked me. In a panic I was swatting and jumping up and down on their abode which irritated them more and they stung the heck out of me. I had about 30 stings that day and had I been allergic then, I probably would have died. We were pretty far out in the country, miles away from any hospital.
A phone call to a neighboring doctor brought this advice… Find 3 different kinds of leaves (not poison ivy of course) and rub each sting with each leaf to make sure the stingers are out. Then make a paste with baking soda and water to relieve the pending itch and apply. I lived.
That was my first memorable experience with “natural” cures and my 51 years have been full of many different cures and treatments for the everyday issues we humans face.
still pick blackberries but these days I am covered head to toe with hat with a net, long sleeves, brush pants and boots. Blackberries and black raspberries are ripe deep in the summer so it is HOT but it is way safer being totally covered when I go picking. The “jaggers” (Western PA term) are really bad on blackberry bushes and less severe on the raspberries and there is poison ivy everywhere not to mention the mosquitoes who devour me (type o blood). Picking berries is hard and messy work (hands coated in berries an bleeding from scratches) and don’t forget the occasional snake, but getting all those free HEALTHY berries is worth it to me!
I am VERY allergic to poison ivy but that didn’t happen till I was in my late 20s. I have read your body changes and you can become allergic and vice versa as we age. That seems true for me!
You may not know this, but pretty much right next to poison ivy (and ALL OVER wooded areas) grows something called Jewelweed also known as “Touch me nots”. You have seen these yellow and orange flowered “weeds” with little pods on them late in summer and when you touch the pods, they open and spread out seeds… natures way of keeping the species growing. Well, jewelweed is a natural antidote for poison ivy. You can use the leaves to rub the urishriol oil after poison ivy exposure or easily make a tincture, soap or even a salve. I do this EVERY YEAR! It WORKS really REALLY well and if you buy EXPENSIVE poison ivy remedy products I GUARANTEE you they have this wild weed in there. Nature can heal you in many cases, that is a FACT.
Another healing plant that grows outside your door is Hawthorn shown here which provides a remedy for hypertension not to mention has seen many people through lean winters. Their berries and leaves are completely edible.
Dandelions are edible and the leaves make for a nice salad ingredient. Medicinally, dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. They support natural detoxification. Of course, if you spray your yard with chemicals, you would NOT want to ingest anything that you find growing there.
I have become allergic to bees which can be troublesome considering I am a beekeeper. Many people get less allergic over time and number of stings but that was not my experience. As I didn’t want to give up the bees, I saw an allergist and now get bee venom therapy which has really helped. I regularly get injections with all kinds of venom from honeybees, yellow jackets, wasps and mixed vespids and my system is getting better at handling the incidental stings. I find this SO interesting. The docs are using real bee venom to cure my allergy. BRILLIANT. They are doing the same things with children who are allergic to peanuts and other allergens. Minute doses over time increasing the amounts is helping the children’s bodies accept what it rejected before!!!
A good friend of mine from high school lives in Southern Florida where they have many different flora and fauna than we do back north. Where I am dealing with mosquitoes, snakes, spiders and such her family deals with jellyfish, crocodiles, fire ants and SCORPIONS. Her son got stung by a scorpion and his knee swelled up to gigantic proportions. As a great mom, she did all the normal things and made sure he had a tetanus shot. The next day in school, the nurse asked her if she could apply meat tenderizer to the young man’s knee, the kind with papaya extract in it. She added a little water to a scant handful of tenderizer and put the paste on the sting. It worked IMMEDIATELY to relieve him! So, keep some on hand for bee stings, scorpions and fire ants. I guess I could have used that too years ago with those yellow jackets!!!
I have one more healing thing for you today and this one is truly a favorite of mine. As someone who cooks pretty much every day, I often get burned. I read about lavender oil and how it is used in burn wards all over the world. I have vials of this for an atomizer that I use and the bath salts, candles and lip balms that I make. I set one tiny bottle next to my oils and vinegars and use it on the spot as soon as I get a burn and IT WORKS. It also smells amazing! So, there you go!!! Try it yourself!
You can Google natural healing plants, buy books and read them and look for instructional how-to videos on making your own natural healing products, on YouTube. That is how I got started with my little natural pharmacy work.
So, go get a book on the buffet you can find in your own backyard and do some research on nature’s FREE treatments. It is truly amazing!!! Contact me if you want some good book recommendations and tell me all about what you have discovered.