Recent research in Egypt uncovered an underground embalming chamber. One of the substances that they are curious about in this process is volatile or essential oils that may have been used in the process. These volatile oils, besides being used in mummification, also have significant usefulness in natural medicine. Many of these oils are antimicrobial, and many have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Artemesia tridentata or “big sagebrush” is native to this area and contains loads of essential oils as many people are familiar with the smell of a sage smudge. There are risks associated with internal use so please consult with a professional and do your research. Topically, however there are fewer risks and it can be a valuable backcountry medicine to have in the tool kit. Always test topical medicines on a small area first to see if there are any adverse reactions.
A warm fomentation can be prepared by steeping the herb in a pot of hot water and slowly extracting the volatile oils to be applied topically. One can use a cloth to wrap the sage in and apply to an area with minor scrapes and infection or just use the liquid soaked cloth with no raw herbs in the cloth. Similarly teas can be prepared and applied topically to areas of bruising, sprains, or strains to help manage inflammation. Tinctures, powders, lotions, and oils are also ways to prepare this herb for topical use.