Forage Friday #42 Bandages

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image was taken just for Forage Friday. All of the photos are my original work and are available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Disclaimer: Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter and not a replacement for real training. I am not a doctor and therefore not qualified to give any medical advice. I also feel like it should be stated that for deep wounds it is possible to seal in an infection and cause the wound to become gangrenous so I urge you to seek out a professional for further information.

Being a native Mountaineer means growing up in culture that’s heavy with “folk medicine”. Not all of these home remedies work and there’s quite a few that are downright dangerous. One example would be story about a young couple who’s child was burned in an accident and it was appeantly a pretty bad burn. Panicked and at a time when reaching a medical professional was difficult under the best of circumstances they defaulted to a folk cure based on the old saying that “Fire draws fire” and that saying is true. But the problem is that this particular saying is referring to how to control a forest fire and not how to treat a burn. It goes without saying that the child did not survive. Now it might have been a true story or it might have been a cautionary tale about using common sense but it made an impression on me.

In spite of the warning I continued to be fascinated by the ways people in isolated locations were able to provide so many daily needs from the landscape. I learned that for every old wives tale there was several things that actually worked and would later be confirmed by science. Such is the case with “Spider’s stitches” or using a cobweb as a bandage. Unlike a lot of the old folk sayings there wasn’t any rhymes about bandaging wounds with webs. It was just the simple statement of “You can use spiderweb on a cut.” My young mind filed away the knowledge but I always questioned whether or not it was true. Spiders are all gross and “buggy”! How could anyone put a nasty old cobweb on a place where it will mix with blood? Wouldn’t it cause an infection?

Well, it turns out that spiders might look gross but they’re actually neat freaks that are constantly grooming themselves and their webs. They’re almost OCD about keeping themselves clean. And their webs contain substances that prevent bactira, viruses and fungi from growing. It also turns out that the web is rich in vitamin K and sticky enough to hold a wound closed. It’s like God knew that we would be clumsy and made the spider to help us out.

There are a few rules to follow though. Number one being avoid the spider itself of course. Black Widow bites are notoriously painful. They’re often described as a body wide Charlie horse that lasts for 48 hours and the internet is full of nightmarish images of what the brown recluse spider can do. Fortunately, the black widow spider is very non-aggressive and the recluse would rather hide than even be seen. Most spiders don’t even have a type of venom that affects humans.

Next, is all the images of beautifully woven orbs covered in fresh dew. Now I’m certain that those orbs would work but they’re a bit thin and you’d need a lot of them. However the thick ones on top of the grass are perfect.

Be sure to use new ones that clean and free from captured prey to avoid contamination. A dirty web means either the spider has been gone for a while or that there’s something wrong with the spider.

Place the web inside the would. I know that seem wrong the it’s the most effective way. You can top the dressings off with leaves like Plantago and Comfrey for extra strength and wrap it up with long grasses.

I hope that you have enjoyed this week’s Forage Friday post. 😊

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