Saturday, May 15, 2010

Recipe: Topical Gel for Radiation Burns



This post is a bit of repeat because I'm entering this recipe in the Mountain Rose Herbs Recipe Contest in the Medicinal category.

This gel is designed for topical use but I didn't put it in the Body Care category because (a) it can be safely ingested and provide some relief in that way too and (b) I kind of interpret the "body care" term to be mainly about cosmetics.

The need arose because my dog underwent radiation treatment for cancer - an all-too-common disease in dog's today. Sometimes we really need the mainstream treatment, but we can integrate supportive holistic care with that treatment to ensure the best outcome for our beloved animals.


This gel is designed for dogs, but that doesn't mean you can't use it too.
I've designed to be safe if licked off because that is the normal response of a dog. My own dog's cancer was in her mouth, so there was no way to bandage the area after application, and in fact it was beneficial for her to have the gel inside her mouth as well as on the outside of her lower jaw, which ended up being the are that was most effected.

My recipes are adaptable. In fact, this recipe was adjusted for different stages of care on my own dog. Please understand that it's important to pay attention to
your own dog when using this and adjust as needed. You'll notice that I use some fresh ingredients and some dry; this was just because I had some items fresh in my yard, but you can adjust the recipe to use dried.


This recipe is for the most active stage of skin burn when there is oozing, skin and hair loss, and inflammation:

  • 8 oz. water
  • 2 Tablespoons dried Calendula Flowers
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh, chopped Comfrey Leaf (or 1/2 T. dry)
  • 1 Tablespoons dried Yarrow flower and leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoons dried Goldenseal Root
  • 1/2 teaspoons fresh, chopped Sage Leaf (or 1/4 tsp dry)
  • 3 teaspoons dried Irish Moss
  • 6-7 oz aloe vera juice (I use Lily of the Valley organic, preservative-free filet juice)
Combine the calendula, comfrey, yarrow, goldenseal, and sage. Bring the water to a boil and pour over these herbs, cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes.


Strain this tea and pour it into a small saucepan. Put the irish moss into a small cotton bag and submerge it in the tea. Heat this pan gently. There's no need to boil this, just use medium/low heat, stirring gently for at about 15 minutes until you notice that the liquid has become a little more viscous and coats your spoon.

Pour this liquid out and squeeze the cotton bag. This can be a little messy! The best result I had was using bamboo toast tongs to squeeze the thicker gel that has collected in bag.

[wondering why so tricky with the irish moss? This is to minimize debris in the finished gel. If you are using this on an area of the body that can be bandaged you won't
have to worry so much about plant material in the gel because you'll be able to put a barrier on the wound itself.]

Let this cool. Mix the resulting liquid 50/50 with aloe vera juice. Best result are achieved if you use a small whisk to stir the aloe in. If your aloe has already been refrigerated this mixture will thicken immediately as you stir. It will continue to thicken as it cools, and should be refrigerated.

Using an oral syringe is an easy way to apply this gel, and also keeps the stored gel clean.

Apply this gel 4-6 times a day during this acute side effect period.

Variations

Early stages of radiations treatments: Use this version as a preventative. It's more of a rinse than a gel, and contains fewer ingredients. Apply twice a day.
  • Reduce the Irish Moss to 2 teaspoons.
  • Use only the Calendula and Comfrey
Late stage of burn recovery: Use this when the area has dried out and inflammation has reduced. Apply twice a day.
  • Maintain the primary recipe, only removing the Goldenseal Root.

You can see the progress my dog (Vida, posed here in front of some of her medicine) made through her radiation treatments by reading the blog posts of April and May 2010. These posts contain more of my commentary on the herbal choices I made during the process, as well as information about all the other goodies I'm giving her for her healing. I enjoy feedback, so please don't hesitate to leave comments on any of my posts, and please "follow" La Vida Fresca.
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