Sep 072008

This may be the best time of year in the SW – the ground is moist, the garden is full, the weather cool and the green chiles roasting. Green Chiles are good in damn near anything, this morning for breakfast I had an apple, a wedge of extra sharp chedder chees and a pile of freshly roasted green chiles. Around here, you can find an outdoor vendor with a roaster selling green chiles (usually with a choice of mild, medium or hot) in almost any village or city, most of the chiles coming from the nearby green chile capital of the world: Hatch, NM. You buy them by the pound, and while our current 35 lbs (weighed when fresh, less after being roasted, even less after being skinned and seeded) sounds like a lot, I assure you that I’ll be looking for more very soon. This stuff is good any which way, from relish to apple pies to chicken soup to eaten plain by the handfull.

We like to preserve ours by skinning and seeding them, then slitting them lengthwise and drying on the screen. This takes almost no time and dried chiles are SO multipurpose, easily rehydrated for a variety of purposes. Freezing them, if you have that option, is also great. They make a wonderful relish as well, and can flavored up in a million different directions.

Oh, and I’m dealing with another case of cellulitis. Loba stepped on a scorpion the other night and was stung. Now, usually this isn’t a big deal at all, it hurts and tingles and then goes away. But she squished a ton of venom into her toe which seriously traumatized the foot. And even though we used Peach tincture and Larrea oil on it, by the next morning it was hugely swollen, red and impossible to walk on. It LOOKED like an infection but I couldn’t imagine how a scorpion sting could get infected in such a manner. We tried various things topically with no luck and then even a benedryl (though it certainly didn’t look anything like an allergic reaction to me) which of course had no effect. The next morning I hauled her into the doctor because I couldn’t understand what was happening and the redness was rapidly spreading up her leg, getting awfully close to her knee. The pain and redness increasing, literally, by the hour. The doctor (who loves herbs and I share many clients with) confirmed that it was full blown infection a la cellulitis. He was very concerned about it and said that we had exactly six hours to stop it or cause it to recede before antibiotics should be taken. We dutifully accepted the antibiotics and headed home. I stopped along the way to gather Plantain, Alder leaves and Bidens leaves.

Back home, I made up a hot soak of Monarda, Sweet Clover, Alder bark and Rose and Loba rotated her foot between that and cold water. When she was done soaking it we wrapped it up in a Plantain and Alder and Bidens leaf poultice saturated in clay. After the first poultice though we left out the clay because it was just a sticky, leg hair pulling mess that didn’t seem to be doing too much. I also had her take Monarda and Alder by the dropper full on the hour every hour. By the end of the six hours, the redness had not only stopped spreading, it had receded a couple inches. I almost fell over with relief. To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t know if we could get back of a serious infection that fast.

Two days later, the infection is only in her foot and is still receding, slowly but surely. We’re still very much on alert, and still pumping in the herbs very frequently. I’m not convinced it’s going to resolve, but I have hope that we won’t need those antibiotics. And then this morning she got stung on her hand by a wasp, which flipped her immune system out. Peach & Plantain for that. Here’s praying it doesn’t make the foot worse.

If I’m late answering emails, that’s part of the reason why…. plus we have guests (and more coming) and by god, there’s a lot of wood to chop 🙂

  8 Responses to “Green Chile Season & Another Case of Cellulitis”

  1. Well, I;ve been using my wood chopping muscles I grew while there to dig 2 ft deep trenches in the ground. Jealous of your green chiles, but not your luck with cellulitis. Icky! I hope loba is feeling better soon!!!

  2. I just got both cellulitis and the gout all at one time. Like Loba my foot swelled up and it turned red and was terrible painful. I was given IV antibiotics, another shot a couple of days later as well as Keflex to kill the infection.

    The gout was located at the area of my big toe and it felt as if my foot was broken. The antibiotics did nothing for that.

    What did help the gout pain was looking for natural treatment and I found ‘cherries’. I bought a product named Cherrypharm, which is a juice product made from tart cherries. ( an 8 ounce bottle contains the juice of 50 cherries.) And it actually made me able to work without discomfort all night. (I work nights.) I was amazed because prior to that I had a hard time putting my foot down.

    I can’t take a lot of medicine because of a diseased liver. So finding this was quite a blessing.


  3. I love green chili season! Every where we go we can smell the roasting! My house mate is new to this state and he gets so excited every time we see the roaster at the farmer’s market 🙂

  4. Sounds like you have your hands full, Kiva!!

    Lots of love and hugs to Loba for a speedy recovery…hope that infection continues to resolve easily and quickly!

  5. Hope this helps. Pine tar to remove stings and/or slivers.

    For the stings; here’s a formula: herb + oxymel (honey, old vinegar, sea salt, water used for boiling) used for fever, cough, or bites

    Herbs can be: ANISE- which heals all poisonous bites and stings or
    ELECAMPANE – folklore used it; According to Pliny, elecampane protects a person from bites of poisonous creatures.
    WILD LETTUCE – Medicinal use : fresh burns, poisons, spider stings, snake bites, wounds,

  6. Hi Helena,

    I appreciate the gesture, but I wonder if these offerings come from your personal experience or are quoted from a book? I would venture to say that Plantain is far more effective for most insect stings and bites, and Wild Lettuce may dull the pain but doesn’t do much for the actual problem….

    Also, the problem was not actually the scorpion sting which was fairly minor but the onset of cellulitis afterwards.

    Pine resin won’t remove stings btw, but it will help pull out splinters and therefor maybe if you had a stinger stuck in there somewhere….

    Thanks for reading,

  7. Up here in Upstate New York, we don’t have scorpians, but lots of wasps, snakes and bees. Honey and lavender work wonders for stings & bites (as well as for burns), vinegar as a topical astringent wash and coolant, and often recommend sea salt washings to cleanse before infection sets in. I’ve had customers, mostly men, with work place injuries where fingers or nails were sliced off on machinery. First response was to soak in salt water to prevent any infection setting in. Wild lettuce, topically, soothes the skin area, which is in my toners and skin creams. I’m not sure about scorpian stings but I bet they hurt as much as a wasp. Anise has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

    Plantain by itself, I have used only for cuts, on my kids, our dog as well as myself; as I refer to it as nature’s band aid. I haven’t used it alone on bites or stings, as I first apply Black Walnut Hulls, Anise, Calendula Petals, Pine, Nettle, Plantain, Lavender, Jewelweed mixture with honey and apple cider vinegar that I have readily available. Peach tincture is not common here, although we live in the country-side, unfortunately, the trees are crop dusted in the spring. I’m going to try and work with a local farmer in the spring and see if he can spare me some peach flowers/twigs.

    I’m glad everything is better now. H-

  8. I agree- plantain is great for stings. I am a beekeeper and we also have a lot of yellowjackets around this year… my two children (4 and 5) have been stung numerous times over the last months and now they look for plantain growing so they know where to run get a leaf when they get stung. Mom still has to chew it up, because apparently the taste is Yucky, but we all agree it takes the edge off a sting.

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