Herbal First Aid
When you’re out in the woods hiking and foraging for wild goodies, it’s important to make sure you know what to do if you get injured on the trail. There is so much to know when it comes to first aid, the intention of this post is to suggest some herbal and fungal ideas to supplement your first aid kid or to use when you fall short of having a complete kit.
Birch Polypore (in the picture above) is known for its ability to restrict blood flow, so I looked further into how exactly to use it this way for medicine. Once these fungus infect a birch tree, they will slowly kill it. They are often found lying on dead birch trees. Parts of the fresh fungi can be sliced and used directly as a bandage. Simply slice off part of the fresh polypore into a bandage shape that will fit your wound and wrap it around. It should adhere to itself, but if it doesn’t, seek some wild grass or plantain and wrap it around to keep the fungi in place.
According to The Wild Wisdom of Weeds by Katrina Blair, plantain (Plantago major) has the ability to ward the body from infection when you get a cut or sting. By crushing up fresh plantain by chewing it and spitting it out or crushing it up and placing it on the wound. Wide leaf or long leaf plantain can be used as a bandage to keep plantain poultice on the wound.
Yarrow has been used historically to stop blood flow in open cuts. Nicknamed Soldier’s Woundwort, Achillea millefolium, can be made into a poultice by breaking up the plants by chewing it or breaking it up to extract the juices, and put it right on a cut. You can do this underneath the plantain or birch polypore bandage.
Mother Earth put so many wild plants and mushrooms on Earth to keep us safe. How magical is that?
Foods you can wild forage while being out in the wild
Thistles have quite the bad reputation, but we’re here to tell you that they are actually one of the most healing and detoxing plants you can consume. Thistle flowers create a gum-like texture which makes a great trail snack! If you are staying at a campground or somewhere there is electricity, we highly recommend making green juice with thistle. When you blend the thistle juice, straining it afterwards will strain out any of the thorns.
We love plantain to cleanse the body. It helps support digestive function. Plantain leaves can be put into a wild foraged salad! The weed also helps with wounds you may get on the trail! It is helpful to pull toxins from the skin. It can help to heal a cut or scrape you may get on the trail. Simply chew the plant up and place it where the scrape or bug bite it and will begin to help your body heal.
Dandelions make the perfect salad green while you’re in the forest camping or hiking. They are a complete protein! You can eat every part of the plant. The root can even be roasted and ground for non caffeinated coffee!
Easy, healthy food to bring while camping
It can be hard to eat healthy while being out in the woods. Most of the dehydrated, packaged ‘camp foods’ are high in sodium and are not the most nutritious. Here are some of the things we do to stay healthy while in the woods.
Chia pudding is one of the easiest, fiber and calorie filled snacks to keep you full while you’re playing in the woods. Generally we use 1 part chia seeds and 3 parts non-dairy milk. When camping, we like to have milk that is shelf stable and doesn’t need to be refrigerated until you open it. These cartons are typically smaller and take up less space in your cooler!
To make chia pudding, rigorously whisk chia seeds into oat milk in a mason jar and sit overnight. You can always add your favorite protein/superfood powders into this for some added nutrition.
Overnight oats are made the same way as chia pudding. Put the oats in milk and sit overnight. We love to make them with Irish oats which are less processed and healthier. When choosing oats, never buy quick oats as they have been processed and lack nutritional value.
Oat bars are something that can be pre-made before a camping trip and don’t need to be refrigerated. If you are camping somewhere that’s really hot and humid, you may want to store them in the refrigerator depending on how long you need to store them for. When we make our oat bars, we hardly ever measure out the ingredients and make them intuitively. First, we blend oats in a dry blender until it becomes oat flour. If we have them on hand, we’ll also add a variety of raw nuts to make a blended oat/nut flour. Then, we mix in vanilla extract, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, raw unsweetened cacao nibs or powder and cashew butter. Roll out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with local honey and serve raw. We like them best in a little bowl with some non dairy milk.
Kale is one of our favorite greens to take on road trips because it doesn't wilt like other greens. You can even pre-mix salads and jar them in mason jars a few days prior to have ready-made salads to go. Simply add a variety of nuts, berries, olive oil and lemon for toppings and dressing.
Meditating in Nature
Practicing mindfulness meditation methods in nature is one of our favorite ways to connect to nature. Being outside allows all 5 of our senses to be stimulated. By tapping into your 5 senses, you can minimize stress, anxiety and distractions in order to focus on your own personal growth.
One way to meditate in nature is with a walking meditation. As suggested by Mind Works, during a walking meditation pay close attention to your feet touching the ground after every step. Pay close attention to the sound of your feet hitting the forest floor and all of the other noises around you. Instead of making judgement calls like, “I like/dislike the sound of the birds,” simply acknowledge that the sound is there and focus on your breathing. The mind will instinctually try to determine the source of the sound, but by focusing on the breath you will be able to tap more deeply into your unconscious mind and find peace.
Another way to meditate in nature is by sitting on the ground. According to Mind Works, “When we sit on the ground during our natural meditations, our body’s rhythm synchronizes with the earth’s natural vibrations. This harmony greatly enhances the experience of meditation. It may seem that our senses are heightened – our hearing feels sharper and our skin receptors feel more sensitive. In fact, it’s the lack of ambient busy-ness and the sense of well-being that allow us to be more in sync with our senses than usual.”
One of our favorite ways to meditate in nature is to think about our dreams. Imagine where you want to be in 1, 2, 5 years from now. Think about a scene. Is it a beautiful log cabin nestled into the hillside with a big garden and a dog? Is it a beach house on the ocean with a life partner and an art studio? Focus on something simple, and let your mind wander. We truly believe that manifesting your dreams can make them a reality and that meditation helps!