Plant Allies to Work With During a Flood
Updated: Jan 29
The flooding in Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford is in an agricultural area where you are dealing with not only pathogens but chemicals from farms. Here are some plant allies to work with during a flood:
WASH YOUR HANDS/DON'T TOUCH FACE
Wash your hands well with soap after helping with and between tasks when in a flooded environment. This is extremely important before you eat or drink as your hands are the easiest way for a pathogen to enter your gastrointestinal intestinal tract. Don't touch your face, change your PPE when necessary and in the absence of water, use plenty of hand sanitizer. Drink bottled fluids and I would suggest to boil your water in areas surrounding the flooded area as a preemptive measure. WOUND CARE
Injury during a flood is common issue especially for 1st Responders, Relief Crews & Volunteers. Wounds to the feet and legs because of hidden items in the water are common. Antimicrobial plants to work with topically with wounds include: Berberine ssp. - Oregon grape tinctured with both the bark & leaves. Usnea ssp.(double tinctured) - Old man's beard. Usnea also works against fungal infections which given the situation, may prove helpful. A decoction of Cedar ssp. leaves can be used as a wash/bath for fungal issues. Tree resins such as pine and Cottonwood bud work well when used as a spray (tincture first) while not a plant, Bee propolis spray is a good thing to have tucked away in your herbal 1st aid kit. Turmeric and henna and black walnut can also be applied to the skin but would recommend this as a second step in the wounds healing stage as well as for use with a rash. Salves are not necessarily practical when skin is getting wet but Plantago ssp. salve is particularly soothing to cool down rash and bites.
STEAMS FOR LUNGS
Mould is going to be an issue in the immediate and long term. Aromatic plants to use as a lung steam (with a towel draped over the head & bowl) include sage, thyme, oregano & eucalyptus. You can also use cedar and pine but use fresh plant matter in this case. You can also make a room steam by simmering these plants on a stove to clear the air. I would recommend starting this immediately in your space at least 2X a day. You can use the incense of these plants but the smoke is harder on the mucous membrane of the lungs and fire may not be an acceptable risk in your home environment. Diffusers using essential oils may be a risk for children and elderly persons. IMMUNE SYSTEM
This is when your immune system will be tested and if it is not cared for can be burnt out easily due to internal and external sensors. This is a time to eat as many whole foods (including fermented food like sauerkraut, kitchen etc.) on the daily. Fire Cider (A traditional fermented tonic) taken daily, is a great option too. Turmeric in curries, chili and golden milk and ginger in tea and stir-fry. Cinnamon in delicious chai are a warming and immune activating batch of spices. People who have an over stimulated immune system may want to use these plants with caution. As much sleep as you can and lastly, rest. You won't be of use if you don't step back to refuel your resilience. I love our community here in the Fraser Valley and the stories of community coming together has sparked a wave of generosity and kindness which we can be very proud of I hope this helps anyone reading this and reach out to us if you have any questions or need resources.
-Diana Munday Langley Field Naturalist Membership Coordinator Disclaimer * *This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Consult your qualified health practitioner before using any plant matter or supplement or discontinuing any prescribed pharmaceutical or medical therapy*