<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> RowanTree -- An Introduction
 
  HOW MUCH HAVE WE FORGOTTEN?   
 

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What I found that alarmed me was how much we used to know and, as a society, have now forgotten. It was only two generations ago that my ancestors hit these shores. My family came from the poor of Ireland and you can bet that Great-Grandma didn't go running to the doctor or the drugstore when Great-Uncle Billy got a chest cold. She went to her kitchen garden or the neighbor's kitchen garden or the neighborhood crone and got what she needed there. Most of us don't have a kitchen garden and wouldn't know what to do with it if we did. I'd like to see that change. We should not be this helpless and hapless.

On our little patch of clay-based bottom land, I have a large Aloe that gets the leaf gel tapped regularly for kitchen burns. There's a Plantain patch under the pond bench that is used to treat insect bites. The mints are used for headaches and tummy gas. The catnip, growing in elevated window boxes so the cats can't frolic it to death, is used for upset stomachs and sleeplessness.

We harvest Calendula heads to use for skin problems and sores. There's a really decorative stand of Comfrey in the front yard that has done it's duty treating bruises and torn muscles. The different sages are used to disinfect sores and cuts. (Lavender does this also.) A tea of meadowsweet (in ground), willow (in pot), calendula (in raised planter) and mint (in flower bed) is a very effective sunburn treatment. And so on.

The point is, with a little bit of land (or pots -- many of my herbs are grown in pots), some good weather and a little dedication, you can directly utilize nature's bounty without the shrink-wrapped middleman of over-the-counter medications and First Aid treatments.

What's even better is that what I make here is very often more immediately effective than the OTC products. I think that's because everything is fresh, whole and not loaded with an alphabet of preservatives. For the most part, the medicines are put together when needed. For seasonal illnesses, I'll make up the oils or tinctures ahead of time that are the bases for the final forms so they'll be on the shelf, ready to be used, when the need arises.

Not everybody needs to make up everything. Everyone has specific health problems as well as their fair share of the usual wear and tear from surviving in this world of ours.

Everybody's medicine cabinet should have those aids available that are specfic to the needs of the people in the household and only you are the one who can say what they should be.

I focus on remedies that I know we'll need. Several of us cook so there's always some kind of burn remedy available. Some of us have skin problems so there are different types of salves. Several of us are very physically active and suffer from bruises, scratches and the occasional broken bone. Our joints ache, our noses run and our heads hurt. I plan for these. That, really, is the best you can do. When something unfamiliar comes up, it's time to do some research.

This is the kind of mindset that I'd like to encourage.

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