smoke and burnt trees
27 Jan 2020

Herbal Support for Wildfire Crisis


Our hearts are saddened by the great pain and loss our Australian friends are suffering since the recent bushfire crisis. The unprecedented fire season has seen fatalities, wide-spread destruction of property and habitat, and the displacement and injury of multitudes of people and animals.

We here at the Herbal Academy are so thankful that our herbal family extends across the world and includes Australia. It truly is a global community and one that brings much diversity, learning, and encouragement. 

With that said, we are here to help with some guidance in using herbal allies to support physical and mental wellbeing during the Australian Bushfire Crisis and those like it around the world. Below you’ll find herbal preparations targeted to acute issues such as smoke inhalation, burns, sun exposure, irritated eyes and nasal passages, emotional distress, and other concerns. We hope these are helpful.

car driving down road while grass burns and smoke fills air

8 Herbal Preparations for Victims of Wildfire Crisis

During (and after) a widespread fire, many are exposed to intense smoke, even those who live hours away from active fire zones. This may result in respiratory issues as well as eye and throat irritation.

In addition to heavy smoke, many are overexposed to the sun, resulting in sunburn, and many more are experiencing much stress, anxiety, and grief as well. It is a difficult time, to be sure. 

Soothing After-Sun Spray

This soothing after sun spray is quick to make and combines aloe (Aloe vera) leaf gel, lavender (Lavandula spp.) flower, and calendula (Calendula officinalis) flower to soothe skin that has been exposed to too much sun. Applying this to the skin may be useful for those spending extended periods of time outside in evacuated areas, providing care to the displaced, handling damaged property, or fighting fires. It could also be used for minor burns and can be used on both humans and animals.

Learn how to make a soothing after-sun spray here:

cup of tea on table

Cough-B-Gone Tea

This simple blend is soothing to coughs, irritated throats, and other respiratory issues that may be experienced due to smoke inhalation and dry air. It includes chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) flower, marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root, and mullein (Verbascum thapsus) leaf which creates a beverage that has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, expectorant, and demulcent properties. 

Learn how to make Cough-B-Gone Tea here:

herbal infusion on table

Herbal Eyewash and Nasal Rinse

Eyes and nasal passages may experience irritation when exposed to smoke and other toxins or allergens. A simple herbal eyewash and nasal rinse can help soothe irritation to the delicate tissues of the eyes and sinuses.

Learn to select herbs and perform a nasal rinse and eyewash here:

cup of tea, flowers, and spoon on table

Rose Grief Support Tea and Infused Honey

Rose (Rosa spp.) petals are warming to the heart and may bring comfort during moments of pain, sadness, anger, frustration, and depression. Sip this simple tea and infused honey to ease the heart and nervous system in difficult times.

Get the tea recipe here:

This post also includes a rose eyewash recipe to soothe tired and inflamed eyes (which you may experience from smoke and/or crying).

For further emotional support, you might consider flower essences. Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) flower essence is especially helpful for shock and trauma and can be used with animals. It can be purchased in Australian health food stores and online here.

holding herbal salve

Burn Salve

An herbal burn salve may aid in soothing pain and encouraging healing. The following recipe utilizes comfrey (Symphytum officinale) leaf, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) aerial parts, calendula (Calendula officinalis) flower, and plantain (Plantago spp.) leaf to alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate burns. 

Learn how to make a burn salve here:

More severe burns require medical attention. To learn more about the level of severity of a burn and suggestions for managing a burn, see this post:

holding herbal preparation

Tummy Tamer Glycerite for the Whole Family

If anyone in your family is experiencing stomach upset due to stress and anxiety, this Tummy Tamer Glycerite can provide support. Created for use by children and adults, this glycerite is excellent to keep on hand to help soothe nerves and any tummy aches that may arise. 

Learn how to make this soothing herbal glycerite here:

You can adapt this recipe further to include additional calming herbs. Consider one or two of the botanicals mentioned in this post:

Sore Throat Spray

It’s not uncommon for throats to feel sore or scratchy after exposure to smoke. An herbal throat spray may ease discomfort and is quite simple to prepare. Many herbs are suitable for this purpose, including marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root, thyme (Thymus vulgaris) leaf, violet (Viola spp.) aerial parts, and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf (to name a few). 

The following recipe is customizable, so you can use the herbs available in your area.

Learn how to make an herbal throat spray here:

making chamomile tea

Soothing Night Time Tea and Soothing Bedroom Spray

If anxiety about the current situation is keeping you up at night, this lovely DIY herbal tea blend might help. Pair with an essential oil-based bedroom spray to bring a sense of calm and encourage restful sleep. 

Both recipes are included here:

If you wish to support the relief effort in Australia, a quick online search will reveal a myriad of ways to offer assistance. Besides donating money to organizations, it’s also possible to adopt a koala (from afar!) or donate goods to families impacted by fire. There are many ways to help!

smoke hovering in air over forest

Ways to Help Australian Fire Victims

The following are a few organizations to which you can donate or contribute in other tangible ways. We know everyone has different desires and criteria when it comes to supporting relief efforts, so in that spirit, we have included a variety of charitable groups for you to consider.

  • Australian Red Cross – The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations and providing support to those evacuees and those directly impacted by the bushfires. If you are in Australia, you can also volunteer to work with the Red Cross
  • First Nations Relief – This fund provides help directly to affected First Nations Communities.
  • GIVIT – Donate money or goods to those impacted by fire. This website also allows you to view and search for items needed around the country. Victims may also request help here
  • Salvation Army – Donations help provide meals for evacuees and frontline responders.
  • NSW Rural Fire Service – Funds donated go directly to the families of volunteer firefighters who died fighting fires this season. 
  • Animal Rescue Cooperative –  Find specific animal rescue groups by location, safe houses for animals in need of evacuation, safe houses in fire danger,  and places to donate supplies or funds. 
  • Port Macquarie Koala Hospital– Donate to help rehabilitate koalas impacted by fire. Funds are also used to purchase and install automatic drinking stations in burnt areas to support wildlife survival.
  • WIRES – This non-profit organization is working to rehabilitate and preserve Australia wildlife. They have excellent emergency rescue advice to help you assist native animals in distress if you are in Australia.

In Closing

To our Australian friends, we stand with you in love and support! We look forward to the day this crisis is behind you and a sense of peace and security returns. Our hope is that you experience much healing in the months ahead and your beautiful country is restored.