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News :: Organizing
Black Cross Health Collective's "What to do if exposed to Chemical Weapons"
05 Oct 2006
author: Lupin
tips on after care for chemical weapon exposure
If you were at the demonstration today and were exposed to pepperspray, please read these aftercare guidelines compiled by the Black Cross Health Collective.

For more about BCHC, visit our website at:

Chemical Weapons Aftercare

Herbal aftercare ideas for pepper spray and tear gas exposure:

Over-exposure to "incapacitating agents" such as tear gas and/or pepper spray may potentially lead to lingering health problems. These agents may be able to damage the protective lining of the lungs, which can make us more susceptible to lung infections and diseases. Additionally, the toxins from the chemical weapons can stick around in our bodies, taxing our liver and our general immune system. There are many steps you can take to help decrease your risks from exposure to these toxins. Some of these steps need to be taken as soon as possible following exposure. Others should be done regularly over the weeks after exposure.

Try not to bring contaminated clothing indoors unless it is wrapped up in a plastic bag. As soon as you can, wash your hair and all contaminated clothing in a strong detergent.
It is important to help your body to eliminate the toxins as quickly and effectively as possible, in order to minimize long term effects. The following is a list of things you can do to help detoxify and support your immune system following chemical weapons exposure:

Water: Try to drink at least 2 liters a day. Squeeze some lemon in the water for added benefit.

Liver support: Use bitter, liver tonic herbs such as Milk Thistle seeds (Silybum mariannum), Burdock root (Arctium lappa), and Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) for about two weeks following exposure. They can be used as tea, 1- 4 cups a day, or as a tincture 2-4 dropperfuls 2-3 times a day, or powder the herbs in a coffee grinder, place them in capsules and use 4 capsules 1-3 times a day. Milk Thistle can often be purchased pre-encapsulated. Your liver must work overtime to filter out the toxins. Avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, fried or high fat foods will make its job easier. Getting regular sleep is also important— your liver continues to work while you sleep.

Lung support: A tincture of Mullein leaf (Verbascum thapsus) is excellent lung support. This should especially be used if you are asthmatic or have a cough. You can take two to four dropperfuls, every four hours or so, immediately following exposure. After a day, decrease this to two dropperfuls four times a day. Chewing on the root of a licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is also very helpful for your lungs, as are Slippery Elm tablets or capsules of Marshmallow root powder (Althea officinalis). These mucilaginous herbs all soothe and coat mucous membranes. These are especially important if you have a dry cough.

High fiber diet: Whole grains or psyllium husk can help clean you out your colon . Always take psyllium with at least two cups of water. Discontinue if irritation or gas occurs.

Epsom salt rub: A hot shower, followed by a thorough scrubbing with epsom salts which are then left on the skin for 10-15 minutes before a thorough follow-up wash can help draw toxins from the body. Be sure to accompany this with much water consumption.

Nettle tea: Nettles are the perfect all around support plants. Their high mineral content and mild cleansing action supports many body funtions. Drinking lots of nettle tea will boost your immune system, calm you down and support your body in returning to its regular, strong self.

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