Cold and Flu Remedies (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!)

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What’s your most effective remedy for colds and the flu?

Cold or flu got you down? Our Community’s got you covered! Check out these great tips and tricks for treating (and preventing!) colds and flus naturally.


When it comes to fighting off colds and flu, several of you swear that silver is worth its weight in gold.

  • Suz says, “Since flu starts in the gut, we take colloidal silver at the first symptoms: 5–6 ounces for adults over 170 pounds, 4 ounces for adults under 170 pounds, 3 ounces for those between 80–110 pounds, and start with 2 ounces for a child. After 90 mins, you should see a reduction in symptoms. Four hours after the first dose, take a second dose of equal amount. Six hours after the second dose, take a third dose of equal amount.” She says it will stop not only flu in its tracks, but also stomach viruses and food poisoning. Suz also suggests taking probiotics or eating yogurt the next day to help restore healthy gut bacteria.
  • At the first sign of illness, Marly gargles with and swallows ASAP Smart Silver, and keeps it up all day while symptoms persist.
  • Dsymons recommends snorting some colloidal/nano silver to help assuage a stuffy nose.
  • Phil Tkachukrecommends 10ppm colloidal silver. He says you can either buy it, or make it yourself using The Silver Edge generator or Atlasnova generator.

Fire Cider/Four Thieves Tonic/Dragon’s Breath

Community members velaangels, Mark, Kathy, Brodo, and Rhonda all rely on homemade fire cider as a winter immune booster. Rhonda takes 1 shot per day throughout the winter for prevention, and also uses it to shorten the duration of the illness if she does catch a cold or the flu.

Loa uses Dragon’s Breath—which she says is similar to fire cider—daily during flu season. She works at a high school “around a LOT of sneezing, wheezing, coughing kids” and says she hasn’t had a cold or the flu in the 13 years since she started boosting her immune system with Dragon’s Breath. Here’s how she makes it: “I layer onions, garlic, horseradish, ginger, parsley, and cayenne peppers in a jar and cover with natural apple cider vinegar. I let it steep for about 6 weeks, then strain, add some powdered turmeric, and put the glass jar into the refrigerator. To use, I mix a tablespoon of the mixture with a tablespoon of honey added to a cup of warm water.”

Read More: “How to Make Fire Cider”

Teas, Tonics, and Tinctures

You offered our Community members some wonderful ideas for teas, tonics, and tinctures.

  • Thomas Hodge makes an infusion with crushed Linden flowers and stems by adding 1/2 ounce of plant matter to a quart canning jar and then filling the jar with hot water. He seals it, lets it sit overnight, and strains it in the morning, squeezing the liquid from the linden. Then, he says, “chill it or drink it right away—8 ounces every 3 or 4 hours.”
  • Val recommends a “flu tea” made with 1 teaspoon each of elderflower, mint, yarrow, and lemon juice. This makes 2 cups of tea. “The elderflower is anti-catarrhal and anti-inflammatory, the mint is diaphoretic (it increases bile, thereby helping to release toxins), and the yarrow increases sweating but lowers fevers. It is a pleasant-tasting tea.” Brodo makes a similar tea, but substitutes lemon balm for the mint and adds a spoonful of local, raw honey.
  • Sunny makes a tea from dried elderberries, turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, and slices of fresh gingers, and drinks it all day long, usually mixed in with coffee or chai tea.
  • peaveyplunker mixes together 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and takes 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture every half hour until symptoms subside.
  • Stephanie Lebron creates a tea with hot water and lemon juice, plus either ginger, rosemary essential oil, or lemon eucalyptus essential oil.
  • w13jenjohnuses a homemade tincture of elderberry, licorice, and wild cherry bark, and also recommends a tea made with sage, lemon eucalyptus, and ginger, then sweetened with honey.
  • Shrabonisays that a “ginger, pepper, and turmeric-powder decoction in a glass of warm water works wonders.”
  • moncaivegan90boils 2 cups of water with a cinnamon stick, adds 1 cup of fresh red or purple bougainvillea flowers, turns off the heat, covers it for 2 minutes, and then strains it. “I like to add a spoonful of raw honey and enjoy 2 to 3 times a day. This works especially well for colds and coughs.”
  • Yvette McLean makes a tea with mullein, peppermint, and lemongrass, and drinks it around the clock—hot or cold—for 2 to 3 days. She also uses the tea in the following recipe:5 cloves garlic
    2 Tbsp. sage (fresh or dried)
    2 Tbsp. oregano (fresh or dried)
    3 Tbsp. fresh ginger
    1 Tbsp. thyme (fresh or dried)
    1 Tbsp. rosemary (fresh or dried)
    2 Tbsp. honey
    2 whole lemons (including skin)
    2 c. mullein/peppermint/lemongrass tea, cooledBlend all ingredients together. Do not heat mixture. Take 1–2 ounces 3 times per day.

    “You will be better by the third day,” she says.

Oregano Oil

Several of you recommend using oregano oil to fight off colds and the flu. But do your research! Joy Deussen says, “Be careful with oregano oil. It is hot and will burn the inside of your mouth. I recommend you put it in a capsule and swallow for no discomfort.”


Increase your vitamin intake when you’re fighting off a cold or the flu.

  • Sunny increases consumption of vitamin D.
  • Stephanie Lebron says she takes 2000 mg of vitamin C every hour or so in the first 24 hours of feeling something coming on.
  • Nance Shaw also takes vitamin A morning and night.


Take some form of elderberry for its immune-boosting properties.

  • Along with taking homeopathic oscillococcinum and drinking a Linden infusion, Thomas Hodge takes a tablespoon of black elderberry extract before bed.
  • Denise takes 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup every day during cold and flu season.
  • Scott Sexton takes elderberry syrup and/or tincture, plus recommends “Lots of water and rest. Meditation and yoga. And frequent sips of apple cider vinegar. I use essential oils, too. Oregano and the Thieves blend. Plus, I always add a citrus oil. Citrus oils are just happy, and I think they put me in a better mood, too.”

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are a favorite food when you’re dealing with colds and the flu.

  • For air purification, Rebecca Potrafka leaves a cut-up onion sitting out in a glass dish. She also takes honey onion syrup for a scratchy throat.
  • Susanne Lambert offers an interesting thought on using onions: “I’ve done some experiments with onions underfoot before bed with a pair of socks. I found that when I woke in the morning, my stuffy nose was gone.”
  • Sunny adds raw or slightly roasted garlic cloves plus sautéed onions to meals.
  • Michael Gray says that if he feels something coming on, he adds to his meals “a fresh clove of garlic, smashed, chopped fine, left out for 2 to 3 minutes” and says that he gets better faster than others who are sick at the same time but don’t take fresh garlic.
  • Marjory is also a huge fan of using raw garlic as an immune booster when she’s fighting off a cold. She’ll chop up several cloves, let them sit for about 10 minutes, and swallow them straight. (Yes, we’ve seen her do this firsthand! 😉

Over-the-Counter Remedies

Sometimes, the pharmacy is your friend. Our Community members recommended several over-the-counter products that help fight colds and the flu.

  • Bonnie Camo and Thomas Hodge both recommend homeopathic oscillococcinum. Bonnie says it “usually cures colds or flu if taken in the first 24–48 hours. Available in most pharmacies and inexpensive.”
  • Jill recommends cocolaurin. “It’s a natural supplement, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Very effective and safe.” (Cocolaurin is a super-concentrated form of monolaurin, which is distilled from coconut oil.)
  • Several of our Community members take zinc when fighting off a cold or the flu. Nance Shaw recommends a dose morning and night, kathybelair52 sucks on zinc acetate lozenges at the first sign of cold, and Jill takes zinc in the form of Zicam. Sunny also occasionally uses Zarbee’s Nighttime Cough and Throat Relief drink mix, which contains zinc.
  • Sunny also puts Plant Therapy Organic Immune Aid essential oil in the diffuser, under the nose, and on the soles of the feet.
  • When TommyD feels something coming on, he takes 3 capsules of echinacea 3 times a day for a few days.
  • Marius says colloidal silver usually helps him avoid the flu. However, “this year the flu strain was extremely potent, and it got me for the first time in 8 years. I cured it in about 2 days by ingesting hydrogen peroxide 3% In the next days, I rebuilt my intestinal flora—which could be damaged by hydrogen peroxide—by eating probiotics.”
  • Among other things, Nance Shaw recommends soothing coughs at bedtime by putting Vick’s VapoRub on the arches of the feet.
  • Several of you recommend using a neti pot during the sickness to help relieve symptoms. (Remember, though—the FDA recommends rinsing only with distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water, as tap water may contain harmful organisms that could actually make the problem worse.)

Encourage Fever

PInteaReed says, “If you are stricken with flu, make sure to help your fever. Wrap up in heavy blankets and try to keep the fever at 101°F to 102°F. Of course, if it goes higher, unwrap! Fever is what helps kill the viruses inside you. We just used this on this recent strain of really nasty flu that is going around. An hour after you wrap up, you should see a huge abatement of symptoms.”

Prevent It

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and our Community members offered some great suggestions for keeping colds and the flu at bay.

  • TommyD says he can’t remember the last time he had the flu, and attributes part of his immune strength to cooking regularly with a spice mix of turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, ginger powder, and Ceylon cinnamon.
  • Sandy Hines says neither she nor her husband have caught the flu or a cold in over 30 years. “If your
    body is alkaline, flu viruses and cold germs cannot live. Every night before bedtime, we have 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a few inches of cool water.” They also eat about 2/3 cup of plain yogurt with a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered, local honey in it during the day; drink plenty of clean water, eat nutritiously; drink orange juice; and take 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C every day.
  • Michael Gray helps prevent illness by taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey mixed in warm water every day.
  • Emily says she doesn’t catch colds or the flu, and attributes it to taking Citricidal brand grapefruit seed extract at least once per day. She adds, “I take up to 24 drops. Three is what the package says. Vitamin C is one reason it works so well, and that’s natural Vitamin C, not ‘ascorbic acid.’”
  • Community member bobcarmenmertz has been taking homemade Golden Paste for more than 8 months and credits it for feeling well. “I did start to get a cold, but the severity and duration were greatly reduced. The paste includes turmeric powder, coconut oil, and freshly ground black pepper. You can make it yourself and refrigerate for 2 weeks.” One recipe we found for Golden Paste is as follows:Golden Paste Recipe
    1/2 c. turmeric powder
    1 c. water (plus up to an additional cup of water, if needed)
    2–3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1/3 c. healthy fat—either from raw, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or virgin/extra virgin olive oilCombine the turmeric and 1 c. water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 7–10 minutes or until the mixture becomes a thick paste. (You may need to add some or all of the additional water during this step.) Remove from heat and let the turmeric/water mixture cool down until it is warm and not hot. Add the freshly ground black pepper and oil, and stir well to incorporate. Allow it to cool, then keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze some if you don’t think you’ll use it up by then. You can use Golden Paste in smoothies, in yogurt, as a condiment—even as as an immune-booster for your pets!

Thanks so much to each and every TGN Community member who shared your favorite home remedies in response to our February Question of the Month! You are highly valued!


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!


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The Best Baked Salmon Recipe – With An Amazing Glaze!

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Baked salmon is one of the healthiest meals that you can eat. However, we get a lot of questions on the best and most flavorful way to make this very popular fish. We have prepared salmon many different ways including:

The post The Best Baked Salmon Recipe – With An Amazing Glaze! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

The Wonderful Plant Garlic

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If I could have put one plant to grow, I believe it would be garlic.

Garlic is one of the earliest documented plans to be used by humans in the treatment of disease and to maintain health. From Neolithic times in central Asia spreading to the Middle East and North Africa in 3000 BC, garlic has been used by man. Ancient medical text from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India, each prescribing medical applications of garlic. There are even biblical references to garlic, as well as garlic in the Jewish teachings and the Quran.

The wild plant of course was used first and then slowly domesticated over time, garlic has been worth its weight in gold.
Around 3000 BC, trading parties from India reached Middle East, where they introduced garlic to the Babylonians and Assyrian Empire. From these places neighboring civilizations found the plant to be useful as food seasoning, medical ingredients, and religious ingredients.

Garlic is highly nutritious but has very few calories. A 1 ounce serving of garlic contains, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. This includes 42 cal, with 1.8 g of protein and 9 g of carbs.

The medical uses for garlic are too many to name, the fact that garlic has been used for almost every ailment of the human body, is amazing. From cancer to insect bites, from athletes foot to heart problems, garlic has been used to treat almost any ailment you can think of.

There are a few drawbacks when soft prescribing or using garlic medicinally. Garlic especially fresh, may increase the risk of bleeding. Garlic can irritate the stomach and digestive track sometimes causing digestion problems. Garlic can lower blood pressure, people of prescription medication should be careful. And some people may be sensitive to garlic on their skin.

Garlic produces a chemical called allicin. This is what seems to make garlic work for certain conditions. Allicin also makes garlic smell. Some products are made “odorless” by aging the garlic, but this process can also make the garlic less effective.

As for using garlic and cooking, I think that stands for itself. Whether using the bulbs or the leaves, garlic is a wonderful addition to your culinary uses.

Garlic can be grown year-round in a pot right on your windowsill in your kitchen. I believe the fresh garlic is always better than aged garlic. I myself prefer wild garlic to the grocery store variety.

Yes, if I could grow but one plant, it would be garlic. The flavor, the culinary uses, and the medical benefits, outweigh that of any other plant that I know of.

By Rich Beresford

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Planting Fall Garlic And Onions – 4 Simple Tips To A Great Crop!

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It’s hard to believe it, but it’s time for planting fall garlic and onions!  Both garlic and onions are perfect crops to plant in the early fall for a great harvest next June. Planting now allows a good 4 to 6

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How to Cook Garlic Scapes

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Have you ever heard of garlic scapes? If you are a garlic lover and grow some yourself, chances are you already know what a scape is, but you might still be wondering how to cook garlic scapes.

If you have never grown garlic, you may have no clue just what a garlic scape is!

I’m Annie, and Marie has invited me to tell you about one of her favourite vegetables! I started growing garlic years ago when I put 12 cloves in the ground. My husband and I love garlic so much, we grew more each year and finally started Bradley Creek Garlic Farms! Now we grow fields of garlic and ship it all across Canada, to people looking to start their own garlic patches. I know a thing (or three) about garlic and appreciate it for the healthy, delicious, versatile bulb that it is. (And look for Marie’s posts this autumn as she finds out if Bradley Creek Garlic grows as well in Nova Scotia)

See those beautiful curly things in the photo? Those are garlic scapes. Aren’t they pretty? If you look closely you can see the white seed pod on the end.

There are two general varieties of garlic: hardneck and softneck.

Softneck garlic is usually grown in southern states such as California. It grows where the winters are very mild.

Hardneck garlic grows great in Canada and the northern US. Anywhere with a cold winter is a great place to grow some hardneck garlic. Here at Bradley Creek Garlic Farms in BC, we grow a lot of hardneck garlic that we ship across Canada. That means we also grow a lot of scapes!

Garlic Scapes

These pretty things are garlic scapes.

What is a Garlic Scape?

When you grow hardneck garlic, a shoot will start to grow and come out of the central stalk of the plant. This is going to be the scape. Every plant will send up one scape and usually growers snap these off the plant.

The best time to snap off the scapes is when they have finished making a full curl. If snapped earlier, the scape may try to regrow.  Since most people want the garlic bulb underground to grow as large as possible, they don’t want any of the plant energy going to growing out that scape. This is why they are removed.

Garlic scape curling

See that pretty curl? That’s what you’re watching for.

At the end of the scapes are creamy coloured garlic seed pods; inside are tiny garlic seeds called bulbils. You can plant these little seeds and get garlic, but it will take a few years for them to develop full grown heads.

The faster way to grow garlic is to remove the individual cloves from a bulb and plant those.

But … back to the scape. What to do with it?

Cook it! There – that’s the short answer.

Scapes are a wonderful garlicky treat to enjoy, well before garlic bulbs are available. Those bulbs in the grocery store are probably NOT fresh, by the way! Garlic in Canada is harvested around the end of July. If you are buying grocery store garlic in April, it was imported.

How to Cook Garlic Scapes

Here are four ways to cook garlic scapes. You can either cook them whole or cut them just before the white seed head. Let me share with you some very simple garlic scapes recipes that I believe you’ll enjoy.

Steamed – You will likely need to cut the scapes in half or thirds so they fit in your steamer. Just steam them over water in a steamer basket for about 5 minutes. If you like them softer instead of crunchy, just steam them for a few minutes longer.

Grilled – Lightly steam them for about 4 minutes and then lay them on your grill. Brush them with sesame oil and then place on the grill. You can lay them on foil if you like, but you don’t have to.

Grill them for about 3 minutes, then flip them over, brush with a bit of oil and grill for another 3 minutes. Along with grilled steaks and a nice salad, this makes for a wonderful summer meal.

Fried – Start off with heating 4 tbsps of sesame oil along with 2 tbsp soya sauce. Add the scapes and fry for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Remove and pat them with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Pickled – This method takes more time of course, but is a great way to enjoy scapes all winter long. I like to cut the scapes in uniform lengths so they fill the jar, like a pickled bean would. Some people just chop the scapes into pieces and toss all sizes into the jar before pickling. Here’s a recipe for Pickled Garlic Scapes.

You can find garlic scapes in some chain grocery stores as the grocers are realizing the popularity is increasing. If you can’t find them there,  look in smaller ethnic groceries and at your local Farmers Markets.

Perhaps you will want to grow some of your own garlic this Fall and produce your own this year – especially now that you know how to cook garlic scapes!

How To Grow Garlic: A Step by Step Guide

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This article was originally published by Susan W. on

Garlic: An Introduction

Garlic is a truly delicious allium and is a favourite by many chefs around the world. No meal is truly complete without a dash of garlic when needed. It has a distinct flavour, defined a classic. Not only that, but garlic has lots of health benefits too, research has shown. I will be discussing that later on in this hub.

Growing garlic in the garden is easy, and like onions requires little attention, has great results and is perfect for any beginner.

Did you ever want to grow garlic but didn’t know how to? Or maybe you want some handy tips for growing garlic successfully. Well, this is the hub for you! Here, you will learn how to plant garlic, cultivate it and harvest it, with great results.

You are bound to find some great tips here, no matter whether you are a beginner or an expert. But first, let’s delve into why garlic is so good for you, and how it can benefit your body.

Why Should You Grow Garlic?

What sets garlic apart from the crowd? Garlic can be stored easily and can be kept for the winter months. In a small city garden, you can grow almost 50 bulbs of garlic. That’s enough for an entire year! Don’t worry, growing garlic is easy, cheap and is great for beginners as they require little attention unlike other vegetables. Assuming that you don’t mind clearing weeds, you will find garlic a joy to grow.

If you think growing the garlic is good, the eating is even better. Like I mentioned above, it has a truly distinct flavour and adds a spicy kick to any meal. The flavour is one thing, but the benefits are the other. Garlic has so many health benefits, it is classified as a superfood. Here are some of the health benefits it brings:

  • It helps to lower blood pressure.
  • It helps to rid of prostrate, colon and stomach cancer cells, giving you better protection against cancer.
  • It wards off germs and bacteria in the body.
  • Garlic also have many nutrients including potassium, chromium, sulphides, vitamins B and C and selenium.
  • Scientific research has found that garlic contains an antimicrobial compound which prevents the formation of nitrosamine, which is a carcinogen. Carcinogens often lead to cancer.

What You Will Need

To grow garlic, you will need some basic items including garden tools, garlic cloves and fertiliser. You will probably have some of the garden tools in your garage, if not you can buy them on Amaon or at your local garden centre.

  • Garlic Cloves – You can buy garlic from the supermarket if you wish, but most garlic from the supermarket was previously grown in hot climates so if you do not live in a hot climate, do not buy these. Instead, you can buy garlic suitable to your climate at your local gardening centres or on Amazon. Once you have your garlic, split the garlic into cloves. Each bulb of garlic should get you eight to ten cloves, which will result in eight to ten bulbs of garlic in the future. Pick out the big cloves from the small cloves, bigger cloves equal bigger bulbs of garlic when grown.
  • Fertiliser – To get bigger bulbs of garlic, you may want to use fertiliser. You can add fertiliser to the soil before you plant the garlic. However, if you want to stay organic, there is no need to use fertiliser, you will still get good results. You can also buy ‘vegetable feed’ which has the same functions as the fertiliser.
  • Compost – Rake in two to three bags of compost into the soil prior to planting. This will add extra nutrients to the soil.
  • Others – Common garden tools such as a rake, hoe and garden trowel will provide useful later on when clearing weeds and other jobs.


Here is an excellent fact to know when buying garlic. It has been found that 90% of store bought garlic has been radiated on to prevent it from germinating. So that means that if you buy garlic from your supermarket, it will more than likely not grow.

How To Plant Your Garlic

First of all, you need to know when to plant your garlic. You have two options which are outlined below.

  • You can plant the garlic in late autumn, the shoots will generally come out during early spring.
  • Or alternatively, you can plant them in early spring and the shoots will come out after two weeks.

Now that you have what you need, it is time to get started! Mix in the compost with the soil that you will be planting the garlic in. Set a string in a straight line across the ground. Using your trowel, dig holes in the ground. Make sure each hole is 15 centimetres apart, to prevent cramming. Once you have your cloves chosen (make sure to select the big cloves from the small cloves – bigger cloves equal bigger bulbs of garlic). Place each clove into each holewith the white base facing into the ground and the pointy end facing the sky. It would be ideal to place the garlic about 2 to 3 inches into the soil.

Once you have finished planting your cloves, cover the cloves with compost. Fertilize the soil straight away, this is optional. Follow the instructions on your fertilizer or vegetable feed and spray the ground where the bulbs are. Keep watering often, if you live in a hot, dry climate. However, if it rains there is no need. Do not overdo on the watering! Garlic does not like overly wet soil!


Make sure to plant your garlic in an area where it will get plenty of sunshine daily. That is key to achieving great results.

Plant Your Garlic in Containers

If you live in a city apartment or you are tight for space, garlic can be grown in containers in the porch of your home or even indoors. All you have to do is to fill a container with compost. Then dig holes about 2.5 inches deep into the compost, and make five to six holes per container. Water every two to three days depending how damp the compost is. As I mentioned earlier, don’t over water the garlic.

Garlic Cultivation

So whilst you have to wait for the garlic to be harvested, there are plenty of things to do in between.

  • If you planted your garlic in your garden, you will need to clear away any weeds by hand or by a hoe. This may not be a task you may enjoy, but it’s a task all gardeners have to do! It should only take twenty to thirty minutes every three to four weeks, that way your garden will be kept free of weeds.
  • Remember to fertilize every two to three weeks.
  • Also, water when the soil becomes dry.

That’s it! I told you there wasn’t much to do with garlic. Once you follow the steps above now and again, you will be on the path to harvesting great garlic! Take a look at the picture on the right. This is what garlic looks like after three months.

Garlic In Progress

Harvesting Your Garlic

At the start of Autumn, the wait is finally over and you can harvest your garlic! There are two signs to look out for. Firstly, you will see the scapes (shoots, green stems) turn brown or yellow and dry out. Secondly, you can feel the individual cloves formed within a bulb of garlic. When you see these signs, it is time to harvest your garlic.

Do not wait any longer as the clove will shatter into individual cloves. To harvest, gently loosen the soil around the garlic and gently pull the garlic from the ground. Brush away any dirt from the clove and leave your garlic to dry for a few days.

How To Store Garlic

Now that you have your garlic, you may want to store your garlic for the winter or for a few weeks. There are two ways to store your garlic.

The first is to braid your garlic. Just take one garlic with the shoot and then tie the others around it. Then you can hang the braided garlic in your kitchen or in the pantry, so you can take a clove or two when you need to use it.

Or, you can store your garlic in a ventilated pottery container, made ideally for garlic. You can buy a container on Amazon. They are ideally very handy as you can store the garlic there for months.

For an extra tang, you can store your garlic in vinegar or oil. However, bacteria may grow on the garlic so keep in the refrigerator and consume within two to three days.


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No, Garlic Is Not Healthiest When It’s Raw. (Ferment It! Here’s How.)

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You’re Consuming Garlic All Wrong. (Ferment It! Here’s How.)

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If you’re trying to take advantage of all garlic has to offer, you have to eat it raw.

Garlic contains a property called alliin, which turns into something called allicin once it’s been crushed and exposed to air. Allicin is responsible for all of garlic’s amazing features and its distinctive smell. However, allicin has a very short life span. It is most potent 10 minutes after a clove has been crushed and almost completely gone after 30 minutes. Even though it makes food taste wonderful, cooking destroys nearly all of the health benefits in a clove of garlic.

But even in its raw state, our bodies cannot digest and process all of garlic’s nutrients. However, lacto-fermented garlic far surpasses the nutritional value of fresh garlic. In other words, if we want to experience all of the health benefits in a clove of garlic, we can maximize it through consuming fermented garlic.

The antioxidant activity of fermented garlic is much higher than that of fresh. The fermentation process also produces high levels of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide, something our bodies produce naturally, eliminates harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. As a result, fermented garlic is one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics. Plus, because of the fermentation, it also contains good probiotics. Fermented garlic really is a superfood!

Fast, All-Natural Pain Relief With No Nasty Side Effects!

So how do you make fermented garlic? Let’s take a look:

1. Peel enough cloves of garlic to fill a one-quart jar about three-quarters of the way full. This typically takes 9 to 12 heads of garlic.

2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea salt.

3. Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving one inch of space at the top of the jar.

4. Cover with an air-tight lid. Let it sit on a countertop at approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit, out of direct sunlight, for at least 10 days. For best results, let it culture for up to 6 weeks. Don’t open the jar until you’re ready for it to be done. When you open the jar it should smell fresh and garlicky!

As the garlic ferments it will bubble and expand, filling the extra space at the top of the jar. After a day or two, sometimes it is necessary to “burp” the jar. Don’t remove the lid; just loosen it a little, let some of the pressure out and tighten it again. This usually only needs to be done once.

Most people enjoy eating the cloves of garlic whole, as the taste of fermented garlic is salty and milder than fresh garlic. Alternatively, you can substitute fermented garlic in recipes that call for fresh, such as hummus, salsa, guacamole and homemade salad dressings.

If you really are struggling with the idea of eating a clove of garlic, you can crush a clove of garlic shove it into an empty gelatin capsule and swallow it quickly before the capsule starts to dissolve.

If some of your cloves turn purple, blue or green, don’t fret, it’s natural. The sulfur compounds in the garlic can react with the copper that is found in most drinking water. These cloves of garlic are still safe to consume.

Do not consume if you notice mold growing or if it has an aroma other than the wonderful smell of garlic.

A jar of fermented garlic should last for up to one year once it’s placed in the refrigerator and if it does not become contaminated. Always use a clean utensil when removing garlic from the brine.

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional first about this method.

Have you ever made fermented garlic? Share any tips or questions in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

11 Odd-But-Effective Uses For Garlic That Surprised Even Us

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11 Odd-But-Effective Uses For Garlic That Surprised Even Us

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As someone with Italian heritage, I enjoy cooking with garlic. If a recipe says two or three garlic cloves, I tend to use five or six. Not only do I love the taste of garlic, but I appreciate its health benefits for my family.

Garlic, which gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon words “gar” (meaning “spear”) and “lac” (meaning “plant”), is known for its strong odor. Of course, according to legend, the smell of garlic is powerful enough to repel vampires.

However, there are many more practical reasons to have a good supply of garlic in your home. Ancient writers such as Virgil and Pliny the Elder described the benefits of garlic.

Garlic is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, carotene beta and Vitamin C.

Research studies have shown that consuming garlic may be helpful for your heart and liver, fighting against bacteria and viruses. A diet rich in garlic also may help you maintain a healthy weight.

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But there are other uses for garlic you may not have realized. Here are 11:

1. Treat colds. Garlic can help alleviate symptoms of the common cold. You can boost your immune system by sipping a tea made with garlic. Simply steep a clove of garlic in hot water for about five minutes.

After straining out the garlic, sip the tea as a natural cough syrup. Add honey or ginger to make the taste more pleasant.

2. Relieve acne. The antibacterial properties in garlic can help treat skin blemishes. Cut a garlic clove in half and then rub it over facial pimples. The antioxidants in the garlic help kill bacteria, which then leads to healing.

3. Help heal cold sores. Apply a cut of garlic clove directly to a cold sore. Although it may sting a little, the garlic’s natural anti-inflammatory properties help reduce pain and swelling and may speed up the healing process.

4. Treat athlete’s foot. To kill the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, crush a couple of garlic cloves and add them to a warm tub of water. Soak your feet in the tub for about 30 minutes.

5. Stop psoriasis outbreaks. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties also can relieve outbreaks of psoriasis. Just rub crushed garlic onto the affected area.

11 Odd-But-Effective Uses For Garlic That Surprised Even Us

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6. Help hair loss. Garlic contains high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound that may help fight hair loss. Rub sliced cloves of garlic onto your scalp and massage any garlic oil into your scalp.

7. Remove splinters. Try placing a sliced garlic clove over a splinter and then cover it with a bandage for a few hours. The garlic oil will loosen the splinter so that it can be easily removed.

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8. Use as a natural pesticide. You can concoct your own natural pesticide with garlic, mineral oil, water and liquid soap. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and then spray it on your plants to keep insects away. You also can rub garlic directly on your skin to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects away.

9. Catch fish. Many species of fish are attracted to the scent of garlic. Try rubbing a cut garlic clove over your normal bait.

10. Make homemade glue. You also can use garlic as an adhesive for paper craft projects. Crush some garlic cloves and then rub the juice onto the paper, wiping away any excess.

11. Create an all-purpose cleaner. You can make a homemade disinfectant spray with garlic and a few other ingredients. First, chop up three to five cloves of garlic. Add them to a spray bottle full of white vinegar. Then add several drops of lemon oil to the solution. Use it to effectively clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Now that you know some of the many benefits of garlic, here is one warning: It may be toxic to your pets.

Although some pet owners recommend garlic as a flea and tick preventative for pets, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that you avoid feeding it to your animals.

What other ways have you used garlic? Share your tips in the section below:

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17 Natural Antibiotics Our Grandparents Used Instead Of Pills

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17 Natural Antibiotics Our Grandparents Used Instead Of Pills Our ancestors had a solution for treating infections, burns and other different illness, using what mother nature has offered to us. It would be good to remind ourselves what these antibiotics are and possibly think about using them in case of a SHTF scenario where pills are …

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Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

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Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

Artist: Harold Anderson

Before there were flu shots, vaccinations and antibiotics, our ancestors had no alternative other than to rely on herbs for healing, treatment and prevention.

This isn’t to say that herbs are ineffective, although modern medicine has pushed many of them to the wayside. The truth is that many modern medicines have their base in herbal compounds.

Unfortunately, much of the knowledge regarding herbs and how to use them has been forgotten by the general population. Ask anyone under the age of 50 if they know what plant or tree aspirin comes from, and chances are that they won’t know.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

Here are five herbs our ancestors used – and perhaps you should, too.

1. Echinacea

Although you might have heard of a few studies supposedly refuting this herb’s effectiveness, there are far more positive studies than negative ones. The indigenous people of America used this herb to stay healthy. It is commonly taken in the form of a tea; the normal dose is two to three cups each day if you are ill, but one cup per day for “maintenance.” This beautiful flowering herb is easily grown just about anywhere. Dry the leaves and flowers for year-round use.

2. American ginseng

Don’t confuse this with Chinese ginseng. The scientific name of this plant is Panax quinquefolius, and modern research shows that this tonic herb not only supports a healthy immune system, but it can help to prevent upper respiratory infections, too.

3. Garlic

Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

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This herb might not win you a “most kissable” award, but there is no denying that it has powerful healing- and immune-supporting compounds. Long before the discovery of antibiotics, garlic was the treatment of choice for internal infections and was used for everything from bronchitis to dysentery. Remember that garlic has to be cut or crushed to release its active ingredients. An old-fashioned cold remedy was to crush a large clove of garlic and mix it into a tablespoon of honey. This was consumed three or more times per day when a person was sick and once per day to keep the cooties away.

4. Astragalus

A member of the pea family, this herb has been found to improve the immune system by stimulating the body to make more immune cells in both lymph tissue and bone marrow. The leaves are used to make tea, and fresh roots are sliced into soups. This is another easy-to-grow plant that you might want to consider adding to your herb garden.

5. Oregano

Your probably have some of this in your kitchen right now! Oregano is actually one of the most potent herbs for improving the immune system and can help the body boost its white blood cell count.

Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

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If you enjoy the taste, you can make oregano tea. Of course, you can always make more Italian food and add oregano to just about anything you are cooking.

A very old cold and flu remedy was to make a tonic with sage, thyme and oregano in a pot of water and drink three or more cups per day.

While we are on the subject, let’s take a minute to discuss things that some people believe will work to cure or prevent infections or viruses … but won’t.

  • Cutting an onion and leaving it in a room to “absorb” viruses won’t do anything more than give you a pretty awful-smelling room.
  • Burning wormwood shavings or any other type of incense doesn’t work, either. It is thought that the smoke will remove viruses and bacteria from the air, and while it might smell pretty, smoke will only irritate the respiratory tract.
  • Once, when I was young and suffering from a cold, my grandmother had me soak my feet in hot water, then put on a pair of wet socks and wear them overnight. I’m not sure what the idea was behind this one, but trust me, it does not work. It only makes for a long and miserable night with no sleep!

Of course, there are other ways to boost your immune system. Exercise (but not to excess), regular sleep, a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and low stress are all vital components for proper immune system function.

What are your favorite herbs to boost the immune system? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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For the love of Garlic

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Garlic contained many vital nutrients including vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. On top of that garlic is also delicious and very healthy, for internal and external use.

Garlic contains the amino acid Allicin, that gives Garlic that potent smell from the sulfur compounds. Allicin is one of the primary components of garlic that gives it its healthy benefits.

Eating garlic raw is more beneficial than cooking garlic, if you can get past the taste. When garlic is cut or chewed and allowed exposure to the air for at least 5 to 10 minutes, the compound Allicin to fully activated. However when garlic is cooked the Allicin is inactivated and not able to produce.

Garlic contains high amounts of antioxidants
Garlic helps lower your cholesterol
Garlic is antibacterial
Garlic is antifungal
Garlic helps thin the blood
Garlic boost your immune system
Study suggests that garlic may help prevent blood clots
Garlic help lower your blood pressure
Garlic helps with joint pain, and osteoporosis
Garlic help prevents some cancer


Garlic is both immune boosting and antimicrobial meaning it can fight viral and bacterial infections. The best way to use garlic is to put it into your diet either cooked or eaten raw, garlic benefits are numerous.

Garlic used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. Garlic has also been used to prevent certain cancers: rectal, stomach, breast, prostate, and bladder.
Garlic has also used for earaches, menstrual disorders, hepatitis, shortness of breath, liver disease, fighting numerous infections, and many skin conditions (ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot)
Other uses for garlic include fighting fevers, coughs, headaches, stomachache, sinus congestion, gout, joint pain, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, and a host of other treatments.

          Word of warning on garlic

Check with your doctor to see if it affects any of your medications.
Do not take garlic if you have bleeding disorders, stomach or digestive problems, low blood pressure or getting ready for surgery.
Women who are breast-feeding may want to stay away from garlic as it may change the flavor of the milk they produce.
Possibly unsafe when applying garlic to your skin may cause skin irritation and some people.
Birth control pills, taking garlic along with birth-control pills may decrease the effectiveness.
Liver medications, check with your doctor.
Medications for blood clotting, check with your doctor
Heart medications, check with your doctor

Whether store-bought or harvested from the wild, garlic is a wonderful herb for us to explore and use. The culinary uses and the health benefits are astounding. I implore you to add garlic to your healthful herbs, and learn more on its benefits and uses, on your own.

And hey, it also fight against vampires!

Written by Rich, for

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Garlic-Growing Secrets Of Fall Gardeners

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Garlic-Growing Secrets Of Fall Gardeners

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Have you ever thought about planting garlic bulbs during fall? Garlic grown in late autumn tends to be bigger, tastier and just plain better, probably because the roots have all winter to get established before the heat of summer sets in.

Plant garlic two to three weeks after the first frost in autumn, but before winter arrives in earnest. This way, the garlic has time to develop roots – but not shoots — before temperatures get seriously cold. Garlic can tolerate severe cold, but too much top growth can put the plants in jeopardy. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the cloves won’t have time to produce a few healthy roots. If you live in a mild climate, you can wait until the end of the year.

Now that we’ve determined the best planting time, here’s everything you need to know, step by step.

Purchase clean, firm garlic bulbs and plant them. It’s best not to use bulbs from the grocery store, which are treated with substances that prevent sprouting and make them last longer in your refrigerator.

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Prepare a sunny spot in your garden by digging in an inch or two of organic matter such as decomposed manure or compost. Avoid soggy spots; garlic requires well-drained soil.

Garlic-Growing Secrets Of Fall Gardeners

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Break the cloves apart, but leave the papery outer skins intact. Plant good-sized, plump bulbs and discard the tiny ones, or toss them in a pot of soup or pasta sauce.

Plant the garlic cloves upright, with the wide sides down. The cloves should be about 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep.

Work 1 to 2 teaspoons of organic general purpose or high-nitrogen fertilizer into the soil around the garlic. Alternatively, apply blood meal according to label recommendations.

Water well immediately after applying fertilizer.

Once the garlic is planted, you may want to surround the area with stakes or rocks; otherwise, you may forget they’re there.

Mulch the garlic bed with 4 to 6 inches of mulch if you live in a cold climate, or just lightly if winters are mild. Straw works well because it allows the soil to breath, but skip mulch altogether if you live in a rainy climate, as the cloves are likely to rot in soggy soil.

Remove the mulch in early summer when the plants are no longer producing new leaves. Stop watering and let the soil dry for a few weeks. At this point, dry soil won’t hurt the garlic, but the bulbs will keep longer in storage.

Lift the garlic with a garden fork or spade when the tops begin to die back and turn yellow – usually mid-to-late summer. Don’t wait too long, or the papery covering will break down and the garlic won’t keep as long.

When you plant garlic this fall, plant a lot of it. The garlic lovers in your family will thank you.

Have you ever planted garlic during fall? What are your best tips? Share them in the section below:

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Garlic Scapes: Should You Cut Them … Or Leave Them?

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Garlic Scapes: Should You Cut Them … Or Leave Them?

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One of the first things people notice about garlic is that it marches to its own tune. During autumn when the rest of the garden is being put to bed, garlic is ready for planting. And while other crops are just beginning to stretch their spring legs, garlic plants shoot into the air with surprising vigor—and then a twist!

Summer garlic looks a little crazy. A single stalk on each plant, about the diameter of a pencil with an arrow-shaped false flower on the end, curls around until it forms nearly a complete circle, looking as if nature were a calligrapher practicing her letter “Ps.”

These curls are called scapes. They develop on the garlic type known as “stiffneck” or “hardneck,” which is frequently grown in northern climates—as opposed to the “softneck” varieties usually sold in grocery stores and more suitable for southern climates—about a month into the growing season. The emergence of garlic scapes presents the gardener with a dilemma which must be addressed: What should be done about them?

Many experienced gardeners say the scapes should be snipped. Conventional wisdom instructs that removing the scapes redirects the plant’s energy to the bulbs, thereby resulting in larger bulbs and a greater yield. Some growers even maintain that removing the scapes affects the longevity of the bulb, allowing it to be stored longer than those which grew with scapes intact.

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To remove the scape, just snap it off with your fingers just below the first bend. Scissors can be used, as well. Scapes can be snipped as soon as the stalk begins to curl, or as late as after it has formed a full circle, but the general rule of thumb is that earlier is better.

One of the reasons that it is a good idea to do scape-snipping earlier is for reasons of palatability. Like most vegetables, they start out tender and grow more tough and woody as time passes.

Another question which must be answered about garlic scapes is that of what to do with them once they are snipped. They can easily be composted or fed to livestock—although it may be wise to avoid giving them to milk-producing animals and running the risk of ending up with garlic-flavored milk—but scapes are becoming increasingly popular as human food.

Garlic Scapes: Should You Cut Them … Or Leave Them?

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Garlic scapes can be used in just about any recipe suitable for regular garlic. Soups, stews, stir-fries, salads, skillet dinners and casseroles are all great candidates. They can be thinly sliced or chopped and added to pasta or mashed potato or eggs. The flavor of scapes is generally a little milder than bulbs, especially if they are young and tender, and can even be left whole and eaten as a vegetable. Pan-fried in olive oil, braised or roasted, stand-alone or mixed into other ingredients—the sky is the limit for garlic scapes! If you get them early, you can use them more like chives or scallions, and later on they can be minced.

One very popular method of using garlic scapes is using them to make pesto. Most recipes I have found look similar to pestos made of basil or other herbs. To try making garlic scape pesto, try starting with your favorite recipe and tweak it with scapes, or do an Internet search for more tried-and-true recipes.

They can also be frozen for use later. Although the fresh texture will not hold enough to be enjoyed raw when thawed, scapes that are sliced or minced before freezing will still be a great addition to cooked foods and an easy shortcut when limited time does not allow peeling and mincing a bulb.

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But what if you do not clip them at all? Around my place, summer zooms by fast. Even though there is a fairly wide window of time when the scapes can be snipped off in time to possibly affect the bulb, sometimes it can slide past and slam shut before I know it.

The good news is that for home gardening purposes, it probably will not make a lot of difference. There could even be a few advantages to purposely leaving them on. In addition to saving time and energy, leaving garlic scapes on is aesthetically pleasing. Many people appreciate the art and beauty of gardening as well as the practicality, and enjoying the gracefulness of garlic scapes can be worth the sacrifice of a few ounces of garlic bulbs.

Garlic scapes provide a natural chronometer, as well. When the curls straighten, it is time to harvest the bulbs.

Fortunately, there is no wrong answer for backyard garlic growers. The balancing of larger yields and busy season tasks and summer beauty means there is always a win. It is probably important for market gardeners to use no-nonsense methods to maximize income, such as selling cut garlic scapes in spring and harvesting larger bulbs in summer. But the rest of us have the luxury of being a little more laid-back with our garlic scape decisions. And after all, that is part of the beauty of raising our own food.

Do you cut scapes, or leave them? Share your advice in the section below:

Every Year, Gardeners Make This Stupid Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

How To Grow Garlic This Fall – Simple Methods To A Great Crop

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If you have ever wanted to grow garlic, then this fall is the time to make it happen! Although many soft-neck varieties of garlic are planted in the spring in the warmer climates of the South – the best time to plant

The post How To Grow Garlic This Fall – Simple Methods To A Great Crop appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

The Survivalist’s Summer Guide To Deterring Ticks

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The Survivalist’s Summer Guide To Deterring Ticks

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If you think ticks are just another outdoor nuisance, no more dangerous than a mosquito, think again.

According to the CDC, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually. It is caused by bacteria spread by the bite of an infected tick, and can lead to rash, fever, aches, and in serious cases, cardiac arrest and death. Although Lyme disease is most commonly associated with ticks, these tiny creatures are also responsible for the spread of more than 10 other diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Even if a tick doesn’t carry disease, its habit of burrowing into the skin can make it difficult to remove, creating an open bite that can become infected. Be practical when moving through brush and woods in summertime, and take precautions to prevent tick bites.

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Chemicals such as DEET and permethrin are effective tick deterrents, but should not be relied upon exclusively. (Of course, many homesteaders and off-gridders prefer not to use chemicals at all.)

(List to Off The Grid Radio’s show on repelling ticks and other bugs naturally, here.)

Natural steps to prevent tick bites are a key component in any backwoods survival preparation. Protect yourself with one of these measures before your next foray into the brush, hunting trip, or yard maintenance task, and prevent ticks from becoming widespread on the property where you do most of your work.

The Survivalist’s Summer Guide To Deterring Ticks

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Keep an Eye Out

  • Know Where Ticks Hang Out – There are several varieties of ticks that bite humans. Learn what types live in your area, their active season, and where they are most likely found, and take extra steps to protect yourself when working in their habitat. When traveling through open country where ticks are known to habituate, long pants and/or boots, hats and other protective clothing are a necessity.
  • Tick Checks – Learn how to find ticks on your pets, children and yourself. While venturing into the woods or upon returning home, strip off all clothing, examine all gear, and inspect your body for ticks. Pay special attention to armpits, groin and hair; ticks will wander on the skin to find a good place to bite, so don’t assume that an area that was left unexposed is necessarily safe. Bathe after yard work to find and remove ticks on the body; throw clothes in the dryer before putting them back on to kill any ticks hidden on the garments.
  • Clothing – Identifying ticks in clothing is easier if you are wearing light colors. Tick nymphs are as small as poppy seeds, and adult ticks only about sesame-seed-sized, but their dark color will stand out in more contrast against a light surface. Tuck pants into socks when traveling through high brush.

Tick-Proof Your Property

  • Mow the Lawn – Ticks wait at the tip of blades of grass and other brush for a host animal – or person — to walk by, and then they grab on. They are typically found within a few yards of a wooded or brush area. Keep the grass cut or maintain a border of cut grass to prevent ticks from becoming widespread on your property.
  • Clean Up – Ticks need places to hide and nest, and leaf litter, woodpiles and debris in the yard can provide that for them. Keep your yard clean to discourage both ticks and their hosts from finding a good place to live.
  • Build Defenses – Ticks need moisture to survive. Create a border of dry woodchips between brush or woods and your property to make ticks less likely to move into the yard.

Try Natural Deterrents

  • Eat Garlic – Consuming garlic pills or garlicy foods may deter ticks. One study concluded the garlic scent reduced tick bites by 21 percent.
  • Essential Oils – Several scents are purported to assist with deterring ticks. When applied to the skin or clothing, lemongrass, lavender, tea tree oil, geranium, peppermint, citronella, cedar, rosemary, thyme and eucalyptus all may throw ticks off the scent of your body, or discourage them from biting. Some studies suggest that ticks will merely scurry to an area of skin unprotected by oils before biting, but some deterrent effects have been noted; folk knowledge supports positive results from oils or combinations of oils. Geranium oil has shown a 90 percent deterrent rate in studies, and many other combinations are undergoing testing.

How do you repel ticks? Share your tips in the section below:


For more on controlling ticks, read this excellent handbook provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station or visit the CDC ticks page.

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

10 Heal-Anything Herbs That Just Might Replace Your Medicine (No. 5 Is Popular During Summer)

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10 Heal-Anything Herbs For Growing Your Own Off-Grid ‘Backyard Medicine Chest’

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Growing herbs for use in the kitchen allows you to add a freshness to the table that store-bought herbs can never produce. Whether grown in a small plot designed especially for a kitchen herb garden, in containers along the patio or as companion plants in the family garden, herbs are an excellent addition to your homestead.

Although herbs add much to our culinary endeavors, they are also useful in many other ways. Many common herbs have great medicinal qualities, are helpful in caring for livestock, and some have the ability to control unwanted pests around the homestead. For the cost of a few seeds, or potted plants, and a bit of time for researching your options, you can grow a natural medicine chest in your backyard.

Below is a brief overview of 10 common plants that can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Some can be taken internally as an herbal tea, while some should only be used as an infused oil or as part of a poultice. Still others are best suited for pest management on the homestead.

1. Sweet basil

Sweet Basil is not only versatile in the kitchen, but also works as a repellent for flying insects such as flies and mosquitos. Basil reduces inflammation and has been shown to be effective as an antibacterial agent.

2. Calendula

Not to be confused with marigolds, which are toxic, calendula has many healing properties. It is best used as a salve in treating skin irritations, including rashes, bruising, cuts and scrapes. It is safe to use for everyone on the homestead, including livestock.

3. Comfrey

10 Herbs For Growing Your Own Off-Grid ‘Backyard Medicine Chest’

Comfrey. Image source:

Comfrey contains allantoin, which aids cell formation, giving comfrey wonderful healing properties. Used to treat wounds, burns, skin irritations, sprains and even broken bones, comfrey can be used as a raw leaf, in a salve or more often as a poultice.

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Please note that comfrey should not be taken internally, as it disrupts liver function.

4. Garlic

We all know that garlic has health benefits when added to our meals, but it is also helpful as a repellent for pesky mosquitos. A garlic poultice can be used to treat ringworm and other skin irritations. Painful ear infections can be eased by the application of warm, mashed garlic cloves.

5. Lavender

Even in ancient times, lavender was added to bath water to restore calm. Today, we recognize that it is helpful not only for relieving anxiety but it has beneficial properties that can be utilized to treat burns, cuts and insect bites.

6. Marsh mallow

Marsh mallow is a versatile healing plant. It can be used as a salve for insect bites, bruises and other types of skin inflammation. It works well as a poultice for chest congestion and can also be made into a syrup to further alleviate congested airways. An herbal tea, made from the root of the mallow plant, has been known to help multiple ailments, including excessive stomach acid and even the passage of kidney stones.

7. Painted daisies

Painted daisies, as well as other daisy relatives, contain pyrethrum, a natural insecticide. Whether it is used as a companion plant in the garden or planted around an outdoor living space, this plant is a colorful natural alternative to toxic insecticides.

8. Parsley

10 Herbs For Growing Your Own Off-Grid ‘Backyard Medicine Chest’

Parsley. Image source:

Aside from garnishing your dinner plate, parsley aids in digestion, promotes optimal liver function and combats bad breath. It can be used as poultice to reduce swelling and bruising. Additionally, adding parsley when juicing other fruits and vegetables also helps to eliminate water retention.

9. Sage

A common addition to savory foods, sage, used as an herbal tea or as a syrup, is helpful in reducing fevers, easing headaches, and clearing sinuses. Relieve skin irritations, such as itchy rashes, with sage leaves.

10. Thyme

Thyme is a multipurpose plant, offering many medicinal uses, as well as being helpful for pest management. Adding thyme to your garden will draw bees for pollination. However, if you add thyme to a campfire, it will repel unwanted insects. Medicinally, thyme can be used a number of ways. As a poultice, thyme acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and is also antifungal. As a weak tea, it can be used as a mouthwash and gargle to relieve sores in the mouth and general sore throats. It works as an expectorant, helpful in relieving painful coughs.

Which herbs would you add to the list? Share your advice in the section below:

Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.

9 Ancient Heal-Everything Uses For Garlic That STILL Work Today

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9 Ancient Heal-Everything Uses For Garlic That STILL Work Today

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You may know it as something you mince for stews and sauces or something you spread on bread with butter or olive oil. Maybe you associate it with lingering bad breath or even with folklore – spurred by Bram Stoker’s Dracula — about repelling vampires.

For centuries and even millennia, however, nutritionists and healers have touted garlic as one of nature’s most potent wonder drugs. Evidence of garlic has been found inside Egyptian pyramids and Ancient Greek temples. Garlic also is referenced in the Bible and in medical books from Ancient Rome, China and India.

Historians have discovered that ancient Egyptians fed their slaves diets rich in garlic to help them stay strong and to work harder. Ancient healers also prescribed garlic for a variety of ailments, ranging from the common cold to cardiovascular problems.

There is evidence that garlic may have been one of the first “performance-enhancing” drugs, since it was fed to athletes during the Ancient Olympics in Greece. Hippocrates, known as the Father of Modern Medicine, prescribed garlic for many uterine and pulmonary complaints and as a cleansing agent for the body.

Garlic was used prominently during World War II by the Russians when Red Army doctors ran out of antibiotics. It was dubbed “Russian penicillin.”

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Today, modern research has confirmed these healing powers of garlic. In fact, garlic contains about 400 different chemical components and compounds that help the body fight off disease and to maintain good health.

Most of garlic’s benefits come from eating it in its most natural form – raw — because cooking can destroy some of its natural properties. Garlic is rich in vitamin B6 and is a good source of manganese, selenium, and vitamin C. It also provides potassium, iron, phosphorous and calcium.

9 Ancient Heal-Everything Uses For Garlic That STILL Work Today

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There are multiple healing benefits for garlic:

1. It reduces blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic reports that by dilating blood vessels and relaxing smooth muscles, garlic may help lower your blood pressure by 7 to 8 percent.

Research suggests that when study participants consumed 200 to 400 milligrams of garlic extract three times a day for a month, they experienced lower blood pressure. Consuming raw garlic also may reduce the hardening of the arteries that is a common part of the aging process.

2. It fights bacteria. A Washington State University study demonstrated that garlic may be just as or more effective than prescription antibiotics in fighting the common bacteria known as campylobacter bacterium. This bacteria infects about 2.4 million Americans with stomach-related illnesses each year.

3. It may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. Eating garlic enhances the body’s production of hydrogen sulfide, which may be effective in preventing the development of prostate, pancreas, rectal and colon cancer.

A study by the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that letting chopped or crushed garlic to sit for 10 minutes before heating helps it retain more of the sulfur compounds that help fight cancer than if it were cooked right away.

According to the National Cancer Institute, data from seven population studies showed that the higher the amount of raw and cooked garlic study participants consumed, the lower their risk of stomach and colorectal cancer.

Garlic has antibacterial properties and an ability to block the formation of cancer-causing substances, to enhance DNA repair and to reduce cell proliferation, according to the data.

4. It can reduce fatigue. Research suggests that consuming garlic promotes the body’s production of hydrogen sulphide and nitric oxide, which relax the arteries and increase blood flow to muscles. This process boosts muscle growth and post-exercise recovery.

5. It can eliminate toxins from the body. Garlic’s multiple sulfur-containing compounds stimulate the liver enzymes that are responsible for removing toxins from the body.

A diet rich in garlic can help fight urinary tract infections, too. If you suffer from athletes’ foot, try soaking your feet in a footbath of garlic cloves and water to combat the problem. In this case, garlic works as an antifungal.

6. It relieves earaches. A recent pediatric study showed that 14 strains of bacteria taken from the noses and throats of children diagnosed with ear infections were killed when the children consumed raw garlic.

The fungus that causes swimmer’s ear has been treated successfully with a mixture of garlic and water.

9 Ancient Heal-Everything Uses For Garlic That STILL Work Today

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7. It reduces pain and inflammation from arthritis. Try preparing a paste made from garlic cloves and rub it on the painful area. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties action reduces pain in swollen and sore joints.

8. It prevents blood from clotting. Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, a compound that keeps blood from clotting. Therefore, consuming fresh garlic can help prevent arteriosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.

9. It can help prevent hair loss. Now you may not want your hair to smell like garlic, but the results might be worth it if you are experiencing hair loss.

Try rubbing your scalp with this garlic-based solution:


1 tsp garlic juice

8 oz. rosemary tea

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. lemon Juice


Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl or cup. Then rub the mixture into your scalp nightly. Let it stay on your scalp for 20 minutes before rinsing with clean water.

How can you add more garlic to your diet? Here is a simple recipe.

In a juicer, blend four cloves of garlic with the juice of two tomatoes and one lemon to make a delicious, nutritious drink. Keep refrigerated.

You also can make a tomato garlic soup in your blender with the same ingredients. Add some sea salt and pepper to taste.

Easy to grow and easy to add to recipes, garlic can and should be a staple of your family’s healthy diet.

How do you use garlic for your health? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

4 Medicinal Plants Growing Like Weeds Right Now

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Wild garlic (pictured) has hollow leaves; wild onion has flat ones. There are similar plants that are harmful to eat. These two edible ones smell like garlic or onion when you cut them.

Wild garlic (pictured) has hollow leaves; wild onion has flat ones. There are similar plants that are harmful to eat. These two edible ones smell like garlic or onion when you cut them.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

I’m baaack. I’ve been moving and have taken some time off blogging. But now I’m ready to go.

My new home is out in the Southern countryside, way outside a city, and I’ve just started exploring the property. What I’m finding is a virtual pharmacy of medicinal plants. Some I can use now. Others, maybe if I had no access to anything better.

1. Wild Garlic

The one I like the best for now is wild garlic (Allium vineale), an invasive plant that grows in most states. While you might think of this is as an unsightly weed (and it is), the bulb and leaves can be eaten just like the store-bought variety. But do make sure none have been sprayed with poison lately. For that reason I’m avoiding the plants close to the road.

Garlic is rich in antioxidants and helps bolster your immunity against viruses and other germs. It also has a mild effect on cholesterol levels, helping lower them. But it can thin the blood, so watch out if you easily bleed or are taking a blood thinner.

2. White Pine Tree

I have an abundance of pine trees. Steeping a bunch of fresh green pine needles in water for five minutes makes a unique tea loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A. The horrible disease scurvy is rare these days because we have access to foods with vitamin C. But if we didn’t, pine needles could be a lifesaver.

The needles also contain a bit of shikimic acid, which is the prime ingredient in the antiflu medicine Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate). OK, drinking enough pine needle tea to equal even one Tamiflu dose is close to impossible, but if it’s all that’s available who knows? It doubt it will hurt. That is, unless you pick the wrong type of pine tree.

Needles from some types of pines are poisonous. These include the ponderosa, lodgepole, juniper, yew, and several others. The type that seems to be cited and safe is the white pine. But again, as with the poisonous ones, there are plenty other nonpoisonous ones. The point is, as with any wild plant, know what you’re ingesting, and avoid it completely if you have doubts.

As with the garlic, I’d avoid any near a road or anywhere that could have been sprayed recently. And avoid them completely if you might be pregnant. They’ve been linked to miscarriages. Just for safety I’d avoid them if you’re breastfeeding and limit the amount of or avoid giving the tea to small children.

A gum ball from a sweet gum tree.

A gum ball from a sweet gum tree in my yard.

3. Sweet Gum Tree

Sweet gum trees grow mainly in the East and South and in California. If you live in one of these areas, you know them as those trees with the horrible thorny “sweet gum balls” that fall and cover the ground in a prickly mess.

The seeds inside the balls contain a small amount of shikimic acid. In fact, a variety of the tree found in China contains a lot more of the stuff—so much that it is refined to make the actual Tamiflu. Apparently Native Americans used to chew sweet gum tree sap, and I’ve heard of people using a twig as a toothbrush. It’s supposed to be good for your gums (the gums around your teeth, in your mouth; the wording can be confusing). Like the pine needle tea, I’d not give much to children and avoid it completely if you are breastfeeding or might be pregnant.

4. Dandelion

Another weed I have plenty of is the dandelion. It seems to grow about anywhere it wants to in the yard. The leaves are delicious in salad, but don’t eat too much. They can have a mild laxative affect. Good if you’re constipated of course. Again, avoid any that might have been sprayed.

The plants I’ve mentioned are just the ones I’ve noticed at first glance of the property. I’m sure there are many more.

What about you? What wild plants in your area have medicinal uses?

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How To Make Garlic Pan Bread On A Campfire

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Pan breads are quick and easy to make, adding a great element to your camping menus. The are delicious, punching above their weight in terms of flavour. They are also both filling and calorific, providing not just…

This first appeared on Paul Kirtley’s Blog. If you like my content, CLICK HERE to get 20 free videos today.

4 All-Natural, Chemical-Free Wormers For Your Livestock

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4 All-Natural, Chemical-Free Wormers For Your Livestock

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Many small farmers and homesteaders use natural wormers for livestock in place of chemical alternatives.

Let’s first talk about why you might consider an alternative to chemical wormers. Chemical wormers are easily obtained, easily administered and touted as the answer to parasite infestations.

However, as with most chemical concoctions that can be used on the homestead, they come with some possible side-effects that you may want to consider.

One of the most prevalent: Parasites develop resistance to chemical parasiticides. That means eventually they won’t be effective on your livestock and you’ll need to change wormers.

Another consideration is the residual chemicals that can be deposited in your soil when the wormer passes through your stock.

If you are raising livestock for meat consumption you should consider the residual chemicals that may remain in your meat. If you sell your products to others, many of today’s consumers do not want to risk chemical residues in their meat.

If you want to avoid the possibility of your wormer not working and the residual complications associated with chemical wormers, you might want to consider some of these alternatives.

1. Herbal wormers

There are many pre-formulated herbal wormers available commercially for different types of livestock. You can also research and formulate your own. Be aware that herbs are powerful and that caution should be used when mixing and dispensing to livestock.

2. Diatomaceous earth (DE)

Food grade diatomaceous earth is approved as an anti-caking agent in animal feeds. Make certain you obtain food grade, as other grades of diatomaceous earth are poisonous to animals or humans.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth: The Best All-Natural Wormer For Your Livestock

For the best results, use DE continuously as a feed supplement.

3. Essential oils

4 All-Natural, Chemical-Free Wormers For Your Livestock

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Many small farmers have successfully used essential oils as an alternative worming protocol. Some of these oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil before adding them. Some of the most common essential oils are clove, nutmeg, fennel, vetiver cumin, anise, tea tree, Idaho tansy, thyme and laurel leaf.

4. Garlic

Fresh garlic or garlic powder can be used as a wormer. Introduce small amounts of the garlic over several days as to get the stock accustomed to it before increasing the amount over time. Garlic acts quickly on existing adult worms.

The best way to keep your livestock free of parasites is to use a regularly scheduled worming routine and practice good prevention methods.

Avoid keeping animals in close quarters for long periods of time. A good prevention method for keeping parasites to a minimum is rotating your stock to clean pastures and shelters on a regular basis.

To test for parasite levels in your stock it is best to have a veterinarian perform a fecal examination test (or you can learn to do these yourself).

As with any alternative health protocol, do your research and consult with your veterinarian before starting any treatment protocol for parasites.

Do you use alternative wormers? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Garlic Growing Guide

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Garlic Growing Guide

Just when you think you’ve done all you can do in the garden for the year, it’s time to plant the garlic.

Here, in North Carolina, we had a cold snap. Woke up to 35 degrees some mornings! (That’s cold by Southern standards. :) )  So, that was my sign. Better not wait any longer. I got my cloves in the ground this week. And because it’s hard to go wrong with garlic, I’m anticipating a good harvest next summer. (Yes, it takes that long for garlic to grow!)

Garlic does best when planted in late fall and takes about 8 months to mature. You can plant it in the spring, but the size of your bulbs will suffer. So, if you haven’t gotten your cloves planted in the garden yet, don’t wait much longer. 

Here’s what you need to know to get your cloves in the ground and enjoy a garlic harvest next year.

Garlic Growing Guide


When to Plant: Mid September through November 30. October is the best time.
How to Plant: Break open the bulbs and separate the cloves. Pick out the larger cloves for planting. Small ones aren’t desirable as they produce small bulbs. Do not peel off the outer skin. With the fatter end down (pointed end up), push the clove into hole in soil. Cover with about 2 inches of dirt. Water well and then cover with mulch—compost, leaves, or straw, etc.
Sun Exposure: Full sun, may tolerate partial shade
Seed Depth: Plant 2 inches deep
Spacing: 2 to 4 inches apart or 9 plants per square foot


Growing Tips:

  • Improve or amend your soil before planting. Garlic thrives in loose, well-draining, weed-free soil. Raised beds are ideal.
  • Avoid planting non-organic, store-bought garlic as it has often been treated to prevent it from sprouting. The best source of garlic cloves comes from a local nursery or garden center because they’ll sell varieties that thrive in your area.
  • Good soil moisture is required. Water throughout the growing season but stop watering when the leaves start to turn brown to prevent deterioration of the bulb.
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer can be used in the spring (2 or 3 times) while plants are green and growing, up until May. Do not fertilize after May 15th.
  • Hardneck garlic varieties will produce a curly stem called “scapes” as they matures. When the scape reaches approximately 10 inches in length, cut it off, as it will inhibit the growth of the bulb. Use the scapes are great in soups and stirfry.


When to Harvest: Garlic is ready to harvest when the greens begin to turn brown and dry out but preferably with 5-8 green leaves still attached. This is usually in June or early July but varies depending on the weather. Use a digging fork to loosen soil and pull the bulbs by hand. Remove excess soil with your hands. Do not wash. Lay the bulbs, single file, in a shady spot immediately. Garlic needs to “cure” (dry out) in a dry, warm, dark, airy place for four weeks and sometimes longer. A well-ventilated shed or garage is the ideal place to hang them. Be prepared. They will have a strong smell. Garlic is cured when it has dry skins, tight necks, and dry, crunchy foliage. Trim roots and cut the stalks about an inch above the bulb once cured.

How to Store: Store in net bags, out of direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate.


Cooking suggestions: Way too many great dishes to list. Garlic is in just about everything! One of my family’s favorite ways to use it is in homemade tomato sauce.  Here’s a few other recipes to try:

Roasted Garlic and Dill White Bean Dip

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Easy Roasted Potatoes with Garlic

Immune Boosting Hash Browns

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Garlic, Post-Disaster Medicine

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Garlic for Post-Disaster Medicine
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

10-18-15 purple-garlic-flower-closeThis week’s show is dedicated to the pungent, spicy, and strong-flavored herb, garlic. The culinary and medicinal applications of garlic should warrant it a major place in any home garden. For the prepper/survivalist making plans for healthcare when our medical system may not be available, garlic could well save your life.

Think this is an exaggeration? It’s antibiotic, antidiabetic, antifungal, antiparasitical, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, expectorant, and hypotensive. Preparations including garlic, can cover a wide range of serious conditions, keeping your disaster health care prep relatively simple.

10-18-15 garlic-1355275160pmpGarlic is a vulnerary, as it has a well-established history of wound care. Effective against staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria, bringing garlic in contact with infected tissue has prevented an untold number of wounds from turning into sepsis. Garlic helps the respiratory system expel thick mucus and ease asthma symptoms. There is some evidence to suggest that it also helps to regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas, which would be critical to helping anyone with diabetes survive a disaster with no medical care.

10-18-15 dice-garlicWhat would you do if you were suddenly without either blood pressure medication? What if there were no more refills on Lipitor available from the pharmacy because there isn’t a pharmacy anymore? No one wants a heart attack or stroke. Ever. You especially do not want to have a heart attack or stroke when there is no doctor available. The cardiovascular benefits cannot be understated. Garlic is also a vasodilator, helping to lower blood pressure. Plus, this hot herb can help achieve a healthy cholesterol level.

Garlic is also a time-tested favorite remedy during the cold and flu season. Add it to decoctions, syrups, ferment garlic cloves in vinegar or in honey. It chases away the aches and pains of the flu, and does wonders for throat and ear infections.

There is still so much more to say about how garlic can help you stay healthy after a disaster. Do not wait until after SHTF to learn how to use garlic as medicine. As we all know, the time to learn a skill is before you actually need it. Start right now by listening to this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, to learn all about how to make garlic remedies.
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