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Wound balm

Have I already told the story of Viikunia The Cat? Yes she was born in the countryside, and when she was old enough to live separate from her mother, she went to live at my friends' apartment. And there she spent the first year of her life, as an indoor cat in a city apartment. Basically, her world consisted of two rooms and a kitchen. Then there were unexpected changes in the plans and situations of my friends, so they started to feel that Viikunia would have a better life in the countryside. My friend asked if I could offer a home for the cat, and I agreed.

At first Viikunia was absolutely horrified by the change of environment. At my house she hid herself under the sofa, hissing and trembling and shaking of fear. Slowly, slowly she started to explore the new surroundings, familiarising herself with my tiny house of a combined kitchen and living room plus a bedroom. I already had a cat mother with newly born kittens, and they all seemed to get along surprisingly well. So, Viikunia made a new home at my place. It took her a full year to find her inner courage, to unleash her true cat instincts - to explore the yard and the wide world around the yard. But when she finally felt confident with countryside living, I found her being one heck of a hunter. She chased and killed everything from ordinary houseflies to squirrels. She does pretty good job at controlling the local mice population. (I remember the first winter I lived here, one night I woke up to a mouse walking on the floor, touching my face and then quickly fleeing away).

Couple of days ago I noticed that Viikunia must've been fighting with someone bigger than a mouse. She had a serious battle wound on her cheek, but she didn't seem to be bothered by it. She was active, hungry and funny as always. But it seems like the wound might not heal all by itself - today there was again a spot of grey-white smelly goo on the scar. It might be infected. I cleaned the scar and noticed that there is a small spot which isn't covered by a scar, where there wound is still open. It is not bleeding, but it just produces that white bacterial goo. I decided that it time to do something about it.

When it was by 40th birthday, a friend who keeps bees brought me a piece of unprocessed honey comb. Basically, it had both beeswax and honey. I have been chewing small pieces of the honeycomb, consuming the honey and spitting out a piece of beeswax. And sure, I have kept all those pieces of beeswax, as in the folk healing tradition beeswax has been used for wound balms. I think the anti-inflammatory effects of honey and beeswax are confirmed by modern science. And the same goes for the sap of pine and spruce. So I went around looking for pines and spruces with visible sap. If a tree gets a crack, or if a branch snaps because of the snow load, the tree develops a lot of sap to protect itself. Then there will be a thick layer of sap covering the injured area - and often there is so much sap that it drips down the tree trunk. Walking a bit in the nearby woods I managed to collect enough of sap.

Back indoors I heated up some water in a big kettle. I put the sap into a small jar, and poured in some vegetable oil. I immersed the jar into a steaming hot water. After a while the contents of the jar were warm, the sap turning into more fluid form. I added in pieces of beeswax and what little was left of that unprocessed honeycomb. I let the mixture simmer for a while, stirring it every now and then. Finally all the ingredients were all mixed. I immersed the jar into a bowl of cold water, to make it cool down faster. After a while I got a nice amount of traditional all-natural wound balm.

I held Viikunia the cat gently but firmly on my lap. I cleaned the wound and applied some balm on it. The cat didn't resist, she just hissed a little in protest but didn't try to break free. I think that means that there isn't that much pain, which is good. I think I'll have to keep on repeating the process twice a day, for several days.

Harvesting pine sap
Harvesting pine sap
Stirring the mixture
Stirring the mixture
Viikunia and a jar of freshly made wound balm
Viikunia and a jar of freshly made wound balm
tags: 
diary
folklore
homesteading
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Comments

Hi,
I hope it will help. Aren't you afraid that balsam will plug the wound and goo will stay in, doing worse?
I love Viikunia and enjoy every picture with her on it. And your horses. And Finnish nature. And Enormous Elk. Thank you!

I think the balm is supposed to act a lot like a scar - protecting the tissue under it, and preventing a bacterial infection. When there is nothing covering the wound, the body produces an excess amount of leukocytes to fight bacteria and to prevent contamination. So, I hope that the antibacterial effects of sap and beeswax help to keep any infections away, and once the wound is protected I suppose that there won't be that much of the leykocyte-rich goo.

But, yeah, I will be watching the situation and changing my plans if needed.

Recently it was in our national news that some hospitals in Northern Finland have started to use a balm with pine sap for treating pressure ulcers and other similar conditions, and they've reported rather promising results. So I hope it will help Viikunia, too =)

Ah, and thank you for the feedback, it is always nice to get those small notes from different people reading!

I have read about simillar methods used by native Americans and for animal care in the central europe after WWII. or so. It should work.
I watch your blog something about second year. And now I feel like a total stalker :) But it is difficult for me to not delete what I write... sorry.
Please continue in sharing your thoughts. I am sure that there is a lot of people from all the world enjoying it as much as I am.

Hehe, there certainly is no need to feel like a stalker. After all, I'm writing the blog for people to read, and I started a lot because people on UrW forums kept on asking for us to write more of real life stories. So, it is perfectly OK just to read without commenting, and it is equally OK to comment short or long, personal or general whenever one feels like that =)

So far I've noticed that every time I clean Viikunia's wound, the balsam I applied earlier is no longer there. Seems like it gradually gets washed away as Viikunia has her adventures in midst of grass and bushes. Which, I think, prevents the ill effects of too much sealing the wound. The leukocyte goo doesn't get permanently trapped under an artificial scar, but flows out of the wound, until I clean the wound again and apply more antibacterial balm. I hope this cycle helps the wound to heal without getting any more severe infection.

Speaking of cats, Viikunia has a hint of copper orange color in her fur. It is more visible in broad sunlight, and in my eyes it gives her and additional halo of beauty =) One of her brothers, named Eetu, came to live at my place as a a kitten. Eetu was copper orange with thin white tiger stripes. And he was the most amazing cat I've ever had - when I went picking mushroom in the woods, he often followed me, just hanging around like a dog would do. Once when I mounted Velmu the horse, Eetu followed, first jumping on Velmu's hindquarters, then walking to sit on my lap. I thought I could teach him to ride a horse with me =) Every night he went hunting outdoors, and every morning he came back indoors for additional breakfast. Until one autumn morning, that was. One morning he just didn't return, and I haven't seen a trace of him ever since. I don't know what happened, maybe he lost a battle to a lynx, or was taken by an eagle-owl. It is a wild, wild nature out there.

Hi again!
I am just eager to hear that Viikunia is healthy.
Ginger cats are usualy the best. I used to live with red male cat. While we was in the city it was just ordinary city cat (he could go outside as he wanted). But in the middle of his live, he moved with my mother to the country. Some time later the village was full of ginger kittens... It is more than ten years after his death and this village is still partialy flooded with ginger cats :)
My girlfriend wants cat from Finland. She loves Abyssinian cats. The cattery is in Tampere, so I could visit The museum and look on UrW for my own eyes. First i need to rob a bank or somethink :)

Hehe, don't rob a bank before January 2017, as that is when The Finnish Museum of Games opens =) At the moment they are busy building the exhibition.

Thanks for asking - Viikunia is doing fine. The wound is almost completely healed, and the whole process has been good with no setbacks.

Hehe, a good story about that ginger cat - thanks for sharing!

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