Why Your Medicinal Herb Kit Should Have Yarrow

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‘Tis the season to gather up some yarrow. Yes, Ready Nutrition Readers! Let’s delve into it and see what this article’s herbal focus has to offer. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an aromatic perennial herb found primarily in Western North America. If you can’t find it in your home state, you can easily obtain it in a store selling herbs or naturopathic supplements.

If you can find it in your state, you’re in luck! You’ll be able to gather it for free. Yarrow is a multipurpose medicinal herb and has been used for many thousands of years. Yarrow can be used to treat:

  • burns
  • boils
  • blisters
  • ear infections
  • sores
  • bug bites

Yarrow treatments can be made in the form of a tea and then wiped on as an astringent or applying the leaves directly to the afflicted area.

Taken internally as a tea, it can be used against fever, diarrhea, and colds. The herb should not be used in people subject to excessive clotting in the blood, or with pregnant women and nursing mothers. The really great value in yarrow, however, is not with all of these, but with its styptic properties: it stops bleeding.

It derives its name from the Greek warrior-hero Achilles, who it was said stopped bleeding of fellow warriors and saved many lives with the application of this plant to the wound. Yarrow contains an alkaloid that is named achilleine that has been proven in lab experiments to reduce clotting time in blood.

The leaves resemble ferns. When it is in the flower, the flowers are small and white-petaled with a yellow center that grows in clusters. So, here’s what you do:

Gather your herb, taking care to not take everything from a given area…leave the hardiest plants to propagate and replenish the area. You can string them together in the manner of a “bouquet” of about 3 to 5 plants, either tied off or rubber-banded together. It’s the leaves you’re after. Take these bunches, and hang them in the sun from a wire coat hanger.

In this manner, it’s easy to string about 4 to 5 bundles on a coat hanger. Then just wait to dry the herb, and “screed” the leaves or pluck them off and store them in a jar, plastic bag, or whatever you choose. Voila! Instant first-aid quick clot right from the ground! Learn to spot it, harvest it, and use it. This is not to say abandon the quick clot or any of your first-aid gear. On the contrary: this supplements that gear. It is also excellent training for the time when there may not be a happy Wal-Mart or other smiling, overpriced survival store to buy happy quick clot.

Tote some of this with you and learn to use it as both a first-aid measure for bleeding, and do some research on the other items it covers. In this manner, you well round yourself and improve your capabilities in the field. Practice makes perfect, and you should always study to improve your knowledge and skills for yourself and others.  JJ out!

 

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Pokeweed: The Weed, the Myth, the Legend

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This article on pokeweed is part of a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. For other articles in the series, please click here.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a milestone plant for many foragers. It’s the first plant that many of us eat that could also kill us.

Don’t get me wrong. Correctly prepared, pokeweed is absolutely safe. It’s also highly nutritious and delicious. But it’s a rare person who doesn’t feel at least a little trepidation when cooking and eating it for the first time.

Pokeweed = Poison?

My most vivid memory of pokeweed isn’t from painting with the berries as a child, or from the smell coming from the boiling pot in my grandmother’s kitchen. It’s from just last year. Our (then) 2-year-old came up to me with a big purple-stained grin on his face.

“Have you been eating elderberries again?” I asked him.

He shook his head and led me to a tall pokeweed plant. I saw that berries were missing. Lots of them. One of us might have said a swear word. I’ll let you guess who.

It’s funny how panic will totally wreck your ability to think. My mind was racing to recall everything I knew about pokeweed, but all I was getting was the word “poison.”

I took several slow, deep breaths to calm myself. Gradually, my brain started to work again. The berry is the least poisonous part of the plant. The juice from the berry is safe. It’s the seed that’s poisonous 1) http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2. The seeds are designed to pass safely through the digestive tract so that the plant can spread. So unless he chewed up the seeds, any poisons would likely remain safely locked away. And at this age, our boy was more of a gulper than a chewer.

My wife and I decided to wait and see if any symptoms developed. As it turned out, he was fine. He never had any problems with the pokeberries at all.

That day, two things happened:

  1. One was that I cut down all of the pokeweed plants in our yard.
  2. The other was that I became skeptical of the oft-repeated claims of 10 berries (or even 1 berry 2)The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008.) being enough to poison a child.

One study tried to determine the lethal dose of pokeberries for mice. What the researchers found was that it was impossible to give the mice a large enough dose to kill them. After three doses, one per hour, of as much as the mice’s bellies could hold, some finally died. The equivalent amount for an adult, male human would be about 45 pounds (20 kilograms).3)http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf Just for the record, 45 pounds of water would also kill an adult, male human.4)http://www.nleomf.org/officers/search/search-results/james-c-mcbride.html

Of course I wouldn’t recommend you eat a big bowlful of the berries. Humans may not be very much like mice. But this study does give credence to some people’s claims of having eaten pokeberry pie.

Let’s Eat Some Pokeweed!

Our grandparents would have thought all this caution and fear was far overblown. For them, pokeweed was a mundane food—a staple of spring. But at some point that familiarity with our wild, native plants began to dwindle, and now pokeweed is something of a daredevil food for aspiring foragers. Let’s take back our horticultural heritage and eat some pokeweed (after preparing it correctly, of course).

This video should help:

Plant Identification

Adult plants are the easiest to identify, so let’s start there. Mature pokeweed (also called poke salad, poke sallet, pokeberry, and others) stands 5–10 feet (1.5–3 meters) tall.

Pokeweed leaf close

The leaves are alternate,5)Alternate: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear back and forth or in a spiraling pattern on a stem. large (4–10 inches or 10–25 centimeters), toothless, oval- or lance-shaped, fairly succulent, somewhat wavy along the edges, and prominently veined.

They also make a neat, rubbery sound when you rub a handful of them together.

The flowers are white, pink, or green; grow on a pink stem; and form a drooping, finger-shaped cluster. Flowers appear in spring through summer and turn into glossy, deep purple-to-black berries toward the end of summer and into fall. The berries are about the size of a pea and are flattened at the top and bottom. A mature pokeweed stem is red or magenta, darker near the base, and has a mostly hollow core.

Pokeweed has a perennial root, with the aboveground parts dying back every winter. The dead stalk can remain through the winter and are one of the easiest ways for beginners to safely ID young plants. Mark the location of a dead stalk and come back in the spring to harvest the new stalks growing where it stood. Once you do this several times, you’ll start to recognize the young leaves by sight even without the older stalk to give it away.

Look-alikes

Overall, the mature plant is very easy to identify, though it might be confused with elderberry. Elderberry does not have alternate leaves, and the berries grow in an umbel,6)Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped or umbrella-shaped cluster of flower. rather than a spike.

The berry clusters resemble wild cherries, though cherries don’t have that garish stem color, their leaves are toothed, and they grow on a tree.

Some people say that pokeweed is a grape lookalike. I don’t see it, myself. But if you’re having trouble, remember that grapes grow on a vine. Pokeweed does not.

Where to Find Pokeweed

Pokeweed is native to the U.S., growing throughout most of the contiguous states, except for in the Rocky Mountain States and North and South Dakota. It can also be found in the eastern provinces of Canada and has been naturalized in the Mediterranean region.

It prefers damp woodlands and open area.

Birds help spread the seeds in their droppings, as well. You can often find pokeweed shoots beneath popular perches. Try fence rows.

Harvesting Pokeweed

The conventional wisdom is to harvest leaves and stems from young plants, no more than 6-10 inches (15-25 centimeters) tall.7)Peterson Field Guides. Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America. Lee Allen Peterson.

Pokeweed young plant

Berries can be harvested whenever they are ripe, from summer into fall.

I do not recommend harvesting the root, as it contains the highest concentration of poison. (However, those who do opt to take the risk typically harvest the root in the fall, after the main stalk has died back.)

Some people harvest from taller plants, even taking the newer growth from mature pokeweed. Depending on your level of sensitivity to the plant and your level of experience, this might or might not be a good idea.

The Pokeweed Boogeyman

And this would probably be a good time to talk about the pokeweed boogeyman.

In my opinion, the poisonous nature of pokeweed has been exaggerated. People tend to repeat warnings about poisonous plants without verifying them. This can cause errors or exaggerations to be perpetuated until they assume the rank of “fact.” This seems to be what has happened with pokeweed.8)http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf

Don’t misunderstand me. Pokeweed is poisonous and has killed people. You have to respect it, and you have to use it correctly. But the level of fear exceeds the reality.9)Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2012.

To further muddy the waters, some people are more sensitive to the toxins in pokeweed than others.

  • For example, the plant juice causes dermatitis in some people (like my wife) and not in others (like myself).
  • Some people get a stomachache if they boil the leaves only once, while others may have no ill effects and always boil once.
  • I’ve even seen a man claim that he saved the cooking water for use in soups. That one’s a bit much for me, but you can see how the claims of pokeweed’s relative toxicity might get confused.

A Common-Sense Caution

So what’s a forager to do?

Go slowly.

Just cook a little bit your first time, and use one of the longer boiling methods described below. The next time, you can cook more.

Just use your own wisdom, listen to your body, and don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. In all likelihood, you’ll be fixin’ a big mess of greens in no time.

Culinary Uses: Cooking and Eating Pokeweed

Nutritionally, pokeweed is a powerhouse plant. It’s a dynamite source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of calcium and iron, too.10)http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2 But how do you get to that nutrition without poisoning yourself?

Poke leaves are boiled before eating. Opinions differ as to how long they must be boiled and in how many changes of water. This is how I do it:

  1. Boil the leaves for 1 minute.
  2. Pour out the water and bring new water to a boil.
  3. Now boil the leaves for another full minute.
  4. Change out the water and boil for 15 minutes.

The whole process looks like this:

Boil 1 minute –> Change water –> Boil 1 minute –> Change water –> Boil 15 minutes

Remember, your timer doesn’t start until the water reaches a full boil. You can keep a second pot of water boiling so that you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up every time.

If you want to err on the cautious side, you can always boil it longer. Two boils of 15 minutes each, or three boils of 10 minutes each, are common cooking protocols.

Serve with salt, pepper, and butter. Some people like to add vinegar or olive oil, as well. I like to add a pinch of brown sugar. My way isn’t the healthiest, but it gets the kids to eat it. Another popular option is to toss the cooked pokeweed into a pan and scramble it with eggs. I like to add barbecue sauce. (Try it, then tell me if I’m crazy!)

Young shoots can be peeled, breaded in cornmeal, and fried. Some people boil them first, but many (including myself) don’t. Another option is to boil and then pickle the stalks. I’ve never tried this one, but it sounds tasty.

Medicinal Uses: Properties and Contraindications

Used correctly, pokeweed is a powerful medicinal plant. However, the margins of safety are smaller than with most popular herbs.

The berry is the safest part of the plant to use medicinally. The root, while a very powerful medicine, is also the most poisonous. Use caution, and get in touch with an experienced herbalist before experimenting with it yourself.

Pokeweed has a wide variety of medicinal uses, both traditional and modern. Most of these likely stem from its antiviral, lymphatic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Properties

Pokeweed has terrifically potent antiviral properties against a wide range of viruses, including SARS and coronavirus. Pokeweed is a powerful lymphatic-system stimulant, helping to prevent cytokine storms.11)Cytokine Storm: A potentially fatal, hyper-inflammatory, immune response often linked to certain viruses. Isolated compounds from the pokeweed plant have even been used to inactivate the HIV virus in rats, rendering them HIV-negative.12)Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2013. That’s a lot of antiviral potential.

Pokeweed is also strongly anti-inflammatory, and has a long history as an arthritis herb.13)Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments. Andrew Chevallier. DK Adult. 2000. Some people take 1 berry a day to ease their symptoms. Others use the root in powder or tincture14)Tincture: A preparation in herbal medicine wherein the medicinal components of a plant are pulled into a solution of alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin and administered by dropper. form. One suggested dose of root powder is 60–100 milligrams.15)The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008. A 1:5 tincture of the dried root in 50% alcohol has also been suggested with a dose of 5–15 drops up to 3 times a day.16)Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2012. 

Again, use caution and seek a trained expert before putting any of this into your body.

Contraindications

Pokeweed has the potential to interact with drugs that have sedative properties. Possible side effects include lowered blood pressure, confusion, weakness, blurred vision, nausea, difficulty breathing, and death.17)The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008. Pregnant women should not use pokeweed.18)Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments. Andrew Chevallier. DK Adult. 2000.

If you’re looking for similar effects from safer plants, try skullcap or cleavers as alternatives.19)Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2013. Red root also has some similar properties, though it has safety issues, as well.

Hopefully I’ve scared you just the right amount—not so much that I scared you away, but not so little that you jump in with abandon. Pokeweed is a powerful, nutritious, delicious plant that is safe when it’s given proper respect, and dangerous when it’s not.

What are your experiences with pokeweed? Were they good or bad? Have any of you every tried pokeberry pie and lived to tell the tale? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

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_______________________________________________________

Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.
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The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!

 

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2
2. The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008.
3, 8. http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf
4. http://www.nleomf.org/officers/search/search-results/james-c-mcbride.html
5. Alternate: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear back and forth or in a spiraling pattern on a stem.
6. Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped or umbrella-shaped cluster of flower.
7. Peterson Field Guides. Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America. Lee Allen Peterson.
9, 16. Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2012.
10. http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2
11. Cytokine Storm: A potentially fatal, hyper-inflammatory, immune response often linked to certain viruses.
12, 19. Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Storey Publishing, LLC. 2013.
13, 18. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments. Andrew Chevallier. DK Adult. 2000.
14. Tincture: A preparation in herbal medicine wherein the medicinal components of a plant are pulled into a solution of alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin and administered by dropper.
15, 17. The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medication and Supplements Together. George T. Grossberg M.D., and Barry Fox. Publisher: Harmony. 2008.

The post Pokeweed: The Weed, the Myth, the Legend appeared first on The Grow Network.

Henbit and Purple Deadnettle—The Mischievous Twins

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This article is the second in a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. For other articles in the series, please click here.

How long does it take for weeds to invade a garden? Not long. But in a weed garden, that’s a good thing!

Checking back in on the weed garden, we find that it’s mostly still a patch of bare soil.

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

But upon closer inspection, we can see several guests starting to invite themselves in. It’s a bit too early to tell what they are at this stage, though I expect the larger leaves to be pokeweed.

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

Plant Identification

While we’re waiting on the weeds to properly introduce themselves, let’s take a look at two weeds that have probably welcomed themselves into your gardens: purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). The name deadnettle comes from the fact that the plant resembles a nettle, but does not sting. Thus, it is a dead nettle. The name “henbit” comes from farmers watching hens eat it.

These two jokers love confusing people. Like a pair of mischievous twins, they’re often mistaken for one another. I’ll help you put an end to those shenanigans by showing you what they have in common and how they’re different.

Purple deadnettle and henbit are both members of the mint family, with the characteristic square stems and opposite leaves.

Aromatically, they aren’t very well-behaved mints, having no distinct minty smell. They do have an interesting earthy scent, however, that reminds me of Easter Sundays as a child. Your nostalgia may vary. Both also have small, pink-to-purple, tubular blossoms with two lips on the bottom outside edge.

Characteristics                                                                                                                                

Being mints, they naturally want to take over the world, but they’re hoping we won’t notice because they’re fairly low to the ground and have such pretty little blossoms. You can find them all throughout the U.S., as far north as Greenland, and through their native home of Eurasia.

They love cool, spring weather and rain. If you have that, there’s a good chance you have henbit and deadnettle.

Both plants love rich, moist soil … and people, too. They’ve long followed humans around with the intent of moving into any soil we happen to disturb.

Purple deadnettle has triangular leaves with petioles (leaf stems). It has a fuzzier texture than henbit, and the entire top of the plant tends to be shaded purple. Henbit has scalloped, heart-shaped leaves with no petiole, and it’s not noticeably hairy.

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

Toxic Look-alikes

They have no toxic look-alikes, though ground ivy (edible in moderation) is fairly similar. Ground ivy differs from our plants by having larger flowers and by rooting at nodes along the stem.

Culinary Uses

All aboveground parts of purple deadnettle and henbit are edible raw or cooked. The best-tasting bits are the blossoms, which are tender and sweet. I’m not a huge fan of either plant raw, but I love them chopped fine on weed pizzas or mixed in with a stir-fry. They’ll also mix well with a salad, and I’ve snuck them into stews a few times.

Henbit has the superior texture and taste, in my opinion. Both henbit and purple deadnettle are good sources of iron, vitamins, and fiber. 1)http://www.eattheweeds.com/henbit-top-of-the-pecking-order/

As a sidenote, stews are great for introducing people to eating weeds, or for hiding a plant that you’re still trying to build an appreciation for. The weeds in question just disappear into the mix and become part of a happy fellowship.

Medicinal Uses

Medicinally, these weedy relatives have a fair bit of overlap, though purple deadnettle is better known and more widely researched. I’ll be focusing on purple deadnettle here, both to avoid any confusion, and because I have more practical experience with it as a medicinal plant.

Lab tests have confirmed that purple deadnettle has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, comparable to Vitamin C.2)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292812877_Antimicrobial_and_Free_Radical_Scavenging_Activities_of_Some_Lamium_Species_from_Turkey3)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410800189X

This helps to validate its traditional use as an arthritis herb.

Purple deadnettle can also be used to stop external bleeding and has been shown to have moderate antimicrobial properties.4)http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lamium-purpureum=red-dead-nettle.php5)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292812877_Antimicrobial_and_Free_Radical_Scavenging_Activities_of_Some_Lamium_Species_from_Turkey

Chew up the fresh leaves and make a spit poultice, as you would with yarrow. I assume this would work with dried leaves as well, though I’ve never done it that way. I’ve always had yarrow at hand.

Read More: “Drying Herbs the Easy Way”

A decoction of deadnettle is also said to be effective for any type of bleeding (internal or external)6)http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lamium-purpureum=red-dead-nettle.php

I’m more familiar with yarrow in this regard, but for people allergic to plants in the Aster family (which includes yarrow), purple deadnettle could be a good alternative plant to try. (But, as with all edible wild plants that you’re trying for the first time, remember to start slowly, in case you have an unexpected sensitivity to it.)

One of the more interesting properties of purple deadnettle is its ability to ease allergy symptoms. This might be linked to its anti-inflammatory properties, or perhaps to its flavonoid constituents. Whatever the reason, it really seems to work.

I don’t have much trouble with allergies myself, but I’ve given dried deadnettle to other people. I’ve got a “plant buddy” (client) using it right now. She tells me that when she drinks a cup of deadnettle tea (1 heaping teaspoon with 1 cup of water) before bed, she wakes up with clear sinuses and no drainage. But on the days that she forgets, she’s wakes up stuffy and coughing. And if she goes ahead and makes a cup, she’ll dry right up. If you want to try it, I recommend adding a little cream and sweetener.

So go gather up some henbit and purple deadnettle, and put these powerful spring weeds to work for you before the weather gets hot and they disappear again!

Do you use either of these plants for something I didn’t mention? Do you have any good deadnettle or henbit recipes you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.

_______________________________________________________

Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

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References   [ + ]

The post Henbit and Purple Deadnettle—The Mischievous Twins appeared first on The Grow Network.

4 Tips To Stop Someone From Bleeding To Death

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4 Tips To Stop Someone From Bleeding To Death Stopping someone from bleeding to death is a pretty basic first aid skill, yet most people don’t know anything more than, “put pressure on it.” Yes, putting pressure on the wound is a good idea, but what should you use to cover the wound? And what …

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The post 4 Tips To Stop Someone From Bleeding To Death appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

The New 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, Reducing Hemorrhage?

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cover celox with roller gauze

Given the spate of bombings and shootings throughout the world, most recently in Brussels but also in Paris and San Bernardino, we now realize that mass casualty incidents (also called MCIs) are becoming part of the “New Normal”. A mass casualty incident is any event in which the medical resources available are inadequate for the number and severity of injuries incurred.

 

Look at images of any terrorist attack, and you’ll see a lot of blood. These events tend to be over very quickly, but during that time, death from bleeding wounds can easily occur.

 

In a world where high level medical care is just minutes away, we have become secure in the notion that help is forthcoming. Unfortunately, it is rarely immediately at hand; the actions of individuals at the scene may make the difference between life and death. If aid isn’t administered in the first few minutes, hemorrhage can be fatal. In a mass casualty incident, the sheer number of those needing help could overwhelm the ability to attend to them.

 

Despite the urgency of the situation, law enforcement is taught not to approach the wounded until it is clear the threat has been neutralized. This is actually a wise move that avoids additional casualties, but adds a delay that may cost the wounded their lives. Therefore, the quick action needed may have to come from those involved but uninjured in the event. Of course, even these individuals should beware of continued hostile action before they rush to help.

 

How many know exactly how to stop a major hemorrhage? Just a few. Only those in the medical field or who take First Responder classes have been taught basic techniques, such as how to use a tourniquet. But although you can find fire extinguishers on the wall, there are no medical kits readily available to help these Good Samaritans. Is it time to have these items on the wall (in emergency, break glass?) and to teach bleeding control as a subject in school and workplaces? As horrible as this sounds, It’s possible we have reached that point.

 

Disasters occur regularly, not just terrorist events but natural disasters such as tornadoes, as well. If hemorrhage control first aid were a part of the curriculum, would it make a difference? Imagine a community full of people who learned to deal with injuries during their school years. Would there be lives saved, even if just by a witness to a car accident? How many lives would have to be saved for such a subject to be worthwhile to teach?

IMG_0945

Bleeding Control Kit

 

Also, is it time for basic medical kits to be placed in every teacher’s desk, workplace, and mall? Would it make people uncomfortable to see them? Probably as much as when you see a fire extinguisher.

 

Certainly, such a first aid course in schools would not be for kindergarteners, but for teenagers and teachers. Videos and demonstrations would be important to desensitize students to the topic. Of course, parents who are concerned that their child would be traumatized emotionally would protest. Perhaps, however, those who underwent the training might become a little imbued with sterner stuff than our current crop of college students, who cry out in anguish when their safe spaces are invaded.

 

These are hard times, and they come with hard realities. You might choose to live in denial of the “New Normal”, but I think you’d be grateful if the life of a loved one was saved by someone who learned Reading, ‘Riting, and Reduce hemorrhage.

 

Joe Alton, MD

tent joe's kids

You might want to add some medical supplies for a terror event to your medicine cabinet in these uncertain times, so check out Nurse Amy’s line of medical kits and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net.

First Aid and Self Aid!

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First Aid and Self Aid!
Josh “7P’s of Survival

First AidLast week we talked about building a kit for wilderness first aid or self aid and also what is needed for treatment of a gun shot wound or massive trauma. We then talked a good bit about medicinal herbs and plants for that first aid kit and I detailed those items I now carry. This week we are moving on to how the first aid kit we built, in addition to your 10 C’s Kit, can be utilized to effect first aid and self aid.

What Will We Cover This Week:

  • Bleeding– We will start the night talking about trauma, focusing on bleeding control initially. We will explore the basics for bleeding control and move into which plants can also help stop bleeding.
  • Mechanical Injury– Next we will move to mechanical injuries and how you can stablixe those injuries with the kit you carry. We will explore cutting tools, sheaths, cordage, cotton, sticks, air matresses, sleeping pads, clothing and much more.
  • Bites/Stings/Skin Ailments– We will then shift to the treatment of bites and stings off all the creapy crawlies and also those ailmnets that attack your skin such as poison ivy.
  • Blisters– Next we turn to the prevention and treatment of the most common ailment in the woods and how your existing kit can help make you more comfortable.
  • Hypothermia/Shock/Dehydration– The three killers will bring us near the end of the show as we talk about how to recognize these issues and what you can do to treat these critical issues.

Visit 7P’s Survival Blog HERE! 
Join us for The 7P’s of Survival “LIVE SHOW” every Tuesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “First Aid and Self Aid” in player below!

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Bleeding, Now what?

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You’re bleeding! Now what?
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

bleeding accident-743036_640Uh-oh, you’re bleeding! Perhaps it was a bite, a deep slice of a knife while processing a deer, a gun shot wound, road rash, or maybe an open sore. No matter what has caused the wound, it needs to be treated quickly and correctly. Otherwise, you are risking infection, bleeding out, and possibly your life.

Bleeding out from a major artery can cause death in ten to fifteen minutes. You don’t even have time for an ambulance to arrive, never mind get to the emergency room. The S has hit the F for you. The bleeding must be stopped ASAP, the wound properly cleaned, and when appropriate, stitched up.

The question is: do you know how? To take that one step further, does anyone in your group know how to serve as your back up in case you need care? If not, this is one show you’re going to want to listen to.

11-22-15 -While most wound victims are transported to the hospital for professional wound care. If time is of the essence, you may have to step in and be the “doctor” during an emergency. This may be necessary due to the severity of the wound, or because there is no trained medical personnel available. It is vital that you know what you are doing, because the last thing you want is to make a bad situation worse.

11-22-15 injury-903342_640This episode will cover several common types of wounds that bleed, how to stop bleeding, and how to clean the wound to prevent infection. Also covered is the how, when, where, and why of closing a wound, or should that specific wound be closed at all? Plus, what do you do if in spite of your best efforts, the wound becomes infected and is spreading.

This hour of wound care discussion will look at both conventional and herbal options for wound care and bringing the bleeding to a stop. There is no reason to take any tool off the table with something as serious as an open wound. Be sure to tune in to learn how to stop bleeding in an emergency.

Join us for Herbal Prepper Live “LIVE SHOW” every Sunday 7:00/Et 6:00Ct 4:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “You’re bleeding! Now what?” in player below!

Get the 24/7 app for your smart phone HERE! 
Put the 24/7 player on your web site HERE
Listen to archived shows of all our hosts . Go to schedules tabs at top of page!

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Bleeding, tips to control in emergency!

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Bleeding, tips to control in emergency!

Bleeding Screen-Shot-2015-02-12-at-19.30.52-332x205Just recently I had the misfortune of accidentally cutting a deep wound in my hand. It was severe enough that I should have gone into the doctor and I still may. I know from experience that properly taken care of it would require several stitches. It is a clean wound so instead I let it bleed a little, then I worked with what I had on hand, peroxide, gauze and tape. It’s doing well so far and I will be keeping a close eye on it.

What if I had been out on one of my routine hikes in the mountains where I live? I generally do not carry peroxide or gauze (although now I may). This morning I ran across an old article about how to stop bleeding in an emergency posted on APN that I wanted to share. If you take the time to read this and have comments about the methods described and used or if you feel any of what is stated is a bad idea we would like to hear from you. Leave a comment….

From APN:

It’s a pretty straight forward concept, hey look I’m bleeding. Most people take precautions not to bleed in the first place, others have antibiotics and band-aids. Some even go as far as learning how to sew someone up themselves up. But what if you are alone, out in the middle of no where, and you get a cut that could eventually be a problem if not stopped and cleaned up.

Of course clean water is essential no matter what is going on and a great way to keep wounds clean. But let’s go a little further, something besides pressure and clean water.

10-19Cobwebs. If you are somewhere that has a lot of cobwebs, grab as many as possible, wad then up and place on the wound. The works like the powdered bleed stop.

If plantain or yarrow is near, chew it up and place it directly on the wound

Agrimony is also a wonderful plant that helps stop hemorrhaging within a few minutes.

All these can be dried and placed into a first aid kit. And if this is your plan, make sure to pack the cayenne pepper. Not only does it stop bleeding, but it also is an antiseptic. It will burn for only a moment, but it also has a pain reliever in it called capsaicin. Ingesting the pepper will also help slow bleeding in places that you don’t want to get any of these items close to, like your eyes. Cayenne pepper does retard the scabbing process.

~these are temporary remedies and a Doctor should look at your wounds for long term care.

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Celox and Quikclot to Control Bleeding

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medic-in-action

 

No matter what survival scenario you envision, few come without a real risk of major trauma, and with it, bleeding. One of the most important medical supplies to have on hand in times of trouble would be those items that can help you control hemorrhage. In studies of casualties in the recent wars, 50% of those killed in action died of blood loss. 25% died within the first “golden hour” after being wounded. Indeed, with many injuries, a “platinum 5 minutes” may determine life or death.

 
The battle to prevent deaths from hemorrhage has been waged throughout history. The Egyptians mixed wax, barley, and grease to apply to a bleeding wound. The Chinese and Greeks used herbs like bayberry, stinging nettle, yarrow, and others for the same purpose. Native Americans would apply scrapings from the inside of fresh animal hides mixed with hot sand and downy feathers. These treatments would sometimes save a life, sometimes not.

 
In modern times, the control of major hemorrhage rightly belongs to the emergency physician, paramedic, trauma surgeon, and other trained medical personnel. Our focus, however, is when you find yourself without access to modern medical care. In these circumstances, you may be the highest medical asset left, and it pays to have some tools that will help you stop bleeding. In a recent article, we discussed one of these tools: tourniquets and their use in survival situations. Today, we’ll discuss compounds produced specifically to produce clotting.

 

 

HEMOSTATIC AGENTS

 

CeloxHemostatics

 

In the last decade or so, there have been advancements in clotting agents (also known as “hemostatic agents”). Knowledge of their appropriate use in an emergency will increase the injured patient’s chance of survival. These products are used in conjunction with direct compression on the bleeding wound. Ideally, a hemostatic agent should:

 

 

  • Stop a major hemorrhage within two minutes of application
  • Be applicable through pools of blood
  • Be packaged ready to use
  • Simple to use
  • Store well for extended periods of time
  • Be affordable
  • Have little risk of infection or embolism (blood clots that travel to other areas of the body)

 
Although there are a number of hemostatic agents available on the market for your medical storage, the two most popular are Quikclot and Celox. They are two different substances that are both available in a powder or granule form and a powder-impregnated gauze.

 

quikclot
Quikclot originally contained a volcanic mineral known as zeolite, which effectively clotted bleeding wounds but also caused a reaction that burned the patient and, sometimes, the medic. As a result, the main ingredient was replaced with another substance that does not burn when it comes in contact with blood.

 
The current generation of Quikclot is made from Kaolin, a naturally-occurring mineral that was the original ingredient in Kaopectate. It does not contain animal, human, or botanical components.

 
Contact between kaolin and blood immediately initiates the clotting process by activating Factor XII, a major player in hemostasis. The powder or impregnated gauze is applied directly to the bleeding vessel along with pressure placed on the wound for several minutes. Quikclot is FDA-approved and widely available; the gauze dressing is easier to deal with than the powder, but can be relatively expensive. Quikclot has a shelf life of 3 years or so, less if the packages are left out in the sun. It’s uncertain exactly what effect the passage of time has on the product.

 
One negative with Quikclot is that it does not absorb into the body and can be difficult to remove from the wound. The material is known to become hard when left in too long and bleeding may restart when removed. This occurs less often if you use the gauze dressing.

 
In the The Journal of TRAUMA® Injury, Infection, and Critical Care , (Volume 68, Number 2, February 2010), the kaolin gauze was found to be as safe as standard surgical gauze.

 

celox

Celox is the other popular hemostatic agent, and it is composed of Chitosan, an organic material taken from purified shrimp shells. Despite this, the manufacturer states that it is safe to use in those allergic to seafood. This product is made up of high surface area flakes. When these tiny flakes come in contact with blood, they bond with it and form a clot that appears as a gel. Like Quikclot, it also comes in impregnated gauze dressings, which are, again, relatively expensive.

 
Unlike Quikclot, Celox will cause effective clotting even in those on anti-coagulants like Heparin, Warfarin or Coumadin without further depleting clotting factors. Chitosan, being an organic material, is gradually broken down by the body’s natural enzymes into other substances normally found there. Like Quikclot, Celox is FDA-approved. This study by the U.S. government compares Celox favorably to some other hemostatic agents: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18211317

 
Both Quikclot and Celox gauze dressings have been tested by the U.S. and U.K. military and have been put to good use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Department of Defense’s Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) has added CELOX™ Gauze to its guidelines for control of hemorrhage as approved hemostatic agents for military use. The Rapid version significantly cuts down the amount of compression time required. Expiration dates are similar to Quikclot.

 
One additional benefit of Celox gauze is that it serves as a reasonable gel-like burn dressing when moistened with water or saline solution.

 
To see both Quikclot and Celox in action (warning: graphic in nature):

 

 

“Celox demonstration”

 

 

“Quikclot demonstration”

 
Although effective, you shouldn’t use these items as a first line of treatment in a bleeding patient. Direct pressure, elevation of a bleeding extremity above the heart, gauze packing and tourniquets should be your strategy here. If these measures fail, however, you have an effective extra step towards stopping that hemorrhage. Be sure to include one or both in your medical supplies.

 
It’s important to make certain to avoid getting hemostatic powders into a patient’s eyes or airways. Also, removal from the wound  is usually recommended no longer than 24 hours after application.

 
Let’s not forget natural remedies that may help stop mild-moderate bleeding. Certainly, if a disaster has long-standing consequences, the supply of commercial hemostatic agents will diminish, and it’s important to know what plants may provide medicinal benefits.

 
Cayenne Pepper powder at levels above 35,000 Scoville (heat) Units has a coagulant (clotting) effect, although it may cause a burning sensation. Too much stronger, however, and it can get into the medic’s eyes and cause irritation. Black pepper has also been used in the past to help control hemorrhage. Apply either of these in a good quantity to the bleeding area and apply pressure with a gauze dressing. For major hemorrhage, however, the commercially produced products like Celox or Quikclot are superior.

 

 

The medic is most effective when they have the right tools. Accumulate a supply of hemostatic agents now and you’ll succeed, even if everything else fails.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Get YOUR medical supplies in gear by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical supplies at http://store.doomandbloom.net/

 

 

Stop Bleeding Fast With This Weed

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This article first appeared at The Prepper Project I was out in the yard one beautiful May afternoon when I made an exciting discovery. It was a tall, scraggly plant towering a good foot and a half above the other weeds scattering our overgrown yard. I crouched down to get a closer look and immediately … Continue reading Stop Bleeding Fast With This Weed