SAN ANTONIO - A local school that teaches survival skills reached out to help those hurt by Hurricane Harvey.
Volunteers with The Human Path school made the herbal remedies they will use in free medical clinics at the coast this weekend.
Last week, volunteers with the school delivered supplies of food, pet food, cleaning supplies and personal items. They also provided free herbal medicine to clinics in Houston.
This week, they made medicines for relief in the Rockport area.
Maria Turvin, an herbalist at the school, said plant medicine sustained humans for generations and is still valuable today because it is easily accessible. And the ancient wisdom about how to use the resource is available as well.
“There's an art, a craft, to medicine making,” Turvin said. “We spend a lot of time studying all about this, how the plant medicine works with our bodies and the best solvents to extract the medicines with.”
"A lot of people don't realize, 'Oh, I've got medicine in my backyard,'" Turvin said.
“You can use the flowers or the bark. The bark is really astringent," Turvin said while sorting collections of preserved Desert Willow flowers from her own property. "The flowers are really good for pulmonary or anything respiratory.”
Many people in storm damaged areas are facing a variety of health threats, as well as a lot of extra stress, according to Turvin.
Contamination and physical trauma from heavy lifting and cleaning are common.
“And then they're exposed to toxins from the water and from the mold in their house, so they have compromised immunity, making it a lot easier for them to get sick," Turvin said.
They are preparing many kinds of nervines.
“A nervine is an herb that supports the nervous system. It nourishes them so they are better able to cope and adapt to stress.” Turvin said.
Student Gordon Schultz said he moved to the San Antonio area specifically to attend the Human Path school. In addition to hurricane relief, he previously helped with the group’s effort to provide medical care during the Standing Rock conflict over the installation of a pipeline in North Dakota.
“So much is crazy right now, not to mention the political mess," Schultz said. "I mean, I think these skills are incredibly valuable now and will only become increasingly valuable as time goes on.”
Schultz said the lessons, and helping others, are essential whether there is a disaster underway or not.
“It's good to add a few things to your bag of tricks and we do wilderness survival, off-grid engineering and we’ve built a bunch of water filtration systems, so we can just catch rain water and drink it,” Schultz said.
The group also plans on running clinics in the San Antonio area next week for storm victims, immigrants and others who need assistance.
“We're already able to help people because people are in dire need of help anywhere you go,” Schultz said.
“I started studying herbalism seven years ago and I have studied with many different teachers," Student Nicole Parry said. "I love emergency medicine and I was really inspired by what I learned to work with in Standing Rock for two months.”
"It feels really good like I actually did something," Parry said.
Thomas Bryant came to the school as a student. He said he has taken many courses and now teaches some of them.
"If you're able to help yourself, you're less of a drain on the resources other people need as well and you can assist those in need," Bryant said.
“I do think these skills are more important than ever,” Bryant said. “I've learned more than I can believe and I'm looking to retire in a few years and do more volunteering and teaching.”
The Human Path school has online and in-person classes at their campus in North Bexar County.
They are also running an online fundraising campaign to raise money to support their hurricane relief efforts and local clinics.
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