Congratulations, February Certification Graduates!

Congratulations to the following Community members on completing one or more of our Certifications in February!

As many of you know, one of the perks of membership in our Honors Lab is FREE access to several amazing certifications in our Honors Lab area—and lots more are in the works.

These Certifications dive deep. They’re essentially multi-lesson master classes, full of practical know-how so you can immediately start reaping benefits for yourself, your family, and your garden.

(And if you’re not an Honors Lab member yet, you can gain access to these Certifications + lots more perks of membership by joining today. Click here to learn more!)

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

This 8-week course teaches the principles of bio-intensive gardening—one of the easiest, most sustainable ways to produce big, delicious fruits and vegetables!

It covers everything from starting and transplanting seedlings to the basics of garden beds and soil, and from making compost to garden maintenance. There’s even a section on harvesting and processing grains!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing the Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification in February!

  • Robert Held
  • Scott Sexton


Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

The Home Medicine 101 Certification is a perennial favorite in the Honors Lab!

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

  • Burns, stings, and rashes,
  • Wounds and lacerations,
  • Coughs and colds,
  • Fevers,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anxiety and insomnia,
  • Muscle pain, and
  • Topical infections …

… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!

Congratulations to the following Community members for completing Home Medicine 101:

  • cathy.marcotte
  • DeniseChristensen
  • emull
  • Heather Duro
  • James Douglas
  • RoseBruno
  • Barefoot Kent
  • Catherine
  • JaneMcCutchen
  • George
  • Ruthie Guten
  • Bonnie Guffey
  • Shelley Buttenshaw
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • cathieonline
  • Emma May HunterHunter
  • janetch2008
  • russraiche
  • ShirleyJohns
  • Markkroneberger
  • Sharon Companion
  • joysong42
  • Carol Harant
  • jonhg
  • Lisa Cannon
  • Ericka Bajrami
  • rachelthudson
  • Patricia McBurney
  • PamWatros
  • Scott Sexton
  • Jane Mobley
  • Kim McClure
  • Waylon Olrick
  • Lisa Carroll


Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

In just 8 lessons, The Grow Network’s Instant Master Gardener Certification reveals gardening secrets, tips, and tricks that most people spend years discovering.

Lessons include:

  1. “The Secret to a Green Thumb”
  2. “How Much Land Do You Need?”
  3. “The Power of Herbs”
  4. “The Easiest Way to Prepare a Garden Bed”
  5. “Three Facts About Seeds Every Master Gardener Knows”
  6. “Transplanting Baby Plants”
  7. “The Four HUGE Advantages of Backyard Food Production”
  8. “A Homemade Fertilizer So Powerful, You Could Create a Business Out of It”

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification in February:

  • Robert Held
  • PatriciaWolfe
  • tnsh5699
  • Lisa Carroll
  • Scott Sexton


Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

Learn how to save seeds that will ensure an abundant harvest in years to come with the in-depth information in TGN’s Saving Quality Seeds Certification.

This 7-lesson Certification teaches which plants are easiest to save seeds from, how to plan your garden with seed-saving in mind, how to do a garden soil inventory, the basics of dry and wet harvesting, the best way to store seed, how to determine seed quality—and more!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab member on completing this Certification:

  • Scott Sexton


Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

I’m excited to announce that we’ve put the finishing touches on another multi-lesson, deep-diving Certification, which has just been added to the Honors Lab:

NEW! Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

In this awesome new certification, TGN blogger (and homesteader extraordinaire!) Tasha Greer covers everything from breed selection and coop design to flock health and egg storage — plus lots more….

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Home Medicine,” “Backyard Meat Rabbits,” “Bird-watching,” and “Beekeeping.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂


The post Congratulations, February Certification Graduates! appeared first on The Grow Network.

Early Spring Foraging with Cat the Herbal Prepper!

Early Spring Foraging with Cat the Herbal Prepper!

Early Spring Foraging
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

This episode on Herbal Prepper Live, we’re talking about early spring foraging. It may not feel it outside yet, but spring is just around the corner. Soon, there will be the first green shoots and tender new roots which will be ready for the picking.

Wild Food and Medicine

Listen to this broadcast or download “Early Spring Foraging” in player below!

Continue reading Early Spring Foraging with Cat the Herbal Prepper! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

11 Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Oftentimes, the world’s best medications are not the ones developed in labs, but rather the ones made by Mother Nature. For thousands of years, mankind has relied on various herbs to treat a wide range of conditions. While the advent of antibiotics drastically reduced the popularity of these herbal alternatives, they still remain effective to […]

The post 11 Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

12 Uses for Rose Petals—From the Kitchen to the Boudoir (With Recipes)

The fabled rosequeen of the plant kingdom. Did you know that there are over 100 species of roses?

While the wild roses, Rosa rugosa, are considered the queen of the roses for medicinal purposes, all roses lend their soothing and nurturing support in many ways. You need not go out into the wild to look for roses as you probably already grow some yourself, or at least know someone who does since roses are commonly grown as ornamental plants.

Although roses are fairly easy to grow, often requiring nothing more than periodic pruning, the spectacular sight and heavenly scent of the flowers do not last long and soon give way to the red colored fruits known as rose hips. Collecting rose petals, however, is easy to do so long as one is wary of the thorns.

Read more: 7 Types of Marigolds – Which One is Right for You?

How to Dry Fresh Rose Petals

How to dry fresh rose petals

Rose petals are edible and can be collected at any time for this purpose. However, rose petals that are to be used in recipes or to be dried require a bit of planning. The perfect time to collect rose petals is mid-morning, on a dry day when the dew has evaporated and there’s been no rain for at least the past two days. Bring your fingers over an opened rose flower and tug gently on all the petals at once.

Roses that are ready to release their petals will fall easily into your hands while the center of the flower will remain intact to produce the rose hip soon thereafter. Petals that resist when you tug on them are not ready to be collected, and if you persist you may accidentally pull off the whole flower. While gathering your rose petals, collect them in a paper bag. This will help to absorb any moisture that may be on petals. A wooden basket will work. Only use a plastic bag as a last resort.

To dry the rose petals, simply spread newspaper on a flat surface, distribute the petals across the paper and let them air dry. They should be ready in a few days. You can also let them air dry in a dehydrator, or turn it on and use the lowest setting (95°F).

Read more: Edible Redbud Flowers – The Delicious and Nutritious Harbinger of Spring

12 Creative Uses for Rose Petals

12 Uses for Rose Petals

Now that you know how to collect rose petals, and you know that they are both edible and medicinal, read on to discover some of the ways you may want to experience the beneficial effects of rose petals for yourself or for your family.

1. Let Them Eat Rose Petals on Toast

Place a layer of your favorite nut butter, cheese topping, or spread on toast. Place a fresh petal on top of the spread and continue to cover with petals. Now, eat on up!

White petals make a nice contrast against the brown of a nut butter while dark, damask-colored roses lend their perfume to the air before taking a bite.

Feel free to use a combination of colors or to try this idea with crackers and serve as interesting hors-d’oeuvres. Different colors have different tastes, so have fun experimenting!

2. Add Fragrance to Your Next Salad

Red, light pink, dark pink, white, yellow, orange, mauve, or blue—fresh rose petals make a stunning contrast against the greens in a salad. Not only do they tempt the eyes, but the nose, too. Rose petals contain anthocyanins, so feel free to indulge in these antioxidant-rich delicacies.

3. Help a Boo-Boo or a Sore Throat

Rose petals are antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic, so the next time you get a small cut while out in the garden, apply a fresh petal or two and hold in place as a protective covering. To help relieve a sore throat, infuse fresh rose petals in honey.

Simple Rose-Petal Honey Recipe

Add fresh rose petals to a mason jar and lightly pack them in. Pour honey over the petals almost to the top, and stir with a non-metallic object (a bamboo skewer works nicely) to ensure petals are coated. Add more honey to the top. Put on lid and screw cap and let them sit for 6 weeks in the cupboard.

Strain out rose petals using a sieve, pushing down on the rose petals to extract all of the honey with the back of a spoon or, make this task easier by using a nut milk bag. Store your rose-petal honey in a cool, dry place.

Add a teaspoon or two to some warm tea to nix a sore throat “in the bud” (at the first sign of a sore throat).

4. Move Blood, or Stop Diarrhea

Rose tea makes an excellent emmenagogue to help move blood and quell cramps during menstruation. Rose tea can also help to curb diarrhea since roses are astringent (wild rose being especially so).

Rose Tea Recipe

Fill a mason jar to the top with slightly packed dried petals. Pour boiling water over the roses, to the top of the jar. Place lid and screw cap on; let sit 4 hours to overnight. Strain out petals using a sieve, squeezing out the excess tea from the flowers. (You can also use a nut milk bag: Place nut milk bag in a bowl, pour tea into the bag, close the bag and squeeze out the liquid.)

To help relieve menstrual cramps or diarrhea, drink 2–3 cups per day.

5. Soothe and Nourish Your Skin

Roses are considered to be cooling and hydrating, and they offer their soothing energy to help with both irritated and dehydrated skin when made into a floral water. While you can buy rose floral water, you might want to try your hand at this homemade version.

Rose Floral Water Recipe

You’ll need:

A large pot
A heat-proof bowl about the same size as the pot (although you can make a smaller bowl work)
A brick or another heat-proof bowl to hold up the first bowl
Plenty of ice
Approximately 4–6 cups of fresh rose petals
Some spring water
A turkey baster
Clean spritz bottle (optional)
A funnel (optional, but if you’re using the spritz bottle, this makes pouring the Rose Floral Water into it a lot easier)

Place the brick in the bottom of the pot and place the bowl on top of the brick. If you don’t have a brick, use an inverted bowl and place the first bowl on top of the inverted bowl. Next, place fresh rose petals in the pot all around the bowl. The rose petals should come up halfway to the bowl—use about 4–6 cups of fresh petals. Add spring water to cover the roses. Place the lid on the pot and turn on the heat to medium-high. When the water starts boiling, lower the heat to medium. Invert the lid of the pot and add ice to the lid.

It works like this: The rose petals in the water are simmering in the pot. The rose water rises to the top of the pot (vaporization), where it meets the cold lid. Condensation forms on the lid and then it drops back into the bowl. The liquid collected in the bowl is now floral water!

Since the ice will melt, use the turkey baster to suck up the excess water. Continue to add fresh ice for the next 20–30 minutes. You can check after 15 minutes to make sure there is still water in the pot. Let everything cool, and then pour the floral water into a clean spritz bottle (using a funnel makes this task a lot easier).

To use as a gentle toner for the face, help soothe irritated skin (including acne and sunburn), or help rehydrate skin, simply spritz on face after a shower, after being out in the garden/sun for too long, or as needed.

6. Ease Your Pain

Since roses are well-known for their emollient and healing properties, they nourish all kinds of skin types, including skin with rosacea and eczema. Roses are also great for soothing pain and easing taut nerves when made into a simple massage oil.

Rose-Petal Oil Recipe

Fill a mason jar with slightly packed fresh rose petals. Pour olive or sweet almond oil over the petals. Mix to coat the petals with the oil—a bamboo skewer makes a good stirring stick. After mixing, add more oil to the top of the jar. Place lid and screw cap on, let sit 6 weeks in the cupboard, then strain out the rose oil (yes, a nut milk bag or sieve will work). Store your oil in a dark amber bottle.

Variations: To extend the shelf life of your oil, you can add 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. To make your facial oil more nourishing, you can use walnut or macadamia oil (highly nourishing for dry, sensitive, or mature skin). You can also add in several drops of rose hip seed oil (purchase in health food stores), if desired.

7. Open the Love Center

Roses have long been associated with love, and they are known to help open the heart chakra. They have also been known to help mend a broken heart. Try this sweet and simple recipe for a little emotional healing.

Rose Glycerite Recipe

Fill a mason jar to the top with slightly packed fresh rose petals. Pour food-grade glycerin over the rose petals, stirring to ensure they are coated (a bamboo skewer works well for this). Add more glycerin to the top. Put on the lid and screw cap and store in the cupboard for 6 weeks. Use a nut-milk bag or sieve to strain out the liquid, pressing or squeezing on the petals to extract all of the liquid. Store the rose glycerite in a dark amber bottle that has a cap affixed with a dropper.

You can carry this bottle around with you. Whenever you need a little emotional rebalancing, take 2030 drops in a glass of water. Glycerin is 60% as sweet as sugar, so consider this a sweet “medicine” indeed!

8. Uplift Your Spirits

Roses are known for helping to decrease stress, tension, and depression, and to lighten the mood. So why not indulge in a 0 calorie pick-me-up with some Rose Petal Jello?

Rose Petal Jello Recipe

To 2 cups of rose tea (see #4 above), add a teaspoon of stevia, or more, according to your taste. Put the tea in a glass or ceramic pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add in 1 package of gelatin, stirring to dissolve about 2 minutes; then put in the fridge to set.

Note: Different roses yield different-tasting jello. How strong or weak you make the tea also affects the taste. For example, try using 1/2 oz. rose petals in 1 liter of water if you think it’s too strong, or add in 1 1/2 oz. petals to 1 liter of water for a stronger taste.

Variations: To sweeten the jello more, try adding in a tablespoon of rose glycerite (see #7 above), plus stevia to taste. Since gelatin is great for the skin, you can add in 2 packages of gelatin instead of one.

9. Add Fragrance to Your Unmentionables

Rose petals are commonly used in potpourri, so why not make your own? It’s cheap and easy. While you can add dried rose petals to mini organza bags (purchase in stores or online), for a dirt-cheap DIY solution, simply add dried petals to a paper envelope, seal it and slip it in your drawer.

You could also make your own bag with some leftover fabric scraps. Use shears to cut a square or circle in a piece of fabric. Add a few rose petals to the center, gather the edges together, then secure with a rubber band. Finally, add a ribbon to hide the rubber band.

If you’d like a stronger scent, add a few drops of rose essential oil. If you’d like the scent to last longer, add 1 tablespoon orris root powder to every 2 cups of rose petals.

10. Entice You, Entice Me

It’s no secret that roses are an aphrodisiac. Indeed, rose petal tea helps to tonify both the male and female reproductive systems. In men, it helps to speed up sperm motility, thereby helping with fertility. In women, the bioflavonoids in roses help with the production of estrogen. And the phytosterols in roses help both sexes to balance their hormones. Although you can get some of this love action by sipping on a cuppa rose tea (see #4 to learn how to make rose tea), try using rose tea instead of water the next time you cook rice, quinoa, millet, or your other favorite grains.

11. A Romantic Dinner for Two

Roses have long been associated with love ,and they are also aromatic. Try adding some romance to the dinner table with this simple recipe: Use equal parts rose tea (see #4 above) and apple cider vinegar with the “mother.” Store in a spray bottle. To use: Spritz on salads to lend some romance. You can also pair this with oil to make a romantic rosy salad dressing.

12. Relax in Luxury

What else can I say, roses are simply luxurious! Restorative and relaxing, rose petals are known to calm the mind. So the next time you want some “me time,” unwind by adding rose petals to your bath. Simply add a small handful of dried rose petals to the center of a face cloth, tie with elastic bands, secure the cloth over the faucet and run the water. Or you can add the facecloth directly to the bath water. Add in some Epsom salts or sea salts and let the fragrance of the roses envelop you in serenity.

Do You Have More to Add to this List?

These are only a few simple suggestions about ways that you can creatively use rose petals at home to enhance your meals, your health, and your relationships. If you have other uses for rose petals that I’ve overlooked here, go ahead and add a comment below to share your ideas with our Community!

However you use them, be sure to give carte blanche to a wholesome dose of love and perfume about the air. Enjoy!

(This post was originally published on August 5, 2015.)

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

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The post 12 Uses for Rose Petals—From the Kitchen to the Boudoir (With Recipes) appeared first on The Grow Network.

Off-Grid Dental Care and Emergencies!

Off-Grid Dental Care and Emergencies!

Off-Grid Dental Care and Emergencies
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

This  Herbal Prepper Live show explores the preventative and emergency dental care for off-grid scenarios. Preppers tend to think a lot about what life would be if there were no doctor, hospital, or pharmacy around. This week, we’re looking at strategies if there is no dentist or commercially-prepared dental hygiene products available.

Herbal Dental Care

Listen to this broadcast or download “Off-Grid Dental Care and Emergencies” in player below!

Continue reading Off-Grid Dental Care and Emergencies! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Congratulations, Members, on Completing These Certifications!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing one or more of our Certifications!

As many of you know, one of the perks of membership in our Honors Lab is FREE access to several amazing certifications in our Honors Lab area—and lots more are in the works.

These Certifications dive deep. They’re essentially multi-lesson master classes, full of practical know-how so you can immediately start reaping benefits for yourself, your family, and your garden.

(And if you’re not an Honors Lab member yet, you can gain access to these Certifications + lots more perks of membership by joining today. Click here to learn more!)

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

This 8-week course teaches the principles of bio-intensive gardening—one of the easiest, most sustainable ways to produce big, delicious fruits and vegetables!

It covers everything from starting and transplanting seedlings to the basics of garden beds and soil, and from making compost to garden maintenance. There’s even a section on harvesting and processing grains!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing the Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification!

  • Brian Moyers
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Alice Krueger
  • Ann Kudlicki
  • Carole Barrett
  • Chantal Turcotte
  • David Clark
  • Diane Jandt
  • Ellie Strand
  • Fern Cavanaugh
  • George Griggs
  • HP P
  • James Tutor
  • Keith Gascon
  • Kristina Head
  • Lori Rupp-Reagle
  • Lyndsy Schlup
  • Marlene Wild
  • Michael Clayton
  • Michael Oden
  • paulasmith
  • Rachel Tardif
  • Revola Fontaine
  • Robert Wohlfiel
  • Rogers George
  • Saunya Hildebrand
  • Shawn Skeffington
  • Stephen Biernesser
  • Stephen Bolin
  • Susan Faust
  • tnsh5699
  • William Torres

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

The Home Medicine 101 Certification is a perennial favorite in the Honors Lab!

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

  • Burns, stings, and rashes,
  • Wounds and lacerations,
  • Coughs and colds,
  • Fevers,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anxiety and insomnia,
  • Muscle pain, and
  • Topical infections …

… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing Home Medicine 101:

  • Raelene Norris
  • Alfredo Moreno
  • Alice DeLuca
  • Alice Krueger
  • Alta Blomquist
  • Amanda Gossett
  • Amy Blight
  • Amy Marquardt
  • Andrea Hill
  • Angel Hartness
  • Angela Wilson
  • Anna Zingaro
  • Anne McNally
  • Annette Coder
  • Antony Chomley
  • Arlene Woods
  • Barry Williams
  • Beth Zorbanos
  • Bohn Dunbar
  • Bonnie Shemie
  • Brenda Thompson
  • Brian Moyers
  • Camilla-Faye Muerset
  • Cara Hettich
  • Carol Bandi
  • Carol Ryerson
  • Carole Barrett
  • Carolyn Winchester
  • Carra
  • Catie Ransom
  • Chantale Mitchell
  • Charles Marian
  • Chelsea
  • Cherisbiz
  • Christi Crane
  • Christina Hawk
  • Christine Lawler
  • Christine Sadilek
  • Cindy Farley
  • Constantine Spialek
  • Craig Mackie
  • Cynthia Parker
  • Dale Bolton
  • Daniel Shook
  • Danielle Stenger
  • Dave Danner
  • Debbi Sander
  • Debbie Ford
  • Debbie Hill
  • Deborah Scribner
  • Debra Jensen
  • Debra Miller
  • Denise Callahan
  • Desiree Garcia
  • Diane Devine
  • Diane Jandt
  • Diane Massey
  • Dianna Burton
  • Don Wong
  • Donna Detweiler
  • Donna Norman
  • Dr. Carol Viera
  • Ellen Reh-Bower
  • Emily Bell
  • Emma Dorsey
  • Felicitas & Leandro Cometa
  • Fern Cavanaugh
  • Gail Maynard
  • Gary Flinchbaugh
  • George Griggs
  • Gilbert Sieg
  • Gina Jeffries
  • Ginger Cline
  • Hannelore Chan
  • Heather Munoz
  • Helen Bailey
  • Helen McGlynn
  • HP P
  • Irida Sangemino
  • Jamie Birchall
  • jamingo62
  • Jane Burkheimer
  • Janna Huggins
  • Jaudette Olson
  • Jessica Bonilla
  • Jessica Conley
  • Jim Hadlock
  • Jodee Maas
  • John Kempf
  • Jouski
  • Joyce Tallmadge Tallmadge
  • Judith Johnson
  • Julene Trigg
  • Julian San Miguel
  • Julie Kahrs
  • Juliet Wimp
  • Justin Talbot
  • Karen Brennan
  • Karen Suplee
  • Kat Sturtz
  • Katherine Keahey
  • Kathy O’Neal
  • Kathy Williams
  • Kelly Pagel
  • Kim Adelle Larson
  • Kim Kelly
  • Kim Osborne
  • Kimberley Burns-Childers
  • Kimberly Dolak
  • Kimberly Martin
  • Kristen Fitzgerald
  • Kristen McClellan
  • Laura Elliott
  • Laura Riches
  • Laurie Swope
  • LeanneTalshshar
  • Leediafast Bailey
  • Leslie Carl
  • Liann Graf
  • Linda
  • Linda Adair
  • Linda Beeth
  • Linda Cavage
  • Linda Grinthal
  • Linda Maes
  • Linda Raymer
  • Lisa Emerson
  • Lisa O’Connell
  • Lois Pratt
  • Lori Rupp-Reagle
  • Lori Spry
  • Lyudmila Kollin Kollin
  • Mandi Golman
  • Mandy Allen
  • Marcel Legierse
  • Marie Kidd
  • Marilyn Lange
  • Marjorie Hamrick
  • Marlene Moore
  • Martha Stanley
  • Mary Atsina
  • Mary Coons
  • Mary Dove
  • Mary Holt
  • Mary Sanderson
  • MaryAnn Kirchhoffer
  • Michael Hedemark
  • Michele Langford
  • Michelle Messier
  • Mike Scheck Scheck
  • Millicent Drucquer
  • Mimi Neoh
  • Monika Thompson
  • Nancy K. Young
  • Natalie Burton
  • Nellie Bhattarai
  • Nikki Follis
  • Nikki Thompson
  • Pamela Morrison
  • Patricia Scholes
  • Paula Frazier
  • Pete Lundy
  • Phil Tkachuk
  • Rachel Tardif
  • Rebecca Hale
  • Rebecca Riddle
  • Renee Hume
  • Revola Fontaine
  • Richard T. Tungate
  • Rick Horton
  • Robert Harris
  • Robert Kennedy
  • Robin Marshall
  • Rochelle Eisenberger
  • Rodger Huffman
  • Rogers George
  • Ruth Hester
  • Ruth Macrides
  • Ryan Johnston
  • S. Henshaw
  • Samantha Stokes
  • Sandi Huston
  • Sandra Mikesell
  • Sarah Cowan
  • Sarah Schwartz
  • Shalise Klebel
  • Sharon Marsh
  • Shawn Elmore
  • Shelly B.
  • Shelly Vogt
  • Sherry Hofecker
  • Steve Frazier
  • Sue Mortensen
  • Susan Abdullah
  • Susan Auckland
  • Susan Friesen
  • Susan Gray
  • Susan Phillips
  • Suzanne Oberly
  • Tammy Gresham
  • Tamora Gilbert
  • Teresa Elston
  • Teri Moote
  • Terra Eckert
  • Terry Bomar
  • Theresa McCuaig
  • Theresa Schultz
  • Tracie Velazquez
  • Wanita Martinelli
  • Wendy Meredith
  • William Torres

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

In 8 lessons, The Grow Network’s Instant Master Gardener Certification reveals gardening secrets, tips, and tricks that most people spend years discovering.

Lessons include:

  1. “The Secret to a Green Thumb”
  2. “How Much Land Do You Need?”
  3. “The Power of Herbs”
  4. “The Easiest Way to Prepare a Garden Bed”
  5. “Three Facts About Seeds Every Master Gardener Knows”
  6. “Transplanting Baby Plants”
  7. “The Four HUGE Advantages of Backyard Food Production”
  8. “A Homemade Fertilizer So Powerful, You Could Create a Business Out of It”

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification:

  • Brian Moyers
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Dianne
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Aldo
  • Alice Krueger
  • Andrea Hill
  • Annie Degabriele
  • Barb
  • Beth Zorbanos
  • Bonnie Tyler
  • Bryson Thompson
  • bydawnsearlylite
  • Christina Hawk
  • Christy Dominguez
  • csells815
  • Cynthia Parker
  • David Clark
  • Debbie
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Deborah Gonzales
  • Debra Frazier
  • Debra Hollcroft
  • Doc Hecker
  • Elmer Caddell
  • Gary Conter
  • Gayle Lawson
  • Geraldine Christmas
  • Gregg
  • HP P
  • Ibeneon
  • James Judd
  • Jamie Barker
  • Jeanette Tuppen
  • jeff780
  • Jennifer Johnson
  • JoAnn
  • Joe Prohaska
  • John Kempf
  • Karen
  • Karyn Pennington
  • Katycasper
  • Kcasalese
  • Keith Gascon
  • Kenneth
  • Laura Mahan
  • Leah Kay Olmes
  • Lisa Blakeney
  • Lori Rupp-Reagle
  • Marti Noden
  • Mary Falkner
  • Megan Venturella
  • metaldog227
  • Michael Clayton
  • Michael Merriken
  • Michael Dirrim
  • Nicole Mindach
  • Philip Vance
  • Rachel Tardif
  • Robert Wohlfiel
  • Robin
  • Rogers George
  • Ron Atkinson
  • Samantha Straw
  • Sammabrey
  • Sandy
  • Shawn Skeffington
  • Sheila Robadey
  • Sherry Ankers
  • Sherry Baer
  • Spraygsm
  • Stacey
  • Teddy Plaisted
  • Teresa Wolf
  • William Torres

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

Learn how to save seeds that will ensure an abundant harvest in years to come with the in-depth information in TGN’s Saving Quality Seeds Certification.

This 7-lesson Certification teaches which plants are easiest to save seeds from, how to plan your garden with seed-saving in mind, how to do a garden soil inventory, the basics of dry and wet harvesting, the best way to store seed, how to determine seed quality—and more!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing this Certification:

  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Brian Moyers
  • Diane Jandt
  • Gary Conter
  • HP P
  • Janna Huggins
  • Phil Tkachuk
  • William Torres

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

I’m excited to announce that we’re putting the finishing touches on another multi-lesson, deep-diving certification, which will be added to the Honors Lab very soon:

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

In this awesome new certification, TGN blogger (and homesteader extraordinaire!) Tasha Greer covers everything from breed selection and coop design to flock health and egg storage — plus lots more….

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Home Medicine,” “Backyard Meat Rabbits,” “Bird-watching,” and “Beekeeping.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂


The post Congratulations, Members, on Completing These Certifications! appeared first on The Grow Network.

Prepping with Arthritis!

Prepping with Arthritis
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

This week’s show is all about arthritis and what you can do for a back up plan in case the pharmacy shelves were empty.

How Arthritis Can Slow Preppers Down!
Arthritis can leave us with painful knees, hands, and neck. The joint pain of arthritis can lead to a decreased range of motion, difficulty walking and difficulty with manual tasks.

Continue reading Prepping with Arthritis! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Prepping and Asthma

Prepping and Asthma

Prepping and Asthma
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

We’re kicking off the first show of the year talking about how to prep with asthma. If you or someone in your group has asthma, or if you are planning to work with your community post-disaster, this episode is for you.

Listen to this broadcast or download “Prepping with Asthma” in player below!

Asthma is an obstructive lung disease.

Continue reading Prepping and Asthma at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Herbal Medicines for Ongoing Health

Guest Article by NRP I will be the first to admit I know about 1/1000 of what I would like to know about Homeopathic Medicine, Herbal Medicines, and Herbology. Also I am by no means a Doctor or claim to know lots about this topic. But I do know that the ability to “Heal” will be of GREAT importance in the ‘Aftermath’ of any potential long lasting SHTF. So, herbal medicines, what exactly is all the uproar about? Well let me first say this; I have seen first-hand what “Modern Medicine’s” hack/cut, Radiation/Chemo Drugs/Therapy Cut/Paste ‘can’ and will do. Also

The post Herbal Medicines for Ongoing Health appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Diabetes after an EMP

Diabetes after an EMP
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

In this episode, I cover some of the herbal, dietary, and glucose-monitoring strategies available for off-grid, post-disaster diabetes care. Diabetes is a serious condition in the best of times. Unfortunately, however, diabetics are particularly vulnerable to an EMP.

Listen to this broadcast or download “Diabetes after an EMP” in player below!

Due to the increased threats of nuclear war and an electromagnetic pulse coming out of North Korea, I have been getting a lot of questions about how to care for diabetes post-SHTF, especially post-EMP.

Continue reading Diabetes after an EMP at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The Apartment Apothecary: Herbal Medicine, With Recipes

How are my amazing Apartment Homesteaders doing so far?! Y’all are seriously ROCK STARS.

Please accept another one of my virtual high fives! 🙂

You’ve made the switch to…

Well. Done.

You’re well on your way to a sustainable lifestyle in your apartment homestead. Now it’s time to take control of your personal health and wellness through the use of natural, pharm-free medicines you can grow yourself or source sustainably.

Why Herbal Medicine?

Alternative, herbal medicine—becoming your own “apartment apothecary”—is absolutely vital to your life as an apartment homesteader.

You’ve probably seen the commercials at some point—the “buy this medication” commercials that say they’ll cure psoriasis or help reduce the risk of heart failure or help male members of the species get “ready for action” in 3.2 seconds flat.

But then they list 20 different side effects from that same medicine and you can’t help but stare at the TV with the same look you had last time you watched an ill-funded community theatre play….

Pharmaceuticals are formulated to tackle one problem and one problem only, and that is what the FDA allows them to print on the label: “This medication may help with pain management.” And that is followed with the warnings: “Excessive use of this medication may cause liver failure.”

Wait. WHAT?! Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

We already talked about how eating local, pesticide-free food can help you save money at the doctor and pharmacy.

But the switch to herbal medicine is about so much more than saving money.

It’s about cultivating your own wellness through the use of plants (the kind grown in Nature), not toxic chemicals (…grown in a…um…petri dish?). Why not take your apartment homesteading a step further and teach yourself to be your own pharmacy with natural, sustainable alternatives?

What to Expect With Herbal Medicine

I’ve talked to so many people who tried the “herbal medicine” thing and went quickly back to pharmaceuticals because the herbal remedies “didn’t work.”

And I understand why that happened. We’ve been conditioned to assume medicine works instantly—that they get rid of our headaches, cure our sinus infections, or get rid of our yeast infections as soon as the pill, cream, or spray reaches our skin or blood.

When an antibiotic doesn’t work the first time, we’ve been taught to get a second one to knock out the infection. If one round doesn’t work, we throw more at it. Which makes sense … oh wait—no, it doesn’t!

Herbal medicine is not a “quick fix” like the aspirin or Pepto-Bismol most of us are used to.

Herbal remedies create a lifetime of health and wellness by healing your body and helping each system in your body work the way it was intended to.

Alternative medicine is individualized, holistic care for a lifetime of personal health and wellness.

The goal is to find herbal remedies that work for you. The beauty of alternative medicine is the process of finding what works best for you specifically.

Start with the herbs and plants listed in the next section to start cultivating your own best alternative medicine cabinet and be on the road to your own personal, holistic health and wellness routine.

Natural Medicines to Grow Yourself and How to Use Them

If you’re visiting The Grow Network for the first time, I urge you to click around on the blog in the “Medicine” section while you’re here. The network of gardeners, homesteaders, and writers here has done some absolutely amazing work in alternative medicine already. My list below comes from the wealth of knowledge this network has already provided.

Want to learn even more about herbal remedies and all other aspects of apartment and modern homesteading? Sign up for the Lab!

Marjory published her list of the top 15 antibiotic alternatives in this blog post. I want to reiterate her list and talk about how you can grow some of those 15 super plants and use them in your own alternative medicine practice.


Marjory will instruct you on everything you need to know about the wonder that is garlic, and you can even get your free copy of “The Miracle of Garlic: Your First Home Medicine” here.

As Apartment Homesteaders, we can grow garlic in containers in our patio gardens. Make sure you give them plenty of room to stretch out in the soil in a container that is around 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide.1For instructions on how to grow garlic in containers:

Check out this video from TGN’s 2016 Home Grown Food Summit on how to grow great garlic!


One of the most visited sections of the pharmacy is the Cold and Flu section. Sinus “yuck” sufferers, get out of the pharmacy and into the garden!

If you’re like the women in my family, you know how nasty the winter sinus infection can be. The only time I’ve had to take antibiotics is for sinus infections, but Echinacea is an herbal alternative that can help knock out the sinus yuck without the harmful side effects of pharmaceutical antibiotics.

You can grow Echinacea in a pot on your garden patio.2For instructions on how to grow Echinacea in a pot:

But where most people dry Echinacea, recent studies have shown that fresh Echinacea has far more power to treat colds than the dried plant.3See,,20251749,00.html

Echinacea Tea Recipe

You can make a simple fresh Echinacea tea to drink during the cold and flu season by simply adding 1/2 cup of fresh Echinacea to 8 ounces of water. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the Echinacea. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Strain and add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, local honey. (The honey is especially helpful for a sore throat and a cough).4Find Echinacea tea and other recipes for using Echinacea medicinally here:

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has shown itself worthy to replace over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen—especially for muscle and joint pain.

This is another area of the pharmacy that is overused; acetaminophen and ibuprofen have droves of loyal consumers who take the medicines daily in an attempt to heal chronic pain. But they have side effects like liver damage and ulcers, so we need a natural alternative like cayenne pepper to replace the medicines we take for pain relief.

You can grow cayenne peppers in your patio garden or in a small pot indoors.5For instructions on how to grow cayenne peppers: Then, simply dry your peppers in the oven on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Cut the peppers into chunks so they dry faster and place them in the oven at about 200°F for 1–3 hours until dry. You can then grind them into a powder to use in this simple pain salve recipe:6Recipe from

Pain Salve Recipe

1/2 c. olive oil
2 T. cayenne powder
1/2 oz. beeswax

Infuse the olive oil with the cayenne powder using a double boiler technique. Strain through a cheesecloth. Then melt the beeswax and stir in the cayenne-infused olive oil. Pour the liquid mixture into jars or tins. Let it cool.

You can rub this salve directly onto the painful area. Not only does it allow you to avoid the dangerous side effects of over-the-counter pain medicines, but it may also work quicker than the oral pain relievers because it reaches the area of pain immediately without having to go through your blood stream to get there.


Turmeric, a bright orange root, is a great one to add to your garden for dietary and medicinal uses on your apartment homestead.

Turmeric has been shown to help mobilize fat in the body and may help reduce bad cholesterol.

High cholesterol is something many American adults struggle with, and too many of us depend on cholesterol medication to keep us out of the hospital for cholesterol-related issues. You can grow turmeric on your patio or indoors and harvest for treating a whole host of other health issues, as well—from inflammatory bowel disease to gall stones.7For instruction on how to grow turmeric in a pot:

Live in the Midwest like I do? Here’s how to grow turmeric and ginger in the Midwest.

One of my favorite ways to use turmeric is in a tea.8For turmeric tea recipe:

Turmeric Tea Recipe

Boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.9Learn how to make turmeric powder: Then, strain the tea and add honey or lemon to taste. You can also add a pinch of black pepper for increased absorption. 


Ginger is another plant you can grow fairly easily indoors on your apartment homestead.10For instruction on how to grow ginger indoors:

Ginger has been shown to have antiviral effects as well as antibacterial properties. Replace Pepto-Bismol, Imodium, Nauzene, and other medicines for stomach upset with ginger.

Ginger is one of my favorites to use when I suffer from stomach bugs. This is another one I like to take in tea form.

Ginger Tea Recipe

Simply steep between 1 and 1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in boiling water for about 10 minutes; then, strain and sip.11For the ginger tea recipe: 

Essential Oils: Round Out Your Medicine Cabinet

We’ve talked about the power of essential oils before, but we can’t have a chapter on alternative medicine without talking about essential oils!

Essential oils are super-concentrated plant extracts. They can be used to replace any and all over-the-counter medicines. And while many herbal remedies can take a little while to work, some essential oils can work almost instantly to reduce the symptoms of our maladies.

While you won’t be able to grow all the plants you need to create every herbal or alternative medicine in your apartment homestead, purchasing therapeutic-grade essential oils can help round out your apartment medicine cabinet. 

Two of My Favorite Natural Remedies

In my own alternative medicine journey, I’ve had the most difficulty replacing over-the-counter medicine in treatment of the common cold. Here are two of the best recipes I’ve found for natural alternatives to cough drops and cough syrup.

Honey and Essential Oils Lozenges Recipe

2 c. raw, local honey
20 drops Thieves essential oil blend*
20 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops oregano essential oil

Heat honey in a pot until candy thermometer reads 300°F (the “hard crack” stage). Stir constantly. Remove from heat and continue stirring until it cools slightly and starts to thicken. Make sure it is not still boiling continuously before adding your essential oils. Stir the oils in.

Then, in candy molds or on parchment paper, spoon out cough-drop-sized amounts of the honey/oils mixture. Allow to cool completely to room temperature. Store at room temperature.

* Thieves essential oil contains cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary essential oils. I buy mine from Young Living, although you could theoretically make it yourself.

Simple Cough Syrup Recipe

2 c. water
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 c. fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1 c. raw, local honey
1 fresh lemon, juiced
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Simmer thyme and ginger in water in a small pot over medium heat until the water is reduced by half. Allow to cool completely; then strain the herbs. Return the tea to the pot and whisk in honey, lemon, and cayenne pepper (which you hopefully grew yourself!).

Store in an airtight container.12I got this recipe from the Traditional Cooking School, but I adapted it so I could make it without an instant pot: Take one tablespoon to soothe sore throat and calm your cough.


Click around to other posts on alternative medicine here on The Grow Network to arm yourself with all the tools you need to be your own apartment apothecary!

And stay tuned for the next blog in the Apartment Homesteader series, where I’ll talk about how to surround yourself with a community of inspiring, green-living individuals like yourself who can help you take your sustainable living to the next level.


TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

References   [ + ]

1. For instructions on how to grow garlic in containers:
2. For instructions on how to grow Echinacea in a pot:
3. See,,20251749,00.html
4. Find Echinacea tea and other recipes for using Echinacea medicinally here:
5. For instructions on how to grow cayenne peppers:
6. Recipe from
7. For instruction on how to grow turmeric in a pot:
8. For turmeric tea recipe:
9. Learn how to make turmeric powder:
10. For instruction on how to grow ginger indoors:
11. For the ginger tea recipe:
12. I got this recipe from the Traditional Cooking School, but I adapted it so I could make it without an instant pot:

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Respiratory Rescue Herbs!

Respiratory Rescue Herbs
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

On this episode I’m talking about serious remedies for serious respiratory infections. I’ve been horridly sick, and I want to share with you what has worked to get over it, as well as to get some comfort from brutal flu and bronchitis symptoms.

Listen to this broadcast or download “Respiratory Rescue Herbs” in player below!

There is a particularly nasty flu outbreak in my neck of the woods.

Continue reading Respiratory Rescue Herbs! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Herbal Cold and Flu Care!

Herbal Cold and Flu Care Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below! Cold and flu season is here. It has already hit our household, hard. One of the best ways to use herbs is for cold and flu relief. And thankfully, I had lots of herbal cold and flu remedies on hand early this … Continue reading Herbal Cold and Flu Care!

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Herbal Gifts Handmade!

Herbal Gifts Handmade! Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! Calling all DIYers! Want some ideas for frugal, quick-to-make holiday gifts? You still have time to to make loads of handmade, natural, herbal gifts. Be sure to listen to Herbal Prepper Live this Sunday to learn how. Listen to this broadcast or download “Herbal … Continue reading Herbal Gifts Handmade!

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Chat with Survival Instructor Chuck Hudson

Chat with Survival Instructor Chuck Hudson Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below! Herbal Prepper Live is back live this week. We are having a “prepper chat” with our repeat guest, Chuck Hudson. Chuck is a former combat medic, former EMT-P, and survival instructor based in New Mexico. Chuck’s specialty is “ditch medicine”, working … Continue reading Chat with Survival Instructor Chuck Hudson

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Fallout and Radiation Sickness!

Fallout and Radiation Sickness Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below! Learn how to protect yourself from fallout and radiation sickness and how herbal medicine may help in this week’s episode of Herbal Prepper Live. This issue came up during last week’s “Ask Cat” show. I had some information about blue-green algae, but promised … Continue reading Fallout and Radiation Sickness!

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Got herbal questions: Ask Cat

Got herbal questions: Ask Cat Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below! Bring your questions about herbal and natural remedies to this “Ask Cat” episode. I will be taking questions from the audience on anything herbal or prepping related. How to Get Your Question Answered There are three ways to get your question answered: … Continue reading Got herbal questions: Ask Cat

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Herbal First Aid Kit part 2

Herbal First Aid Kit part 2 Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player at bottom of this post! This is a “part two” of last week’s show on first aid kits. Last week’s guest, Chuck Hudson, had a lot of great resources (as he always does) for both ready-made first aid kits, as well as … Continue reading Herbal First Aid Kit part 2

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Adaptogens: Critical Herbs You Probably Don’t Have

Adaptogens: Critical Herbs You Probably Don’t Have Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player provided! This week on Herbal Prepper Live, the focus is on adaptogens. What are adaptogens? Like their name sounds, adaptogens help you to adapt. And the ability to adapt is key to survival. Always has been, always will be. Adaptogenic herbs … Continue reading Adaptogens: Critical Herbs You Probably Don’t Have

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Fighting Infections with Herbs

Fighting Infections with Herbs Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! During last “Ask Cat” episode, we had a question regarding infections of the blood. It has been a while since I did a show just on infections, so that’s what this week’s show is all about. Bacterial infections are getting more difficult … Continue reading Fighting Infections with Herbs

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Got herbal questions 5/21/17: Ask Cat

Got herbal questions: Ask Cat Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Cat answers your questions about herbal and natural remedies to this “Ask Cat” episode. I take all the questions from the audience on everything herbal or prepper survival related. Over 80% of the world’s population today uses herbal medicine for some portion of … Continue reading Got herbal questions 5/21/17: Ask Cat

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Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies

Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! After a long winter, spring has finally arrived, bringing with it springtime allergies. Predictably, the very popular topic of “liver cleanses” is hitting the blogosphere at this time of year as well. What you may not know is that liver function … Continue reading Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies

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Herbal First Aid for Eye Health

Herbal First Aid for Eye Health Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Have you given any thought to caring for your eyes and eyesight post-disaster? Good eyesight is important, but it could be critical in a down-grid or emergency situation. This episode, we will be taking a look at eye care, including: … Continue reading Herbal First Aid for Eye Health

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Fevers Post-SHTF

Fevers Post-SHTF Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! What is your plan for fevers post-disaster? The scenario: no doctors and no pharmacies are available. You have no ibuprofen and no acetaminophen. Your child is sick, and the thermometer is reading 103°F. What do you do? The standard of care in the United … Continue reading Fevers Post-SHTF

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Do you have a plan for migraines?

Do you have a plan for migraines? Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! We are talking about how to avoid and respond to migraine headaches. The last thing anyone needs during an emergency is a migraine, so we will look at what a migraine is, what triggers a migraine, and herbs that … Continue reading Do you have a plan for migraines?

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Parasites Dealing with Infection in a Down-Grid Scenario

Parasites Dealing with Infection in a Down-Grid Scenario Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! This show is all about parasites, both internal and external. Be sure to listen and learn how to respond to these kinds of infections when there isn’t a doctor or a pharmacy available. A caller to the show … Continue reading Parasites Dealing with Infection in a Down-Grid Scenario

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Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2!

Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2! Host: Sam Coffman “The Human Path” Hygiene and sanitation, how prepared are you really in regards to  and (in the worst case) coping with gasto-intestinal disease in a post-disaster environment?  The Human Path Sam Coffman discusses everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you … Continue reading Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2!

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Poultices and Salves

Poultices and Salves Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Herbal poultices and salves are essential elements in your herbal first aid kit. In this episode, I will walk you through how to make both poultices and salves. Poultices and salves are both topical applications and ideal for all sorts of injuries. Sprains, … Continue reading Poultices and Salves

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How To Fight Colds and Flu At Home

natural cold remedies

As I type this I have three kiddos sick with a winter cold, and one just getting over it. I blame it on our recent trip to the local children’s museum. It never fails. No matter how much you sanitize their little hands, inevitably they’re going to get sick. When that little girl playing with the Legos hacked and snotted all over her hands, I knew we were done for.

Parents, for heaven’s sake keep your sick kids at home!

That was my short rant. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

So now that my crew is dealing with stuffy noses, sore throats, and a hacking cough, I’m in doctor mom mode. I’ve pulled out all of the natural cold remedies in my cabinet and have been doing my best to help their little bodies fight off the bug as quickly as possible. My oldest son was the first to come down with the virus, and was miserable for two days but bounced back pretty quickly by day three, so I’m hopeful it won’t last too long for the rest of my guys.

I’ll share with you what my natural cold remedies protocol is when we get sick with a cold or flu. Since I’ve been using these natural cold remedies, we have not had to see a doctor for colds or flu in over eight years. We’ve been able to manage it at home – naturally.

The main idea behind these natural cold remedies is not to mask symptoms, but to give your body’s immune system the boost it needs to fight the bacteria or virus naturally. The more you enable your body to do what it was designed to do, the stronger your immune system will be and the faster you’ll get over future colds.





Want To Know How To Treat Infections Without Antibiotics?

Check out this 2 hour video from an expert herbalist that reveals how to treat dozens of types of infections with your own homemade remedies.

Click here For The 2 Hour Video On
Treating Infections Without Antibiotics






Four Foods To Avoid When Sick

Food plays a big part in how strong your immune function will be and how quickly you get well again. If you sit around eating junk food and you deprive your body of the essential nourishment it needs to be strong and healthy, you can be sure that you will suffer longer. Your body will be trying to fight a battle without any ammo.

Here are the four foods you need to be avoiding as soon as you feel the symptoms of a cold coming on:

  1. Processed “Foods”. If it doesn’t grow out of the ground and you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it. It isn’t really food and it won’t give your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs.
  2. Gluten. Sometimes wheat and other glutens can trigger inflammation in the body and can slow down your immune response.
  3. Dairy. Milk products can cause more mucus to develop, which is the last thing you want when you’re sick.
  4. Sugar. Sugar is an immune suppressant, and bacteria thrives on it. You don’t want to feed the germs you’re trying to kill. Avoid all sugars, except a little honey when used in other remedies.

natural cold remedies

Garlic is Great for Coughs

Garlic has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s probably the best natural remedy I know for treating many infections.

Here’s my go-to garlic salve recipe for treating deep coughs and upper respiratory infections. It’s from the book, “Be Your Own Doctor” by Rachel Weaver, M.H.

Garlic Salve

  • 1/3 c. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cloves peeled garlic
  • 5 or so drops of lavender essential oil

Pour everything into a blender and mix until smooth. Strain off the bits of garlic, and store the liquid in a wide-mouth glass jar in the fridge. It will solidify as it cools. If your child has super sensitive skin, you might try adding more coconut oil and olive oil.

Apply liberally to the chest, back, and bottoms of feet (covered with socks) at least four times a day, and as often as every couple of hours, as needed. This isn’t something that you can overdose on, so don’t be afraid to use too much. If it doesn’t seem to be working, use more!

natural cold remedies

Honeysuckle Tea for Sore Throats

In spring I collect buckets full of honeysuckle blossoms to make a tea concentrate. I know I’ll need it during the cold and flu months to soothe sore throats. You can make the tea by steeping 2 cups of honeysuckle blossoms in 1 quart of boiling hot water for 10 minutes, then straining it off. Add 1 cup of honey to the tea, bring it back up to a boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool. I like to pour the tea into ice cube trays to freeze. Store them in a labeled ziploc bag. You can suck on the cold ice cubes, or heat them up and drink as a hot tea.

natural cold remedies

Steam for Severe Congestion

For unbearable sinus congestion, steam with essential oils added can bring much needed relief. Boil some hot water and pour it into a glass bowl. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Put a towel over your head and lean over the bowl to trap the steam. Close your eyes (to prevent the oil from burning them) and breathe deeply through your nose to help break up congestion. Blow your nose as much as you can while the mucus is loose. Do this treatment several times a day, as needed for relief.


natural cold remedies

Hot Herbal Tea

Hot herbal teas are wonderful for helping to clear congestion, for soothing sore throats, and for relaxing body aches and pains. Peppermint tea is a good decongestant, and will help loosen up thick mucus. Licorice tea is great for sore throats (as is the aforementioned honeysuckle tea). Chamomile tea helps to promote relaxation and rest. Rose hip tea has a ton of vitamin C in it and is a great immune booster. Many herbal teas are also great for relieving stubborn, dry coughs. There are plenty of herbal tea blends that are specifically designed for fighting colds and flu; check out what’s available at your local health food store or online.


natural cold remedies

Herbs and Vitamin Supplements

Certain herbs and supplements can help boost your immune system and help your body fight more effectively. The next time you get sick, make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet:

  • Echinacea & Goldenseal Complex
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin C with rose hips
  • Olive Leaf
  • probiotics

I also highly recommend taking elderberry syrup (Sambucus) for even more immune support. I’m all about doing everything you can to give your body the edge it needs to heal!


natural cold remedies

Diffuse Essential Oils

I absolutely love diffusing essential oils on a daily basis. Not only do they make your home smell amazing, they also put healing oils into the air for you to inhale and benefit from.

When we’re sick I diffuse peppermint for congestion, lavender for relaxation, eucalyptus for coughs, or a combination of oils.

Water diffusers are better at getting the oils into the air than the kind that use candles or reeds, so that’s what I’d recommend using.


Drink Lots of Good Stuff!

If you’re dealing with congestion, the best thing you can do to clear it out is to drink lots and lots of fresh, filtered water and hot herbal teas. Doing so will break up the mucus and phlegm and will help your body clear up quickly.

If you have a juicer, making fresh juice from organically grown fruits and vegetables will give your body an amazing amount of vitamins and minerals.

Definitely avoid soft drinks, sweet tea, prepared juices (yes, even store bought orange juice), and alcoholic beverages until you are completely well again.


When implementing these natural cold remedies at the first sign of a cold or flu coming on, you’ll be able to fight off infections in record time. By boosting your body’s own healing mechanism instead of suppressing and masking symptoms, you’ll find that your colds will be much less severe and will last for a much shorter duration of time.


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Medicine Growing Your Own!

Medicine Growing Your Own Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! It’s almost spring, and that means it’s that time of year to get planting your medicinal herb garden. The question is, what herbs are the most important herbs to grow? In this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, we will cover a wide variety … Continue reading Medicine Growing Your Own!

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Dental Care Post-Disaster!

Dental Care Post-Disaster! Sam Coffman “Herbal Medic” This week, I talk about dental hygiene and tooth care using unconventional (primarily herbal) approaches. First, how do you take care of tooth hygiene, cavities and gum disease in a post disaster setting? What about when there is no dentist and possibly no toothpaste, toothbrushes or other dental … Continue reading Dental Care Post-Disaster!

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Seven Essential Herbal Skills Part 2

Seven Essential Herbal Skills Part 2 Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! We’re picking up where we left off last week, and covering tinctures, infused oils, salves, and poultices. Here’s the description from last week’s live show. It’s back to basics, Herbal Prepper style! This week and next week, I’m covering essential … Continue reading Seven Essential Herbal Skills Part 2

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Seven Essential Herbal Skills

Seven Essential Herbal Skills Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! It’s back to basics, Herbal Prepper style! This week and next week, I’m covering essential herbal skills. These skills will help you build a natural, affordable, sustainable source of remedies. They are simple, effective, and you can learn them quickly. If I … Continue reading Seven Essential Herbal Skills

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Sustainable Practical Medicine!

Sustainable Practical Medicine! Sam Coffman “The Herbal Medic” Most preppers spend some time thinking about medicine after a social collapse, and stocking up on pharmaceutical supplies, as they should. Food, water and medicine are the first three resources that are fought over after every disaster, large or small. However, pharmaceutical supplies are limited and also … Continue reading Sustainable Practical Medicine!

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Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts”

Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts” Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Wrapping up this series on herbal gifts, the focus is on salts. Salts of various types make great, quick, natural, and non-toxic, handmade gifts. Best of all, they are easy. By definition, a salt any chemical compound formed from the … Continue reading Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts”

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Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two

Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! This week, we are continuing with part two of the 3-part handmade Herbal Gifts series that begun last week. (See last week’s description below.) Tonight I’m sharing ideas for salves, lotions, aftershave, beard oil, bath salts, and magnesium oil. From last … Continue reading Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two

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Herbal Medicines You’ll Need When Doctors Disappear

herbal medicines you'll need when doctors disappear, herbal medicine, herbal medicine for preppers, herbal medicine kit, prepper herbal medicine

For most of us, it’s easy to take medical care for granted. Access is only a drive or helicopter ride away. For now at least.

Those of us in the preparedness community know that we can’t always rely on modern infrastructure to fully function forever. At some point there are going to be disruptions, whether by force of nature, an attack from outside (or inside) enemies, or even a failing economy. Hospitals and doctors might not always be there when you need them. That’s why it’s SO incredibly important that we learn as much as we can about treating ourselves so that we aren’t in a state of panic when medical professionals are out of our reach. Even if our primitive techniques only buy us some time, those few precious minutes might be enough to save a life.

This will be an ongoing post; I’ll be adding more information as I gather it. But here are a few ways you can use herbs as medicine now or when modern medicine is unattainable.


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1. Foot fungus can be dangerous.

Believe it or not, your foot health is extremely important. Itchy, scaly skin, and thick, discolored toenails are all signs of an infection and should be addressed accordingly. If left untreated, these seemingly small discomforts could turn into a much larger problem. Athletes foot and other fungal foot infections can progress into a secondary bacterial infection which could turn life-threatening if left to fester, so please take your foot health seriously and learn how to treat the problem now. Fungal infections are extremely common, especially among military personnel, seaman, and other workers who are constantly wearing hot, sweaty boots. If you find yourself wearing tight shoes for long periods of time, make sure to give your feet a quick wash and some fresh air at least once a day.


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2. Cayenne should be in your medicine cabinet.

Cayenne peppers are easy to grow pretty much anywhere… even in a pot on your front porch… so there’s no excuse for you not to have them. One plant will yield a decent amount of peppers to dry and store for later use. Be sure to wear gloves, eye protection, and a mask when you go to grind these suckers! Whoa baby they burn! (Side note: mustard, the condiment, is fantastic for relieving the burn from peppers, fyi.) These spicy little guys are known to have medicinal properties useful for a range of ailments ranging from heart attacks to colds. They can even help stop bleeding in an emergency situation.


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3. Boost your immune system with Elderberries.

The berries of the Sambucus (Elder) tree are rich with antioxidants. Studies have shown that elderberry extract can shorten the flu by three days. Right up there with rosehips, elderberries boast extremely high levels of vitamin C, important for fighting infections and staying well. They also exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used as a poultice or wash for wounds. The flowers can be soaked in oil and used as a lotion for skin ailments and burns.


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4. Shepherd’s Purse will stop bleeding, fast!

Shepherd’s Purse is high in Vit. K, vegetable protein, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene and minerals. It has been used for centuries to stop bleeding internally and externally. For a quick field application, make a poultice by crushing up fresh or dried leaves to apply to a bleeding wound. An herbal tea can also be made to ease internal bleeding. Shepherd’s Purse tincture is often used by midwives to stop excessive bleeding after giving birth. (I actually took two droppersful of an alcohol tincture of Shepherd’s Purse after giving birth to help control the bleeding, per my midwife’s instructions, and can attest to its effectiveness.) Take it orally to treat internal bleeding. It’s also extremely effective for gushing nosebleeds.


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5. Absorb poison from bites and stings with a common weed.

Some bites and stings can be so bad that you find yourself on the way to the emergency room after suffering from one. But what if you couldn’t get to the doctor or a hospital? Would you know what to do? Fortunately for you, the answer is probably growing right in your own backyard. Plantain, a common weed growing pretty much everywhere in the US, is dynamic for absorbing poison, swelling, and pain. I’ve used it for everything from bee stings to brown recluse spider bites with amazing results every time. A poultice of fresh leaves works best for field application, but you can also make an infused plantain leaf oil to last you through the winter months when the plants have gone dormant for the season.


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6. Homegrown antibacterial bandages.

Wooly Lamb’s Ear, botanical name Stachys byzantina, is an amazing plant. It’s gorgeous in a flower bed, but more importantly it has been used for centuries as a wound dressing on battlefields. Not only do the soft, fuzzy leaves absorb blood and help it to clot more quickly, they also contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these factors make this plant a really great alternative to store-bought bandages. There are also several medicinal applications for making cold infusions and teas from Wooly Lamb’s Ear leaves which fight other types of infections.


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7. Natural antibiotics for fighting infections.

Long before the advent of modern medicine, man has been using plants as medicine for healing infections and sicknesses. Although the knowledge of how to use plants as medicine is on the brink of extinction, the healing plants themselves are still growing abundantly in nature. It’s up to you to learn which ones have antibiotic properties and how to use them. In a SHTF situation, you’ll be glad you took the time to study up.


8. Helpful dysentery treatments.

Dysentery is an infection causing inflammation of the intestines and colon, brought about by bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms, and protozoa. It becomes predominate when hygiene is lacking in crowded living conditions, and is spread through contaminated water and person-to-person contact. Symptoms include frequent diarrhea with blood or mucus present, fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation. The basic treatment is rehydration, but there are certain herbs that can help speed up the recovery process.


I truly believe that Nature has the answer to every disease known to man, if only we’d take the time to learn her secrets. Start building your knowledge of medicinal plants and how to use them for common ailments, and be ready to take your health into your own hands when help cannot arrive.



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Handmade Herbal Gifts

Handmade Herbal Gifts Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! Calling all DIYers! Want some ideas for frugal, quick-to-make holiday gifts? You still have time to to make loads of handmade, natural, herbal gifts. Be sure to listen to Herbal Prepper Live this Sunday to learn how. The herbal crafts I’m covering require … Continue reading Handmade Herbal Gifts

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Herbal Steams for Cold and Flu Season

Herbal Steams for Cold and Flu Season Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! This week, I’m talking about herbal steams for the cold and flu season. Cold and flu season is roughly October through May, with a peak in February. I talk about herbal medicine for respiratory infections periodically throughout the season. Herbal … Continue reading Herbal Steams for Cold and Flu Season

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Herbalist’s View on New “Vet Med” Regulations

Herbalist’s View on New “Vet Med” Regulations Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! Do you rely on so-called “vet meds”? The FDA has recently stepped in to regulate these medications, specifically antibiotics. The hope here is to slow down the advance of antibiotic resistance. In this episode, I share my thoughts on … Continue reading Herbalist’s View on New “Vet Med” Regulations

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Herbalist Katja Swift Interview!

Herbalist Katja Swift Interview Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! This week on Herbal Prepper Live, I will be chatting with Boston-based herbalist Katja Swift. Katja, along with Ryn Midura, founded the CommonWealth Center for Herbal Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. Katja is the center’s Director of Education.  From Katja’s bio on the … Continue reading Herbalist Katja Swift Interview!

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Stress, Cooler Heads Will Prevail

Cooler Heads Will Prevail Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! All about calming, nervine and adaptogenic herbs. People underestimate the impact stress has on their health. People do not make their best decisions when under stress. Stress prompts us to act without thinking. If we are anxious, if we panic, if we … Continue reading Stress, Cooler Heads Will Prevail

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Your Herbal and Prepping Questions Answered Live

Your Herbal and Prepping Questions Answered Live Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen to this show below! It’s time for another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live! I’m taking your questions live on air this Sunday (9/25/16). Call in with all of your herbal, sustainable health, and prepping questions, or type your questions into … Continue reading Your Herbal and Prepping Questions Answered Live

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Women’s Preparedness: Part 2- Just the Herbs

Women’s Preparedness: Part 2- Just the Herbs Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” What herbal remedies do women preppers, and the men who love them, need to have in their supplies? Part two of our discussion on women’s preparedness needs is all about herbs and natural remedies for women’s health. Herbs to be covered in this … Continue reading Women’s Preparedness: Part 2- Just the Herbs

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Grid Down: Heart & Blood Pressure Care

It is important to realize and understand that if we ever have a grid down situation or some sort of natural disaster that prevented us from getting our medication, a lot of people will die. Diabetics, epileptics, anyone with heart disease. You name it. So what can you learn and put into play that will help you with the disability that you have?

Well we can help with that! Below we have another cheerful video by ThePatriotNurse.  She talks about what sorts of herbal medicine will help with your heart health and in possible emergencies. She gives a brief crash course on how the heart works and all the vessels. Her description simplifies the basic way the heart works.

Neglect of the body over time can manifest into high blood pressure and different kinds of arrhythmia. So what happens if we no longer have pills and medicine to help us out? She talks about different herbs you can incorporate into your daily routine easily and store some for grid down. Cayenne, Garlic, Hawthorn Berries, and Ginger plus tons more than can help you all through life.

Patriot Nurse shares with us her four “must have” books. (Listed at the bottom of the page.) Reference books can always be helpful and beneficial in assisting you in an emergency.

We hope you enjoy watching ThePatriotNurse. Please feel free to comment and share your knowledge with fellow preppers

Grid Down: Heart & Blood Pressure Care

Herbal Home Health Care by John R. Christopher Prescription For Natural Healing by Phyllis A. Balch CNC School of Natural HealingEditors Favorite:The Survival Medicine Handbook by Dr. Joeseph Alton and Nurse Amy AltonA.K.A Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

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A Fast and Easy Way To Kill Foot Fungus Naturally

The Fast and Easy Way To Kill Foot Fungus Naturally (with only 2 simple ingredients!) |

Athlete’s foot is an extremely common fungal infection. I think most of us have experienced the dry, scaly, itchy, burning irritation of athlete’s foot between our toes or along the side of the foot at some point in our lives. In grade school it seemed like I had it all the time.

Toenail fungus (onychomycosis) is also pretty common… and is highly contagious. This infection is characterized by thick, discolored nails, and is easily spread when you share nail clippers with somebody who is suffering from the infection or you damage your nailbed and the fungus creeps in.

Most often fungal infections develop when you’ve been wearing socks and restrictive shoes for long periods of time. Hot, sweaty shoes provide the perfect environment for fungal infections to thrive. Many soldiers and rig workers suffer from some form of foot fungus caused by wearing the same sweaty socks and tight boots for days on end.

A really bad case of athlete’s foot or toenail fungus can lead to a secondary bacterial infection which can lead to more serious complications down the road. Knowing how to make your own foot fungus remedy so you can prevent the fungal infection from coming back can save you from a lot of suffering in the future.


This video demonstrates how to use garlic… something you can grow in your own backyard!… to get rid of fungal foot infections. Nicole focuses more heavily on treating toenail fungus in her demo, but the same remedy can be applied for athlete’s foot with equal effectiveness.

Want To Know How To Treat Other Infections Without Antibiotics?

Check out this 2 hour video from expert herbalist that reveals how to make dozens of other types of infections with your own home made remedies like this one.

Click here For The 2 Hour Video On
Treating Infections Without Antibiotics

Now let’s get back to this killer foot fungus home remedy…

Step 1: Get a fresh garlic bulb

1. Get a bulb of fresh garlic.

Fresh garlic is readily available in the produce aisle of the grocery store. Better yet, harvest some from your backyard garden. It’s important to use fresh garlic in order to benefit from the strength of its juice. Do not use already minced garlic from the store as it may have been pasteurized or treated with heat or chemicals.

Step 2: Peel a large clove of garlic

2. Peel one large clove of garlic.

Use your fingernails to pull back the papery layer of skin covering the clove, squeezing as necessarily to break it loose.

Crush the garlic

3. Crush the garlic to release the juices.

This action helps to release the active healing properties in garlic. Using a fork, press down hard on the garlic, turning as needed to thoroughly crush and mince the clove. Do this on a tray so that you don’t lose any of the necessary juices. Go over it a few times until it’s broken up into little pieces. The lady in the video suggests that you can use a food processor or blender to grind up the clove, though I tend to disagree as these machines produce heat that might destroy some of the active ingredients in the garlic.

Minced garlic in oil

4. Add the garlic to olive oil.

Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil into a bowl to use as a carrier oil. You want to choose a carrier oil that has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Add the freshly minced garlic to the oil and stir gently to coat.

Spray foot with vinegar

5. Spray the foot with vinegar.

Using a spray bottle, spray the foot with apple cider or white vinegar. I prefer apple cider vinegar because it’s so cheap and easy to make at home. Be sure to thoroughly cover all affected areas of the foot. Then allow to air dry.

Apply garlic home remedy oil to fungus infected area

6. Apply the garlic oil to the foot.

Once the foot has completely dried, rub the garlic oil on the foot paying close attention to the affected areas. It’s best to use gloves when dealing with foot fungus so as not to spread the infection to your hands or fingernails.

Wrap foot with plastic

7. Wrap the foot with plastic.

Loosely wrap the foot with plastic to help hold the garlic oil in place. A plastic bag secured with tape might work in a pinch.

Cover foot with sock

8. Cover the wrapped foot with a sock.

This will help hold heat in. Keep the foot covered for 24 hours. It might be more convenient to do this before bed, and leave it on overnight.

Roll sock off

9. Roll the sock off gently.

When it’s time to remove the sock, be careful not to pull the plastic wrap off with it. Roll the sock upwards and off in order to keep the plastic wrap in place.

Cut plastic wrap off

10. Cut the plastic wrap off.

Gently slide the scissors up underneath the plastic wrap, being careful to avoid the skin, and gently snip it away. (Honestly I don’t see why you couldn’t just pull the whole darned thing off at once, but that’s just me.)

Unwrap foot

11. Clean the foot and reapply as needed.

Once the plastic wrap has been removed, clean away any dead skin or softened fungus. Again, be sure to use gloves anytime you are handling feet with a fungal infection as it’s highly contagious.

Wash the foot with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Re-apply this treatment as needed until the fungus is gone.

Other tips to get rid of foot fungus naturally…

Wear sandals, flip-flops, or go barefooted as often as possible. Fungus thrives in a warm, damp environment, and loves being covered with socks and tight shoes.

Apply tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca) topically to infected nails and skin 2-3 times a day until the infection is gone. Lavender essential oil and oregano essential oil are also strong antifungals. Be sure to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil to avoid burning your skin (especially when using oregano oil- very hot!).

Keep your feet clean and dry. After wearing shoes all day be sure to wash your feet well and give them time to dry before re-covering.

Never re-wear the same socks. Use a clean pair of socks every day.

Soak the affected foot in a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and really warm water once a day for 15 min. A soak in Epsom salt can also be effective.

Take probiotics or add cultured (fermented) foods or drinks (like kombucha) to your diet to boost the good bacteria in your gut. Fungal infections can be caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans (a type of fungus) in your body.

Take good care of your feet. It would be a shame to suffer from a potentially painful infection when it could have been treated or avoided all together.

I’d love to hear your tips to kill foot fungus naturally!

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4 Powerful Plants You Can Grow To Fight Infections Naturally

natural antibiotics for infection title image

Long ago, before there were hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceuticals… there were plants. From the beginning of time people have used plants to heal their bodies and treat disease. The roots, stalks, leaves, seeds, bark, nuts, and sap of various trees, flowers, shrubs, and herbs have been utilized to treat everything from headaches to cancer.

It has only been over the last 150 years or so that modern medicine has replaced what had been used for thousands of years prior. Sadly, with the passing of only few generations our knowledge of these plants has almost disappeared. We no longer know their names, what they look like, where they grow, or how to use them.

When folks USED to get an infection, they’d know which plants to go and find outside for treating it.

But now the just blindly head into the doctor and take whatever antibiotics they’re prescribed.

What about you?

There could come a time in the future, possibly the near future, when knowing how to use plants as medicine will be lifesaving. If you can start growing those plants or learning how to identify them in the wild, and practice treating yourself with them now you’ll be much better off whatever lies ahead.

Do thorough research, gather plenty of reliable resources to cross-reference, and use caution when delving into medicinal herbs. Although the plants are completely natural their components can be very powerful. There might be side-effects, contraindications, allergic reactions, and dosages to watch out for. If herbalism courses, or wild medicinal foraging classes are available in your area, it would be a good investment to consider.

Today, we’ll start slowly and focus on fighting infections with plants. Let’s dive in.


4 Powerful Plants For Making Natural Antibiotics For Treating An Infection

Using Garlic as a natural antibiotic for infection

 Garlic (Allium sativum)

Over the years, garlic has become my number one go-to for fighting nasty internal infections. I love it because it’s something you can easily grow, it stores for months, and is extremely effective as a natural antibiotic for certain types of infections.

In her book, Medicinal Herbs, celebrated herbalist Rosemary Gladstar has this to say about garlic’s healing powers,

“Garlic is the herb of choice for treating colds, flus, sore throats, and poor or sluggish digestion. It stimulates the production of white blood cells, boosting the body’s immune function, and its sulfur compounds and essential oils make it a potent internal and external antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial agent effective for treating many types of infections. It has even been found effective against several forms of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Garlic is also a well-known vermifuge and is used to treat intestinal worms in humans and animals.”

Garlic is most effective when used fresh. However, the fresh juice is very, very strong and can cause burns on the skin if applied directly. It’s best to dilute garlic in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, or make a tea with it to wash infected skin. Never put garlic in your eyes.

  • To ward off infections, add garlic cloves to your diet regularly. Eat 3-6 crushed cloves daily for severe gastroenteritis, dysentery, worms, and infections.
  • For mouth ulcers, hold a chopped clove against the sore spot for a few minutes.
  • For plantar warts, rub coconut oil or vaseline around the affected area to protect the healthy skin from being burned, then apply a thin slice of fresh garlic to the wart and cover with a bandage. Replace the garlic with a fresh slice daily until the wart is gone. It should take about a week or so for it to completely disappear.
  • Fungal skin infections can be relieved by rubbing a paste of crushed garlic and olive oil over the affected area.
  • Make a garlic clove tea to soak feet in to clear up athlete’s foot.
  • Garlic can be fed to some animals (including poultry!) to help prevent parasites, ticks, and fleas.

BANNER 001 small Treating Infections

Personally, I have found garlic oil to be extremely effective at treating ear infections and upper respiratory infections. To make the oil, combine 2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped, with 2-3 Tbsp olive or coconut oil. Heat over low in a small saucepan until the garlic gets soft (but not browned). Remove from heat, crush the cloves in the oil with a fork to extract more juice, and allow to sit for 10 min. or so before using. Heat the oil gently before each use for best results. Never microwave garlic oil! And always test it on your wrist to be sure it isn’t too hot before applying.

  • For pain in the ears caused by a cold (not swimmer’s ear where water is the issue), drop 2-3 drops of warm garlic oil directly into the ear and allow to sit for 5 min. or so before draining. I also like to rub the warm oil all over the outer ear and down the neck. Lay the good ear on a heating pad (if possible) with the bad ear up so the oil can soak in. Repeat several times a day until the pain is gone, then continue for an additional two days just to be sure the infection doesn’t return. If the pain does not get better within 24 hours see a doctor.
  • For phlemy chest congestion, rub warm garlic oil all over the chest and the back where the lungs are. Repeat several times a day. At bedtime continue as directed, also applying to the bottoms of clean feet covered with socks.

The cool thing about having garlic in your survival garden is that it makes a great companion plant for fruit trees by repelling common pests, and it’s also easy to disguise in a food forest.


Using Cayenne Pepper as a natural antibiotic for treating an infection

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum frutescens)

This one I can’t speak to from personal experience, as I have yet to try cayenne pepper to fight infections. But there seems to be a ton of anecdotal evidence pointing toward cayenne as a powerful antibiotic in certain situations.

People have reported to have excellent results using cayenne for:

  • strep throat
  • sinus infections
  • tooth abscesses
  • gum infections
  • fungal infections
  • bronchitis
  • colds/flu

One dosage recommendation I found was to take 1 tsp of powdered cayenne pepper in a glass of warm water. This is said to be more effective than taking it in capsule form. I imagine you could probably swish this solution in your mouth to relieve oral infections as well. I’d love to know if any of you have tried this.

Cayenne is pretty easy to grow in a garden. It loves warm, sunny weather. Plant in spring as soon as the danger of frost has passed. Cayenne can be hung and stored in a dry location, or seeded and dehydrated.  For more tips on how to make your own antibiotics click here.

It’s better to grind the pepper into a powder as needed rather than grinding it all at once- though that certainly is an option. Be sure to grind hot peppers outdoors with your skin covered: gloves, eye protection, and a face mask. Get it on your skin (or God forbid in your eyes!) and you’ll be in agony for days. (Mustard, the condiment, offers amazing relief from the burning should you happen to get hot pepper on your skin. I speak from experience.)

Want To Know How To Treat Infections When The SHTF?

2 hour video with expert herbalist reveals how to treat Infections, Injuries & Wounds when the SHTF and doctors aren’t available to save you.

Click here to pick up a copy of this training DVD

Using Purple Coneflower as a natural antibiotic for treating an infection

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia)

Many home gardeners have Purple Coneflower growing in their flower beds simply for their beauty and reliability. But did you know that they’re actually medicinal?

Penelopy Ody, author of the book The Complete Medicinal Herbal, has this to share about the healing properties of Echinacea,

“Native Americans used Echinacea to treat snakebites, fevers, and old, stubborn wounds. The early settlers soon adopted the plant as a home remedy for colds and influenza. In the past 50 years, it has achieved worldwide fame for its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, and it has also been used in AIDS therapy.”

Echinacea root is the plant part primarily used in herbal medicine. Harvest the root after the plant has flowered; wash, chop, and dry. Make a tincture or powder of the root for almost any type of inflammation or infection. Powdered Echinacea root can be taken internally in capsule form.

  • Echinacea root tincture or powder can be used for almost any type of internal inflammation or infection. Adults take 200-300 mg. capsules up to three times a day at the onset of acute infections, such as colds, influenza, and kidney or urinary tract infections. For children, half the adult dose for ages 6-13, and one-quarter the adult dose for those under age six.
  • Slowly simmer 4-6 Tbsp dried Echinacea root (or 6-8 Tbsp fresh) in water, covered, for 25-45 min. to make a decoction. Use the decoction to wash infected wounds frequently.
  • For sore throats, mix 10 ml tincture in a glass of water and gargle.
  • Use powdered root to dust weeping skin conditions, such as boils and eczema.

According to WebMD:

Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold, the flu, and other upper respiratory infections.

Echinacea is also used against many other infections including urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, herpes, HIV/AIDS, human papilloma virus (HPV), bloodstream infections (septicemia), tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, ear infection, swine flu, warts, and nose and throat infections called diphtheria.

Other uses include anxiety, low white blood cell count, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, acid indigestion, pain, dizziness, rattlesnake bites, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and improving exercise performance.

Sometimes people apply echinacea to their skin to treat boils, gum disease, abscesses, skin wounds, ulcers, burns, eczema, psoriasis, sun-related skin damage, herpes simplex, yeast infections, bee stings, snake and mosquito bites, and hemorrhoids.

This amazing plant grows well in a home garden, and will come back year after year with very little care. Once Echinacea has bloomed and the flower head has completely dried up and gone to seed, I like to collect the seeds and scatter them around other flower beds and along the forest line to naturalize the plants. You can never have too much coneflower!


Using Ginger as a natural antibiotic for treating an infection

Ginger ( Zingiber officinale)

Ginger root, technically a rhizome, has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Recent studies have backed up claims that ginger can play a powerful role in the realm of medicine, particularly against foodborne pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and other nasty bugs.

Drug resistance is increasing worldwide and it is consider as a main culprit in the failure of treatment. The use of antibiotics against bacteria/microorganism is effective mode of treatment but also causes adverse complications. Earlier investigators have shown that, ginger and its constituents play a vital role in the prevention of microbial growth or acts as anti-microbial agents. An important study in the favors of ginger as anti-microbial activity showed that ginger has antimicrobial activity against E coli, Salmonella typhi and Bacillus subtilis and ethanolic extract of ginger showed widest zone of inhibition against Salmonella typhi. Ginger rhizome contains several constituents which have antibacterial and anti fungal effects. Earlier studies have shown that, ginger has broad antibacterial activity and the ethanolic extract of ginger powder has pronounced inhibitory activities against Candida albicansand other report also showed that antifungal properties of ginger extract, Gingerol. Chief constituents… isolated from ginger rhizome, showed antibacterial activity against periodontal bacteria and gingerol has been reported as active inhibitor of M. avium and M. tuberculosisin vitro. (Source)

Another study showed a mixture of ginger and honey to be more effective against MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria strains than antibiotics. This article further explains the conclusions from this fascinating experiment.

Ginger is surprisingly easy to grow at home. It prefers dappled sunlight, rich soil amended with compost, and hot, humid weather. A greenhouse might work as a perfect environment if you live in cooler, drier conditions. Bring ginger plants indoors during the fall and winter as it won’t tolerate cool weather. You can plant ginger from a store bought rhizome. Choose a plump, healthy looking “root” with well developed growth buds, and plant directly in soil. Ginger will come back year after year if cared for properly, and will supply you with plenty of extra rhizomes to harvest and use.


Start Planning Your Antibiotic Garden Now

The great thing about each of these plants is that they don’t take up much space at all, and can be completely concealed in an ornamental flower bed if that’s all you have. Garlic is best planted in the fall; ginger, purple coneflower, and cayenne are best planted in spring after the danger of frost has passed. Wherever you live, plan to put in all or a few of these powerful medicinals in your garden and get prepared for a time when you might need to use them. I highly recommend the book, The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelopy Ody, as well as all of Rosemary Gladstar’s herbal books. Start practicing herbal medicine now so that you’ll have the confidence you need down the road. When a true emergency hits, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. I am not a doctor, and do not provide medical advice. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any information shared here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and consider making decisions in partnership with a trusted health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician or a trained herbalist before using medicinal herbs.

The post 4 Powerful Plants You Can Grow To Fight Infections Naturally appeared first on .

How to Grow Grocery Store Ginger

Beautiful, Edible, Medicinal Ginger

I’ve already shown you how to grow grocery store potatoes… today I’ll show you how to grow grocery store ginger!

A perfect example of how to grow grocery store gingerA perfect piece of ginger for planting.

When I was a kid, we were friends with a Chinese-Malaysian architect. He was the first person I’d ever seen growing ginger.

Before I saw him pulling roots from a large flowerpot, I had no idea that ginger even was a root. I only knew it as a the zippy part of ginger ale and gingerbread men.

Now that I’m older, I’ve really come to appreciate ginger both as an ornamental and a culinary plant. Over the years, I’ve planted ginger root from the store many times; however, good roots are getting harder to find. A lot of what I’ve seen lately is limp stuff from China without any good “eyes” on it. You have to look hard to get good pieces but good grocery store ginger pieces for planting can be found.

Grocery store sweet potatoes: How to Plant Sweet Potatoes

Be Choosy When You Grow Grocery Store Ginger

You want pieces that have eyes like this:

Nice grocery store ginger for planting

Nice, healthy yellow-green bumps. Those are where your new ginger plants will grow from. Watch out for pieces like this:

Bad ginger for planting That’s what a lot of the ginger in the store looks like these days. The growing eyes have been chopped or abraded off. Skip them and keep looking.

When you have your nice, healthy pieces of ginger, break them up into a few pieces if they’re huge chunks, and ensure each piece has at least one or two growing buds.

Grow Ginger as An Ornamental

I planted a long row in a planter bed as part of The Great South Florida Food Forest Project – check it out:

New ginger bed

After spacing the roots on the surface like that, I buried them all a few inches deep. In a few months, ginger plants will pop up in a lovely row and it’s off to the races.

Forget plugging in non-edible ornamental plants… why do that when you can grow something delicious and beautiful? Growing ginger is easy. They have few or no pests, grow in so-so soil, like the shade and they’re good for you.

We use it for seasoning (the leaves can be added to soups like bay leaves) and to treat upset stomachs (ginger is a champion at calming queasiness… I pop chunks of it into tea all through campaign season).

See my food forest: Convert Your Lawn into a High-Yield Food Forest

Don’t Plant Ginger Outdoors in Cold Climates

Now here’s the downside: if you live in a colder climate, you won’t be able to grow ginger in the ground. If the soil freezes, it will die. In that case, grow your ginger in pots and then keep the pots indoors or in a warm outbuilding during the winter. Ginger tend to go dormant in the winter anyhow, so the lack of sunshine won’t be a problem. Just don’t let them dry all the way out and definitely don’t let them stay wet. Waterlogged roots during dormancy will quickly lead to dead ginger. In the spring when the weather warms up and it’s time to plant corn and bush beans, put your ginger back outside.

I’ve been growing ginger for years and won’t be without it again, no matter what the climate.


The post How to Grow Grocery Store Ginger appeared first on The Grow Network.

Ask Cat- Herbal Q&A

Ask Cat- Herbal Q&A
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

4-10-16 Ask Cat 350This week on Herbal Prepper Live, I will be taking your questions during the show. Ask me anything you want about herbs, herbal medicine, and how to use herbs to be better prepared.

Here’s how this works. You bring your questions and concerns. I will bring my 20+ years of working with herbs. I will do my best to answer your questions. If I don’t know the answer, odds are, I know where to find it. It might even become the topic for a future show.
Have you been worried about being cut off from medications post-disaster? Not sure what to stock up on for your family? Then send me your questions, or join me live during the broadcast!
How to submit a question
To get your questions answered, there are three things you can do:

1. Send me an email with “Ask Cat” in the subject line. Please send your email to
2. Be live in the chat room during the live broadcast on 4/10/16. Write your question in the chat room.
3. Call into the show during the live broadcast. The number to do so is 347-202-0228.

Please be aware that I can’t do a full herbal consultation in just a couple of minutes. Also, I’m not a doctor, and I can’t diagnose or prescribe anything. What I can do is answer your questions about herbal remedies for common ailments, as well as point you in the right direction to look for more information.

This type of Q&A always leads to interesting discussions about plants, about health, and our ability to look after our own health care when there may not be any doctors on hand. If you’ve been wondering what to grow, where to get seeds, or how to respond with herbal first aid, you won’t want to miss this show. This episode is all about you. What do you want to know?
Visit Herbal Prepper Website: HERE! 
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 “Ask Cat- Herbal Q&A” in player below!

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Archived shows of Herbal Prepper Live at bottom of THIS PAGE!

3 Types of Herbal First Aid Kits

herbal first aid kit

Herbal first aid is a great skill to have in your preparedness tool kit, and although I’m going to go over some of the contents of 3 types of herbal first aid kits with you in this article, it’s important to remember that herbal first aid is also a set of skills. You need to learn the correct doses, how to prepare herbs into usable form, plus all of the regular first aid (and wilderness first aid) skills to go with them.

Being an herbalist in general is a pretty good background for survival skills- you already know many herbs and the basics of how the body works- but I’ve taken classes with The Human Path, led by a former Green Beret medic and herbalist, Sam Coffman, to up my survival herbalism game. You can read an article Sam wrote for Survival Mom about the benefits of learning herbalism for disaster preparedness here.

Based on what I’ve been learning, I now have three types of herbal first aid kits. My everyday carry kit is small — I can fit it in a purse or tuck it into a backpack with no problem. I’ve even heard of people making their EDC (EveryDay Carry) herbal kits small enough to fit into a cargo pants pocket for times when they want to take it to a sporting event or other venue that doesn’t allow bags. My home first aid kit is much larger, with a wider variety and larger quantities of things for everyday comfort. The field kit/evacuation kit covers the herbs I would want to have on hand during a natural disaster or pandemic, but works equally well for rounding out my home first aid kit or as an organized bug-in supply.

Here’s a little more about each type and what I’ve included.

Herbal First Aid Kits: Everyday Carry

For everyday carry, small and durable is good. The idea is to keep a few things on hand that help make your life easier until you can get home. For example, use 1 ounce nalgene bottles, or make single serving packets out of drinking straws (I like this tutorial.) You can use a fanny pack, the kind of travel pouches used to organize a carry on or suitcase, or a makeup bag to hold your herbal EDC. A ziploc bag that goes in and out of different bags also works well. Don’t leave your herbal EDC in the car, though, because herbs and tinctures are heat sensitive and lose potency quickly in a hot car.

Some things that I’ve included in mine:

  • Meadowsweet extract — This herb can be useful for indigestion and pain.
  • Rose/Hawthorn/Albizzia extract (equal parts each) — An uplifting nervine, tis is my go-to for clearer thinking and feeling calmer after an emotional shock to the system.
  • Cayenne — Cayenne has several first aid uses. Dr. John Christopher spoke highly of it for hemorrhaging and for heart attacks, as it appears to equalize the circulation. It’s also very handy during cold and flu season for clearing the sinuses. A little cayenne is also my secret ingredient for sore throats, along with honey and lemon. In a pinch, you can get a wedge of lemon, a cup of hot water and a packet of honey at a restaurant. Mix the honey into the water and squeeze the lemon into the cup. Add a little cayenne and sip slowly.  
  • Black Cohosh/Jamaican Dogwood/ Cramp Bark extract (equal parts) — I learned about this blend from Dr. Aviva Romm’s website, and love it. This is a really potent blend. Helps provide comfort when dealing with pretty much any kind of pain — headaches, injuries, menstrual cramps, etc.
  • Plantain salve — My favorite salve blend is bright green and has plantain, chaparral, goldenseal, and bloodroot, among other things, but use whatever herbal salve you like the best.
  • Witch hazel extract — This is handy when cleaning up cuts and scrapes. I like to keep a travel size bottle in my EDC

Home First Aid

Personally, I have a full fledged home apothecary, but then again I’m a die hard herbalist, and constantly work with new recipes and other personal experiments. If you like, you can take a peek at my apothecary. Maintaining a home apothecary is a skill all of its own — things need to be rotated in and out, records kept, resources managed. I find it highly rewarding, but if you want a smaller home first aid kit (completely understandable), I talk about some of my must-have herbs in An Herbalist’s First Aid Kit: What I Use and Why. It covers 12 versatile herbs you might want to consider, and some ideas for preparations like eyewash, liniment, and an herbal spray for sore throat.

Important herbal categories for the home first aid kit can also include:

  • Digestive wellness: Include herbs that soothe the digestive tract like marshmallow root and meadowsweet; or astringents like blackberry root and sumac that are traditionally used to dry up bouts of diarrhea.
  • Herbal comfort for aches and pains: Black cohosh, jamaican dogwood, corydalis, valerian, passionflower, cramp bark, and willow can make good choices here.
  • Immunity and lymphatic support: Herbs that help the body during a viral or bacterial challenge like cleavers, violet leaves, and red clover for the lymphatic system; herbs that support the immune system more directly like elderberry and eleuthero.

You will want to keep your home first aid kit in an area that is easily accessible, but also out of direct sunlight and away from dampness. The basement and the bathroom are probably not good choices, because the higher humidity in these areas can take a toll on your supplies. A hallway closet or spare kitchen cabinet are good locations.

Herbal Field Kit/Evacuation Kit

A field kit or evacuation kit is probably going to be the most technical type of herbal first aid kit that you put together. For durability, use nalgene bottles. My field and evacuation kit focuses mainly on worst case scenarios — the kind of scenario where higher medical care is unavailable for short or long term. It’s heavy on the herbs I would want to have during a natural disaster or pandemic. It’s a much better idea to focus on a selection of formulas for this kit, rather than single herbs. That level of detail is a little beyond what I can cover in this post, so I’ve added a brief list of some of my favorite herbs that can be used for each category below, as a place for you to start with your own research.

  • Wound care/physical trauma — angelica, albizzia, St. John’s wort, arnica, yarrow
  • Lung support in case of smoke or dust, respiratory problems — lobelia, elecampane, horehound, licorice, marshmallow
  • Digestive tract — sumac, black walnut, marshmallow, blackberry root, Oregon grape, digestive bitters
  • Herbal antibiotics and antivirals — bidens, sida, artemisia, isatis (You will notice there’s not a lot on this list. Read The Truth About Herbal Antibiotics to find out why.)
  • Lymphatic herbs that support the immune system — cleavers and red root
  • Adaptogens that maximize overall resiliency and wellness– eleuthero, rhodiola
  • Nervines that offer strong support during shock, trauma, grief, and depression– angelica, calamus, albizia, valerian, holy basil

It’s also a good idea to tuck in a few herbal and first aid references.

Of course, this is just a glimpse at the botanical portions of my first aid kits. You will also need other basic to advanced first aid supplies like bandages and sutures (and the skills to use them).  Remember to review the contents of your herbal kits frequently, at least once a month, to check for leaks and to stay familiar with the way your kit is packed. Like all of your prep kits, it’s really helpful to pack your kit the same way every time, so that you can easily find what you need, when you need it. Feel free to use the herbs I’ve suggested as a guideline. Chances are, you will begin to develop your own tastes and preferences the more you work with herbs, and that’s a good thing! I wish you the best of health as you work on your herbal preps!

More Resources

Here are some additional resources for herbal/natural health:

herbal first aid kit

How to Make an Herbal Liniment

diy herbal liniment

An herbal liniment is a liquid herbal preparation for rubbing into the skin. In an emergency preparedness scenario, liniment-making is a good skill to have in order to provide extra comfort for burns and sunburns, strains and sprains, and injuries from accidents or trauma.

Witch Hazel: A Versatile Herb for Liniments

Rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or even vodka can be used as the base for an herbal liniment, but witch hazel extract is one of the most popular bases. And, even though other herbs are often added to the witch hazel extract to make a more sophisticated herbal liniment, even a simple witch hazel preparation makes a great liniment on its own.

A tea made from witch hazel (properly called a decoction in herbal parlance) was used by the Menominee as a rub down for the legs, and to “cure a lame back”; and the Iroquois used it for bruising. For more information on the ethnobotanical uses for witch hazel, type in witch hazel’s botanical name, Hamamelis virginana, over at the University of Michigan-Dearborn online database.

Witch hazel also has several other uses that are good to know. First, it is a natural astringent. Folk uses of witch hazel include soothing burns, insect bites, and stings; as a styptic to astringe tissues and slow bleeding. These are some of the most common uses that have entered into the practice of modern herbalism. Native American tribes used witch hazel for many other purposes, including as a tea for colds, for cholera, and asthma. Liniment ingredient aside, it’s an herb with a long tradition of many different uses and well worth studying.

If you want to know if witch hazel grows in your area, the USDA Plants Database has excellent information on range, habitat, and identification. Witch hazel can also be added as a landscape plant in many areas, and bears unusual yellow flowers during winter when nothing else is blooming. It would be an excellent choice if landscaping with an eye towards herbal emergency preparedness!

Making Witch Hazel Liniment

The advantages of making an extract from witch hazel include adding a longer shelf life, and being able to create more complex liniments using witch hazel extract as the base. This easy recipe for witch hazel extract can be scaled up or down based on the amount of witch hazel bark that is available. This is a different method of preparation than typically used to make tinctures (which are also referred to as extracts), but it works very well and will yield a similar product to the witch hazel extract that you can pick up at your local pharmacy.


  • Minimum 3 oz of witch hazel bark
  • Enough clean, potable water to cover the bark by two inches in a saucepan with lid
  • Vodka (acts as a preservative)


  1. Place the witch hazel bark into the saucepan and add enough water to cover the witch hazel with two inches of water.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil, then cut the heat back and allow the witch hazel bark to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and allow the witch hazel decoction to cool to room temperature.
  4. Strain the decoction through cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or a fine mesh strainer and then measure the remaining liquid.
  5. For every two ounces of witch hazel, add one ounce of vodka. This extends the shelf life of your witch hazel preparation by about a year.

Other Liniment Herbs

Now that you know how to make your own witch hazel extract, you might be interested in making other, more complex liniments. Some herbs that are excellent for this include:

Goldenrod (Solidago spp) – Goldenrod, a common weed in much of North America, is ideal for a liniment to soothe muscle related injuries like strains and sprains.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) – Comfrey is a good herb to include in a liniment for broken bones and blunt force trauma.

Plantain (Plantago spp) – A popular herb for many different skin discomforts, plantain complements witch hazel’s soothing capacity on insect bites and stings. Combined with jewelweed, some herbalists have reported success in dealing with poison ivy.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – Wormwood has an affinity for fatigue related pains. Mugwort liniments are great after a long day of hiking or hard physical labor.

Arnica (Arnica montana) – Another excellent choice for general muscle related pain, arnica is often used in oil-based preparations but is equally as useful as a liniment.

St. Johns’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) – This can be especially useful for injuries involving nerve pain. Be aware that St. John’s wort has a  reputation for increasing the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, so you may need boost your sun protection while using it.

Other popular liniment ingredients include warming herbs that increase circulation, such as angelica, cayenne, and ginger.

How to Make an Herbal Liniment

When making a liniment, you may find that you have the best results from using dried ingredients. Extra water content from fresh herbs may make your liniment spoil sooner.

Here’s how to make a liniment:

  1. Choose a few herbal ingredients to include in your recipe. One to three herbs is a good place to start. Think about the intended purpose of your finished liniment and focus on herbs that are a good fit.
  2. Fill a glass canning jar half-full with the dried herbs you chose in step one.
  3. Pour enough witch hazel into your jar to cover your herbs with one or two inches of liquid and place a lid securely on the jar.
  4. Gently shake the herbs each day for two weeks, and add more witch hazel extract if needed to make sure the herbs stay covered.
  5. After two weeks, strain the herbs out of the witch hazel extract and bottle your liniment for later use. Be sure to include a date, the ingredients, and “For Topical Use Only” to remind yourself that your liniment is meant to be applied topically, not ingested. If you like, you can put your liniment in a mister or spray bottle to make applying it easy.

As you begin making your own liniments, you will quickly realize that adding this skill to your herbal bag of tricks can make everyday life, as well as extraordinary circumstances, much more comfortable.

Further reading on Liniments and Witch Hazel

A Modern Herbal by Maude Grieve

A General Guide to Creating an Effective Pain Liniment or Salve by Bear Medicine Herbals 

Making Herbal Liniments at the Mountain Rose Blog

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Herbal Wound Care Options

Herbal wound care

Wound care should be an important part of your first aid preparedness training. After all, what may be a harmless paper cut by today’s standards could set the stage for infection in a less sanitary environment. Furthermore, if access to higher medical care were interrupted, there would be no ambulance or life flight, and maybe even no emergency room, to provide care for more serious wounds and injuries.

First aid for wounds covers many different aspects. Especially in a SHTF scenario, you would need to know how to safely control bleeding, assess the injury to gauge extent of the damage, and be able to clean the wound and prevent infection. Wilderness first aid or first responder training can be invaluable because there is so much to learn on this topic. Being able to learn from an instructor in these courses is also extremely helpful- they will correct any errors you might make and often have a great deal of  personal experience to make the material more relatable.

In long term scenarios with no higher medical care, the prevention of infection becomes a crucial step in the healing process. By using herbs to encourage healthy wound healing and support the immune system, you have a back-up plan in case medical supplies run short.

There are five basic types of herbs to keep in mind for herbal wound support: Hemostatics that curb excessive bleeding; anti-inflammatory herbs for healthy inflammation response; proliferative herbs that help with scabbing and the formation of new skin; anti-pathogenics that help minimize contamination of the wounds, and lymphatic herbs that support a healthy immune response. We will also briefly cover helpful pain relieving herbs.

Let’s take a look at the five main groups of herbs for wound care:

Herbal Hemostatics

Most herbs that have hemostatic properties are classified as astringents in traditional herbalism. These are herbs with a reputation for drawing up and tightening tissues, and drying up excessive fluids of all types. Traditional wound herbs utilized for their hemostatic properties include the leaves and flowers of shepherd’s purse, oak bark, wild geranium root, yarrow leaf and/or flower, raspberry or blackberry leaf or blackberry root, and chaparral leaf.

White oak and English oak are the two “official” oak species used in herbal medicine, but all oaks exhibit a high level of tannins and can be used interchangeable for their astringency. These herbs may be prepared as an infusion or decoction and applied as a wash, or if an extract is available it can be diluted in water and applied equally well. These herbs are also beneficial for oozing or weepy wounds or sores.

Herbal Anti-Inflammatories

These herbs may be applied topically alone or as part of a formula to encourage excessive inflammation to return to normal. Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, but if the wound is large these herbs can help with comfort during the healing process, and help the tissue recover from pain and swelling. Several of them can also be found under the antipathogenic category, and under pain relievers. Examples of herbal anti-inflammatories include willow, meadowsweet, chaparral, lobelia, self heal, comfrey, plantain, birch, alder, aspen, poplar, and turmeric.


Herbs that encourage the growth of healthy tissue during the growth process are also important. Chaparral, comfrey, horsetail, plantain, calendula, and aloe are great examples of this type of herb. It’s important to use proliferatives judiciously over deep wounds, as they can promote healing of the top layers of the epidermis before the wound has healed completely underneath. This could set the stage for infection. Be sure that the wound is clean and has started to heal well internally and that there is no chance of infection before using them.

Comfrey and calendula can promote healthy tissue growth when there is a concern that scar tissue could be damaging. These herbs have a traditional reputation for helping a wound to heal with minimal scarring. Elecampane root can be beneficial when there is “proud flesh,” meaning the wound is having difficulty forming a healthy scab (7). Stinging nettle can be taken internally as a tea, or eaten as a steamed green, during the healing process as this herb supplies micro-nutrients and protein that support the healing process (2,4).


Antipathogenics are herbs that help keep the wound clean from bacterial contamination. Note that these are not going to behave in the same manner as an internal, systemic antibiotic. They need to be applied topically. Chaparral, plantain, acacia, aloe, echinacea, goldenseal, and sida are examples here. Even though goldenseal is listed, it’s important to understand that the berberine content in goldenseal does its best work topically. It’s not well absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut.

Learn More: If you would like to read more about the few herbs that do seem to have a systemic anti-pathogenic effect, you can visit my blog to read this article on Herbal Antibiotics: What You Really Need To Know. But you also need to learn about herbal lymphatics.

Herbal Lymphatics

Because there are very few herbs that have a systemic action approaching modern antibiotics, we turn to another staple in the prepared herbalist’s medicinals kit: Herbal lymphatics. These herbs work with our bodies to support the effectiveness of our immunity through our lymphatic system. If you’ve ever experienced swollen lymph glands during a fever or infection, you know first hand how hard these glands work during an immune system challenge.

Herbal lymphatics promote the movement of lymph and the ability of the body to drain off and process the byproducts of infection. Poke root, blue flag, echinacea, red root, boneset, and cleavers are herbs in this class. Alteratives, or blood purifiers, such as burdock and red clover, can support lymphatic herbs. Lymphatics can be applied as compresses over swollen lymph glands, but it is usually more practical to take them internally. Poke and blue flag are generally used in small amounts, even only a few drops at a time, due to their potency and potential toxicity. Cleavers is a very safe lymphatic that may also be eaten as a steamed green.

Herbal Support for Pain

The last topic we need to cover for herbal wound care is the problem of pain. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, but the topic of pain should be taken seriously during wound care in a SHTF scenario. Pain places more stress on an already stressed system, and can interfere with sleep and appetite. Adequate rest and nutrition are important for healing in any scenario, but especially in an emergency situation where no higher care is available. The same can be said for managing stress in what is most likely a very stressful environment to begin with. Herbs that have a tradition of use for pain include Jamaica dogwood (1), meadowsweet, willow, and black cohosh (5).

Applying Herbs in a Wound Care Scenario

In addition to knowing first aid skills and what herbs to use, you also need to know how to use the herbs. Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of herbs that could be used for wound care, you may still be curious about how the herbs would be applied.

As a general rule, the two most practical herbal preparations in any SHTF scenario are going to be extracts (sometimes called tinctures); and infusions or decoctions. Extracts are made by soaking herbal material in alcohol (if made at home, it’s common to use Everclear mixed with water or vodka), which preserves the herbs and pulls the beneficial components into the liquid. Teas made with herbs are known as infusions (for fresh or dried leaves and flowers) and decoctions (for fresh or dried roots, barks, and seeds). Both types of preparations have the flexibility of either external or internal use (depending on the herb). Extracts are most commonly used internally, but may be diluted in a small amount of water to create a wash or applied without dilution if needed.

Some of the herbs listed above, like Jamaican dogwood, poke root, and chaparral, are at one end of the herbal safety spectrum and are called for in only small amounts at a time. Herbs like burdock and cleavers fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and are safe enough to be foraged as food. Most fall somewhere in the middle, but it’s important that you become familiar with each herb you plan to use during emergency situations so that you understand the plant’s unique profile as well as how much to use.

Read More

1. 7song (2014) Jamaican Dogwood Monograph. Retrieved from:

2. Cleveland Clinic Foundation, The (2015) Nutrition Guidelines to Improve Wound Healing. Retrieved From:

3. Coffman, Sam (2016) Zombie Apocalypse Herbal: A Basic Plant-Medicine Primer for Post Disaster or Remote Environs. The Herbaria: Plant Healer Magazine’s Free Supplement. Volume 6, Issue 3.

4. Laban K. Rutto, Yixian Xu, Elizabeth Ramirez, Michael Brandt. (2013) Mineral Properties and Dietary Value of Raw and Processed Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.).
International Journal of Food Science, Volume 2013, Article ID 857120, 9 pages

5. Noveille, Agatha (2015) Herbal Comfort for Aches and Pains. Retrieved from

6. Woo, Kevin. (2012) Exploring the Effects of Pain and Stress on Wound Healing. Advances in Skin and Wound Care, Volume 25 – Issue 1 – p 38–44
doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000410689.60105.7d

7. Wood, Matthew (2008) The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley

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The Truth About Herbal Antibiotics

herbal antibiotics

Antibiotics are often a popular topic in preparedness circles. In addition to adding prescription antibiotics to their survival supplies, some people want to incorporate herbal antibiotics as alternatives to prescriptions. This might be from a desire to incorporate plants they can grow or forage so they have backup supplies, or because of a concern for antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation that gets passed around on the Internet regarding herbal antibiotics. You have probably come across long lists of herbs that supposedly have antibiotic potential, yet there isn’t much information provided and no references are cited that would allow you to find more info. Most of the lists give the impression that you can pop a few capsules of certain herbs and immediately have the same effects of taking a pharmaceutical.

If you are skeptical of such lists, good- because they are usually more than a bit misleading. Pharmaceutical antibiotics have a systemic effect on the body. Once you take them, the body breaks down the tablet and the antibiotic becomes available in the bloodstream at levels high enough to kill bacteria. Herbs don’t typically work that way.

Only a small handful of herbs appear to have the ability to work in a systemic fashion. Other than Artemisia, which is commonly known as sweet wormwood, you may not have even heard of these other herbs. Herbs commonly touted as having antibacterial properties most likely have, at the most, only a potential to act locally when the herb comes into direct contact with an area. Things like honey, goldenseal, oregon grape, and garlic are part of this group.

Some of the most promising herbs with systemic potential for use in a SHTF scenario include:

  • Cryptolepis sanguinolenta– Native to Africa; generally known as cryptolepis in the west
  • Sida acuta– Occurs in North America; commonly called wireweed
  • Alchornea cordifolia– Native to Africa; sometimes known as Christmas bush
  • Bidens pilosa– Native to North America; also known as beggar-ticks or Spanish needle
  • Artemisia annua– Also known as sweet wormwood; native to Asia but naturalized in some areas of North America

The truth is, the topic of herbal antibiotics is much, much more complicated than finding a list of a few herbs and choosing a few bottles of capsules off the shelf at your local health food store or pharmacy. Following are a few ways that you can set yourself up for success with this type of prep.

Teach Yourself the Basics of Herbal Antibiotics

If you are interested in adding herbal antibiotics to your preparedness supplies, you should start with a detailed reference like the second edition of Stephen Harrod Buhner’s Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria
. Having a reference like this is incredibly important. There’s a lot of information you need to know to be able to use herbs for something as serious as this: Which herbs to use, how to prepare them, how to combine them for best results, and much more. A good reference will give you the “why” as well as the how, detail the traditional uses of the plant, and brief you on scientific studies that support the author’s claims.

Stock Up

In addition to a reference that details how to use the herbs, you will need sufficient amounts of the herbs in your preparedness supplies. Alcohol based extracts, also called tinctures, are your best bet. Dried herbs or capsules can quickly lose potency on the shelf, but a properly prepared extract can last for ten years or more. Four ounces of each extract per person is the minimum I use in my personal preps.

Store Correctly

Alcohol based extracts do need to be stored correctly to have such a lengthy shelf life. Store them in a dry place, protected from light and extreme temperatures. Amber glass bottles are a popular choice. If you are concerned about portability, then brown nalgene bottles may be more practical. Stay away from glass pippette/dropper tops and stick to plain screw cap lids. Store the droppers separately if you like, but be aware that dirty droppers can easily contaminate a bottle of extract.

Know How Much to Use

Learning to judge the proper serving size is somewhat of an art. A good reference guide will give you the basics. Remember that most herbal guidelines are based on an 150lb adult, so the serving size may need to be adjusted for someone much larger or smaller than the norm. If you don’t have the dropper tops for your extracts or choose not to use them, it’s also helpful to remember that for most purposes, a teaspoon is equivalent to thirty drops. You may also be able to use the cap as a measuring tool. Do a test and measure out a teaspoon into your cap so you can estimate the amount in a pinch.

Be Able to Grow and Harvest

If your climate and your living situation allows for it, you should consider adding the herbs to your garden, and possibly adding a good field guide that will help you identify the herbs in the wild. Foraging for a specific herb can be hit or miss even under good circumstances, so having an extra supply growing under your care where you can find it easily is preferable. You should still learn to identify the herbs in the field, but be aware that you may not be able to rely on foraging if the herb isn’t common in your area. Even if the herb is commonly available, you will need to know how long the growing season is and when to harvest for peak potency. For the leaves and upper portions of the plant, this is just prior to blooming. For roots, you will need to harvest in the fall when the plant is preparing to go dormant for the winter.   

Think Holistically

If you are going to take herbal antibiotics seriously, you also need to learn about several other classes of herbs: Adaptogens, alteratives, and lymphatics. These herbs have the potential to support the role of herbal antibiotics by working directly with our immune systems.

Adaptogens include herbs like rhodiola and astragalus that boost immunity and overall resiliency. Alteratives like red clover help the body process metabolic waste during illness. Lymphatics, such as cleavers, were traditionally used to boost immunity by supporting the function of the lymphatic system.

Whether or not you choose to incorporate herbs with antibiotic potential as part of your preparedness supplies, it’s important to remember that it’s best to approach herbalism as a unique skillset. A list of ways that you can purify water or splint an injury won’t get you very far when the SHTF, and neither will a list of herbs! But if you take the time to learn your craft, train and practice regularly, herbalism is a very satisfying way to round out your abilities and provide you with more flexibility and options, just in case you need them.   

More Resources

To learn more about herbs and natural health, here are some additional resources:

herbal antibiotics FB size

Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs

You Can Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs

Some people believe that using medicinal herbs  is a hip new way to stay out of the doctor’s office. It might be hip, but it ain’t new. Medicinal  Herbs is the world’s oldest healing system, dating back at least 60,000 years. (That was the Paleolithic Era.)

People have been practicing herbal medicine throughout the centuries that followed, well before there were doctors and nurses. As recently as a couple decades ago, many of those medical professionals scoffed at medicinal herbs, but now they see real value in them. Medicinal Herbs can’t replace conventional medicine, especially in life-threatening situations. If I’m lying in a ditch with a broken leg, I don’t want somebody sprinkling arnica or comfrey over me. I want to be rushed to a hospital and have my leg set and casted.

Herbs have been proven to be affordable and highly effective at dealing with the prevention and treatment of day-to-day, non-emergency health issues including headaches, colds, coughs, aches, bruises and many more ailments.  


Why use herbs for medicinal purposes? Here are seven reasons:

  • They work. For as long as humans have existed, herbal remedies have proven effective. Many of today’s pharmaceutical drugs have their roots in plants, demonstrating that people who have been using them for their healing properties have been on the right path all along.
  • They’re inexpensive. Herbal supplements are almost always less costly than pharmaceutical drugs. And you can save even more money when you grow and harvest your own herbs and create your own infusions, decoctions, salves and tinctures.
  • They’re easy to grow. Anyone with an interest in – and space for – a garden can grow medicinal herbs. You don’t need a botany or horticulture degree to enjoy  growing and harvesting plants that provide health benefits.
  • They’re tasty. Some people drink medicinal herb teas made from plants purely for their great taste. The healing properties that these teas possess are an added benefit to them.
  • They’re safe. Side effects caused by herbs are much less common than with pharmaceutical drugs.
  • They promote self-reliance. Herbs give people the chance to practice effective preventive medicine, and then treat minor ailments and injuries, without visiting a physician.
  • They help you help others. Once people learn about herbal remedies and experience first-hand how they’re being helped by them, they can pass that information along to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.    


So, which herbs should be used for which conditions, and what’s the best way to use those herbs?

Here are 10 of my favorites.

  • Chamomile – This herb is said to be effective in controlling nervousness, insomnia, nausea, asthma, earache, fevers, headaches, hay fever and arthritis. It also works on indigestion, gas, heartburn, upper respiratory irritation, diarrhea and teething pain in babies. In addition, Chamomile can be used as a salve for burns and skin irritation.
  • Echinacea – Studies suggest this herb sparks the immune system, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, and has hormonal, antioxidant and antiviral effects. It’s recommended to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, athlete’s foot, burns, boils, ulcers and hay fever. Echinacea has been called an essential immune-enhancing herb.
  • Lemon Balm – Effective against depression, anxiety and stress, it also serves as a decongestant to aid with colds, sore throats and flu, and as a muscle relaxer to help with menstrual cramps. Lemon Balm is used by those who suffer from allergies and shingles. When the leaf is rubbed into the skin, it is a natural insect repellent.
  • Hyssop – This herb is used for infections and upper respiratory ailments. It’s brewed into a tea to help fight colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, influenza, tonsillitis, laryngitis and coughs. Users report that it helps with wheezing and shortness of breath. Hyssop has a regulating effect on blood pressure.
  • Cayenne Pepper – This herb is a circulatory stimulant to strengthen heart and blood vessels while lowering cholesterol. It is said to aid in weight loss; regulate blood sugar; reduce sore throats, colds, fevers and flues; dull pain; and serve as a laxative. As a topical cream, Cayenne Pepper can help with bursitis, arthritis, muscle and joint pain, and shingles.
  • Borage – This herb is credited with treating ailments such as respiratory viruses, colds, flu, sore throat, dry cough, asthma, bronchitis, stress and menopausal symptoms. It is reported to help with arthritis, rheumatism, joint pain and bowel diseases. Borage is also good for skin problems and aids with depression while reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.      
  • Anise – It has been suggested to use Anise as a diuretic and/or a laxative. It has been used to treat menstrual cramps and to prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s said to reduce pain and make one’s breath fresher. The oil from the Anise plant has been utilized as an insecticide against head lice and mites.
  • Nettle – Containing antihistamines and anti-inflammatory properties, Nettle tea opens nasal and bronchial passages. It’s been used to deal with asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. It’s also been effective in reducing blood pressure; helping maintain kidney and liver function; aiding swollen prostate glands; and topically treating wounds, rashes, bites and stings.
  • Yarrow – This herb is reported to stop bleeding when you chew the leaves, or crush the leaves and flowers before pressing them against the wound. It’s said to be helpful for poor circulation, asthma, congestion and depression. Topically, Yarrow can be used for wounds, rashes, scrapes, nosebleeds, hemorrhoids, poison ivy, toothaches and varicose veins.
  • Catnip – Used in capsules, teas and tinctures, this herb has been found to be a remedy for upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion and hiccups. Catnip leaves contain antioxidant vitamins, making it helpful for treating colds. It can be used in a compress for toothache and tonsillitis, and topically for skin sores and hemorrhoids.


Frank Bates, founder of 4Patriots LLC, is a contributing writer to Patriot Headquarters, a website featuring hundreds of articles on how to be more independent and self-reliant. He also offers Food4Patriots, a supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage, survival and emergency preparedness.


This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.


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Boost Your Immune System With Elderberry Syrup

ripe elderberries

Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) grow wild all over the eastern half of the US. When we first started homesteading, I had no idea they grew wild in my area. I ordered two varieties from an online nursery, which quickly grew into lovely small trees. Now that I know what the plant, the flowers, and the fruits look like in their various stages of growth, I notice elderberries along highways, at the edges of overgrown fields, and in roadside ditches… they’re everywhere!

The small purple-black fruits of the elderberry plant are an amazing source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and anti-oxidants. They have very strong immune boosting properties, and have proven to be effective at reducing the length and severity of colds and flu.

Every July I harvest several pounds of elderberries for making jelly and an immune boosting syrup. If I can’t cook them right away, I stick them straight into a freezer bag to store until I have time to process the berries. Elderberries also make great juice, wine, vinegar, dressings, and shrubs (the drink, not the plant). I also dehydrate them to add to muffins, pancakes, granola, and oatmeal.

Mid-September, when the air begins to get crisper, is usually when I start making batches of immune boosting elderberry syrup. The syrup is basically an infusion of berries and strong medicinal herbs, sweetened with honey. My kids love the taste, and happily take their daily dose.

Here’s how I make elderberry syrup:

Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup

Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup


*Yields approx. 1 quart

elderberry herbs

  • 1 cup elderberries (fresh, frozen, or dried)
  • 8 Tbsp dried rose hips (If you want to grow your own plant the Rosa Rugosa variety)
  • 8 Tbsp dried Echinacea root
  • 3 tsp dried ginger root
  • 4 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups filtered water (not treated/city water)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups honey (raw, local if possible)


elderberry syrup warming

Pour the elderberries, rose hips, echinacea, ginger root, and cinnamon sticks into a medium stainless steel pot. Cover with water. Bring almost to a boil, then turn the heat to med-low and simmer uncovered for about 30 min, or until the liquid is reduced by half.

strained herbs

Once the mixture has cooked down, strain the herbs from the liquid using a mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Since organic cinnamon sticks aren’t too cheap, I reuse them several times. Rinse and air dry the cinnamon sticks thoroughly, then store in a glass jar or ziploc bag.

Allow the strained liquid to cool until warm enough to handle. Stir in honey, tasting until you’ve added the right amount to suit your preference. Echinacea adds a little bitterness to the syrup, so I always go heavy on the honey. Plus, honey is good for sore throats, coughs, and colds.

elderberry syrup in bottleDosage

We take 1 teaspoon a day (adults and children over a year old) as a preventative measure. When we’re sick I usually double or triple that, taking a tsp at mealtime throughout the day. I would not recommend giving this syrup to babies under a year old.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Making your own elderberry syrup is so much cheaper than buying bottles of Sambucus at the health food store. Especially when you grow or forage the ingredients!

I think I’ll sit down and have a few swigs of this stuff. I feel a cold coming on.

Do you have elderberries growing where you live?

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Prepper’s Natural Medicine (Book Review)

Natural medicine is something you will invariably hear about as you get involved in the prepping community.  We, as a general society, have become very dependent on conventional medicine – doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, etc.  If a SHTF scenario ever happens, we’ll need to be able to take care of ourselves both from a conventional medicine standpoint and a traditional medicine, or natural medicine standpoint.  Cat Ellis’ latest offering, Prepper’s Natural Medicine, walks you through the unnecessarily intimidating world of natural medicine.

Book Set-Up

Cat has created Prepper’s Natural Medicine in a very concise, direct manner.  Each chapter listed below is presented in an intelligent chronological manner which builds on the information already presented.  The chapters in the book are:

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Cat uses this chapter to introduce herself and her background.  She also spends a significant amount of time talking about why we should use natural medicine, the benefits of using natural medicine in a SHTF scenario and, most importantly, her version of natural medicine.

Chapter 2 – Stocking The Home Apothecary

This is where Cat starts to get into the nuts and bolts of natural medicine.  She takes the time to describe all the different items you will need to start in the natural medicine movement including formula ingredients such as herbs, alcohol, vinegar, glycerin, raw honey, beeswax, propolis, mushrooms, oils and fats, bentonite clay, kaolin clay, activated charcoal, salts and essential oils.  Don’t worry – you don’t need to have all of these things to get started! Cat just does a great job of outlining everything you may need!  In addition to these ingredients, she also discusses containers and other equipment you may need to start working with natural medicine.

Chapter 3 – Basic Skills

Very simply put, this is the ‘how to’ section of the book.  Cat goes through all the different ways you can create natural medicine and walks through the general directions for the creation of each.  The methods discussed include:

  • Tisanes – Infusions and Decoctions, as well as Blending Herbs for Tisanes
  • Tinctures
  • Aceta
  • Herbal Wines
  • Glycerin and Glycerites
  • Oxymels
  • Syrups
  • Elixirs
  • Infused Honey
  • Electuaries
  • Powders
  • Pastilles
  • Poultice
  • Infused Oils (both cold and warm infusions)
  • Salves
  • Lotions and Creams

She also discusses topics such as fresh vs dried herbs as well as the effect of alcohol percentage in tinctures.

Chapter 4 – Materia Medica

“Materia Medica” is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing.  This section is the meat and potatoes part of the book.  There over sixty-five pages of information on fifty individual herbs and plants which are used in natural medicine.  Common material such as cayenne, comfrey, garlic, ginger, lemon balm, sage, thyme  and valerian are discussed as well as lesser known items such as chinese skullcap, hyssop, ma huang and sida.

Cat discusses the Parts Used, Actions, Preparations, Dose, Uses and Contraindications for each item.  The information discussed here is incredibly in-depth and useful.

Chapter 5 – Herbal First Aid Kit

As you might expect from the title, this chapter walks you through building a first aid kit which consists of natural solutions.  Cat talks about how each person’s first aid kit will differ, but she does spend some time walking through different items she recommends everyone have including ingredients required and the directions on how to construct them.  She includes natural medicine solutions for some common situations including infection, inflammation, burn care, constipation, ear aches, nausea/vomiting, sore throats, sprains, stress and wound wash (among others).

Chapter 6 – Everyday Natural Medicine

In addition, to the remedies mentioned in Chapter 5, Cat spends a significant amount of time in this chapter talking about preventative, as opposed to reactionary, natural medicine solutions.  You would use the solutions in this chapter if you have a chronic situation or know that you require a longer term solution.

Appendices & Indexes

There a multiple different tables and lists that summarize different natural medicine solutions as well as herbs that are used in different situations.  In addition, there are lots of links to external information sources.  Definitely a treasure trove of information.

Why I Liked Prepper’s Natural Medicine

Plain and simple, Cat Ellis takes a very daunting, ambiguous topic and brings it down to a simple presentation that just makes sense.  I’ve not only been able to understand her writing, but have started to implement some of her suggestions and can attest to the fact that her directions are complete.

In my opinion, that’s the best part of this book – the level of knowledge that is presented in a clear, concise manner.

What I Didn’t Like

I don’t want to be that guy, but there was not much to not like about this book.  It reads as an information book and and is definitely more of an educational tool than a theoretical or opinion-lead work.

Overall Thoughts On Prepper’s Natural Medicine

I think Prepper’s Natural Medicine by Cat Ellis is a solid addition to your long-term survival library.  The natural medicine information provided is straight-forward and no-nonsense.  In addition, the presentation is put together in a chronologically intelligent way.  You can build on the information as it is presented to you.  The book, in its non-digital form, will be a great possession to have in your survival kit.

natural medicine

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Founder/Owner at Suburban Steader
I am a middle-age guy with a wife, two young kids and a couple of crazy dogs. We live on Long Island, NY and had an interesting experience with Hurricane Sandy. That experience led me towards the self-sufficiency movement and eventually led to the founding of I aim to provide suburbanites with the confidence and know-how to become more self-reliant by providing content on topics such as gardening, personal health, financial responsibility, cooking, self-preparedness and self-protection.