Friday, May 29, 2009

The Unkind Cut

One of the Herbalist's favorite axioms is "herbs grow most where they are needed most." And it is an interesting proposition. I mentioned earlier that I've identified a large stand of blue bugle in my back yard and smaller clumps scattered across the rest of our property. I even poked Tool Guy about it, since it has been labeled the "carpenter's herb," being hemostyptic in nature. This was simply whistling in the dark on my part, because in the seven years since he has resumed wood working, he's never. ever. cut himself. Now, me on the other hand...well, I do talk about cooking dangerously, don't I?

Less than a week after identifying bugle and discovering its purpose, I had the quintessential opportunity to field test its efficacy. There I was. In the kitchen. A banded bunch of green onions in my hand. A very sharp knife. Let me say in my defense that at least I had the blade pointing upward and I was cutting away from myself. Alright, alright, but at least I feel slightly less stupid, okay?

As I wrapped up the cut and watched it rapidly soak the bandage without any indication of abating, I dizzily chanted to myself that I didn't want to go to Urgent Care at that particular moment. Somewhere in my scattered wits, the remembrance of bugle floated to the surface and I dashed out of the back door and onto the lawn to snatch up a couple of leaves. I stuffed them in my mouth, munched them into a macerated paste and peeled open the bandage, plastering the pulp in place and resealing the bandage. Two minutes later, the bleeding had stopped completely. It wasn't even hurting. Cross my heart and hope to die. That night, I applied a couple of plantain leaves to the cut for the astringent and antiseptic properties. In the morning, I was able to abandon the bandage altogether.

It was rather interesting that within a few days of this experience, I was settled in the bedroom, doing some studying when Tool Guy called to me with a strained note in his voice. When I answered, he told me that he needed me to drive him to Urgent Care. I darted into the bathroom where he was sluicing out a vicious cut where he'd been momentarily distracted and lost an argument with his miter saw. Fortunately, it wasn't his band saw or he would have lost more than the argument. Once again, I made a mad dash for the bugle patch, followed closely by Hobbits who were eager to assist me in the collection. Once again, it performed as previously, though his cut was much worse than mine. Whew.

I've certainly decided that, since cuts are not a seasonal hazard, bugle needs to have a place in our medicine cabinet. Toward this end, I gathered up runners of it with the leaves still attached rather than snipping off individual leaves. These I dried on racks in my oven, set on 100*. After drying, I store the leaves in a mason jar, vacuum sealed with a packet of desiccate inside.

Both of our war wounds are healing up nicely. Tool Guy is still accommodating himself to the green stores that are filling our medicine cabinet these days. After the bugle application, he insisted on scrubbing out his wound with commercial antiseptics and plaster on antibiotic-impregnated bandages. I'm trying not to be smug about the fact that his cut isn't healing quiiiiiite as cleanly as mine. When I pointed this out to him, he told me to talk to the hand. The uncut one. Heh.

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