Yes, I use herbs.

Years ago, back in the age when I still lived in Northern CA with too many horses and dogs and cats, I found out real fast that vet bills are the worst enemy. Training my own horses, keeping them on my own property, there were many vet bills.

Add in out-dated barbed wire (because no one in their right minds tries to use mesh wire on those hills. If someone is that stupid, the horses solve the fence and sleep on it and get tangled in it anyways. Vet bills for fence that was supposed to ‘cure’ vet bills), and you have more vet bills. We won’t even get started on the cougar attack. We never did find the poor predator’s corpse, but judging from the blood on the Standardbred’s hooves and the look in his eyes, there might not have been enough to find. Regardless, cougar=vet bills.

And half the time, what works in a nice cushy stable doesn’t work in CA hill mud. A determined horse can chew off any bandage in five seconds flat, if you can figure out how to jury-rig a bandage on a hock anyways. So, after a while, a person develops a certain jaded approach to veterinarians. ‘Oh hey, hi vet. Are you missing another finger? Huh, ok. Anyways, you can’t do anything here, but will you make us feel better and charge a few thousand dollars to shoot sugar-water into the trypanophobic horse while she’s orbiting the earth? Yeah? Cool. Here’s the check, and your ear.”

And then, after the vet leaves, the horse-owner goes and figures out how to patch the wide-eyed beast back together.

One of our mares was a beautiful Peruvian Paso/Quarter-horse cross. Beauty was pretty much her only strong point. One evening, a couple of months after she foaled, she unraveled the electric fence (which had been just fine the evening before…) and wrapped it around her foot. I went out in the morning to a sweating, quivering wreck tethered to the fence by one half-sawed off leg. We literally had to cut the wire out of her, a process that I recall taking almost an hour. By that point, she was thankfully in shock from the pain. After cleaning, the vet shook his head and basically said ‘good luck’. The cut was nearly to bone. Now, understand, electric wire is smooth. The amount of pressure to achieve this had torn the skin terribly.

Six weeks of carting her into town to the vet, paying out the wazzoo, creams and poultices and antibiotics and… And it was still a raw, festering mess. By this time, the vet was recommending putting her down. So she became my project, as my grandmother wouldn’t waste any more time on her.

My only medicine was a spray of rosemary, salt, pepper, sage and olive oil. It smelled like dinner. A day of applying that to her, and I had to leave her tied up so she wouldn’t hi-tail it out of Dodge the moment I showed up. I got kicked in the head for my pains, a concussion that had me seeing double for weeks.

Within two weeks, the wound was closing. So much scar-tissue had built up that she always walked a little stiffly, but the concoction reversed the purification and helped build healthy tissue. A month after I’d started using the stuff, she was back to her irascible self.

That spray was incredibly strong, but very basic. And it worked when the vet could only recommend amputation or euthanasia.

Recently, when my mother punctured her thumbnail, I stepped some of those same herbs in olive oil, and she went from a dying nail to a mildly scarred one. Yes, I use herbs.

I spent a good hour tonight putting together a poultice for a coworker’s eczema. I’ve never used this blend before, but I’ve had good results with skin conditions, so we’ll see how it goes.

Yes, I use herbs. And hey, it gives me background for my shamanistic healers!


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