July 10th, 2014

North American Indigenous Herbal Medicines

Setting: Not exactly Earth, but a region with great similarities to the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains. Time period is indeterminate, but pre modern medicine.

I'm looking to create an arsenal of medicines so I don't have to spend hours and hours researching every time I come across a new ailment. One of my MCs is the equivalent of a doctor/medicine man, so it is rather important that I know something about her practice. I've found a few helpful things, such as desert parsley/lomatium, osha root, and arrowleaf balsamroot, but it's very slow going, especially when so many sources just say something like, "this is a plant, with these identifying features, and Native Americans used to use it for medicine!" without any mention of which part of the plant was used, how it was prepared, or even what it was used for. Previous research has been googling of variations on "Native American medicine," "Great Basin indigenous medicine," "Rocky Mountains indigenous medicine," and the like.

What I am looking for are any North American medicinal herbs in general, though I would love it if y'all know of any native to the Great Basin and/or Rocky Mountains in specific. Also, I would like to know: 1. What they are used for (sore throat, upset stomach, cough, etc.) 2. What part of the plant is used (leaves, flowers, root, etc.) 3. How it is used (eaten raw, smoked in a pipe, steeped into a tea, etc.), and optionally, 4. What specific ceremonies or rituals were practiced with or around it (does it need to be harvested at a certain time of day or year, should it be ceremonially washed or parts of it burned before or during use, anything else you might know about it) Obviously I don't need #4, but I would be very interested to know any surrounding rituals.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Japanese Red Cross Disaster Response

Search terms used: Mostly I've been reading the actual website of the Japanese Red Cross, but I can't seem to find the kind of detail I need.

Setting: Japan, a decade or two in the future, a (fictional) city comparable in size to Tokyo.

In the story I'm writing, a city is facing imminent disaster that requires large-scale evacuation and medical help. I'm a member of the Belgian Red Cross myself, so I know how things would proceed in Belgium, but I'm not about to assume that the exact same thing would happen in other countries, so I'm wondering several things:

- When would the Red Cross get called in? Who would get called in first and who only later on, if such a distinction exists? How many people would be volunteers, how many professionals?
- How would Red Cross members be alerted? Phone, text message, pager, ...? (I can probably make something up here, because the story takes place about twenty years from now.)
- Who would be responsible for coordinating the whole intervention?
- When things get too dangerous, who makes the call to pull out? How would that happen and what would happen to any victims who can't be transported?
- How would the different zones be structured? What happens where?
- Which codes would be used to communicate (especially emergency codes)? A search for the codes we use in Belgium only gave me local results, so I don't think our codes are international.

Thanks in advance!