The other Saturday when we had help building the new deck roof for our tiny house I hurt my ankle. I brought the little portable generator up on the deck to run the oven because our little off-grid system was maxed out with the power tools.
I know how to start generators by now. I can pull start them with no problem…usually. But this one is so lightweight and has such high compression you have to practically stand on it to start it. I gave it a mighty tug and the rope caught. My momentum caused the generator to jerk, and the weight of my foot forced it to roll, and I rolled too. I’m sure the men on the roof were quite amused. Blah!
I jumped up and Blossom, our 12-year-old, came along smugly and started the thing with one easy pull. That really made me look bad. So much for being a tough homesteader!
The inside of my ankle was bruised and skinned, and from one little hole came some dark blood. I immediately cleansed the area with peroxide and slapped Neosporin and a bandaid on it, and continued my work. It was a very busy day, and I didn’t give it another thought till late afternoon when my ankle started hurting. That night I could barely put weight on it and I knew something bad was going on. An infection was trying to raise its ugly head.
I pulled out my remedy books to get a good game plan, and got to work. That night and the next day (Sunday) were tough, as it was very painful and swollen. A red circle about an inch in diameter was clearly outlined around the wound area, but the worst pain settled in the joint above it which made walking difficult. On Monday we saw progress, and by Tuesday we were definitely winning. On Wednesday it had healed so much I forgot about it. That was a big mistake.
I am no expert, but want to share what has worked for me, and mistakes I’ve made. These are great opportunities to learn so we are not completely helpless if no doctor is available. Here are some things I have learned from experts:
1) Begin treating sickness or infection immediately, at the first sign of symptoms.
2) Be very aggressive and consistent in treating it.
3) Don’t stop treating it until two days after symptoms are gone.
I did great with the first two, but sadly failed with the third. The infection was still active enough that it crept back before I realized what was happening. A few days later it started to hurt again. The second time around it wasn’t so easy. I’m still babying that thing. It’s slowly progressing, but taking its good old time. If I had stayed on top of it the first time, it would probably be healed; an important lesson to learn. Now I can go to the doctor if things get out of hand. Some day I may not be able to, and a mistake like that could cost a life.
There are many tried and true remedies out there. I looked at the lists of antibiotic and anti-inflamatory herbs in Dr. Philip Fritchey’s book “Practical Herbalism.”
Remember a few weeks ago when the goats ate all our plants except aloe, rosemary, and milkweed? I didn’t have much left to choose from. I did have some rather oldish cloves of garlic on hand, peppermint oil, and cayenne in the cupboard. I also had another powerful tool: kefir grains!
I soaked my foot in warm epsom saltwater, used ice packs, and elevated it to help with swelling. I alternated different combinations of herbs for added benefit. One was peppermint oil and cayenne with a thin layer of garlic clove laid across the wound. Another was raw honey and flour as a paste.
My favorite was kefir grains and aloe vera. What an infection fighting and inflamation soothing combination! I cut a slice of aloe plant, shaved off the thorny edges and peeled the inner side. The outside peel I left on (washed with water) and carved out a little hole on the peeled side to stick a kefir grain into. Kefir grains are powerful, but they will dry out rather quickly under the bandage alone. Placing them into a piece of aloe leaf keeps them moist and active for some time, and adds aloe’s healing and soothing qualities. It brings instant relief to the wound. I used this method a few years ago to heal my infected finger when Eventstar’s pet squirrel bit me.
A kefir grain on an aloe vera leaf. This particular time I also addes a few shavings of garlic.
I also used B & W Ointment (Burn and Wound Ointment) on the open parts of the wound. This salve is formulated by Amish man John W. Keim, author of “Comfort for the Burned and Wounded.” He’s had phenominal results treating burn patients with this salve and burdock leaves. A few hospitals are even using his methods in place of the painful standard protocol. I used this salve regularly at first, but when the infection returned I stopped for fear of healing the outside of the wound before the inside because it contains comfrey.
When the infection returned it needed an extra boost, so I began taking things internally as well: echinacea, garlic, vitamin C, and whole kefir grains. The fight is still on, but symptoms greatly reduced. The Great Healer deserves glory for healing taking place, and for creating tools and knowledge needed.
Foot wounds can be hardest to heal because they are farthest away from the heart. A few years ago my dad had a little crack in his foot from dryness, and it got a staff infection. He ended up in the hospital.
We read a biography of a family who immigrated to America years ago. A few weeks before their ship sailed the father got a little splinter in his arm. It became infected, and he died. They came to America without him. Modern medicine takes care of many things like that, but what if it’s not available?
The Lord has made so many options for us in herbs and other natural remedies. The ones I’ve mentioned here only scratch the surface. What methods do you use when treating a wound or infection? It would be great to share ideas!
Disclaimer: This website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care providers. The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.
Linked w/Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, My Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.