How To Know If Your Store-Bought Aloe Vera Gel Is Fake

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How To Know If Your Store-Bought Aloe Vera Is Fake

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Why buy bottled Aloe vera Gel when you can grow your own plants? This is the question that most people ask when they first hear of bottled Aloe vera gel. Why would I buy it when I can grow my own? Well, there are several reasons why it is just plain convenient to buy Aloe vera gel:

1. You use a lot of Aloe and can’t grow and cultivate enough plants to supply your needs.

Some of us use a lot of Aloe vera, and if you are one of these people, you can understand my reasoning here. Personally, I use Aloe several times a day as part of my routine. Also, I use Aloe vera in a lot of homemade recipes. Add in the family members who also use aloe, and you can imagine how hard it would be to grow and cultivate enough Aloe for all of our daily needs.

2. You live in a climate where it is impossible to grow Aloe outdoors, year-round.

For those of you who live in year-round, warm weather, it is entirely possible to continuously grow your own supply of Aloe vera in an outdoor garden.

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However, not all of us are fortunate enough to live in such a climate, and without a greenhouse, Aloe vera plants will not survive harsh winters.

3. You don’t have a yard, garden or greenhouse, or enough space inside to grow enough.

Many homes have limited space for potted plants and windows to supply the natural sunlight. Therefore, buying bottled Aloe vera gel is a lifesaver!

4. You just don’t have a green thumb!

Hey, not everyone loves to garden or has that green thumb to keep potted plants thriving! Aloe vera gel is the perfect solution for those who prefer not to grow it on their own!

5. There is not enough time!

Not everyone has hours to spend in the garden every day! With the hustle and bustle of daily life, jobs and family, maintaining a large garden of Aloe vera is unthinkable to some.

6. Life circumstances do not allow you to grow your own Aloe.

Maybe you don’t have the mobility anymore or have become ill. Bottled Aloe vera gel is a convenience for many people who cannot garden.

Aloe Basics

How To Know If Your Store-Bought Aloe Vera Is Fake

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Aloe is a succulent plant with no stem, just fleshy leaves containing special sacs filled with a healing juice. Cold-pressed, fresh from the plant, this juice — or gel — can be applied to burns, cuts, wounds and sunburn with rapid anti-inflammatory and skin-healing results. In addition to these benefits, Aloe vera gel can be used for a number of other things:

  • Soothes insect bites.
  • Fades
  • Moisturizes the skin.
  • Replaces face and body creams (check out the homemade Aloe skin mousse recipe listed below).
  • Mixes well with essential oils (use as a carrier).
  • Calms and heals rashes.
  • Works as a hair gel and hair conditioner.
  • Reduces dandruff.
  • Prevents scarring or fades existing
  • Brightens skin.
  • Relieves and heals blisters.
  • Reverses the signs of aging.
  • Removes make-up and cleans pores.
  • Lightens stretch marks.
  • Prevents pimples.
  • Fights athlete’s
  • Sanitizes
  • Soothes and relieves
  • Contributes to healthy nail growth.

It is essential to pay attention to the ingredients before purchasing Aloe vera gel. Many companies claim that their gel is 100 percent pure, but that is misleading. Some will add water, color or alcohol. Others will add unnatural preservatives. In general, if there are more than six ingredients, more than likely the gel is not all-natural.

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It is important to understand that any bottled Aloe vera gel will need to contain a small amount of natural preservatives. Without any preservatives, the gel will have a short shelf life and begin to grow bacteria and go bad. Because of this, the brand of bottled Aloe vera gel that you purchase should say 95-99.75 percent pure Aloe vera. Do your research and make sure that all the ingredients are natural or natural-occurring.

Homemade Aloe Gel Skin Mousse

This is an easy-to-make skin mousse formula that is super-nourishing and healing for your skin!

This is what you will need:

  • A glass jar which can hold up to 20ml/4 tsp of the finished mousse.
  • 3 ½ flat tsp of Aloe vera gel (all together).
  • 1 tsp jojoba carrier oil.
  • Small mixing spoon.
  • Essential oils of your choice.

Add 3 flat teaspoons of Aloe vera gel and 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil to the jar and mix well. The oil and gel will start to combine and thicken. At this point, add another ½ tsp Aloe vera gel to the jar and keep stirring. The mixture will suddenly go smooth and slack, taking on an opaque, pale cream color. This will be enough for about 10 applications to the face. Adjust the recipe to make a larger portion for a body mousse.

You can use the mousse unfragranced, as is, or if you prefer, you can blend in 8-10 drops of essential oils to treat a particular health condition or to add fragrance to your skin mousse.

Do you use Aloe vera? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:  

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6 Immune-Boosting Foods People Ate Before There Were Antibiotics

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6 Immune-Boosting Foods People Ate Before There Were Antibiotics

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In the not-so-distant past, antibiotics and antibacterial wipes, lotions and hand sanitizers had not been invented, so one had to rely on your immune system and foods to fight off any type of virus or bacterial infection.

Too many of us take these important medicines for granted. My maternal grandfather nearly died from a simple cut on his hand. It became infected and soon involved his entire arm. The doctor tried his best, but was unable to stop the infection. The doctor finally asked my grandmother if she was willing to try an “experimental” — yes, he really called it that — drug called penicillin. Thankfully, my grandfather wasn’t allergic, and he was up and around in a few days.

What would we do, though, if we suddenly went back in time 100 years and were unable to find antibiotics, anti-virals, or other types of germ-fighting medicine? You got it! We would be back to relying on our immune system.

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Let’s take a look at six of the top immune-building foods and herbs.

Top 3 Food Sources

We want to provide the immune system with all of the vitamins, minerals and essentials that it needs to do its job properly.

1. Foods rich in iron

Too little iron can weaken the immune system. So eat foods that are rich in iron, such as meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, fish and dried fruits.

2. Foods rich in Vitamin C

Especially when combined with iron-rich foods which help the body absorb iron, vitamin C is a well-known immune system supporter! Think beyond the typical oranges and grapefruits; bell peppers have more vitamin C than an orange! You also can consume dark leafy greens, broccoli, berries, snap peas, and papaya alongside that morning glass of juice.

3. Garlic

6 Immune-Boosting Foods People Ate Before There Were Antibiotics

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While you won’t win the most kissable prize, garlic has been used for centuries to fight off upper respiratory infections. Garlic improves the body’s immune system by allowing it to fight off those annoying viruses. Fresh garlic works better than supplements, so add garlic to everything and feel the burn!

Top 3 Herbs

By now almost everyone has heard of Echinacea and goldenrod, but what if you needed other choices? Check out these three little-known herbs that have been used for centuries to help support the immune system function.

1. Ginger

Try growing and storing ginger at home so that you always have access to this super anti-nausea and immune-supporting root. Ginger can help the body defend itself against opportunistic infection. Ginger is also super anti-inflammatory, which means faster healing when you do get sick.

2. Cat’s claw

This is the herb with the funny name, but there is no denying that cat’s claw has huge effects on the immune system. The root and bark are the parts most often used in tea form. They contain compounds that trigger the immune system and help to improve the ability of white blood cells to fight off pathogens. This herb is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, similar to ginger.

3. Astragalus

This herb has been used in Chinese medicine for untold centuries. Astragalus helps the immune system by increasing the immune cells in the bone marrow and lymph tissues. The root of Astragalus is commonly cooked in soups or stews to help soften it. You also can take this as a capsule.

What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

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7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Marigold. Image source: Pixabay.com

There is absolutely nothing like having fresh medicinal plants that you can pick and use right on the spot, when you need them.

Plus, you can dry them, and then use a mortise and pestle to grind them and encapsulate your own medicinal plants. You know they were never sprayed with pesticides. And you know all about the nutrients that were fed to them.

You can grow them in decorative planters in the kitchen if you have the lighting for it.

Many people set up a multi-tiered rack that allows planter pots to be set at a forward-facing angle. This allows you to put the back of it against a wall, and the plants grow at a forward-facing angle.

Other people like to use wire hangers and hang the pots from a wall in rows or a pattern. If you’re going to do this, then test the strength of your wall.

If you have a sunroom or a sunroom-like area, these make great growing spaces, too.

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Here are seven of the best medicinal plants you can grow indoors:

1. St John’s Wort. This plant will grow year-round with a grow light in the morning or evening to extend the growing hours of the day. If you find that it’s not flowering, then it may need longer hours of light.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

St. John’s Wort. Image source: Pixabay.com

It’s a great-looking plant with attractive yellow flowers and can really brighten up a home.

Benefits:

  • May be as effective as some prescription medication for treating depression1.
  • Helps alleviate the symptoms of PMS and menopause2.
  • May help with the symptoms of ADD (attention deficit disorder)2.

2. Thyme. This is a hearty plant that can be used in cooking, as it’s one of the most popular herbs around. It’s hearty, grows pretty easily and doesn’t require much care at all.

Benefits:

  • Thyme has been shown to aid in the relief of chest and respiratory problems, including coughs, bronchitis and chest congestion3.
  • Thyme has been shown to have a strong antimicrobial activity, neutralizing such bacteria and fungi as Staphalococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Shigella sonnei4.

3. Sage. Its genus name, Salvia, means “to heal.” As long as you give it light, adequate water and good soil, you almost can’t kill it. Sage is one of the herbs that makes everyone look like they’ve got a green thumb.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Sage. Image source: Pixabay.com

Benefits:

  • May lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s 5.
  • Has been shown to lower both blood glucose and cholesterol5.

4. Parsley. Too many people think of parsley as a garnish on their plate. But parsley is one of the best green foods around.

It grows rather easily, and you shouldn’t have a problem so long as you keep its soil damp.

Benefits:

  • Can help with bad breath6.
  • Can help detoxify the brain of ammonia, thereby reducing the feelings of a hangover.
  • May be a potent anticancer agent and has been shown to be chemo-protective7.

5. Marigold. A truly unique and beautiful flowing medicinal, marigold will grow with only just a little bit of TLC needed.

Benefits:

  • The flowers have long been touted to posses near legendary anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to fight eczema and allergic reactions.
  • Relieves pain of arthritis.
  • Can be made into tinctures and ointments that have shown to sooth rashes, bed sores, diaper rash, sun burns and other types of burns.

6. Lavender. This is one of the most fragrant medicinal plants you can grow in your home. Lavender is a little more work to grow inside and it needs a little more space.

Benefits:

  • Put lavender in your pillow to have a restful sleep and avoid insomnia8.
  • Helps with nervousness, headache, stomach nerves, restlessness and stress8.
7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Image source: Pixabay.com

7. Echinacea. Here you have the granddaddy of all medicinal plants. It grows easily, as long as you give it a grow light.

Benefits:

  • Several studies show that Echinacea helps boost the immune10.
  • Echinacea has shown to be very promising in treating most any kind of infection, from sinusitis to vaginal yeast infections to ear infections10.
  • Shows promise in treating colon cancer and athlete’s foot10.

What plants would you add to the list? Share your tips in the section below:

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hydrogen peroxide report

Sources:

  1. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/sjw-and-depression.htm
  2. https://draxe.com/st-johns-wort-uses/
  3. Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, DeWitt DL. Antioxidant and cyclooxygenase inhibitory phenolic compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine 2000 Mar;7(1):7-13. 2000. PMID:12240.
  4. Bagamboula CF, Uyttendaeleand M, Debevere J. Inhibitory effect of thyme and basil essential oils, carvacrol, thymol, estragol, linalool and p-cymene towards Shigella sonnei and S. flexneri. Food Microbio 2004 Feb;21 (1):33-42. 2004.
  5. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266480.php
  6. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-parsley.html
  7. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf00013a020
  8. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender
  9. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/echinacea

Does Chicken Soup REALLY Heal Colds? (And If So, What’s The Best Recipe?)

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Does Chicken Soup REALLY Heal Colds? (And If So, What’s The Best Recipe?)

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When my kids don’t feel well, one of the only things they will eat is chicken soup – my homemade chicken soup.

But do they want the soup because it represents a strong comfort food they have known all of their lives, or is there something more?

The answer is yes, and the old wives’ tale is right. Chicken soup really is good for you.

Dr. Stephen Rennard and his team of researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha conducted a series of tests to study the health benefits of chicken soup.

“Everyone’s heard this from their mother and grandmother in many cultures,” Rennard said. “We found chicken soup might have some anti-inflammatory value.”

After examining blood samples from study volunteers, the researchers found that homemade chicken soup reduced the movement of a type of white blood cells, called neutrophils, which help defend against infection. By inhibiting movement of these cells in the body, chicken soup can help reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms, Rennard theorized.

“Researchers suspect the reduction in movement of neutrophils may reduce activity in the upper respiratory tract that can cause symptoms associated with a cold,” the University of Nebraska said in a press release.

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The study used a soup made by Rennard’s wife, Barbara. (The recipe is below.) But is also compared results of the homemade soup with several commercial brands of chicken soup and found similar results. The brands tested included Progresso chicken noodle, Knorr chicken noodle, Campbell’s Home Cookin’ chicken vegetable, Lipton Cup-a-Soup chicken noodle and Campbell’s Healthy Request chicken noodle.

Although they were not able to pinpoint exactly what ingredients made the soup so effective against cold symptoms, the research suggested that it is the combination of chicken and vegetables that does the trick.

Does Chicken Soup REALLY Heal Colds? (And If So, What’s The Best Recipe?) An earlier study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai in Miami found that consuming chicken soup helped sick study volunteers to breath better and to have less mucus. The 1978 report, which, like the 2000 Rennard study was published in the medical journal Chest, found that chicken soup boosts the function of cilia — the microscopic hair-like projections that help prevent germs from entering the body.

Given the nickname “Jewish penicillin,” chicken soup has been a mainstay for generations of mothers and grandmothers from many cultures who seek to comfort their families.

Some scientists theorize that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and that the soup provides the fluids needed to flush out viral infections in the upper respiratory tract.

Staying well-hydrated is a key part of recovering from a cold or the flu. Research suggests then chicken soup may provide better hydration than either water or commercial electrolyte drinks. Here are other reasons chicken soup heals:

  • Chicken soup usually contains salt, which in a broth can help soothe your throat much in the same way that gargling with warm salt water can.
  • The soup’s warm liquid can help clear the sinuses with its steam.
  • Chicken provides lean protein to give your body strength when you are sick.
  • The vegetables in chicken soup can help heal the body. Carrots contain beta-carotene and celery contains vitamin C, both of which help boost the body’s immune system and help fight infection. Onions help reduce inflammation and can act as an anti-histamine.

Convinced? Here is the recipe for the soup used in the study:

Ingredients

  • 1 5- to 6-pound stewing hen or baking chicken
  • 1 package of chicken wings
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 parsnips
  • 2 turnips
  • 11 to 12 large carrots
  • 5 to 6 celery stems
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Clean the chicken, put it in a large pot and cover it with cold water. Bring the water to boil.
  2. Add the chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots. Boil about 1 and a half hours. Remove fat from the surface as it accumulates.
  3. Add the parsley and celery. Cook the mixture about 45 min. longer.
  4. Remove the chicken. The chicken is not used further for the soup. (The meat makes excellent chicken parmesan.)
  5. Put the vegetables in a food processor until they are chopped fine or pass through a strainer. Both were performed in the present study.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

(Note: This soup freezes well.)

Matzo balls were prepared according to the recipe on the back of the box of matzo meal (Manischewitz).

What is your favorite chicken soup recipe? Do you eat chicken soup when you are sick? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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15 Incredible Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Oil

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15 Incredible Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Oil

Image source: Wikipedia

 

The tea tree, or Melaleuca alternifolia, is native to Australia and produces one of the most popular essential oils, tea tree essential oil.

Captain James Cook and his sailors stumbled upon the tree in the 18th century, and discovered that the leaves of the tree — when brewed as a tea — could combat scurvy. The tree soon after became known as the “tea tree.”

Of course, the indigenous people of Australia, the Aborigines, were already aware of the tree’s healing powers and used the leaves of the tree to battle respiratory problems and to relieve headaches.

Tea tree essential oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. The aroma of the essential oil is fresh, pungent and medicinal, with sweeter, woody notes as it evaporates.

Let’s take a look at 15 uses for this incredible essential oil.

1. Fight viral infections and airborne germs

Since tea tree essential oil is antiviral and antibacterial, it is good for fighting germs that cause the flu and other sicknesses. There are several ways you can use the oil, including as a massage blend and in an air diffuser to purify the air.

Recipe for an antiviral massage blend:

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 4 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 4 tsp of a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil

To boost your immune system and fight off illnesses, massage the blend onto your skin at least once per day.

2. Heal wounds

Tea tree essential oil is ideal for treating wounds and preventing an infection from setting in.

To treat wounds and insect bites:

  • Place 2 drops of tea tree essential oil on a cotton ball and swipe over the wound or insect bite.

It is OK to use tea tree essential oil, without a carrier oil, for treating wounds. But if you have sensitive skin, add a drop of a carrier oil to the tea tree oil before wiping the wound.

3. Disinfect surfaces in your home and car

Tea tree essential oil is a potent surface cleaner and germ killer. Simply spray and wipe a solution with tea tree essential oil over all surfaces of your home and car. Don’t forget about door knobs, cabinet knobs, light switches, remotes, computer keyboards, mouses, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Furthermore, using a cleaning solution with tea tree essential oil for wiping down the interior of your car can prevent the spread of illness-causing germs.

Germ-killing cleaning solution:

  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 oz. white vinegar
  • 8 oz. distilled water
  • Mix in a spray bottle

4. Treat acne

Tea tree essential oil is considered one of the most effective, natural, acne treatments available. In fact, it can be as effective as peroxide for acne-prone skin, and does not have the harsh side-effects such as drying and peeling.

Homemade face blend for acne-prone skin:

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops geranium essential oil
  • 4 tsp jojoba carrier oil

Place several drops of the blend onto a cotton swab and wipe over your face with it in an upward motion. Allow the oils to absorb into your skin.

5. Remedy a dry scalp

Tea tree is beneficial for the health of your skin, and this includes the scalp. It can prevent dry, flaking skin, dandruff, and even can be used to treat lice.

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Add tea tree directly to your shampoo and conditioner, or try this homemade remedy:

 Tea tree scalp treatment:

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 tsp coconut oil

Massage the blend into your hair and scalp and leave it in for about 30 minutes, and then shampoo it out.

6. Fight toenail fungus, ringworm and athlete’s foot

15 Incredible Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Oil

Image source: Pixabay.com

Tea tree essential oil has the ability to kill parasites and fungus. Use it neat, or undiluted, right on the infected areas. If you have sensitive skin, add a carrier oil.

Fungus-killing solution:

  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops oil of oregano
  • 4 tsp of a carrier oil

7. Remove warts

Tea tree essential oil can naturally remove unwanted warts. Just apply several drops of tea tree essential oil several times a day to the wart. Be patient, as it can take up to 30 days to completely remove the wart.

8. Kill mold

Mold grows in damp places and can quickly become an infestation. To kill mold, place a diffuser in the area, such as your bathroom or garage, and diffuse tea tree oil into the air. Or, you can use a spray bottle with tea tree essential oil and water. Spray the solution on shower curtains, window sills, dishwashers, laundry machines, and anywhere else you might notice mold growing.

9. Prevent body odor (deodorant)

Because of its antimicrobial properties, tea tree essential oil can naturally control body odor.

Natural deodorant recipe:

  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • Add lavender essential oil for scent if you

Mix together the baking soda and cornstarch in a bowl, and then add liquefied coconut oil, your essential oils and blend. Store the blend in an airtight container and use it daily.

10. Make homemade toothpaste and mouthwash

Because tea tree essential oil is antibacterial, it will kill germs in the mouth. It can prevent tooth decay, bleeding gums and bad breath.

Toothpaste and mouthwash recipe:

  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 5 tbsp liquified coconut oil
  • Mix together and keep in an airtight container.

You can use the blend as toothpaste or allow it to melt in your mouth as a mouthwash. Be sure to spit it out. Never swallow tea tree essential oil.

11. Treat eczema and psoriasis

Tea tree can treat any kind of skin inflammation and is a natural healing agent, so it’s ideal for relieving the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

Eczema and psoriasis remedy:

  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Rub into the affected area as needed.

12. Relieve a sore throat

15 Incredible Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Oil

Image source: Pixabay.com

Because tea tree essential oil can help with the inflammation of the mucous membranes, it can effectively be used to help relieve a sore throat. Add one drop of tea tree essential oil to enough warm water with which to gargle. Make sure to spit out the mixture and not to swallow it.

13. Fight colds (expectorant)

Tea tree essential oil can help clear airways and a stuffed-up nose. It can also help to ease a headache.

Head cold remedy massage rub:

  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond oil
  • Rub into the chest area and on the temples.

14. Repell insects

Pests hate the smell of tea tree essential oil, and it is useful for repelling most of them.

Natural bug and pest spray:

  • 20 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops citronella essential oil
  • 16 oz distilled water

Using a spray bottle, spray the blend around doorways, windows and cracks to keep pests out of your home. You also can spray the combination on your clothes to ward off insects when you go outdoors. To use on your skin, add several drops of a carrier oil to help with the absorption.

15. Sanitize hands

Try this blend to make an all-natural hand sanitizer that is not rough on your hands:

Natural hand sanitizer recipe:

  • 30 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops clove essential oil
  • 1 tbsp witch hazel
  • 8 oz. aloe vera gel

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then store it in an airtight container. Carry a small amount around with you in a travel-sized squeeze bottle.

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Lard: Your Great-Grandmother’s Secret To Better Skin, Naturally

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Lard: Your Great-Grandmother’s Secret To Better Skin, Naturally

Image source: Epic Provisions

 

Before the birth of the industrial cosmetic industry, people found other ways to improve their skin. Perhaps they realized that after continually handling meat in the kitchen, the skin on their hands was softer and smoother. Or perhaps they were just feeling adventurous with the leftover biscuit grease.

Either way, people for centuries – especially women — have been using lard as a facial cream. Lard is pork fat that has been rendered down to a liquid. Not only does it act as an exceptional barrier for locking in moisture, but it is also high in the vitamins that help keep skin healthy.

While the idea of rubbing pork fat on your cheeks might seem off-putting, think about this: Nearly all commercial skincare products are already made with some sort of animal fat. And massaging lard into your skin isn’t the same as rubbing bacon on your face. In fact, lard is incredibly gentle on skin, since it is so close to human skin in its chemical makeup.

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So before you call that 1-800 number to purchase a $50 bottle of Anti-Aging, Acne-Erasing Wonder Cream, give lard a chance. This humble pork product has been proven to:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Tone and firm for a more youthful look.
  • Even out color and reduce redness associated with rosacea.
  • Reduce dryness associated with conditions like eczema (or winter weather).
  • Even out texture for a smoother, softer feel.
  • Improve acne and reduce pores.

If you are truly looking for a healthy and sustainable fix for your skincare woes, lard has the power to do everything that bank-breaking bottle of Lancôme does, and for the same price you could buy about 20 gallons of it!

Here’s Why it Works

When it comes to cellular makeup, pig lard is incredibly close to human skin. It has a similar pH and is made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats. One fact that skincare experts know: Oil dissolves oil. Since lard is so similar to our own skin oils, it’s a match made in heaven. As a cleanser, lard is a gentle and natural way to rid your face of that nasty sebum buildup and the daily dirt in your pores.

Pigs are extremely efficient at processing sunlight and storing it as Vitamin D in their fat. Fortunately for us, we get to enjoy our four-footed friends’ hard work when we rub that fat on our faces. Vitamin D helps to minimize dark spots and lines, reduce acne, and promote collagen production. This D-rich lard comes from pastured hogs that have been exposed to sunlight, so be sure to keep this in mind if you purchase your lard. Lard is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and Vitamin A.

There’s only one ingredient in lard: lard. Think about that next time your read your lotion label. If you can’t pronounce the words on the label, then you probably shouldn’t be putting it on or in your body.

Though convenient, most store-bought lard is hydrogenated and may contain preservatives. If you are going for a completely natural lard fix and you can’t render your own lard, then the best place to go is to your local butcher or farmer’s market. And for about $1 you can enjoy healthy, radiant skin for months. I haven’t seen a deal that good on any late-night infomercials.

How to Use it

Night is the time for our bodies to rest and restore. After your nightly washing routine, towel dry your face and dab a tiny bit of lard onto your cheeks and forehead. Massage it in well all over your face and neck. In the morning, wipe it away with a warm cloth.

Though some notice an instant improvement in their skin’s look and feel, for many this isn’t a simple overnight fix. My advice to you: Be patient! Going to bed smelling just a bit like a sausage may be discouraging (unless you really love sausage), but the end result will be well worth it. Those who have taken on the lard challenge have noticed a reduction in the signs of aging, improvement in skin elasticity, more even skin texture and color, fewer occurrences of acne, and softer skin.

If you’re tired of spending an arm and a leg on expensive chemical night creams or if you’ve simply tried everything without positive results, then I encourage you to give this age-old all-natural porcine remedy a try.

Have you ever used lard as a lotion or skin-softener? Share your tips in the section below:  

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

8 Antiviral, Antibacterial Essential Oils That Are Healthier Than Lysol

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8 Antiviral, Antibacterial Essential Oils That Are Healthier Than Lysol

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Who doesn’t want to rid their home of infectious bacteria and viruses? Many people purchase chemical-laced cleaners to try and accomplish this daunting task, but in doing so they may be doing more harm than good. Chemical cleaners are not naturally antibacterial nor antiviral and can actually cause resistant strains of viruses to develop. Furthermore, harsh chemicals create fumes which can be toxic, especially for children and pets.

Instead, you can eliminate bacteria and viruses with natural essential oils. Here are eight of the best:

1. Tea tree

Tea tree essential oil is incredibly useful for killing topical and airborne bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, tea tree is a natural antiseptic and anti-fungal oil which can kill mold. It is ideal to use tea tree to treat fungus infections, to eliminate the growth of mold, and to destroy viruses and bacteria.

To create an even more potent formula, combine it with eucalyptus essential oil. This mixture is known to kill E. coli and to fight staff infections.

2. Peppermint

Peppermint has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties and is an ingredient in massage and chest rubs used to reduce the symptoms of the common cold. In test tubes, peppermint essential oil kills many types of fungi, viruses and bacteria.

With all of its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, peppermint essential oil is an excellent way to boost your immune system, as well. It comprises compounds such as camphor, carvacrol and menthol which are resistant to many perilous strains of bacteria such as E. coli, staph infections and salmonella.

Furthermore, peppermint is a great essential oil for purifying the air in your home. It is effective at killing germs and has a fresh, minty scent which is uplifting and refreshing.

3. Lemon

Since lemon essential oil has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, it makes an excellent cleaner. Lemon essential oil can be used for disinfecting metal surfaces, dishes, clothes and even the body.

To make a homemade, all-purpose cleaner, add lemon essential oil to white or cider vinegar for a green and very efficient cleaner.

Disinfect your clothes after being ill by adding several drops of lemon essential oil to your laundry wash cycle.

4. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil has a strong camphor content and scent which gives it potent germicide properties. These properties make eucalyptus essential oil ideal for fighting infections, bacteria and viruses.

Furthermore, eucalyptus essential oil’s germicidal quality makes it an antiseptic, which means it is suitable to treat burns, cuts, wounds, ulcers, abrasions and sores.

Mix eucalyptus essential oil with tree tea essential oil to make the ultimate germicide cleaning solution for your home.

5. Lemongrass

Lemon has a rich history as an antibacterial cleanser. However, lemongrass is sweeter, gentler and not as sour-smelling. Even though lemongrass essential oil does not smell as strong, it is still a potent antibacterial essential oil.

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The antimicrobial properties of lemongrass essential oil impede the development of bacteria when used as a massage rub. It can aid in destroying such bacterial infections as malaria, typhoid, food poisoning, urinary tract infections, body odor and various skin conditions.

Lemongrass is also antiseptic in nature and is useful for treating wounds and preventing them from becoming septic. As a potent fungicide, lemongrass essential oil is ideal for treating fungal infections of the skin.

6. Lavender

8 Antiviral, Antibacterial Essential Oils That Are Healthier Than Lysol

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Don’t be fooled by this wonderfully smelling essential oil! The name “lavender” is derived from the Latin name Lavare, which translates to “wash.”

Lavender essential oil is an authoritative antibacterial oil which can boost your immune system and resist diseases and viruses.

Because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, lavender essential oil is useful in treating various skin ailments such as psoriasis, acne and other inflammatory conditions of the skin, as well as stopping infection in cuts, wounds and burns.

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon essential oil is an extremely potent antibacterial essential oil. Since cinnamon essential oil contains cinnamaldehyde, it is used widely for treatment of various ailments and has been reported to kill germs such as viruses and bacteria.

8. Oregano

Oregano essential oil is a potent essential oil which not only causes noteworthy damage to the strains of bacteria, but it also helps to minimalize the bacteria’s ability to generate toxins which can be severely hazardous to human health.

If you have an ingestible form of oil of oregano, then place several drops under your tongue as soon as you feel the symptoms of a cold or the flu coming on. It will begin to fight the infection immediately.

Ways to Use Essential Oils to Fight Viruses, Bacteria and Germs

  • Topically: To use any of the mentioned essential oils, or a blend of your choice, add about 8 drops of essential oil per 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil. You can use this massage mixture as a chest and body rub when you feel a cold or the flu coming on. Not only will it help to diminish any symptoms that you might have, but it also will attack the bacteria and viruses which are causing your infection and sickness.
  • A cleanser: To kill germs on surfaces, add 25 drops of essential oils in an 8-ounce spray bottle with distilled water and spray and wipe down all surfaces in your home, office and car. Also, use essential oils in your mopping solutions to cleanse your floors.
  • Air purification: To purify germs and viruses from the air, diffuse about 8-10 drops of essential oils in a room diffuser.

What is your favorite antibacterial and antiviral essential oil? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

5 Home Remedies That Kept Our Ancestors Healthy Year-Round

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5 Home Remedies That Kept Our Ancestors Healthy Year-Round

The story of America in the 1700s and 1800s includes immigrants and settlers who came here from all over the world, bringing their traditional clothing, ideas, inventions, food, and, of course, their home remedies.

Immigrants tend to get absorbed into the fabric of America, which means that their home remedies can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Today, we are going to take a look at five nearly forgotten home remedies that our ancestors consumed to stay healthy before they had access to doctors, prescription medications or vaccinations.

1. Garlic and onions

While some ideas fall by the wayside (such as placing a cut onion in the room to “absorb” viruses) others stick around because they really work. One such remedy was a big plate of fried onion and garlic. The substances in these foods have been proven by today’s scientific studies to contain anti-viral and anti-microbial compounds, which can not only help to shorten the duration of a cold or flu, but can keep you healthy and prevent you from becoming sick.

2. Honey and lemon

While we still use this, we have acquired different reasons for using it. Today, we think of honey and lemon — usually put in tea – as a way to relieve coughs, sore throats, and stuffy noses. It does a great job in this area, but for our ancestors; they used honey and lemon to stop allergy symptoms of hay fever.

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Since you would naturally purchase honey that came from local bees, which used local flowering plants, it only makes sense that consuming a tablespoon of it would eventually provide your body with an immune reaction. I actually did try this on my husband and I have to say that it works remarkably well! Rather than taking an anti-allergy pill every day during the spring and fall, he now only takes one two or three times a year.

3. Jacob’s ladder

These beautiful plants, with their blue/purple flowers, were sometimes called Greek Valerian. While this plant used to be a staple in the 1800s, it is almost unheard of today. (Even though the alternative name has the word “valerian” in it, this plant is actually no relation to the valerian we use today.) Our ancestors used this plant, generally in a tea form using the flowers, to help prevent what our forefathers would call “nervous complaints.” This has been used for everything from headaches to heart palpitations and “women’s hysteria.” To our ancestors, women’s hysteria was just about any complaint a woman might have, such as mood swings, cramps or hot flashes.

4. Ginger

Like honey and lemon, ginger was often used for something else other than what we use it for today. While our ancestors realized that ginger could help with nausea, many consumed ginger (either chewing pieces of it or drinking it as a tea) to help prevent them from becoming chilled, and therefore susceptible to illness, or to prevent colic and indigestion.

5. Lady’s slipper

Lady’s slipper is a beautiful flowering plant related to orchids. Sometimes called moccasin flower or Venus shoe, this plant was very well-known to the Native people of North America, who used it as a preventative and curative for intestinal worms. While in this modern era intestinal worms are almost unheard of, these parasites used to be very, very common. Flowers were made into a tea that was drunk regularly to prevent worm infestation. The dried and then remoistened root was also used by several tribes to stop skin irritations and even to stop toothache pain.

What home remedies would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

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5 Simple Steps To Make Your Own Oil Of Oregano

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5 Simple Steps To Make Your Own Oil Of Oregano

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The ancient Romans and Greeks had a great appreciation for oregano, due largely to its many medicinal uses. Furthermore, the name “oregano” comes from the Greek words “ganos” and “oros,” which means joy and mountain. Therefore, oregano means “joy of the mountain!”

Oil of oregano has antioxidant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory qualities, and is a carminative, which means it lessens gas formation in the stomach. Furthermore, it is also a cholagogue, enabling bile to be released more easily and aiding in the digestion of fats.

Extracting oil from oregano involves a distinct distillation process. However, there is an easy way to make your own homemade, oil of oregano. Here’s a simple recipe:

What You Will Need

  • Oregano leaves, crushed or chopped
  • Grape seed oil, olive oil or almond oil
  • 2 sanitized jars with twist lids

What To Do

  1. Boil water in a saucepan. Let it reach a rolling boil, and then turn off the flame.
  2. Put your oregano leaves into a jar and then pour the oil of your choice over the leaves.
  3. Place the jar into hot water and allow it sit for 5-10 minutes. This process heats up the oil and allows the oregano to release its natural oils.
  4. Take the jar from the hot water and put it on a sunny windowsill for 1-2 weeks. Shake up the mixture every couple of days.
  5. After it sits for 2 weeks, strain the oil from the leaves into a second, sanitized jar. Store the oil in a cool and dark place.

To preserve homemade oil of oregano, add a couple drops of grapefruit oil. (If you decide to not make your own homemade oil of oregano, then make sure to use a quality, therapeutic grade essential oil.)

Uses For Oil Of Oregano

1. Respiratory illnesses

Many European respiratory remedies contain oregano as an important ingredient. It is used both externally and internally to treat asthma, bronchitis, colds and the flu.

It reduces inflammation caused by allergens. It also acts as a mild sedative, lessening the body’s reaction to the allergens.

Simply massage oil of oregano onto your chest to help relieve these ailments.

2. Skin ailments

People who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, candidiasis and rosacea can benefit greatly from oil of oregano. Remember, however, that oregano is a natural warming oil, so blend it well with jojoba, coconut or olive carrier oils and make sure to test it on affected areas lightly at first.

3. Fungal infections

Because of its antifungal properties, it is good for treating any fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and nail fungus. Again, remember that it is a natural warming oil, so dilute it properly and test it first.

4. Menstrual pain

Oil of oregano has been conventionally used to relieve menstrual issues such as amenorrhea and painful periods known as dysmenorrhea. Because oregano is an emmenagogue, it inspires blood flow to the pelvic region and encourages uterine contractions, enabling easier menstrual flow.

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

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Drink ginger tea mixed with 2-3 drops of your homemade oil of oregano if you have scanty or painful periods. Furthermore, you can add several drops of oil of oregano to chamomile tea to intensify its effectiveness.

To gain relief from menstrual cramps, massage a blend of six drops of oil of oregano and a teaspoon of coconut oil onto the lower abdomen.

5. Cardiovascular diseases

The antioxidant properties of oil of oregano can possibly guard your blood vessels and heart from free radical harm.

6. Arthritis and muscle pain

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its natural warmth, it is a wonderful oil for relieving aches and pains due to inflammation.

Simply use your homemade oil of oregano or mix a therapeutic grade essential oil with a carrier oil and massage it onto the affected area.

7. Animal conditions

  • Skin conditions and external parasites. You can apply the oil of oregano to areas where the pets have lost fur due to ringworm infections, mange or hotspots. Animals tolerate oil of oregano well when it’s used diluted with carrier oils. Blend a teaspoon of oil of oregano with a gallon of tepid water and use it as a rinse after bathing your dog. This will aid in flea and skin parasite control.
  • Treat arthritis in dogs. You can try adding several drops of oil of oregano to cod liver oil or moist dog food to make it taste better for your dog. Be sure to only use a drop or Don’t give it to cats; they have a problem metabolizing it.
  • Replace antibiotics for chickens. Antibiotics are traditionally blended with poultry feed to keep the chickens strong and healthy and to aid them in gaining weight faster. Moreover, many organic farmers have now rejected antibiotics and turned oil of oregano as a replacement.
  • Get rid of intestinal worms in dogs. Adding oil of oregano to moist dog food or cod liver oil will help kill internal parasites. Be sure to only add a drop or two.

8. Natural insect repellent

Oil of oregano can be used to get rid of head lice. Furthermore, you can successfully control household pests with this pungent oil.

Place 25 drops each of oil of oregano and lemon essential oil in a spray bottle and fill it up with distilled water. Shake it well. Spray the blend on surfaces and wipe it dry. Furthermore, you can drop several drops of oil of oregano on cotton balls and place them inside drawers and cabinets.

Oil of oregano is also a welcomed addition to any garden. Insects and pests hate the aroma. Blend oil of oregano and water and spray it on the plants in your garden.

Do you know of other uses for oil of oregano? Share your tips in the section below:

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Stockpiling The Medicine Cabinet For Winter: 17 Things You Better Be Storing

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Stockpiling The Medicine Cabinet For Winter: 17 Things You Better Have

Image source: Pinterest (Justa Girl)

Wintertime is a wonderful season — full of holidays, resolutions and relaxation. However, it is also the time of the year when our immune systems are the most vulnerable.

Of course, it is best to prevent illnesses, but it’s just as important to be ready if an illness does strike. That means you need a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Here are 17 natural treatments you should stockpile:

Vitamins and Supplements

1. Vitamin C. This should be taken daily, as vitamin C is critical for boosting the immune systems, for preventing illnesses, and for fighting infections.

2. Vitamin B. It serves as a pick-me-up and helps the body generate energy. It is good to have on hand to combat fatigue.

3. Calcium and magnesium. Many of us suffer from a lack of essential nutrients, and calcium and magnesium are two important ones the body needs. Take a daily supplement if you do not get enough in your diet. Both of these are good for relieving cramps and for relaxing.

4. Cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is considered a superfood, a crucial omega 3 fatty acid, and is extremely high in vitamins A and D. Take it daily, but especially when you feel a cold or the flu coming on. It is also a healthy fat to help lower bad cholesterol levels.

Herbs and Tea

5. Mullein. This is an herb that is useful for treating a sore or scratchy throat. It can help to ease coughs, too. One good way to use mullein is to boil it and then inhale the steam. It can contribute to clearing congestion and blocked airways.

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6. Chamomile. Chamomile tea is great for soothing an upset stomach, easing anxiety and tension, and for treating insomnia.

7. Peppermint. Peppermint tea can fight fatigue, ease nausea, battle congestion, open airways, and promote overall well-being.

8.  Ginger. Ginger is a natural antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory qualities. Furthermore, it is good for heart health. It can boost your immune system, aid in indigestion, fight bacterial and fungal infections, and even help with the symptoms of diabetes. Ginger root is excellent as a tea, or it can be added to your food.

9. Turmeric root. Most people use fresh turmeric root to treat aches and pains, as it is a natural pain reliever and aids in blood circulation. You can add it to your food recipes, or drink it as a tea. Be aware that turmeric can be hard to absorb, so add black pepper or coconut oil to your recipes to aid in absorption. Here is a fresh, turmeric root tea recipe.

Essential Oils

10. Tea tree essential oil. Tea tree essential oil is a natural antiseptic and is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Use it in a vaporizer to purify the air in your home and to kill germs. Furthermore, you can add it to a spray bottle with water and spray all the surfaces in your home to disinfect them.

As a first-aid treatment, swipe cuts to prevent an infection. Tea tree oil is also a good treatment for acne and fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot.

11. Lavender essential oil. Lavender essential oil is an all-around healing agent. It treats cuts and wounds, rashes, insect bites and acne.

Stockpiling The Medicine Cabinet For Winter: 17 Things You Better Store

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Since lavender is anti-inflammatory and analgesic, it is perfect for treating aches and pains and even headaches. Mix it with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and massage it into the affected areas.

Lavender is a calming oil and can help with deep relaxation. It’s a natural anxiety and depression remedy. It can treat insomnia, too. To use lavender essential oil, vaporize it in a diffuser, add several drops to a hot bath, or use it as a massage oil to receive all of its incredible benefits.

12. Rosemary essential oil. Rosemary is a natural warming oil and is anti-inflammatory. It is great for relieving fatigued, overworked, aching muscles. Use it in a carrier oil to create a soothing massage oil.

Rosemary essential oil also has stimulant properties which, when inhaled, can help to wake up the senses and help with concentration. Furthermore, it’s a natural stress-reliever. To use rosemary essential oil, vaporize it in a diffuser, use it in a hot bath, or create a massage blend.

13. Eucalyptus essential oil. Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural decongestant, so it’s perfect for treating colds and the flu. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can ease aches and pains. Use it in a diffuser or steam inhalation to help clear the senses. Alternatively, use eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil as a chest or muscle rub.

14. Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint essential oil is good for treating nausea, for fighting fatigue, for relieving congestion, and as a warming oil. To acquire the benefits of peppermint oil directly, drop several drops on a tissue and deeply inhale. This oil is also good when used in steam inhalation, a bath, as a warming, massage rub, and in a room diffuser.

First-Aid Natural Treatments

15. Honey. It is a natural healer and an antioxidant. In first-aid, honey can act as a band-aid. It will protect the wound, prevent infection and begin the healing process.

Honey is also good for preventing and treating colds, relieving coughs and sore throats, and for easing nausea. You can add honey to your tea to help lower your cholesterol.

16. Activated charcoal. This is a good remedy for treating gas and upset stomachs. It is also great for fighting food poisoning.

17. Epsom salts. Epsom salts are good in baths when you are sick. They can help to lower a fever and reduce bodily aches and pains. They also can help to reduce tension and anxiety. If you have a headache, try to lightly inhale Epsom salts to help relieve it.

What would you add to our list? Share your stockpiling tips in the section below:

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5 Headache-Curing Herbs Your Ancestors Used

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5 Headache-Curing Herbs Your Ancestors Used

Butterbur. Image source: Pixabay.com

Everyone gets a headache every now and then. Whether it is a tension headache from an overly demanding boss or a very painful rebound headache, there is only one thing most of us can think of: how to get rid of it quickly!

You might be wondering what our ancestors used before the invention of those over-the-counter pain killers. Herbs were among the most popular remedies and they worked remarkably well.

Here are the top 5 herbs that have been used for ages to stop headaches, before pharmacies, before pills, and certainly before your boss was born!

1. Willow

The bark from willow trees has a long history of pain relief, and not just for headaches. Extracts from white willow bark was used by the pioneers in the 1800s, but the Native people of America used it well before that. Willow bark contains a compound, salicin, which your body will convert into salicylic acid, known to you and I as aspirin.

2. Ginger

Yep, that same spice you probably have in your kitchen cabinet is well-known for stopping headaches (and nausea, too). Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it works on several different levels.

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

It can be purchased in capsule form, but the quickest way to relieve headaches — and the one our ancestors used — was to put a half dozen thin slices of fresh ginger root in two cups of water and boil it as a tea. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes and drink after it has cooled a bit.

3. Feverfew

This ancient herb, best known for reducing fevers, is a terrific choice for migraines as it not only reduces pain but is known to help alleviate nausea and sensitivity to light. The leaves and flowers contain a compound that cause the blood vessels to dilate.

4. Butterbur

The name of this herb always reminds me of butter beans, but it’s actually a very old folk remedy for not only headaches and migraines, but for other types of pain. For those who suffer from regular migraines, taking butterbur regularly has been shown in some studies to reduce the number of migraines by as much as 50 percent and the severity of pain by as much as 80 percent when compared to the placebo group. [1]

5. Peppermint and rosemary

While you have certainly consumed both of these herbs, you probably have not considered putting them together. It’s time to change that! Rosemary mixed with peppermint (and some recipes call for a bit of lavender also) makes a terrific “brain tonic” that will relieve headache pain, ease tension (which is the cause behind most headaches), and improve blood circulation. A tea of fresh peppermint leaves with a sprig of fresh rosemary is an old folk remedy for headaches that seems to withstand the test of time.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2005.05044.x/abstract

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

The 1800s Pain-Relief Plant That Doctors Used

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The 1800s Pain-Relief Plant That Doctors Used

Every time we are afflicted with a headache, hangnail or even the common cold, most of us simply pop down to the local drugstore and pick up an over-the-counter remedy. But chemical-induced drugs aren’t always best for us, and we also should consider: What if the drugstore is closed – or we can’t make it there – next time?

Trust our ancestors to have the answers. While we can’t really ask the pioneers what they used, they left records of their commonly used herbs and home remedies to guide us.

One herb that has been all but forgotten in today’s modern age is feverfew. This plant was very valuable to the Native American tribes as well as to the 1800s-era pioneers.

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

Let’s take a look at how it was used and how you might be able to grow your own for an unlimited supply.

What is Feverfew?

Feverfew (tanacetum parthenium) is a perennial flowering herb that is sometimes called “bachelor’s buttons.” In certain areas, it can grow 24 inches tall and equally as wide. It also is one of the oldest herbs known to man. While no one is sure when it started being used, it was first mentioned during the first century by Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides.

Feverfew can cause allergic reactions, so it is best to try a small amount first. It is related to chrysanthanims, so if you are allergic to those, steer clear!

Also, even though this plant is pretty to look at, do not put fresh leaves or flowers in your mouth, as it has a natural irritant. While it may not actually harm you, it can cause a burning sensation and even mouth sores.

How Did Our Ancestors Use It?

This plant has a pretty impressive background in that not only has it been used for centuries, but modern research has backed up quite a few of these folk remedy uses.

The name, obviously, implies that it can reduce fevers, and that is perhaps what it is best known for. However, it can be used for much more.

Feverfew is a terrific way to stop migraine headaches (when consumed at the onset) as well as other types of headaches and muscle tension. It is also a general pain reliever.

It is a natural anti-inflammatory herb, which makes it perfect for healing and reducing the pain of twisted ankles, arthritis and even menstrual cramps. In the case of arthritis and cramps, one needs to consume it on a regular basis. Women should start consuming feverfew a week before their cycle is to start and continue until the second day of their period.

The 1800s Pain-Relief Plant That Doctors Used

Image source: Pixabay.com

Prior to the discovery of willow bark and aspirin, it was feverfew that midwives and doctors turned to for pain relief, fever reducing, and most types of muscle cramps.

Like chamomile, feverfew will calm most muscle spasms, which makes it not only a good pain reliever for general muscle pain due to overuse, but it causes the muscles to relax.

How To Use It

As mentioned earlier, don’t put fresh leaves or flowers in your mouth. You can certainly buy feverfew capsules, but why not grow your own?

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

Feverfew leaves and flowers can be washed and then used in either a tea or a tincture form. Many people find that two or three cups of tea each day works best to stop pain, inflammation and persistent headaches.

Grow It Yourself

This pretty flowering plant is hardy to zone 5. Don’t cover the seeds completely with soil, as they must have sunlight to sprout; sprinkle lightly with water each day until they sprout. You can thin them to 15 inches apart when they are about five inches tall.

They aren’t fussy plants, but they do need sunlight, so try to find a spot where they get a  minimum of six hours each day. Harvest and dry the flowers and leaves as they grow. It will reseed itself if you allow a few plants to go to seed. Any remaining plants should be cut to the ground with the first frost. It will grow back again in the spring and generally produces flowers between July and October.

Good to Know

Doctors in the days of the pioneers used to suggest feverfew for “women who are a bit giddy in the head.” They didn’t mean giddy the way we do today, but rather for those who suffer from what we today call migraines.

In the Middle Ages, feverfew was believed to clean the air of germs and stop rabies.

Bugs of all kinds do not like this plant — including bees!

Have you ever grown or used feverfew? Share your tips in the section below:

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Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

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Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

Artist: Harold Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

1. Echinacea

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

2. American ginseng

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

3. Garlic

Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

Image source: Pixabay.com

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

4. Astragalus

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

5. Oregano

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

Immune-Boosting ‘Miracle Herbs’ Your Ancestors Used

Image source: Pixabay.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How I Healed An Open Wound Without Stitches

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How I Healed An Open Wound Without Stitches

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While working on my master herbalist degree, my German shepherd mixed breed dog named Ginger ended up with a tumor on her leg. The tumor grew to the size of an orange and was located in the middle of her leg, on the side. An x-ray showed that the tumor was not connected to the bone — a good sign because it had not invaded the bone tissue. It was localized.

I instructed a friend to “rope off the tumor” with a rubber band, tightening the band every day while I was gone on a business trip. She did, and this starved the tumor. When I returned, the tumor looked lifeless and was essentially hanging by a band of tissue.  Ginger then bit it off.

Now I was faced with an open wound. It was large — the entire surface area of an orange. Veterinarians would say that a skin graft was needed to cover the entire area.

I made up an herbal formula with anti-infection herbs and herbs that helped regrow and restore tissue. The herbs I used included cat’s claw, Echinacea, goldenseal, slippery elm and comfrey. The formula was mixed with a little water and then added directly to the wound. After seeing some pus, I changed the strategy to adding the herbs in Ginger’s food and she gladly gobbled them up three times daily.

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Every two days, there was a visible closing of the wound circumferentially by about one-fourth an inch. Ginger’s body was healing itself, and the herbs were stimulating the healing, just as they were meant to do.

How I Healed An Open Wound Without Stitches

Slipper elm tree. Photo by Milo Pyne / Flickr / Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The wound finally healed up completely, knitting itself perfectly without any stitches. All the hair grew back, as well, and there was no sign of ever being any type of trauma. Ginger had complete feeling in the area where the wound had been, and she lived another four years, dying at the age of 16.

Which Two Herbs Regenerate Tissue?

The two herbs that help regenerate the skin and tissues are slippery elm and comfrey. In herbal school, our teacher, Dr. Christopher, told stories of how he used these herbs. One slippery elm story was of a little girl who suffered from a completely shattered pelvis.

The girl could not move because of excruciating pain, and back in the 1950s, the roads in Utah were not as well-established as they are now. Many of them were made of rock and gravel and would have caused a lot of jarring to a broken bone. Fractured bones are very susceptible to vibration and the little girl would have suffered a lot of pain during the trip both to and from the hospital. Thus, the family called Dr. Christopher to come out for a house call.

He mixed slippery elm with a little water to make a paste and packed it into the wound after cleaning it; he then covered it. Then the family was instructed to continue packing the moistened herb into the area every day. The body used the nutrients in the slippery elm to rebuild the entire pelvis. It mended perfectly and when the little girl was x-rayed, there was no sign of any fracture at all.

Slippery elm is an herb that is always used by herbalists to provide abundant nutrients and phytonutrients and help reconstruct tissue. Comfrey may be used topically.

Wounds heal when the body has all the right nutrients at the time of the wound. My story of Ginger is a paradigm change for a lot of people. We’ve all been taught that stitches are essential to heal up gaping wounds, and in some cases skin grafts are critical. During a disaster or survival situation, though, stitches and skin grafts may not be accessible. Now you have an alternative way to heal wounds.

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

Have you ever tried healing a wound without stitches? Share your tips in the section below:

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All-Natural Antibacterial Gel You Can Quickly Make At Home

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All-Natural Antibacterial Gel You Can Quickly Make At Home

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As the cold weather sets in, we find ourselves taking extra precautions to ensure we are not the next victim of the cold and flu viruses spreading around our communities.

Perhaps we increase our vitamin intake or even obsessively wash our hands. And while those are easy to do around our homestead, many of us reach for an antibacterial gel or foam when we are traveling about. But that’s probably not the best idea.

The Problem With Store-Bought Antibacterial Gel

Each spring our local elementary hosts a science fair that invariably includes one project investigating the effectiveness of antibacterial gel versus traditional hand washing. A quick glance at the petri dishes confirms that traditional hot soapy water does the job just fine. Even the FDA has banned certain ingredients in commercially manufactured antibacterial soaps and alcohol-based gels. One controversial component now banned in soaps by the FDA is triclosan, which has been linked to thyroid problems and increasing resistant strains of bacteria. Manufacturers have until the fall of 2017 to reformulate their antibacterial soaps; however, antibacterial gels are exempt from this ruling.

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Nature, though, has provided all we need to combat viruses and bacteria that we encounter in the normal course of life. From medicinal plants grown in our herb gardens to essential oils curated from the best sources, creating our own antibacterial gels and sprays to use when we are away from home, or when we need an extra layer of protection after coming in contact with those suffering from illness, is a simple process and requires few ingredients.

Here are several ways to do it …

The Best All-Natural Ingredients To Use

Grown in containers, rosemary is useful as a seasoning and as a garnish for savory dishes, but it has several medicinal qualities, as well. Rosemary is antibacterial and anti-viral. Preparing an infusion of fresh rosemary creates a non-toxic alternative to commercially produced antibacterial gels. Using a one-to-eight ratio of fresh rosemary to distilled water in a stainless steel pan, bring the water to a simmer, and then cover and remove from heat. Let the rosemary steep for 20 minutes. The infused water, when cooled, can be transferred into a spray bottle for convenient applications. It also can be added to foaming solutions of castile soap, adding a layer of antibacterial protection.

All-Natural Antibacterial Gel You Can Quickly Make At Home

Image source: Wikimedia

Wooly lamb’s ear is not typically thought of as anything more than a textured addition to landscapes, but it has amazing antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and is useful in the treatment of bruising and cuts and abrasions, in addition to reducing fevers and swelling due to insect bites and bee stings. As with the rosemary infusion, an infusion of wooly lamb’s ear makes a quick and effective antibacterial on-the-go spray.

If time permits, create your own extract using a one-to-three ratio of chopped wooly lamb’s ear and vodka. Let steep for four to six weeks in a cool, dark area, gently shaking every few days. Use a few drops of this extract combined with rubbing alcohol or witch hazel in a spray bottle for a concentrated antibacterial spray.

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The use of essential oils has certainly experienced a revival in recent years, and as a result they have become much more readily available to the average consumer. Many oils are antibacterial in nature and most contain additional properties that are beneficial to our overall health. In addition to the benefits gained from using essential oils, we also help diminish the growth of resistant strains of bacteria. That’s because the use of naturally occurring antibacterial extracts, oils or the like does not lead to the creation of superbugs or resistant bacteria.

Perhaps the most commonly known essential oil is tea tree oil (melaleuca oil), which is a medicinal powerhouse. Antibacterial, anti-viral and antiseptic, tea tree oil is an excellent addition to any antibacterial gel or spray formula.

Start an antibacterial gel formula with Aloe Vera, adding a small amount of witch hazel at a ratio of one-to-eight, and essential oils; a popular antibacterial combination is lavender and tea tree oil. Rosemary oil added to this formula will act as a natural preservative.

To any essential oil blend, a few drops of vitamin E oil will not only act as a natural preservative but also will moisturize your hands.

Do you make your own antibacterial gel? If so, share your tips in the section below:

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The 9 Best Essential Oils To Stockpile For Cold & Flu Season

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The 9 Best Essential Oils To Stockpile For Cold & Flu Season

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It’s the time of year when the winter season bestows upon us its magical charms and beauty. Crystalized, winter landscapes lend to frosted-over ponds ripened for ice skating. Ice-capped mountains call upon the adventurous skier. And the snow-covered trees of the forest sound out for the hunters of the season.

For many homesteaders, spending time in the outdoors during winter is a way of life. Unfortunately, so is coming down with colds, and maybe even worse, the flu.

That means it’s time to stockpile essential oils for the cold and flu season. Did you know that there are more than 200 types of viruses that cause the common cold?

Essential oils have many antimicrobial, antiviral, astringent, disinfectant and antiseptic properties that can kill the cold and flu viruses before they even have a chance to set in. But with proper preventive measures, and with the right combinations of essential oils, you can stop cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

If you do end up coming down with a bug, essential oils have powerful healing properties.

Methods Of Using Essential Oils

There are several methods of using essential oils for prevention of colds and flu relief. They are:

  • Diffuser/humidifier aromatherapy
  • Spray bottle disinfecting blends
  • Massage aromatherapy
  • Bath aromatherapy
  • Steam inhalation
  • Hot and cold compresses

I will go over the methods as I come to the remedy sections for each essential oil.

9 Essential Oils You Should Stockpile

1. Oregano essential oil

Oregano can immediately relieve your cold and flu symptoms. It has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive and anti-allergenic properties.

Remedies

I never recommend taking essential oils internally, but oil of oregano can be bought as an ingestible form. Make sure you stockpile with ingestible oil of oregano and as soon as you feel the symptoms of a cold coming on, place several drops under your tongue and let it sit for about 30 seconds before swallowing. This method of sublingual administration is a powerful way to absorb oregano essential oil quickly into your system.

Or, try this massage or diffuser blend:

  • 3 drops oregano essential oil.
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil.
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
  • 1 drop peppermint essential

Use the blend in your diffuser or humidifier to help relieve your symptoms. Or, add four teaspoons of a carrier oil and massage the blend onto your chest area or where you have inflammation or bodily aches or pains.

2. Eucalyptus essential oil and …

3. Tea tree essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil encompasses about 67 percent eucalyptol. This makes this essential oil a powerful remedy for relieving stuffed-up noses and chesty coughs, as well as to ease breathing. (Do not take eucalyptus essential oil orally, as it can be toxic.)

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Tea tree essential oil has antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial properties and is a natural germ killer and disinfectant.

Remedies

Methods for preventing airborne infection from spreading:

  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil.
  • Use the blend in a diffuser or a humidifier to kill airborne viruses and germs.
  • Or, drop it into a 16-ounce spray bottle with water and spray all surfaces in the household, including light switches, door knobs, remotes, computer keyboards, cabinet knobs, etc.
  • You even can add some pine essential oil and mop your floors and clean your bathroom with this blend.

Chest rub to relieve chesty coughs:

  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil.
  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil.
  • 4 tsp carrier oil.
  • Massage the blend into your chest, day and night.

To relieve bodily aches and pains:

  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
  • 3 drops ginger essential oil.
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil.
  • 1 drop tea tree essential oil.
  • 4 tsp carrier oil.
  • Massage into your body to reduce aches and pains, as needed.

Or,

  • Use as a hot or cold compress to place on the body.
  • To do this, you can warm up a dampened, cloth towel in the microwave and add a few drops of this blend, or chill a dampened, cloth towel in the refrigerator or freezer and add several drops of the blend.

4. Lemon essential oil

The 9 Best Essential Oils To Stockpile For Cold & Flu Season

Image source: Pixabay.com

Lemon is considered a cure-all fruit. It’s a natural healer and antiseptic, is great for reducing fevers, is a natural diuretic, and can fight off fatigue.

Remedies:

The great thing about lemon essential oil is that it is found right in the peel of the fruit. Therefore, you can boil lemon peels in a pot of water, let it cool, and drink it. The powerful, lemon-infused water will act as a natural diuretic, fight off fatigue, lower your fever, while at the same time, heal your body.

For an additional bonus, as the lemon peels boil, they also release essential oils into the air, which purifies your home.

Virus-fighting blend. Diffuse:

  • 5 drops lemon essential oil.
  • 3 drops lavender essential
  • 3 drops turmeric essential oil.
  • Or, 4 tsp carrier oil for massage blends.

5. Lavender essential oil

I’m sure you have heard of the powerful and wonderful healing powers of lavender essential oil. Lavender not only heals your body, aids in insomnia and takes away aches and pains, but it is also an anxiety-reducer.

Remedies:

Hot bath blend to relieve aches and pains and reduce anxiety:

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil.
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil.
  • 2 drops black pepper essential oil.

Sleep aid and decongestant:

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil.
  • 3 drops chamomile essential oil.
  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil.
  • Or, add 4 tsp carrier oil to create massage blends.

 6. Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil can help to progress concentration and battle fatigue. It’s perfect for soothing an upset stomach and relieving nausea.

Because of its potent concentration of menthol, using peppermint essential oil for cold and flu relief is ideal because menthol is valuable for relieving symptoms such as congestion and stuffed-up noses.

Furthermore, peppermint essential oil has a mild, warming effect,which is perfect for making sore and tense muscles feel better.

Remedies:

To ease an upset stomach and stop nausea:

  • Inhale peppermint oil from a tissue

A warming massage blend for aches and pains:

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil.
  • 3 drops nutmeg essential oil.
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil.
  • 4 tsp carrier oil for a massage blend.

Steam inhalation blend to relieve congestion, clogged airways and headaches:

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil.
  • 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
  • For a headache, add 2 drops lavender essential oil.
  • Boil hot water and pour into a bowl. Drape a towel over your head. Lean over the bowl and wrap the towel around the bowl while it is still draped over your head. This will contain the steam. Inhale deeply until the oils have dispersed from the water.

7. Rosemary essential oil and …

8. Frankincense essential oil and …

9. Cedarwood essential oil

All three of these essential oils have powerful healing, pain-relieving and other beneficial properties. You can substitute them into any of the above recipes.

What would you add to our list? What is your favorite essential oil? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

5 Cold-Killing Spices Hiding In Your Kitchen Cabinet

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5 Cold-Killing Spices Hiding In Your Kitchen Cabinet

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As winter blasts the U.S., the local pharmacy is dispensing various chemical cocktails aimed at curbing the symptoms associated with the common cold and seasonal flu virus. The pharmaceutical companies certainly benefit during the cold winter months, but their relief is costly — and not guaranteed. In fact, some medications often produce side-effects that are just as bad or worse than the original symptoms.

So, what natural options are available? The answer may be as simple as a glance in your spice cabinet.

Good nutrition is essential for a healthy life. As the adage states, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A well-thought-out diet, full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, will bolster your immune system. Whether sprinkled on as a garnish, used to create a flavorful broth or sauce, or even steeped in a tea, this list of cold- and flu-fighting spices can keep you healthy and happy this winter.

1. Turmeric

Dress up your farm-fresh eggs, create a tangy dip, or spice up a side of rice with a dash of turmeric. Produced from the roasted rhizomes of the turmeric plant, turmeric powder stimulates the immune system, reduces inflammation, balances blood sugar levels and aids the digestive system, all of which are important aspects of fighting off the common cold or seasonal flu.

2. Clove, nutmeg and cinnamon

This trio is most often associated with baking fall and winter “goodies,” and with warm, soothing drinks; however, they also work well together to aid the body in resisting infectious illnesses prevalent during the holiday season. These spices are antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents. The addition of nutmeg also has the added benefit of being an anti-depressant, which is helpful to calm the wintertime blues and relieve insomnia, although caution should be used by only including small amounts of nutmeg to any recipe.

3. Ginger

5 Cold-Killing Spices Hiding In Your Kitchen Cabinet

Ginger. Image source: Pixabay.com

Although ginger is used with the popular fall spices listed above, it also works to aid the digestive tract — relieving nausea, reducing bloating and gas, and overall working to relax the digestive tract to promote healing. Ginger also provides extra support for the immune system and further relieves inflammation due to irritation or infection.

4. Oregano

Not to be limited to Italian dishes, oregano can be sprinkled on eggs, salads and meats, enhancing your immune system by acting as a powerful antioxidant. It contains multiple vitamins and minerals, giving it helpful antibacterial and antiviral properties. Oregano also provides relief from inflammation, particularly in the upper respiratory tract, which is more vulnerable due to the drier air found in the colder climates.

5. Thyme

Well known in ancient times for its medicinal properties, thyme is most effective against respiratory infections and intestinal distress. It boosts liver function, increases immune function and clears the sinuses — the breeding ground of many respiratory infections.

For many of us, these spices are staples in our cabinet, only to be pulled out for special recipes and not considered based on their medicinal properties. Yet by incorporating them into our regular diets, we can increase our chances of staying healthy during the winter months.

What is your favorite spice for health? Share your tips in the section below:

How To Make an Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe

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How To Make an Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe I prefer to support the body in fighting the infection rather than take something that bypasses this natural process. If we were in a SHTF situation, we may not have access to normal over the counter medicine to soothe a sore throat or a nasty cough. That’s …

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8 Herbal Teas That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter Long

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8 Herbal Teas That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter

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Herbal teas are not only full of flavor, but they also have many wonderful health benefits.

Herbs can aid in sleeping, control blood pressure, reduce anxiety, support the immune system, and provide antioxidants. They also can help the metabolism and give you an energy boost.

You either can purchase tea bags and combine them in your teapot, buy pre-blended teas, or use freshly dried herbs and create your own herbal tea blends.

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Here is a list of eight herbal teas, with their benefits.  

1. Chamomile tea

  • Natural stress reliever, Those who drink chamomile tea on a daily basis tend to have less stress and be less anxious than those who do not drink it.
  • Prevent sickness. The antibacterial properties of chamomile tea may aid in the prevention of colds while defending against bacterial-related illness, as well. If you get a cold and have a sore throat, chamomile tea is also good for relieving sore throat symptoms.
  • Diabetes. Recent studies show that chamomile can help those suffering from diabetes.
  • Stomach ache. Chamomile sooths the muscles and lining of the intestines. It can help with poor digestion and even with those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Natural sleep aid. It can aid in getting a great night’s sleep if you drink a cup before bedtime.

 2. Peppermint tea

  • Digestion. Peppermint is great for digestion and can aid in indigestion.
  • Nausea. It helps to relax the stomach muscles and can even ease bloating.
  • Breath freshener. Peppermint gives your breath a great smell!
  • Congestion and fever. If you have congestion from a cold, peppermint tea can help to relieve it. Furthermore, it is even said to help reduce a fever.
  • Natural source of energy. Just the smell of peppermint is a stimulant, awaking the senses and helping you focus.

 3. Valerian root tea

  • Relaxation and sleep aid. Valerian root has deep relaxing qualities. Hence, valerian helps to calm the mind.
  • Stress and anxiety reducer. Teas containing valerian contribute to reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Sleep aid. Herbal teas made with valerian are a relaxing, bedtime treat!
Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Cinnamon tea

  • Colds and the flu. Cinnamon tea is a great herbal remedy for the flu and helps prevent colds and the flu because it’s naturally antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral. It’s also great for soothing sore throats.
  • Immune system support. Cinnamon is a great source of antioxidants, which help to boost your immune system.
  • Pain reliever. It increases blood circulation, which is good for easing pain.
  • Warming up. Whenever you have the chills, give cinnamon a shot!

 5. Hibiscus tea

  • Great source of vitamin C. Out of all the herbal teas, hibiscus flowers contain a super-high level of vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Immune system support. Hibiscus tea is perfect for boosting the immune system and fighting free radicals. Drink hibiscus tea every day to stave off colds.
  • Anxiety reducer. Hibiscus tea also is a calming agent, so it is good for relieving anxiety.
  • Insomnia. Drinking a cup before bed can help you to relax and fall asleep easier.

6. Lemongrass tea

  • Natural healing power. Drink it all winter long!
  • Stress and anxiety reliever. Lemongrass is known for calming daily stresses and anxieties.
  • Blood circulation. This herb can dilate blood vessels, which improves blood circulation.
  • Blood pressure. If you drink lemongrass tea on a regular basis, it is good for maintaining a stable blood pressure.

7. Ginger tea

  • Coughs and colds. Ginger is a common herb found in most households. People began infusing ginger into teas to help treat colds and coughs. Furthermore, ginger can treat congestion.
  • Nausea. Ginger is good for treating nausea, morning sickness and motion sickness.
  • Can fight Alzheimer’s. Research shows that ginger can help slow down the loss of brain cells, which typically leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Gas. Drink a cup of ginger tea before you go to sleep to let it work its magic overnight. It clears out your digestive system and neutralizes the problem from inside.
  • Weight loss. Ginger speeds up the metabolism, leading to calorie-burning. Furthermore, it can help keep you feeling full for longer.
  • Blood sugar levels. Ginger can help keep blood glucose levels in check.
  • Stay focused and on task. Think of ginger as an all-natural alternative to products like 5 Hour Energy.
  • Tired muscles. Studies show people who eat ginger or drink ginger tea experience a significant reduction in muscle pain.

8. Clove tea

  • Colds. Clove is antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial. Hence, it is good for treating viruses and for preventing colds.
  • Pain reliever. Clove is anti-inflammatory and has analgesic properties, so it can help to treat aches and pains. Clove is great for a sore throat and for tonsillitis, as well.

Final Thoughts

Try a mixture of these herbal teas to make the perfect blend for your daily health boost. Furthermore, mixing these teas creates awesome flavors and aromas. On a cold winter day, herbal teas are the perfect drink.

What are your favorite herbal teas? Share your herbal tea tips in the section below:

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

Castor Oil: The Old-Timer’s ‘Cure-All’ That Should Be In Every Stockpile

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Castor Oil: Why Grandma’s Miracle ‘Cure-All’ Should Be In Every Stockpile

If you have ever watched old cartoons or movies, you may have seen more than one reference to castor oil. The scene usually involves someone’s grandmother pushing a huge spoonful of castor oil down a sick person’s throat — with funny faces ensuing due to its horrible taste.

How did castor oil get its start? Does it really do anything for the body? And does it actually taste that terrible?

Let’s take a look at that old-fashioned cure-all.

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is extracted from the seeds, sometimes called “beans,” of castor plants. These seeds are unique in that they contain a fatty acid triglyceride, most of which is ricinoleic acid. Although this type of fatty acid is found in other types of plants, such as cottonseed, it is only found in minute quantities. Castor oil is about 90 percent ricinoleic acid.

It’s important to remember that eating the seeds themselves will cause death. Depending on your size, as few as five seeds are considered a fatal dose. There is no anecdote. The oil, though, has no trace of the poison (called ricin) in it.

Native to India, this plant has been mentioned in written history since ancient times, and was used very regularly by our ancestors for a wide variety of health problems.

How Did Our Ancestors Use Castor Oil?

The fact that there were few actual physicians — coupled with the hard truth that there were not very many pharmaceutical drugs 150 to 200 years ago — left our ancestors with very few choices. Anything from Mother Nature was pressed into service in hopes that it would at least provide relief from symptoms while the body healed, or that it might actually do something to cure the problem.

One thing that is well-known about castor oil is that it is an irritant to the colon. So, why would someone take it? Simple: It cured constipation within hours. Many a grandmother was concerned with her family’s bowel movements, which is why just about any kind of tummy ache or nausea usually resulted in a big tablespoon of castor oil “just to be sure.”

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Indigestion and dysentery were very common in pioneer times, often due to poor food quality or cleanliness. Again, it was castor oil to the rescue.

Castor oil also has an interesting property in that it doesn’t freeze. That made it valuable to keep around in the winter months, as it could be used to oil sticky or frozen machinery parts.

Image source: Wikimedia

Image source: Wikimedia

This oil has a stimulating effect on the body. New mothers who had a difficult time producing enough milk for their baby were often told to rub castor oil on the breasts to increase milk flow. This same remedy was also suggested for sore breasts and blocked milk ducts. If a baby was late in coming, a few tablespoons of castor oil were the general recommendation to induce labor. Although there is no scientific evidence to back this up, there are plenty of personal stories which relate that folk remedy actually worked.

Midwives and other women also suggested that rubbing castor oil on the abdomen each morning and night would relieve menstrual cramps.

Castor oil is also known for improving skin health. Pioneer women used it for everything from preventing stretch marks to healing diaper rash, as well as other types of skin problems, including killing lice, preventing hair loss, and stopping dandruff. Since castor oil does contain antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal compounds, it is very likely that this can work quite well.

One pioneer woman left some advice for those preparing to travel out West: “No one should travel without medicine, for they are sure to suffer from a complaint. Every family should have a quart of the best rum, a quart of castor oil, and a large vial of peppermint essence.”

Growing Your Own Castor Plant

Castor plants (Ricinus communis) are beautiful, with leaves as large as a dinner plate. However, they are difficult to grow in areas that receive snow or hard frosts. New seeds would need to be nurtured every year. In the South and West, castor plants can grow to be small trees, approximately 15 to 20 feet high.

The seeds are safe to handle, but, again, not to eat. If you have toddlers, this is probably not the plant for you.

Otherwise, castor plants grow nicely in full sun in average or compost rich soil. They appear to need very little care and are quite beautiful.

Making your own castor oil is a bit complicated. The seeds need to be dried, then hulled. The hulled seeds are then boiled to remove the ricin. After boiling, the seeds are then pressed to extract the oil. This is extremely labor intensive, so you might want to consider simply stocking up on a good supply since it is, currently, rather inexpensive and, unlike other oils, does not go rancid when stored out of sunlight.

Other Uses … Oil Lamps?

Thomas Jefferson placed castor plants around his property in hopes that it would kill the gophers and moles that plagued his garden. It didn’t work. The oil does repel moles, but not the plant itself. Jefferson suggested this remedy to George Washington. Jefferson, it is said, loved to invite Washington to visit his garden, where he somehow managed to nurse one plant to a staggering 22 feet in height.

In a pinch, castor oil works great in oil lamps. It burns very cleanly and was used for this purpose by the ancient Egyptians.

It was also called “Palma Christe” in ancient times, as the large leaves were said to look like Christ’s hands. It is possible that after people found out about its medicinal qualities, they believed the plant was sent from God.

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

Have you ever used castor oil? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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

The 4-Ingredient Elderberry Syrup That Destroys The Cold & Flu

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The 4-Ingredient Elderberry Syrup That Destroys The Cold & Flu

Image source: TheDabblist / Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There are several varieties of elderberry grown throughout the world, but the medicinal herb we want for its powerful cold- and flu-fighting powers is European black elderberry, or Sambucus nigra L.

Elder is a shrub that originates in Europe, Asia and Africa, and it has dark black berries and small white flowers. Medicinal uses of the elder plant go back centuries. Remnants of the plant have been found in stone age sites, and the plant was referenced in writings by Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates.

Almost all parts of the elder plant were used in ancient times. The wood was used for making instruments. The flowers and berries were used for medicine.

Of course, elderberry can be grown and harvested in your own yard. If you choose to do this, make sure the elderberry plant you grow is the correct type. The varieties native to the United States are not the same as black elderberries that are used in herbal remedies. If you do not have your own elderberry plant, you can buy the dried elderberries and use them to make your own herbal medicines.

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Elderberries are high in vitamins A, B and C and have antioxidant, antiviral and other healthy properties.

A Word of Caution

Elderberries contain seeds that contain a toxic chemical, but cooking the berries removes the toxicity. Elderberries can be prepared in many ways, including in teas, syrups and tinctures. One of the great benefits of most elderberry preparations is that they are safe for children as well as for adults.

Medicinal Recipes

This winter, why not make your own elderberry medicine? Following are two recipes that can help keep your family healthy.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry is easily made into a syrup that can be used not only as a medicine but also on pancakes and ice cream. This syrup can last several months when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In addition to water, it contains only four ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 cups dried elderberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root or dried ginger root
  • Raw local honey

Directions

  1. Put the berries, herbs and cold water in a pot and boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer the mixture for about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mash the berries.
  4. Allow mixture to cool and strain the liquid with cheesecloth, making sure to squeeze out all of the juice.
  5. Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey.
  6. Gently heat the mixture until the honey and juice are combined. Do not let it boil.

Dosage

The 4-Ingredient Elderberry Syrup That Destroys The Cold & Flu

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For children, take ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon per day. For adults, take ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon per day. If you have a cold or the flu, take the normal dosage every three hours for the duration of your illness.

Elderberry Gummies

These gummies are fantastic and are great for children who don’t want to take medicine when they are sick. The little gummies are sweet and tart and are like eating a fruit snack or fun candy. They also can be taken daily to boost your immune system.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup elderberry syrup
  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil for greasing your pan
  • Glass pan or silicone molds

Directions

  1. Grease molds or pan with coconut oil.
  2. Put ¼ cup elderberry syrup and gelatin in a 2 cup measuring cup and whisk together.
  3. Add ½ cup hot, but not boiling, water, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining elderberry syrup and stir until completely smooth.
  5. Pour gelatin mixture into your molds.
  6. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until they are completely set.
  7. Remove them from the molds and store in an airtight container.

Dosage

Eat one gummy daily to boost your immune system. If you have a cold or the flu, eat one every 4-5 hours throughout the day.

If you have chronic health problems or are taking any medications, please consult with your doctor before using herbal medicines.

Have you ever used elderberry? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below: 

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

References:

Bond, Carol. History of Elder. Retrieved from http://www.herballegacy.com/Bond_History.html. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.

De la Forêt, Rosalee. “Elderberry Gummy Bear Recipe.” Retrieved from http://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/gummy-bear-recipe/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.

“Does Black Elderberry Syrup Really Fight Cold and Flu Viruses?” Retrieved from http://www.homemadehints.com/black-elderberry-syrup-extract-benefits/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.

“Flu-Busting Gummy Bears.” Retrieved from http://wellnessmama.com/4599/flu-busting-gummy-bears/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.

“How to Make Elderberry Syrup.” Retrieved from http://mountainroseblog.com/elderberry-syrup-recipe/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.

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

The All-Natural ‘Flu Shot’ The Pioneers Used

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The All-Natural ‘Flu Shot’ The Pioneers Used

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Chances are that you have used camphor numerous times in your life — but didn’t even know it. It is used in over-the-counter medicines and even some food products, but long before that it was used by our ancestors, who took advantage of the dried leaves, bark and wood to heal everything from coughs to minor cuts.

Let’s take a look at camphor and how it was used — and whether you can grow a beautiful camphor tree of your own.

The Many Uses For Camphor

Today, camphor is obtained by distilling the leaves of the camphor tree. However, the pioneers did not have the equipment for this endeavor, and so they relied on wood which was brought to Europe via Asia, where the trees originate. The white, waxy-looking substance is found in the wood of these trees, much like resin on pine trees.

Camphor wood or oil from the wood was prized as a medicine and rightly so, which explains why the pioneers often had either the oil or some wood packed in their “medicine bag.”

This strong-smelling compound is a natural antibacterial, antiseptic and disinfectant, although the pioneers were not aware of this, per se. However, they did know that it kept away many illnesses. The pioneer “flu shot” consisted of a cake of camphor tied in a burlap or flannel bag and hung around the necks of children or the elderly.

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

The first chest rub was described by a doctor named Henry Hughes, who lived in Utah during the early 1800s. He said that a mixture of olive oil and camphor could be rubbed on the back and chest to relieve coughs and loosen phlegm.

Camphor is also a mild anesthetic and offers a “cooling” sensation, similar to menthol. This makes it a first choice for minor burns, cuts or other skin problems.

The All-Natural ‘Flu Shot’ The Pioneers Used

Image source: Pixabay.com

Let’s not forget that ugly little critters like lice or scabies were fairly common in those times. Our ancestors knew that camphor oil, mixed in bath water, helped to kill these annoyances. Even a small branch with leaves, tied to your hat or shirt, will deter most insects, including mosquitoes.

(Note: Although pioneers consumed camphor for heartburn and other internal problems, it is toxic and can be fatal. As little as two grams can be lethal. Never consume camphor internally.)

Growing Your Own Camphor Tree

Camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora) are magnificent — if you have the space for them. They can live to be 1,000 years old and the wood cannot be harvested for camphor until they are at least 50 years of age. The leaves, however, can be used right away, with most companies harvesting leaves three times a year.

These can be huge trees, growing up to 150 feet high, 300 feet in width, with trucks that can span 15 feet. Most never get this tall, but the possibility is there, so be certain you have the space for such an immense tree.

They prefer acidic soil and are native to China, Japan and Korea, but thrive in the Pacific Coast and Gulf Coast areas of the U.S. Once established, these trees are very drought-resistant, but once planted, you will not be able to “transplant” it elsewhere. The root system is very sensitive and grows far out from the trunk.

The long root system makes these terrific trees for windbreaks and they almost never break, even in heavy storms. They are very attractive to bees and butterflies, but not most insects, such as biting flies or mosquitoes.

Hardy in USDA planting zones 8a to 11, once established they need almost no care and require little water.

Camphor trees were planted in Florida as early as 1875. Some people consider these trees an invasive species, as birds that eat the seeds can spread these trees far and wide. Many of the original trees planted 141 years ago are still alive and well.

One of the main ingredients in the infamous Tiger Balm is camphor oil. The oil is also used in gum and candy, and the smoke from heated camphor is what gives Szechuan smoked duck its unique flavor.

Camphor trees can be remarkably vigorous, and several specimens actually survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945. The sire was designated a natural monument in 1969.

Do you use camphor? Have you ever owned a camphor tree? Share your tips on camphor use in the section below:

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Home Remedy For A Heart Attack?

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Home Remedy For A Heart Attack?

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As a Girl Scout, I took first-aid classes and practiced CPR on the inflatable dummies. We were taught that CPR had the ability to bring someone back to life after a heart attack. It does, and I never thought I’d need anything else to save a life.

One May afternoon while working with my father in his accounting office, he clutched his chest and turned blue in the face. He started falling, and I grabbed him and eased him down to the floor.

His eyes were quickly glazed over, and he lay there without moving. And as much as I tried to remember the exact procedure for CPR, I couldn’t recall anything beyond compressions on the chest and air blown into his mouth when the nose was pinched and the head was in a good position to do so.

The color came back into his face but quickly faded. I reached for the phone and called 911. They sent out an ambulance and carted him off to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

I was grateful he hadn’t had anything more than momentary pain. And as I watched the response of my mother, brothers and sisters to my dad’s heart attack, I realized that the pain of someone having a heart attack wasn’t only restricted to the actual patient. The whole family suffered.

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

It didn’t take me a long time to decide to find a home remedy for a heart attack. People had to be saved from this grief, sadness and heart-brokenness.

Years later, I became a student at The School of Natural Healing in Springville, Utah, and found the answer.

Dr. John Christopher was the founder of this school, and although he himself had passed on, his family continued his legacy and kept teaching people from all walks of life what to do to improve their health. They learned how to eat right and how to nurse themselves back to health via herbs and diet.

“If an organ isn’t functioning correctly, you have to either detoxify it, nourish it or both,” he was known to say. And the heart was no different than any other organ. It needed its own nourishment and it needed to be detoxified. There were very specific herbs God had put on the earth that would heal the heart.

As students, we needed to find out what those herbs were, learn how to use them, and what type of dosage to use for different situations.

The Herb That Gave the Heart Another Chance

Home Remedy For A Heart Attack?

Image source: Pixabay.com

One of the heart–nourishing herbs is cayenne pepper. This is the only herb that has its potency measured around the world in how strong it is. Sure, other herbs may be standardized for an active ingredient, but cayenne is measured in terms of its British thermal units or heat units. The hotter (spicier) the variety of cayenne is, the higher its heat unit rating. You’ll find cayenne peppers rated from about 25,000 to 35,000 heat units all the way up to over 100,000 heat units.

“If the heart stops beating, use your cayenne tincture,” Dr. Christopher often said. Cayenne comes in powder and liquid form and when you use the liquid form, it may easily be dropped underneath the tongue, where it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream.

“How long does it take to work?” people would ask.

“In about a heart beat,” he replied.

Thus, the procedure was to use a cayenne tincture 35,000-40,000 heat units strong, and release a few drops underneath the tongue of the heart attack victim. Then look for signs of life again.

Dr. Christopher would then continue teaching class, telling stories of patients (and his students’ stories) who had suffered a heart attack and were brought back immediately to life with this method.

The cayenne will stimulate circulation and provide the electrical energy needed to jumpstart the heart. Cayenne also works for arrhythmias and angina pain.

What are the limitations of this method? Well, if there’s a massive coronary artery blowout, the patient is dead instantly – as in the case of my dad – and cayenne most likely won’t work. But if the heart attack is not as serious, then cayenne pepper just might work.

The next question always asked is this: Why aren’t they using this method in ambulances? I can’t speak for the policies and procedures that other health professionals have to follow for heart attack patients. However, every system of healing has its own way of doing things. Cayenne pepper simply doesn’t fit into other system of healings.

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

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DIY: A Heal-Anything, Indoor Herbal Tea Garden

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DIY: A Heal-Anything, Indoor Herbal Tea Garden

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What could be better than curling up with a nice hot cup of herbal tea when the weather turns brisk? I’ll tell you what – curling up with a nice hot cup of tea that you cultivated and prepared yourself! While growing the actual tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is typically best left to those who live in zone 8 or warmer, there are many herbal plants that make wonderful non-caffeinated beverages that are easy to grow – even indoors.

Herbal teas – technically called tisanes – are not only delicious and soothing, but many of them also have a number of health benefits. (More on that in a moment.)

Growing and blending your own herbal teas is also a wonderful way to express your creativity using various parts (leaves, flowers and buds) of different herbs. Herbs may be used fresh or dried – and homemade herbal teas also can make a great gift.

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While the herbs discussed below may be grown either outdoors or indoors, growing your own indoor herbal tea garden has the advantage of allowing you access to fresh herbs during the coldest months of the year – which is often the time we crave a nice hot relaxing beverage the most!

Starting Your Indoor Herbal Tea Garden

Begin by deciding which types of herbs you wish to grow. Below are just a few of the different herbs that you may want to consider growing:

1. Lavender – easy to grow on a sunny windowsill, lavender is well-known for its beautiful fragrance. It has a spicy floral flavor and has a calming effect.

2. Chamomile – these tiny, white flowers are wonderful as a sleep aid and help calm an upset stomach. They will give a slight apple scent to your homemade teas.

3. Mint – mint tea is excellent for soothing an upset stomach or even helping with menstrual cramps. It will give your tea a refreshing and peppery flavor.

4. Bergamot – the herb that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor, this plant produces purple flowers with a citrus taste. It is also easy to grow indoors since it can do well in either full side or partial shade.

DIY: A Heal-Anything, Indoor Herbal Tea Garden

Image source: Pixabay.com

5. Rosemary – while you may think of this herb as one to flavor savory dishes with, it can also be used in herbal teas. Rosemary has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years as has been proven to be effective in aiding indigestion and recently has shown promise in boosting brain function.

6. Lemon verbena – this plant can do well indoors, assuming it has very good drainage. Lemon verbena is said to be excellent in helping with weight management, reducing inflammation and clearing up congestion.

7. Anise – If you enjoy the taste of black licorice, you will definitely want to include anise (not star anise) in your indoor tea garden. The licorice flavor comes from seeds produced in the plant’s white flowers. Anise tea may be used as a home remedy for digestive problems, such as nausea and indigestion.

8. Marjoram – this plant has a slightly fruity and sour flavor that can add an interesting dynamic to your tea. It is good for various digestive complaints, such as intestinal gas and poor appetite.

9. Stevia – if you like a bit of sweetness to your tea but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you will want to include stevia in your herb garden. Stevia adds a punch of sweetness to your brew without the extra calories and is considered safe for diabetics.

For each herb that you plant, you also will want to select the appropriate size of container. If you are starting your plants from seed, you must choose a well-balanced soil and keep containers in a warm place until they germinate. As a general rule, you will want to ensure that each plant receives at least six hours of sunlight a day, so be sure to keep them near a windowsill or other suitable spot. Grow lights also are an option.

Harvesting Your Herbs

Herbs may be harvested at any time, but many people find that the flavor is at its fullest when the plant is in bud. To make your herbal teas, you may use the plant’s leaves, buds or petals. A tisane may be made from a single type of herb, or you may flex your creative muscles and experiment with blends.

Preparing Your Herbal Tea

Herbal teas may be made with fresh or dry herbs. If using fresh herbs, harvest the parts of the plant that you wish to use and then crush them between your fingers. Doing so will help to release both flavor and scent. Using a strainer or tea ball, place 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs into 8 ounces of hot water and let steep for 3-5 minutes.

If you wish to use dried herbs, harvest your herbs and either hang them to dry or dry them in a dehydrator before storing in an airtight container. When you are ready to make your tea, steep 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of hot water for 3-5 minutes.

If you love growing your own food, and you also enjoy herbal teas and experimenting with different flavors, then why not combine those interests and start your very own indoor herbal tea garden this winter?

What advice would you add on growing herbs indoors? Share your tips in the section below:  

Are You Making These Common, Avoidable Gardening Mistakes? Read More Here.

It Cures Insomnia & Anxiety … And Even Can Be Grown Indoors

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It Cures Insomnia & Anxiety … And Can Be Grown Indoors

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Passion flower was discovered in 1569 in Peru by Spanish explorers, who prepared teas from the leaves of the plant and soon realized its relaxing and sedative properties. The word spread of this incredible plant, and it soon became popular throughout the world.

Today, passion flower is grown and harvested in most countries for its medicinal remedies. It is useful for treating sleeping problems, nervousness and anxiety, as well as for relieving symptoms of menopause.

How To Grow Passion Flower Indoors

There are several varieties of passion flower, but we recommend Passiflora incarnata, which is a hearty climber with large, purple flowers.

  1. Obtain fresh passion flower seeds and scuff them lightly on one side with sandpaper. Doing this will aid in their germination.
  2. Place the seeds in a container and cover with warm water.
  3. Place the container on a heat source, such as a heating pad. You want to ensure that the water maintains a lukewarm temperature.
  4. Let the seeds soak for about two days.
  5. Several of the seeds will begin to float. These seeds are no good, and you can remove and discard them.
  6. Remove the good seeds and place them on a surface where they can air dry.
  7. Passion flower grows well in a poor, but moist soil, so many cultivators use loam, which is a mixture of sand, silt and clay. Learn how to create loamy soil here. If you can’t use loamy soil, any soil will do; just make sure that it is consistently moist and irrigated.
  8. Start with several six-inch pots. Fill the pots with your soil, leaving one inch of space at the top.
  9. Place three seeds in the center of the pot, leaving one-fourth of an inch of space, separating each seed from the others.
  10. Press the seeds one-half an inch into the soil, but don’t cover them.
  11. Cover the pots with plastic wrap or a see-through bag and place them back onto the heating pad – at a low temperature.
  12. The seeds could take anywhere from two weeks to two months to sprout. Have patience!
  13. Keep the soil moist throughout this process.
  14. After the seeds sprout, you can remove the pots from the heating pad. Now, place them in a window with full sunlight.
  15. In the summer, irrigate the soil as needed, keeping it moist.
  16. In the winter, allow the top of the soil to dry between waterings slightly.
  17. Transplant the plants to larger pots as needed.

How to Care for Indoor Passion Flower

Passion flower is a rambunctious climber, and its tendrils will wrap around anything that they touch. Therefore, you want to provide an indoor tressel or climbing source.

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Keep the plant trimmed, and guide the vine to grow around your climbing structure to keep it from getting out of control. Remove any dried leaves or flowers.

You will know fruit is ripe when it is soft and ready to fall off of the vine.

It Cures Insomnia & Anxiety … And Can Be Grown Indoors

Image source: Pixabay.com

Keep the vine in full sunlight, if possible. However, if the sunlight is too hot so that it is drying out the plant, passion flower will tolerate partial sunlight.

How to Harvest Passion Flower

  • Take the leaves (and stems if you want to use them) from the plant and dry them in a single layer.
  • You can dry them on a drying screen or in a dehydrator.
  • Put the dried leaves and stems into an airtight container.
  • Store them in a dry, dark and cool location.

How to Use Passion Flower Medicinally

Passion Flower Tea Recipe

As a relaxing tea, passion flower can be brewed alone, or it blends well with chamomile, St. John’s wort, lemon balm and valerian. The color of the tea will be a light, pale green. It is good as a hot or iced tea.

  • One tbsp. dried leaves and stems. (Some people use the dried flower, as well.)
  • One cup of boiling water.
  • Pour the boiling water onto the passion flower stems and leaves, as well as any other herbs you plan on using, and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
  • If you desire a sweet taste, add natural honey.

Passion Flower Salad

The flowers are edible and can be a great, tasty addition to any salad. The flowers also have a calming effect, and eating a daily salad with passion flowers can help to reduce anxiety.

Passion Flower Tincture or Extract:

If you don’t like to drink tea, passion flower can be made into a tincture to add to water or juice.

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You can sip on it throughout the day to help relieve anxiety or take 30-44 drops at bedtime to help aid with sleep.

  • Fill up a clear jar with chopped-up, dried stems and leaves.
  • Pour in 100 proof vodka, making sure the herb is completely saturated.
  • Shake the jar daily.
  • Let it sit for two weeks, and then strain out the leaves and stems.
  • Keep the batch in a dark colored jar, in a dark place.
  • Keep some in a dropper bottle so that you can easily measure out the drops.
  • Add 30-44 drops into a water bottle or to the juice of your choice, up to three times a day. Sip on this to reduce daily anxiety.
  • Directly ingest 30-44 drops at bedtime for a stronger effect.

Passion Fruit Jam

If your indoor vine grows fruit, you can make homemade passion fruit jam!

It Cures Insomnia & Anxiety … And Can Be Grown Indoors

Image source: Wikimedia

Ingredients

  • Six passion fruits
  • Two cups of water and one-fourth cup of water
  • Two and one-third cups of sugar
  • Half a lime

Directions

  1. First, cut each passion fruit in half.
  2. Cut out the pulp and seeds. (You will need about one and one-third cup of pulp.)
  3. Cover the pulp and put it in the refrigerator.
  4. Take half of the skins, and add to a bowl with the two cups of water.
  5. Let the skins soak for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  6. The next day, boil the skin/water mix that is still in the bowl.
  7. Boil for 12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  8. Peel the outer skin off of the shells.
  9. Mash the softened, skinless shells into a pulp and add the one-fourth cup of water and blend.
  10. Add the shell pulp, the saved pulp from the day before and the sugar into a stainless steel pot. Squeeze in the juice from half of a fresh lime.
  11. Boil the mix for about 15 minutes.
  12. Let it cool off a little and transfer the mix to clear jars. Let it cool completely before sealing.
  13. Enjoy! This is a nice and thick jam, having the texture close to a marmalade.

Passion flower is a delightful herb plant to grow indoors. And unlike other herbal plants, passion flower really puts on a show with its large, beautiful blooms.

What advice would you add on growing and using passion flower? Share your tips in the section below:

Are You Making These Common, Avoidable Gardening Mistakes? Read More Here.

4 Simple, All-Natural Steps To Rebuilding Your Gums (That Don’t Involve The Dentist)

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4 All-Natural Steps To Rebuilding Your Gums (That Don't Involve The Dentist)

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It’s common for people these days to have issues with their gums. Many people have been told that their gums are “withering away” or thinning, and even have tooth loss as a result. One young woman I spoke with in the past few months was only in her 20s, and yet her dentist told her she would need three implants and would eventually lose all of her teeth.

Others have periodontal disease and can’t seem to make any progress. They do what the dentist and hygienist says, and yet their mouth never improves.

The teeth weren’t constructed in such a way that missing a day or more of brushing or flossing would be the entire cause of these gum diseases. Instead, you have to look at what is happening in the entire body. The gums are made from tissues synthesized in the body from all the appropriate building materials – protein, silica, vitamin C, copper, zinc and other nutrients.

In the past 12 years, I’ve had many patients in my nutritional practice that have had gum issues. Once the overall nutrition is upgraded, the gum problems disappear. This gives evidence to the idea that when you provide everything the body needs to heal, the gums heal. And the beauty of this strategy is that not only will the gums heal, but so will other areas of the body. Your body loves to heal many things simultaneously.

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Below is a step-by-step strategy for healing your gums that I use with many patients. Obviously it is not specific to every case, so results are variable depending on what’s happening in your mouth. However, most people will be able to see rapid improvement quickly.

1. Cut the sugar

Stop eating sugary foods and beverages laced with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. Sugar directly damages your teeth, causing cavities. It alters your body pH so that minerals are pulled out from tissues like the gums just to keep the pH constant in the blood. It’s your choice: Either you want healthy teeth and gums or you want sugar.

2. Eat enough protein

If you’re on a low-protein diet for any reason other than a medical reason, consider what you are doing to your body. Protein is a requirement for life. If you provide enough of it, your body can start to repair itself. If you don’t provide enough, little by little your body’s protein stores will be depleted. Since the gums aren’t high priority, you can expect their structure to fall sooner before other tissues in your body.

How much is enough protein? Take your body weight in pounds and divide by two. This gives you the number of grams needed per day. Then, divide the protein amount by three to know how many grams you will need at each meal. Here’s an example: Mary weighs 140 pounds. 140/2 = 70 grams of protein needed for the day. 70/3 = 23.33 grams of protein per meal.

3. Take your vitamin C supplements.

A minimum of 1,000 milligrams per day is helpful. In many cases, 2,000 milligrams daily is better. Vitamin C is especially important to prevent bleeding at the gum line.

4. Use diatomaceous earth (DE) as a dietary supplement.

This is a source of dietary silica, which rebuilds gums fast. Get the USDA food & chemical grade version of this, which does not contain any insecticides or other chemicals. The food and chemical grade DE is not the same as the pool grade DE, which is toxic. Always remember food and chemical grade.

Take one heaping tablespoon twice daily and also do a mouth rinse with one teaspoon of DE and water twice daily. You’ll notice a difference quickly. In each tooth are approximately three miles of tubules that rebuild your teeth. The DE goes directly into the tubules and starts rebuilding the teeth from the inside out while it’s also working directly on your gums.

Healing your gums is as simple as rebuilding them. All you have to do is get started.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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Love Cheese But Have High Cholesterol? We’ve Got GREAT News

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Love Cheese & Have High Cholesterol? We've Got GREAT News

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If you are trying to eat a healthier diet, you probably think you need to cut back on high-fat cheese. Right?

Well, maybe you can have your cheese and it eat. too.

According to a new study by the University of Copenhagen, high-fat cheese consumption may actually be good for you.

After studying the results of a 12-week study of 139 adults, researchers found that high-fat cheese may boost our levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol that helps protects against metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. HDL is critical to a solid cholesterol ratio.

The researchers divided study participants into three groups. One group consumed a total of 80 grams of regular high-fat cheese every day for 12 weeks, and another group consumed a total of 80 grams of lower-fat cheese each day. Instead of eating cheese, the third group of study participants ate 90 grams of bread and jam.

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Researchers, who published their results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered that the group that ate the high-fat cheese was the only one to see an increase in “good” HDL levels. None of the groups experienced a change in “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Love Cheese But Have High Cholesterol? We've Got GREAT News

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Other factors such as insulin, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure and waist measurements did not vary significantly between the three study groups.

In addition to the positive cholesterol link, eating high-fat cheese offers other positive benefits. Cheese provides high levels of calcium, protein and vitamin D.

Cheese also offers vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, zinc and phosphorus, and it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fat that researchers think may have anti-cancer and heart-protective properties.

Eating cheese also may be good for your teeth. A 2008 study from Turkey that was published in the journal Caries found that people who ate a one-third ounce serving of cheese after rinsing their mouths with a sugar solution had a decrease in mouth acidity, which decreases the risk of cavities. Other studies have found similar results.

Can eating cheese offer protection against certain cancers? A Swedish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a connection between the daily consumption of at least two ounces of cheese and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in women.

On average, cheese has about 100 calories per ounce and itoften contains high sodium levels, so moderation is the key to eating high-fat cheese and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, the popular Mediterranean diet allows for small to moderate amounts of cheese. Cheese is also part of the heart-heathy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

So, think in terms of a slice of cheese on a sandwich, not a pile of cheese on a taco, and yes – if researchers are right — you can have your cheese and eat it, too.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/high-fat-cheese-the-secret-to-a-healthy-life/

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/slideshow/cheese-bad-your-health

https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/cheese

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11 ‘Powerhouse’ Essential Oils That Combat The Cold & Flu

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11 ‘Powerhouse’ Essential Oils That Combat The Cold & Flu

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Farmers are hard at work bringing in this year’s harvest, and in many parts of the country, deciduous leaves are boasting a myriad of beautiful colors. We love much of what autumn offers, but these days also bring with them some of our least favorite things: viruses, mainly colds and flus.

Cold and flu season is quickly approaching. The cool, dry air of fall keeps the mucous membranes dry, leaving them vulnerable to invading viruses. In addition, most of us spend a lot more time indoors during the fall and winter months, providing additional opportunity for viruses to spread.

There are many ways to prevent cold and flu viruses from affecting you. First, frequent hand washing is a must. Making a conscience effort to keep your hands away from your face is also a great way to lessen the chance of you contracting one of the many viruses out there. Second, make it a habit to get a good night’s rest. Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on how effective your immune system is in resisting harmful bacteria and viruses.

Another line of defense can be made with judicious use of essential oils. Using essential oils as cleaning agents, topically, or through a diffuser can not only kill viruses, but also can strengthen your immune system to more effectively fight off seasonal illnesses. An alternative way to reap the benefits of using essential oils while on the go is to use an oil diffusing pendant. These pendants may be made from porous stone, or unglazed clay, allowing them to absorb oils that are then slowly released throughout the day. Other pendants are essentially lockets that include a mesh cover and felt swatch to absorb the oils. Either method will allow you to use essential oils effectively while working on the homestead or traveling around town.

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Not sure what to buy or use this fall and winter? Below are 11 suggested essential oils to help you stay healthy this season.

Tea tree oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it an important part of many preventative measures. The frequent cleaning of door handles and light switches alone with a cleaning solution that includes tea tree oil will greatly reduce the possibility of spreading germs to others. Tea tree oil used in a diffuser will combat pollutants in the air, while topical applications will reduce cold symptoms by relieving congestion.

A blend of lemon eucalyptus oil and balsam fir oil will fight viruses, bacteria and fungus and is also effective when used topically with a carrier oil or when diffused. Additionally, it relieves fatigue, muscle and joint pain commonly associated with flu-like symptoms when used as part of a warm soak.

Cinnamon, clove, lavender and sweet orange oils combine to create a seasonal smell that is an anti-virus powerhouse. Use this blend in a diffuser to clean the air in your home.

Lemon oil alone is a wonderful agent for boosting one’s immunity by naturally increasing the production of white blood cells. Use lemon as a single oil or combine it with clove bud oil and pine oil for a potent blend that fights infections.

Peppermint oil, coupled with eucalyptus oil, provides an extra layer of defense against common viruses. These oils continue to work well for those who are suffering with cold and flu symptoms by relieving nausea, congestion and fever-induced pain.

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A blend found in writings from hundreds of years ago, thieves is a popular blend that provides antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic qualities when used in several different ways. This blend of eucalyptus, clove, lemon, cinnamon bark and rosemary can be used as a disinfectant around the house and to clear the air of pollutants. It also can be used topically to support immune function and fight infections.

Please be aware that as with any substance, you may build up a tolerance if used topically for prolonged periods of time. It is best to switch up the types of oils you use, or alternate a blend with a single oil, every seven to 10 days for maximum effectiveness. For topical applications, a few drops applied to the soles of the feet before bedtime, three to four times a week, is a good baseline.

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

What oils would you have place on the list? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:  

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10 Low-Cost, Easy Ways To Cleanse Your Liver

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10 Low-Cost, Easy Ways To Cleanse Your Liver

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Cleansing your liver is truly one of the keys to staying youthful into your old age. When your body is detoxified, your cells can maintain all the functions in the body they must perform.

When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how your cells can literally keep working for 90, 100 or even 110 years. All you have to do is give them what they need (nutrients) and keep the toxins out of the cells.

You’ve probably already heard about the concept of cleansing your liver. Here are some basic facts, just for a few quick reminders:

  • If you’re constipated, it makes no sense to start cleansing your liver. Your liver is an internal organ with no route to the outside. Thus, if your colon is clogged, a backup of the toxins will occur. Trying to cleanse the liver at this time will only create detox symptoms such as headaches, skin bumps and acne, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, and the feeling that you aren’t well.
  • Drink more water when you are cleansing any organ. Ultimately, you want one ounce of water for every pound of body weight when you are seriously detoxifying your body. However, drinking one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight is acceptable.
  • You can continue your vitamin and mineral routine while you are cleansing your liver.
  • Cleanse your liver for six weeks, six days a week and one day off. This gives your body the idea that it must detoxify itself without your help on the seventh day.

Now let’s examine 10 different ways you can detoxify your liver.

1. Drink a cup of milk thistle tea twice daily. Use 1 teaspoon of the herb in 1 cup of boiling water.

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2. Drink a cup of chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) tea twice daily. Make a decoction of this tea with 2 tablespoons of the herb added to 2 quarts of distilled water in a pot. Cover the pot, and simmer on very low heat. Allow the tea to reduce to 1 quart or half the initial volume. Then drink one cup, twice daily.

3. Sit in an infrared sauna for 25 to 35 minutes daily for 30 days. This will force toxins and heavy metals out through your skin, which then allows your liver to detoxify itself better.

4. Change the water you drink to distilled water, including in your cooking. Distilled water is devoid of minerals. Minerals need to be detoxified by the kidneys, and drinking distilled water saves your body a step of detoxification. Meanwhile, it’s pulling toxins to itself, which takes the strain off the liver. Thus, the liver can then do a better job.

5. Use an herbal liver cleanse formula. Follow the instructions on the label, and continue it for six full weeks.

10 Low-Cost, Easy Ways To Cleanse Your Liver

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6. Eat organic fruits and vegetables. You might think that this is too expensive to do, but there is a trick to it if you can’t go 100 percent organic. Visit the Environmental Working Group website at EWG.org and search for the Dirty Dozen. This is a list of 12 of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides and chemicals. These 12 must be organic in your diet.

Next, look up the Clean Fifteen list. This is a list of 15 different fruits and vegetables that are pretty clean of pesticides and chemicals. Purchase these in their non-organic form if you can’t afford the organic versions.

The reason why these help your liver cleanse itself is because fruits and vegetables contain hundreds of phytonutrients that do all the liver cleansing work for you. It’s an automatic process.

In fact, in one study, children who were found to have high levels of pesticides in their blood were given organic fruits and vegetables for three days. When re-tested, the pesticides were no longer found in their blood.

7. Begin juicing. Most vegetable and fruit juices will begin an automatic detoxification of the entire body, including the liver. Your goal is 10 ounces, minimum, per day.

8. Eliminate all high fructose beverages from your diet. The high fructose overwhelms the liver and then contributes to the creation of fatty liver. But if you eliminate them all, your liver starts detoxifying and repairing itself.

9. Make vegetable juice. Try carrot-apple-beet juice (4 carrots, 1 apple, ½ beet). Sip slowly over a few hours.

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10 Low-Cost, Easy Ways To Cleanse Your Liver

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10. Eat salads made of the cruciferous vegetables. These veggies – cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts – are specific in how they act in the body and go straight for the liver to aid its detoxification. Three times a week is enough for this method.

You can do several of the “lesser methods” on the list simultaneously and not have to worry about overwhelming your liver. Or you can do the most effective liver cleanse, which is an herbal formula specifically designed to cleanse your liver.

Here are a couple of examples of what you could do daily to continually cleanse your liver:

Method 1: Fresh juice, 10 ounces + distilled water + milk thistle/chanca piedra tea

Method 2: Infrared sauna, carrot-apple-beet juice (8 ounces), organic veggies and fruits, salad of cruciferous veggies three times a week

Do a liver cleanse bout three times a year for best results. You will see a big difference in how you look, act, smell and feel!

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

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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The Ancient Edible Plant That Combats Dandruff, Heals Wounds, And Provides Energy, Too

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The Ancient Edible Plant That Combats Dandruff, Heals Wounds, And Provides Energy

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The burdock plant has a long history of use in many countries, including in the United States. Burdock (Arctium lappa) has been valued for its ability to ease skin problems, scalp issues, and especially for targeting lung, liver and stomach problems.

This plant is mentioned in written history as far back as the 1600s and is also discussed in the 1869 book Physio-Medical Dispensatory.

It is always a good idea to have a basic understanding of plants and how they can be used to help us. Burdock is a terrific one to learn about, as it can be used not only for medicine, but the roots are sometimes used as food.

The truth, though, is that the entire plant can be eaten.

Burdock roots are actually quite popular in Japan, where they are skinned and then cut into thin rounds and used in soups or stir fry. Young, tender leaves are eaten in the same way that lettuce is, and in salads or sandwiches.

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The root of this plant has a diuretic action, which is believed to help the body remove waste.

The leaves and root can be used to make a tea to help cleanse wounds. Additionally, many people say that drinking the tea helps to give them more energy.

Skin issues, such as rashes, insect bites or wounds, can be washed with a strong tea made from either the leaves or the roots. Some native tribes used the wet leaves as a type of bandage to promote healing.

Our pioneering ancestors often used burdock leaves and/or root as a means of clearing up lung problems, such as colds, congestion, or from the flu. Boiling the plant and breathing in the steam was common. This mixture would then be allowed to cool a bit, strained, and consumed as a tea.

Burdock tea is also thought to help stop dandruff and relieve itchy scalps, and to give a beautiful shine to the hair.

A typical tea was made by boiling approximately 1 tablespoon of dried leaves and/or roots in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Sometimes, the entire plant was simply removed from the ground, the dirt washed off, and placed in boiling water.

Grow Burdock at Home!

The Ancient Edible Plant That Combats Dandruff, Heals Wounds, And Provides Energy

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This plant is native to just about every state in the U.S., but if you want to be certain that you are getting some organic, premium burdock, why not grow some of your own? Drying the leaves and root is very easy and it lasts for years if stored properly.

Burdock seedlings really like compost, but the truth is that it grows just about everywhere. For the biggest, longest roots possible, be certain that the ground is free from rocks or very hard-packed dirt. Some roots can grow as long as four feet, so choose loose soil. Keep the plants watered when they become too dry. Burdock needs little care once you get started.

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If you want bigger roots, then keep the flowers and burrs picked off and prune some of the larger leaves. Young, tender leaves taste a great deal like spinach!

Roots should be ready for harvest about 100 days after germination. You can peel them and eat them raw or cooked.

An Interesting Note

Burdock was once considered to be sacred to Thor by the early Celtic people. Since it was Thor who ruled over summertime storms, the plant was often collected during midsummer and placed on house gables as protection from lightening.

While burdock won’t protect you from lightening, it is certainly good to know that this source of food and medicine is readily available should you need it.

Have you ever used burdock? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:  

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The 16 Fake, Sneaky Names Food Companies Use For MSG

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The 16 Fake Names Big Food Uses For MSG

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At first, I thought the headaches and dizziness I was getting were related to stress. I had recently graduated from college, moved to a new city and started a new job.

After a while, though, I began to notice a pattern. I typically got the symptoms after eating from a salad buffet or after having certain Chinese foods.

I did some research and discovered I was reacting to monosodium glutamate (MSG). Since that time, I have paid close attention to ingredient labels and restaurant menu descriptions that contain MSG.

However, keeping MSG out of my diet – and now my family’s diet – is much trickier than I initially thought. MSG still is in many of the foods found on our supermarket shelves and on our restaurant menus. The dangerous food additive is used in soups, meats, salad dressings, canned goods, frozen entrees and even crackers.

What is MSG?

Monosodium glutamate first hit the American food market in the 1960s as a seasoning and “meat tenderizing” powder called “Accent.”

Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese scientist who identified the natural flavor enhancing substance found in seaweed, learned how to mass produce MSG back in 1908. MSG is the “sodium salt of the common amino acid glutamic acid,” according to the definition by the FDA, which acknowledges it can cause “headaches, numbness, flushing, tingling, palpitations, and drowsiness.”

MSG, which itself has no taste, uses umami, one of the five basic tastes, to make food taste savory. Many people find foods with MSG have a more robust flavor and a fresher taste than foods that do not have it.

The use of MSG became widespread in America after the U.S. military began using it to improve the taste of soldier’s rations.

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In 1959, the USDA gave MSG its “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) label that it still has today. Not more than a decade later, however, cases of what became known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” began to develop. Symptoms of this disorder, which were linked to the consumption of Chinese food, include headaches, dizziness, tingling, numbness, burning in the face and neck and other areas, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat and weakness.

The 16 Fake Names Food Companies Use For MSG

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Today, the Mayo Clinic reports that research has not confirmed a direct link between MSG and the reactions that are now known as “MSG symptom complex” and that only a small percentage of the population has a problem with MSG.

Although MSG still has the GRAS rating, it does require manufacturers to list MSG as an ingredient on their products.

Manufacturers have gotten around this requirement, however, by calling MSG something else. Here are some of the names they use to disguise MSG:

  1. glutamic acid
  2. monopotassium glutamate or simply “glutamate”
  3. yeast extract or yeast nutrient
  4. hydrolyzed proteins (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, animal protein or plant protein)
  5. soy protein isolate and soy protein concentrate
  6. whey protein (whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate)
  7. autolyzed plant protein
  8. hydrolyzed oat flour
  9. textured protein
  10. caseinate (sodium caseinate and calcium caseinate)
  11. natural flavorings or simply “flavoring”
  12. ultra-pasteurized
  13. enzyme modified
  14. carrageenan
  15. maltodextrin or malt extract
  16. protein fortified

Some manufacturers even hide MSG under the catch-all “bouillon” term.

With so many different names for one harmful ingredient, a good idea is to make a list of these secret names and then take it with you when you go grocery shopping. If you are like me, you soon will recognize the food products that contain MSG and pass them right on by.

What advice would you add on avoiding MSG? Share your tips in the section below:

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Goji Berries: The Cancer-Fighting Chinese Superfood You Can Grow At Home

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Goji berries, native to China, are a booming food fad that can benefit homesteaders looking for an easy-to-grow berry that packs a huge health punch.

Growing goji berries is fairly simple. You will need to purchase a bare root plant or seeds from sources like online nurseries. To speed up your harvest, get a bare root goji beery plant so that you can get its fruits sooner rather than later. Use a mix of soil with a tinge of sand. Choose a pot that will fit your plant; the crown of the plant should be just at the top of the hole when placed in soil. Pat down the soil around the plant, and then water. Apply some mulch around the plant to keep in the moisture. To care for the plant, simply keep it moist by watering and applying more soil, as needed.

Not only are goji berries a simple plant to care for, but they also spread like weeds, once established.

 

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From one plant you can expect a return of many other plants. This will allow you to have more plants to sell, transplant or keep for extra goji berries.

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Pruning is essential after the plant is one-year-old. Trim off all of the lower branches, up to 15 inches from the soil. Also, fertilizer is not needed because the nitrogen will kill the goji berry plant.

Health Benefits of Goji Berries

Goji berries have been used in China for centuries for energy and long life. China, in fact, produces most of the world’s commercially sold goji berries. Other health benefits include:

  • Fighting cancer — They have huge levels of carotenoids, which battle cancer.
  • Eye care – Goji berries can help stop macular degeneration thanks to high levels of antioxidants.
  • Healthy skin – The beta-carotene in the berries boosts skin health.
  • Regulating blood sugar. These berries can control the amount of sugar released into the blood, making them very beneficial for persons with diabetes.

Goji berries are an amazing food that can boost your health and add money to your wallet. What’s not to like?

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

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The 6 Most Versatile Essential Oils You Can Own (You Already Have No. 2, Right?)

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The 6 Most Versatile Essential Oils You Can Own (You Already Have No. 2, Right?)

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As an essential oil practitioner, there are several oils that I use more often than others. This is because these essential oils are extremely versatile, with each having multiple uses.

Here is a list of what I consider the six most versatile essential oils you can buy. Stored property, they can last several years.

1. Tea tree.

Tea tree essential oil is native to Australia and has a hot, spicy, nutmeg-like, medicinal aroma.

Tea tree was named by Captain Cook’s crew, who brewed the small, dark leaves as a tea. Its astounding healing properties were used by the Aborigines. During World War II, medics recognized its powerful germicidal and antiseptic effects.

Tea tree is a powerful antiseptic and kills bacteria, fungi and viruses. It is great for treating cuts, burns, chicken pox, acne, cold sores, halitosis (bad breath), insect stings, blisters, head lice and rashes. It is useful in fighting fungal and yeast infections, as well.

For household uses, tea tree can be utilized as an anti-microbial laundry freshener, insect repellent, mold remover, natural deodorant, foot deodorizer and general cleaner.

2. Lavender.

Lavender essential oil is native to Europe and Australia and has a fresh, sweet, herbaceous and floral scent.

Lavender has been used for many centuries but became popular with the Romans, who used it to scent baths and for healing.

It is used frequently in soaps, perfumes and potpourri.

Lavender essential oil has both stimulating and relaxing properties, as it calms, invigorates, refreshes and lifts the spirits. It has powerful antiseptic, analgesic and healing effects, as well.

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In aromatherapy, it is great for treating depression, stress, anxiety and insomnia. Try using it in an oil diffuser or in a hot bath.

In massage therapy, it is perfect for reducing aches and pains, including headaches. It has been used to reduce labor pains for centuries. It is ideal for healing burns, cuts, rashes, and also is used to treat dermatitis, acne and scars.

3. Peppermint.

Peppermint grows worldwide and is part of the mint family, and has a fresh, minty and menthol aroma.

The 6 Most Versatile Essential Oils You Can Own (You Already Have No. 2, Right?)

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Mint was prized in Japan and China for centuries and has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1000 BC. Traditionally, people drank it as a tea or chewed the leaves to cure complaints of the stomach or to calm nerves.

Peppermint is invigorating, stimulating, refreshing, cooling and clears the head.

Peppermint essential oil is perfect for treating general aches and pains, headaches and muscular pains, since it is an analgesic and has a warming quality.

It is also good for mental fatigue, symptoms of a cold, morning sickness, indigestion, travel sickness, varicose veins, sunburn, insect bites, nausea, indigestion, PMS and menopausal hot flashes.

Use peppermint oil as a massage blend, in baths, in an oil diffuser or as a compress. A few drops on a tissue can clear your head, whether you’re suffering from a cold or mental fatigue, and also can relieve symptoms of nausea and headaches.

4. Rosemary.

Rosemary is grown in England, the Mediterranean, China and California for cultivation purposes. The oil has a fresh, green, woody and slightly minty smell.

Rosemary is ideal as an antiseptic and astringent. It is a natural analgesic and warming oil. Furthermore, it is invigorating but calming and is a great cleansing oil.

Rosemary essential oil is perfect for treating aches, pains and headaches because of its analgesic properties, and it warms the body. It also aids in increased blood circulation and reducing fluid retention. Furthermore, it is good for anxiety, nervousness, breathing problems, coughs, fatigue and as a mental pick-me-up.

Use rosemary essential oil in massage blends, hot baths and oil diffusers — or simply inhale from a tissue. It can also be used as a natural insect repellent and is safe for the garden, as well.

5. Oregano.

Oregano is an herb that is grown worldwide. Oil of oregano has a warm, sweet and spicy aroma.

It has been used since ancient times. Hippocrates wrote extensively about oregano, praising its healing properties. The ancient Greeks used oregano oil for the treatment of wounds, headaches, the common cold, insect bites and snake bites.

Oregano oil is an antimicrobial which inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi. It also has anti-viral, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Oregano essential oil has many uses. They include relief in muscle soreness, prevention of sickness, fighting infection and treating congestion or colds. It also battles psoriasis, eczema, nail fungus, ringworm, acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, arthritis, skin tags and warts.

The oil can be blended to use as a hand sanitizer, natural insect repellent, mouthwash, laundry detergent or as a natural household cleaner.

6. Helichrysum.

Helichrysum is native to the Mediterranean region, where it has been used medically for thousands of years. The oil has a strong, straw-like scent with a honey undertone.

Helichrysum has a lot of full-body benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It is also known as a natural antibiotic and analgesic.

It relieves aches, pains, headaches, symptoms of arthritis — and is anti-inflammatory. It also is a skin antibiotic and is anti-fungal. Furthermore, the oil aids in sunburn relief, acne treatment, hemorrhoid relief, liver stimulation and works to detoxify. It is a natural immune system booster, too.

Helichrysum essential oil is expensive, so it is OK to buy it already blended with a carrier oil. Once blended, the best way to use this essential oil is to massage it right onto the affected area.

As always, make sure your oils are 100 percent pure and diluted properly!

These are my most-used oils. However, I also use ─ and you might want to check out ─ lemon, geranium, clove, clary sage, thyme, frankincense, basil, bergamot, eucalyptus and wintergreen essential oils. All of these oils have tons of healthy and practical uses, as well!

What are your favorite versatile essential oils? Share your advice in the section below:        

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The ‘Miracle Berry’ That Kept People Healthy Prior To Vaccines

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The ‘Miracle Berry’ That Kept People Healthy Prior To Vaccines

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The common cold and the flu have been around for a long time. Today, people use preventative measures as well as over-the-counter remedies to stay healthy, but what did our ancestors do before pharmacies and modern medicines were commonplace?

One of the most commonly used flu and cold remedies was elderberries. In fact, it’s still used in medicines today. You can buy elderberry-based cough syrups, which have been proven to reduce the severity of the common cold or flu, in your local pharmacy.

How Can Elderberries Help?

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra), which are native to a few parts of Europe and the US, come from a flower bush that produces small, black/purple fruits, similar to mulberries. They taste something like a strong blackberry.

Please note that the leaves of elderberry bushes can be poisonous, so don’t eat them or use them for tea. Elderberries need to be cooked prior to use or they can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea.

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Numerous studies back up claims that elderberries contain anti-viral compounds, which prevent you from becoming infected in the first place – and shorten the duration and severity of the illness when you do get sick.

Grow Your Own

Order an elderberry bush from a reputable nursery and be certain you are getting Sambucus nigra.

One of the great things about elderberry bushes is that they are very easy to grow. They tolerate poor soil and very wet soil. However, one thing that elderberry bushes love is water. If you have hot, dry summers, you will need to give these little beauties water on a weekly basis.

The ‘Miracle Berry’ That Kept People Healthy Prior To Vaccines

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If you want to plant more than one, put them about 3 feet apart, in rows about 12 feet apart. You should plant at least two bushes (for cross-pollination). For best results, do nothing to the plants for the first two years. Do not prune them and do not remove the berries. Just let them be their own wild selves for a short time, and then you can prune them and use the berries as you wish. Prune in the early spring and remove dead branches.

They will just give a few berries their very first year, but by the second year, you will have plenty. Berries ripen somewhere between the middle of August and the middle of September, which gives you just enough time to mix up some elderberry syrup!

How to Make Your Own Elderberry Syrup

Of course, people use elderberries for things other than cold medicine. There are recipes for elderberry wine, elderberry “marshmallows” and even elderberry pie. Today, however, we are going to look at a quick and easy way to make elderberry syrup.

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There are probably as many recipes for this syrup as there are for meatloaf. This one is very basic and simple, but gets the job done. Tastes pretty good, too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dried elderberries or 1.5 cups of fresh berries
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of clove powder
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 16-ounce glass container with lid (Mason jars are a good choice)

Instructions:

  • In a medium-sized pot, add all ingredients except for the honey
  • Bring to a boil, and then cover.
  • Reduce heat to simmer
  • Allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to about half
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm
  • Mash the berries a bit, and then strain from pot into a bowl
  • Add honey and mix well
  • Pour into container of your choice

A standard dose is 1 teaspoon for children 12 and under every 3 to 4 hours. Adults can take 1 tablespoon every 3 to 4 hours.

Some people recommend giving children 1 teaspoon each day (and adults 1 tablespoon) during the flu season for preventative measures, but this is a matter of choice, as there are no studies showing this will prevent you from catching a cold or flu. That being said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything if you decided to try it!

This syrup is best when stored in the refrigerator and will last for several months. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays, and then seal them in plastic bags for later use. Elderberries also can be frozen if you want to make fresh batches during the winter months.

Have you ever consumed elderberries to boost your health? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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10 Common Kitchen Spices That Have REMARKABLE Healing Powers

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10 Common Kitchen Spices That Have REMARKABLE Healing Powers

Image source: Pixabay.com

Did you know you have a medicine cabinet of sorts right inside your kitchen? Many of the spices and herbs you have in your pantry can do more than just add flavor and color to your cooking. They also can benefit your health.

For centuries, traditional health practitioners have used spices and herbs to help people heal from all sorts of ailments and to help them maintain their wellbeing. Many herbs and spices contain as much or more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as fruits and vegetables.

Here is our list of 10 healing spices that you likely already have in your pantry:

1. Basil. Fragrant basil, which is a great addition to many dishes, has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The volatile oils in basil can help relieve stomach and digestive upsets.

Research by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that basil contains high amounts of beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful for treating inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis. A study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society also found that basil is useful in reducing swelling.

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There are many varieties of basil available, including lemon basil, holy basil and Christmas basil.

2. Cloves. You can use ground or whole cloves to treat inflammation in the body caused by anything from the common cold to a toothache.

Cloves, which have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, also may be useful in controlling insulin levels for diabetics.

3. Cayenne pepper. Made from tropical chili peppers, cayenne pepper contains alkaloid capsaicin, which blocks the chemicals that send pain messages to the brain. Capsaicin also works to rev up the body’s metabolism and may boost calorie and fat burning in certain individuals.

Cayenne can relieve indigestion, gas and nausea. Since it thins phlegm and eases the body’s passageways from the lungs, cayenne also is useful in treating coughs and colds.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with diabetes who ate a meal with liberal amounts of cayenne required less insulin to reduce their body’s blood sugar.

4. Rosemary. As a super anti-oxidant, rosemary contains 19 chemicals with antibacterial properties that help fight infection. Often used by herbalists to treat asthma and allergies, rosemary contains volatile oils that can reduce the nasal constriction caused by histamine.

Researchers from Kansas State University found that rosemary can help your skin and aid your memory retention.

5. Turmeric. A favorite ingredient in curries, turmeric is the spice that gives many Indian dishes their yellow color. The chemical responsible for turmeric’s color, called curcumin, may protect the body from certain forms of cancer, such as prostrate and colon cancer and melanoma.

10 Common Kitchen Spices That Have REMARKABLE Healing Powers

Image source: Pixabay.com

Research has linked turmeric consumption with reduced inflammation in certain chronic conditions, such as psoriasis, and it is useful in treating colds and respiratory problems.

6. Sage. Sage is a natural mood-enhancer and memory booster. Sage also boosts the action of insulin and reduces blood sugar in the body, so it is helpful for diabetics.

Preliminary research suggests that sage may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, since it prevents a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, which is a brain chemical involved in memory retention and cognitive learning. In another study, college students who took sage extract performed significantly better on memory tests than students who did not consume sage before the test.

7. Ginger. Ginger has been used by natural medical practitioners in many cultures for centuries to reduce stomach upset and to quell nausea.

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As an anti-inflammatory, ginger also is useful in reducing the pain of arthritis and of osteoarthritis pain of the knee. Ginger root’s healing compounds, including gingerols, also help ease headache pain.

8. Cinnamon. This tasty spice is an antioxidant powerhouse that can help stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics and pre-diabetics.

Just a half teaspoon serving of cinnamon a day can reduce triglycerides and total cholesterol levels by 12 to 30 percent, according to research studies. Cinnamon also can help prevent blood clots.

9. Thyme. Thyme contains thymol, a germ-killing oil that can protect against gum disease, infections, ulcers and certain forms of cancer.

In addition, thyme extracts can soothe the coughing and throat irritation caused by the common cold or bronchitis.

10. Oregano. Often used in Italian recipes, oregano contains four compounds that soothe coughs and colds and 19 different chemicals that contain antibacterial properties.

Oregano consumption can improve the digestive tract, and research shows that it may help lower blood pressure, as well.

You may be wondering how long your spices will stay fresh in your pantry. As a general rule, herbs lose their potency and flavor over time. Whole spices will stay fresh for about four years. Ground spices will stay fresh for two to three years, and dried herbs will be potent for up to three years.

What is your favorite healing spice? Share your tips in the section below:

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Colloidal Silver: What The Companies That Sell It Don’t Tell You

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Colloidal Silver: What The Companies That Sell It Don’t Tell You

Image source: NIH

 

Prior to the invention of penicillin in the 1940s, colloidal silver was often prescribed to treat various bacterial infections and was taken as an internal antidote. This was a prescription largely up to the doctor’s discretion, but without the potent antibiotics that emerged from penicillin it was a tough fight for anyone with an infection.

There have been hundreds of clinical studies that can be found on Pubmed.com that support the idea of silver plating on surgical instruments, catheters and joint implants to inhibit and prevent the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately, you’ll find little in the clinical archives on the health benefits of colloidal silver. There could be a few reasons for this, but the primary reason is probably that there’s no motivation for anyone to study an outdated treatment dating back to the 1940s.

There is evidence in some clinical studies that the external use of colloidal silver will inhibit or prevent the growth of bacteria. This was actually the most common use in the pre-penicillin days, and the eventual development of the “tricins” such as bacitracin, mycitracin and other topical treatments found in triple antibiotic ointments like Neosporin.

This external colloidal silver treatment often involved permeating a bandage with the colloidal silver liquid and applying it to the wound, burn and in some cases in the eyes of infants to prevent eye infections. If I have a bad cut or wound and no topical antibiotics, I would use colloidal silver without hesitation given its history assuming it was pure. And that’s the catch.

What is Pure Colloidal Silver?

There are currently three types of silver in a water suspension sold as colloidal silver, but only one is pure colloidal silver (and is also the safest). It’s very expensive and hard to find in the swamp of claims and competing products on the Internet, but if you find the real deal, it could offer you some degree of true health benefits.

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Unfortunately, many companies producing a silver suspension variation are calling their product “colloidal silver” when it is not. Here are the facts and the science:

1. True colloidal silver. True colloidal silver is the least prevalent type of colloidal silver and is often hard to find. This is due to the complexity of its manufacturing and the high cost associated. The majority of the silver content is in the form of true silver particles. One of the ways to determine if you have a pure colloidal silver product is to hold the bottle up to the light. It should not be clear. It should be cloudy or dark due to the silver particles in suspension. These particles in suspension are the colloids — and thus the name.

This is the type of colloidal silver that was used pre-penicillin and still used today in certain topical applications.

Significantly, true colloidal silver does not cause argyria. This is a condition that results from the over-consumption of some forms of silver particles that turns the skin blue.

2. Ionic silver solutions. This is where the fiction begins. Ionic silver solutions are not true colloidal silver but are often labeled that way. This type of silver suspension represents the vast majority of products called colloidal silver on the market. It is easy and cheap to manufacture, and you can even make it at home. Unfortunately, it has the least benefits for any condition and was never used in the past nor supported by any clinical studies to date as a viable topical treatment.

It is, in fact, a silver solution of dissolved silver particles or silver ions infused into the water through an electrolysis process. This product is often clear and not a true silver colloid. It is also the type of silver that has been associated with argyria, but you would have to consume gallons of the stuff on a daily basis, unless the concentration was extreme.

3. Silver protein. This form of silver in suspension combines silver particles with a gelatin, protein binder. It’s the easiest to make because it only involves the addition of silver protein powder sold by various chemical companies to water. It is also labeled in many instances as colloidal silver, but it’s not.

The best indicator of a silver protein product is to shake the bottle. If it foams, it’s a silver protein. This product was also never used by practicing physicians, and the product can actually deteriorate due to the gelatins in suspension.

If you want to consider colloidal silver as a medical solution, you should find the true colloidal silver. It has an established history, is still used in some instances as a topical treatment, is benign in the sense that it does not cause conditions like argyria, but it’s expensive and it leaves one big question: What are the health benefits?

The Health Benefits of Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver: What The Companies That Sell It Don’t Tell YouThe greatest debate about colloidal silver is its efficacy as an internally ingested medicine. Critics argue that there is no scientific evidence that silver in the bloodstream has any place or benefit and that there is no clinical evidence that colloidal silver cures any internal condition. But that begs some questions based on some of the convincing clinical evidence.

  • Hundreds of studies on Pubmed.com indicate that a silver coating on certain instruments and implants used for highly invasive procedures inhibit the growth of bacteria.
  • Doctors and hospitals sometimes still use colloidal silver as it was used in the past on dressings for wounds, burns and other external injuries.
  • Recent studies indicate that ulcers in the stomach and some intestinal conditions are the result of bacteria, so why wouldn’t true colloidal silver offer benefits as it moves through the intestinal tract?
  • Many bladder infections are the result of bacteria. Why wouldn’t true colloidal silver help to inhibit its growth and spread?

The Problem May Be the Hype

It’s unfortunate, but the colloidal silver debate has been clouded with products that are not true colloidal silver and compromised by health benefits that are both over-promised and at some times, simply false.

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There is no form of colloidal silver, including true colloidal silver, that can cure cancer or AIDS/HIV. Even the most powerful mainstream medicines and antibiotics fail on those fronts.

The fact that many silver products in suspension call themselves “colloidal silver” when they are, in fact, ionic silver or protein silver also clouds the category and the credibility of the product. This has not only drawn the attention of governing bodies from the FDA to state attorneys general, but has diminished credibility of the category as a brand in the mind of many people who might consider this as a serious, medical solution.

True colloidal silver was and still is a viable and proven treatment for various bacterial infections, particularly external wounds, burns and abrasions. It may also inhibit the growth of bacteria inside the body, particularly in the stomach, intestinal tract and the urinary system. As always, consult with your physician before taking it or treating any condition.

These are the facts. Beware of the fiction.

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

Have you ever used colloidal silver? If so, how? Share your tips on its use in the section below:

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3 Edible Fall Weeds That Are Super-Easy To Find (And Well Worth The Effort)

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3 Edible Fall Weeds That Are Super-Easy To Find (And Worth The Effort)

Watercress.

 

Autumn is here and vegetable gardening is winding down for the season, but there are no shortages for people who enjoy foraging for edible weeds. In fact, if you look close enough, you may find many nutrient-rich, flavorful weeds growing in your own back yard.

Edible weeds grow in abundance in most areas, and you may be surprised at how tasty they can be, but there are certain caveats to keep in mind before you toss those edible weeds into your salad bowl.

  • Never eat a wild plant unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe. Many poisonous plants look dangerously similar to familiar, common plants. Although websites and books are a tremendous help, the safest course of action is to check with a native plant expert in your area. Most cities have local native plant societies, and members are usually glad to share their knowledge with newbies.
  • Even if you’ve identified a plant with the help of an expert, it pays to be careful, as experts are human and capable of making mistakes. Begin by sampling a tiny bit of the plant. If you have any type of reaction, think twice about eating more.
  • Never eat plants growing along roadways or other areas where herbicides have been sprayed. Similarly, forage for weeds from clean water sources — never from areas where water runs off from agricultural or industrial areas. Always wash the plant thoroughly.

Now that you know the basics of foraging safely, here are three delicious edible weeds to keep on your radar this autumn.

1. Watercress

Found in every corner of the United States and most areas of Canada nearly any time of year, watercress is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Look for creeping and/or floating plants in shallow ponds and along creeks. To harvest watercress, twist the plant just above the water level. Don’t worry about picking the underwater part of the plant, which tends to be bitter and tough. Leave it in place so it can continue to grow.

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Watercress leaves consist of three to five small, oval-shaped leaflets, sometimes with a hint of red. Don’t confuse the plant with poisonous water hemlock, which is taller and has pointier leaves, often with a greenish-yellow tinge. Again, confirm your find with an expert.

It doesn’t take long to gather a basket of watercress, which you can use any number of ways. Salads are obvious (and delicious), but watercress also makes good pesto and adds flavor and nutrition when sprinkled on pizza, or added to soups and sandwiches.

2. Wood sorrel

3 Edible Fall Weeds That Are Super-Easy To Find (And Worth The Effort)

Wood sorrel. Image source: Pixabay.com

Nearly all parts of this little woodland plant are edible and ready to harvest from spring through autumn, including the heart-shaped leaves, flowers, seedpods, stems and roots. Also known as wild shamrock, wood sorrel is usually easy to find in shady, wooded areas. Although wood sorrel is easy to mistake for clover, this isn’t a dangerous foraging error because clover isn’t toxic.

Wood sorrel is good in salads, tossed into juice or smoothies or sautéed in a little butter or olive oil. If you’re adventurous, the roots taste a little like garden-variety potatoes. Discard the lower stems, which tend to be stringy and tough.

3. Garlic mustard

3 Edible Fall Weeds That Are Super-Easy To Find (And Worth The Effort)

Garlic mustard. Image source: Pixabay.com

Garlic mustard is an invasive weed that is unwelcome in the garden, but in spite of its annoying qualities, all parts of the plant are edible. While most parts are typically harvested in spring, the gnarled taproots can be used year-round. Garlic mustard is a real pain, so you’ll be doing a favor by removing as much as you can use, and then some.

This plant is easy to identify by its deeply scalloped, fan- or kidney-shaped leaves. If you aren’t sure what to do with the roots, keep in mind that they are very similar in flavor to horseradish, with a distinctive, pungent flavor – not a great surprise as both are members of the mustard family.

To make wild horseradish, begin by trimming the greens and tough, woody parts from the roots. Wash and dry the roots, and then grind them in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Blend the ground roots with a little apple cider vinegar and sea salt. For a change of pace, add a beet root, which imparts a bright color and a sweeter, less bitter flavor.

What are your favorite fall weeds to harvest? Share your advice in the section below:

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The 3-Ingredient Ancient Home Remedy Used During The Time Of Christ

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The 3-Ingredient Ancient Home Remedy Used During The Time Of Christ

Pliny the Younger, the author and politicians of the late 2nd century – meaning it likely was used during the time of Christ.

Raw vinegar is full of antioxidants and is a natural probiotic, but it’s also been shown to sooth sore throats, improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, help guard against cancer and maintain a healthy weight. As a natural antibiotic, it can help clear out your throat and digestive system of harmful pathogens, allowing you get better faster. Raw cider vinegar has also been shown to help the body absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

The 3-Ingredient Ancient Home Remedy Used During The Time Of Christ

Image source: Pixabay.com

Raw honey is a nutrient powerhouse, full of antioxidants, minerals and enzymes that promote health and wellness. It’s used throughout the world for its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, as well as an immune system booster. Research shows that it can be just as effective as commercial cough syrup in treating coughs and sore throats. Taken regularly, raw honey can act as an allergy shot to reduce your sensitivity to pollen and allergens in your environment over time.

The herbs used in oxymel vary based on your goals, but in general, they’re often herbs designed to improve your immune response, or address a respiratory condition such as cough, cold, flu or sore throat. Whichever herbs you choose, do your homework, and make sure they reflect your needs, and the needs of your family; great choices include sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, Echinacea, ginger, elecampane, fennel, garlic, mullein, hyssop, wild cherry bark and horseradish.  Sweeter nutrient-rich and health-promoting fruits are sometimes included, as well, including elderberries or sea berries.

One famous version, referred to as “fire cider,” is made with ginger, garlic, cayenne and horseradish. Other times, elderberry, ginger and Echinacea are combined for immune support. Another mixture is a cough syrup/respiratory blend that includes wild cherry bark, elecampane root, rose hips, ginger, slippery elm bark and peppermint.

Pre-mixed remedies sell in health food stores and online for as much as $5 per ounce, but can be mixed at home for pennies and a little patience. Recipes vary widely, but a common formula includes 1 part dried herbs steeped in 2 parts honey and 2 parts vinegar. Leave in a cool dark place for at least a month, and then strain. Feel free to use more honey if your tastes require a sweeter version to overcome the herb flavors you’ve chosen, or if you simply have trouble with vinegar.  Likewise, recipes with up to 5 parts vinegar and 1 part honey are also acceptable for those who like a little extra zing in their medicine.

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Some people choose to steep the honey with the herb in one jar, and then the vinegar with the herb in a separate jar, only mixing them at the end. That way, they can have an infused honey and an infused vinegar which also have a variety of uses, and they don’t have to commit all of the infusion to being an oxymel mixture.

While they’re generally pleasant to use on their own as a medicine by simply taking them on a spoon as you would a cough syrup, they can also be incorporated into meals to turn your food into medicine. Oxymel is a great way to enjoy sweetness without negative effects on your blood sugar. Raw vinegar has also been shown to balance blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics, which will help to balance out the effects of the honey on your system. With that in mind, these medicines make a great addition to cold sparkling water to make a medicinal spritzer, or when used to top a salad as a sweet and tangy dressing. Recipes using sweet herbs (such as elderberry) make excellent pancake syrups or yogurt/dessert toppings.

However you choose to take your oxymel, know that you’re participating in a medicinal tradition that goes back millennia, and taking your health into your own hands by crafting your own homemade medicine.

Have you ever made or used oxymel? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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

5 Natural Remedies For Ragweed-Induced Fall Allergies

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5 Natural Remedies For Ragweed-Induced Fall Allergies

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Many people find the cooler days of autumn to be a welcome relief from summer’s heat. But for those who suffer from season allergies – particularly allergies to ragweed – the advent of fall can mean simply exchanging one type of misery for another.

It is estimated that between 40 and 60 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies[i] and nearly 75 percent of those people have allergic reactions to ragweed.[ii] Other pollens that are more rampant during the fall include curly dock, sagebush, pigweed and sheep sorrel.

An entire industry revolves around providing relief for sufferers of seasonal allergies. Take a walk through any drugstore this time of year and you’re bound to find large displays of antihistamines and decongestants. And while these medications can relieve symptoms, not everyone wants to reach for a pill. Besides that, some people have problems with side-effects of these drugs, such as drowsiness, dry eyes and mouth, insomnia and abdominal distress.

The good news is that there are natural remedies for fall allergies:

1. Neti pot

Some people cringe at the thought of pouring warmish salt water in one nostril and letting it drain out the other – and granted, it does take some practice of holding your head at just the right angle so that the water doesn’t go down your throat. But Neti Pots have been around for thousands of years, and the science behind them is sound.

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When you use a neti pot, you are gently flushing allergens out of your nasal passages so that your body’s natural defenses are able to work more effectively. (It’s like cleaning a filter.)

2. Quercetin

Quercetin is a plant compound that can help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms by stabilizing mast cells and inhibiting the release of histamine. This bioflavonoid can be found in a number of foods such as onions, tomatoes, apples, citrus fruits and parsley. However, to effectively be used as a treatment for allergies, it usually must be taken in the form of a supplement.

A word of caution: You should consult your doctor before taking quercetin. Also, people with liver disease should avoid this supplement.

3. Stinging nettle

5 Natural Remedies For Ragweed-Induced Fall Allergies

A common type of ragweed. Image source: Wikipedia.

Stinging nettle can be taken by allergy sufferers either in a tea or in an herbal supplement. It contains antihistamine and anti-inflammatory compounds. In some studies of stinging nettle and its ability to relieve allergy symptoms, as many as 57 percent of the participants found the plant to be as effective as over-the-counter allergy remedies.

It has been suggested that stinging nettle works best when patients begin taking it before hay fever season begins.[iii] If you decide to forage for and harvest your own stinging nettle, be sure to wear gloves to protect your skin from coming into contact with the herb’s stinging hairs.

4. Butterbur

Butterbur is another herb that rivals over-the-counter drugs for effectively treating seasonal allergies. A study published in 2002 in the British Journal of Medicine found that butterbur was just as effective at relieving symptoms as was cetirizine, which is the active ingredient in Zyrtec.[iv]

Butterbur has the added advantage of not causing drowsiness – a side-effect that some patients experience when using Zyrtec.

5. Essential oils

Whether you diffuse them into your room or soak with them in a nice hot bath, there are also plenty of essential oils which may prove beneficial in combating the nasty effects of fall allergies. Peppermint and eucalyptus oils, for example, both have anti-inflammatory properties which can help to unclog stuffy noses. It is no wonder that eucalyptus oil is one of the active ingredients in Vick’s vapor rub.

Lemon oil is another useful essential oil for those who suffer from hay fever. This oil has been shown to support lymphatic symptom drainage, and when diffused into the air can kill allergy-aggravating bacteria.[v]

Lavender oil has both antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, and is effective in treating headaches and congestion as well as in helping both the mind and body to relax.

For those with seasonal allergies, the arrival of this time of year can be dreadful. Fortunately, nature has provided a wide selection of remedies. Find the one that is right for you.

What is your favorite fall allergy relief? Share your advice in the section below:

[i] http://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis

[ii] http://acaai.org/allergies/types/ragweed-allergy

[iii] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/stinging-nettle

[iv] http://www.bmj.com/content/324/7330/144

[v] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23381618

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The Easy-To-Grow Herb That Fights Insomnia & Anxiety (And Is Safer Than Xanax, Too)

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The Easy-To-Grow Herb That Fights Insomnia & Anxiety (And Is Safer Than Xanax, Too)

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Although valerian root is usually grown outdoors as part of an herb or flower garden, it is not too difficult to grow it indoors, as well. If you do have outdoor space, it is even possible to start the plant outside, and then transplant it into pots at the beginning of winter to bring inside. Valerian that is left outdoors and not cultivated for its roots will return in the spring. Valerian also reproduces runners that can be harvested or transplanted into indoor pots.

What Is Valerian Root and What Are its Benefits?

Valerian is a perennial plant that grows up to two feet tall. It has sweet-smelling, light purple, white or pink little flowers that bloom during late spring and early summer. The flowers of the plant are a common ingredient in many perfumes and can be harvested for potpourri.

The root of the plant is used medicinally and is hard-pressed into juice or is dried to create a powder. The root is light, grayish-brown in color and doesn’t have too much odor when fresh. Once dried, it has an overpowering smell that is displeasing to many people.

Although the smell may not be pleasant, valerian root is valued for its many medicinal and culinary uses. It has been used to ease nervousness, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia since the second century A.D. Scientists are not sure exactly how valerian works, but believe that it operates in much of the same way as Xanax or Valium, which increases the amount of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This chemical aids in the regulation of nerve cells and produces a calming effect.

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Valerian is a popular alternative to prescription medications for sleep and anxiety problems because it is considered to be both safe and gentle. The United States Food and Drug Administration lists valerian as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), while Germany’s Commission E has approved valerian root as an effective mild sedative.

How to Grow Valerian Indoors

We have the choice of growing and harvesting enough of the root during the spring, summer and fall to last through the winter months, or we can grow it indoors as well, to harvest as needed.

Step 1

The Easy-To-Grow Herb That Fights Insomnia & Anxiety (And Is Safer Than Xanax, Too)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Use pre-moisturized potting mix to fill a seed tray. The easiest way to moisten a dry mix is to pour it into a bucket and add warm water until the soil is moist. You do not want it to be dripping, however. Too much wetness will prevent the seeds from germinating.

Step 2

Find high-quality valerian seeds that are fresh. Valerian seeds can be pernickety, so it is important to get this step right. You want to sprinkle the small seeds onto the top of the pre-moistened potting mix, and then press them lightly into the soil. Do not cover them, because they need sunlight to germinate.

Step 3

Use a spray bottle to lightly mist water over the top of the seeds. Cover the tray with clear plastic wrap and place it in a warm and sunny area. Don’t put the seeds directly on a windowsill, however, as the window might magnify the sun’s rays and burn the seeds. Remember that valerian seeds are finicky!

Step 4

Check the potting soil regularly and use your spray bottle when needed to keep the seeds and soil moist. Moist, but not over-saturated! The environment inside of the plastic should be warm and humid for the seeds to germinate.

Step 5

When the seeds emerge from the soil, loosen the plastic wrap. When the seeds grow to 1-2 inches tall, remove the plastic wrap entirely. You will want to replant the healthiest seedlings into new containers that are 3-4 inches in height. Now you can put these seedlings on a sunny windowsill; just keep an eye out for over drying. If you don’t have too many sunny areas inside of your home, you will have to use artificial sunlight such as a grow light.

Step 6

Keep re-potting the valerian plants as they grow into larger containers. Make sure the containers all have a good drainage system. The bottom of the plant should never be allowed to sit in water. Remember that these plants can grow to 5-6 feet tall, so make sure that you have containers large enough to support a plant of this size.

How to Harvest Valerian Root

  1. Cut the blooms of the plant to use as flower bouquets or as potpourri.
  2. It is best to harvest mature root systems after the plant has had time to grow to full size. However, valerian also produces runners that can be harvested to leave the original plant in place. You can also harvest the original plant and let the smaller ones re-grow. Many herbalists say the root is the most potent on the mature plants.
  3. Dig deep enough so that you get the entire root system out of the soil. Rinse the roots off with water.
  4. Cut the roots up into small pieces with sharp shears. Soak the pieces in a bowl.
  5. After they are thoroughly soaked, remove them from the water and sprinkle them on a drying rack. Place the cuttings in a dry and cool place, and let them dry out for at least a month. You will notice the scent of the roots become more pungent as they dry.
  6. You also can dry out the leaves of the plant to make teas.

You now have a dried valerian root herb! You can simmer the roots and leaves as a tea or use them in food. You can mix the root or leaves with other dried herbs. You also can make your own capsules to take before bed to help you sleep.

Guess what? Cats love dried valerian almost as much as catnip! You now have a healthy, homegrown treat for kitty, as well.

Have you ever grown or used valerian root? Share your tips for how to grow and use it in the section below:

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5 Common Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash Relief (No. 4 Might Already Be In Your Garden!)

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5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Milkweed. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

As a kid, I used to run through this huge patch of poison sumac while playing. I often had rashes — sometimes so bad I couldn’t even open my eyes. In fact, I didn’t know why I was catching the rashes until I got older.

5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Jewelweed. Image source: Pixabay.com

Poison sumac, ivy or oak can ruin your week fast – especially if you don’t know how to treat it. Fear not: Nature has provided us with cures.

Let’s take a look at five all-natural treatments for rashes found in the wild:

1. Jewelweed

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a natural remedy used to neutralize the irritants from poisonous plants, bug bites, ring worms and even stinging nettle.

Jewelweed grows three to five feet tall, with oval leaves and hanging trumpet-shaped flowers. The flowers can be yellow or orange with dark red spots. I used to love poking the seed pods as a kid because they pop and the seeds seemed to explode.

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

5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Mugwort. Image source: Pixabay.com

The orange variety with dark red spots works better than the yellow flowered variety. My family likes to collect the stocks of jewelweed and store them frozen in freezer bags. This makes it easy to take one out and squeeze out the jelly for application on irritated areas of the body.

2. Mugwort

Mugwort is easy to grow and is even found in some wild areas. It can neutralize the urushiol found in poisonous plants and has other healing properties, too. Just grind the fresh-picked leaves and apply to the affected area.

5 Wild Plants That Deliver All-Natural Rash-Relief

Honeysuckle. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle can be blended with water (ratio: 3-1) and strained to relieve some of the discomfort associated with symptoms of poisonous plants like sumac, oak and ivy.

4. Rhubarb

We love growing rhubarb in the garden. It has so many uses, but in this application we can treat our itch. Rhubarb can give you instant relief from pain and itch caused by urushiol. To use it, just break a stem and rub the affected area up to three times a day.

5. Milkweed

This weed grows just about everywhere, and there are 140 known species. It’s named after its milky sap that’s made up of alkaloids, latex and other compounds. Applying this milky sap will help relieve the symptoms and dry up blisters associated with a poison rash.

Just use caution when identifying it, because it does have poisonous lookalikes like dogbane.

Now that you know all about plants that can relieve rashes, you are safe to take a stroll in the woods!

What plants would you add to this list? Do you have additional advice? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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1800s Medical Cures That Still Work Today

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1800s Medical Cures That Still Work Today

Once upon a time, more than two-thirds of all Americans lived in rural towns or extensive farms. Indoor plumbing was unheard of, homes were heated with wood and lit by kerosene or oil lamps, work was hard and diseases were plenty.

Should we find ourselves back in these precarious times – or we simply prefer natural remedies — we might find it beneficial to know what types of herbs, medicines and common practices were the tool of the trade for the 19th century doctor.

Keep in mind that there were no vaccines, no lab tests and no antibiotics. Hospitals were located in large cities and surgery was reserved for extreme cases. Doctors traveled for miles on horseback to treat their patients, and payment was generally a hot meal and a place to sleep, and perhaps a hog or some chickens for the doctor to keep or sell as he liked.

Almost all treatments were done right in the home, or outdoors where the light was good. There certainly were times when the doctor knew that his patient would not survive, but he tried his best, knowing that if nothing else, the family would feel better, believing that they had done all they could.

Let’s take a look inside that black bag of medicine and find out what doctors used pre-pharmaceutical times.

Treatments and Research

If you were fortunate, your doctor was up to date with the medical research of the times, such as books by University of New York doctor William Thomson. Otherwise, your local doctor might have relied on Buchan’s Domestic Medicine, which relied on herbal treatments.

With no antibiotics and very little understanding of how diseases worked, gargles, “tonics,” hot baths or steam baths were often recommended. Doctors tended to treat the symptoms, rather than the disease, due to lack of knowledge.

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Doctors understood very little about bacteria, but they were aware that there were tiny organisms that could be seen under a microscope. These could be transferred from one patient to another. So while they may not have fully understood how they worked, doctors began working with “disinfectants” in the later part of the 1800s. Common disinfectants were chlorine, lime, sulfur and charcoal.

Common Herbal Treatments

Without the use of any real working drugs, doctors relied heavily on herbal remedies. Many doctors continued to add to their skills by learning from medicine men of the indigenous people, as well as from women who often passed their knowledge on from generation to generation and the slaves brought from Africa, who also contributed their knowledge of healing herbs and plants.

Fortunately, doctors had many pain relievers available to them at this time, including aspirin (which they made from the bark of willow trees). There were fever reducers made from the feverfew plant, as well from meadowsweet.

Camphor was known to ease itchy skin. It was also commonly used to prevent infection by washing the wound with a solution made from camphor, or soaking bandages in the solution, then wrapping the wound.

1800s Medical Cures That Still Work Today

Image source: Pixabay.com

Opium was known to stop diarrhea almost instantly, and cathartics were from a wide variety of plants, such as milkweed or bloodroot.

Most of these types of medicines were used to make the patient as comfortable as possible, while nature took its course and the patient could heal on his own.

Other treatments including apple pectin, which was mixed in juice to stop arthritis, and honey, which was used as a face wash and a treatment for most insect stings.

Tea and compresses made from cloths soaked in tea were often used to wash everything from hair to burns to wounds.

Some treatments are still used today, such as baking soda to brush the teeth or ease indigestion. Castor oil was used for everything from a general health tonic to a chest compress for coughs and colds. Salt was used as a gargle for sore throats. It worked then and still works today.

Herbs and ‘Female’ Problems

It was very common in the 1800s for women to treat other women with herbs and remedies that have been passed down for generations. Midwives were often called upon to deliver babies as well as to help with what was called “female problems.”

1800s Medical Cures That Still Work Today

Image source: Pixabay.com

Teas made from motherwort were often used to “calm the nerves.” This is a mild sedative and it works remarkably well.

Painful menstruation was often treated with a tea of red raspberry leaves. This was also the same treatment for infertility. Excessive bleeding was treated with shepherd’s purse. Labor pains were treated with blue cohosh while menopause was treated with black cohosh.

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Women suffering from fainting spells were often given a large tablespoon of vinegar. Bladder infections were cured with calendula tea, and chamomile tea was used for just about everything that ailed women, from menopause to insomnia.

Treatments We’d Rather Forget

You can’t talk about the history of medicine without speaking about some of the items and practices that will make you shudder today.

Mercury was used for almost 500 years as a common elixir that was supposed to rejuvenate the body. It was also a popular “cure” in the 19th century for sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis. While mercury probably did kill off the infection, it generally killed the patient as well, most likely from kidney or liver damage.

In fact, let’s not forget that during most of the 1800s, there were no laws in place as to who could call themselves a doctor. Massachusetts passed the first license laws in 1819 but then repealed them in 1835. It wasn’t really until after the civil war that states got serious about licensing doctors.

Tuberculosis (called consumption in those times) was a terrible condition with no cure. Most doctors simply recommended bed rest and to move to a drier climate.

Other treatments, such as those for colic, didn’t need the doctor anyway.

A common “remedy” for colic was to close all the windows and doors to the baby’s room, and have daddy smoke his cigar or pipe right outside the door. (Can’t help but wonder how that one worked!)

Cures for colds and the flu were varied, but included drinking rabbit dung tea. We don’t suggest trying that one, no matter how dire the situation!

What old-time remedies would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

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The Ancient Essential Oil That Fights Fatigue, Pain, Arthritis And Nausea

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The Ancient Essential Oil That Fights Fatigue, Pains, Arthritis And Nausea

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During a hard day of work, especially for a homesteader, peppermint essential oil can be quite useful. Beginning in the morning, it can energize your mind and help you get moving. Need a pick-me-up after lunch or later in the day? Peppermint oil can help you there, too, by reviving depleted energy you need to get your work finished. Then, after the long workday, because of peppermint oil’s warming properties, it can be used to treat sore muscles and arthritis.

Another common use for peppermint oil is that it helps reduce nausea and indigestion.

Do you feel that you sometimes have trouble focusing or concentrating? Look no further than peppermint essential oil with its revitalizing effects on the mind!

Peppermint was prized for health reason in Japan and China for centuries and has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1000 BC.

Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint, and is, by far, the most pungent mint. It’s a common herb with tough, dark stems and serrated green leaves that can be found growing almost anywhere.

Peppermint essential oil is nearly one-third menthol, which is why it invigorates and clears the head.

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

The essential oil has a cooling, pungent, menthol aroma, with clean, sweet top notes. In aromatherapy, it is excellent for headaches, mental fatigue, concentration, muscular pain, sunburn, insect bites, nausea, indigestion and for menopausal hot flashes.

Massages, baths, inhalation and compresses are all efficient ways to utilize the properties of peppermint essential oil. A few drops on a tissue can clear your head, whether you’re suffering from a cold or mental fatigue, and can relieve headaches or any nausea, from travel to morning sickness. Add several drops to a basin to refresh tired feet, or to a bath to relieve sore muscles. (Because of peppermint oil’s potency, use sparingly in baths at first to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions to it, and always make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin.)

Over time, I have developed mixtures that I feel help me on a daily basis. I developed these recipes with scent in mind while creating the maximum effect of the oils’ health properties.

1. Fatigue

More people than ever complain of being tired these days. Too much work, too many demands and stresses, and too little leisure or relaxation are probably to blame. Peppermint oil is helpful in combating fatigue, as it can stimulate the body and mind in a relaxing kind of way. As stated above, you can simply inhale peppermint oil or try one of these invigorating mixtures:

Invigorating rub

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops orange essential oil
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. sweet almond carrier oil

Energizing massage

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. sweet almond carrier oil

2. Tired muscles or arthritis pain

The Ancient Essential Oil That Fights Fatigue, Pains, Arthritis And Nausea

Image source: Pixabay.com

Muscular pain affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, and many people suffer from arthritis. Peppermint oil’s warming and soothing properties can help. Try these recipes to help relax your muscles and reduce your pain.

For tight muscles

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops pine essential oil
  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. sweet almond carrier oil

For arthritis and aching muscles

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops petitgrain essential oil
  • 2 drops basil essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. sunflower carrier oil

3. Improve focus and concentration

Peppermint essential oil can improve memory, focus and alertness. Try these blends; use them in an oil diffuser to distribute the molecules throughout the air, or as a massage oil with an added carrier oil.

For concentration

  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. carrier oil for a massage blend

For improved focus

  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops myrtle essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. carrier oil for a massage blend

To improve mental clutter

  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. carrier oil for massage blends

4. Battle nausea, indigestion and stomach upsets

The only worse thing than feeling sick is actually being sick. Common triggers include a rich or spicy meal, contaminated food, a rotten smell, stress, fear, the motion of travel, pregnancy or a migraine. A little peppermint oil inhaled from a tissue can help tremendously.

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

The Ancient Essential Oil That Fights Fatigue, Pains, Arthritis And Nausea

Image source: Pixabay.com

Alternatively, try one of these mixes to use with an air diffuser or add a carrier oil for a massage blend. Massage the blend into your chest and abdomen areas.

Ease nausea, travel or morning sickness

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 3 drops ginger essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. carrier oil for massage blends

To help abdominal pain due to indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops nutmeg essential oil
  • 4 drops ginger essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. carrier oil for massage blends

To ease general digestive problems

  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops ginger essential oil
  • 2 drops angelica root
  • 2 fl oz. carrier oil for massage blends

Do some research to find out other ways you can use peppermint essential oil. Peppermint oil also mixes well with a lot of additional essential oils for aromatherapy purposes. Choose your favorite essential oil combinations and add a few drops of peppermint oil to them to add an invigorating, but soothing, effect!

How do you use peppermint essential oil? Share your tips in the section below:

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All-Natural Fall Remedies That Smart Homesteaders Store For Winter

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6 All-Natural Remedies That Smart Homesteaders Make Each Fall

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The fall can be a busy time if you’re trying to stock a well-prepared larder. Perhaps you’ve put up or purchased enough food to get you through the winter, but have you thought about keeping your family healthy as well as fed? There are many natural medicines that are easy to make at home during autumn to keep your family healthy all winter long.

1. Herbal teas

A great place to start for the beginner, herbal teas can be as simple as looking for tasty and health-promoting recipes in your favorite reference book and mixing them ahead of time. Dried herbs can easily be purchased for your first batch, but harvesting and drying them at home is a much more cost-effective and reliable method of ensuring availability. Even if you haven’t planted an herb garden, try learning to identify and harvest wild elderberries, yarrow, rose hips, raspberry leaf and mullein as a first step. Drying can be as simple as tying them into small bundles and hanging them in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Once dry, store in Mason jars or other airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

2. Tinctures

Once you’re comfortable blending your own herbal teas, tinctures are a great next step. While there are many plant compounds that are water soluble in teas, some medicines are alcohol soluble and require a different extraction to get the full benefit. Examples of alcohol soluble herbs include most that are high in resins or naturally antibacterial alkaloids such as Echinacea, cleavers, nettle and elecampane. To make a tincture, start with a plain alcohol such as grain alcohol or vodka that is at least 50 proof (25 percent alcohol), preferably 80 proof or higher. For most herbs, a ratio of 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol works well for extraction. Place the herbs and alcohol in a sealed jar out of direct sunlight for at least 2-3 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain out the herb, and the tincture is ready for use.

3. Oxymel

An alcohol-free way to extract herbs that may not be water soluble is with vinegar. Oxymel is a mixture of a vinegar-extracted herb, with raw honey to both enhance the health benefits and the palatability. Ratios vary widely, but a common method takes 1 part herb, 2 parts vinegar and 2 parts honey for the mixture.

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Add all three parts to a mason jar, seal and wait 2-3 weeks before straining out the herb and bottling for use. There are many elderberry/vinegar/honey oxymels on the market today, selling for as much as $5-$10 dollars per ounce, when they can be made at home for just a few dollars per quart. Dollar for dollar, oxymel is one of the easiest and most economical natural remedies to make at home.

4. Infused oils

Following the same principle as tinctures and oxymels, infused oils extract herbal components into an oil base. Try a neutral oil such as sunflower, almond oil or light olive oil. A ratio of 1 part herb to 2-4 parts oil works well for most herbs. In the winter, herbal-infused oils can be great for treating burns, ear infections, topical fungal issues or respiratory issues when used as a chest rub.

5. Healing salves

Once you have an infused oil, a healing salve is a great way to improve the versatility of your remedy. Healing salves take infused oils and add a wax component to make them semi-solid at room temperature so that they’re easy to apply and store. Start with 8 ounces of infused oil and 1 ounce of beeswax. Slowly heat until the beeswax is melted, and then mix thoroughly. Pour into a storage container while hot. Healing salves often incorporate the use of essential oil and vitamin E oil to enhance their effectiveness, depending on the use.

6. Witch hazel extract

A commonly used astringent and topical disinfectant, witch hazel is easy to make at home. Witch hazel is a small bush/shrub that’s prevalent in the wild in the eastern half of the United States. An extract can be made from wild harvested witch hazel twigs, or if you prefer, there are many online sources to purchase dried witch hazel bark. For the most potent extract, harvest the twigs just after the plant has flowered late in the fall (October/November). Finely chop the twigs with pruning shears or scissors, cover completely with water and place on the stove on low to simmer. Most recipes slow cook the stems and bark for at least 8 hours, adding water during cooking to keep the plant material covered. Once it’s done cooking and cooled completely, it’s perishable unless alcohol is added as a preservative.  Add 1 part high proof vodka or grain alcohol for every 2 parts witch hazel extract, and store in a cool dark place indefinitely.

Which is your favorite home remedy? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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24 Little-Known ‘Miracle Plants’ The Navajo Used For Medicine

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24 Little-Known 'Miracle Plants' The Navajo Used For Medicine

Artist: Robert Draper

 

Anyone interested in living off the land or wishing to prepare themselves for a crisis would be wise to study some of their local plants.

Native people had an extensive knowledge of which plants, and which parts of the selected plant, were valuable for certain health problems.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the little-known medicinal plants that were used by the Navajo nation. Even though they lived in what we would consider desert or areas filled with nothing but “scrub brush,” the Navajo found some of the best and most powerful medicinal plants in their region.

Remedies for Headaches, Coughs, Fevers, Mouth Problems

1. Lichens – Pulled from rocks or trees, these were chewed to stop mouth pain, canker sores, and sore or swollen gums.

2. Purple loco weed (oxytropis) – The leaves are crushed and boiled, then the steam inhaled to open up airway passages and ease breathing.

24 Little-Known 'Miracle Plants' The Navajo Used For Medicine

Thistle. Image source: Wikimedia

3. Desert thistle – Used to stop the chills and/or fevers. Commonly given in tea form.

4. White horehound – This was used as a tea for coughs and sore throats.

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5. Snake weed – Despite the name, this was not used for snake bites, but for headaches. Unlike other plants, this one was used externally by placing wet leaves on the forehead. Some people refer to this as broom weed or broom snakeweed.

Remedies for Diarrhea, Stomach, or Digestive Problems

6. Indian paintbrush (castilleja) – Used for most common stomach problems, including stomach aches, cramps and indigestion. Many tribes referred to this as the prairie fire plant. The flowers are very sweet and tasty, although other parts are not edible.

7. Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum) – While this relative to cannabis cannot be consumed, the roots were boiled to make a tea to treat intestinal worms and stop dysentery.

8. Antelope sage – The root of this plant was brewed into tea to stop general stomach pain and cramps.

9. Sand verbena – Sometimes called desert verbena, the leaves and flowers were consumed in tea form to stop stomach cramps, as well as to make a general, soothing tonic.

Remedies for Women

10. Greasewood – A tea made from the leaves of this plant was thought to make childbirth quicker and easier for the mother.

24 Little-Known 'Miracle Plants' The Navajo Used For Medicine

Silkweed. Image source: Wikimedia

11. Silkweed – Consumed as a tea, this plant is a general tonic used after giving birth.

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12. Bushy bird’s beak – Flowers and leaves were often brewed as tea to stop or shorten the menstrual cycle.

Remedies for Skin Issues and Wounds

13. Artemisia – This plant is used for burns, boils and other types of skin wounds.

14. Spurge – While spurge can be eaten, it was also used as medicine. Spurge was ground into a paste and rubbed on the skin to stop acne or other types of skin problems.

15. Green briar – The leaves of this bush were beaten into a paste, and then applied to sores, burns or open wounds. Fresh leaves were then wrapped over the poultice and used as a type of bandage.

16. Orange agoseris – Leaves and flowers were pounded into a paste and applied to most wounds to stop infection and speed healing. Most common uses were for serious injuries, such as knife or arrow damage.

17. Blue corn – Corn played a vital part in the life of most Navajo. Besides being consumed as food and used in ceremonies, blue corn was used to cleanse and purify the skin. Ground blue corn, which is more coarse than yellow or white corn, was a natural exfoliator, which encourages the growth of new skin by removing dead skin cells.

General Tonics, Antiseptics and Other Remedies

18. Sage or sagebrush – While this plant tends to give many people hay fever, for the Navajo, the leaves and flowers were made into a tea, which served many purposes. This tea was used as a treatment for diarrhea, as an eye wash, as an antiseptic for disinfecting wounds, and as a hair wash. People once said, “Those who drink sage tea never grow old.” This is because rinsing hair with a strong sage tea acts as a dye, keeping the hair black.

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24 Little-Known 'Miracle Plants' The Navajo Used For Medicine

Hawkweed. Image source: Wikimedia

19. Hawkweed – This plant is a close relative of dandelions, so it is no wonder that the Navajo used it as a natural diuretic. All parts of this plant are edible and can be eaten; however, it is most commonly consumed in a tea form.

20. Red juniper – The inner bark of this type of juniper was rubbed onto the hair and scalp, stopping most kinds of dandruff and itchiness.

21. Yucca – Also known as soap weed, the leaves of the yucca plant were pounded into a thick paste, and then rubbed on the hair and scalp. This acts as a natural type of shampoo, removing grease and dirt from the hair.

22. Horseweed – This was a general, all-around good tonic that was used for many ailments, including stopping diarrhea, and as a diuretic and astringent.

23. Yellowtop – The gray green leaves of this plant were the most common remedy given for spider and other insect bites.

24. Green gentian – Commonly given to calm the nerves or for emotional distress.

Many plants were used in combination with one another. It was thought that by mixing plants, it would cure multiples problems at one time, or that if one ingredient was ineffective, another would certainly work.

Most times, there were one or two “specialists” who knew which plants should be used for what, and which combinations could be used. This was generally the Shaman, who oversaw most health problems, and a female elder, who was generally called upon to take care of “female” problems and assist in childbirth.

The Navajo and other native people spent hundreds if not thousands of years researching plants. Please use extreme caution and be certain that you know not only the exact species you are choosing, but how it might affect you.

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

What is your favorite off-grid medicinal plant? Share your medicinal tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

Natural, Off-Grid Cures For Spider Bites

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Natural, Off-Grid Cures For Spider Bites

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Feeling sore and chilled, I awoke to find numerous large welts on my right arm, which was slightly swollen and hot to the touch. For the next 24 hours a fever raged, peaking late afternoon at 103.2 degrees. It was obvious I was experiencing a severe reaction to multiple spider bites on my arm.

My throat began swelling and my sinuses were inflamed. To get my reaction under control, I turned to basic natural health care. Alternating topically applied essential oils with mineral salt soaks, the swelling and redness were gradually reduced. Warm herbal teas soothed my irritated throat, while an oil diffuser calmed my inflamed sinuses.

There are many different ways to treat spider bites naturally, especially if you are in a survival situation where no other health care is available*. First, if possible, identify the spider, although this may be impossible if the bite occurs while you are sleeping. All spiders are venomous, meaning that they inject venom when biting another subject, but how individuals react to the spider’s venom varies greatly. In North America, the most severe reactions are caused by the venom of a black widow spider or that of a brown recluse spider, but any type of spider venom can cause painful symptoms.

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If ice is available, apply it to the location of the bite while waiting to begin alternative treatments. Ice will decrease the amount of swelling at the site. Wrap the ice or ice pack in a thin cloth to avoid further irritating the skin surrounding the bite.

Applying a poultice or paste that draws out the venom is the next step in naturally treating a spider bite. There are many herbal poultices that are useful in natural healing. Below are a few of the best for healing venomous wounds.

Activated charcoal, or active carbon, has numerous pores that trap chemicals inside of them. When a paste of active carbon and water is applied to a spider bite, it will trap the venom and allow it to be washed away while contained in the carbon. Creating a thick paste that is applied to the affected area for up to four hours is the most effective way to use activated charcoal.

Natural, Off-Grid Cures For Spider Bites

Image source: Pixabay.com

Bentonite clay can be used in a similar manner as the active carbon. Bentonite clay, made of volcanic ash, absorbs toxins, heavy metals and other impurities when used in conjunction with a liquid. Create a poultice with plain water and bentonite clay. Apply to the location of the bite and gently bind it with a damp piece of gauze. Change the dressing every two hours.

A plantain poultice is also helpful in treating spider bites. Since plantain grows readily in most areas, it is the most likely ingredient to have available in an emergency. Whether ground in a mortar and pestle, or shredded and crushed by hand, the liquid found in the plantain leaf will draw out toxins, such as spider venom, by constricting the cells affected by the toxin. Apply the poultice to the affected area and loosely wrap the area with gauze or cover with a large bandage. Replace the plantain regularly for the greatest effect.

Used as a standalone poultice, as part of an herbal poultice, or as a medicinal wash, slippery elm is valuable in treating spider bites naturally. The inner bark can be used to create a poultice to reduce swelling and help manage pain. In times past, Native Americans would soak thin strips of the inner bark until the bark was pliable, and then they wrapped a strip of bark around wounded areas until the bark dried out again. In addition to poultices, slippery elm bark can be decocted into an antiseptic wash, useful for bathing infected bites.

The Secret To Making Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

A natural antibacterial agent, honey, added to any poultice or as a pack itself, will encourage the healing process to begin. Additionally, peppermint oil, when properly diluted with a carrier oil, also speeds up the healing process by increasing circulation in the area to which it is applied.

Between applications of poultices, it is helpful to soak the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes in a mineral salt bath. The mineral salts will continue to draw out the venom and soothe the affected area.

You can lessen the effects of the spider’s venom on your overall health, as well. Echinacea, taken in capsule form or as a tea, will bolster your immune system and has long been used to treat venomous snake bites; it also works well on spider bites. Keep taking Echinacea until the wound is completely healed.

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

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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Turmeric: The Colorful Superfood That Fights Arthritis, Cholesterol And Cancer, Too

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Turmeric: The Colorful Superfood That Fights Arthritis, Cholesterol And Cancer, Too

Image source Pixabay.com

 

Did you know that foods with deep colors usually have the most nutritional benefits? Dark berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and cherries, have powerful antioxidants, for example. Another example of a powerful, colorful superfood is turmeric.

Turmeric is a rhizome, similar to ginger, that grows wild in Southeast Asia, and it is what provides curry dishes with their deep golden color. Turmeric contains curcumin, an amazing compound that can protect and repair cells and can promote healing in the human body.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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

The flavorful spice, which is a mainstay in many Asian dishes, also is a good source of protein, dietary fiber, niacin, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and Vitamins C, E and K.

As you might expect, turmeric has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health problems. Here are eight ways turmeric can heal:

1. Arthritis – A study published in 2012 in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis reported an increase in flexibility and a decrease in pain after taking curcumin. Furthermore, these patients did not suffer the same side-effects as did patients taking other arthritis drugs.

2. Cancer – According to the American Cancer Society, laboratory studies have demonstrated that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.

A study conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2011 found that the curcumin “effectively differentiates between cancer cells and normal cells while activating cancer cell death (apoptosis).”

More studies are needed, but turmeric is being used to treat breast cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer.

3. Diabetes – A diet including turmeric may help in diabetes management.

In 2009, the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published an Auburn University study that showed that curcumin in turmeric is 400 times more powerful than Metformin (a common drug used to treat diabetes) in improving insulin sensitivity.

turmeric-943629_640 (1)4. Digestive ailments – Many patients with gastrointestinal problems, such as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), experience inflammation of the intestinal lining as a side-effect of their medication.

Studies show that patients who take curcumin, however, do not complain of these side-effects.  Additionally, curcumin works to heal the gut and support the growth of beneficial bacteria.

5. Cholesterol — A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that curcumin lowered the high LDL cholesterol in mice. The compound also lowered C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, and triglycerides in the laboratory animals.

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6. Burns – Curcumin has pain-relieving properties and has been shown to be effective in treating and managing the pain of severe burns.

A study by the Army Institute of Surgical Research recommended that curcumin should be used to treat burn patients because of its anti-inflammatory benefits and because it has fewer side-effects than conventional burn treatments.

7. Congestion – Consuming turmeric helps unclog sinus passages and promote better breathing when you have a cold.

Try stirring a half teaspoon into a glass of water and sipping it twice a day when you catch a cold. As an antibacterial and an anti-viral compound, the turmeric solution also will help ease a sore throat.

8. Aches and pain – If you experience shoulder or back pain or the pain from sciatica, turmeric may provide natural relief. Eating foods rich in turmeric may help somewhat, but you may want to check with your doctor about taking a turmeric supplement.

Although side-effects are minimal if you consume turmeric in normal household recipes, it can produce side-effects when consumed in large quantities. These side-effects may include indigestion, nausea and diarrhea. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, large doses of turmeric may cause a worsening of symptoms for people with gallbladder trouble.

If you take regular medication, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of turmeric to your diet. Curcumin may interfere with anti-coagulants such as warfarin and clopidogrel. It also may interfere with certain non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.

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

What advice would you add about Turmeric? How have you used it? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Mullein. Image source: Pixabay.com

Weeds are an absolute menace to most gardeners. They seem to grow 10 times as fast as the veggies you have planted, covering the entire garden and spoiling all of your plans.

But in hindsight, weeds have gotten a bad rap. In fact, the majority of the weeds you are killing are actually just as edible as the vegetables you are growing. If the weeds aren’t edible, they are likely medicinal. Think back a few centuries ago. Our ancestors lived off the land, and a lot of what they ate grew wild. They treated their illnesses, diseases, aches and pains with plants they found in the forest and on the prairie. Weeds are not all bad.

The following list includes seven weeds you should stop killing:

1. Dandelions. There isn’t a piece of land that the little yellow flowers doesn’t grow. Instead of hitting them with weed killer, pick them and eat them. The flowers and leaves are edible and are quite tasty raw or sautéed and tossed in a salad. Dandelion is rich in vitamin C, and the roots are packed with fiber, just in case you need to get things moving. It is a diuretic and can help cleanse the liver.

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2. Mullein. This is a monstrous plant that tends to grow along highways or in areas with lots of sun and a rocky soil. It is a nuisance, but it is also going to be a great way to treat a cold and bronchitis. Drying and chopping the leaves and using them to make a tea can relieve chest congestion. The little yellow flowers can be plucked and infused in oil to make a soothing ear drop for an ear infection. The leaves are incredibly soft and can be used as a toilet paper substitute.

3. Plantain. This common plant loves rocky, dry soil and pops up everywhere. It is your saving grace should you get a bee sting, cut or a burn. The leaves can be macerated a bit (some people will pop the leaves in their mouth and give a couple of good chews) and applied directly to the injury.

7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Purslane. Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Purslane. This one is an absolute monster and can spread out and choke out small shoots in the garden, but it is just as edible as the other plants you are trying to grow. The leaves are high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acid and are actually a very common ingredient in stir-fry recipes all around the world. It is also very high in calcium. In a post-apocalypse situation, purslane in the diet can make up for the lack of dairy and other calcium-rich foods.

5. Red clover. It covers the lawn in the height of summer and is often attacked with horrible chemicals. It is actually more of a purple, and not red, so don’t be fooled. Stop killing the red clover and start plucking it! Grind up the clover and put it on itchy skin rashes and eczema. Boil the flowers in water to use as a cough remedy. If you can get your hands on some red clover seeds, toss the seeds into your garden plot in the fall and use it as a cover crop.

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Oxeye daisies. Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Oxeye daisies. These are common wildflowers that cover acres of prairies and along the highways. The pretty flowers are similar to the daisies planted in flower beds, but offer a little extra something with their medicinal properties. The flowers can be used to make a tea to cure asthma and chronic coughs. Grinding up the tiny leaves and applying to bruises, sprains and swollen joints is an old-fashioned folk remedy.

7. Yarrow. This is found growing along highways and in fields. A variety of yarrow is often purposely planted in flower beds, but it isn’t the same. You want the wild stuff. It is an excellent way to stop bleeding, which is going to be very important after a disaster. The root can be put directly on a toothache to help stop pain while drawing out any infection.

Next time, when you head out to your garden or look at your lawn covered with dandelions and red clover, smile — you just hit the jackpot.

What advice would you add on using these weeds? Share it in the section below: 

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12 Natural Ways To Rid Your Home Of Spiders (No. 6 Will Do It FAST)

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12 Natural Ways To Rid Your Home Of Spiders (No. 6 Will Do It FAST)

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You probably have heard the statement that you are “always within a few feet of a spider.” Several Internet sources cite a 1995 article by arachnologist Norman Platnick as the origin of that statement, which is a myth.

Spiders simply do not thrive everywhere humans go, so there are plenty of times you are far away from the nearest spider. Additionally, people often mistake other bugs – including dust mites, fleas and lice – for spiders.

However, it is true that most of us frequently find spiders inside our homes. Spiders like to hang out in corners and other dark spots, behind or below furniture, in cabinets, in basements, in garages and in the cracks and crevices of our homes.

Although most spiders are not dangerous, most of us would prefer they not take up residence where we do, especially if babies or small children are in the house. Here is our list of time-tested natural ways to keep your home spider-free.

1. Clean up the clutter inside. One of the main reasons we find spiders in basements, garages and attics is because we tend to have boxes and other stuff there where they can easily hide.

Reduce the clutter and sweep up dust and debris to make these areas less attractive for spiders. Also, remove cobwebs when you see them.

2. Cut back vegetation outside. Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed away from the exterior of your home, especially near doors and windows, as they provide good places for spiders to hide.

In addition, keep woodpiles, leaf pikes and other debris away from your home. Spiders will often live in these areas and then make their way into your home if it is close by.

3. Seal cracks and holes. An effective way to keep spiders out of your home is to lock them out by sealing cracks and holes in doors, windows and siding. (This, of course, is essential for keeping other insects out, too.) Install weather stripping and secure screens.

4. Adopt a cat. Cats enjoy chasing, catching and even eating spiders. Maybe this is your opportunity to adopt a furry friend.

5. Essential oils. You can make a natural “spider spray” with water and a few drops of essential oil. Spiders detest the smell of peppermint, making it an excellent choice. Simply fill a spray bottle with water, add about eight drops of oil, shake to mix and then spray wherever spiders frequent.

Another idea is to add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball and place it in areas where you have seen spiders.

12 Natural Ways To Rid Your Home Of Spiders (No. 6 Will Do It FAST)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Not into the smell of peppermint? Other essential oils to try are lavender, citronella and eucalyptus.

6. Diatomaceous earth (DE). This is a natural powder-like substance that that comes from the fossilized remains of phytoplankton. Sprinkle it around the perimeter of your home to keep spiders out. It works on other insects, too.

Diatomaceous Earth: The Best Natural Way To Get Rid Of Spiders!

7. Vinegar. You may have read about amazing uses for white vinegar in your home. Here’s another one. Fill a spray bottle with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar and spray it in cracks, crevices and corners of your homes. It will do a great job of repelling spiders.

8. Citrus. Save your lemon, orange, grapefruit and lime peels and then place them along baseboards, in corners or along windowsills to repel spiders. You will need to replace the peels every few days for best results. You also can use essential oils in citrus scents to get rid of spiders.

9. Baking soda. Like white vinegar, baking soda is a powerhouse around the home. You can sprinkle it in corners, doorways and windowsills to keep spiders – and other bugs — at bay.

10. Chestnuts. Here is one you may never have heard before. The odor of chestnuts really bothers spiders, so you can deter spiders by placing chestnuts in trouble areas. Poke a few holes in the nut to release the scent more fully.

11. Turmeric. This fragrant spice, which is in curries and other Indian dishes, is repugnant to spiders. Mix two or three tablespoons of pure turmeric powder with water and stir to make a paste. Then apply the paste with a spoon to areas where spiders congregate. (Please note that turmeric can leave a yellow stain, so take care where you place it.)

12. Salt. Common table salt can get rid of spiders. Simply make a saltwater solution and spray it into cracks and crevices to keep the creatures from entering your home.

Most common spiders are not harmful to you, your family or your pets. However, if you are unsure if a certain spider is poisonous or not, check out the Centers for Disease Control website.

What advice would you add? How do you keep spiders and other bugs out of your home? Share it in the section below:

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Cupping: The Ancient Off-Grid Therapy Used By Michael Phelps

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Cupping: The Ancient Off-Grid Therapy Used By Michael Phelps

Image source: NBC screen shot.

Three of my kids swim competitively, and I can trace their interest in the sport back to when they were little kids watching Michael Phelps win gold in the 2008 Olympics. It is no surprise, then, that when we were watching Phelps win his first Rio gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, we wondered about the strange circles on his back and shoulders.

We soon learned about the ancient healing technique of cupping. Cupping, which dates back more than 2,000 years, is a form of massage therapy that has been used mostly in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, particularly China. The Greek doctor Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Modern Medicine,” recommended cupping in his guide to clinical treatment.

Today, the ancient practice has gained new popularity thanks to our Olympic team in Rio, especially Team USA swimmers and gymnasts.

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The therapy involves the placement of warmed round suction cups on sore parts of the body for five to 10 minutes. The glass or plastic cups create a partial vacuum, which works to stimulate muscles and increase blood flow. The cups also may work to reduce pain, as they pull up aching muscles.

The distinctive circular red marks, which fade way in a few days to a week, show that blood flow has increased in the affected area, practitioners say. Many therapists also recommend cupping as a way of releasing toxins from the body and of stimulating the flow of fresh lymph to a painful area. Additionally, cupping has been used to help relieve cold and flu symptoms.

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There are many different cupping techniques, including dry cupping and wet cupping, but most therapists today use sterilized cups that are steamed under pressure and then heated to temperatures of more than 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Athletes aren’t the only ones using cupping. Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston have tried it, as have singers Chris Martin and Jessica Simpson.

“There is no scientific rationale for expecting any health benefit from cupping,” the American Cancer Society reported in a statement on Aug. 8.

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However, after learning that Phelps, who has won more gold medals than any other athlete, uses the therapy, many Americans don’t seem to care about scientific evidence.

The International Cupping Therapy Association reported a 20 percent increase in purchases of cupping therapy equipment and a 50 percent increase of health practitioners wanting information on how to be certified in cupping certificates in just three days after Phelps’ debut race in Rio.

Many Internet sites sell cupping sets, including Amazon, which offers a few sets beginning at $21, and eBay, which has some sets selling for as low as only a few dollars.

Please note that people who bleed easily or who have skin ulcers or edema should avoid cupping. Pregnant women should talk with their health practitioner before trying cupping.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

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4 All-Natural Bandages Every Survivalist Should Know About

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4 All-Natural Bandages Every Survivalist Should Know About

Image source: Flickr

 

Bandages are a necessity in life, and when none are available, bacteria can get in, causing an infection.

But what if you are in an area where you don’t have a bandage? Thankfully, there are four simple, natural bandages that you can find and use when nothing else is available.

1. Spider web.

4 All-Natural Bandages Every Survivalist Should Know About

Image source: Pixabay.com

You may be thinking, “yuck!” Yes, it may seem gross, but spider webs are a great natural bandage to utilize. They also can be found pretty much everywhere — from a corner of your home to a tree branch. Simply find a clean one (without a spider, of course) and ball it up. There are several traits of the spider web that make it such a great bandage. For one, when you put the spider web on the wound, it will dry and harden. When you are ready to remove it, all you have to do is run it under hot water. Another great trait is that a spider web has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

2. Chicken egg.

Specifically, chicken egg membranes. This type of bandage is best suited for cuts that have a flap of skin that has been pulled up. Simply crack an egg and peel the membrane of the shell. Then put the membrane on top of the skin (with the wound closed, of course).

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The membrane will stick together, so there is no need to put anything on it to hold it on the wound. When ready to remove, all you have to do is put warm water on it and peel off.

3. Marsh woundwort.

This plant is a member of the mint family and is perfect for wounds. It naturally contains astringent which cleans cuts. It also has the ability to clot blood when applied so that the wound stops bleeding. Just pick a leaf and apply it on the wound.

4. Lamb’s ear.

Also a member of the mint family, lamb’s ear is very soft and pliable. The flexibility of the leaves allow it to be wrapped around a body part, like a finger. It also has the same healing properties as marsh woundwort. It helps clot the wound and also cleanses it.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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Another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live!

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Another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live! Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” On the first Sunday of every month, I do an “Ask Cat” episode. Call in this Sunday evening with all of your natural health, herbal, and prepping questions. What kinds of questions can I ask? Ask anything related to herbal remedies, herbal … Continue reading Another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live!

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Carrier Oils: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

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Carrier Oils: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

Image source: Pixabay.com

As you likely already know, most essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil before they can be applied to the skin.

However, carrier oils do far more than purely act as diluting agents. They are natural oils that even on their own, give brilliant nourishment to the skin. Made up of chains of different fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals, carrier oils ─ whether used alone or in mixology recipes with essential oils ─ are absorbed by the upper layers of the skin, leaving a nourishing and soft, silky finish.

Why Natural Vegetable Oils Are Good for Your Skin

In theory, you could simply use baby oil on your skin. Baby oil, however, is a mineral oil which is a synthetic petroleum by-product that only acts as a slippery barrier over the skin. Natural vegetable oils, on the other hand, are readily absorbed by the skin because they have tinier molecules, making them closer to sebum, the skin’s natural produced oil. Vegetable oils are food for the skin and they care for the skin at a deep level, helping with healing and with cell regeneration.

(Note: The carrier oil/essential oil mixture ratio will vary for each use or type of essential oil.)

Let’s take a detailed look at seven carrier oils:

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is one of the most commonly used carrier oils. It is pressed from the edible nuts of the sweet almond tree and is rich in both minerals and oleic acid, a skin nourisher and hydrator.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Has a slippery feel, so it does need to be thoroughly massaged into the skin.
  • Creates a smooth and silky feeling once absorbed by the skin.
  • Softens undernourished or dry skin, encouraging cell renewal.
  • Rejuvenates the skin and reduces fine lines.
  • Lubricates the skin well, allowing for smooth massage movements.
  • Perfect for baby’s skin as it is gentle and soothing.
  • Good for cracked skin, rough heel or elbow skin and dry hands.
  • Mixes well with any essential oil.
  • *Do not use sweet almond oil if you have a nut allergy!

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel carrier oil comes from the kernels of the apricot fruit. The fruit is a valuable source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, an essential immune booster and skin nourisher. It is produced by crushing the kernels, and the yield is very rich in oleic acid, a nourishing, fatty acid compound also found in olive oil.

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Here’s what you should know:

  • Contains oleic acid, which makes this oil good for smoothing the skin and improving its texture.
  • Rehydrates dry skin, especially when it is inflamed by the sun or wind.
  • Can be used as a massage oil.
  • Soothes minor skin irritations and is good for conditions such as eczema.
  • Helps repair areas of extra-dry skin.
  • Replenishes and rejuvenates mature skin.
  • You can add your favorite essential oils to obtain your desired treatment or effect.

Sunflower Oil

The seeds from this great flower ─ which is the largest member of the daisy family ─ contain about 40 percent oil. When purchasing this oil, avoid processed, supermarket grade oil and instead choose unrefined organic oil, as it contains skin enhancing ingredients such as potassium, vitamins E and B, and omega-6 fatty acids.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Is light textured but incredibly nourishing to the skin.
  • Does not leave a residue behind, so it is perfect for the face.
  • Protects and restores combination skins.
  • Is a superb all-around massage oil.
  • Vitamin E content helps heal blemishes and improve scar tissue.
  • Ideal for restoring the appearance of tired-looking skin.
  • Great for the repair of damaged hair with split ends.
  • You can add your favorite essential oils to receive your desired treatment or effect

Grapeseed Oil

Carrier Oils: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Grapeseed oil is pressed from the pips of grapes, as a by-product of wine-making. The oil is a pale green and extremely high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Here’s what you should know:

  • High content of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes it light textured and easily
  • Comes into its own when massaged into complexions that are well-lubricated, such as olive or darker skins, which have higher levels of their own natural oils.
  • Leaves no residue behind and creates a smooth finish.
  • Softens normal, oily and combination skin types.
  • Is a smooth-flowing oil, so it is perfect for massages.
  • Makes a fantastic, light body moisturizer for combination skin types.
  • Excellent for smoothing away hard skin on the feet.
  • You can add your favorite essential oils to create your desired treatment or effect.

Jojoba Oil

Wonderful, golden yellow jojoba oil comes from the beans of a tough shrub native to Arizona and Mexico. Native Americans have been using this oil for centuries to protect their skin from dehydration. It is actually a liquid wax that solidifies at cool temperatures and is similar in composition to sebum, the skin’s natural oil.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Strengthens sensitive
  • Good for a delicate facial treatment.
  • Balances oily skin and clears acne.
  • Helps reduce the appearance of long-term
  • Applied regularly, jojoba oil softens and moisturizes dehydrated, dry or sensitive skin.
  • Contributes to soothing and healing of skin damaged by psoriasis or
  • Is a great facial cleanser as its waxiness dissolves away dirt and excess oils ─ helps reduce clogged pores.
  • Can be used alone but also blends well with most essential oils.

Avocado Oil

The oil from the flesh of the avocado pear had been used as a beauty treatment for hundreds of years. It is rich green, as it still contains chlorophyll ─ the pigment that gives plants their hue. Avocados contain the skin-nourishing vitamins A and D, as well as linoleic acid, which strengthens the cell walls, making skin stronger.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Oil is viscous and absorbs slowly into the skin.
  • Acts as a mild, natural sunscreen.
  • Excellent for extremely dry skin on the face, but remember that it takes longer to absorb, so it is good to use as an overnight moisturizer.
  • Nourishes complexions that have been depleted by the sun, heat or wind
  • Applied nightly, this oil can slow down the degeneration of the skin which helps reduce the visible signs of aging.
  • Repairs damaged skin, especially good for the elbows, knees and heels.
  • Helps repair damaged and split
  • You can add your favorite essential oils to receive your desired treatment or effect.

Aloe Vera

Aloe is a succulent plant with no stem and has fleshy leaves containing sacs filled with a healing juice. This juice has been used for medicinal properties for more than a thousand years. You can use aloe vera, fresh from the plant or make sure always to buy aloe vera that is at least 95 percent pure.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Fresh from the plant, the gel can be applied to burns, cuts, wounds and sunburn with rapid anti-inflammatory and skin healing results.
  • Calms angry red skin.
  • Cools skin reactions resulting from sensitivity or allergy.
  • Heals skin that has been affected by eczema, psoriasis or shingles.
  • Excellent for the treatment of acne.
  • Great to use an natural, hair mouse.
  • Perfect to use as an aftershave gel.
  • Helps heal and calm rashes like hives or poison
  • You can add your favorite essential oils to obtain your desired treatment or effect.

These carrier oils, as well as others not mentioned here, are necessary as bases to make aromatherapy blends using your essential oils. They make great massage and treatment blends using the mixology of essential oils.

What advice would you add on carrier oils? Which do you use? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

9 Reasons You Should Stockpile St. John’s Wort

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9 Off-Grid Reasons You Should Stockpile St. John’s Wort

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St. John’s wort is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Some ancient cultures believed the plant — which got its name because it blooms around June 24, the supposed birthday of John the Baptist, and from “wort,” the old English word for “plant” – had mystical healing properties.

Ancient Greek physicians recommended St. John’s wort as an anti-inflammatory medicine and as an antidepressant. Today, the perennial plant is used to treat a variety of conditions, ranging from seasonal affective disorder to hyperactivity.

St. John’s wort is native to Europe, but today it is commonly found in the United States, Canada and Australia growing in meadows, woods and along roadsides. Although Australia once classified St. John’s wort as a weed, today the country grows it as a crop, producing one-fifth of the world’s supply.

The plant has multiple biologically active substances, including hypericin, rutin, hyperforin, quercetin and kaempferol. It is available in a number of formats, including as a dried herb, tea, tablet and as an essential oil. As always, check with your doctor first before taking any alternative medicine.

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Let’s look at nine amazing ways St. John’s wort can heal — nine reasons you should keep it in your first-aid stockpile.

1. Antidepressant. Through the centuries, the most common use for St. John’s wort has been as an agent to combat mild and moderate depression and anxiety. Research studies, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, indicate that St. John’s wort works as well as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that are in Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa.

Scientists have theorized that St. John’s wort works in a similar way as SSRIs because it helps boost the levels of mood-improving serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.

St. John’s wort also helps people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition that is linked to lack of sunlight. Studies show that symptoms often are reduced or relieved with a combination of St. John’s wort and phototherapy.

2. Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)

Many women have found that St. John’s wort helps reduce PMS symptoms, such as depression, fatigue and anxiety.

Researchers at the Institute of Psychological Studies found that PMS sufferers ages 18 to 45 who took St. John’s wort experienced physical and behavioral improvement over women who took a placebo.

3. Menopause symptoms

9 Off-Grid Reasons You Should Stockpile St. John’s Wort

Image source: Pixabay.com

St. John’s wort also eases the symptoms of menopause. A Berlin study published in the journal Advance in Therapy of women found that St. John’s wort reduced the number and severity of hot flashes in perimenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women ages 43 to 65.

Another study published in the journal Menopause found that St. John’s wort eased psychological and psychosomatic symptoms of menopause.

4. Wound healing

Ancient healers used St. John’s wort flowers to make an oil to apply to wounds as a way of promoting natural healing of wounds, burns, boils, bruises and insect bites. The oil, which has antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, also works as a natural treatment for eczema and hemorrhoids.

5. Migraines

St. John’s wort may be useful in treating recurring headaches. The journal Phytomedicine reported that St. John’s wort might block pain receptors that cause migraine headaches.

6. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

St. John’s wort may help people who suffer with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mental condition where people perform certain routines repeatedly.

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Data from a study by the Dean Foundation for Health Research and Education rated patients who had St. John’s wort as “much” or “very much improved” when compared with participants who took a placebo.

7. Cancer

St. John’s wort may be useful in treating non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer cells. Data from a Spanish study conducted in 2003 showed that hyperforin, a compound found in St. John’s wort, interferes the formation and growth of cancerous skin cells.

8. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

A Swiss study published in the journal Brain Pathology demonstrated that St. John’s wort may protect against beta-amyloid plaques that have been linked with Alzheimer’s disease and with dementia.

9. Insomnia

Since it can affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, St. John’s wort can help promote better sleep. St. John’s wort contains compounds that relax the blood vessels and thereby improve blood flow to the brain. The plant will not necessarily help you sleep for longer periods, but it can help you sleep more deeply.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

The Essential Oil That Treats Chicken Pox, Colds, And Foot Problems, Too

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The Essential Oil That Treats Chicken Pox, Colds, And Foot Problems, Too

Eucalyptus leaves. Image source: Wikipedia

 

Eucalyptus essential oil is a must-have for the homesteader because of its numerous health benefits and disinfecting properties.

Because of this, I stock up on it and always keep it within reach.

Eucalyptus uses date back to the Native Americans, who crushed eucalyptus leaves and used the herb not only to treat health ailments but also burned the tree’s wood to flavor food and to purify the air.

Today, eucalyptus essential oil, which is extracted from the blue gum tree, has a distinct, stimulating smell that clears the head and is mostly used in cough and cold remedies. It is also a potent antiseptic that kills airborne germs and has a cooling effect when rubbed onto the body, which can help soothe aches and pains.

When used in aromatherapy, eucalyptus essential oil has valuable decongestant properties, which combat symptoms of influenza, coughs, colds, fever and sinus problems. The aroma also can help clear and stimulate the mind.

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

Here are five unique, everyday uses for eucalyptus essential oil, along with some recipes to try.

1. Deodorizing and disinfecting.

To disinfect the air in a sickroom.

The Essential Oil That Treats Chicken Pox, Colds, And Foot Problems, TooDiffuse eucalyptus essential oil into the air by adding to an air diffuser, a vaporizer or a humidifier, or burn it in an oil burner.

To deodorize and neutralize odors.

Drop five drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a cotton swab and place it in a closet, drawer, laundry basket, trash can, shoe rack or anywhere odor persists.

For persistent underarm odor.

Drop several drops of eucalyptus essential oil on the inside, underarm seams of shirts and jackets.

For smelly shoes.

Rub four drops of eucalyptus essential oil into the insoles of your shoes.

2. Chicken pox and the measles.

Chicken pox is the dreaded disease of childhood, with itchy spots that must not be scratched. Eucalyptus essential oil can help tremendously by reducing the itchiness and stopping the infection of the pox themselves.

The irritating, itchy rash and bad temper that go with measles can transform even the most angelic child into a miserable little monster. Moreover, when adults get the measles, the symptoms are magnified a hundred times. To soothe the skin and to stop the spread of both diseases, gently massage the eucalyptus essential oil mixture onto the infected areas.

  • 2 fl oz. coconut carrier oil
  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops chamomile essential oil

3. Expectorant.

Eucalyptus essential oil contains about 70 percent eucalyptol, making it an effective remedy for chesty coughs which come along with the flu, colds and bronchitis. It also can relieve the symptoms of runny noses and coughing due to hay fever and sinusitis.

To sooth dry and chesty coughs.

  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 2 drops myrrh essential oil
  • Rub into the chest area

To ease breathing and help prevent airborn infection.

  • Add to a vaporizer to diffuse the molecules into the air
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil

4. Homemade shower bombs.

The Essential Oil That Treats Chicken Pox, Colds, And Foot Problems, Too

Image source: Flickr

Be creative and make homemade shower bombs. When tossed onto the bottom of your shower, they will slowly melt in the warm water and release the tiny molecules of the essential oils. The particles will rise with the steam, and the aroma will fill the air. I have created this recipe to help clear and stimulate your mind, reduce anxiety and aid in respiratory comfort.

  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • 6 drops rosemary essential oil
  • Water
  • 2 cups baking soda

Combine water with the baking soda until it forms a thick paste. Mix in the essential oils. Spoon into a mold of your choice. I use small soap molds. Molds to make homemade chocolates will also work. Let the mixture dry overnight. Remove and store the bombs in an airtight container so moisture will not seep in. Drop one in your daily shower.

5. Essential foot baths.

Feet suffer more tensions than nearly any other part of the body. Your feet have to carry all that weight throughout the day — and then maybe dance all night. The best recompense you can give them is a soothing foot soak. Eucalyptus essential oil, along with steaming water, relaxes and warms all the tiny support muscles, improves the blood circulation, releases trapped nerves, and soothes aches and pains. Because you have to relax while you soak, you can inhale the aroma and enjoy a moment of peace in a demanding day. All you will need is a square basin filled with steaming water and a towel. Try adding these mixtures containing eucalyptus essential oil.

Foot bath for aching feet.

  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 drops pine essential oil
  • 4 drops thyme essential oil
  • 4 drops chamomile essential oil

Foot bath for poor circulation.

  • 8 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8 drops ginger essential oil

Foot bath for callouses and rough skin.

  • 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops sandalwood essential oil

Foot bath for athlete’s foot, warts and corns.

  • 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can be used in many ways, and it mixes well with several other essential oils. Try different combinations along with these recipes to suit your needs and aromatherapy tastes.

Do you know of other uses for eucalyptus essential oil? Share your tips in the section below:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

7 Secret Off-Grid Ways To Save On Health Care

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Did you know that the United States, per capita, spends more than twice the average of other developed countries on health care?

Research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reveals that this higher spending likely is driven by a greater use of technology and higher health care prices, rather than more frequent hospital admissions or doctor visits.

This higher spending has had a big impact on the average American wallet. Today, many Americans are paying a larger percentage of their medical costs than ever before. Although the Affordable Care Act may have given more people access to health insurance, those insurance plans often come with high deductibles.

In order to save money on health care, American consumers should look at health care just as they look at other services they purchase. They need to shop around and follow the shopper’s maxim of “let the buyer beware.”

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

Here are several ways to save on health care costs they you may not have considered.

1. Do some research. You wouldn’t buy a car without doing some research, would you? You can apply that same comparison shopping mindset to buying a surgical operation or other planned medical procedure.

Ask questions such as whether a test or procedure is really necessary. Get prices – including all costs associated with a test or procedure – in advance and in writing. Ask for a signature and title along with the quoted price.

2. Pay cash – and ask about discounts. Many hospitals and clinics offer steep discounts for quick payment. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reported that Torrance Memorial Medical Center billed a patient’s insurer, Blue Shield of California, $408 for routine blood tests. The patient was responsible for $269.42.

Yet when the patients called the hospital to question the tests, which cost $80 each, she was told that if she had paid in cash, the tests would have cost only about $15 each. In other words, she was better off to avoid insurance and just take care of the bill herself.

Get in the habit of asking if there is a cash discount or some other discount for which you might be eligible.

3. Don’t take – and then pay for — tests you don’t need. The American medical community has gone test and imaging crazy. While some of them are necessary, many are not. Be wary of agreeing to expensive scans and x-rays for uncomplicated ailments. Ask your doctor why it is needed.

Visit ConsumerReports.org/choosing-wisely for more information.

4. Examine your bills. It is not uncommon for patients to be billed twice or even three times for the same hospital service.

Health care bills are filled with codes, and they can be confusing. It is well worth your time to find out what the codes stand for and to make sure you actually had that service or procedures indicated by the codes.

5. Become a letter writer. We all like the instant communication of email and phone calls, but an old-fashioned letter is your best bet for communicating about your health care charges.

7 Secret Off-Grid Ways To Save On Health Care

Image source: Pixabay.com

While emails often are ignored and phone calls provide no record, letters usually are answered. Be sure to make copies of your correspondence.

Another option – particularly if you need to work out a payment plan – is to visit the hospital’s billing department in person. Be polite and courteous.

This final tip will only work as a money-saver in certain situations. When faced with mounting questions and overwhelming medical bills, you can consider hiring a patient advocate to help you.

Patient advocates are expert in spotting incorrect codes as well as incorrect or duplicate charges on your bills. Some claim they can recover 20 to 50 percent of your charges. Advocates either charge a flat fee, or a percentage of what they recover.

6. Buy generic. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about generic alternatives to brand name medicines. Often they are just as effective but are far less expensive. You may even find that you can get certain generic prescriptions for less money by paying cash for them than by paying your co-pay for brand name prescription drugs.

Another way to save money on medications is to ask you doctor to write you a prescription for two or three months of medicine for a chronic ailment instead of just for one month. You can eliminate multiple co-pays this way.

You also may save money by substituting certain over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for higher-priced prescription versions. Examples are substituting OTC loratadine (Claritin) (or a generic) for prescription levocetirizine (Xyzal) or OTC omeprazole (Prilosec) for prescription esomeprazole (Nexium).

7. Stay in your network. Read your health plan carefully to find what doctors and hospitals are part of its coverage. Even if you are allowed to visit non-participating providers, you usually will pay more if you do.

On the other hand, question “out of network” charges that are not your choice. For instance, you should complain if, after surgery, you are billed extra charges for an out-of-network anesthesiologist that your network hospital chose for you. If you did not choose that doctor, you are not responsible for the penalty fee.

What advice would you add on saving on health care? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root Medicinally

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by Todd Walker

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

My neighbor hired a gentleman to pour a foundation and do the block work for an addition on their house. DRG and I stepped over to see the progress. A distinguished looking gentleman turned around as I admired his work. We shook hands and he introduced himself. “I’m Albert Floyd,” he said.

Sometime you meet a kindred spirit and a spiritual connection happens.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Albert and me after a morning of digging and cleaning dock roots

 

Albert and I began a conversation about his horse, Tiger, he taught to count, add, and subtract. Somewhere in our twenty-minute conversation I mentioned that my wife has been fighting cancer for the past five years. Albert told me he has been using yellow dock for many of his 76 years of life as a natural medicine. I knew of the plant but had never harvested any for use.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Tiger getting ready to count for me. Albert is a man of outstanding character by the way he treats all his animals.

Albert invited me to go dig yellow dock root the next morning. I love the medicinal properties of wild plants and trees. I happily agreed to get dirty digging this “weed.”

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)

Most fields, waste places, roadsides, and weedy yards are good locations to find yellow dock (aka ~ curly dock, sour dock, narrow dock, garden patience and curled dock. Roadside weeds are typically sprayed with herbicides and should be avoided. It is easy to spot and identify in the second year of growth. You’ll see the rusty-brown flower stalk loaded with seeds in mid-summer to late fall. First year plants grow in a basal rosette similar to Common Mullein. In our area, this weed is a perennial it seems. Some botanists say they are biennial. Leaves are lance-like with curled edges and can grow over one foot in length and three inches across.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Lance shaped leaves with curly edges

Medicinal Benefits

Remember, medical information on wild plants is for informational purposes only. Do your own due diligence on herbal medicine.

With that being said, my research found that yellow dock roots contain anthraquinones and tannin indicating use as mild laxative and astringent. Anthraquinones are commonly extracted from the Polygonaceae, or buckwheat family of plants. Some of the major chemical components of anthraquinone and its derivatives have demonstrated potential anticancer properties. (Source) This is the main reason we are experimenting with yellow dock.

However, yellow dock root has also been reported to be beneficial in the following ways:

  • Blood purifier
  • General detoxifier
  • Reduces oxidative stress and the effect of free radicals (Source)
  • Strengthens liver and gall bladder function
  • Mild laxative to stimulate removal of stubborn waste in the intestinal tract
  • Chronic skin conditions
  • Emphysema
  • Anticancer properties
  • Treatment for venereal disease
  • Boosts immune system
  • Enhances digestion

Harvesting Roots

Albert drove me out to a pasture he sharecropped as a young man. The property owner gave him permission to harvest all the invasive dock he could ever hope to use. Armed with a pickaxe, trenching shovel, and two empty feed bags, we waded through the rusty-brown stalks until we reached “the spot” where rings of freshly turned soil gave away Albert’s previous foraging trips.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Albert getting to the root of the plant with his pickaxe

Before digging in, use the pickaxe to chop off the flower stem above ground. This clears the way for you to swing freely around the root. I used the trenching shovel like an ax to remove the plant tops. If you have a group of foragers along, make sure folks are a safe distance away before swinging.

This isn’t rocket science. Dig around the outskirts of the root ball and begin prying the plant out of the ground. I found that I could extract the long tap roots intact using the trenching shovel verses the pickaxe.

Once the root is free, tap it on the ground or digging tool to remove the soil from the root ball. Be a good steward and rake the excavated soil back in the hole – especially if livestock use the field. Gather up the dead flower stalks and remove them from the pasture as well. If you want to start your own dock garden, collect and sow a handful of seeds from the stalk.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Curly dock seeds

Wash the root ball with a high pressure hose to remove the remaining soil. Discard any root that shows sign of rot or damage. The root has a brown woody sheath with a yellow center. The more yellow the center, the more concentrated the good stuff becomes.

Making a Root Decoction 

Albert’s instructions for making his decoction (tea) is simple. Place the roots in a pot, cover with water, and boil. You want to bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes in a covered pot. A decoction usually requires that you boil the liquid down to concentrated levels. Not so with this method. Simmering for only 30 minutes and removing from heat will prevent most of the liquid from evaporating.

I used my outside kitchen for this process. I wasn’t sure if there would be a lingering scent in DRG’s kitchen during the processing. The root has an earthy smell which was not offensive to me when boiled.

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The roots were mushy after 30 minutes. You may notice the brown outer sheath split revealing the stringy root fibers on the far left.

The consistency of the root will turn mushy and stringy like a baked sweet potato after 30 minutes of simmering. Remove from heat and allow the covered decoction to steep for several hours. I went about my day and returned after 8 hours.

Remove the large mushy roots and strain the remaining liquid through cheese cloth to collect the smaller bits. Pour into covered containers which will fit into your refrigerator to reduce the chance of spoilage.

You may want to add honey to sweeten your tea. As Albert told me, “It ain’t gonna taste good, but it’s good for you.” He was certainly right about the taste!

Making a Root Tincture

How to Harvest, Prepare, and Use Yellow Dock Root for Medicine - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Thinly slice or grate enough root to create a 1:2 ratio of root to grain alcohol. I used a scale to keep the proportions even by weight. I ended up with 3.1 ounces of root to just over 6 ounces of alcohol. Vinegar can be substituted for alcohol.

Place the root material in a mason jar and pour the liquid over. Seal the jar and store it in a cool location. My jar is on the kitchen counter to remind me to shake it daily on the 6 to 8 week period to becoming a medicinal tincture. Label the jar with the date of production, the ratio used, and the type of tincture.

Dosage from respected herbalist recommend 5-20 drops once or twice a day. Do your own due diligence.

Below are some of the more helpful articles I read in my research:

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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10 Brain-Boosting Foods That Just Might Make You Smarter (You’re Gonna Love No. 6)

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10 Brain-Boosting Foods That Just Might Make You Smarter (Our Favorite: No. 6)

Image source: Pixabay.com

We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat,” but did you know you that what you eat can make you smarter?

In addition to helping your body stay healthy and strong, certain foods can help your brain work better and even protect against mental disorders.

“Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain,” said Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has researched the effects of food on the brain. “Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.”

The food we eat can affect everything from our mood to our memory. Nutrient-dense whole foods can do more than just fuel our bodies; they can help us think more clearly.

According to Cynthia Green, PhD, an expert on memory and brain health, key nutrients — along with exercise and daily brain stimulation – help keep brain cells healthy and prevent inflammation. Green writes that a person’s memory, attention span and ability to learn all benefit from the right food choices.

Here are 10 brain-boosting foods to make a part of your diet.

1. Fish — Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, trout and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which experts believe are essential for healthy brain function.

Nearly 40 percent of the fatty acids found in brain cell membranes are the DHA variety, which are found in fish oil. Scientists have discovered that DHA helps the brain transmit signals between its cells. The body cannot manufacture fatty acids, so they must be gained through diet.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

Tufts University researchers found that people who ate oily fish three times a week and therefore had the highest levels of DHA in their blood reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by almost 40 percent.

10 Brain-Boosting Foods That Just Might Make You Smarter (Our Favorite: No. 6)2. Dark green leafy vegetables – Dark green vegetables, such as kale, collard greens and spinach, are excellent sources of vitamin E and folate. Folate may protect the brain by lowering levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. Nitrates in spinach help increase blood flow to the brain and thereby improve mental performance.

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves memory. Leafy greens also contain carotenoids, which help protect the brain from damage from free radicals, the waste products the body makes when its cells create energy.

3. Nuts and seeds — As sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamin B6 and vitamin E, nuts (especially walnuts) and seeds are good for the brain and the nervous system.

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds contain omega fatty acids, protein and B vitamins, which all can help provide you with an energy boost. These seeds also contain tryptophan, a substance the brain converts into serotonin to elevate your mood.

Eating a handful of seeds also can provide you with the daily recommended amount of zinc, which helps enhance thinking skills and memory.

4. Berries – Dark berries, such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries, are both good to eat and good for your brain. They contain anthocyanins and other flavonoids that improve memory function and cognitive function.

Research indicates that berries help protect the brain from oxidative damage and stress that can contribute to premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

5. Avocados — Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin E.

Consuming these nutritional powerhouses helps increase blood flow to the brain, lower “bad” cholesterol levels and absorb antioxidants. Avocados are delicious but high in calories, so consider adding just one quarter to one-half of an avocado to your daily diet.

10 Brain-Boosting Foods That Just Might Make You Smarter (Our Favorite: No. 6)

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate – the kind that contains at least 70 percent cocoa – can be a powerful brain booster. It contains important antioxidants as well as natural stimulants, such as caffeine, which help improve concentration.

The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help blood vessel function, which enhances cognitive function and memory skills.

7. Bone broth — When you sip a homemade stock made from animal bones, you can help nourish your brain.

Bone broth contains collagen, which helps keep cells, bones, ligaments and the brain healthy. Additionally, the glycine in bone broth helps improve sleep and memory.

8. Whole grains – The complex carbohydrates, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids found in whole grains help protect the heart and brain from cholesterol, blood clots and sugar spikes.

Whole grains – such as oatmeal, oat bran and brown rice — also contain B vitamins that enhance blood flow to the brain and improve mood and concentration.

9. Beets — Beets as brain food? You had better believe it. Beets are high in vitamin B9 and in nitrites, which help increase blood flow in the areas of the brain related to cognitive functioning.

They also are rich in carotenoids, which help boost brain functioning and improve mood.

10. Beans and legumes – An excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, beans and legumes also offer a steady supply of glucose for the brain without the risk of potentially harmful sugar spikes.

Beans and legumes also contain omega fatty acids and an abundance of folate, both of which boost brain function.

Finally, don’t underestimate the role hydration plays in good brain health. Be sure to drink plenty of water each day to keep your body and your brain working at optimal levels.

The brain is approximately 85 percent water, and brain function – including thought and memory processes — depends on you staying hydrated. So drink up this summer!

Sources:

www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n7/abs/nrn2421.html

http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/pdfs/GetSmartBrainHealth_Handout1.pdf

http://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/issues/11_10/current-articles/New-Dietary-Approach-Against-Alzheimers_1815-1.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201010/why-your-brain-needs-water

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

Off-Grid Medicine: 4 Things Every Homesteader Should Grow

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Off-Grid Medicine: 4 Things Every Homesteader Should Grow

Turmeric powder. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

When I think about medical issues out on the homestead or any other off-grid lifestyle, my thoughts naturally drift toward a well-stocked first-aid kit and maybe a pair of crutches. I am immensely careless where and how I am walking and am prone to deeply entertaining — yet humiliating — falls.

But enough about me.

What is often overlooked are the minor (and not so minor) discomforts of daily life. Things like sore backs, pounding headaches, cramps and rashes. And let’s be honest with ourselves for just a bit; life on the homestead is not always a walk in the park.

Burns, sprains and poison ivy in less-than-ideal places are all things we face. If we are preparing for long-term sustainability or have made the off-grid choice a permanent lifestyle, it is wise to consider how we will handle all manner of medical care.

After all, the local pharmacy may be hours of travel away.

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

It is with this in mind that I have compiled the following four remedies that can easily be sustained on the typical homestead. In no way is this a complete list, but I feel that it addresses some of the most common maladies. If you don’t already grow them, then consider including them in your upcoming garden plans.

1. Turmeric

Latin name: Curcumae longae

What it’s good for: anti-inflammatory. Taken orally, turmeric has shown great potential for alleviating joint pain and has shown efficacy in slowing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in rats. When transformed into an essential oil, it is effective against athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.

Where it grows: It is a tropical plant and thrives in warm, humid climates but will grow in any part of the world that has temperate summers. It will die in the winter if not brought inside.

What part to use: The root is dried and made into a powder. This is a component in the favorite spice of India — curry. Also, it can be used fresh if kept refrigerated or distilled into an essential oil for topical purposes.

2. Feverfew

Latin name: Tanacetum parthenium

What it’s good for: Headaches. Particularly migraines. It has also been traditionally used for reducing fever and aiding with digestive problems. So if you happen to be unfortunate enough to be experiencing a sour stomach and a migraine at the same time, this is your herb.

Where it grows: Native to Eurasia, it is now found across the globe, including North America and Europe. Given full exposure to the sun, it will grow to near weed-like status outside its native regions.

What part to use: The leaf, preferably dried and powdered. Although a common practice, chewing the leaves can lead to ulcerations in the mouth.

Note: May interact with blood thinners. This herb should not be used by women who are pregnant.

3. Aloe Vera

Off-Grid Medicine: 4 Things Every Homesteader Should Grow

Image source: Pixabay.com

Latin name: Aloe Vera

What it’s good for: All manner of skin irritations and rashes. Although not in itself a cure, the gel that can be harvested from the inner part of the plant’s “leaves” or stalks is a natural and effective soothing agent.

Where it grows: The Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, although it can be grown indoors anywhere – and outside in many climates.

What part to use: The gel, which is found inside its stalks. Apply liberally to affected areas accordingly.

4. Honey (locally sourced)

What it’s good for: Cold and flu symptoms and immune system. Honey, particularly when it is local and raw, is a Swiss Army knife of medicinal remedies and preventatives. Honey possesses a wealth of antioxidants and has demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties. When it has come from local hives, it can actually assist in relieving allergies. This is due to the honey containing small amounts of local pollen. Sort of like a tasty, sweet allergy shot. It also has been the go-to remedy for sore throats and coughs for centuries. The fact that it is delicious just adds to its appeal.

Where it is harvested: Anywhere in the world where honeybees thrive.

What part to use: The liquid honey as well as the honeycomb are wonderful additions to your pantry. Remember those antibacterial properties we talked about previously? Well, those same medicinal qualities happen to make for a very long shelf life. The honey will likely crystalize over time, but the quality of it is not compromised.  To return it to its original liquid form, simply place the jar in a warm water bath.

Final Thought

Remember that with herbal remedies, more is not always better and in some cases can even be dangerous. There are a wealth of easily cultivated and sustainable remedies that are available to the average homesteader. Take the opportunity to become educated on the various plants and their uses, and you will be on your way to a more healthy and sustainable medicine cabinet.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

What would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

Is Your Essential Oil Fake – And Your Seller Reputable? Here’s How To Find Out

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Is Your Essential Oil Fake – And Your Seller Reputable? Here’s How To Find Out

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

When I first became interested in essential oils, I had plenty of questions. I wondered, “How do I know that the essential oils are 100 percent pure, as advertised?” And: “How much should I pay for 100 percent pure essential oils?”

Now that I have more experience with buying and using essential oils, I know what to look for before purchasing essential oils and how to determine their purity after I receive them. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Look at multiple retailers and thoroughly check out each of their websites.

Don’t just buy the first essential oils that you come across. Take the time to look at different companies and producers that sell the oils. Do this by carefully looking over their websites and how they present the essential oils. Here are some tips to help with online shopping for essential oils:

Does the seller’s website provide easy access to customer service by offering a phone number? 

This is important because it shows that the seller cares about their product and you as their customer. They should be there to answer any questions about their products and to address any potential problems with orders.

Does each essential oil have its own page or section where it clearly lists ingredients and offers information about the oil?

Is Your Essential Oil Fake – And Your Seller Reputable? Here’s How To Find OutI find this both important and helpful. All health products should have the ingredients listed both on the website and on the product itself. Also, for 100 percent essential oils, make sure the ingredients include only the oil and no other ingredients. If other ingredients are listed, then the oil is not 100 percent pure, and fillers have been added. Furthermore, look for the scientific name of the oil. For example, for peppermint essential oil, the ingredient label should say: 100 percent pure mentha piperita (peppermint oil). If it says anything else, the chances are high that it is not 100 percent pure.

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When a seller openly offers information about the essential oil such as how it is cultivated, distilled, where it is manufactured, and how it should smell, it shows that they truly want to inform you about the product that they are offering.

Look for seller sites that offer blogs and DIY ideas on how to use the essential oils, too. Remember, the more detailed a seller’s site is, the more it shows their dedication to the product and to you as a customer.

Does the seller offer confirmed customer reviews and is there an option to leave a review yourself?

Reviews are everything these days and without them, I might not be inclined to buy a new product. Just by reading other customer’s reviews, you can determine if the essential oil is 100 percent pure and if the customer is happy with their purchase.

2. Know how much 100 percent pure essential oils should cost!

Beware of cheap essential oils. For the most part, 100 percent pure oils can be costly, so if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Here are some tips for beginners to help learn how much each oil should cost.

Check out multiple sellers and compare

Is Your Essential Oil Fake – And Your Seller Reputable? Here’s How To Find Out

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By comparing prices for essential oils from different sellers, and by following the above-listed tips for finding reputable sellers, you can learn about what the price range should be for each essential oil.

You will find that certain essential oils are extremely expensive and always will be in a pure form. For example, rose, jasmine and helichrysum, among others, are more expensive. The reasons for the extra cost can vary, but is most likely due to an oil’s source plant being rare, hard to grow, or that it just takes a significant amount of the plant to extract a small amount of oil.

Other essential oils will be mid-range in price, such as neroli, and some will be a little cheaper (lavender, for example) because they grow in such abundance and distracting the oil is an easier process.

Some reputable sellers will sell pre-blended versions of the more expensive oils. This is OK as long as the ingredients are listed as blended. Usually, the oil will be blended with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil. This is to help keep the oils affordable for customers.

3. After finding a reputable seller, how do you know which essential oils to start out with?

This is a common question, so I wanted to throw in that some sellers do sell starter kits. These kits will contain smaller bottles of popular oils so that you can try them out and get a feel for the ones that you like. This can help out with costs for a beginner trying to start a collection of essential oils.

How To Test Your Oils for Purity After You Purchase Them

1. There should not be any odors such as alcohol.

The oils should never have the smell of alcohol or any other chemical. Some companies will add alcohol as a cheap diluting agent and then try to pass it off as pure.

2. Pure essential oils should not be overly oily or greasy.

Though some oils are thicker than others in substance, essential oils are not exactly an oil. They are called this for lack of a better term, because they do not mix well with water. Test a drop by rubbing it between your fingertips. If it feels too greasy and does not absorb quickly, a carrier oil like olive oil might have been added to it. To further test it, here are several ideas:

3. The paper test

Drop a drop of the essential oil onto a piece of white printer paper. Let it dry. If it leaves a ring of residue behind, the oil is not pure. Pure essential oils will completely evaporate. (Since some oils have a color to them, the color might stain the paper, but there should not be a ring of residue after the oil evaporates.

4. The water test

Drop a few drops into your diffuser or a small container of water. The oil should not mix with the water, but instead float on top of the water until it fully evaporates. If it mixes with the water or makes the water a cloudy white color, the oil is not in pure form.

By starting out with these tips, you can be well on your way to becoming an experienced essential oil buyer and user!

What advice would you add on determining if an essential oil is pure? Share your tips in the section below:

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The Toxic Truth About Cinder Blocks Every Homesteader Should Know

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The Toxic Truth About Cinder Blocks Every Homesteader Should Know

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Planning to add some raised beds to your homestead this year? Raised beds are excellent for those who need more compact gardens or those who have back or knee pain, as they eliminate the necessity of bending down to weed the rows.

Natural rock can be used to create raised beds. Think of the stone fences frequently seen throughout the countryside. Most of these barriers were constructed out of rocks gathered from the adjacent fields. Although you may not be able to gather enough rocks from your homestead alone, visiting with a local building contractor may allow you the opportunity to glean rocks from new construction sites for the amount needed for your project.

Of course, raised gardens also can be constructed out of lumber. Cedar is a popular choice, since it is resistant to wood rot and deters termites. Avoid using treated lumber of any kind. Treated lumber can harbor toxic chemicals that will leach into the soil, contaminating both the soil and plants grown in the affected soil. The same can be said for railroad ties and other scrap lumber of unknown origins.

In an effort to save time and money, many homesteaders have turned to using cinder blocks, new and reclaimed, to build raised beds on their property. Although cinder blocks are relatively easy to obtain, are simple to work with and last for years with very little maintenance, there are a few safety concerns that should be addressed.

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First, you must determine if you are working with true cinder blocks or cement blocks, as there is a difference in their composition. Cement blocks are made with Portland cement and aggregates. They are heavier and costlier on average, while cinder blocks are made with Portland cement and fly ash, a byproduct of the coal industry, and they are lighter in weight and most often cheaper to purchase.

The Toxic Truth About Cinder Blocks Every Homesteader Should KnowThe addition of fly ash to the Portland cement is the cause of concern. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-burning electric plants. The ash is trapped and collected, then used as a partial substitute for Portland cement. While it is true that this process creates what is now considered a green building material, questions remain about how safe fly ash truly is. The coal itself contains many heavy metals and other substances known to be toxic. A considerable amount of these metals and substances remain in the ash and are subsequently found in the cinder blocks that are created from it.

Garden beds, framed with cinder block, may be fine for flowers and other nonedible plants, but be wary of using them to frame gardens that will be home to edible plants and medicinal herbs. There is the potential for toxic materials to leach from the cinder blocks into the soil. These materials have been known to affect cognitive ability, cause nervous disorders, contribute to increased cancer risks and have given rise to many general health complaints.

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There are some ways to safeguard yourself and your raised beds if you are concerned about the increased health risks from using cinder blocks.

1. Plant only in the actual garden space created by the cinder blocks. Do not plant edibles in the hollow chambers of the blocks. The roots of these plants are completely surrounded by the block and may absorb the higher amounts of toxic material leached into the soil from the fly ash.

2. If building a new bed, seal the blocks with a waterproof sealant on all surfaces. This may lessen the amount of leaching that occurs over time from watering and natural rainfall.

3. For a few seasons, grow cleansing plants, such as sunflowers. Some species of plants clean the soil by removing toxic materials from the soil, or at the very least neutralize them. At the end of the growing season it is best to destroy the plants. Adding the contaminated plant to the compost pile will only spread the toxic materials to a new location.

Do you garden with cinder blocks? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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7 Ways To Chase Away Mosquitoes Without Deet (No. 3 Was New To Us, Too!)

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7 Ways To Repel Mosquitoes Without Deet (No. 2 Was New To Us, Also!)

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It was the perfect morning for a hike. After a string of hot days, the weather had cooled considerably. Humidity was low, and there was not a cloud in the cool morning sky.

My kids and I were ready for the adventure of a new hiking trail. We had snacks, plenty of water and other supplies in our daypacks, and we hit the trail with enthusiasm. Before long, however, my daughter and I were swatting our necks and arms. Soon, we realized we were being badly bitten.

Mosquitoes! They can ruin a hike, a camping trip, a picnic or even a lazy afternoon in your backyard. Scientists estimate that about one out of every five people is especially susceptible to mosquito bites – which explains why my son was relatively unscathed that day. Your blood type, metabolism, diet, general scent and even the color of your clothing play a role in why mosquitoes bite certain people more than others.

Not only are mosquito bites painful and itchy, but mosquitoes can carry dangerous diseases such as the West Nile Virus and malaria. If, like me, you prefer to avoid toxic commercial insect repellents, there are some alternative measures for repelling mosquitoes.

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Here are eight all-natural ways to keep mosquitoes from ruining your summer outdoor fun.

1. Garlic. Mosquitoes dislike the smell of garlic. You can repel mosquitoes by eating garlic before you spend time outdoors, since the garlic oil is slowly released through the pores of your skin.

You also can keep mosquitoes away by rubbing garlic juice on your skin. Simply pinch a fresh clove or two in order to get the juice flowing and apply it to your exposed skin. Another option is to consume garlic capsules.

2. Herbs. You can keep mosquitoes at bay with certain herbs, including lemongrass, mint, rosemary, lavender and basil. Simply rub the leaves onto your exposed skin before going outdoors.

To keep mosquitoes away from your home and garden, try planting these herbs in your garden, especially near your doors and windows. Planning a barbecue? Throw a few springs of rosemary on your charcoal grill to repel the biting insects.

3. Vitamin B1. Studies dating back 50 years indicate that taking vitamin B1 (thiamine) can deter mosquitoes and other flying insects from biting. Scientists theorize that vitamin B1 produces a skin odor that female mosquitoes, which are more likely to bite than male mosquitoes, find offensive.

Vitamin B1 is water-soluble. Try taking one 100 mg tablet each day (with a meal) during mosquito season.

4. Natural oils. Certain natural oils work well as natural mosquito repellants. You can create your own natural repellent by mixing a few drops of oil with a carrier liquid such as olive oil or sunflower oil. A 10 to 1 ratio often is a good formula. (Please note that researchers caution against using natural oils on children younger than three years old.)

Here are some natural oils that repel mosquitoes.

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Lemon oil

5. Homemade citronella candles.

7 Ways To Repel Mosquitoes Without Deet (No. 2 Was New To Us, Also!)

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Citronella is a time-honored insect repellent. Here is a recipe for making homemade citronella candles.

What you need:

  • One-half pound raw, settled beeswax
  • Citronella and one or more of these essential oils: rosemary, geranium, lavender
  • Pan of boiling water and metal bowl (to use as double boiler)
  • Tea light wicks (available from crafts store)
  • 10 candle holders
  • Wooden chopsticks or similar small sticks for stirring
  • Thermometer
  • Knife

Directions:

Use the knife to break the beeswax into small pieces. Place the pieces in the metal bowl over the pan of hot water and stir continuously while it melts. Use the thermometer to test the water temperature. When it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, start adding several drops of the essential oils, stirring well after each addition.

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Pour the mixture into the candleholders. (If you are using glass, reduce the chance of breakage by pouring in a small amount of wax and letting it cool a little before adding more.) Once the mixture has cooled and a slight skin has formed on the top of the wax, add the wicks.

If the wicks are not already primed, pre-dip them in the wax for longer burning time. Next, place the primed wicks into the wax. The candles will be ready to use when the wax has completely hardened.

6. Apple cider vinegar. Insects, including mosquitoes, will avoid the strong smell of apple cider vinegar. You can make a natural mosquito repellent with organic apple cider vinegar and the essential oil of your choice. Add 25 drops of essential oil (such as lavender) to one-quarter cup of apple cider vinegar in a glass jar with a lid. Shake well to blend. Apply to skin.

7. Bats. Did you know that one small brown bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquitoes in one night? Attracting bats to your yard can therefore be an efficient and easy method of mosquito control.

Get tips on building a bat house here.

Finally, pay attention to the time when you are outdoors. Mosquitoes are most active early in the morning and at dusk. If you venture outside at these times, cover up with lightweight long sleeves and with long pants. Wear light colors, as dark colors tend to attract the annoying insects.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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8 Essential Oil Alternatives To Over-The-Counter Drugs

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8 Essential Oil Alternatives To Over-The-Counter Drugs

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Natural essential oils have been used throughout time for healing, as well as for treating many physical and mental ailments.

Essential oils are non-toxic, natural substances which are easily eliminated from the body. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, on the other hand, are synthetic substances which the body is not designed to metabolize and eliminate. Because our organs do not know how to break down these man-made compounds, the synthetic toxins pass through our kidneys, liver and spleen, and can end up in waste-holding areas such as fatty tissues, and even the brain. Perhaps most alarming, after attaching themselves to these tissues they can disrupt normal body functions for years afterward.

Here is a list of common health ailments that can be treated with natural essential oils instead of OTC drugs, along with a few recipes to try:

1. Colds, coughs, allergies, congestion and sinusitis

Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils ─ Both have decongestant, expectorant and antiviral properties.

Angelica, thyme, camphor, bay, myrrh and spruce essential oils ─ All of these oils help relieve sinus congestion when inhaled.

Laurel leaf essential oil ─ This natural oil is known to help strengthen the body’s resistance to viruses by building up the immune system and boosting the respiratory system.

Try a mixture of 10 drops of any of these oils and 4 tsp of a carrier oil of your choice. Rub it into the chest area so that the molecules can be inhaled.

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Add any of these oils or a mixture of them into a bowl of steaming water. Wrap a towel around your head and inhale the molecules released by the steam.

 2. Acne

Jojoba oil ─ Otherwise known as a carrier oil, jojoba is known to balance oily skin and clear acne. You can use it alone or try blending it with other essential oils. Try this recipe:

  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 2 drops ylang ylang essential oil
  • 4 tsp jojoba oil

Tea tree essential oil ─ A potent antiseptic that kills bacteria which cause acne. It is also useful for eliminating blackheads. Tea tree oil can be used alone by applying it to a cotton swab and wiping it over the face in an upwards motion. It will pull up dirt while killing bacteria that clogs pores. You can also try this mixture:

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops geranium essential oil
  • 4 tsp jojoba oil

3. Athlete’s foot

Lavender essential oil ─ Lavender has antiseptic and healing properties.

8 Essential Oil Alternatives To Over-The-Counter Drugs

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Tea tree essential oil ─ Tea tree is antifungal.

Geranium or birch essential oil ─ Both have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

Lemongrass essential oil ─ Lemongrass oil is deodorizing and drying.

Athlete’s foot recipe: Mix 2 drops of each of the above listed essential oils with 4 tsp of a carrier oil. The properties of these oils will fight the fungus that causes athlete’s foot and aid with anti-inflammatory conditions while healing, soothing, deodorizing and drying your feet.

4. Backache and other muscle pain

Helichrysum essential oil ─ Helichrysum has anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities which decrease muscle pain by lowering swelling, inflammation and improving circulation.

  • 10 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Massage the blend into the back or any other body area that is experiencing pain.

Rosemary essential oil ─ Rosemary has a high-camphor content which makes this a great warming oil for aching muscles. It also has soothing and stimulating properties that relax muscles and encourage circulation of blood flow within them.

  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 2 drops vetiver essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond oil or a carrier oil of your choice.

5. Burns and cuts

Lavender and tea tree essential oils ─ Both have soothing, healing and antiseptic properties and can be applied undiluted to burned skin or abrasions immediately.

Chamomile essential oil, geranium essential oil, marigold essential oil and rose essential oil ─ These essential oils also have soothing and healing properties which are ideal for treating burns and cuts.

Try a blend of 10 drops of any of these essential oils, and …

4 tsp pure aloe gel to help sooth and heal burns and cuts, as well as to prevent infection.

6. Rashes, eczema, psoriasis, or dry, itchy skin

Try a mixture of 10 drops of any of these oils along with 4 tsp of castor oil or coconut oil and rub it into the affected area.

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Chamomile, bergamot and violet essential oils ─ All of these oils have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties which are suitable for treating inflamed skin.

Lavender, geranium and myrrh essential oils ─ These oils have healing properties which help heal damaged skin.

Marigold essential oil ─ Treats itchy skin.

Sandalwood essential oil ─ Treats extra dry skin.

7. Headache

8 Essential Oil Alternatives To Over-The-Counter Drugs

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Lavender, Violet, Ambrette, Rose, Chamomile and Helichrysum essential oils ─ All of these oils have analgesic and relaxing properties.

Frankincense, Clary Sage and Thyme essential oils─ These oils are known to relieve tension.

Mix 10 drops of any of these oils along with sweet almond carrier oil and rub the blend into your temples and the back of your neck.

8. Indigestion, upset stomach, nausea or morning sickness

Peppermint essential oil ─ Peppermint oil is very helpful as an aid in digestion. Peppermint oil is also an excellent tonic for those who have a low appetite, and it helps to treat motion sickness, nausea and upset stomachs.

Inhale peppermint oil straight from the bottle or until the symptoms depart.

Place a few drops on a tissue and inhale. You can carry the tissue around with you.

Add 10 drops to 4 tsp sweet almond oil and massage the blend into your stomach or chest area.

Look for approved ingestible peppermint oil and add to your tea or water bottle.

If you are looking to use natural remedies, detoxify your organs and tissues, and help to restore you body’s natural functions, try using natural essential oils instead of OTC drugs.

What essential oils would you add to the list? Share your tips in the section below:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

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5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

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5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Basil. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Summer is here, and that brings one unfortunate type of creature: bugs.

Mosquitoes and fleas, and other bugs and insects, can become a real annoyance and ruin anyone’s outdoor fun. But there is an all-natural way to fight back against these pests: with herbs!

The five herbs below, and their essential oils, can help repel those annoying bugs throughout summer.

1. Basil. Basil is not only a delicious herb but is also great for repelling bugs. Flies and mosquitoes hate basil. Use it to repel bugs by planting it, making a spray with it, or rubbing the leaves directly on yourself.

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When plating the basil, put it near areas where you most want to keep those pesky insects away from you. A simple spray could be made by steeping the leaves in water for a couple of hours. Then, take just the basil-water and mix it with a small amount of apple cider vinegar and spray it on yourself.

2. Mint. Its intoxicating and overwhelming smell is what keeps mosquitoes away. Mint can be made into a spray by mixing its essential oil (a few drops of peppermint oil) with vinegar or water. The plant itself also can be utilized as a repellent by rubbing the leaves on your skin directly, or by placing the plant wherever you hang out most often.

5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

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3. Lavender. One of the best-smelling and beautiful plants is lavender, and it has one of the most beneficial attributes to be used in the summer months. Lavender is perfect at repelling moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes! This is the one herb that can do it all. Yet it is beneficial to not only you but also your garden. Hang it in your house and even by the doorways to keep the flies away. It can also be made into a spray like the other herbs.

4. Lemon thyme. When using this herb it is important to bruise the leaves before rubbing it on the skin. The only way the aroma is released is by smashing it or bruising it to release the oils. Then it can be applied to the skin. Among bugs and insects, lemon thyme is best used to repel mosquitoes.

5. Lemon balm. Lemon balm is an amazing plant that not only repels “bad” bugs but also attracts good ones. It repels annoying insects like mosquitoes, gnats or flies and attracts insects like butterflies and bees. This allows for your garden to be cared for by the beneficial bugs and protected from the pesky bugs. This herb can be crushed and applied to the skin or put on a patio or deck, or even planted in the garden, so as to protect you when you work.

In nature, there is a balance of good and bad. Nature gives us those annoying bugs, but nature also provides us plants to repel them when needed. Now that you have discovered what herbs to use, you can keep those exasperating insects away and actually enjoy your evenings outside, bug-free.

What herbs would you add to this list? Share them in the section below:  

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The Essential Oil For Stressed-Out, Overworked People Like You

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The Essential Oil For Stressed-Out, Overworked People Like You

One of the most prized essential oils, Indian sandalwood is known for having many health benefits, even if it isn’t as popular as other essential oils.

The oil is distilled from the fragrant inner wood of the sandalwood tree (Santalum album), a tree that takes about 40 years to mature and to produce oil at full potency. In recent times, they have become endangered – mainly owing to illegal logging – and there is now a world shortage of high quality Indian sandalwood oil.

As a result, producers have started looking to Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), which is native to Western Australia, for an alternative supply. By managing these trees with care, the Australians can offer a sustainable source of sandalwood essential oil.

Australian sandalwood essential oil has a milder fragrance than the Indian form. Its chemical content is a bit different, but it offers the same benefits for both the mind and body.

Australian sandalwood oil has a deep, fruity-sweet smell and is antiseptic, astringent, soothing, relaxing, sedating and regarded as an aphrodisiac. In aromatherapy, it is used for meditation, insomnia, tension, stress, depression, loss of libido and emotional problems. For the body, it is said to nourish and regenerate dry or mature skin, help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and strengthen fingernails.

Using Sandalwood Essential Oil to Benefit the Mind

Australian sandalwood essential oil is also said to fortify an inner resolve to persevere through emotional challenges.

Here are several recipes that I use to aid in meditation and help with mental stress and hormonal mood swings:

For mental stress and burnout

  • To ease mental stress and burnout, take a bath with three drops of Australian sandalwood essential oil and three drops of lavender essential oil.

To calm erratic emotions and even out mood

  • Two drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Four drops rose geranium essential oil
  • Four drops clary sage essential oil
  • Four teaspoons sweet almond carrier oil
  • Mix and apply the blend with gentle strokes anywhere on the body, letting it absorb into the skin.

To relieve the mental effects of PMS

  • Four drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Three drops fennel essential oil
  • Three drops mandarin essential oil
  • Four teaspoons sunflower essential oil
  • Mix and apply the blend with gentle strokes over the abdomen area to help manage symptoms, have more energy and feel more positive.

To soothe the pain of grief or loss

  • Four drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Four drops rose otto essential oil
  • Two drops bergamot essential oil
  • Four teaspoons apricot kernal carrier oil
  • Mix and massage the blend with gentle strokes into the temples or anywhere on the body.

For meditation

  • A powerful aid to meditation, Australian sandalwood essential oil has aromatherapy properties that will help release you from the grip of anxiety, worry and guilt, and bring you back to a feeling of inner peace.
  • Add sandalwood essential oil to a room diffuser, humidifier or candle oil burner to release the oil’s molecules into the air. Breathe in the scent.
  • Add sandalwood essential oil to a bowl of steaming water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam.

Healing and Improving the Condition of Your Skin and Nails

The Essential Oil For Stressed-Out, Overworked People Like You

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For centuries in Egypt and India, sandalwood essential oil has been added in cosmetics and salves to preserve the beauty and youth of women and men. It is particularly beneficial in the relief of irritated skin, and has excellent properties for dry skin, mature skin and wrinkles. It is also a great fix for unhealthy nail issues.

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Here are some recipes that I use with Australian sandalwood essential oil for healing the body.

To rehydrate dry skin

  • Four drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Three drops frankincense essential oil
  • Three drops geranium essential oil
  • Four teaspoons jojoba carrier oil
  • Mix and apply (allow it to be fully absorbed) to affected areas of dry skin several times a day.

To rejuvenate and tighten wrinkled skin

  • Six drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Two drops immortelle essential oil
  • Two drops neroli essential oil
  • Four teaspoons avocado carrier oil
  • Mix and gently massage the blend into the affected areas of your skin.

To nourish mature skin

  • Four drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Four drops neroli essential oil
  • Four drops patchouli essential oil
  • Four teaspoons wheat germ carrier oil
  • Mix and gently massage the blend anywhere on the body.

To soften rough or tired-looking skin

  • Four drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Three drops patchouli essential oil
  • Three drops sweet orange essential oil
  • Four teaspoons apricot carrier oil
  • Mix and gently massage the blend into the skin where it is needed.

To soften calloused skin

  • Four drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Three drops lavender essential oil
  • Three drops tea tree essential oil
  • Four teaspoons cranberry sead carrier oil
  • Mix and apply the blend to the affected areas several times a day.

Nail treatment

  • Three drops Australian sandalwood essential oil
  • Three drops bay essential oil
  • Four teaspoons argan oil
  • Rub the mixture into the nails and cuticles several times a day to speed the growth of healthier, stronger nails.

Sandalwood essential oil has been used for centuries in meditation and for emotional clarity. It is also famous for healing and improving the condition of the skin and nails. With its fruity and sweet smell, it has become an absolute favorite of modern essential oil users!

Have you ever used sandalwood essential oil? How do you use it? Share your tips in the section below:

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Lavender Oil: The Off-Grid Way To Fight Anxiety, Heal Wounds And Sleep Better, Too

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Lavender: The Off-Grid Way To Fight Anxiety, Heal Wounds And Sleep Better, Too

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Lavender essential oil is one of the more commonly used essential oils and is perhaps the most versatile of all oils.

It is a non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing essential oil, so it is safe for all skin types. It has both stimulating and relaxing properties, and is known as a powerful healer and an antiseptic. Lavender essential oil refreshes, calms, invigorates and lifts the spirits.

I use lavender essential oil to help with my insomnia, as well as to reduce periodic bouts of tension, anxiety and depression. I find it exceptional for calming itching due to eczema and minor skin irritations such as rashes or insect bites. Lavender essential oil also aids in soothing my sore muscles, backaches and headaches. It is an excellent first-aid treatment when used to help with the healing of minor wounds and the prevention of infection.

The best ways to use lavender essential oil is through massage therapy and aromatherapy. Here are some ideas and recipes to help combat the most common of health ailments.

Use it for Anxiety, Depression and Tension

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety from time to time. If not treated, anxiety can lead to feelings of depression. Treatments for anxiety and depression often involve unnatural, addictive medications which cause sleepiness and loss of interest. Why not seek a natural source of relief from anxiety with essential oils?

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Here are some recipes to try and help combat negative feelings …

Anti-Anxiety, Relaxing Combinations for a Massage Therapy Blend, Bath Water or an Air Diffuser:

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops neroli essential oil
  • 2 drops geranium essential oil

Or

  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops rose essential oil

To create a massage therapy blend, simply add 2 fl oz. of your favorite carrier oil.

Tackle Insomnia

Lavender has a natural calming effect and it also contributes to improving your mood, so it helps you fall asleep and feel better while you sleep.

Lavender: The Off-Grid Way To Fight Anxiety, Heal Wounds And Sleep Better, Too

Image source: Pixabay.com

For a simple but effective aromatherapy idea to help with insomnia, before going to bed apply several drops of lavender essential oil to a tissue. Leave it beside your pillow so you breathe it in continuously while you sleep.

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere in the Bedroom by Using These Blends in an Air Diffuser:

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops tangerine essential oil

Or

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops sweet orange essential oil

Or

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops geranium essential oil

Taking a hot bath using lavender essential oil or combined with other essential oils is another way to relax before bedtime. It also has healthy benefits for your skin, muscles and state of being when added to a steaming bath water. Light some candles around the room and play some soft music to create a relaxing atmosphere. Run your bath water, drop in about six drops of the essential oils and swirl it around. Relax and enjoy.

Restful Bath Combinations:

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops Australian sandalwood essential oil

Or,

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops linaloe essential oil

Treat Cuts and Wounds

Lavender essential oil has high-quality healing and antiseptic effects, which calm and soothe the irritated area. It aids in healing by helping with new skin cell generation. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent, so that it will help with any swelling and pain, too.

Try using this lavender essential oil blend to help disinfect and heal …

To Heal Cuts, Wounds, Ulcers or Skin Infections:

  • Two drops myrrh essential oil
  • Two drops frankincense essential oil
  • One drops German chamomile essential oil
  • One drops lavender essential oil
  • One fl oz. grape seed carrier oil

Don’t Forget Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a special way of using lavender essential oil blends. Some would say it is the most pleasurable, combining as it does the senses of touch and smell. It is also a therapeutic method, as essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil, like sunflower, and rubbed directly into the skin.

Beet Powder: The Ancient Secret To Renewed Energy And Stamina

Lavender: The Off-Grid Way To Fight Anxiety, Heal Wounds And Sleep Better, Too

Image source: Pixabay.com

Massage therapy using lavender essential oil blends has two further bonuses. First, it stimulates circulation, enabling the essential oils to disperse rapidly around the body, and second, the essential oils create a warmth with skin-on-skin friction, and this also causes the essential oils to smell stronger so that you get the therapeutic benefits of both the mind and the body.

Take a look at these therapeutic massage blends using lavender essential oil …

Recipe for a Rich Moisturizing Blend:

  • 7 drops rose essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. sweet almond carrier oil

Recipe for Eczema, Itchy and Sensitive Skin:

  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops marigold essential oil
  • 5 drops violet essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. sweet almond carrier oil

Recipe for Backache:

  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 fl oz. safflower carrier oil

Recipe for Tense Muscles:

  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops petitgrain essential oil
  • 2 drops basil essential oil
  • 2 drops sunflower carrier oil

Headache Massage Blend:

  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops rose essential oil
  • 1 drop chamomile essential oil
  • 1 fl oz. sunflower carrier oil

Conclusion

By creating a mixture which you love to smell each time you use it, you will feel more fulfilled and at peace. Lavender essential oil combines well with many other essential oils, so feel free to experiment with your own combinations to discover your favorite, relaxing scent.

How do you use lavender essential oil? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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Ask Cat the Herbal Prepper

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Ask Cat Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” It’s time for another “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live! Call in this Sunday evening with all of your natural health, herbal, and prepping questions. Originally, I was going to talk just about hypothyroidism. We’re going to save that topic for next Sunday (6/12/16). I have been … Continue reading Ask Cat the Herbal Prepper

The post Ask Cat the Herbal Prepper appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

8 Miraculous Healing Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar (No. 2 Alone Could Save Millions Of Lives)

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8 Miraculous Healing Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar (No. 2 Alone Could Save Millions Of Lives)

Image source: Flickr

 

Golden brown and slightly hazy from the fine fibers floating inside, apple cider vinegar may seem unimpressive at first glance. From thousands of years, however, this unassuming panacea has been used to combat a wide variety of health problems.

And while not every Internet claim can be substantiated, scientific research continues to reveal legitimate ways vinegar can contribute to a healthier life, including the following eight great uses:

1. Treating ear infections

Few things are as painful as an ear infection. If you’re looking for relief for adults, though, the answer may be as close as your kitchen cabinet. Daily irrigating the ear with vinegar can kill off infection-causing germs, while also helping to dry out the ear canal. Some studies even suggest the treatment may be more effective than antibiotic drops when it comes to easing ear aches, although it does come with the potential for canal irritation that some participants said caused pain and dizziness.

2. Improving cardiovascular health

While so far the research connecting heart-health and vinegar remains somewhat inconclusive, some studies suggest that regularly ingesting modest amounts of vinegar may be good for your circulatory system’s star player. For example, researchers found that rats who received vinegar had lower blood pressure than their peers who were only given water. A different study found that participants who regularly consumed an oil and vinegar salad dressing also saw a lower risk of heart disease compared to the control group.

3. Reducing cancer risk

Apple cider vinegar is rich in the same polyphenols that have given wine and chocolate their new-found status as health foods. Known to combat against oxidative stress, these amazing molecules may even decrease the risk of developing certain forms of cancer.

4. Controlling glucose levels

Perhaps the most exciting research related to vinegar has to do with glucose control. Multiple studies have shown it to have an antiglycemic effect — that is, it reduced the glucose response to carbohydrates when taken before a meal.

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

While scientists aren’t entirely sure why it works, there is some evidence to suggest vinegar may actually slow the progress of diabetes and ultimately provide important benefits to insulin-resistant individuals.

5. Relieving jellyfish stings

8 Miraculous Healing Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar (No. 2 Alone Could Save Millions Of Lives)

Image source: Wikimedia

A jellyfish sting is a fast way to ruin a pleasant day in the water. If you’ve been stung, vinegar should be an important part of your first response. Before attempting to remove any remaining tentacles, douse the site in vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar deactivates any nematocysts (the dart-like cells that inject the venom) that haven’t already fired, preventing them from discharging additional venom into the victim. While urine or warm water can also be used, vinegar has the advantage of being readily available (no waiting for water to heat up) and highly sanitary (no rinsing yourself in someone else’s urine).

6. Losing weight

Vinegar may even provide a helpful boost when it comes to weight loss. Studies show that people who ingest vinegar in the morning go on to consume fewer calories during the day. They also tend to feel more full after meals and are less prone to between-meal hunger.

7. Cleaning produce

Everybody knows it’s important to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, but the very same leafy greens that are so good for your body are also favorite hiding places for illness-causing bacteria, like Listeria and E. Coli. Thankfully, the apple cider vinegar you already have in your pantry can be an easy solution to the invisible bad guys hanging out on your veggies. Because of its renowned antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar easily does a better job than water alone when it comes to cleaning produce, and is nearly on-par with chemical-based cleaners. Even with notoriously difficult-to-clean produce like lettuce and strawberries, studies have shown that vinegar is at least 90 percent successful at removing potentially dangerous microbes.

8. Caring for dentures

Keeping dentures clean isn’t only important for cosmetic reasons. Tiny micro-pores in the seemingly smooth surfaces of dentures can easily harbor dangerous microbes, which can cause not only oral disease, but systemic diseases as well. Simply brushing generally isn’t enough to keep these mouth-based bacteria at bay — dentures require a good soak on a regular basis. Rather than relying on fizzing tablets from the drugstore, consider using vinegar instead. Both bleach and vinegar have been found to be as effective as their effervescent stand-bys, but vinegar has the added benefit of not leaving behind harmful residue the way bleach can.

While apple cider vinegar is typically kept in a kitchen pantry, it has such a wide range of health-related uses, you may be tempted to keep it in the medicine cabinet instead. Inexpensive, natural, and readily available, incorporating it into your solutions for common problems can be a simple step towards a healthier life.

(For a detailed review of published studies related to the medicinal uses of vinegar, visit  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.)

Related:

The easy way to make vinegar from scratch

How do you use apple cider vinegar? Share your tips in the section below:

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

The Easy-To-Grow Ginseng Alternative You Can Harvest Within WEEKS

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The Easy-To-Grow Ginseng Alternative You Can Harvest Within Weeks

Image source: Wikipedia

 

Used and revered in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, the root of the ginseng (Panax ginseng) plant has become increasingly popular in the West for use as an herbal medicine, as its adaptogenic and longevity-promoting properties have become more widely recognized around the world.

However, due to overharvesting in the wild, questionable sourcing practices, and the fact that it is difficult to grow, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain a good source of ginseng for personal use.

Enter gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), a vining herbaceous Chinese plant that exhibits comparable qualities to those of ginseng, but is much easier to grow yourself, and is considered to be one of the top anti-aging longevity herbs of Asia. For starters, let’s take a look at the health benefits of consuming gynostemma.

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

There are many health benefits of gynostemma:

  • Contains many important nutrients that the body needs, including selenium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorous.
  • Helps to rid the body of toxins, waste and harmful microorganisms.
  • Supports a healthy immune system.
  • Helps to bring overall balance to the body, and can aid the body in dealing with a number of different health conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure and acute and chronic inflammation (fights the free-radical damage that leads to aging of the body’s cells).
  • Helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Supports healthy digestion.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Reduces pain.
  • Supports a healthy liver and nervous system.
  • Helps to significantly increase the body’s production of superoxide dismutase, one of the most powerful antioxidants produced within the body.

Gynostemma can be taken as a tea, powder, tincture and in capsules. The tea is very tasty, making it a pleasure to consume. Both the leaves and the stems can be used medicinally.

The Easy-To-Grow Ginseng Alternative You Can Harvest Within Weeks

Image source: Flickr

Gynostemma is considered to be quite safe for most people and can be consumed on a daily basis for overall health and wellness. In fact, there is a large group of people in China that consume gynostemma tea daily and typically live to be more than 100 years old!

Growing Gynostemma

The gynostemma plant can be grown from seed or from starter plants, and is an easy-to-grow herbaceous (non-woody) perennial. The leaves and stems are tender to frost. It will grow perennially in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-10, although it can be kept in a pot indoors during the winter in colder climates. Once established, it is root-hardy to at least 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

Gynostemma needs rich, moist soil, and sunny or partial shade conditions. The plant’s tendrils allow it to grow more than 20 feet up a trellis, and it also can grow onto shrubs or trees, or as ground cover.

Spread by rhizomes, gynostemma can become invasive once established, especially in warmer areas, where it can grow year-round. Plant it in a larger container to keep it from running amok within and beyond your landscape.

The plants are dioecious, having separate male and female plants that are needed in order to produce seeds. The seeds need to be soaked for 24 hours in warm water and then sown 2-3 per pot in rich compost, thinning the seedlings once it can be determined which one is the strongest. The seedlings can be planted outside once the danger of frost has passed.

This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or to treat any particular medical condition. Always consult with a qualified health practitioner when considering the addition of any herbs or supplements into your health and wellness routine, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions. 

Have you ever grown gynostemma? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Sources:

http://www.jiaogulan.org/category/jiaogulan-health/jiaogulan-aging/

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gynostemma+pentaphyllum

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

The Native Americans DID Find A ‘Fountain Of Youth,’ And 1,661 Of Them Remain

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The American Indians DID Find A ‘Fountain Of Youth,’ And 1,661 Of Them Remain

Photographer: Timothy O’Sullivan. 1874

 

What could be better than relaxing on a cold day in a nice hot tub? Well, staying in a natural hot spring might be a bit better. Native Americans may have used hot springs after a nice long hunt, but they also realized the amazing benefits that came from soaking or sipping in the waters of hot springs across the nations. These benefits would spread from increased energy to eliminating diseases.

And guess what? They were right! Hot springs can be found across the North American continent, and Native Americans of all tribes found their benefits and cherished them. In fact, there 1,661 in the United States alone. Native Americans truly discovered their fountain of youth and used their healing powers whenever they could.

An example of this is the traditional site of Manataka, or modern day Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. While the Native Americans used this for a meeting places of tribes and council leaders and for gathering rare plants and minerals, the respect they had for the hot springs there were unbound. Some would bring gifts to bond with other tribes or perform ceremonies within the area. While all of these were extremely important to the tribes, the most important aspect was the hot springs within the area.

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

The American Indians DID Find A ‘Fountain Of Youth,’ And 1,661 Of Them RemainLee Standing Bear Moore and Takatoka explained that “Everyone sought healing and pleasure in the magical hot waters of Nówâ-sa-lon (Breath of Healing) that spewed from the sides of the mountain, creating dozens of crystal clear pools. No one was allowed to enter the sacred area, called the ‘Valley of Vapors’ carrying a weapon into the sacred area decreed by the Great Mystery as the ‘Place of Peace.’ No fighting or discord was allowed. Should anyone violate these laws, they were taken outside the valley and severely punished.”

So, what’s the big deal about some hot water? Well, as it rains, the water falls onto the rock, slowly gaining minerals and seeping farther into the Earth and heating itself. Eventually, the heat of the Earth raises the temperature of the water and once the water is pushed to the surface, it creates a mineral-rich, beautifully created hot spring.

The Native Americans knew the benefits of hot springs long before others. They realized that taking a sip of the hot spring or soaking within one created life-changing benefits or could cure ailments. Author Susan Hartzler concludes that “soaking in highly concentrated mineral water also heats up your body temperature thus killing harmful germs and viruses, eliminating toxins, increasing blood flow and circulation, increasing metabolism, and absorption of essential minerals.” Your skin is able to take in the minerals simply while you relax and enjoy your day off!

Native Americans even fought some of their more serious illnesses with hot springs. In the book “Fighting Arthritis Naturally,” Emily Thacker writes that Native Americans would use hot springs to treat their aching joints — modern day arthritis. Vern “Sonny” Johnson, in “Secrets of Native American Herbal Remedies,” wrote that he used the Ojo Caliente Springs in New Mexico to help treat his stomach cancer.

The main benefit you receive from the hot springs is the mineral content. For example, the Peninsula Hot Springs (Australia) website explain that magnesium helps your body convert sugar into energy, Bicarbonate water helps with blood flow, Boron builds muscle mass, and sodium alleviates arthritis. The Native Americans were definitely onto something.

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The Native Americans did take a few precautions before going into the hot springs. They didn’t submerge their head, as there can be bacteria that can enter through the ears or nose. Also, they wouldn’t spend all day in the hot springs, because the minerals can irritate the skin after a long exposure.

Native Americans may have found the benefits of hot springs, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to go check out hot springs yourself. Visit the following website, and enjoy!

National Centers for Environment Information:

https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hot_springs/

Do you have any experience with hot springs? Share your advice in the section below:

References:

Cichoke, A. J. (2001). Secrets of Native American herbal remedies: A comprehensive guide to the Native American tradition of using herbs and the mind/body/spirit connection for improving health and well-being. New York: Avery.

Hartzler, S. (n.d.). The Ancient Healing Powers of Natural Hot Springs, by Susan Hartzler. Retrieved May 08, 2016, from http://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/3927/account/login

Hot springs therapy – mineral content. (n.d.). Retrieved May 08, 2016, from http://www.peninsulahotsprings.com/bathing/the-benefits-of-bathing-balneology/hot-springs-therapy-mineral-content

Mark, L. A. (2015, October 11). Native American-Inspired Spa Treatments: Where To Get The Best. Retrieved May 08, 2016, from http://www.10best.com/interests/travel-features/native-american-inspired-spa-treatments-where-to-get-the-best/

Moor, L. S., & T. (n.d.). Story of Mantaka. Retrieved May 08, 2016, from http://manataka.org/page2.html

Thermal Springs Viewer. (n.d.). Retrieved May 08, 2016, from https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hot_springs/

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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

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

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

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

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

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

Image source: Pixabay.com

There are multiple healing benefits for garlic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image source: Pixabay.com

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

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

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

Try rubbing your scalp with this garlic-based solution:

Ingredients

1 tsp garlic juice

8 oz. rosemary tea

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. lemon Juice

Directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

Whether it is from the onions on your sandwich or that extra cup of coffee, you probably have dealt with the uncomfortable problem of having bad breath at one time or the other.

Many of us grab a mint or chew a piece of gum for a quick fix. Some of us stash a bottle of mouthwash in our desk drawer or in a compartment in the car to freshen our mouths when we are on the go.

However, what do you do when you have an ongoing breath problem? Most commercial breath freshening products contain harsh, unnatural ingredients, and they can simply mask an underlying problem that is causing the bad breath in the first place.

The good news is that there are many natural ways to fight bad breath. In addition, most are easy and inexpensive. Here are nine natural ideas to try to help eliminate bad breath.

1. Take care of your teeth and mouth. The first step to fighting bad breath is to take a good look at your oral hygiene. It is important to visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Additionally, if you usually brush your teeth only first thing in the morning and last thing at night, consider brushing your teeth more frequently.

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

Try brushing after every meal — which may involve having a toothbrush and toothpaste with you at work or in your car — and floss your teeth twice a day.

Speaking of that toothbrush – when was the last time you got a new one? Replacing your toothbrush every two to three months can help keep your breath fresh.

Your teeth are not the only culprits when it comes to bad breath. Your tongue can harbor odor-causing dead cells, fungi and bacteria. Try scraping your tongue each morning with a spoon and then rinsing with water afterwards to decrease or eliminate the odor.

Simply place the spoon on the back of your tongue and then drag it slowly forward. Rinse well and then repeat several times. Include the sides of your tongue in this cleaning process.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

2. Drink plenty of water. Did you realize that a dry mouth could play a role in bad breath? When you do not wash bacteria away with water, they can thrive on the food particles in your mouth. These germs then can release foul-smelling byproducts that cause bad breath.

Your body’s own natural saliva can do the trick, but if you are dehydrated, you may not be producing enough salvia to eliminate the bacteria. Aim to drink more water during the day, and try swishing it around your mouth to help eliminate mouth odor.

3. Consume enough zinc. A deficiency in the mineral zinc can be a contributing factor to bad breath. As an antimicrobial, zinc helps neutralize and eliminate harmful germs in the mouth. Try supplementing your diet with food rich in zinc, including pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, sesame seeds and chickpeas.

4. Supplement with herbs and spices. Many items from your kitchen spice shelf or your herb garden can aid in eliminating bad breath when you chew them. Here are a few examples:

  • Cloves
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Cardamom
  • Anise seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

5. Enjoy some citrus fruit. Eating an orange can be a simple and healthy way to fight bad breath. By stimulating your salivary glands, the citric acid also creates an acidic environment in which bacteria cannot thrive.

Another option is to nibble on a clean, small piece of lemon, lime or orange rind.

6. Create a natural mouth rinse. Many commercial mouthwashes contain alcohol, but you can easily create your own natural mouth rinse. Try gargling with a simple salt-water solution to help rid your mouth, throat and tonsils from bacteria.

Another option is to mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda to cleanse and to freshen your mouth. Squeeze in some lemon or lime juice, if you like, for flavor and for the added benefits of Vitamin C.

7. Consider probiotic foods. An overloaded digestive tract can contribute to breath problems. Basically, stomach problems can create a build-up of excess of gas that then exits your body through your mouth.

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Supplementing your diet with probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kombucha tea and fermented sauerkraut helps get your digestive system back in balance. Another idea is to mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water and drink it prior to eating a meal to aid your digestive process.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

8. Eat more raw foods. Many raw foods, such as apples, celery and carrots, can act as natural toothbrushes. Not only do they scrub your teeth as you chew, but they also can kill odor-causing bacteria. Some raw foods also have a high-water content that helps you produce more saliva.

9. Cleanse your body of toxins. Bad breath can be a sign that your body has a high level of toxins. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes can contribute to the problem of bad breath, for example.

A natural way to cleanse your body is by drinking stinging nettle tea. Stinging nettle is a powerful herb that can help eliminate toxins, boost adrenal function, stimulate the lymphatic system and increase the excretion of uric acid through the kidneys – all of which can help fight bad breath.

If you are taking any medications, talk with your doctor to see if your prescription could be causing dry mouth or otherwise could be contributing to a breath problem. Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants or diet pills also could be part of the problem.

Finally, bad breath could be a symptom of an underlying health issue, including anything from gum disease, to lactose intolerance, to diabetes. If you have tried the above natural remedies and still are experiencing bad breath, it may be time to see your doctor for a physical.

How do you fight bad breath? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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

5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

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5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

Tarragon. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Spring is a perfect time to start some herb seeds indoors. Planting culinary herb seeds not only saves you money, but it also provides you with the ability to make delicious meals. Most culinary herbs also have potent medicinal qualities as an additional reward.

How to Grow Herbs from Seed

By planting seeds you may be able to grow plants that aren’t readily available in your local garden center. If you do not have room for a garden, herbs make wonderful potted plants. Most herbs thrive in average soil. If you are planting them indoors, use special soil mixes which are designed for starting seeds. You may sow your seeds in individual pots or you may choose to cluster sow them.

Herb seeds are extremely tiny. Take care when sowing them; mix the seeds with a bit of dry sand or use seed-starting tools which are designed for planting tiny seeds. Some seeds are available with special coatings that make them easier to handle.

If you are planting outdoors, check the seed packets or with your county extension agent regarding proper planting times. Prepare your garden beds carefully by removing weeds, loosening the soil and tilling it ahead of time so that it isn’t overly wet.

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

If you plant your seeds in trays or in individual pots, water them from the bottom. Keep seedlings, indoors or out, moist but not overly wet.

Tender herbs may be started indoors and moved outside when the weather warms up. Introduce them to their outdoor environment gradually. Protect them from hot sun and wind when you first expose them to the outdoors.

Not sure which herbs to grow? Here’s some terrific culinary herbs with medicinal properties which are ideally grown from seeds:

5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

Basil. Image source: Pixabay.com

1. Basil. This is a great herb to grow from seed. If you are like me, you will want lots of it. There are a wide array of basil types to grow. Small leafed, large leafed, lemon, purple, holy and cinnamon are just a few of the fantastic varieties of basil. If you live in a cool or cold climate, start your basil in pots. Basil is a tender plant which cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Only move it outdoors when there is no chance of frost. Basil grows in average soil and should be planted in full sun. In addition to livening up mealtime, basil is said to relieve respiratory, digestive and emotional imbalances.

2. Sage. I grow sage from seed because there are several varieties and some of them are very attractive. Nibbling on one sage leaf daily can relieve hot flashes. Sage soothes sore throats and is a wonderful seasoning for poultry and savory dishes. You can make an antibacterial wash from sage which may be used for first aid. Like basil, sage thrives in average soil. It can tolerate poor soil as well. Grow sage in a sunny location.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

Dill. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Dill. It isn’t just for making pickles; dill is a beautiful garden plant. If you have children, be sure to provide them with some dill seeds to plant. Dill is extremely easy to grow. It makes a lovely tea for relieving belly aches. The plants produce attractive foliage and flowers. If you plan to do some pickling, grow the taller varieties, as they produce the most numerous and largest seed heads. Otherwise, plant the shorter varieties as they are more attractive and provide you with plenty of dill weed foliage. Dill thrives in poor or average soil in the sunshine. For a non-stop supply of dill, don’t plant all of your seeds at once. Sow seeds every few weeks all spring and summer long.

4. Tarragon. This one can be difficult to grow, particularly in hot climates. Try Mexican mint tarragon instead. You may know this plant as Texas tarragon. It has lovely yellow-orange flowers. Mexican mint tarragon grows in sunny locations in average soil. The anise flavored leaves are soothing to upset stomachs.

5. Mustard. Mustard is very easy to grow. White mustard is what most commercial mustard products are made from, but if you prefer a spicier, more pungent variety, grow brown mustard. In addition to flavoring pickles and savory dishes, making your own mustard is very simple. Mustard isn’t fussy about soil. It may be used medicinally as a warming herb to relieve respiratory congestion or blended into topical remedies.

Final thoughts

There are hundreds of herbs which you can grow easily and economically from seeds. If you don’t need a whole packet of seeds, get together with friends and have a seed exchange. You will all have a vast array of herbs at your fingertips, which you can use for cooking and healing.

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

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5 Common ‘Miracle Trees’ The Native Americans Used For Medicine

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5 Common ‘Miracle Trees’ The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Image source: Wikipedia

It must have been a long process of trial and error. How do you figure out that a plant or tree can have medicinal benefits? Obviously, some Native Americans, as well as many other ancient cultures from China to the Incas and Aztecs, found solace and relief from plants that surrounded them.

Significantly, many of those natural cures were derived from trees. Typically, it was the inner bark of the trees or the xylem that provided the most potent mix of natural elements with curative properties. However, there are some exceptions, such as the needles of pines and the berries from Juniper trees.

We’re going to explore five common trees in North America that continue to be used for various medicinal purposes. They are:

  • White pine
  • White willow
  • Slippery elm
  • Juniper
  • Poplar

We’ll also review what type of preparation was used and how to prepare it for home use. A word of caution is related to allergies and dosage. Home preparation of natural cures is not always an exact science. Just as important, different people respond to these natural treatments in different ways, depending on their body weight and predisposition to allergies. In all cases, you should first consult your doctor. Take a low dose of any natural preparation you make, such as a teaspoon or less, to assess your body’s response. You should also avoid giving these natural treatments to young children.

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Bark and needles of pine were available year-round and used regardless of weather or season.  However, warmer months often provided the best concentration of ingredients due to the fact that the sap was still flowing in the xylem of the trees.

An infusion was the most common preparation technique. It’s essentially a tea made by soaking the inner bark or crushed pine needles in very hot, but not boiling water. Boiling water can break down some of the beneficial compounds. The steeping time was usually 5 to 20 minutes. The longer the steep the more concentrated the ingredients, so take good notes if you choose to make your own preparations to determine tolerable dosages.

Poultices were also used frequently to treat external afflictions. This involves an infusion or crushed ingredients that are saturated into a piece of cloth and applied to the skin where the pain or affliction is located.

As we’ve already noted, time of year in addition to the general health and age of the tree can also affect concentration of ingredients, so you may have to take that into account as well.

1. White pine

5 Common ‘Miracle Trees’ The Native Americans Used For Medicine

White pine. Image source: Pixabay.com

While the inner bark is often used as an infusion, the young shoots, twigs, pitch and needles of white pine were also used by Native Americans to treat a variety of conditions both internally and externally.

The pitch or pine sap was used as a poultice on a hot cloth and applied to the chest to treat coughs and pneumonia. Pitch applied directly to the skin was used to draw out boils, abscesses and splinters. It also was used as a poultice for wounds or sores.

An infusion of the crushed pine needles, often combined with the inner bark and young shoots, was used to treat colds, fever, heartburn, croup, laryngitis, bronchitis and coughs.

The scent of the white pine itself has aroma therapy properties, especially when applied externally to the chest or throat as a poultice for cough or sore throats.

2. White willow

We’ve covered the health benefits of willow bark in the past, but the medicinal value is so significant it makes sense to revisit the benefits. All willow trees have a chemical element called “salicin” in the inner, xylem bark. White willow has the highest concentrations. A German chemist synthesized this element in the 1800s and developed a tablet with both pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties. The chemist’s last name was “Bayer,” and the tablet he invented was called “aspirin.”

Native Americans would steep the xylem from the inner bark of the white willow in very hot water and drink it as a pain reliever and to reduce fever. One of the side benefits of this infusion for some people is that it does not thin the blood like regular aspirin. This has value for people on blood thinners, people with naturally thin blood due to genetics or diet, and people afflicted with hemophilia.

3. Slippery elm

Slippery Elm preparations were made from the inner bark and in some instances, the leaves. Once again, an infusion was made by Native Americans, often with a combination of inner bark and crushed leaves and used to treat digestive disorders, gastrointestinal conditions, gout, arthritis, stomach aches and sore throat. It also was used as a mouthwash or gargle to treat sore throat, mouth ulcers and toothache. As an external treatment it was used as a wash or poultice to treat skin conditions, hemorrhoids and insect bites.

As a poultice the infusion is poured into a piece of fabric and applied to the skin. It is said to have significant benefits for pain reduction, inflammation of wounds, boils, burns and skin ulcers. One recipe calls for five tablespoons of ground inner bark infused in a very hot cup of water and strained to make the basic infusion that can be either sipped or used as a wash or poultice. Here again, take a little at a time to assess its concentration and your reaction to the compound if you choose to use it as an herbal remedy.

4. Juniper

5 Common ‘Miracle Trees’ The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Juniper. Image source: Pixabay.com

The Juniper is an evergreen that grows around the world. The small, round bluish berries are the primary flavor ingredient in gin. When the berries are fully ripe in late summer, Native Americans would eat them off the tree to treat kidney, bladder and urinary tract conditions, digestive disorders, gum disease, diarrhea, gout and arthritis, and rheumatic conditions.

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There are some cautions to keep in mind. It’s believed that Juniper berries can cause miscarriage in pregnant women, and high doses can irritate the urinary tract. It also shouldn’t be given to children, considering their low body weight and the potential for even the smallest dosage to be too high.

5. Poplar buds

Poplar trees are ubiquitous across North America, and in the spring Native Americans used the poplar buds as a topical treatment for muscle soreness and headaches when applied to the brow as a poultice. The buds were usually ground, and the sticky result was applied to the skin, around painful joints or bruises or anywhere else localized pain occurred, including insect bites. It is not intended for internal use but as a topical treatment only.

The key ingredient in poplar buds that makes them effective as a topical pain reliever has a familiar name: salicin. This is the same chemical found in willow bark and used as the base ingredient in aspirin.

What advice would you add? What trees would you put on the list? Share your tips in the section below:

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4 Miraculous Warm-Weather Uses For Cintronella Oil

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4 Miraculous Warm-Weather Uses For Cintronella OilEvery year, at the beginning of spring, I find myself searching through my essential oil stash for citronella essential oil. It has so many natural and practical uses during the warm seasons that I could not imagine going without it. I use citronella essential oil for everything from spring cleaning, to candle making, to homemade bug repellent, to combating exhaustion.

The soft and sweet lemony, grassy scent of citronella essential oil creates the ambiance of the outdoors and for me, brings thoughts of spring picnics, fresh cut grass, and relaxing summer nights. Because of this, citronella essential oil in the use of aromatherapy is perfect for the relief of stress and tension caused by busy days when you cannot seem to find the time to get outdoors.

Citronella grows naturally by the sea and is native to Sri Lanka, Java and the Seychelles, where the locals extract the essential oil from the freshly dried tropical grass. Traditionally, citronella leaves were used as a poultice for fever, pain and to speed healing. Today, it is mostly used as an antiseptical and germicidal cleaning agent, a natural deodorizer and a natural insect repellant.

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

To help you get started with the many uses of citronella essential oil, I have added some of my favorite ideas, tips and recipes. Some recipes include other essential oils to help aid with the effectiveness of the blend.

1. How to create your own all-natural insect repellant

Are you opposed to using harmful, unnatural chemicals such as Deet, which is found in mass produced spray repellents like OFF? Then try this:

  • 25 drops citronella essential oil.
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil.
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil.
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet almond carrier oil, or add to two fluid ounces purified water in a spray bottle (shake well before each use).

Massage on, or spray the mixture onto exposed areas of the skin and clothing before heading outdoors. Take the insect repellant with you on hiking trips or outdoor events, and reapply as needed.

2. How to create your own all-natural-insect repelling homemade candles

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Many of the commercially sold citronella scented candles just do not work. The reason is that a store-bought candle labeled “citronella scented” might be scented synthetically, having none of the natural citronella essential oil necessary to repel insects. To ensure the inclusion of all-natural, effective ingredients, it is best to make your own citronella essential oil-based candles.

What you will need:

  • Glass jars. Be creative, as there are many shapes and sizes from which to choose.
  • Wax wicks.
  • Bees wax or soy wax.
  • A melting pot — either a double boiler or a mixing pot atop another pot.
  • Citronella essential oil.
  • Natural dye or crayons for added color.
  • Scissors to cut down wicks.

Begin by measuring out and melting down your wax. I would recommend melting the wax in a double boiler or a mixing pot nestled atop a pot of boiling water.

Stir in the citronella essential oil. I use roughly five drops per cup of melted wax. You can add more drops for a highly scented candle, or fewer drops for a lightly scented candle.

Stir in a colored crayon or two, or add natural dye, to add color.

While melting the wax and adding the essential oil and coloring, you should slightly warm the jar either in your oven or the microwave. Doing so will prevent cracking while pouring the hot wax into the jar. Also, this helps to ensure that the wax will cool evenly.

Place the wick into the jar. You can attach the top of the wick to a pencil and balance the pencil across the mouth of the jar to help keep the wick centered.

Slowly pour the melted wax into the jar.

Let the wax completely cool.

Cut the wick down.

Light the candle and enjoy.

3. How to create your own all-natural-antibacterial household cleaner and deodorizer.

Instead of using store-bought, chemical harsh cleaners, citronella essential oil can be used to create an all-natural, effective household cleaner. Using a chemical-free cleaner ensures the safety of the entire family and is environmentally friendly.

Mix equal parts purified water and white vinegar to a spray bottle. Add citronella essential oil for the desired potency according to the size of the bottle.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Spray and wipe down eating surfaces to cleanse and to kill bacteria and germs.

Use as a bathroom cleaner, too.

Spray in any areas that need deodorizing, such as garbage cans.

Citronella essential oil cleaning spray also helps to ward off bugs, so you can safely spray this blend around doorways, baseboards, onto screens and window sills.

4. Use of citronella essential oil for aromatherapy.

Use a humidifier, air diffuser or oil burner to add the molecules and scent of citronella oil to the air inside your home.

The inhalation of citronella essential oil can ease the mind by helping to calm anxiety and mental overload. The scent also helps to support the spirit and can help with exhaustion.

Of course, using this method of aromatherapy also will ward off unwanted insects, as they hate the scent of citronella.

Citronella essential oil can also be combined with other essential oils of your choosing to create wonderful scents for your homemade candles, cleaning sprays and for aromatherapy purposes. I enjoy adding neroli and other citrus-based scents to my blends. Sweet orange, bergamot, peppermint, patchouli, spearmint, sandalwood and myrtle essential oils all blend well with citronella essential oil. Try adding your favorite essential oils to citronella essential oil to create your own personalized scents.

How do you use cintronella essential oil? Share your ideas and tips in the section below:

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

4 Ways The Pioneers Stayed Healthy Without Modern Medicine

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4 Ways The Pioneers Stayed Healthy Without Modern Medicine

History is amazing — not the dull, dry history you may have experienced in school, but the history of how people lived their day-to-day lives. We are so accustomed to our modern conveniences that we often have no idea how our ancestors did things. We look back through the years, and are often mystified about how they even survived.

Some of the things that medical science proposed in the past are laughable today. Take head bumps, for example. There was actually a time when the cutting edge of medical diagnosis, in some quarters, was reading the bumps on a person’s head. This was supposed to tell about chronic health problems that the person suffered. We can place that alongside “bleeding” a patient to release the evil spirits from their body, and bury the two of them in medical history.

Modern medicine has years of medical research behind it. While it is not yet perfect, the ability of our medical community to deal with trauma, sickness and chronic health issues is much greater than that of a few short generations ago. Treatments for diseases that were previously known as killers are available now, and emergency room techniques to save lives have progressed exponentially.

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All of that is enough to make us wonder how our ancestors even survived. Looking back in history — say to the pioneering days — one has to wonder how the people dealt with sickness, disease and injury, especially when you consider that most towns didn’t have a doctor. Yes, many died, but many more lived, and lived through things that we wouldn’t think they could have survived.

The conventional wisdom today is that people in the 1800s lived far shorter lives, but that is mostly not true. The average life expectancy has grown because of lowering infant mortality rates. In other words, for people who did survive childbirth, many lived to old age – 70s, 80s and even 90s.

The very fact that they survived tells us that we study what they did. We may yet see a day when all the fancy pharmaceuticals and medical laboratories are gone. Should that happen, the health techniques that our ancestors used may very well be the only thing left to us.

So, what did they do? Let’s take a look.

1. They ate healthier

When you talk about “American food” in other countries, the first thing any of them think of is McDonalds, Burger King and Coca-Cola, perhaps adding Starbucks to that list. This is the food that we are known for. Most of what we consume is either fast food, junk food or otherwise unhealthy food.

Our bodies need an incredible number of different nutrients to maintain health. Theoretically, we are supposed to receive those nutrients from what we eat. But donuts, greasy burgers and a side order of fries don’t supply those nutrients. Some people try to make up for this by taking vitamin supplements, but there’s a real question about how well those supplements absorb into the body. Some brands don’t dissolve properly and merely add to the waste our bodies process.

4 Ways The Pioneers Stayed Healthy Without Modern MedicineWhile the diet our pioneering ancestors enjoyed wasn’t as varied as our own, it was a whole lot healthier. Essentially, they ate meat, beans, vegetables and bread. Fruit was considered a delicacy, and things like sweets were extremely rare. Their favorite drink was fresh spring water — not sugar dissolved in carbonated water.

Not only did they eat a healthier diet, but the foods they ate were healthier than today’s equivalent. Cattle and hogs weren’t fattened up to the extent they are today, before slaughtering. Often they were grass-fed. But many pioneers ate game meat, which has always been leaner and lower in cholesterol. Even chickens were healthier, as they free ranged and fed off a more varied diet. The ground hadn’t been overworked, and so the vegetables that they ate had a higher mineral content, improving their nutritional value.

Nobody overate in the Old West. There just wasn’t enough extra food to even think of overeating. Besides, they burned a whole lot more calories wrestling steers or plowing with a horse-drawn plow, than we do punching keys on a computer.

2. They performed physical work

Our bodies need a certain amount of physical work to maintain health. Yet, except for those who go to the gym regularly to work out – or do hard labor on the job — few of us get that physical work.

Many of our chronic diseases were all but unknown in pioneering days. The physical work that people performed on a daily basis was enough to help their bodies regulate the critical balance of these key health indicators.

Even today, the best advice for a diabetic, whose blood sugar is high, is to take a walk. That allows their body to burn off some of that excess sugar, reducing their sugar level to normal. Yet most of us expect the doctor to fix our problems with medicine, rather than having to do anything to takes us out of our comfortable chairs.

3. They were leaner and more muscular

The combination of diet and exercise affected their bodies greatly. More than anything, if we were to look back in history, we would see a people who were leaner and more muscular than we are today. This came from a combination of hard physical work and diet.

4 Ways The Pioneers Stayed Healthy Without Modern MedicineEven housework was harder back then. Women had to have the physical strength to wring out clothes by hand, carry a dead animal to the kitchen to slaughter it, and draw their own water from the well. Most jobs that men performed required much more strength than what we have today. In fact, the average worker today probably couldn’t make it through a day of work back in pioneering days.

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We face a chronic nationwide obesity crisis, something that could not have existed back then. Oh, there were very fat people, but they were rare. Their lifestyle just didn’t offer much opportunity to store energy as fat. You were much more likely to find fat people in the settled areas of the east and west coasts, where there were more people who worked in sedate offices and stores.

4. They had more knowledge of natural medicine

Humans are very adaptable creatures. When we don’t have one thing we need, we tend to try and find something to use as a substitute. Our ancestors did this with medicine. Since they didn’t have all our modern medicines, they used what they had … what nature gave them.

Actually, many of our modern medicines are substitutes for what nature supplies. All medicines start in nature. Pharmacies, though, didn’t exist in the Old West. The only medicines around were in the doctor’s office (if there was a doctor) or the general store. So, people did what their ancestors had done and used what nature provided. In many cases, those medicines were just as good or even better than the ones we have today.

It wasn’t just doctors who had knowledge of herbal medicine; most people had at least some. It was not uncommon for a woman to grow medicinal herbs in her garden or for a cowboy to pick up plants along the way, when they had a toothache or upset stomach. Herbal medicine was as much a part of life as anything else.

What would you add to this list? Share your insights in the section below:

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5 Heal-Everything Essential Oils You Should Stockpile For First Aid

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5 Heal-Everything Essential Oils For Your First-Aid Stockpile

Image source: Wikimedia

 

Spring has arrived, and summer is rolling in soon. The much-welcomed, pleasant weather results in more activity, both indoors and outdoors.

It is also, unfortunately, the time of year which results in more accidents. Now is the time to create your all-natural first-aid kits so that quick treatment is available during your time of need!

I would recommend making two first-aid kits: one to take on the go, and one for your home. I always keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in my home, for quick retrieval in case of an emergency. Then, I also have one in my vehicle which travels with me everywhere I go. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit can save a life.

In this article, I have put together a list of which essential oils I use in my first-aid kits and an explanation of why they are beneficial for first aid. To help even further, I have added some personal recipes and remedies on how to use these oils in the event of an accident or a bothersome health ailment, such as a migraine.

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Don’t forget to add a carrier oil to the kit, which is used for diluting 100 percent pure essential oils. I use sweet almond carrier oil, but there are many from which to choose.

Here is what is in my first-aid kit:

1. Peppermint essential oil

Properties: Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Antiparasitic, Antispasmodic, Analgesic, Antiviral, Digestive.

5 Heal-Everything Essential Oils You Should Stockpile For First Aid

Image source: Pixabay

Peppermint essential oil is nearly one-third menthol, which makes it excellent for soothing headaches, muscular pain, sunburn, insect bites, mental fatigue, nausea and indigestion.

Headache relief:

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Massage this blend into your temples or scalp to relieve the discomfort of a headache.

Relief of Pain Due to Sprains or Strains:

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Massage this blend into the area of the injury to relieve the pain.
  • This blend is also great for sore muscles after strenuous activity.

Relief of Indigestion, Nausea, Motion Sickness or Morning Sickness:

  • Place a drop of peppermint essential pil onto a tissue and inhale deeply for several minutes. The menthol significantly improves circulation, and this helps relieve indigestion.

2. Helichrysum essential oil

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Antibacterial, Antioxidant, Anticoagulant, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Expectorant, Mucolytic.

Helichrysum essential oil is useful for relieving pain, stopping bleeding, relief of burns and sunburn, healing of cuts and is a natural sunscreen.

To Relieve Bodily Pain, Such as Back Pain, Neck Pain or Leg Pains:

  • 12 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Massage into the area of pain for quick relief.
  • You will find that this blend works a lot like aspirin does and is a great natural substitute for pain-relieving drugs.

To Stop Minor Bleeding:

  • Helichrysum is a natural anticoagulant.
  • Pat the cut or wound with a sterile cloth and then drop several drops of the oil onto the bleeding area. Cover with gauze. This process might need to be repeated until the bleeding stops.
  • If the wound is deep and might require stitches, seek professional medical help if it is possible. If help is not readily available, helichrysum oil can contribute to coagulation until help can be reached.

Burn Relief:

  • Helichrysum essential oil is mild enough to use directly on the skin when called for. In the case of burns, rub the oil onto the burned area.
  • Place several drops of helichrysum essential oil onto a sterile piece of gauze, cover the burned area of skin, and then use medical tape to keep in place.
  • For severe burns, seek professional medical treatment as soon as possible.

Natural Sunscreen:

  • 5 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Rub into areas of the skin which will be exposed to sunlight.

Help Heal and Reduce Infection of Cuts and Scrapes:

  • Because helichrysum essential oil is a natural antibacterial agent when rubbed into a cut or scrape, it will not only prevent bacterial infection, but it will also help speed the healing process.

3. Lavender essential oil

Properties: Analgesic, Antihistamine, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Regenerative, Sedative.

5 Heal-Everything Essential Oils You Should Stockpile For First Aid

Image source: Pixabay

Lavender essential oil is known for its soothing and healing effects.

To Relieve the Itching and Redness, and to Help Heal Rashes and Insect Bites:

  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops chamomile essential oil (not listed in this article, but chamomile essential oil has wonderful, soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities and is an oil worth including in your kit!)
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Rub the blend onto the rash several times a day for relief and healing.

To Soothe Sunburn:

  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Massage the blend into the sunburned skin.

To Reduce Painful Swelling From a Sprain or Injury:

  • Apply a cold compress with 6 drops lavender essential oil dropped onto the compress.
  • This method can also be used to relieve muscular aches.

4. Tea Tree essential oil

Properties: Antiseptic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral.

Tea tree essential oil is a perfect antiseptic. It is used for cleaning and treating wounds, stings, blisters, acne, rashes and burns.

To Clean, Prevent Infection, and Speed the Healing of Cuts, Wounds and Insect Bites:

  • Place 2 drops tea tree essential oil onto a sterile cotton swab and apply to the affected area.

To Draw Out an Infection:

  • Apply a hot compress with 2 drops tea tree essential oil

5. Eucalyptus essential oil

Properties: Expectorant,  Insecticidal, Analgesic, Anti-infectious, Anti-Inflammatory.

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I have included eucalyptus essential oil as a must-have in a first-aid kit because of its expectorant benefits. It has many other beneficial medical uses, however.

To Soothe Dry or Chesty Coughs and to Breath Easier During Sinusitis, Hay Fever, Allergies, Colds or Bronchitis:

  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 tsp sweet almond carrier oil
  • Rub the blend onto the chest area several times a day.

To Clear Blocked Nasal Passages:

  • Place several drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a tissue and deeply inhale until your nasal passage clears.
  • You also can blend in several drops of lavender essential oil with the eucalyptus essential oil and inhale the blend in the same manner.

Do not forget to add other basic essentials to your first-aid kits like sterile gauze, cotton swabs, bandages, tweezers, scissors and medical tape. For your travel first-aid kit, I recommend adding survival items also such as a firestarter, mylar blanket, fishing line (or floss), a whistle, and a flare. Research what else you might want to include, depending on your travel destinations.

Remember also that there are too many essential oils to list here, and most have beneficial health and first-aid properties! You can find books about essential oils and do research online to learn more and to discover which essential oils are your favorites.

What essentials oils would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

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7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

 

My great-grandmother was an Ojibway Indian. They’re a tribe from Canada, and their Native American cousins were the Cherokee. She and my great grandfather were highly self-sufficient, as she often used herbs and plants from nature for a variety of reasons.

There was a time in our history when a pharmacy was defined by nature. Over generations, Native Americans discovered cures and treatments for various ailments by accident and tradition. Most herbs were used as an infusion in a tea, but some were pulverized and applied directly to the skin. Here are seven “forgotten ones” that may be growing in your backyard or a meadow near you:

1. Sage

Sage grows wild across many parts of the Great Plains and the southwest. It’s commonly used in cooking and is actually the dominant flavor note in dishes like bread stuffing and poultry. It also has medicinal qualities.

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

Native Americans made an infusion of tea from sage leaves to treat indigestion and sore throats, coughs and fever. An extract made by crushing the leaves also can heal the skin as a treatment for burns and chafing. It has powerful antibacterial and astringent properties, as well.

2. Yarrow

7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Yarrow. Image source: Pixabay.com

Yarrow was commonly used by Native Americans to stop bleeding. The feathery nature of the plant, plus its chemical properties, encourage clotting. It also has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory benefits and was sometimes taken as a tea to relieve indigestion.

3. Black cohosh

You don’t hear a lot about black cohosh, but its roots were often used as a cough remedy by Native Americans. It also was referred to as the woman’s friend for its estrogenic properties and its ability to relive arthritis and menstrual cramps. It was typically brewed as a dark tea.

4. Feverfew

As the name implies, this herb relieves fever. It also was used as a pain reliever for headaches, including migraines. It has a mild tranquilizing effect. The leaves or flowers were typically chewed rather than infused because it makes for a particularly bitter tea. It has anti-inflammatory benefits and was sometimes taken to relieve arthritis.

5. Goldenrod

7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Goldenrod. Image source: Pixabay.com

Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not induce allergies anywhere close to the degree of its reputation. It’s an indigenous plant that grows across North America, and its flowers and leaves were often infused in a tea to treat urinary tract infections and as a general anti-inflammatory treatment. It also was used as a tea to treat upper respiratory inflammation and congestion.

6. Plantain

The common plantain plant grows everywhere from urban front yards to natural meadows. Its flat leaves and central, green seed-stalk make it easy to find. It makes a good natural salad, although the mature leaves are a bit bitter.

New ‘Survival Herb Bank’ Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

It’s a good source of vitamin K, which is a natural blood thinner and it may be why Native Americans used it as a topical and oral treatment for snake bites. Personally, I’d get to the hospital as fast as possible after a snake bite, but when there were no hospitals this seemed to be a treatment of choice. In fact, Native Americans referred to it as “snakeweed.”

7. Rose hips

7 Forgotten Plants The Native Americans Used For Medicine

Rose hips. Image source: Pixabay.com

There is no other wild plant that possesses more vitamin C than rose hips. They’re the end result of flowering wild roses and usually are small red buds about one-fourth an inch in diameter. Native Americans figured out the healing properties of rose hips as a boost to the immune system. We have no idea how they figured this out, but over generations some things become apparent.

They can be chewed raw or dried, ground in a tea, or incorporated into other food. I’ve chewed them raw, and in my opinion they taste terrible. I’d strongly recommend chopping them and adding them to something else.

Final Thoughts: Be Careful Out There

I’ve instructed many classes and field excursions on the subject of natural food and medicines. Always make sure you know what you’re eating or about to ingest. There are more plants that are poisonous than are good for you. Take the time to do some research and always start with small portions of anything.

What plants would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:

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

The Organic Prepper!

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The Organic Prepper, Daisy Luther
Host: Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

Organic Prepper Daisy Book Pic1On this episode, I’m joined by my good friend Daisy Luther. Daisy is a blogger, author of multiple preparedness-oriented books, and expert prepper who shares my passions for natural health and finding the enjoyment in prepping.

Daisy Luther lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author of TheOrganic Canner, The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months, and the soon-to-be-released The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.

The Organic Prepper, Daisy LutherOn her website, TheOrganic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply. As well, Daisy is the co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, and her articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  andTwitter.

Organic Prepper Daisy Book Pic3Recently, Daisy and I were chatting about prepping, and how prepping makes us happy. Sure, the subjects we both write about and prepare for are serious as a heart attack, but the act of prepping brings us peace of mind. And let’s face it, a lot of them are just plain fun. Prepping is important, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be miserable. Remember, many people grow a garden and hunt simply because they like to.

Organic Prepper Daisy Book Pic2Constant stress will impact your physiology. The human Nervous System was not designed to remain in a constant state of alert, and eventually, your health will pay the price. Finding satisfaction in our day to day lives is important, and our prepping activities can be a solid source of that.

So join Daisy and I as we dish about how to incorporate natural health into prepping, finding satisfaction in a colorful wall of mason jars of food, the tuberculosis outbreak at a high school in Kansas, natural and herbal remedies, and who knows what else! One thing is for sure, and that is it will be a fun hour.
Herbal Prepper Website: http://www.herbalprepper.com/

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

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All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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Although they are small, mice can cause big problems when they enter your home. They can carry and spread disease and, since they breed quickly, they can do damage to your home and your belongings if left unchecked.

No one wants to think a mouse infestation is in the home, but if you are seeing any of these signs, you may have a rodent problem:

  • Unexplained tears, holes or shredding in clothing, fabric, insulation or other materials.
  • Small holes in desk drawers, kitchen cabinets and other furniture.
  • Mouse droppings; these are black, granular in shape and are three to six mm in length.
  • Strange rustling and scratching noises in the walls, especially at night.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mouse poisons account for thousands of calls to poison control centers each year, and research shows that remnants of these highly toxic substances can linger around your home for years, posing a danger to your family members, your pets as well as plants and wildlife.

Diatomaceous Earth: Get Rid Of Bugs The All-Natural Way!

You have probably seen cartoons throughout your life of mousetraps wedged with bits of cheese, but you may be looking for other ways of removing these pests from your home and then keeping them out.

As is the case with many pests, including insects, ridding your home of mice can be a bit of trial and error. However, here are some effective – and natural – ways to get rid of them.

Peppermint oil is a natural product that is safe for both humans and animals, but mice hate the smell. Simply place a few drops of 100 percent pure peppermint oil on some cotton balls and then leave the cotton balls in areas where you have seen evidence of mice.

All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

Image source: Pixabay.com

Other options for deterring mice with mint are to place mint plants or mint leaves around your home or even to smear mint toothpaste along baseboards or cabinet corners where mice have been. Another idea is to brew some strong peppermint tea and place it in a spray bottle. You can then spray the tea in areas where mice have entered your home.

The smell of mint will lose its effectiveness in a day or two, so be sure to replace the oil, mint or toothpaste several times a week for best results.

Bay leaves also have a strong odor that mice dislike. Try scattering some bay leaves in your pantry, kitchen cabinets and on shelves where mice have been active.

Mice also detest the smell of cloves. As you did with the peppermint oil, you can put several drops of clove essential oil on cotton balls and place the cotton in areas mice have gathered. Another option is to place whole cloves in a cotton mesh bag and set or hang the bags in trouble spots.

It may sound a little unusual, but mice do not like aluminum foil. They cannot chew through it easily, and they do not like the sound it makes when they walk on it. Therefore, you can place aluminum foil in areas mice have entered, or cover areas they have walked with sheets of aluminum foil.

Similarly, scented dryer sheets are a good mouse deterrent. You also can use them to seal cracks and crevices where mice may have entered or place them in areas where you suspect mice congregate at night.

Another safe way to deter mice is with baking soda. Simply sprinkle baking soda in trouble areas. You can sweep or wipe it up in the morning and reapply in the evening for best effectiveness.

Now that you have gotten rid of the mice that have taken up residence in your home, let’s look at ways to keep them out.

Beet Powder: The Ancient Secret To Renewed Energy And Stamina

The bad news is that mice can enter your home through gaps, cracks and openings in your home that are as small as a dime. Your first line of defense is to find and seal these openings. Be sure to examine areas where utility wires (such as for cable TV or the phone) enter your home. Also, look at areas around exhaust fans and dryer vents as well as the edges around windows and doors.

You can stuff steel wool into larger gaps before sealing them with caulk. Mice have difficulty chewing through steel wool, so it serves as a deterrent.

Mice are nocturnal and are constantly foraging for food and for bedding materials. Here are some tips for making the interior of your home less attractive to mice:

  • Store food –including cereals, rice and flour — in airtight containers.
  • Wipe down counters and sweep floors of crumbs at least once a day.
  • Pick up pet food bowls after feeding.
  • Keep sink and counters free of dirty dishes.
  • Empty kitchen trash at night.
  • Keep outdoor trash cans away from home entrances.
  • Remove and recycle old newspapers and magazines.

Finally, one of the best ways to keep mice away from your home is by adopting a cat. Cats are natural predators of mice.

Additionally, mice have strong aversion to the odor of cat urine and stay away from a home when they detect the smell. In fact, even if your cat is lazy at hunting mice, placing tubs of used kitty litter around the perimeter of your home can do the trick of keeping mice away.

What all-natural tips would you add for keeping mice away from your home? Share your advice in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

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3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Poison ivy. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

If you are an avid outdoorsman or an avid camper, it is very likely that you have come into contact with the infamous poison ivy plant at one time or another.

Consequently, you are undoubtedly aware of just how miserable the swelling, irritation and incessant itching the oils that this plant exudes can make you. In fact, it can ruin your entire outdoor adventure! But fear not and venture forth with confidence, because nature has a cure for what ails you.

The three most effective and most abundant natural cures in the wilderness for poison ivy – or its cousin, poison oak – are:

  1. Tap root of the wild burdock plant (serves as a natural antiseptic).
  2. Witch hazel bush (serves as a natural astringent).
  3. Jewelweed (serves as a natural cure).

While most of us can see and recognize large, hairy vines growing vigorously up the sides of trees and realize that they are a poison ivy vines, many outdoorsman are unaware that this plant also likes to grow in small patches of ground, hugging plants that commonly reach a height of one to two feet and, of course, display the signature, spear-shaped, tri-foil, leaves.

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

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Burdock

Because these plants exude an oil (urushiol — which is what irritates the skin and causes the rash) in order to defend itself from predatory insects, your first line of defense after coming into contact should be to get to a source of water where you can wash it off of your skin. But most of us are so absorbed by our surroundings that we are blissfully unaware that we have come into contact with this infamous plant until the rash appears, a different remedy is required.

Wild burdock is a biennial plant common in Asia, England and North America and appears as a flower approximately two to two and a half feet tall, growing in open fields and, when mature, displays beneath the flowers round seed pods covered with small spikes designed to cling to fur or fabric. It’s a “free ride” in order to disperse their seeds. To use this plant as a cure for poison ivy, start by digging up several of the tap roots and then boil them in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Next, remove the roots and allow the infusion to cool. Soak a cloth in the infusion and apply it to the affected area for five to seven minutes and repeat this process every two hours.

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Witch hazel. Image source: Pixabay.com

Another effective natural cure for poison ivy is the witch hazel plant, which is a deciduous shrub or small tree common in North America. To create a cure for poison ivy using witch hazel, start by harvesting either a portion of the tree’s bark or some of its leaves and boil it/them in water for approximately 30 minutes. Then, remove the bark or leaves from the water and allow the resulting infusion to cool. Soak the infusion up with a cloth and apply it to the affected area whenever the rash starts to itch.

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Jewelweed

Although wild burdock and witch hazel do work and are certainly better than nothing at all, nature’s most effective cure for poison ivy is a plant called jewelweed (aka spotted touch-me-not), which seems to serve as a natural antidote for poison ivy. In fact, it commonly grows right alongside patches of poison ivy! It is predominately found east of the Rocky Mountains but does occur incidentally further west.

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

Wild burdock prefers to grow in shady spots where there is moist, sandy, well-drained, soil, and therefore, you will find it in lowlands, wetlands and fens, and adjacent to streams, ponds, lakes and bogs. Jewelweed appears as a smooth annual flower that grows three to five feet in height and has oval leaves with serrated edges. The funnel-shaped flowers are suspended from a single stem and appear yellow with red spots.

But unlike both wild burdock and witch hazel, which have to be boiled to create an infusion, to use jewelweed as a cure for poison ivy all you have to do is harvest and crush the plant and then spread the resulting expressed juice directly onto the rash five or six times a day for five days or until the rash subsides. Therefore, not only is this natural remedy significantly easier to prepare and apply than the other two remedies, but many people have described nearly miraculous results when using this plant to cure poison ivy. In fact, it is so effective at curing the rash caused by poison ivy that some local, hometown drug stores actually carry a soap containing an infusion of this plant.

So, the next time you find yourself suffering from poison ivy while enjoying the great outdoors, give one of nature’s all-natural cures a try.

What all-natural cures for poison ivy do you use? Share your tips in the section below:

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

Time-Tested Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

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The Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Insect bites can put a damper on even the most beautiful spring and summer night. Unfortunately, so can the intense aroma and harmful effects of insect repellants. Thankfully, there are essential oils that repel insects, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors again.

Essential oils can provide a safe and natural way to repel everything from mosquitos to dust mites. Some oils are also known to be effective insecticides so that you can kill bugs before they become a problem.

Depending on your needs, oils can be combined to make your own bug spray, offering you a safe and natural alternative to DEET and other chemical-based insect repellants.

Diatomaceous Earth: Get Rid Of Bugs The All-Natural Way!

The following is a list of essential oil ingredients to create insect repellant spray:

1. Basil. This zesty oil is great for controlling mosquito and dust mites. Several studies have found that basil effectively repels mosquitos and even exhibits mosquito larvicidal activity. [1] This makes basil oil an especially good option for those living near swamps, ponds and other areas with a high mosquito population.

2. Clove. A 2005 study of essential oils as mosquito repellants found that clove provided the longest duration of repellency against the three types of mosquitos used in the study.[2]

3. Eucalyptus. You get a lot of bang for your buck when using eucalyptus oil as an insecticide. It’s been found effective on a wide variety of insects, most notably its effect on sandflies.[3]

4. Garlic. For years, garlic has been used to control common pests found in gardens and has now been found to be an effective way to keep mosquitos at bay.

5. Geranium. A 2003 study found this pleasant smelling oil to be highly effective in killing larval, pupal and adult development of mosquitos. [4] This means that it’s not only great for preventing mosquito bites, but it can also kill mosquitos through all stages of life. A must-have for your backyard or cottage!

Time-Tested Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Lemon. Of all the essential oils that repel insects, lemon is by far one of the best-known natural insecticides and repellants. A 2012 study found that it offers an effective and natural alternative to conventional chemical insect control.[5]

7. Peppermint. This minty-fresh oil is used as a natural insecticide against many types of bugs. Studies have found methanol-based oils to be effective insecticides. [6]A 2011 study also found it to be an especially effective larvicide and mosquito repellant.[7]

8. Tea tree oil. This natural anti-parasitic is a great option for people and pets because of its ability to stop the growth of fleas, ticks and lice. Tea tree oil is also an effective remedy for soothing the itch and discomfort of mosquito bites.

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Thyme. Thyme has been found to be very effective in repelling two of the peskiest insects around: mosquitos and houseflies.[8]

Each of the ingredients above can be mixed with a water and vinegar base to create a natural insect repellent spray. For the most effective insect repellent spray, use the following:

Natural Insect Repellent Spray 

  • Basil oil: 15 drops
  • Lemon oil: 10 drops
  • Tea tree oil: 10 drops
  • Peppermint oil: 6 drops
  • Geranium oil: 6 drops
  • Distilled water: 2 ounces
  • Vinegar: 2 ounces (preferably white vinegar, but apple cider works as well!)

Blend all the ingredients and put into a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Note: This is an aromatic blend meant to be diffused into the air around you. Do not use for topical or internal use.

Having these essential oils that repel insects on hand can help you keep your home and garden free of pests without the use of chemicals.

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below: 

[1] Perumalsamy H, Kim JY, Kim JR, Hwang KN, Ahn YJ. (2014). Toxicity of basil oil constituents and related compounds and the efficacy of spray formulations to Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). J Med Entomol. 650-657.

[2] Trongtokit Y., Rongsriyam Y., Komalamisra N., Apiwathnasorn C. Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites. Phytotherapy Research. 2005;19(4):303–309. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1637.

[3] Maciel, M.V., Morais, S.M., Bevilaqua, C.M., Silva, R.A., Barros, R.S., et al. (2010). Chemical composition of Eucalyptus spp. essential oils and their insecticidal effects on Lutzomyia longipalpis. Vet Parasitol, 167(1):1-7. Epub 2009 Oct 9.

[4] Jeyabalan, D., Arul, N. and Thangamathi, P. (2003). Studies on effects of Pelargonium citrosa leaf extracts on malarial vector, Anopheles stephensi Liston. Bioresource Technology 89:185-189.

[5] Khani,A; Basavand,F; Rakhshani, E. (2012):Chemical composition and insecticide activity of Lemon verbena essential oil J Crop Prot, 1 (4) (2012), pp. 313–320

[6] Ansari M.A., Vasudevan P., Tandon M., Razdan R.K. 2000. Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of pepper- mint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technol 71:267-271.

[7] Kumar, S., Wahab, N., & Warikoo, R. (2011). Bioefficacy of Mentha piperitaessential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine1(2), 85–88. http://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60001-4

[8] Park B.S., Choi W.S., Kim J.H., Kim K.H., Lee S.E. 2005. Monoterpenes from thyme (Thymus vulgaris) as potential mosquito repellents. J Am Mosq Control Assoc-Mar;21(1):80-3.

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

3 ‘Miracle Antiseptic’ Plants Hiding Right Outside Your Home

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3 All-Natural ‘Miracle Antiseptics’ You Can Find In The Woods … Or Right Outside Your Home

Greater burdock. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

It has been my experience that whenever a person is walking through the wilderness, minor cuts, scrapes and abrasions are a matter of time. In fact, they tend to appear so frequently that we don’t even notice them.

But while such minor injuries may go noticed, the infections that they incur can be far from minor. In fact, even relatively minor cuts and scrapes can easily become infected in the wilderness, leading to serious infections which, in turn, can lead to gangrene. Consequently, even the most macho of us could benefit from knowing a little bit about natural, herbal antiseptics and immune system boosters.

First off, what is an antiseptic? Antiseptics are substances that cleanse wounds and kill the germs and bacteria that like to invade and infect open wounds. Thus, they are an absolutely indispensable part of any herbal first-aid kit — and they are readily available in nature if you know what you’re doing.

Also, they can be applied as either an expressed juice where the plant is simply crushed and the resulting juice is applied directly to the wound, or as a poultice for injuries that are already showing signs of infection. They also can be distilled into either a tisane (herbal tea), a tincture or an extract.

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

Following are three of the more popular natural antiseptics, as well as an immune system booster:

3 All-Natural ‘Miracle Antiseptics’ You Can Find In The Woods … Or Right Outside Your Home

Wild garlic. Image source: Pixabay.com

1. Wild garlic. This (Allium vineale) is found throughout much of North America and it prefers to grow mainly in fallow fields, but can also be found growing alongside roads, ditches and most any other place where flowering plants and weeds are able to grow. The root bulbs of wild garlic plants contain both a powerful antiseptic and an antibiotic compound. Therefore, the bulbs are usually crushed and applied externally as an expressed juice for cleansing wounds. But, they can also be ingested orally for treatment of colds, sinus congestion, earaches, stomach aches and headaches, as well as for reducing fevers and coughs.

2. Great and common burdock. Both Great Burdock (Arctium lappa) and Common Burdock (Arctium minus) are found throughout the entire temperate zone of North America and they grow mainly in fallow fields but can also be found growing alongside roads, ditches and most any other place that flowering plants and weeds are able to grow. The roots, flowers and leaves of the great burdock plant as well as the common burdock plant contain several antibacterial compounds (most notably artiocpicrin). The leaves, stems and flowers are usually prepared as a poultice and used to treat abrasions, cuts, sores, ulcers, insect bites and snake bites.

3 All-Natural ‘Miracle Antiseptics’ You Can Find In The Woods … Or Right Outside Your Home

Witch hazel. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Witch hazel. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) prefers shaded, hardwood forests, and ranges from Canada to Florida, east of the Mississippi River. It is an astringent, hemostatic and an antioxidant and has historically been one of the most important American medicinal plants and is still so today.

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Due to the tannins contained in the leaves and bark of this plant, the leaves are usually prepared as a poultice and applied externally to treat abrasions and minor cuts; as a tisane or a tincture and applied externally to relieve itching, skin irritations and minor pain as well as hemorrhoids; and as a tisane ingested internally to treat sore throat, fevers and colds.

And an immune booster:

Echinacea. Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) consists of three different species: the purple coneflower, the pale purple coneflower, and the narrow-leaved purple coneflower. All three species are considered to be a non-specific immune system booster. It is used similar to an antibiotic to help heal both external and internal infections. It can be used topically as either a poultice, a tincture or a salve to aid in healing cuts and abrasions, wounds and burns, and can be taken internally as either a tisane, a tincture or a dried extract to treat internal infection, colds and flu. In fact, clinical studies have shown that ingesting this plant can significantly reduce both the severity and duration of both cold and flu symptoms. Lastly, it has traditionally been used as a treatment for both spider and snake bites to help alleviate the tissue and nerve damage caused by the poison that these creatures inject.

Final Thoughts

Therefore, due to the tendency of minor cuts and abrasions to become infected in the wilderness, often without our notice until pain brings them to our attention, it is a wise idea to learn all about herbal antiseptics: where to find them, how to identify them and how to apply them. Doing so can prevent relatively minor injuries from becoming serious infections.

Related:

12 Extraordinary Uses For Witch Hazel That Heal, Soothe And Beautify

What advice would you add on natural antiseptics? What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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

7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

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7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

Many old health remedies are defined by folklore, myth and the varying claims of natural healers across the centuries. Beyond the claims, however, studies have shown that certain natural remedies actually can provide effective relief for illness and disease.

Here are seven of the best natural remedies that have stood the test of time.

1. Honey

The first recorded use of honey as a medicinal treatment was 3,000 years ago in Egypt. Since then, honey has been found to:

  • Improve digestion – Use a tablespoon or two to counteract indigestion.
  • Relieve nausea – Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
  • Treat acne – It can be used as a face cleanser to fight off acne and is gentle on all skin types. Take half a teaspoon, warm between hands and spread on face gently. Leave on for 10 minutes, and then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • Lower cholesterol.
  • 7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

    Image source: Pixabay.com

    Improve circulation – Raw honey makes your brain function optimal by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation.

  • Reduce insomnia – Add a tablespoon to warm milk to help increase melatonin output and help you sleep.
  • Provide probiotic support – Raw honey is full of natural probiotics which promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
  • Treat allergies – If sourced locally, raw honey can help reduce seasonal allergies.
  • Moisturize skin – A spoonful of raw honey mixed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon can be used as a hydrating lotion.
  • Treat eczema – Use it as a topical mixture of equal parts of honey and cinnamon.
  • Reduce inflammation – Raw honey has anti-inflammatory agents that can treat respiratory conditions such as asthma.
  • Help wounds heal – Raw honey used topically can help speed healing time for mild burns, wounds, rashes and abrasions.
  • Treat urinary tract infections – Due to its antibacterial properties.
  • Relieve sore throat – Mix with lemon or peppermint oil for fast acting benefits or add to tea.

2. Licorice root

Although native people often chewed the entire root raw, the roots of the licorice plant when dried and chopped can be made into a tea.

The Hidden Secrets Of Making Herbal Medicines…Right At Your Fingertips!

Licorice root has been found to help the following:

  • Digestive ailments – Add one teaspoon of powdered licorice root to a cup of hot water. Cover, steep for 10 minutes, and strain. Drink two or three times a day for a week.
  • Respiratory infections – Drink a few cups of licorice root tea every day. You also can mix ½ teaspoon of licorice powder with a little honey.
  • Canker sores – Due to anti-inflammatory and mucosa-healing properties.
  • Liver health – Drink a cup of licorice root tea to promote liver health. Add ½ teaspoon of licorice root to a cup of hot water. Cover, steep for five to 10 minutes, and strain. Drink this tea once daily for a week, take a break for a couple of weeks, and then repeat.
  • Teeth and gums – The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties in licorice root can prevent the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, reduce plaque, fight bad breath and keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy.

3. Willow bark

7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work Willow bark contains salicin, which is the active ingredient in aspirin. Salicin is a proven pain reliever and is anti-inflammatory. To use willow bark, cut a three-inch-by-three-inch chunk of willow bark out of a willow tree. All willows will work but white willow has the highest concentration of salicin.

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

Scrape and cut the inner bark (xylem) onto a pan or plate. Look for a pink color – that’s the good stuff. Wrap in a coffee filter (of other similar filter) and immerse into boiling water. Shut off the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. You should get a reddish, brown infusion.

Strain it again and take sparingly at first (a tablespoon at a time) until symptoms subside.

4. Apple cider vinegar

Books have been written about the value and extensive uses of apple cider vinegar. It has been used to treat osteoporosis, leg cramps and pain, upset stomach, sore throat, sinus congestion, high blood pressure, arthritis and high cholesterol.

It also is known to help with weight loss, and it adds valuable nutrients and micronutrients to your diet. These include soluble fiber in the form of pectin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, lycopene and minerals such as sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Apple cider vinegar is an antiseptic with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, too. That’s because all vinegars have acetic acid in concentrations from five to 10 percent. Use it for cleaning wounds or for general cleaning where germs may lurk.

5. Echinacea root

Native Americans have known about the healing properties of Echinacea or the purple cone flower for centuries. At times, the flowers were infused in tea, but it’s the roots that pack the healing punch.

gonepteryx-rhamni-416805_640What’s been determined in clinical studies is that the antioxidant properties in the roots boost the immune system. As a result, it is a standard treatment for colds and flu in the tribal medicine chests.

Beet Powder: The Ancient Secret To Renewed Energy And Stamina

To make an Echinacea tincture, you’ll need a small one-pint mason jar, a ½ cup of dried Echinacea root, and a pint of vodka. The alcohol in the vodka draws out key elements in the roots and preserves the tincture. I imagine Native Americans used hot water, but some contemporary recipes have indicated vodka as an effective ingredient for an infusion.

To make the tincture, add the roots to the jar, top with the vodka and seal the jar. Store at room temperature for six weeks, shaking the jar from time to time.

After six weeks, strain the tincture and discard the roots. The standard dosage is ½ to ¾ teaspoons, three to four times a day. You can add it to orange juice or other juice if you like. You don’t want to give this to kids if you made it with vodka, but the alcohol actually prevents the growth of bacteria in the tincture.

6. Beet juice

Some recent and significant clinical studies have confirmed something our ancestors knew all along. Raw beet juice can have a significant effect on blood pressure. In fact, one study found that after consuming eight ounces of raw beet juice, blood pressure dropped five points after one hour. In a study done in England, two glasses of raw beet juice a day were found to be as effective as nitrate tablets in treating hypertension.

It appears that some key elements in beets are responsible. These include high concentrations of potassium, foliates and natural nitrites. Collectively, they smooth muscle tissue and increase blood flow, in addition to supporting blood vessel function.

Keep in mind that fresh, raw beet juice is best. Bottled or pre-packaged beet juice is not as effective. If you don’t have a juicer, then you can use a blender and strain the juice. I’ll sometimes use the leftover pulp to make borscht.

7. Aloe

Aloe is another one of those old health remedies that goes back thousands of years. The Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.” It’s a succulent plant and a member of the cactus family. It was used by Native American tribes particularly in the Southwest deserts, where it thrived.

7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

Image source: Pixabay.com

Aloe will grow in many parts of North America and can easily be grown as a houseplant. Its gelatinous pulp is often used as a treatment for burns and other skin conditions. It has been shown to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antioxidant properties.

Aloe also has high amounts of vitamins and minerals, and can be consumed with juice and some of the squeezed pulp. It contains eight essential amino acids not made by our bodies, plus a range of enzymes.

The following is a short list of conditions it can be used to treat:

External use as a pulp squeezed from the plant leaves:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Cuts
  • Sores
  • Boils
  • Warts
  • Scars
  • Herpes sores
  • Rashes
  • Poison ivy
  • Insect stings
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Hemorrhoids

Internal use in combination with water or juice:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Bloating
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Constipation
  • Colitis
  • Prostate health
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Immune system support
  • Detox

It was difficult to pick only seven natural remedies for this list, when you consider the healing properties of garlic, turmeric, ginger and numerous others. But given the number of benefits we’ve listed here, this is a good start. Stay well.

What old-fashioned remedies would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:

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

Everything You’ve Heard About Drinking Whole Milk Is Wrong

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Everything You've Heard About Drinking Whole Milk Is Wrong

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Skim. Low fat. Two percent. One percent. What type of milk do you choose for your family? If you are like most Americans, you steer clear of whole milk, believing that it contains too much fat and calories.

Since the early 1970s, whole milk has been criticized by scientists and nutritionists for its high content in saturated fats, which have been believed to lead to weight gain, and because of its high LDL level (or bad cholesterol level), which has been thought to contribute to heart disease.

According to the USDA, sales of whole fat milk sales decreased by more than 60 percent between 1975 and 2014. During the same period, on the other hand, sales of 2 percent milk increased by almost 106 percent, and sales of 1 percent and skim milk soared by about 170 percent and 156 percent, respectively.

Some critics have called a glass of whole milk no better than a glass of liquid fat. Others have said that whole milk consumption can be a contributing factor to the onset of diabetes.

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However, recent studies are showing that we have been sold a bill of goods where whole milk is concerned, and that drinking whole milk actually may be better for you than drinking low fat or non-fat milk. Here’s one reason: The fat content in milk helps bind its other ingredients, such as calcium and vitamins, so that the body can absorb them more efficiently, studies show.

A recent article published in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that people who consume full-fat dairy products, including whole milk, are not more likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes than people who consume low-fat dairy products.

Dr. Mario Kratz, first author of the study review and a nutrition scientist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, reviewed 25 studies for the published research. In a press release accompanying the review, he reported that none of the research suggested that low-fat dairy is healthier or is better for humans in terms of obesity.

Everything You've Heard About Drinking Whole Milk Is Wrong

Image source: flickr

A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care in 2013 reviewed the dairy consumption and obesity rates of about 1,500 middle-aged and senior adults. It found that those people who frequently consumed full-fat dairy products had lower obesity rates than those who consumed low-fat dairy products.

How is it that a food with more calories can be better for maintaining a healthy weight? The answer lies in the fact that not all calories are the same. Kratz and his team theorized that the fatty acids in whole dairy products help you stay fuller longer and thus eat less in the long run. Dairy fat may also help the body regulate hormones and help your body burn energy.

Everything You Need To Know To Keep A Cow Healthy, Happy, And Productive…

United States commercial dairies process milk of all fat contents similarly. The cream is separated from the whey. With the exception of skim milk, the cream is then added back in. Low-fat milk contains 1 percent or 2 percent fat, and whole milk contains 3.25 percent fat. (Of course, if you drink raw milk, you don’t have to worry about that.)

Not surprisingly, the taste of low fat and skim milk is less rich and creamy than low fat varieties Frequently, dairies add flavors to low-fat and skim milk to make up for the loss of taste when the fat is removed. In those cases, the sugar content can increase by as much as 14g per eight ounce serving.

Whole milk contains fewer carbohydrates than low fat or skim milk because more of its volume contains fat. Whole milk also contains slightly less protein than low fat or nonfat options.

Recent research also shows that the saturated fats in whole milk may protect against certain diseases and are not associated with heart disease as previously thought.

If are concerned about the use of growth hormones or antibiotics in commercial dairies, check out organic milk options at your grocery store. You also could consider purchasing your cow’s milk straight from a dairy farmer whose cows are raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics.

Scientific recommendations vary on how much milk we should drink on a daily basis. The Harvard School of Public Health, for instance, recommends consuming one or two servings a day of milk and dairy products. On the other hand, the International Food Information Council’s latest dietary guidelines suggest three servings of milk, or of an equivalent dairy product per day.

How much milk you should drink each day may be unclear, but it does appear that drinking whole milk is something you can put back into your diet in moderation without any misgivings.

Do you believe whole milk is healthy? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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How Cherokees Used Trees of Southern Appalachia for Food, Medicine, and Craft

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by Todd Walker

How Cherokees Used Trees of Southern Appalachia for Food, Medicine, and Craft - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Foraging wild food requires practice, knowledge, and experience on your landscape. Notice I used the word your land. What you’ve read in books and watched on YouTube may not apply to your locale. While survival principles may never change, self-reliance is local.

Many of us are self-taught in skills of wilderness living. However, one way to shorten your learning curve is to find an experienced skills practitioner in your area who is actually Doing the Stuff. After receiving instruction, you gain knowledge. Knowledge weighs nothing but is not enough. You make knowledge applicable through time and experience and context. There is no substitute for time in your woods.

I had the recent pleasure of attending my third class at Medicine Bow, A Primitive School of Earthlore in the North Georgia Mountains. If you look up Renaissance Man in the dictionary, Mark Warren’s bio should appear, but won’t. He’s not only a walking encyclopedia of woods-lore, he won the U.S.National Champion in Slalom/Downriver combined and the World Championship Longbow Tournament in 1999. On top of his wealth of outdoor knowledge, he is also a musical composer and published author.

Mark’s knowledge of the Cherokee uses of plants and trees is the foundation for anyone interested in wilderness living and self-reliance. I wrote him an email after the class asking assistance on a question for this article. I wanted to know the degree to which Cherokees depended on domesticated crops verses wild foods.

Mark’s response:

“Everyone knows about Cherokee farming and the 3 sisters (corn, squash, and beans), but the wild growth of forest and field was actually “farmed” too, by pruning or clearing for light. For example, swamp dogwoods were pruned to encourage survival shoots for basketry and arrow shafts. Large areas along flood plains were burned to help create a monopoly of river cane (for the same two crafts). A lot of those “brakes” can still be seen. The same is true of foods. I have a sense of why Amicalola was sacred to the Cherokee. I suspect it was for the prolific sochani that grows there. It’s also called green-headed coneflower. Cherokee women in NC still harvest it in spring and freeze for the year.”

Click here for more information on Sochani (Green-Headed Coneflower).

Think about this astounding bit of research…
“The Cherokees of the 19th century are listed as having around 800 plants in their repertoire (Mooney, 1992). This from a pool of about 2,400 species of plants to work from or about a third!” ~ Source

Every year I add more plants and trees to my food-medicine-craft list. But 800! I’ve got a lot to learn and experience.

“In the school of the woods, there is no graduation day.” 

~ Horace Kephart

Trees of Southern Appalachia

Wild plant foragers get excited this time of the year. Green shoots make their way through the soil for another growing season. Autumn turns to winter and the smorgasbord disappears. But trees, they stand ready to share their resources year-round.

Winter tree identification would not be challenging if trees would stop dropping their leaves. Mark taught winter botany lessons which I had never been exposed to. Sharing all I learned would take several articles. For our purposes today, we will explore 3 of my favorite trees in my woods and how the Cherokee and settlers used them for food, medicine, and craft resources.

Tulip Tree

Misnamed Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), it is not a poplar at all. I’ve always called my favorite tree by its misnomer until I met Mark. His adamant stance on using Tulip Tree’s correct name makes sense. The inner bark (cambium) of true poplar trees (i.e. ~ Eastern Cottonwood – Populus deltoides) is edible. One may assume that the word Poplar tacked on the end of Tulip makes the cambium edible. It is not.

Related Resource: Trees for Self-Reliance

Food

The Tulip Tree, while not a nutritional powerhouse, is a favorite of mine mainly for craft and outdoor self-reliance. Tulip Tree blooms are a main source of nectar for honey bees which produces a dark, amber honey loaded with antioxidants.

  • The only part of a Tulip Tree that I know is edible is the nectar in the flowering blooms.

Medicine

Tulip Tree’s inner bark and leaves were used medicinally by the Cherokee and settlers in Appalachia for treating…

  • Poultice from leaves for inflammation and sores.
  • Inner bark tea for periodic fevers, diarrhea, pinworms, as a digestive aid and for rheumatic pain.
  • Supposedly, inner bark was chewed as an aphrodisiac.
  • The bark could also serve as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria.
  • Tooth aches.
  • Used as a tonic to induce perspiration to treat fevers.
  • Root bark and seeds useful as a wormer for the body.
  • Cough syrup from bark.

Craft

  • Fire Craft ~ Wood for friction fire, inner bark for tinder, hot, quick burning firewood which does not produce long-lasting coals like other hardwoods.
  • Cordage ~ Inner bark fibers can be processed into cordage and rope.
When Primitive Skills and Prepping Have Sex | www.TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Indigenous cordage: Clockwise from 12:00 ~ Dogbane; Tulip Tree; Okra, and Yucca.

  • Containers ~ Outer bark crafted into berry baskets, arrow quivers, and larger pack baskets.
  • Carving ~ The soft hardwood lends itself to easy carving of spoons, bowls, pottery paddles, canoe paddles, and even the canoe itself. One common name of this tree is Canoe Wood.
This design will be carved into the Tulip Tree and used to imprint designs on primitive process pottery.

This design will be carved into the Tulip Tree paddle and used to imprint designs on primitive process pottery.

  • Insulation ~ Shredded inner bark can be stuffed between layers of clothing to create dead air space to retain body heat in a survival situation.
  • Roofing/Siding ~ Outer bark slabs used for shingles and siding on shelters.

Hickory

Hickories make excellent wildlife resource as squirrels and feral pigs love to eat their nut meat. Pignut (Carya glabra), Mockernut (Carya tomentosa), and Shagbark (Carya ovata) are the three hickories I’m most familiar with in Georgia, Mockernut being the most common.

Food

  • Sap ~ Sap water from hickories can be consumed without treatment.
  • Nuts ~ Contains fats (18g/serving), protein (3.6g/serving), and carbohydrates (5 g/serving) – Serving size = 1 oz.
  • Hickory syrup from crushed and processed nuts.
  • Cooking oil from nuts.
  • Kunuche (ku-nu-che) ~ A traditional Cherokee hickory nut soup.
  • Nuts with exterior husks are useful as charcoal for cooking food.
Scott Jones using hickory nuts as charcoal

Scott Jones (Media Prehistoria) using hickory nuts as charcoal.

  • Hickory Milk ~ “They pound them to pieces, and then cast them into boiling water, which, after passing through fine strainers, preserves the most oily part of the liquid; this they call by a name which signifies hiccory milk; it is as sweet and rich as fresh cream, and is an ingredient in most of their cookery, especially homony and corn cakes.” – Source

Medicine

  • Infusion of boiled bark for arthritis pain.
  • Inhaling fumes of young shoots on hot rocks as a treatment for convulsions.
  • Cold remedy
  • Liver aid
  • Gynecological aid
  • Dermatological issues

Craft

How to Handcraft a Custom Ax Handle from a Tree - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

This ax handle started out as the hickory tree pictured in the background

Hickory was used by the Cherokee’s for…

  • Stickball sticks
  • Crafting bows
  • Handles – (Here’s my tutorial on carving an ax handle from hickory)
  • Firewood
  • Smoking meats
  • Furniture
  • Inner bark of Mockernut and Shellbark Hickory used to finish baskets
  • Ashes from hickory were used by settlers to make quality lye for soap.
  • Inner bark used for cordage. Mark described a method of slicing down a hickory limb to remove the bark and twisting it to make a strong rope. I’ll explore that method in a later post.
  • Green nut husks used as dye – (My bed sheet tarp was dyed with hickory and black walnut dye)
  • Nut oil mixed with bear fat as an insect repellent.

Pine

There are 36 pines in North America to choose from. These evergreens are easy to spot for anyone. To narrow down the species, count the needles. The Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is the only species with 5 needles in the fascicle sheath (the paper-like sheath surrounding the base of the needles).

How Cherokees Used Trees of Southern Appalachia for Food, Medicine, and Craft - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Hemlock is a part of the pine family and grows in southern Appalachia. Like other pines in our region, the inner bark is edible.

Food

  • Pine nuts are edible and tasty.
  • Inner bark was eaten when other foods were scarce. Should be boiled/cooked since it is high in turpenes. Can also be dried and ground into a flour.
  • Pine pollen can be collected and is edible and used like flour.
  • Long strips of inner bark can be boiled to make pine noodles.

Medicine

  • Pine needle tea has the following medicinal properties: antiseptic, astringent, inflammatory, antioxidant, expectoranthigh in Vitamin C for colds – flu – coughs, congestion, and even scurvy.
  • Shikimic acid, the main ingredient in Tamiflu, is harvested from pine needles in Asia.
  • Pine resin applied to skin conditions.
  • Arthur Haines describes on his YouTube channel how pine pollen provides multiple avenues of protection against radioactive cesium.
  • Warm poultice of pine resin will draw splinters and foreign matter from skin.
  • The inner bark can be fashioned as an antiseptic Band Aid for cuts and scraps
  • Chew softer sap straight off the tree like a gum for sore throats and colds. You could pre-make “gum” with these ingredients: bees-wax, pine sap, and honey.

Craft

See more useful fire craft articles on our Bombproof Fire Craft page.

  • Wood for shelters and bows for bedding.
  • Rescue Signals ~ A pre-made signal fire built with green pine boughs on top will generate enough white smoke to be seen for miles.
  • Pine needles were used to make baskets and resin was used as a sealer.
  • Logs were used in home building.
  • White pine and hemlock are both good wood for friction fire.
  • Dried and ground hemlock inner bark used as flour.
  • Dried pine “flour” is useful when rubbed on the body to cover human scent while hunting.

Mark says that Cherokees called trees “The Standing People.” Trees do not walk to new locations like animals in search of food. They are always in the same spot. Learning to identify trees and their resources will put you in a better position of appreciation and stewardship of your natural environment.

To mention all the trees used by the Cherokee would be better addressed in book form. In this article, we’ve highlighted three of my favorite trees in our woodlands. I’ll write future blogs covering more. Here’s a teaser on future posts… Dogwood, Sourwood, Basswood, Black Walnut, Persimmon, Beech, Black Cherry, and the list continues.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

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