It's summer, and the monsoons are definitely here. It's humid enough that my herbs are having a hard time getting dry when I lay them out. The stems won't seem to crisp up, even when the leaves do. I can also tell it is monsoon season because the turmoil and change and unexpected are whipping through the air and through my life, as expected.
My sweetie fell ill the day I was to leave on my trip, so my trip was cancelled so I could heed the call to be a healer. He had a good fever hovering between 102 and 103.8 F for two days straight. Not that I ever wish fever on someone I love, but it's a good chance to watch the herbs at work.
My first strategy for a fever is my standby diaphoretic blend tea, which includes various parts of elder flower, yarrow leaf and flower, monarda leaf, and peppermint. Several hot cups of this tea and sleeping most of the first day was the first line of defense. He complained of aches , typical of a fever, in which the body is using proteins from muscles to build immune components, and I gave him 5 drop doses of Boneset in warm water. The nasty taste aside, he swears the boneset relieved the achiness about 50%.
His temperature went up to about 103.8 that evening, and a good dose of fresh elder flower tincture and a tepid bath (94 degrees F) brought the fever down to a comfortable 102 Degrees before heading to bed for the night.
The next morning a warm shower and another dose of elder flower tincture broke the fever in a drenching sweat. Even my sweetie was impressed. But it wasn't over, and several hours later his temperature crept up again. At this point I began dosing him with 4 oz cups of echinacea decoction and elderberry elixir every few hours or so to give the immune system a boost at fighting whatever bug was in action. By Late afternoon and early evening his temperature spiked again, and another tepid bath made him more comfortable before going to sleep again. He said that he sweat through the night, and the next day the fever broke completely at midday. He was still very tired and weary and napped most of the afternoon as part of the recovery process. By Sunday, he was back to his usual self, complete with witty quips and puns.
He never developed any other symptoms, no flu like respiratory illness, no nausea or gastric distress, no severe headaches or anything. I was a bit stumped and a bit worried about what might be going on inside my beloved, but the body knows best and with just a little help from the plants, gentle hydrotherapy, (Not the freezing alcohol rub downs or ice baths he remembers from childhood) and rest, he recovered quickly.
He was somewhat hungry during most of the feverish phase, but I insisted he eat lightly so as not to draw energy away from the immune system. Small portions of chicken broth, and small cups of raw milk gently warmed and lemon water were all the food he took for the duration of the illness, and on Saturday evening when he was on the mend, and the fever gone, a light supper of salmon and steamed squash filled his belly. (No, ice cream is NOT allowed during or after a fever. Way too cold and too much sugar. No matter how they beg, do NOT give in!)
I had a dream about a new salve last night, and made some this morning in a test batch. Pinyon sage salve...feels like a southwestern natural, kind of like the windy cool stretches of northern NM and AZ along the Mogollon Rim. I made this with a rich infused olive oil of salvia apiana, and several good sized fragrant chunks of pinyon sap, and a touch of beeswax. This cooled into a rich golden brown hued fragrant balm. Both the pine sap and white sage are supreme antiseptic healers, and pine is a wonderful drawing agent, while sage is a good antiinflamatory. This salve would probably be best for disinfecting minor wounds, and drawing out splinters, thorns, cactus spines, or small items stuck in a wound causing inflammation and infection. I'd probably give it a go on wind and sun chapped skin as a protective balm to prevent further chapping.
I'm pondering an early morning trip tomorrow to gather chaparral for making infused oil, now that the rain has had a chance to plump up the leaves on the plants. Passionflower must be gathered in the next few weeks, and I've been scouting out locations where I might find some in the mesquite bosques. My previous location is a LONG drive from here and has become rather dangerous in the last few years, so I'm looking for a new gathering spot. Wish me luck! I'll probably go down to Desert Survivors Nursery in the not too distant future to see if they have any native passionflower vines for sale that I can take home and baby in my yard and see if it will grow under my ramada.
I have a hankering to camp up on the mountain this week, overnight, and go on a monarda flower harvest. Also needing some mullein and yarrow, and probably more grape leaves to eat, as I've pickeled all the rest I gathered. Busy busy bee...