Herbalism & Climate Change: Flooding


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This week we continue our series on herbalism & climate change. Flooding causes great devastation, and it also brings many risks. Foremost among these are isues of pathogenic load: mold, bacteria, and other pathogens spread through flood waters. Minor wounds can easily get infected, breathing in the spores of mold can make one sick, and it’s difficult to avoid introducing germs to the digestive system in these conditions.

Herbs can help. Antimicrobial herbs can be taken to protect against infection or fight off infection in all these areas of the body. Knowing the right method for applying or ingesting your herbs is critical to success here. Sometimes an herbal steam you inhale is much more important than herbs you eat or drink.

When it comes to herbs, their antimicrobial abilities are many & varied. Each plant (or group of similar plants) has a different set of chemicals to offer to the effort than all the others. Here are just a few key categories of antimicrobial herbs which may be helpful after a flood:

  • strong aromatics with sharp, hot, and piercing scents
  • berberine-bearing herbs with their powerful, bitter yellow signature compound
  • resins from evergreens and other plants, as well as propolis (resin + bee magic)
  • tingly herbs for local immune stimulation
  • skin-dyeing herbs for long-lasting protection

This variety & the synergy between these different compounds is one of the great strengths of herbalism. Climate change & flooding frequency come together, so this is going to be another part of the “new normal” as the world changes. Plan ahead!

Herbs discussed include: garlic, “mighty mints” (thyme, oregano, sage, monarda), “gentler mints” (peppermint, lavender), eucalyptus, aromatic evergreens (pine, spruce, juniper), yerba santa, elecampane, berberines (barberry, oregon grape, algerita, goldenseal), propolis, myrrh, chaparral, purple loosestrife, usnea, echinacea, prickly ash, spilanthes, turmeric, henna, black walnut, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, calendula.
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186 episodes