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Episode 211 S6-11

Crafting Your Own First Aid Salve


Special Guest:

The Endless Night Ch 11

~Nicole Apelian~

In any survival situation there will be a need to treat wounds. In The Endless Night adventure, Dexter's wounds become hot with infection and they are treated with a first aid slave. Today, Chin and I welcome Nicole Apelian back to the show. She is going to educate us on how to craft some of commonly need first aid creams and treatments.

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When making a first aid cream, the first thing you need to determine is what herbs you will need to include to have the healing effect you desire. Then you need a base for your salve, and the last ingredient is something to harden the cream. Nicole is a fan of using olive oil as the base. Alternatively, you could use coconut oil, but it is not as reliable. In the winter, it is hard, and in the summer, it turns runny. In a post-collapse scenario, if you didn't stock up on olive oil beforehand, you can use rendered animal fat, like from a bear for example. Beeswax makes a great, natural thickening agent.

For healing salves, Yarrow is a great choice. It is found all over the world and is an antibiotic, plus a coagulant to stop bleeding.

You may consider comfrey, but this would be a mistake. Comfrey heals wounds very quickly, and you want a wound to heal from the inside out, not the outside in. If you close it up too fast, it may develop an infection.

Calendula is another plant you would want to include. It is an antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. it is good for burns, rashes, and bites. Plus it assists with collagen growth, which is great for your skin health.

Plantain is another great plant for a healing salve. It is wonderful for stings, rashes, venomous bites and stings, and can be used as a wound dressing all by itself. Plantain is an anti-inflammatory, and you can chew it up to make an instant spit poultice for stings. The faster you apply it, the better.

Cottonwood buds are also good for a first aid cream. They are anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Collect them in the winter. Their addition to the cream will help regenerate cells.

Arnica is another great plant to include. It is a powerful joint healer and works on bruising, sprains, and sprains. it is also effective as a pain killer.

Usnea is a lichen, known commonly as old man's beard, that is good in a salve or directly on a wound.

To make the salve, use four parts oil to one part beeswax. If you want it runnier, add more oil but if you are making a product like lip balm, add more beeswax. Then add your herbal tincture. Make the herbal tincture by infusing the herbs in oil for two months prior to creating your salve. You can add Vitamin E as well. Vitamin E will keep it from going rancid and help with preventing scars.

When you are carrying your first aid salve, you should try to keep it as cool as possible. Do not put it in direct sunlight. If you have a watertight container, you can even store it in a stream or water source. Alternatively, you could bury it in the ground to keep it cool.

For burns, raw honey works wonders. Just pour it on. You can also use it on gravel burns. As it drips down, it pulls out the gravel, while it soothes and heals. Most people have honey on hand, and bee keeping is great for our world.

Aloe Vera is another plant that you can grow quite easily as a houseplant and works wonders on burns. You can break some off and apply it directly, even to sunburns.

St. John's Wort is another great plant for a burn first aid salve. It's a pain killer and lessens the chances of scarring.

Other plants that are effective for burns are comfrey, calendula, and plantain.

You can also make a lavender and rose water spray. Include herbs like St. John's Wort and Aloe Vera. Have it pre-made and on hand.

For stings, chickweed and plantain are Nicole's go-to herbs, but if you don't have access to either of them, you can always put mud or clay on it, and it will pull the venom out.

In an evacuation scenario, you may develop significant chaffing from your gear. The most logical thing to do is to practice with your evacuation kit/go bag. This will avoid the chaffing all together. However, most people don't do that.

To stop chaffing, put padding between the straps of your gear and your body. With serious chaffing, you can put raw honey and a dressing on it. While it is true that you want to air the area out, if you are in a dirty environment, you will want to dress it. Honey is a great disinfectant. You can also apply coconut oil to it with an infusion of tea tree oil or lavender in it. Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory, moisturizer, and healer.

In moist areas, like under woman's breasts or in folds of skin, apply cornstarch to dry them out. Any moisture-absorbent will do. If you don't dry the area out, you run the risk of developing a fungal infection. Calendula, black walnut hulls, cedar bark, garlic, echinacea, usnea, and chaparral are great for fungal infections.

Make an anti-fungal salve ahead of time and bring it with you.

Your pets are also important. Many herbs are not safe for animals, so do your research before applying herbal remedies to animals. Nicole has a pre-made wound healing salve that is safe to use on animals for cracked noses and paws. Generally, if something is safe to use on a cat, it is safe for all animals. For fleas and tics, you can use clary sage, cedar, eucalyptus, or lavender. You will have to apply much more than a western product, but it is much safer for the animal.

Nicole first got interested in herbal healing when doctors diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis (MS). She became very sick, developed brain lesions, and even lost the sight in one eye. She listened carefully to her western doctors, but her health was rapidly declining. That's when she learned herbal healing and eating habits from the elders in Botswana.

Now she has her autoimmune disease carefully managed with herbs, proper diet, and proper mindset. She shares all that she has learned over on her blog if you are interested. Nicole took the nightmarish reality of this disease and turned it into a chance not only to heal herself but teach others the powers of natural healing.

Nicole can't stress enough how important it is to have a personal connection with nature. You have to take charge of your health. Once you have this relationship and outlook, it will change your whole view of the landscape. Learning all of the plants that are available out there, can be very daunting. Nicole suggests starting with three plants and forming a solid relationship with them. Know how they grow, how to use them, and how they benefit your body. Then each month learn one more.

If you are struggling with an illness or a disability, you need to be extra prepared. Know how to manage your disease with herbs now. Bring them with you when you travel. Have tinctures and salves on hand and have a backup plan for if everything fails. Everyone should have an emergency kit but especially those managing a disease. The kit should include something to make fire, shelter, clean water, food, medical solutions, and a way to signal help. You need to know you can survive and handle your special needs. This requires extra planning. Don't let your disease or disability stop you. Get out there, and do it. Since you have to plan for contingencies, you may be more prepared than the average person.

Nicole shares all she has learned about dealing with MS on her blog. She has a brand new book coming out, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, and is available for educational opportunities.

Remember that everyone reacts differently to everything. I am presenting this information from Nicole to help you out on your healing journey, and I am in no way responsible for what you do with it. Always do your research and consult Nicole or your doctor if you have any questions.

Cottonwood buds
Cottonwood buds
Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

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The Endless Night Ch 11

~Nicole Apelian~

Dr. Nicole Apelian is a scientist, mother, educator, researcher, expeditionary leader, safari guide, herbalist and traditional skills instructor. A leader in the field of transformative nature education, Nicole is excited to share her knowledge and expertise of nature connection, indigenous knowledge, natural wellness and survival skills with the world.


Growing up in Massachusetts, Nicole connected with nature at an early age. Her stepfather was an enormous influence, offering constant support, teaching her to play guitar, and mentoring her through outdoor activities.

Nicole’s first exposure to true wilderness living began while working as a field biologist in Botswana. Following a job as a game warden with the US Peace Corps, she began tracking and researching lions in southern Africa. Nicole immediately fell in love with the African landscapes and the San Bushmen’s way of life, and later, while working with the San Bushmen, Nicole completed her doctorate, focused in Cultural Anthropology within the field of Sustainability Education. Years of visiting the San Bushmen and developing strong relationships within the tribe allowed Nicole to learn many of the primitive skills and ways she practices and teaches today.

A passionate educator for many years, Nicole has worked as an adjunct professor at Prescott College, an adult educator for the Audubon Society of Portland, and as an instructor at various schools, universities and leading conservation education programs.

Nicole was also a challenger on the second season of History Channel’s TV series “Alone”. She thrived in the wilderness totally solo for 57 days with little more than her knife and her wits!

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