Herbs for Disinfecting Wounds

Comments

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've had great luck with Oregon Grape for infected gums and an ingrown toenail! Also, I use an Usnea tincture on that kind of stuff if I feel like I need more. The combo is pretty potent.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin

    I use Oregon Grape a lot, as well - basically never use Goldenseal, although it is fairly common where I live

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,513 admin

    This is a great list of antimicrobial washes.

    The berberine herbs are awesome. Oregon Grape root is my go-to primarily because it grows in my area and is so easy to harvest. And works so well, even on tough bugs like MRSA.

    Yarrow is one to add to the list. Antibacterial and astringent properties.

    For those who live in chaparral habitat, 7Song highly recommends using this as a wound wash.

    A myrrh tincture is one to consider, especially if the wound is in or around the mouth.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin

    Thanks, Torey - I definitely should have included myrrh, especially!

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    I know this is an herb conversation but I need to ask if you don't have herbs could I use Hydrogen Peroxide?

  • MissPatricia
    MissPatricia Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

    I have used hydrogen peroxide in the past. I don't know if there are any negatives to that. I also use silver sometimes to cleanse or replace neosporin.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,513 admin

    @dipat2005 The latest thoughts on peroxide are that it could cause damage to the tissues and slow healing. I would personally prefer to use straight alcohol in a small amount. But if peroxide is all you have and a wound needs cleaning, one uses what one has at hand.

    Now is the time to acquire some herbal antiseptics, before they are needed. Tinctures have a shelf life of at least several years, so they aren't going to go bad.

    @MissPatricia Colloidal silver is another good non-herbal choice for wound cleansing.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin

    I use it sometimes, but I agree with Torey about tissue damage. I had a sinus issue once and tried using it like I would alcohol, as an emergency nasal wash (not pleasant).... BIG MISTAKE! It wrecked my sinuses and turned out to be a lot more painful than alcohol.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey and@judsoncarroll4 thank you for the tips on wound cleaning.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 338 ✭✭✭

    I just read that Usnea is about as powerful as Doxycycline. How would you all rate it? From the conversations above, it sounds like Usnea plus Berberine (Oregon grape, which grows pretty handily in my area) is an excellent 1-2 punch for infections?

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin

    Usnea is very good. It can be a little hard to find in many places and shouldn't be over-harvested.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,513 admin
    edited January 2022

    @judsoncarroll4 I had to have a little private giggle about Usnea being hard to find. I was in a mushroom class with Robert Rogers (the Fungal Pharmacy) and asked him if Usnea growing on spruce trees was more effective than on any other species. Another herbalist had told me that. He looked at me with a rather strange expression and said that's the only place it grows. I had to reply, "Not here. It grows everywhere on everything." When we went out for a walk the next day, he was amazed. I never worry about over harvesting. Some trees are so covered with it, that it is hard to tell the species underneath.

    Usnea hirta is the most common one but we have at least 24 species here in BC, including the increasing rare, U. longissima.

    @Suburban Pioneer Usnea is a great antibacterial agent. But, as with many things including antibiotics, it has certain microbes that it has more effectiveness with. Also, it may have different effectiveness on different microbes, depending on the species. Similar to antibiotics, not all work on all bacteria. But a very good antibacterial in general. A lot of the lichens are showing great promise against various microbes.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin

    It isn't hard for me to find either. But, my climate is surprisingly similar to yours.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin
    edited January 2022

    @torey This is a different usnea, and I am still researching its medicinal properties. This is probably the most common tree moss from South Carolina into Florida and west into Texas. It was commonly used for wounds and bleeding well through the War of Northern Aggression: Tillandsia usneoides


  • monica197
    monica197 Posts: 332 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice article - I am so happy my elecampane has been growing happily in a pot in the garden. I have not harvested the roots yet though I can see they are getting big!

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    Happy to see this! I had a good supply of usnea in my old house, and didn't realize spanish moss was medicinal as well. I'm glad to know, we have a lot :). In addition to several of the trees mentioned, I've also got Spanish Needle (Bidens alba), which I am learning about. It looks like a good plant to tincture. I went out earlier today to gather some, and ended up getting distracted with the vines smothering the young trees. I had to release them from their bonds. I did get a pine needle tincture started though, thanks to a windstorm that knocked down some branch tips.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin
  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭

    @ judsoncarroll4 Thanks for posting! I needed a "refresher". Enjoyed all the comments also!

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 338 ✭✭✭

    nu habitat for Usnea around my place for hundreds of miles. But, Oregon grape grows well. How does one make medicine from Oregon grape? Also, has anybody made jelly from the berries? How does it taste?

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,358 admin

    There is berberine throughout the plant, but it is most concentrated int he root. Wash and scrape a piece of root - about an ounce. Chop or grind it up. Put in a jar and add about twice by volume of vodka. Stick it back for a few weeks and you have a tincture. @torey has done more with the berries than I have.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 338 ✭✭✭

    Wonderful - that sounds sufficiently easy. Any idea how long tinctures keep? Any advice on when the roots are at their most potent (spring, or late fall, for example? Or does it matter?) I might try planting a couple of dwarf bushes on our side of the fence under the neighbor's Doug Firs. I've been a little afraid of them because they can really spread, but I've seen a dwarf variety that looks not too obnoxious and maybe it would be worth having to dig them up occasionally as that would give me roots to use. Thank you!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,513 admin

    @Suburban Pioneer

    Tinctures will keep for a very long time. Doc Jones and Marjory were having a discussion about that in one of his webinars. When she asked the question, he said "These tinctures will likely outlive the both of us". As long as they are well cared for (very well sealed, dark bottles, kept in a cool, dark place) they will last at least 10 years and probably, as Doc Jones says, much longer.

    In general, roots are best in the fall when they are gathering all their strength to make it through the winter. Or in the very early spring before they start to grow. That doesn't happen in my area. They will have started to grow as soon as the snow is gone.

    As to the berries, despite their very sour taste when raw, they make the finest wild berry jelly I have ever had. No added pectin or acid required. Just boil the juice with sugar and as it reaches a hard, rolling boil, it will be at the gelling point almost immediately. They make a pretty good wine, although it is quite dry and tart.

    When you are harvesting you will be reducing the patch as you are taking the root but if it is invasive in your area, that is a good thing. I like working with invasive medicinals as they are so productive. Oregon Grape should grow for a few years to get nice sized roots. I encourage you to try a few plants. It is such a multi-use plant. Great disinfectant, antibacterial against Staph & MRSA, antibacterial against H. pylori, a lovely bitter and a liver tonic. Superb food plant.

    If you don't have access to Usnea and wanted to make a combination tincture, I found a commercial one that had Echinacea and Goldenseal together. I quite like it. So because Oregon Grape has a similar amount of berberine as Goldenseal, I think it would be great in combination with Echinacea.

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