The Science Behind How Colloidal Silver Is Made: Getting Less Ionic Silver

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If you have ever been curious as to how colloidal silver is made, and the science behind it all, you’ve come to the right place! Since there is a lot of confusing misinformation about colloidal silver out there, we’ve created a handy guide in the form of a series of articles to help you make the right decision about colloidal silver.

Since metallic silver is what we want when using colloidal silver as a supplement, when creating the colloid, we want as little ionic silver in the mixture as possible.  If you read the previous article on colloidal silver, you should already understand that ionic silver is less desirable as an antimicrobial supplement because of the missing election. Since ionic silver is missing an electron from its outer orbit, it easily bonds to chloride in the body creating silver chloride. The body then expels the compound through urine providing few, if any microbial benefits.

So how exactly is an effective silver colloid made?  That’s where things get a little more scientific. While a colloid can have many forms, colloidal silver is one type of colloid that consists of solid particles suspended in a liquid. The solid, in this case, is very small particles (not individual atoms of silver, but clusters of atoms which create particles) of metallic silver and the liquid is water. The “very small particles” in this context refer to particles whose diameter is measured in nanometers.  A silver colloid then must have silver particles in suspension. However, Colloidal silver also contains another form of silver called ions. The difference between solutions, colloids, and suspensions is defined by the size of the particles in the liquid.

Since we are focusing on colloidal silver, a colloid contains silver nanoparticles ranging in size from 10-9 m to 10-6 m (1 nm to 1000 nm). A one-nanometer silver particle consists of 31 silver atoms.  The diameter of a single silver atom is .288nm.

Colloidal silver is made when an electric current is passed through a series circuit consisting of a silver electrode and de-ionized (DI) water.  The current can be either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). The current flow causes Ag0 (metal) and Ag+ (ions) to migrate from the electrode into the DI water. AC processes tend to be more efficient than DC in limiting the ionic concentration. It is generally assumed that water ionizes to H + and OH- and that the H +, in the form of the hydronium ion, H3O +, migrates to the cathode, where it is reduced to hydrogen gas, H2, which is liberated. The electrons taken from the cathode are replaced at the anode when Ag metal goes into solution as Ag+.

Therefore, colloidal silver consists of silver in two distinctly different forms, metallic silver particles, and silver ions. The total amount of silver that is reported as the silver concentration (in parts per million) is the sum total of the silver contained in the particles and the silver contained in the silver ions.  Typically, silver ions make up 75 to 99 percent of the total silver while only 1 to 25 percent of the total silver is metallic particles.

A solution containing only ionic silver and no particles is not a colloid since there are no solid silver particles in suspension. On the other hand, if 100 percent of the silver was particles and no ions were present, the solution would be a pure colloid. One measure of the quality of a silver colloid is the percentage of silver particles. Ideally, all the silver content would be in the form of particles with no silver ions.

The good news there is it’s almost impossible to get argyria, colloidal silver’s only known side effect, by consuming silver ions. But ionic silver also won’t offer much in the way of antimicrobial benefits either. Accurate measurements of total silver content require the measurement by either atomic absorption or atomic emission of the silver atoms.

The diagram below shows the setup of a colloidal silver generator.  Remember: 9-volt batteries deliver DC.  As mentioned previously, to get more metallic silver, AC is more effective.  It’s also important to bear in mind that AC batteries are not actually batteries, but converters that create AC current out of DC battery supplies. AC can carry electricity several miles without the loss of power and can also be controlled to increase or decrease power with a transformer. An AC converter on a DC battery creates a more controllable AC energy source with the portability and self-contained benefits of a battery.

Since most manufacturers of colloidal silver do not list the concentration of metallic silver or ionic silver, there’s an observational way to note the difference. When looking at the advertised colloidal silver and the colloidal silver you create at home, you can easily tell by how it looks whether or not there’s a high concentration of ionic silver or metallic silver.  Ionic silver solutions should be clear (they look like water) or have a gold tint to them. The particles of ionic silver are too small to be seen except with an electron microscope. When ionic silver is created, bubbles will form on one or both of the silver wires. Colloidal silver is made from silver particles that are microscopic in size.  When creating colloidal silver, it will look like wisps of smoke emanating from one of the silver electrodes. The metallic silver particles will usually deliver a gray or silver tint to the solution.

It would be beneficial if colloidal silver manufacturers would list the concentration of ionic silver in their products, but until then, we’ll have to use our observational skills and decide based on appearance.

One of the purest silver collides can be found by clicking here. This particular brand also cites sources and attempts to educate the consumer.  You’ll note links to scientific articles below the image of their bottle which will also give you the information we are providing here. MesoSilver also labels the percentage of the metallic silver in their product vs. ionic silver so you’re a well-informed consumer.

In the next colloidal silver article, we will go into detail as to how and why silver particles are more effective than silver ions in the human body.

 

*This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to treat or diagnose. 

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Grapes of Youth: 11+ Age-Defying Reasons to Love This Plant

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I grew up picking muscadines, a local wild grape, in the woods around my home. The table grapes from the store were nice, but nothing beats a ripe muscadine. My wife disagrees, but as I tell her, “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love muscadines and those who are wrong.” She’s cute when she’s angry.

Anyway, let’s talk about grapes. Or rather, let’s talk about the plant as a whole. The grapevine has much more to offer besides fruit, and you might be surprised by some of its age-defying benefits.

Identification

Grape leaves come in a variety of shapes, which isn’t very sporting of them, if you ask me. They can be rounded, heart-shaped, lobed, hairy, smooth, toothed, etc. Determining the exact species can be maddening. Thankfully, grapes as a whole are easy to identify.

Grapes 1

Grapes 2Grapes grow on woody, clinging vines with tendrils, and they form clusters of berries. Well, I say they form clusters of berries. But anyone who has gone out to hunt wild grapes knows the frustration of coming across bare vine after bare vine. The sad truth is that less than half of the vines are female, and even those will only produce fruit sporadically.

The trick here in the Ozark Mountains is to just walk uphill of a non-fruiting vine. The seed that grew it probably rolled down from the momma plant just uphill. You can often find several generations of plants that have colonized a hillside, and chances are that several of them have decided to fruit that year. But let’s get back to plant identification.

The leaves are alternate and highly variable, as mentioned above. When you find a leaf growing on one side of the stem, you’ll often find it opposite a tendril. The tendrils can be single or forked.

Grapes 3

If you find a woody vine without tendrils, it’s not a grape. It could be the dangerous look-alike, moonseed. Another way to tell is that grapes have multiple, ovoid seeds (not counting seedless grapes), while moonseed has a single, crescent moon–shaped seed.

Grapevines are fairly adaptable, in terms of environment. Given their choice, they’ll take full sunlight, a generous amount of water, and soil with good drainage. They can be found in thickets, fencerows, woods, and forest edges. They grow in all of the contiguous United States and in the eastern half of Canada. Cultivated and wild grapes can also be found in many locations worldwide, particularly in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.

Edible Uses

We all know how to eat grapes. Make them into juice, jelly, wine, or raisins, or just eat them whole. Cultivated grapes are usually sweeter than their wild counterparts. Some wild grapes, however, such as my native muscadines, are especially sweet and tasty.

Grape leaves can also be eaten in a variety of ways. Raw is an option, though I find this method to be the least palatable. The young leaves are fine on a sandwich or in a salad. They could also be boiled for 10-15 minutes and served with butter. I like to add them in with a taco salad. Older leaves will need more boiling, and you will hit a point where they’re just too tough to be worth the trouble. But it’s up to you exactly when that point is.

Dolmas

The most well-known edible use of grape leaves is probably in dolmas. Dolmas are stuffed vegetable, rice, and/or meat dishes that use grape leaves as wraps. Just parboil the leaves for a minute or two. Then dip them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Now you can place a spoonful of whatever filling you like onto each leaf and wrap them up like burritos. You can eat them as they are, or place them in the oven for additional baking. Bigger leaves are a lot easier to work with here.

Grapes 4

Leaf Chips

Another tasty option is leaf chips. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place your grape leaves in a bowl and lightly coat them with olive oil. Next, spread them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, or the seasoning of your choice. Place them in the oven and let them cook for about 10 minutes. Give it a try.

Grapes 5

The seeds can be pressed for their oil, which is edible and also used in herbal skin applications. Infused grape-seed oil is considered fairly ideal for already oily or blemished skin. It is absorbed quickly and leaves no oily residue.

The sap is edible as well. It could just be a lifesaver if you’re ever lost in the woods and in need of a clean water source.

Medicinal Uses

Resveratrol

Now we get to the really exciting part. In terms of medical properties, grapevines are a veritable fountain of youth. In particular, the chemical resveratrol can help to prevent almost all age-related chronic diseases, and may render many chronic diseases—such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, Type 2 diabetes, and osteo-arthritis—reversible.1)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.2)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

In one study, middle-aged male mice were fed a high-calorie diet, and were then given resveratrol. While the resveratrol did not keep them from gaining weight or help them lose weight, it did protect them from the negative effects associated with the weight gain. And not only were they protected from weight- and age-associated health problems, but also their health and mobility steadily improved until their test results were within the same range as the control group of normally fed mice.3)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Resveratrol seems to be able to mimic the effects of a calorie-restrictive diet, tricking our bodies into aging more slowly.4) Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. The science on this isn’t completely settled, though it is a very encouraging idea.

Cancer

Resveratrol also has some rather promising anti-cancer properties, particularly as a preventative. It has been shown to interfere with the three major stages of tumor formation—initiation, promotion, and progression.5)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.6)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. In particular, resveratrol has been associated with a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer.7)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Oligomeric Procyanidins

While resveratrol gets most of the glory, grapes produce a number of health-supporting compounds, such as oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs). OPCs are highly antioxidant—many times more powerful than vitamins C and E.8)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.

These compounds are commercially extracted from seeds. However, they are 10-100 times more abundant in the leaves. And why buy a supplement when you can pick a leaf?

By the way, OPCs are especially antiviral toward dengue.9)Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging Resistant & Epidemic Viral Infections. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2013. So just tuck that little tidbit away in the event that you spend some time in a tropical region.

Circulatory System

The Vitis genus also seems to have a special affinity for the circulatory system. Many of its effects may be linked, directly or indirectly, to this affinity. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels, prevent blood clots, prevent and repair varicose veins, treat hemorrhoids, and protect against atherosclerosis.10)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.11)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.12)Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The Worlds Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014.

It also supports and protects the microvascular systems of the body, such as the delicate blood vessels in the eyes and fragile capillaries throughout the body. This circulation enhancement is used to treat macular degeneration and eye strain, and may help to prevent cataracts.13) Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.14)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.15)Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The Worlds Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014. Increased circulation to the brain may explain the neuroprotective benefits, such as its potential to help improve and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.16)Ma, Teng, Meng-Shan Tan, Jin-Tai Yu, and Lan Tan. Advances in Pediatrics. 2014. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4261550/.17)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.

Connective Tissue

Grapes and grape leaves strengthen, stabilize, and repair connective tissue throughout the body and have been used to help strengthen the intestinal walls to prevent or stabilize diverticular disease.18)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.19)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007. They also help to prevent bruising, particularly in the elderly.20)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. This may be related to the plant’s circulatory effects, connective tissue effects, or a combination of both.

Antimicrobial

Compounds within the grape plant also have selective antimicrobial properties—a dampening effect on pathogenic bacteria—while having only a minimal effect on healthy gut flora.21)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. They also have some antiviral properties, especially toward dengue, as mentioned above.22)Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging Resistant & Epidemic Viral Infections. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2013.

Other Properties

The leaves are astringent, anti-inflammatory, and help with asthma and allergies by reducing histamine production.23)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.24)Chevallier, Andrews. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. DK, 2000.25)Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The Worlds Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014. Leaf tea has traditionally been used for diarrhea, stomachache, thrush, hepatitis, and uterine bleeding.26)Chevallier, Andrews. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. DK, 2000.27)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Leaves have also been used as a poultice for rheumatism, headaches, fevers, and blisters on the feet.28)Chevallier, Andrews. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. DK, 2000.29)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Selecting Grapes

Medicinal properties tend to be stronger in grape varieties with darker fruit, though exceptions exist and growing conditions can also have an effect. Resveratrol production, for example, is greater in grapes that have had to endure a fungal attack.30)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Grapes that have been treated heavily with pesticides, such as most store-bought grapes, have fewer medicinal benefits.31)Magee, J.B. “J.B. Magee.” HortScience. April 01, 2002. Accessed May 23, 2018. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/37/2/358.short.

Resveratrol is usually associated with the skin of grapes, where it tends to be the most concentrated. However, resveratrol can also be found in significant quantities in the leaves, though this, too, depends on variety and growing conditions.

Method and Dosage

While the fruit gets the most glory, grape leaves contain the same medicinal compounds in varying proportions. Use whichever you prefer or whichever is available.

The leaves can be eaten directly or used in infusions or tinctures. Grapes are most famously used in wine, though juice can be used fairly interchangeably. The juice may even have longer-lasting antioxidant protection.32)Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014.

Due to the variability between grape varieties and species, recommending a standard dosage is problematic. This is one place where standardized supplements have an advantage over wildcrafting. My best advice would be to listen to your body. Try a bit every day and see how you feel in a couple of weeks. Up the amount as needed.

Also, resveratrol metabolizes quickly, so more frequent doses may be advisable. And, no, I’m not giving you permission to drink all the wine you want. A little wine is fine, but remember the non-alcoholic sources, as well.

Lastly, for maximum medicinal effect, consume grape products separately from fatty meals. Fats significantly reduce the bioavailability of resveratrol.33)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Caution

When combined with blood-thinning medications, grapes may increase the bleeding risks.34)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

I hope you’ll be motivated to ditch the pesticide-laden, store-bought grapes and grow some of your own.

Are you already growing grapes, or do you have any wild vines nearby? Let me know in the comments!

_______________________________________________________

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

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References   [ + ]

1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 18, 21, 30, 33. Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.
2, 11, 19, 23, 34. Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.
4. Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.
6. Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
8, 14, 17. Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.
9, 22. Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging Resistant & Epidemic Viral Infections. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2013.
12, 15, 25. Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The Worlds Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014.
13. Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.
16. Ma, Teng, Meng-Shan Tan, Jin-Tai Yu, and Lan Tan. Advances in Pediatrics. 2014. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4261550/.
20, 27, 29. Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
24, 26, 28. Chevallier, Andrews. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. DK, 2000.
31. Magee, J.B. “J.B. Magee.” HortScience. April 01, 2002. Accessed May 23, 2018. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/37/2/358.short.
32. Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014.

The post The Grapes of Youth: 11+ Age-Defying Reasons to Love This Plant appeared first on The Grow Network.

Why Your Medicinal Herb Kit Should Have Yarrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

From Dinner to Detox: 15+ Ways to Get Healthy With Cleavers

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This article on cleavers is one in a series on growing a weed garden, and how to identify and use the plants commonly found there. Check out the rest of the series here.

Plants are great, right? But you don’t always have time to go out and harvest them. Life gets busy. That’s why, today, I am bringing you a plant that is so easy to harvest, it picks itself.

Cleavers 1

Cleavers (Galium aparine), also known as goosegrass, clivers, clingers, and a whole host of other names, is an annual weed, growing about 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) tall. It has square stems, with 6 to 8 small, lance-shaped leaves arranged in a whorl1)Whorl: A leaf arrangement of three or more leaves around a single point. at the nodes.2) Node: A point along a plant’s stem at which one or more leaves or branches can form. Certain plants can also grow roots at nodes.

Cleavers 2

Cleavers produce tiny white flowers with four petals each. These turn into tiny, round, green, dry, bristly, 2-lobed fruit.

The entire plant is covered in tiny, curved prickles. They don’t hurt to touch, though they do feel very rough when you run your hand over them. Some stories name cleavers as the inspiration for Velcro. The tactile sensations are very similar.

Cleavers 3

Most of the common names for cleavers come from its prickly nature . . . except goosegrass. That’s just from watching the birds eat it.

You’ll find this plant growing in rich, moist soil; in thickets, the woods, or waste spaces; and probably in your yard if you don’t mow often, like me. It likes to form clusters, if given half a chance, and will recline on whatever vegetation is around it.

Cleavers 4

This little guy didn’t come up in my weed garden, but he’s reaching over to drop his seeds into it for next year’s crop. That’s so neighborly.

Cleavers’ combination of weak stems and clinginess make it a marvelous self-harvesting plant. You walk by and brush up against it. Then it grabs hold of your pant leg and hitches a ride to drop its seeds off somewhere down the line. It’s not a bad reproductive strategy, given that you can find cleavers all over North America, Europe, and many of the other temperate regions of the world, including Australia. Cleavers can be found in Greenland, in all of the southern provinces of Canada, and in every U.S. state except Hawaii. (Chin up, Hawaii. You have pineapples.)

Cleavers has such a wide growing range that telling you their growing season becomes tricky. April to September would not be an unreasonable generalization. But like anything else, it depends. Down south, you’ll get them popping up and fruiting a lot sooner. Here in my Arkansas yard, they’re definitely through with the flowering stage and have set their seeds. Give it another month and most of them will be gone with the heat. In cooler climates, you might have them all through the summer.

Edible Uses for Cleavers

Cleavers can be used to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. It’s supposed to taste just like coffee. They’re in the same family, so I guess that makes sense. Slow roast the seeds in your oven or on the stovetop until dark brown. They’re small, so watch that they don’t burn. Then, send them through your coffee grinder and prepare the grounds as you would regular coffee.

I’m not a fan, but I’m not a big coffee drinker to begin with. Give it a try, and then come back here to tell me what you think.

Other foragers will tell you how great the young shoots are when you cook them. Boil them for 10 to 15 minutes, then add them to omelets. Boil, then chill and add to salads. Enjoy the young tips raw, or boil and serve them with butter, etc.

I’m going to be honest with you: I’m not in with the majority here. I just don’t care for cleavers, raw or cooked. But I’ll tell you what I do enjoy. The juice! If you don’t have a juicer, just fill up your blender. Add a little water to help it get started, and then strain out the pulp when you’re done. Jelly straining bags work great. Or just use a clean sock. I won’t tell.

The juice doesn’t store well, so you’ll want to drink it right away. The taste is mild, green, and refreshing. Add a splash of lemon and apple juice to taste, and now you really have something special. The flavors mingle together and really complement one another. It’s a perfect drink for cooling down and reinvigorating yourself after a hard day of yard work.

Eat only the young shoots or growing tips. Ideally, you’d gather them before they flower. Older plants accumulate silica and are just too tough to eat. They’re still okay for juice and cleavers coffee, though.

Medicinal Properties of Cleavers

Cleavers are a general nutritive herb, and can be used safely for prolonged periods of time to support growth, renewal, and overall health.3)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.4)Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstars Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2009. The aerial5)Aerial: The aboveground parts of a plant. parts are used medicinally.

One of the more common uses of this herb is as a gentle diuretic. It helps to flush out and sooth irritations of the urinary tract and kidneys.6)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.7)Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstars Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2009. Cleavers tea is often recommended for dissolving kidney stones and for other urinary issues.8)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.9)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.

Cleavers are cooling herbs, useful for bringing down fevers and for helping skin conditions related to heat and dryness.10)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.11)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.12)Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2009. They are also strongly anti-inflammatory, which likely contributes to these successful uses.13)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

They are often taken for diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, and seborrhea.14)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016. Again, tea is a popular choice. Because this herb is gentle and safe, I would drink several glasses a day.

One of cleavers’ most impressive functions is as a liver protector. Most other liver herbs will support normal liver function or cleanse the liver, but cleavers has the ability to protect the liver from harm and to actually help the liver heal.15)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004. Herbs that do this are relatively few and far between, so it’s nice to make a mental note when you find one. (Milk thistle would be another example.)

Another equally impressive function of cleavers is as a lymph mover. It helps keep everything moving, clear swollen lymph glands, strengthen the immune system, and generally improve a wide range of lymphatic issues.16)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.17)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.18)Deane. “Goosegrass, Cleavers, Bedstraw.” Eat The Weeds and Other Things, Too. December 17, 2017. Accessed May 13, 2018. http://www.eattheweeds.com/galium-aparine-goosegrass-on-the-loose-2/.19)Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012.20)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. It’s an excellent tonic for the whole lymphatic system.21)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

In this respect, cleavers is much like pokeweed. But if you read my blog on that topic, you’ll remember that, while pokeweed is a powerful medicine, it doesn’t go out of its way to be user friendly. In fact, it’s quite dangerous. Cleavers offers a much safer alternative for this function, without sacrificing potency.

Read More: “Pokeweed: The Weed, the Myth, the Legend”

Cleavers’ detoxifying properties also give it a place in holistic cancer strategies.22)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.23)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. This is especially true of the juice.24)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.

Older plants are a source of silica. Silica is a compound that aids the body in innumerable ways, many of which we may not yet understand.25)Martin, K. R. “The Chemistry of Silica and Its Potential Health Benefits.” Advances in Pediatrics. Accessed May 14, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17435951/.

In Alternatives to Dentists, Doug Simons talks about the importance of silica for tooth health. His plant of choice, however, is a specific species of horsetail (Equisetum hyemale). If you’d like to learn more about Doug’s tried-and-true method of healing teeth and keeping them healthy, click here.

Amounts and Methods

Common methods of application are tea, powder, tincture, and juice. Fresh juice is generally considered to be the most potent, though you could also make an argument for the tincture. The juice can be frozen in ice cube trays, as mentioned above, and saved for later in the year. (Incidentally, this happens to be a nice dosing size.)

Younger plants are more potent for most medicinal applications. Once they start to flower or form their fruit, their energy goes into reproduction, and they become less potent.

However, if you’re looking for silica, everything is backwards. Older plants have more silica than younger ones, so don’t harvest those tender young shoots. Wait until they’re too tough to eat. A lot of that toughness is the silica.

The preferred methods are backwards, too. Fresh juice is okay, but if you strain out the pulp, you’re losing a lot of the silica-rich body of the plant. Dried plant powder is best because it retains the full silica content. It can be made into tea, or stirred into liquid and swallowed whole.

The following amounts and frequencies are fairly general. Consult an herbalist if you’d like to tailor a protocol to suit your particular needs.

Tincture of Fresh Plant

1:2 ration in 25% alcohol. Use 1–2 dropperfuls, up to 4x daily.

Fresh Plant Juice

Drink 1–2 Tbsp. (or the equivalent of one ice cube), as needed.

Infusion

Use 2–3 tsp. of dried herb. Pour boiling water over it and steep for 10–15 minutes. Drink 3 times per day, or as needed.

Powder (For Silica)

Stir 1–2 tsp. of powder into water. Drink it, powder and all, once or twice a day.

Cleavers has no reported drug interactions.26)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. However, as a diuretic it could theoretically amplify the effects of diuretic drugs. Also, cases of contact dermatitis from touching the sap have occasionally been reported.27)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

What are your experiences with using cleavers as food and/or medicine? Do you have any tips beyond what I included in this article? Leave me a note in the comments below!

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

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References   [ + ]

1. Whorl: A leaf arrangement of three or more leaves around a single point.
2. Node: A point along a plant’s stem at which one or more leaves or branches can form. Certain plants can also grow roots at nodes.
3, 11, 13, 20, 21, 23, 26. Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
4, 7. Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstars Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2009.
5. Aerial: The aboveground parts of a plant.
6, 10, 22, 27. Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
8, 14, 16, 24. Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.
9, 15, 17. Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.
12. Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2009.
18. Deane. “Goosegrass, Cleavers, Bedstraw.” Eat The Weeds and Other Things, Too. December 17, 2017. Accessed May 13, 2018. http://www.eattheweeds.com/galium-aparine-goosegrass-on-the-loose-2/.
19. Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012.
25. Martin, K. R. “The Chemistry of Silica and Its Potential Health Benefits.” Advances in Pediatrics. Accessed May 14, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17435951/.

The post From Dinner to Detox: 15+ Ways to Get Healthy With Cleavers appeared first on The Grow Network.

25+ Foods With More Sugar Than You Think

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Are the negative health effects of sugar starting to freak you out?

Maybe you’ve tossed your candy, cookies, and daily desserts aside in the interest of eating healthier. That’s a great start, but in all likelihood, it’s only making a dent in your overall sugar consumption.

The truth is, most processed foods have far more sugar than you would expect from their taste alone. Sugar is used both as a preservation agent and a flavor mask when companies pull the fat content out of food, meaning that even seemingly savory dishes like tomato soup can be loaded with a full day’s supply.

Today, the average adult consumes almost 32 teaspoons (126 grams) of added sugars a day, much of it in seemingly healthy foods. In contrast, the American Health Organization1)http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WgH1KWhSxPZ suggests that adults eat no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) a day. This means that most people are eating four or more times the sugar they should—and much of it comes in forms they aren’t even aware of.

Navigating this world of added sugar is anything but easy, as most food manufacturers are keen to keep you in the dark about what their products genuinely contain. Understanding where added sugar lurks in your daily diet is the first step toward cutting it out for good, and this article is designed to show you how.

But first, why is sugar so dangerous in the first place?

Why Is Sugar Bad for You?

It might be hard to think of your daily candy bar as devastating for your body, but health research consistently shows that sugar might be one of the most damaging substances you can consume. Because the human body evolved during a time when sugar was scarce, it’s hardly surprising that our bodies haven’t adjusted to the plentiful portions available today.

This means that the approximately 300 to 500 empty calories from sugar you eat daily may someday lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including type 2 (and 3) diabetes, cancer, cavities, broken bones, general malaise, and more. Sugar has been linked to most chronic diseases, and cutting down your consumption is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health.

Creating Marketing Tactics in the Sugar Industry

It’s wrong to assume that the added sugar in processed food is an innocent mistake; in contrast, it’s part of a concentrated effort by the food industry to get us comfortable consuming more of their products.

In many ways, parallels can be drawn between sugar lobbies and the tobacco industry2)https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry, as both invest billions of dollars to circumvent scientific research and find new ways to convince consumers that their products aren’t as dangerous as they seem.

For instance, during World War 1, sugar was advertised as a quick energy builder that could build muscles in minutes, making it a practically patriotic item to ration for America’s soldiers.3)https://food.avclub.com/how-wwi-food-propaganda-forever-changed-the-way-america-1798259481 Later, it was advertised almost exclusively as a “chemically pure food” because of the lack of other ingredients contaminating its chemical structure—that these missing components were essential vitamins and minerals was conveniently left out.4)http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sugar-as-diet-aid-ads-2014-10.

Finally, rebranding sugar as a “carbohydrate” moved it from the realm of dessert to the largest food group. Most people know that they are supposed to eat several servings of carbs each day, and putting refined sugar into the same nutritional category as brown rice makes it seem significantly less threatening.5)https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/

Thanks in part to this clever marketing, Americans have moved from consuming 60 pounds of sugar a year in the 1920s to over 130 pounds annually today.6)https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/ And in most cases, this sugar isn’t coming from homemade cookies—it’s found in a pernicious variety of hidden forms on supermarket shelves.

Where Is ‘Hidden’ Sugar Most Common?

It’s usually bad for business if companies let on about how much sugar their products contain, so the food industry has devised clever ways of concealing the sugar content in food. Today, there are almost 40 industrial names for sugar, including brown rice syrup, carob syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, and more.7)https://www.rodalewellness.com/food/scary-sugar-statistics A cursory look at a food label often isn’t enough to track all these sugar references, which is what companies rely on to get their product in your shopping cart.

These 25 foods may shock you with their sugar content, and finding ways to quarter your daily consumption might come down to addressing their role in your diet today.

Remember: your daily sugar consumption should be around 30 grams, meaning many of these foods can put you close to the limit with a single serving.

#1. Barbeque Sauce

While this savory seasoning is synonymous with picnics and roasted meats, it packs a punch of sugar that will likely surprise you. Just one tablespoon contains at least 6 grams, and even a modest plate of ribs will quickly pile on 20 grams or more.

#2. Flavored Yogurt

Though touted as a health food, overly flavored yogurt can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Fruit-filled flavors and brands marketed toward children tend to be the sweetest, and beware any advertised as “low fat.” It’s common for companies to make up for lost flavor in low-fat varieties by filling the void with added sugars instead, meaning the “healthier” product often has the same number of calories as the full-fat version. Many yogurts contain between 19 and 33 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, making your “healthy” snack little better than a scoop of ice cream.

A better option? Buy your yogurt plain and add in your own fruit.

#3. Pasta Sauce

Few people think of spaghetti sauce as a sweet topping, but processed tomato products are notorious for being off the charts with their sugar content. While some of this sugar comes naturally from the tomatoes, it’s also added as a preservative and flavor enhancer. A single half-cup serving can contain 12 grams of sugar or more, and the damage is multiplied when you pair it with a starchy pasta that quickly breaks down into simple sugars in your digestive system.

#4. Soda

You know that soda contains tons of added sugar, but the overall amounts may still be shocking. A single 8-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 29 grams, and a medium-sized fast food drink has 44 grams.

Even worse? Energy drinks.

These caffeinated cans are veritable sugar bombs, and some brands pack in 83 grams of sugar per serving.

#5. Agave

Being found in “healthy” foods doesn’t make this natural sweetener any better for your body than traditional table sugar. In fact, agave is 85 percent fructose, meaning that it strains your body when the liver metabolizes it. Despite convincing marketing by agave suppliers, your body is better equipped to handle sucrose-based cane sugar (though neither form has many redeeming qualities for your health).

#6. Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be an ideal health food, but instant packets are usually stuffed with added sugar—as much as 15 grams per serving. For a healthier option that still has enough sweetness to keep you satisfied, opt for plain oatmeal and add fresh apple slices and cinnamon.

#7. Granola Bars (and Granola in General)

More often than one would prefer, granola bars are merely rebranded candy bars. Their chocolatey coatings can quickly add up to 12 grams or more of added sugar, and even “naked” varieties usually contain concentrated servings of fruit mixed with honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, and other sweeteners.

A bowl of granola can be equally damaging with 10 grams of sugar or more per half cup, and it’s all too easy to eat multiple servings in a single sitting. If you simply need to satisfy your sweet tooth, toss a small handful into your plain yogurt to ensure you maintain a healthy serving size.

#8. Breakfast Cereal

As with granola, almost all cereal brands are bad news for your sugar levels. Even “adult” brands like Raisin Bran contain 18 grams per cup (with about 9 grams of that coming from the raisins)[ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/hemi-weingarten/raisin-bran-deconstructed_b_552981.html], meaning that you can easily get much of your sugar content for the day within an hour of waking up.

#9. Salad Dressing

What’s the easiest way to compromise the nutritional content of your salad? Coat it in sugary dressings. Sweet, fruity vinaigrettes can pass on 5 to 7 grams of sugar in just two tablespoons, turning your healthy salad into an unexpected sugar bomb. To avoid the threat, use a light homemade vinegar dressing and toss in some fresh fruit instead.

#10. Dried Fruit

As healthy as it sounds, dried fruit can quickly cause you to overload on sugar. Most brands list sugar as their second ingredient, and a 1/3 cup serving can quickly top 24 grams. You aren’t much safer if you stick to brands without added sugar, as the drying process concentrates fruit sugars in each piece, meaning that a half cup of dried apples can contain the same amount of sugar as two to three fresh ones, or 40 to 60 grams of sugar.

#11. Coleslaw

It turns out this supposedly healthy side dish is often anything but. A standard serving can contain at least 15 grams of sugar, usually because of the sugary vinaigrette that the cabbage gets drenched in. The good news? Making your own lets you control the sugar content and can let you keep this dish in your food repertoire.

#12. Bottled Tea

Staying away from juice and soda might be second nature for you, but it’s easy to forget that bottled sweet tea can be just as damaging. Many brands contain upwards of 32 grams per bottle, maxing out your sugar quota for the day in a single carton. A better choice is brewing your own and adding lemon juice for flavor instead of sweeteners.

#13. Ketchup

French fries’ favorite companion boasts an impressive sugar content. At 4 grams per tablespoon, it’s best to keep in mind that those squirts add up. For sugar-free flavor, stick to mustard or malt vinegar instead.

#14. Sushi

What could be unhealthy about rice and vegetables? In truth, cheap supermarket sushi contains much more than these wholesome ingredients. Sushi rice usually contains added sugar, and the imitation crab meat, sweet and sour sauces, and rice vinegar all lead to 2 to 4 grams of sugar per piece. If you wish to indulge, stick with high-quality sushi and sashimi instead.

#15. Smoothies

The term “smoothie” can refer to anything from a wheatgrass blend to pureed frozen yogurt, so making comprehensive statements about their sugar content is close to impossible. To keep yourself from sipping on a sugar trap, stick with homemade varieties that rely on plain yogurt and fruits and vegetables for nutrition. Otherwise, you risk having your “health drink” really be a fruity form of ice cream.

#16. Most Bread

It’s no surprise that white bread is filled with sugar, but the amount in most “healthy” breads may astound you. Many wheat breads are only brown because of caramel coloring, and a single sandwich can give you 3 to 5 grams of sugar from the bread alone. Be especially careful with premade sandwiches in the supermarket deli—many contain sugary dressings to remove bitter tastes. Bagels, muffins, and English muffins are even more sugar prone, especially if you top them with jam or peanut butter.

#17. Canned Baked Beans

Most canned foods have the potential to be a disaster for your health, but baked beans are especially notorious for their sugar content, which can top 30 grams per can. The good news is that making your own is easy, and the results are far more tasty and nutritious than their canned counterparts.

#18. Fruity Muffins

Despite its name, an apple-oatmeal muffin is rarely a health food. Many commercial muffins have quadrupled in size in the past decades, and their sugar content has increased to the point that they are basically personal-sized cakes. Treat these muffins like the dessert they really are by eating them in moderation.

#19. Alcohol

Mixed drinks pack a major punch of added sugar into your daily life, and overindulging on Friday nights won’t do your body any favors. One pint of hard cider can contain 20 grams or more of sugar, and sweet white wines can top 6 grams per glass. If you must imbibe, stick to dry red wines, as they tend to have less sugar—or fully fermented white or red wines[http://www.dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork], which are statistically sugar free.

#20. Canned Soup

It goes without saying that canned soup is high in sodium, but this classic processed food also contains more than its fair share of sweeteners. Like salt, sugar works as a preservative to extend soup’s shelf life, and a single can often contains 15 grams or more. In fact, canned tomato soup easily tops 25 grams per serving, so you might be better off leaving it on the shelf.

#21. Frozen Dinners

Who knew meat and veggies could be so sweet? It’s shocking how much sugar can be found in these classic convenience foods, but one look at labels reveals that 30 to 40 grams of sugar per serving isn’t uncommon, WITHOUT counting the dessert.

#22. Natural Fruit Juice

It’s clear to most that it’s best to avoid high fructose corn syrup, but even natural sugars can have negative effects on your body. Eating a piece of fresh fruit provides your body with fiber, but just drinking the juice gives your system a rush of sugar that’s hard to process. Just one cup of unsweetened apple juice provides 25 grams of sugar.

#23. Canned Fruit

Canned fruit companies seemingly never got the memo that fruit is naturally sweet, because most forms are loaded with sugar-filled juices and syrups that act as preservatives. A single cup of canned fruit contains 30 grams or more of sugar, meaning you might as well eat seven Oreos and be done with it.

#24. Instant Gravy

Does your meatloaf really need an injection of extra sugar? Then stay away from instant gravy. In fact, since many types also contain palm oil and artificial colors and preservatives, sugar might be the safest ingredient in this side dish. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to skip out on the 2 grams of sugar per serving it contains.

#25. Peanut Butter

Though peanut butter sandwiches are a staple of childhood, many brands contain over 3 grams of sugar per serving. To avoid any added ingredients, stick to natural brands, and top your sandwich with fresh fruit, not jelly.

Bonus: #26. Infant Formula

Does your newborn baby need sugar? Then why on earth is it an ingredient in many infant formulas? Many U.S. formula brands contain corn syrup and sugar, but these companies often aren’t required to list their nutritional information.8)http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html However, research shows that many brands include around 3 grams of sugar per serving.

Because sugar addiction starts young and can last for life, it’s important to think twice before feeding sweetened formula to your infant.

Less Sugar = Better Health

Hidden sugar is found in almost every processed food available today, but there’s a lot you can do to keep your levels in check and avoid the chronic disease it causes.

By avoiding these 25 sugar bombs in the grocery store, you can dramatically lower your daily consumption … and enjoy the sugar that you do you consume with more gusto—and better health.Save

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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WgH1KWhSxPZ
2. https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry
3. https://food.avclub.com/how-wwi-food-propaganda-forever-changed-the-way-america-1798259481
4. http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sugar-as-diet-aid-ads-2014-10
5, 6. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/
7. https://www.rodalewellness.com/food/scary-sugar-statistics
8. http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html

The post 25+ Foods With More Sugar Than You Think appeared first on The Grow Network.

Cancer’s #1 Favorite Food

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There’s a lot of controversy surrounding cancer and what causes it, but everyone seems to agree on at least one thing:

Treating cancer is expensive. Preventing it can be a lot cheaper.

Nearly 1.6 million Americans faced a cancer diagnosis in 2014 (the most recent year for which numbers are available),1)https://nccd.cdc.gov/USCSDataViz/rdPage.aspx with a cost of care that, in some cases, ranged upwards of $115,000.2)https://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html

Yet, while study after study has shown that diet plays a major role in whether a person gets cancer, and that people tend to make healthier food choices when they’re eating at home,3)https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/01/16/american-adults-are-choosing-healthier-foods-consuming-healthier Americans allocate less money toward food consumed at home than pretty much anyone else in the world. For example, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service,4)https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx we spend 6.4 percent of our income on eating at home, while the Finnish spend twice that and the Venezuelans spend triple that percentage.

And it’s not just people in other countries who spend more of their income on food. Our grandparents did, too. Back in 1960, Americans spent about 17.5 percent of their income on all food—including what they ate at home and what they ate out. Now, we spend about 10 percent of our income on eating, regardless of where it takes place.5)http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do

These numbers represent a disturbing shift in our national mindset. We’ve moved from a time when soils were healthier and food was more nutritious and generally less processed—but more expensive—to the present day, when the soils used in commercial agriculture are more depleted, the produce grown in them is less nutritious, and widely available foods are more processed—but also more affordable.

Simply put, Americans are not used to paying what high-quality food costs anymore.

Even people with access to sustainably produced, locally grown food via a farmer’s market, natural grocery store, or CSA often struggle with the cost. These products are more expensive to grow or raise—and therefore more expensive to buy.

But even though processed, packaged foods are sometimes cheaper than their sustainably produced, whole-food alternatives, their true cost can be astronomical.

According to Dr. Raymond Francis, author of Never Fear Cancer Again, disease has only two possible causes: toxicity and malnutrition.

The foods that increase cancer risk often contribute to both.

The bottom line is that we can pay more now for healthier foods and the deeper nutrition and reduced toxicity that come with them—whether we’re paying financially or, if we’re backyard food producers, through an investment of time and energy—or we can pay more later to treat the diseases that can stem from malnutrition and toxicity. As one young TEDx speaker, Birke Baehr, put it back in 2011, “We can either pay the farmer, or we can pay the hospital.”6)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvVZwJbs54c

In the end, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer is by eating the diet we all know we should—filled with high-quality vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.

If you’re not quite there yet, and you’re interested in reducing your risk of cancer by cleaning up your diet, the following list of carcinogenic (or potentially carcinogenic) foods is a good place to start. You can improve your health even further by replacing them with foods from our list of 30+ Cancer-Fighting Foods.

One final note: As you read this list, remember the old adage that “the dose makes the poison.” Even water, which everyone would agree is absolutely essential for life, can kill you if you drink too much at once.7)https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill While it’s best to avoid these foods on a consistent basis, most of them probably won’t hurt you if they’re consumed every once in a while. After all, what’s a BLT without the bacon?

  • Sugar: Cancer has a favorite food. It’s sugar. Without it, cancer cells can’t grow and spread—in fact, they need almost 50 times more sugar to function than regular cells, according to Dr. Nasha Winters, author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. In addition, up to 80 percent of cancers are fueled by glucose and insulin, in one way or another.8)http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/recent-observations-indicate-cancer-cells-readily-utilize-fructose-support-proliferation-and It’s easy to see why too much sugar in the diet is a very bad thing. In fact, the less refined sugar, the better!
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Our bodies turn the ethanol in alcoholic drinks into acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. In addition to damaging the body’s DNA and keeping cells from being able to perform repairs, alcohol also increases estrogen levels in the blood (a contributor to breast cancer), prevents the body from absorbing several nutrients, and may contain carcinogenic contaminants.9)https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#q3 It should be noted, however, that red wine contains resveratrol, a substance that has been shown to have anticancer properties.10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123566 While the substance itself has been widely studied, only a few studies have looked at whether drinking red wine reduces a person’s cancer risk.
  • Tobacco: This one’s no surprise. While tobacco is lovely when used for plant gratitude, and Native American cultures believe it offers its own gift of interpretation to help with disputes, it can wreak havoc on a person’s body when it’s smoked or chewed. Smoking tobacco, inhaling secondhand smoke, or using smokeless tobacco—whether chewing tobacco or snuff—all put loads of carcinogenic chemicals into your body.11)https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
  • Processed Meats: Defined as any meat that’s been preserved through curing, being salted or smoked, or by other means, processed meats include bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats including corned beef, salami, pepperoni, capocollo, bologna, mortadella, and ham. They are categorized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “carcinogenic to humans.”12)https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf Scientists suspect that the nitrite preservatives contained in processed meats are what causes the harm. The body can convert these nitrites into N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which damage cells in the bowel lining. To heal the damage, cells replicate more often, which in turn provides more opportunities for DNA replication errors.
  • Red Meat: Beef, lamb, and pork contain heme iron, a naturally occurring red pigment that helps form carcinogenic compounds in the body and has toxic effects on cells and genes.13)http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177 It’s important to note that, in their research, scientists are lumping industrially produced red meat together with meat from animals raised on a natural, healthy diet. There’s no discussion in the scientific community on whether meat of healthier animals—such as cows fed and finished on grass—has the same negative effects.
  • Charred Meats: Grilling meat at high temperatures can produce heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines, both of which can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.14)http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
  • Salt-Preserved Foods: In addition to the processed, salt-cured meats mentioned above, this category includes salted fish and some pickled vegetables. The IARC lists Chinese-style salted fish as carcinogenic, but hasn’t yet made a determination on whether other types of salted fish increase the risk of cancer in humans.
  • Coffee: Is it, or isn’t it? Thanks to a recent lawsuit, coffee’s been in the news lately. At issue is the fact that roasting coffee beans causes the formation of acrylamide, a naturally occurring substance that has the potential to interact with DNA.15)http://www.newsweek.com/fear-coffee-causes-cancer-prompts-california-add-warning-labels-672831?yptr=yahoo Coffee isn’t the only culprit, though. Acrylamide develops in many foods when they are cooked at high temperatures for a long time (think baking, frying, and toasting, in addition to roasting). This year, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency launched a “Go for Gold” campaign to encourage people to avoid overcooking foods—thus minimizing the creation of acrylamide—by aiming for a finished color of golden yellow or lighter.16)https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/15890/reduce-acrylamide-consumption Despite the fact that coffee contains acrylamides, the popular beverage offers several other health benefits. So many, actually, that the American Institute for Cancer Research includes coffee on its list of Foods That Fight Cancer.
  • Areca nuts: About 10 percent of the world’s population still chews this addictive berry. It’s been shown to have several ill effects on the body, and is linked to numerous cancers.17)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080659
  • Artificial Sweeteners: According to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer is inconclusive—but possible. Since some studies have shown a correlation between the two in lab animals, the current recommendation is to avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharine altogether.18)https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may-2015/FOH-cancer-love-sugar.html[/note]
  • Toothpaste: Okay, so, technically toothpaste is not a food, but it made this list because it’s ingestible and some formulations may contain disperse blue 1, a dye that’s listed by the IARC as possibly carcinogenic to humans—and that’s also used as a hair and fabric dye.19)https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/disperseblue1.pdf Worth keeping an eye on!
  • Very Hot Beverages: Studies in cultures where people typically drink their tea or mate at about 149°F (70°C) have found a correlation between very hot beverages and the risk of esophageal cancer. But, unless you keep a thermometer handy when you’re drinking your morning Joe, how are you supposed to know how hot is too hot? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have to sip it to be able to drink it, let it cool a bit first.

What about you? What’s your take on what causes cancer—and what you can do to prevent it? Leave us a comment below!

(This article was originally published on October 2, 2017.)

 

References   [ + ]

1. https://nccd.cdc.gov/USCSDataViz/rdPage.aspx
2. https://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html
3. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/01/16/american-adults-are-choosing-healthier-foods-consuming-healthier
4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx
5. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do
6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvVZwJbs54c
7. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill
8. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/recent-observations-indicate-cancer-cells-readily-utilize-fructose-support-proliferation-and
9. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#q3
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123566
11. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
12. https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf
13. http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177
14. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
15. http://www.newsweek.com/fear-coffee-causes-cancer-prompts-california-add-warning-labels-672831?yptr=yahoo
16. https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/15890/reduce-acrylamide-consumption
17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080659
18. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may
19. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/disperseblue1.pdf

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Colloidal Silver’s Antimicrobial Properties And Safe Usage Suggestions

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Colloidal silver is most known for its antimicrobial properties.  But there are many other uses for it as well, and we’ve composed this handy guide to help you understand how to get the most out of colloidal silver while using it safely to avoid argyria.

Although any website with a .gov ending is going to say colloidal silver is ineffective at everything, there is much evidence to the contrary. In fact, silver has been used to help fight infections for years and some scientists even believe it could be the missing link to help solve the antibiotic-resistant superbug problem creeping up on the global population. A team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria. The work is published in Science Translational Medicine.

Collins and his team essentially discovered that silver works in the human body by attacking bacterial cells in two main ways. First, it makes the cell membrane more permeable, and second,  it interferes with the cell’s metabolism, leading to the overproduction of reactive, and often toxic, oxygen compounds. Both mechanisms could potentially be harnessed to make today’s antibiotics more effective against resistant bacteria.

Gram-negative bacteria, which have a protective outer coating can often be impenetrable to antibiotics made of larger molecules.  However, when combined with colloidal silver, these antibiotic drugs could kill between 10 and 1,000 times as many bacteria. The increased membrane permeability also allows more antibiotics to enter the bacterial cells, which may overwhelm the resistance mechanisms that rely on shuttling the drug back out.

Colloidal silver’s ability to control antibiotic-resistant superbugs is impressive. While employed at UCLA Medical School in the 1980s, Larry C. Ford, MD, documented over 650 different disease-causing pathogens that were destroyed in minutes when exposed to small amounts of silver.  In addition, colloidal silver doesn’t contribute to antibiotic resistance. 

Richard Davies and Samuel Etris of The Silver Institute composed a report in 1996 detailing the three primary ways that colloidal silver can help heal the body:

  1. Catalytic Oxidation: Silver naturally holds onto oxygen molecules, which readily react with the sulfhydryl (H) groups that surround bacterial and viruses. In turn, this helps block the life-preserving cellular process known as cellular respiration, which is defined as “the set of metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products.”
  2. Reaction with Bacterial Cell Membranes: Silver ions (ions are silver atoms missing one electron from their outer orbit) can attach to bacteria cell membranes directly and produce the same respiration-blocking effect.
  3. Binding with DNA: Shown to literally enter bacteria DNA, up to 12% of silver has been detected in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. While it remains unclear exactly how the silver binds to the DNA without destroying the hydrogen bonds holding the lattice together, it nevertheless prevents the DNA from unwinding, an essential step for cellular replication to occur.

With that, there are several ways to safely use colloidal silver (mostly, as with any supplement don’t over do it) and how to choose an effective ppm (parts per million) colloid based on your needs.

  1. Antifungal, example: Ringworm – You can treat ringworm (Tinea capitis) at home with colloidal silver because it’s also a potent anti-fungal. Ringworm is caused by a fungus that lives on the top layer of the skin and presents as round, scaly patches. It’s contagious and spread by skin contact and by contaminated materials, such as clothing.  Many people have found that simply spraying the affected area of the skin four or five times a day with 10 ppm colloidal silver and allowing it to air dry each time before putting clothes back over the affected area will knock out a ringworm infection in under a week. Experts say the topical treatment with colloidal silver should be continued for seven days after the ringworm infection has disappeared, in order to help prevent recurrence.
  2. Respiratory ailments, examples: Asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) –  COPD is now the third leading cause of death in the United States.  Inhaling steroids is the most common treatment for such ailments, but they don’t cure asthma or COPD. They simply make it easier to breathe by cutting down on swelling, inflammation, and mucus build-up in your lungs and airways. But you can get the same results with a product called Quinton water, and colloidal silver. When these two ingredients are put in a nebulizer, an air compressor also known as a breathing machine, the device turns the liquids into a mist so they can be inhaled easily. For some patients, this type of nebulizer can replace a steroid inhaler. But keep in mind, there have been no human safety studies conducted on inhaling colloidal silver. While these animal studies are not conclusive regarding the safety of nebulizing colloidal silver into the lungs, they do indicate that until human safety studies are conducted, significant caution and common sense should be utilized when considering such a means of delivering colloidal silver into the body.  While it may be safe, there’s no way to know how much is too much and if you decide to use a nebulizer as an experimental means to put colloidal silver in your body, you are doing so at a risk. Do not use a nebulizer with colloidal silver for more than a few days, and only when it is completely necessary.
  3. Eye Infections, example: pink eye – Colloidal silver is very simple to use in the eyes.  You simply drop it in like eyedrops about three times a day.  Since it’s going in the eye, choose a 5 – 10 ppm colloid.  You can also use a pump spray bottle with a fine mist to lightly spray a bit of colloidal silver into their eyes.  If that’s still too macabre for you, try soaking a cloth in colloidal silver and simply hold it over their eye. Silver is very powerful, and in the eyes, a little bit appears to go a very long way.
  4. Viral Infections, examples: colds and fluuse colloidal silver in the cooler months to boost the immune system.  When used wisely and with proper discretion, colloidal silver appears to directly help prevent your immunity from crashing through the floor.  And that’s all the more important in the cold winter months when colds and flu are so prevalent. Putting 3 drops of 10 ppm colloidal silver in each ear when you first notice the onslaught of a cold can help stave off the illness.

Remember, the dosage is important and use colloidal silver safely. Please go here for a free dosage report. Almost any ailment or disease and how to possibly treat it with colloidal silver can be found at The Silver Edge. 

*This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease or ailment, it is for informational purposes only.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Congratulations, May Certification Graduates!

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

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

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

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

 

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

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

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

  • Brian Moyers
  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Sharon Companion
  • Suzette Carlin

 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

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

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

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

  • Downing
  • Nanciann Lamontagne

 

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

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

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

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

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

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

  • david jones
  • ginaBacigalupo Zappia
  • goldenangel0819760
  • JessicaPatel
  • Kerry Lowe
  • MarilynSunia
  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Nelly P
  • Ray Harney
  • Shelli Haun
  • Sherriamaro

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

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

Lessons include:

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

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

  • ChimneyFieldFarm
  • Daviddulock
  • Diane Massey
  • jbartlett
  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Whtwtrldy

 

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

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

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

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

  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Suzette Carlin

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Medicine,” “Growing Mushrooms,” “Raising Ducks,” “Beekeeping,” and “Growing Medical Marijuana.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂

 

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

Colloidal Silver vs. Ionic Silver And Why It Matters

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Colloidal silver is often confused with ionic silver, and although both are very similar, their differences should be noted especially when considering whether or not colloidal silver is a supplement that’s right for you or your family. Many products claiming to be colloidal silver or angstrom size silver particle colloids are in fact mostly ionic silver solutions.

This article will help you to understand the differences and labeling so that informed decisions can be made about colloidal silver. Most don’t know that ionic silver is also often sold as colloidal silver, however, the differences between the two should be noted and for very important reasons.

What It Is

Colloidal silver is simply water with small nanoparticles of metallic silver in it.  The silver particles are complete and do not combine with other elements.  The same can not be said for ionic silver.  If you’re more scientifically savvy than the average person, you’ve probably already guessed that ionic silver is an atom of silver that is missing an electron. The outermost electrons of an atom determine the physical properties of the matter. When one electron is taken away from a silver atom and you are left with a silver ion. Ionic silver is not the same as metallic silversilver particles or colloidal silver.

Additionally, when that one electron is missing meaning the silver is in its ionic form, it is highly reactive with other elements, and will readily combine to form compounds. Pure silver particles, on the other hand, are made up of clusters of silver atoms and do not combine with other atoms of other elements, as their electron count is already “full.”

This is perhaps the most important fact to be kept in mind when reading claims that silver ions are particles. If a silver ion were a particle, it would not combine with chloride. Colloidal silver does have some ionic silver in it, however, because as the metallic silver goes through the process to become a colloid, some ions inevitably get in there.

This is noteworthy because silver ions and chloride ions have such a strong attraction for each other that it is virtually impossible to keep them apart. Once in contact with chloride ions, they will bond forming silver chloride. Silver chloride is an insoluble compound which means once it is formed in the human body, it does not dissolve.  All ionic silver will eventually turn into silver chloride once inside the human body because of the readily available supply of chloride ions in many different forms.  Silver chloride is an insoluble salt which is eliminated by the kidneys and expelled in the urine but it’s mostly useless as a supplement, making ionic silver much less desirable. Typical ionic silver products contain between 3 and 20 ppm of ionic silver which would not cause argyria (colloidal silver’s only known side effect).

Despite the fact that labels and advertising often never mention the words “ionic silver” or specify what percentage of the total silver in their product is made up of silver ions vs. silver particles, many different terms are being used to describe ionic silver products in an attempt to obfuscate the truth. The following terms are currently most often used: monatomic silver, silver hydrosol, and covalent silver.

Monatomic silver: simply an advertising term commonly used to describe ionic silver solutions. Claims for monatomic silver products describe their particles as single atoms of silver. Single-atom particles cannot exist due to the van der Waal’s force of mutual attraction which would cause single atoms to be drawn to each other to form particles consisting of clusters of atoms. For more in-depth details, please click here to read The Myth of Monatomic Colloidal Silver.

Silver Hydrosol: this is yet another term being used to sell ionic silver products. The definition of hydrosol is a colloidal suspension in water. Therefore, the term silver hydrosol is describing colloidal silver. However, products advertised as silver hydrosol are actually ads for ionic silver products that are typically 95% or more ionic silver.

Covalent silver: the most recent in the ionic name game. When you read the detailed description for covalent silver you will eventually find that the term is simply referring to silver ions.

Promotional claims made for some ionic silver products describe it as having “high bioavailability.” But that’s quite misleading. The Merck Manual is clear that bioavailability is the amount of unchanged drug that reaches the systemic circulation. To be bioavailable the substance being ingested must attain systemic circulation unchanged in form. Because silver ions are highly reactive they quickly form compounds in the body and therefore cannot remain unchanged. While it is the highly reactive nature of silver ions that provides its antimicrobial properties, it also causes the rapid formation of compounds and prevents the continued existence of silver ions inside the human body. Because silver ions cannot exist inside the human body the bioavailability is virtually nonexistent. Silver compounds such as silver chloride in the bloodstream provide no meaningful antimicrobial properties.

Only silver nanoparticles (colloids) can survive inside the body. Metallic silver particles are unaffected by hydrochloric stomach acid and chloride ions and will circulate in the bloodstream. The particles will slowly be eliminated from the body and do not build up. Since it is the particles of metallic silver that provide the real benefit, it is important to know how much of any colloidal silver product is in the form of particles.

Making a true silver colloid is a complicated, complex, and costly process. It’s no mystery why most producers choose to make ionic silver instead and simply call it colloidal silver. Thankfully, more consumers are educating themselves about this deception, and more are learning about this simple test: If it looks like water, it is ionic silver, not a true silver colloid.

There are many myths and some truths floating around about the side effects of colloidal silver as a supplement as well.  Please go here to read about how to prevent the one known side effect of colloidal silver and what causes it to occur.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Could Baking Soda Be Used to Treat Autoimmune Disease? Study Suggests it is Possible

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It’s a household item that is commonly used in baking and for cleaning and deodorizing.

Odds are, you have a box sitting in your pantry or refrigerator right now.

This inexpensive, versatile, and safe product can be used for so many things, including brushing your teeth, treating insect bites and stings, soothing sunburn, as an underarm deodorant, cleaning wounds and preventing infections, and heartburn relief.

Now, yet another possible purpose for baking soda has been discovered, and it is quite incredible.

Scientists have found evidence that a daily dose of baking soda may help reduce the destructive inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can encourage the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be therapeutic in the face of inflammatory disease, Medical College of Georgia scientists report in The Journal of Immunology.

The research found that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda and water, it becomes a trigger for the stomach to make more acid to digest the next meal and for mesothelial cells sitting on the spleen to tell the organ that there’s no need to launch a protective immune response.

Mesothelial cells are found in your blood and kidneys, and baking soda is already used in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. It was this that led the researchers to explore the mechanisms by which baking soda benefits renal function, slowing the progression of kidney disease. During this investigation, the scientists noticed that baking soda shifted the balance of immune cells in the kidneys, boosting anti-inflammatory immune cells while simultaneously decreasing inflammatory cells.

The scientists believe that drinking the baking soda-water solution tells the spleen  – which is part of the immune system and acts like a big blood filter and is where some white blood cells, like macrophages, are stored – to go easy on the immune response.

In a press release, Dr. Paul O’Connor, a renal physiologist in the MCG Department of Physiology at Augusta University and the study’s corresponding author, said: “Certainly drinking bicarbonate affects the spleen and we think it’s through the mesothelial cells.”

“The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere,” O’Connor says. “We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood.”

Here’s more detail, from the press release:

In the spleen, as well as the blood and kidneys, they found after drinking water with baking soda for two weeks, the population of immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. Macrophages, perhaps best known for their ability to consume garbage in the body like debris from injured or dead cells, are early arrivers to a call for an immune response.

O’Connor said the shifting landscape is likely due to increased conversion of some of the proinflammatory cells to anti-inflammatory ones coupled with actual production of more anti-inflammatory macrophages.

The researchers also saw a shift in other immune cell types, like more regulatory T cells, which generally drive down the immune response and help keep the immune system from attacking our own tissues. That anti-inflammatory shift was sustained for at least four hours in humans and three days in rats.

Before you run to your pantry to grab the baking soda, a word of caution: O’Connor warns that the baking soda solution has only been tested on rodents and people without inflammation, reports Mother Nature Network:

“It could have potential, but there’s no data behind it,” he says. “Whether or not it can have a significant effect we don’t know. There’s still more testing to come.” There’s no advantage to trying it in the meantime, he says. Baking soda has high levels of sodium, which is linked to heart, kidney and other issues.

“You certainly shouldn’t go start drinking baking soda and water without consulting a physician. I certainly wouldn’t advise people trying this at home,” he says.

However, O’Connor believes the research is promising because, if it works, it could offer a safe alternative to medication:

“You are not really turning anything off or on, you are just pushing it toward one side by giving an anti-inflammatory stimulus,” he says, in this case, away from harmful inflammation. “It’s potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease.”

Using baking soda on the body and for cleaning items around the home are generally considered safe. However, it is possible to consume too much, so be careful not to exceed the recommended dose. Too much baking soda can upset the body’s acid-base balance leading to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare cases, baking soda overdose can lead to seizures, coma, and death. It is very high in sodium and can raise blood pressure and cause swelling.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Making and Using a Poultice … Even On Hard-To-Treat Areas!

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Today, I’m going to empower you with several potent poultice variations to bring your herbal medicine game to the next level.

Making and Using a Poultice 1

The benefits of a poultice are that it is very localized, primarily affecting the area of application, and that it allows for prolonged contact with the medicinal plant components. Tinctures and essential oils are more concentrated than poultices, but they also absorb very quickly, spreading around the whole body. Poultices are longer lasting and much more targeted.

Poultices have another advantage in that they typically have a lot of drawing power.1)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingston, 2013. This makes them popular treatment choices for objects stuck in the skin, venomous bites, stings, and contact poisons, such as poison ivy.

Are you ready to become a pro poulticer? Then read on to learn the tips, tricks, and techniques to get the most out of this powerful herbal application.

How to Make a Basic Poultice

To make a standard poultice, mix dried or fresh herbs with water, stir or mash into a paste, and apply to the skin. Wrap it all up with a cloth or bandage to hold everything in place. Then congratulate yourself on a job well done.

“That’s awfully vague,” you may be saying. Well, yes, I suppose it is. But poultices are simple things, when you get down to it. They’re basically just a paste of herbs and water held against the skin. Rest assured, I will get into more details below. Check out this short video for a demonstration:

Consistency

How much water do you mix with your herbs? It’s more of an art than a science. You can find different recommendations for proportions all over the Internet, but it more or less boils down to using the “Goldilocks” method. This poultice is too dry. This poultice is too wet. This poultice is just right.

Making and Using a Poultice 2

The drier you make it, the better it stays in place. The wetter you make it, the better it conforms to your body and the better the herbal constituents will interact with or absorb into your skin. You want it wet enough to spread easily, but firm enough to keep it from running.

If you’ve added too much water, add some more of the herb. If you’ve added too much herb, add some more water.

Fresh or Powdered Herbs?

Use either. Powdered herbs are easier to work with, but fresh herbs are more potent (at least theoretically). Fresh herbs will require much less water, but will require a lot of grinding and mashing with your mortar and pestle. (Or you can just stick them in a blender.)

Using a Basic Poultice

When applying a poultice, you’ll usually want to cover about twice the size of the affected area.

Again, this may vary. Size may not be very crucial when dealing with a splinter. But if I had a rattlesnake bite on my foot, you’d better believe I’d make a whopping big poultice. No point in taking chances.

(By the way, that’s exactly what Marjory did when she got bitten by a copperhead snake. She wrote about it in her book, Snakebite! How I Successfully Treated a Venomous Snakebite at Home; The 5 Essential Preparations You Need to Have.)

The bottom line is that a bigger poultice isn’t going to hurt anything, but a smaller one may be ineffective. When in doubt, go bigger.

That goes for thickness, too. You can often get away with thinner poultices for minor things, but somewhere around the size of a thick hamburger patty (or veggie burger) would be ideal.

Making and Using a Poultice 3

Duration and Frequency of Use

How long should you leave it on and how often should you apply a new one? Again, you can get all manner of answers from herb books and websites.

For typical applications, an overnight poultice is a good choice. This is based on my theory that it’s a lot easier to deal with a poultice when you’re not walking around doing stuff. Repeat as needed.

Of course, poultices can be worn during the day, too. Six hours on and six hours off is a good general timing. You could also do anywhere from four hours on and four off to 12 on and 12 off.2)Jones, Patrick, DVM. The HomeGrown Herbalist. HomeGrown Herbalist, LLC, 2015. I like to give the skin at least half of the day free from the poultice to breath and relax.

Removal

Poultices usually come off without much trouble. However, if you had a particularly sensitive area, or just wanted to hedge your bets, you could apply a thin layer of oil to the area before applying the poultice.

What If It Won’t Stay Put?

Are your herbs sliding around? Try placing a gauze pad or folded washcloth on top of the herbs before wrapping it all up. Now when the outer wrapping is bumped or jostled, the herbs will have an extra layer of insulation from movement.

Fastening Options

Remember, poultices don’t have to be fancy. A roll of duct tape works just as well as an ACE elastic wrap. Often, you can wrap the area with a towel and fasten it by tucking it back in on itself. No additional fastener needed.

That being said, sometimes getting a little fancy can be fun, too. Consider sewing a pocket into your poulticing cloth to hold those herbs in place. Another option is to sew Velcro straps to your cloth. You’ll appreciate this if you ever have to poultice your own arm. One-handed poultices can be tricky.

Super-Charged Poultices

Instead of mixing your plants with water, why not use an herbal tea or a decoction?3)Decoction: A preparation in herbal medicine in which the medicinal components of a plant are extracted through boiling or simmering in water for an extended time. This method is often used on tougher plant parts, such as roots, twigs, or bark. A decoction is similar to an infusion, but uses more heat over a longer period of time.

The benefit of using a decoction or an infusion instead of plain water is that you’ll pack twice the power into the same-sized package.

Should Your Poultice Be Hot or Cold?

Temperature can influence your poultice’s effect. A hot poultice will have more drawing power, as well as stimulate relaxation and blood flow. A cold poultice will help reduce inflammation and dull pain.

Plastic Wrap

If you’re applying a hot poultice, add a layer of plastic wrap directly over the herbs to reduce the amount of heat lost to the air. Reduced airflow also reduces cooling from evaporation.

Fomentation

Technically speaking, fomentations aren’t really poultices. They’re more like a close cousin.

Rather than applying herbs to the skin and wrapping them with a towel, a fomentation soaks the cloth directly in an herbal tea or decoction and then applies that cloth to the skin. Wrap this in a warm towel, changing as needed to keep up the heat.

You may want to add a layer of plastic wrap between the two fabric layers to keep your fomentation from soaking up into the outer layer. Heating packs can also be used, if desired.

Herbal Ice

Making and Using a Poultice 4

Let’s not forget the power of ice. It cools, sooths, and reduces swelling. But why stop with plain old ice? Let’s get some herbs in there. Caution: With any of these options, a layer of cloth between your skin and the ice is advisable, to prevent any damage from the cold.

First, a note of practicality. While you absolutely can make a regular poultice and freeze it, I recommend that you make it much thinner than normal. A thin application is easier to bend, even while frozen, and is safer if you plan to leave it on for an extended time.

Another option is freezing plant juice in ice cube trays. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use your blender and strain out the pulp.

Wrap a cube or two of frozen juice in a wash cloth and hold it on the affected area as you would with regular ice. You can also crush the ice with a hammer or blender, and wrap it on your arm as a frosty poultice. It feels a bit like having a snow cone wrapped around your arm.

If you don’t have any frozen juice, you can also soak a cloth in fresh juice and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. You might call this a reverse-fomentation. Be sure you take the cloth out before it freezes.

Weird Locations

Sometimes an area does not lend itself to easy poulticing. This may be a matter of creative wrapping, or, in more challenging cases, you may need additional strategies.

Consistency (Again)

Altering the amount of liquid in a poultice can often get it to behave the way you want. A wetter poultice will flow in between cracks and crevices to touch every bit of skin. It also penetrates hairy areas better than a thick poultice. The downside is that it tends to be messy and get into a lot of areas you weren’t intending to treat.

A thicker poultice is much easier to keep in place. It’s especially useful in difficult-to-bandage areas, where a normal poultice would tend to fall away from the skin. The downsides to a thicker mixture is that it tends to crumble if too dry, and the herbal constituents may not absorb into the skin as well.

Ear

The insides of ears can be tricky. You really don’t want little pieces of plant material lost down in there. That’s just asking for trouble. However, you do have options.

You can cover the opening of the ear with a thin fabric to prevent plant materials from falling in. Then apply a hot poultice to the ear and cover to retain heat. The heat will carry any vaporizing constituents through the air, into the ear. This tends to be most effective with highly aromatic plants.

The classic example is to take an onion slice, heat it up, place it directly over the ear, and cover it with a towel. In this case, no fabric is needed to cover the opening to the ear canal.

Mouth                          

You can’t exactly wrap up the inside of your mouth. But you can pack herbs between your teeth and cheek, or directly onto a tooth. This is usually done overnight, since it won’t get in the way of talking and eating.

Be aware that some herbs will stain your teeth. I once used plantain in my mouth to help resolve a blocked salivary duct. It was effective, but gave me “zombie teeth” for a few days. If you’re concerned about staining, a grape leaf can be used to shield your teeth from direct contact.

A poultice can also be applied on the outside of the mouth if tenderness or other factors prevent you from placing herbs inside.

Special Applications

Spit Poultice

You won’t get to use your fun herbalist toys, but spit poultices are often just as effective as anything you’d get from a fancy apothecary. Think of it as a field-expedient poultice.

Making and Using a Poultice 5

To make a spit poultice, take the plant material and chew it up thoroughly in your mouth, mixing it with your saliva. This may sound gross, but saliva speeds wound healing4)Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Licking Your Wounds: Scientists Isolate Compound In Human Saliva That Speeds Wound Healing.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723094841.htm (accessed April 30, 2018). and has antimicrobial properties.5)Tenovuo, Jorma. “Antimicrobial Agents in Saliva—Protection for the Whole Body.” Journal of Dental Research 81, no. 12 (December 1, 2002): 807-009. Accessed April 30, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/154405910208101202. Still, you’d rather touch your own spit than someone else’s, right? So let the poultice’s recipient do the chewing.

Then apply the plant material, spit and all, to the desired area. If you don’t have anything to wrap it with, you might take a strip of cloth from your shirt, use a clean handkerchief, or just hold it in place until you can find something better. If you’ve got the right plants around and a little crafty know-how, you can create a wrapping from leaves.

Making and Using a Poultice 6

Adhesive Bandages

If your affected area is small enough, a simple adhesive bandage makes a super-easy poultice wrapping. It also works well to hold a thin slice of plant material in place, or to cover an area without fully wrapping it up.

 

Making and Using a Poultice 7

I used this method with a stubbornly infected cut on my thumb. I used a thin slice of garlic and a Band-Aid to poultice the cut overnight. In the morning, my thumb joint was a little stiff from the intensity of the garlic, but the infection was 100% dead.

Indirect

Some herbs can be over-stimulating to bare skin. In these cases, you can lessen the effect by first covering the area with a few layers of cheesecloth or a thin, clean dish towel. Then apply the poultice normally. This slows down the skin’s interaction with the herb, reducing any zingy sensations.

Making and Using a Poultice 8

Beauty Treatment

We’ve all seen pictures of someone at a spa. Maybe you’ve been that person. You’ve seen the clay masks on the faces and cucumber slices on the eyes. Well, those are basically poultices without any fancy wrapping. You now have my permission to go to a spa and tell your family that you’ve got an appointment at a holistic treatment facility.

Making and Using a Poultice 9

The Wrap-Up

This wraps up my discussion of poultices. (See what I did there? Because you wrap a poultice around you? No? Nothing? Alright.)

Can you think of any variations that I missed? Do you have any special techniques or tricks? Maybe a favorite poultice formula? Share them with us in the comments below, and help us power up those poultices.

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

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References   [ + ]

1. Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingston, 2013.
2. Jones, Patrick, DVM. The HomeGrown Herbalist. HomeGrown Herbalist, LLC, 2015.
3. Decoction: A preparation in herbal medicine in which the medicinal components of a plant are extracted through boiling or simmering in water for an extended time.
4. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Licking Your Wounds: Scientists Isolate Compound In Human Saliva That Speeds Wound Healing.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723094841.htm (accessed April 30, 2018).
5. Tenovuo, Jorma. “Antimicrobial Agents in Saliva—Protection for the Whole Body.” Journal of Dental Research 81, no. 12 (December 1, 2002): 807-009. Accessed April 30, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/154405910208101202.

The post Making and Using a Poultice … Even On Hard-To-Treat Areas! appeared first on The Grow Network.

Building Your Family’s Natural Home Medicine Cabinet

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home medicine

Begin to prepare now by stockpiling time-tested treatments.

In a post-collapse survival situation having recourse to your own private, natural home medicine cabinet will be critical. You can begin to prepare now by stockpiling time-tested treatments that will allow you to delay or even avoid a trip to the Doctor. Included in the ailments you can treat on your own are: sore throats, infections, toothaches, back aches, stomach pains, chest pains, fever, cough and headaches. Here are some easily obtainable items that can go a long way toward treating the most common health problems.

Sore Throats

Sore throats are a common symptom of several diseases and are especially common in children. Usually these ailments are minor and will cure themselves in a few days. What is needed is a way to relieve the symptoms and prevent the infection from becoming worse. One of the basics in your home medicine cabinet will be the staple baking soda.  Gargling rinses of salt water, baking soda, green tea extract or garlic can all provide relief and help kill the streptococcus bacteria that are multiplying in your throat. Begin gargling as soon as you feel the first signs of a sore throat (usually a tickle) and continue until the symptoms disappear.

Inflammation

Inflammation can range from simple soreness after muscular exertion to chronic diseases such as arthritis. Nature provides us with several treatments for inflammation that allow us to avoid the side effects associated with man-made inflammatory drugs. Among its many other positive health effects, resveratrol has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory. This is the ingredient that gives red wine its health benefits and is now available in capsule form. SAMe, available in health food stores, is also a good treatment for inflammation. It can help with the pain brought on by osteoarthritis and has proved as effective as the leading arthritis medication, Celebrex.

Headaches,

Headaches are a common problem caused by numerous conditions and it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. A recurring headache could signal the existence of something more serious, but most headaches are caused by tension, dehydration and other minor problems. Magnesium supplements can help alleviate many of these minor headaches. Other supplements that can help are iron and CoQ10. Women are especially susceptible to iron deficiency and often suffer from headaches during menstruation.

Chronic Sinus Infections

This condition is usually caused by a fungal infection. It is fairly common in people who spend a lot of time in the waters of humid environments. Oil of oregano is a simple, natural product that can help fight this fungal infection. Oil of oregano can be found in health food stores in capsule form.

Intestinal Gas

Activated charcoal is very effective at eliminating gas and should be kept in all medical kits for use in cases of accidental poisoning. Fennel seed, common in Indian cuisine, is also effective in calming the stomach and intestines, and aiding in digestion.

Check out these herbs for natural healing and growing your home medicine cabinet!

Indigestion and Heartburn

These conditions are most commonly caused by lifestyle, diet and nutrient deficiencies. Avoiding alcohol, spicy foods and over-the-counter pain medications will alleviate most symptoms. Mastic gum capsules and Quercetin are two supplements that can help with heartburn. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine found in red onions and red apple peel that can also be effective in relieving seasonal allergies.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an effective treatment for many types of infections, especially colds, flu, respiratory and middle ear infections. An hour of sunlight a day can produce 10,000 IU of vitamin D. If you can’t get the sun exposure, supplements can give you the needed dosage. Children are especially susceptible to vitamin D deficiency.

Bronchitis

Sulfur, which was commonly used to treat and prevent infection before antibiotics, is still an effective treatment and can be purchased over the counter. Sulfur supplements can be found in health food stores. An especially effective form is called N-acetyl Cisteine (NAC).

Hydrogen Peroxide

No home medical kit is complete without this simple, highly useful substance. Besides being effective in cleaning wounds, it can also be used to treat gum disease, toothaches, sore throats and ear infections. At the first sign of an ear infection, begin rinsing the ear with peroxide several times a day. Remember that ear infections in children can be serious and must be monitored closely.

Toothaches

The old treatment of using cloves to treat toothaches is still one of the most effective treatments, even in a world of thousands of man-made medicines. Depending on your condition, a clove or clove oil can be applied to a bad tooth to ease the pain until the problem can be treated. Clove oil has been shown to be as effective as benzocaine in treating dental pain.

Food Poisoning

Food safety should always be practiced, but even the best efforts can’t always prevent food contamination and food poisoning. This is a serious condition and needs to be treated quickly. To prevent food-borne bacteria, use a variety of powerful spices such as garlic, chile, onion, oregano and allspice. If you contract food poisoning, natural antibiotics must be taken. Garlic and oil of oregano are both effective in treating food poisoning and don’t lead to drug resistance the way man-made antibiotics do.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be a serious health threat if not controlled. Pepto Bismol or Milk of Magnesia are still some of the best substances available. This is often enough to cure the diarrhea, or at least slow it down long enough to allow you to get further treatment. Remember to drink plenty of fluids when you have diarrhea.

Many trips to the doctor can be avoided by either practicing prevention or by using a few simple home remedies. Start putting together a home medical kit and continue learning about holistic medicine and prevention. Though there are times when a doctor is needed, there are many other times when we can treat ourselves and our families. Once the health care system is overburdened with millions of additional patients, home treatment will become increasingly important.

What If There Was No Dentists?  

The post Building Your Family’s Natural Home Medicine Cabinet appeared first on Off The Grid News.

25 Ancient Remedies That Used To Be Common Knowledge

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Common knowledge has certainly changed a lot over the past century. Today it is “common knowledge” that if you can’t sleep, you should just take a sleeping pill. But it used to be common knowledge that if you can’t sleep, you should drink some chamomile tea or take some valerian root. Some people argue that …

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The post 25 Ancient Remedies That Used To Be Common Knowledge appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Dandelions: 31+ Medicinal and Culinary Uses for the King of Weeds

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

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

As you can see, the weed garden is really starting to come to life. I’ve got henbit, sedges, dayflowers, wood sorrel, pokeweed, and a few other visitors. But one weed I would gladly welcome has yet to show up. Dandelions!

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

Dandelions are pretty much the unofficial mascots for foraging and herbal medicine. They can be found on every continent (except Antarctica) and have tremendous value as food and medicine. They invade lawns, fields, and waste spaces despite every effort to control, contain, and kill them.

Dandelions are survivors, and they pass on a little of that to us when we consume them.

Identifying Dandelions

While dandelions do have a few look-alikes, none of them are toxic. Among the common fakers, you’ll find cat’s ear, chicory, shepherd’s purse, and hawksbeard. Here’s your guide to telling the real thing from the fakers.

Dandelions are perennials1)Perennial: Any plant that lives for more than 2 years. that grow in a basal rosette.2)Basal Rosette: A circular arrangement of leaves at ground level. You’ll never find leaves growing from the stem. Leaves are anywhere from 2 inches to over a foot (5 to 40 centimeters) long and have jagged teeth.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

The jagged pattern of the leaves can vary quite a bit. On some plants, the indentations will go nearly to the midline of the leaf, while others will have fairly shallow teeth. The tips of the teeth tend to point backward, toward the center of the plant. Leaves are virtually hairless at all stages of growth.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

By the way, the name “dandelion” is said to come from “dent de lion” or “teeth of the lion.” And depending on who you ask, this either refers to the jagged leaves or the flower petals.

The scientific name, Taraxacum officinale, could be translated as “the official cure for every disorder.”

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

The yellow blooms are composite flowers. That is, they look like one flower, but are technically a cluster of tiny flowers. The ends of the petals tend to be flat, rather than tapering to a point, and they overlap all the way to the center of the flower. Blooming happens mostly in spring, and again in fall, with sporadic blooming at any time.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

These flowers turn into the puffballs that kids love to blow on to make wishes. A single dandelion plant may produce many stems and flowers, but each stem will have only a single flower. The stems are hollow and can range in length from 2 to 18 inches (5 to 45 centimeters).

All parts of the plant contain a white, milky sap. This would normally be a warning sign, but dandelions are an exception to the rule.

Read More: “How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely”

There are even some rather useful applications for this sap, which we’ll get into below. Be aware that dandelion sap has occasionally been reported to cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.

Dandelions can be found throughout the U.S., Canada, and most of the rest of the world, especially around people. This is another plant that loves us and wants to be near us. You can find them in lawns, fields, pastures, waste spaces, and disturbed ground. They seem to survive everything from drought, to over-picking, to digging, to mowing, to herbicides. But why would you want to get rid of these happy little guys? They’re beautiful, and they’re trying so hard to help us.

Edible Uses and Dandelion Recipes

If you do an Internet search for dandelion recipes, you’ll find page after page of preparations for this versatile vegetation. Recipes abound!

I, myself, have only scratched the surface of dandelion delicacies. There are just so many!

Nutritional Value

And why shouldn’t there be? Every part of the plant is edible, raw or cooked. And not only are dandelions plentiful, they’re very nearly a perfect food. Dandelions are rich in potassium; magnesium; manganese; phosphorus; sodium; copper; choline; calcium; iron; lecithin; biotin; inositol; chlorophyll; fiber; and vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, D, and E.3)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.,4)Peterson, Lee Allen, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.,5)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.,6)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.,7)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.,8)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.

That’s quite a mouthful. Literally.

They have more vitamin A than any other green plant—six times more than carrots—and a single cup of fresh greens will meet your daily requirement of beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and potassium!9)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.

That tap root really reaches down to bring up the good stuff. You can see why I call them the king of weeds.

Furthermore, when eaten as a whole (roots to flowers/seeds), the dandelion forms a complete protein, with all 9 essential amino acids.10)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014. That’s a pretty good trick for a plant.

Dandelion also seems to help with the absorption and balance of minerals.11)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Overcoming the Bitter Taste

But let’s address the elephant in the room. Dandelions are bitter. Very bitter. Involuntarily-spit-them-out-and-go-wash-your-mouth-out-with-ice-cream bitter.

Perhaps I exaggerate. But how is one to get past the bitterness to access those amazing nutrients? I’ve got you covered.

First, you should select the best dandelions. The best-tasting leaves have had the easiest life. Don’t pick any sunbaked, twice-stepped-on leaves. Harvest from a plant in a shady, well-watered location. Harvest younger greens, earlier in the year. Leaves toward the center of the rosette also tend to be less bitter.

Next, choose the right preparation. It’s the rare individual who enjoys eating a handful of dandelion greens raw. It’s a lot easier to moderate their taste by chopping them up and mixing them with other greens. They also pair well with savory dishes.

Of all the cooking methods, boiling does the best job of reducing bitterness. Drop the leaves into boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’ve picked a good plant, it shouldn’t take much more than this. If not, you can always boil them longer. Use plenty of water so the bitterness has someplace to go.

Eating the Roots: Stir-fried, Pickled, and as a Coffee Substitute

The root can be eaten raw, but tastes better when cooked. Try them sliced and stir-fried with other veggies. Cooking breaks down the root’s inulin into fructose, bringing out a much sweeter taste. They’re also a fine addition to soups and stews, and—although I’ve never tried it—they are reportedly quite tasty when pickled.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

Dandelion Coffee Recipe

The root is typically harvested from late fall to early spring. Second-year roots are preferred, but good luck on guessing how old a dandelion is by looking at it. If it’s too old and woody to eat, you can still use it to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Slice up the root and slow-roast it in your oven until it turns dark brown and becomes brittle. This should take about 30 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Let it cool, and then grind it up to use like coffee grounds. I’m usually not a fan of coffee substitutes, but this is one I really enjoy.

Dandelion Mocha Recipe

If you’d like to take your dandelion coffee to the next level (and who wouldn’t?), you can turn it into a dandelion mocha. This recipe comes from Rosemary Gladstar, and it is delightful.

Use 1 tbsp each of dandelion coffee grounds and cacao nibs. Simmer in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Then strain and add ½ cup milk (or milk substitute), ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. honey (or other sweetener), and a dash of ground nutmeg or cloves.

It’s excellent. I highly recommend you try it.

Eating the Flowers: Sautéed, Fried, and Infused

The flowers make a colorful addition to salads, soups, ice creams, or just about anything else. Two of my favorite ways to eat them are sautéed in butter and as an ingredient in dandelion lemonade.

  • Sautéed blooms are easy. Just melt some butter and sauté away. (Alternately, you could make a simple egg-and-flour batter and fry them. Yum!)
  • To make dandelion lemonade, just add about a quart of dandelion flowers to a half gallon of lemonade. Let the mixture infuse in the fridge overnight, then strain out the blossoms and enjoy.

The less green you have from the base of the blossoms, the less bitter they will taste. Here’s a brief clip demonstrating a super easy way to separate the petals from the bitter greens:

https://youtu.be/fWyA35Cs5e0

The last way to get past the bitterness is simply to build up an appreciation for it. Sure, it’s not the most popular option, but you really can develop a taste for a food by consistently consuming small portions of it. Gradually, your aversion turns into tolerance. And then tolerance can even become a craving. It really works. Try it!

Medicinal Uses for Dandelions

Dandelion’s medicinal effects are not limited to its impressive nutritional profile. It sports a bevy of benefits. Let’s dive in!

As a Digestive Aid

Dandelion’s bitter taste is likely also its best-known medicinal property. It’s a bitter. Bitters are plants that encourage optimal digestion by stimulating the secretion of enzymes and digestive juices.12)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.,13)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Dandelion stimulates appetite, aids the liver in its detoxification duties, helps to regulate the release of pancreatic hormone, is stimulating to the spleen, supports correct bile duct function, and even helps to repair the gut wall.14)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,15)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,16)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It may even help to resist the progression of cirrhosis of the liver.17)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Dandelion is a remarkable plant!

To Treat Colitis

In one experiment, participants with non-specific colitis were given dandelion along with calendula, lemon balm, and St. John’s wort. Complete relief from spontaneous and palpable pains was reported by 96% of participants, and stools were normalized in those with diarrhea symptoms.18)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

As a Spring Tonic and Diuretic

Dandelion is also well-known as a spring tonic. It helps to flush and tone the body after enduring the rigors of winter.

The entire plant is diuretic, flushing excess water from the body and generally giving us a good cleansing. The leaf is more powerful than the root, and is comparable to the drug furosemide in terms of strength.19)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Don’t take it right before bed or you’ll be up all night. Trust me. I know.

Dandelion’s diuretic properties help to relieve fluid retention.20)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It is also used to dissolve calcium stones and to prevent new ones from forming, and can be used safely over long periods.21)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,22)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Dandelion’s diuretic nature may also help to explain its effectiveness in relieving arthritic complaints.23)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

With conventional pharmaceuticals, as the body flushes out water, it’s also flushing out our supply of potassium. This can be rough on your heart and cause problems for anyone with a heart condition.24)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Dandelion, on the other hand, is so rich in potassium that even while it flushes out the body, it still provides a net gain in potassium.25)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016. This makes it an ideal diuretic herb for people with heart issues.26)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

For Skin Health

The natural latex in its sap is helpful in getting rid of warts.27)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012. However, this is not a quick process. The sap must be applied several times a day for 2 to 3 weeks. Direct application of the sap can also help with moles, pimples, canker sores, and other skin blemishes.28)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014., 29)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

To Fight Cancer and Harmful Bacteria

Dandelion may have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties, though it is not clear whether this would be from a direct action or indirectly through its ability to cleanse and support normal body function.30)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,31)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Dandelion also appears to have selective antimicrobial properties, supporting healthy gut bacteria while discouraging unhealthy ones.32)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.,33)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.,34)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It even helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth.35)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.

Other Medicinal Uses

Dandelion is also cooling and drying, and can be used as a fever reducer.36)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It’s a mild laxative and has an alkalizing effect on the body.37)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,38)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,39)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Dandelion may also help some people with allergies and food intolerances.40)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

In animal studies, dandelion has been shown to have hypoglycemic activities.41)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. This may make it a helpful plant for those with diabetes, but could be a contraindication for those with hypoglycemia.42)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,43)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

Medicinal Formats and Dosages

You can use dandelion via any of the normal methods: fresh, dried, tincture, decoction, infusion, etc. The dried leaves make an excellent addition to green powders.

Outside of some very specific circumstances, dandelion is widely considered to be safe. Recommendations vary from herbalist to herbalist as to how much you should take.

I will present some amounts that I think are reasonable, but you should view them as suggestions, rather than rules. Other quantities/frequencies could be equally valid, depending on your situation.

Root Tincture

1:5 ratio in 60% alcohol. Use 2.5–5 ml, 3 times daily.

Root Decoction

Use 2–3 tsp of root material in 1 cup of water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Leaf Tincture

1:5 ratio in 40% alcohol. Use 5–10 ml, 3 times daily.

Leaf Infusion

Pour boiling water over ½ tsp of dried leaf and allow to steep for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Long Live the King!

Dandelions are so impressively versatile that I could never fit everything into a single article.

For example, did you know that the sap can be used as glue, or that the stem can be fashioned into a working flute?

What else did I leave out? What’s your favorite recipe or medicinal use? Do you have any dandelion stories (or horror stories about the bitter flavor)? Are dandelions really the king of weeds, or should that title belong to a different plant? Let me know in the comments!

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

_______________________________________________________

 

References   [ + ]

1. Perennial: Any plant that lives for more than 2 years.
2. Basal Rosette: A circular arrangement of leaves at ground level.
3, 32. Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
4. Peterson, Lee Allen, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
5, 25. Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.
6, 9, 10, 28, 33, 35. Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.
7, 12, 27. Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.
8, 14, 21, 37, 42. Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.
11, 13, 15, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, 38, 41. Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 31, 34, 36, 39, 40. Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.
29, 43. Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

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May Question of the Month

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TGN Community members:

What successes have you had using information you learned in The Grow Network’s Home Medicine 101 course?

Please leave your reply in the Forums by clicking here: https://thegrownetwork.com/forums/topic/successes-using-information-in-home-medicine-101-course/

Thanks so much for letting me know!

 

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Congratulations, March and April Certification Graduates!

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

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

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

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

 

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

NEW! Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

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

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

  • Cherlynn
  • Connie
  • daviddulock
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Diane Massey
  • Donna Detweiler
  • Downing
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Luetta
  • Mark Davis
  • MikeF
  • Nata Porter
  • Rebecca Potrafka
  • Scott Sexton
  • suzan.mckillop

 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

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

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

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

  • bonhil777
  • Cherlynn
  • elizsiracusa
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Kathryn Magoon
  • Lauren Premo
  • Linda Clardy
  • Mary Ellen Rowe
  • MikeF
  • Richelle John
  • Sharon Companion
  • Shelli Haun
  • susanna.schuch
  • suzan.mckillop

 

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

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

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

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

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

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

  • alyssabpanico
  • AmyMatter
  • andreasexton
  • Anna-Marie
  • barb.stinson
  • bayetdelatour
  • bonhil777
  • Brenda Nicholson
  • cathyneumans
  • CeceliaStubbs
  • Cherlynn
  • ChristieWeixel
  • Chuck Belshe
  • CindaDunham
  • crowe.martin
  • DavidColley
  • Denise Poundstone
  • Diane Massey
  • Dianne
  • Donna Raygoza
  • elizsiracusa
  • equussue
  • ewbroach
  • fostermom30
  • Gee
  • Greg
  • griesjoe
  • handhinternatl
  • Jamie Carels
  • jasabelle6
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • KarinHolzscheiter
  • Katrina Rhoades
  • Kevin White
  • KrisLaubach
  • Lann
  • Lisa Petrillo
  • M
  • Marilyn Nepper
  • Mary Anne Chase
  • Mary Linda Bittle
  • michaelbuzel
  • nancybekaert
  • nicolette_b_2000
  • NINITAKELLER
  • NoeleneChadwick
  • ntcherneva
  • philipcabrams
  • rikkamojica
  • rleneraigoza
  • Shane Kraus
  • Sieglinde
  • smith4536
  • suzan.mckillop
  • tjm5
  • Tracy

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

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

Lessons include:

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

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification in March and April:

  • 4cheers4u
  • Angel Nance
  • Barbara Maneja
  • Bill Burger
  • bonhil777
  • Bonnie Guffey
  • cathyneumans
  • CeceliaStubbs
  • Cherlynn
  • Constantine Spialek
  • Dale M Sieting
  • Denise Poundstone
  • dianamlott
  • Donna
  • Downing
  • Edge
  • EllenHomeister
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • HeidiRockwell
  • Janet MacLennan
  • janicepizzonia
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Kali Mason
  • Kathryn Magoon
  • Lauren Doyle Kerins
  • MarieCrum
  • Marilyn Nepper
  • Mary Ellen Rowe
  • MikeF
  • Nadia Cassar
  • preacher
  • Rebecca Potrafka
  • Selene Staehle
  • Sharon Companion
  • Shelli Haun
  • susanna.schuch
  • suzan.mckillop

 

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

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

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

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

  • Carol Williams
  • Cherlynn
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Mark Davis
  • MikeF
  • Sharon Companion
  • Shelli Haun

 

 

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

 

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8 Homeopathic Remedies for Plants and Animals

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Recently, Marjory was kind enough to feature me as a Local Changemaker on The Grow Network blog. When I completed the interview, I felt there was more to share. We especially did not discuss how homeopathic remedies extend beyond medicine for humans to include the treatment of our pets, livestock, and agriculture.

Read More: “Meet Elena Upton, Local Changemaker”

Homeopathic Remedies for Plants

Did you know that homeopathic remedies can help weak, pest-infested, and frost-damaged plants—and can even build them up?

Give Your Plants a Springtime Boost

You can strengthen plants in the early spring by giving them Silicea 200C (made from silica, a building block of all cells). Place 6–8 pellets in water to melt them, then use that liquid to water trees and shrubs by pouring it directly on their trunks and in the soil around them.

Treat Downy and Powdery Mildews

Since homeopathy is symptom-driven, different presentations of the same disease may require different homeopathic remedies. That is the case with both powdery mildew (which thrives in dry, warm weather) and downy mildew (which appears in damp conditions).

Use the following homeopathic remedies to treat powdery and downy mildew, but pay special attention to the symptoms of the disease and treat accordingly.

When the symptoms of each disease are as follows, the remedy of choice is Cuprum metallicum 30C:

  • Powdery Mildew: White, moldy layer on the upper sides of leaves (can be wiped off)
  • Downy Mildew: Gray-to-violet coating underneath the leaves after rainy weather

But the remedy of choice is Natrum sulphuricum 30C when the following symptoms are present:

  • Powdery Mildew: Grayish-white mold on stalks and upper sides of leaves
  • Downy Mildew: Gray or grayish-violet under the leaves after warm, humid weather

Treat Gray Mold on Strawberries

Another homeopathic remedy that benefits plants is the use of Calcaria phosphorica 6C and Ammonium carbonicum 30C to treat gray mold (Botrytis) on strawberries. This condition is due to deficiencies of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium and to excess nitrogen in the plants. Using Calcaria phosphorica 6C and Ammonium carbonicum 30C resolves this deficiency and toxicity.

Also keep in mind that when Botrytis is present, you should not use artificial fertilizers or fresh or composted animal excrement. Just apply compost made from plants to ensure a less acidic environment.

Homeopathic Remedies for Animals

Let’s move on to animals. As I mentioned above, homeopathic remedies are chosen based on symptoms. This is as true for animals as it is for plants and humans.

Following are some examples of symptoms commonly found in horses (although you could replace the word “horse” below with “goat,” “cat,” “cow,” etc.—the same remedy would be used for any animal exhibiting these specific symptoms):

  • Do you have a horse with anxiety that is restless, fearful, or suffering from gastritis? Try the remedy Arsenicum album.
  • Or has he gotten sick with a fever, developed bronchitis, become irritable (wants to be left alone), and started thirsting for large amounts of water? Try the remedy Bryonia.
  • Or maybe she has digestive issues, along with apathy, indifference, sluggishness, and lack of reaction? Try the remedy Carbo vegetabilis.

I use a horse as an example with 3 different sets of issues to demonstrate how observation is key to choosing the correct remedy. Again, if you see these specific symptoms being exhibited in an animal of any other species, the same remedy would be used.

To offer another example, if a dog overindulged in his food (and everyone else’s he could steal when you weren’t looking) and later appeared bloated and irritable, I’d give him Nux vomica. If the horse out in the pasture overgrazed on grass and was bloated and irritable, Nux vomica would also be the remedy to relieve his discomfort. 

How to Administer Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies for animals can be dropped into their water.

Dosage is not an issue with homeopathy. It is not like milligrams of pharmaceuticals. Remedies consist of little sugar pills, and the medicine is sprayed on the pills during the manufacturing process. The sugar pills serve as the carrier for the medicine, so 4 pellets, 6 pellets, or 8 pellets are all okay. Use your best judgment based on the amount of water you are dropping them into. You can also dissolve a few pellets into a little water and use a syringe to dispense the liquid directly into the animal’s mouth. 

In addition, you can purchase remedies as liquid tinctures. Although they aren’t readily available in the United States, you can purchase them online from other countries. My favorite source is Helios in the United Kingdom. Ordering from them is easy, and the tinctures usually arrive within a week. Here is the link: https://www.helios.co.uk/

3 Major Differences Between Homeopathic Remedies and Pharmaceuticals

So what are these remedies? Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843), who developed the concept of homeopathy, recognized something that most doctors did not (and still don’t): There is an energy that drives all of nature. It is also referred to as a life force, vital force, vitality, or energetic signature.

Difference #1: Restoring Balance

The human body is subjected to a number of insults at every moment—changes in temperature, physical strains, and exposure to toxins or germs. In spite of all this, we rarely fall ill. And even if we do, we get well most of the time. We cannot escape the conclusion that there is a force within all of us that coordinates our system—a force that helps to keep the balance between us and our surroundings. Hahnemann recognized it as a function of life itself.

When we do get sick, it is because that life force, or vitality, has been disturbed. The disturbance of the vital force is the real dis-ease and that is what needs correction.

Homeopathy addresses these disturbances. Just as it takes a clear signal to tune into your favorite radio station, a clear energetic signal is the key to restoring balance to the organism, whether it be plant, animal, or human.

This is the first major difference between homeopathy and pharmaceutical medicines.

Difference #2: Like Cures Like

The second difference is the concept that “like cures like.” You see this in nature everywhere you look.

Let’s use stinging nettle as an example. It comes by its name quite honestly. Who hasn’t accidentally run into a patch and come out hollering, knowing you are about to come down with an itchy, burning rash? The homeopathic remedy Urtica urens is made from the stinging nettle plant that has been diluted and attenuated. When utilized for a rash, hives, prickly heat, or any other skin issues that exhibit similar symptoms, the results are nothing short of miraculous.

Difference #3: Dosage

The third difference between homeopathy and other forms of medicine is the tiny amount it takes to be effective. As mentioned previously, it rebalances disturbed energy patterns.

The body is a brilliant mechanism and only needs the correct information to right itself (as do plants and animals).

My point in moving from explaining the use of homeopathy for humans to discussing plants and animals is that we all have the same carbon structure, and therefore we are all healed in the same way. I have used these remedies on plants, animals, and humans for nearly 30 years—and I have yet to be disappointed.

Interested in Learning More About Homeopathic Remedies?

If you’re interested in learning more about homeopathy, you might want to consider reading my new book, MASTERING ALTERNATIVE MEDICNIE: Your Family’s Guide to Wellness, Volume I, which will be released in the next two months.

The companion book, MASTERING HEALTH: Secrets to Success, is geared toward those who are new to homeopathic remedies, and it offers a much more in-depth explanation of homeopathy and other natural medicine practices. It also covers top homeopathic treatments and their uses, plus case studies so that readers can gain a better understanding of how to dispense the remedies.

I will be offering a free download of MASTERING HEALTH: Secrets to Success to members of The Grow Network Community when they purchase MASTERING ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: Your Family’s Guide to Wellness, Volume I. More details will be available soon, so stay tuned!

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The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!

 

 

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The Amazing Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

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We’re going to cover Ginkgo biloba, a very well-rounded herb with an ancient and time-tested past.  Ginkgo (as it’s commonly known as) has been used for thousands of years in China.  It has been known in the West for only a short time.  When Nixon opened relations with China back in the 1970’s, Ginkgo was “discovered” by Westerners for the first time.  Even this happened on a fluke, or more accurately, an appendicitis.

James Reston, the vice-president of the New York Times visited Beijing in 1971, where he came down with acute appendicitis and required surgery to survive.  The Chinese surgeons used acupuncture and herbs to help him recover.  It was this event that brought traditional Chinese medicine to the forefront of America’s focus.  Ginkgo has its roots (no pun intended) in Chinese herbal medicine, where it is a cornerstone of Chinese traditional healing methods.  Ginkgo has come to be recognized for its qualities in the West, as well.

Ginkgo itself is one of the oldest known plant species that survives, and it was around in most parts of the earth in the age of the dinosaurs.  It is literally a “living fossil,” meaning that the fossil record clearly shows ginkgo existed back then, as it does now.  After the Ice Age, the plant only survived in Asia.  It is actually a tree and is cultivated by the Chinese, who have been using it for almost 5,000 years to help restore memory and mental status, and to help with respiratory problems.

How Ginko Biloba Can Enhance Your Health

In Europe, it is prescribed to combat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  It improves circulation to every portion of the body, including the brain.  Ginkgo also helps to maintain the elasticity and suppleness of the veins and arteries of the circulatory system.  The herb also reduces clotting, an important quality for people who have a higher than usual tendency toward clotting. Ginkgo also prevents the interaction of free radicals with neurotransmitters.

What this means is that your brain works through a series of “firings” of electrical impulses, transmitted along a complex “circuitry system” of your neural pathways.  These pathways have neurotransmitters (such as Acetylcholine, for one) that “connect” these pathways and enable the transmission of the electrical impulses (and thus thoughts) to and through the brain.  Free radicals are the result of excess oxidation at the cellular level and are responsible for the aging process.  A free radical is a reactive molecule or atom that is “missing” an electron and leaves it unbalanced.  It takes that electron back…from another atom or molecule.  The free radical kills healthy cells with this scavenging process.

Ginkgo is an antioxidant.  It has extra electrons, and when it comes into contact with the free radical, it gives one of these electrons to the free radical and neutralizes it.  This concept is important in relation to brain function, where impairment by free radicals and excess oxidization leads to Alzheimer’s disease.  Ginkgo also helps the eyes, ears, and respiratory system in a similar fashion, and especially the latter, where the circulatory system runs hand-in-hand with the breathing.  Want some more?  Ginkgo also protects against UV (Ultraviolet) light exposure.

Want even more? 

Soviet scientists found that Ginkgo biloba fights free radicals and cellular degeneration caused by radiation exposure…results from patients at Chernobyl.

How’s that for a super-happy-prepper herb?  Especially in light of the fact that North Korea is threatening the United States with a nuclear attack.    Ginkgo has been found to counteract the cumulative effects of radiation.

Ginkgo Biloba Extract:

To make a tincture, place 150g of dried ginkgo leaves or 400g of fresh ginkgo leaves in a jar and cover with 500ml of vodka. Cover and store in a dark place for 4 weeks, shaking the jar daily. After 4 weeks, strain the mixture, pressing all liquid from the ginkgo. Stored in a glass bottle, this will keep for up to a year.

For those who wish to avoid consuming alcohol, ginkgo tea is very simple to make. Simply add 1 cup of boiling water to 1 teaspoon of dried ginkgo or 1 tablespoon of fresh ginkgo. Allow to stand for several minutes, then sweeten as desired. The disadvantage to taking ginkgo in tea form is that the required dosage is much higher – 2-3 cups per day, rather than the 1-3 teaspoons of tincture. Alternatively, ginkgo capsules are available from health stores. Source

Ginkgo takes 50 lbs. of leaves to make 1 lb. of extract, a standard Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) that contains between 22 -27% ginkgo flavone glycosides (flavonoids), and 5-7% terpene lactones.  Flavone glycosides are antioxidants that actually protect cellular membranes from deterioration.  Recommended dosages are 120 to 240 mg per day.  There can be some side effects in patients with circulatory disorders, therefore everyone should consult with your family doctor prior to using Ginkgo.  You can make it a part of your daily supplements as well as your long-term survival supplies.  It is an incredible supplement that just may help you to fight that good fight longer and better.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Pokeweed: The Weed, the Myth, the Legend

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

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

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

Pokeweed = Poison?

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

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

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

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

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

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

That day, two things happened:

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

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

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

Let’s Eat Some Pokeweed!

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

This video should help:

Plant Identification

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

Pokeweed leaf close

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

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

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

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

Look-alikes

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

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

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

Where to Find Pokeweed

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

It prefers damp woodlands and open area.

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

Harvesting Pokeweed

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

Pokeweed young plant

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

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

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

The Pokeweed Boogeyman

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

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

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

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

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

A Common-Sense Caution

So what’s a forager to do?

Go slowly.

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

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

Culinary Uses: Cooking and Eating Pokeweed

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

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

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

The whole process looks like this:

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

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

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

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

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

Medicinal Uses: Properties and Contraindications

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

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

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

Properties

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

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

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

Contraindications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Home Apothecary: Herbal Medicine, With Recipes

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

Please accept another one of my virtual high fives! 🙂

You’ve made the switch to…

Well. Done.

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

Why Herbal Medicine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Expect With Herbal Medicine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural Medicines to Grow Yourself and How to Use Them

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

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

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

Garlic

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

As Apartment Homesteaders, we can grow garlic in containers in our patio gardens. Make sure you give them plenty of room to stretch out in the soil in a container that is around 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide.1)For instructions on how to grow garlic in containers: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-plant-garlic-in-contain-158494

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

Echinacea

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

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

You can grow Echinacea in a pot on your garden patio.2)For instructions on how to grow Echinacea in a pot: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/growing-purple-coneflowers-containers-60904.html

But where most people dry Echinacea, recent studies have shown that fresh Echinacea has far more power to treat colds than the dried plant.3)See http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20251749,00.html

Echinacea Tea Recipe

You can make a simple fresh Echinacea tea to drink during the cold and flu season by simply adding 1/2 cup of fresh Echinacea to 8 ounces of water. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the Echinacea. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Strain and add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, local honey. (The honey is especially helpful for a sore throat and a cough).4)Find Echinacea tea and other recipes for using Echinacea medicinally here: https://thepaleomama.com/2015/07/21/homemade-echinacea-tea/

Cayenne Pepper

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

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

You can grow cayenne peppers in your patio garden or in a small pot indoors.5)For instructions on how to grow cayenne peppers: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-cayenne-peppers-container-47525.html Then, simply dry your peppers in the oven on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

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

Pain Salve Recipe

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

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

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

Turmeric

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

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

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

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

One of my favorite ways to use turmeric is in a tea.8)For turmeric tea recipe: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/turmeric-tea-benefits/

Turmeric Tea Recipe

Boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.9)Learn how to make turmeric powder: https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/how-to-make-turmeric-powder-at-home-from-raw-turmeric Then, strain the tea and add honey or lemon to taste. You can also add a pinch of black pepper for increased absorption. 

Ginger

Ginger is another plant you can grow fairly easily indoors on your apartment homestead.10)For instruction on how to grow ginger indoors: https://newengland.com/today/living/gardening/how-to-grow-ginger-indoors/

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

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

Ginger Tea Recipe

Simply steep between 1 and 1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in boiling water for about 10 minutes; then, strain and sip.11)For the ginger tea recipe: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/easy-ginger-tea-23528 

Essential Oils: Round Out Your Medicine Cabinet

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

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

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

Two of My Favorite Natural Remedies

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

Honey and Essential Oils Lozenges Recipe

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

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

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

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

Simple Cough Syrup Recipe

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

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

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

Check out other TGN posts on alternative medicine to arm yourself with all the tools you need to be your own apartment apothecary!

 

You can read the rest of the articles in the Apartment Homesteader series here.

Then, find more tips, tricks, and inspiration in The Apartment Homesteader Facebook group! Join your fellow apartment homesteaders here

 

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(This article was originally published on December 9, 2017.)

 

References   [ + ]

1. For instructions on how to grow garlic in containers: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-plant-garlic-in-contain-158494
2. For instructions on how to grow Echinacea in a pot: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/growing-purple-coneflowers-containers-60904.html
3. See http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20251749,00.html
4. Find Echinacea tea and other recipes for using Echinacea medicinally here: https://thepaleomama.com/2015/07/21/homemade-echinacea-tea/
5. For instructions on how to grow cayenne peppers: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-cayenne-peppers-container-47525.html
6. Recipe from https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/herbal-pain-relief/
7. For instruction on how to grow turmeric in a pot: http://balconygardenweb.com/growing-turmeric-in-pots-how-to-grow-turmeric-care-uses-benefits/
8. For turmeric tea recipe: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/turmeric-tea-benefits/
9. Learn how to make turmeric powder: https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/how-to-make-turmeric-powder-at-home-from-raw-turmeric
10. For instruction on how to grow ginger indoors: https://newengland.com/today/living/gardening/how-to-grow-ginger-indoors/
11. For the ginger tea recipe: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/easy-ginger-tea-23528
12. I got this recipe from the Traditional Cooking School, but I adapted it so I could make it without an instant pot: https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/instant-pot-cough-syrup/

The post The Home Apothecary: Herbal Medicine, With Recipes appeared first on The Grow Network.

Survival Uses for Pine Tree Resin You Haven’t Thought Of

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There are many uses for the resin that can be collected from pine trees.  Just what is the resin and how does the pine tree use it?  Well, it’s a substance that helps protect the tree from funguses and disease, as it is antimicrobial in nature.  Resin (commonly referred to as “sap”) also enables the tree to hold in water and protect it in times of drought.  It is used by the tree as a sort of natural “self-patching” kit to help it close a wound within it, such as a deep gouge in the bark.

People have been using resin for a long time.  It can be used to make wood stain and varnish.  Yeah, I know, that’s really exciting.  So, let’s cut to the chase and list what it can do.

  1. First Aid: The sap is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.  A hardened piece can be softened with heat and applied to a wound to help stop bleeding.  If you chew it (softer pieces), it can treat sore throats and help with a cold.
  2. For fire and light: the resin burns, and can be used to make torches, fire starters, and makeshift candles. Read more on how to acquire a supply of fat wood for lighting fires in a snap.
  3. Glue: for patching holes and tears…also in skin, akin to super-glue on a cut (double use as first-aid there). You can mount heads on blowgun-darts, spears, and arrows with it.

There’s plenty to go around.  You can gather it in the woods both hardened and soft.  Be sure and use a container, preferably glass and not plastic to carry your resin.  People harvest it by cutting v-shaped notches into the bark in rows parallel to one another.  The resin then collects in the lowest one…a bucket or vessel is needed to catch it.  Don’t go out and destroy or hurt live trees unless it’s a genuine survival situation.  If it kills you to think about it, know that those who harvest it do so for 20 years or more with no overall ill effects on the tree.

Fossilized resin is known as amber and has been fashioned into jewelry.  Many times, the amber trapped animals in it when it was still soft resin, such as bees, ants, and spiders…and they ended up being perfectly preserved…of great historical and scientific value.  Pine tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine can be made from pine tree resin, and although they are beyond the scope of this article, they are worth mentioning for your further research.

I’ve written articles on pine pollen and pine needle tea in the past.  As you can see, the pine trees have many uses besides just building cabins and as fuel for fires that don’t immediately jump out at you.  Learn to find and gather the resin and try to practice using it in the ways we covered here.  This is good for your ongoing survival training and further sustaining yourself when the going gets tough and the only resources you have are what information you carry in your head and the skills to make it happen.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

Top 13 Uses for Pine Trees in Woodcraft and Self-Reliance

Did you know pine trees can be used as food, medicine and survival equipment?

16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Your Best Self: How To Find Time To Transform With Workout, Meditation, and Study

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Well, the Winter is almost over.  Hopefully, you have continued through the Winter months with your physical training and exercise, along with continuous development through study and preparation.  It is truly an ongoing effort, requiring the allocation of time and the discipline to employ that time (i.e., use it wisely).  If you have not been maintaining a “ready posture” through the Winter, well, now is the time to get back into the groove.  Break down this “restart” with a method I call “WMS,” that translates into Workout, Meditate, and Study.  Let’s jump into it!

Transform Into Your Better Self

Workout: your physical training is imperative to your survival and optimal performance when the “lights go out all over the world,” and also in day to day business at hand.  I have written other articles on the importance of a training calendar to keep track of your time and budget it wisely.  I also stressed that your workouts should not last longer than an hour.  Your workout is for you, tailored by you, whether you’re into aerobics training or strength training.  The exercise is important for the health benefits, and also (when you’ve expended the energy), your body becomes more relaxed.  As we’ve covered exercise in plenty of articles, now let’s jump to the next step.

Meditate: After you’ve taken your supplements and your high-protein shake (no more than 20-30 minutes post workout!), limber up and prepare to meditate.  That’s right!  Meditation will relax your body and mind.  Meditation and working out also has a synergistic effect on the mind. It is proven to develop junctions in the synaptic nerve endings and reinforce connections between nerve centers of your brain.  Deep breathing exercises, while sitting in a comfortable position and listening to instrumental music, as you focus on relaxation and clearing your mind: this is what it’s all about.  You want to use music or tones (such as sounds of nature, as the ocean waves, or the songs of birds) without any words.  The words throw off your concentration upon relaxation…the words stimulate the mind to think of images or situations.  That’s not what you want.  You want to develop Alpha brain waves, and “de-stress” after your workout.  Wind down from the physical and bring your body back to a good state.  The time can be of your choosing…15 minutes to 30 minutes is fine for just starting out.  Now, step 3!

Study: Yes, study!  You pick the subject.  Have a nice cup of tea or coffee with your studies and give it about 15 to 30 minutes of effort.  After a good workout and a thorough meditation, along with a good cup of coffee (it is proven to help with concentration and mental alertness), you can feel refreshed.  It is also a good time to get the creative juices flowing in the brain…and improve yourself before starting out your day with work or whatever is in it.  Learning new things (such as a language) is very good to stimulate development (physically) of the human brain.

The key to the whole endeavor is to be disciplined.  This means you must make a plan and then follow through with that plan in action.  All of these three steps should run you under 2 hours.  It’s hard: juggling the treadmill for the week, the kids, and all of the “trappings” our constantly busy society offers.  Guess what?  You have to make time for yourself.  Do those three things, and you will find that the other things will become easier, and not harder.  Perseverance, persistence, and determination are needed to establish this as a new routine.  Make it a permanent one!  Don’t stop after a few days.  You’re investing in something for the long haul.  You will emerge from your three-part training program ready for a good breakfast, a refreshing shower, and then you can face the world both healthier and clearer.  The key is to face it on your terms and win each day, for yourself and your family.  JJ out!

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Ashwagandha: This Ancient Herb Has Been Used in Natural Medicine For Over 2,500 Years!

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ReadyNutrition Readers, we’re covering a unique herb that has been around for quite a while as a holistic support and herbal supplement.  The herb is Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, or Withania somnifera scientifically.  It has been in use in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 2,500 years.  It is not a commonly-known herb, but the benefits are incredible and worth covering in this report to you.

For those who are not familiar with it, Ayurvedic medicine is the medicine that is traditionally used in the nation of India and has been in practice for more than 5,000 years.  The interesting thing is that we’re exploring the herb for its qualities known to traditional Western medicine, as well as in the context of American Sports Nutrition.

How Ashwagandha Can Improve Health

Ashwagandha can be taken in pill, tincture, or capsule form.  It is an anti-inflammatory that bolsters the immune system, relieves the pain and swelling of inflammation, and it reduces anxiety.  Yes, it is a stress-relieving herb that works on mild to moderate depression, as well as enabling physical recovery from strenuous work or exercise.

The herb is an adaptogen, a term used to describe an herbal substance that has a homeostatic effect on an organism.  What this means is that it works to bring your body into balance if there is an overage or a shortage that results in a person’s condition.  For example, if a person is hyperglycemic (too much blood sugar), an adaptogen will lower that blood sugar and bring the person closer to normal values.  If the individual is hypoglycemic (low blood sugar), the adaptogen will work in the opposite direction and raise the blood sugar closer to normal.

Most scientists do not know why an adaptogen works the way it does.  To Herbalists and other Naturopaths, the reason is not as important as the fact that the results can be documented and monitored, as well as the amounts a person needs to take in order to achieve those results.  The principle of Herbalism is that the whole herb (in whatever form it is consumed) is more effective than any of its individual constituent parts taken alone.  Examples of other adaptogens include ginseng (the most well-known and widely used).

Ashwagandha also works on male infertility, and at dosages of around 2,000 mg per day will help with low testosterone and low libido.  In much the same manner as ginseng, Ashwagandha enhances the human body’s ability to deal with stress.  It also improves reaction time, mental clarity, and performance as it relates to physical exercise and work.  Although there is no general consensus on the exact dosages across the board, following the packaging instructions from the manufacturer will ensure you take what is needed.  Usually, a dosage of approximately 500 mg either 1 to 2 times per day with a meal will suffice.

The good thing about such adaptogens is that they can be used to supplement a workout routine and help to reduce recovery time for a person.  When taken routinely, Ashwagandha is very productive for athletes, people working physically-demanding professions, and for stress…basically everybody!  Check it out in one of your grocery stores or in your health food concerns after clearing it with “Dr. Happy,” your friendly family physician.  It is not expensive, and it delivers a lot of benefits without any side effects or precautions.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

April Question of the Month

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TGN Community members, please let us know:

In addition to The Grow Network, what are your favorite resources for information on gardening, homesteading, and home medicine? (What magazines do you read, sites do you visit, and groups do you belong to?)

Please leave your reply in the Forums by clicking here: https://thegrownetwork.com/forums/topic/what-are-your-favorite-resources-for-gardening-homesteading-home-medicine-info/

Then, stay tuned—we’ll be compiling your answers into an article soon!

 

The post April Question of the Month appeared first on The Grow Network.

Henbit and Purple Deadnettle—The Mischievous Twins

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

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

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

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

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

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

Plant Identification

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

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

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

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

Characteristics                                                                                                                                

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

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

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

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

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

Toxic Look-alikes

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

Culinary Uses

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

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

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

Medicinal Uses

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

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

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

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

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

Read More: “Drying Herbs the Easy Way”

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________

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

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References   [ + ]

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

Grow a Weed Garden! Identifying and Using Chickweed

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“Why in the world would I WANT to grow weeds?” That’s what you were just thinking, right? Either that or, “Is this about marijuana?”

As it turns out, I’m writing on the former. And if you’re still with me after learning that this article isn’t about cannabis, let me answer your question with some questions of my own.

Are you interested in growing your own herbal medicines? Grow a weed garden! Many common weeds are also powerful medicines.

Do you want to grow your own highly nutritious, homegrown food? Grow a weed garden! Most wild edibles are ridiculously nutritious; often much more so than the foods you’re already growing in your garden. (I will admit, however, that a potato is much more user-friendly than stinging nettles.) Plus, you’ll know for sure that these weeds haven’t been sprayed with any (gasp!) weed killer.

Are you cursed with gardening failures? Grow a weed garden! Unless you’re growing it inside a chicken coop or downstream from a glyphosate factory, you literally cannot mess this up. Those weedy little boogers are a hale-and-hearty crew, just chomping at the bit to take over any scrap of substandard, underwatered, compacted, nutrient-poor soil.

Are you preparing for the electromagnetic-zombie-pandemic-peak-water-financial-collapse apocalypse? Grow a weed garden! Looters might make off with your tomatoes, but they’ll never think to steal your thistles. Actually, I think I’d like to see them try that. But my point is that these are food and medicine resources unknown to the majority of the population. You can think of them as your backup-backup food supply.

Getting Started With Your Weed Garden

So I’m going to assume that you’re all fired up and ready for a weed garden, or at least not starkly opposed to the idea, and I’ll move on to the “how to” section. Making a weed garden is stunningly easy. At bare minimum, all you have to do is point to a part of your yard and say, “This is my weed garden.” Done! I’ve got a whole bunch of them out back. I’ll leave it up to you to convince your significant other that it’s time to sell your lawn mower. I mean, who mows their garden, right?

But let’s say you want to be a bit more official.

Sure. I knew I liked you. You want to grow weeds the right and proper way. Good for you.

For a “real” weed garden, do the following:

  1. Prepare a garden bed as you would for any other plant.
  2. Stop.

That’s it. Just loosen the soil, because even weeds like fluffy soil, and remove any pre-existing weeds to give everybody a fair chance to compete.

This is especially true of grasses. If you want a really good weed garden, get rid of the grass. No-good, dirty, rotten, grass (grumble, grumble). I’m slightly prejudiced, in case you couldn’t tell.

This is zero maintenance. No need to fertilize, water, weed (apart from the initial weeding), or sow seeds. Trust me. The seeds are already there, just waiting for their chance to shine.

Here’s a before-and-after picture of a weed garden I just set up:

Weed garden - pre weeding
My Weed Garden, Before

 

Weed garden - post weeding

My Weed Garden, After

This was formerly an experimental garden, set up a few years back and eventually surrendered to the grasses. A morning of TLC with a digging fork and an audiobook brought it back into fighting condition. During the clean out, I discovered a goji berry stem that had snaked its way through the sea of grass and was setting out roots where it contacted the soil.

Weed garden - goji

Goji

I couldn’t bring myself to uproot such a tenacious survivor, so it got to keep its place. Also, I added a wood chip border, because, “by golly I’ve got a big pile of wood chips, and I’m gonna use it!”                                                           

Now let’s take a look at the weeds in the… Oh, right. This is day one. Even weeds don’t pop up that fast. Okay. We’ll come back to this later on. For now, let’s take a look at one of the weeds that was growing in that maelstrom of grass before I cleared it out.

I give you … chickweed!

Weed garden - chickweed

Chickweed

Chickweed is a sweet little plant with a love for cool, wet weather. It can be found in every state in the U.S. and throughout much of the world, even growing as far north as the arctic circle.

Where I live, in the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas, you can find chickweed in the early spring and often again in the fall. The further north you go, the more it can stretch toward summer. Further south it leans more toward winter. If you have just the right climate (or microclimate), it can grow year-round. If you’ve got cool, pleasant weather, you’ve almost certainly got chickweed.

Chickweed tends to pop up in yards, gardens, pastures, and along the edges of paths. It likes rich, moist soil, and doesn’t seem too particular about sunlight. It must really like people, too, because it grows around us a lot. You’ll also occasionally find large patches growing in entirely the “wrong” place, because plants never read a plant book.

This is a great early plant to identify in your weed garden. First, it’s delicious. Some compare the taste to lettuce or corn silk, though I would describe it more like a snap pea. It’s also highly nutritious. Chickweed is a good source of beta-carotene, ascorbic-acid, magnesium, niacin, calcium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, copper, and Gamma-linolenic-acid.1)http://www.eattheweeds.com/chickweed-connoisseurs-2/ It also has more iron, zinc, and potassium than any of your garden greens.2)Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate. John Kallas, PhD. Gibbs Smith. 2010 It can be used in salads, soups, fritters, and almost anywhere else you want something green. I’m partial to homemade weed pizzas, myself.

Do yourself a favor. Mix up some freshly rinsed chickweed with flour, salt, and pepper. Form it up into patties and fry it in coconut oil. Then dip the resulting crunchy goodness in honey mustard or barbecue sauce. Delicious!

Identifying Chickweed

By this time, I’m sure you’re practically salivating for some chickweed. And who could blame you? So let’s move on to identification.

Note that I’m focusing on common chickweed (Stellaria media). There are other varieties of chickweed, such as mouse-ear chickweed, that will match some, but not all, of these criteria. For more information on other types of chickweed, you really should look at a more exhaustive guide or talk to a local plant expert.

Common chickweed is a thin-stemmed plant with small (¼” to ½”), opposite leaves. The leaves vary a bit in shape, but are usually oval, and always have a tiny point at the tips. She’s usually a small plant, but can grow stems more than a foot long when conditions are right. The sap is NOT milky. If you pluck a stem and discover white sap, you’ve got the wrong weed. The bloom is white with 5 deeply notched petals, which will look like 10.

Weed garden - chickweed flower

It has two more dead giveaways. One is a single line of hairs growing down the stem. This line will switch sides after every pair of leaves.

Weed Garden_Chickweed Hair Line Arrows

The hairs are tiny, and you may need to either hold it up to the light or use a magnifying lens to see them. The other telltale sign is an inner core. It takes a little practice, but you can bend the stem back and forth, and twist slightly, to break apart the outer stem, revealing a slightly elastic inner stem.

Weed Garden_Chickweed Broken Stem

All of the aboveground parts are edible. On younger plants, the entire stem is tender. As they age, the lower stems become tough and stringy. You can chop them up, if you’re desperate. But I prefer just cutting off the last 2 or 3 inches at the growing tips.

Medicinally, chickweed is no slouch, either. Its primary claim to fame is in skin care. Owing to its wound-healing, soothing, and cooling properties, chickweed is an obvious choice for various skin irritations. It can be used in poultices, sprays, and creams—both as a beauty aid and for the treatment of rashes, bites, burns, and blemishes. It is also a digestive aid, helping to relieve excess gas in the intestinal tract.3)Reference: The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. Katrina Blair. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2014

I hope I’ve gotten you interested in the idea of a weed garden, or at least in trying out some chickweed. Next time, we’ll check back in with my weed garden to see how it’s coming along and choose a new weed to feature.

Meanwhile, let me know in the comments section: What’s your favorite way to use chickweed?

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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.eattheweeds.com/chickweed-connoisseurs-2/
2. Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate. John Kallas, PhD. Gibbs Smith. 2010
3. Reference: The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. Katrina Blair. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2014

The post Grow a Weed Garden! Identifying and Using Chickweed appeared first on The Grow Network.

How Medicinal Mushrooms Can Improve Your Health

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For those of you who may be wondering, I can state this article is completely objective.  As far as mushrooms are concerned in the diet?  I hate ‘em.  I hate the very sight of them regarding cooking and as an accouterment to meals.  That being said, I still actively gather them when possible and have plenty of supplements with them.  I value them from a natural medicine perspective and admit to their having nutritional value, although I hate the taste of them.

What’s so great about mushrooms?

Mushrooms contain fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals, especially B-vitamins and the mineral selenium.  They are extremely low in fat.  Three ounces of mushrooms (White Mushrooms, readily available in grocery stores) contain about 3 grams of protein.  Unlike other foods that lose the nutrients in the cooking process, mushrooms actually release their nutrients when they are cooked.  They are also good for supplying Vitamin D and have been shown to increase HDL (High-Density Lipoproteins, aka the “good” cholesterol), as well as lower Triglycerides in the bloodstream, thereby making them helpful for the heart and circulatory system.

Health Boosting Medicinal Mushrooms You Need for Natural Medical Supplies

Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake Mushroom

There are many beneficial chemicals contained in many mushroom species, such as antioxidants, that fight free radicals, and oxidation (processes of aging and cellular deterioration).  They also contain polysaccharides and phenols, and these help to reduce inflammation and stress.  Lentinan and beta-glucans are chemicals that help with chemotherapy and side-effects associated with it, such as nausea and vomiting.  Beta-glucans themselves are cancer-fighters and are found in such types as Shiitake, a popular mushroom found in grocery stores.  Shiitake mushroom extracts have been found to help combat bacteria and viruses, and the extract, as well as the dried mushroom, can improve the immune system by strengthening it. We found this tincture recipe from Moutain Rose Herbs to guide you through making your own.

Make a Mushroom Double Extraction

Ingredients

  • 80 proof or higher alcohol (I use vodka)
  • organic (and consciously harvested) dried mushrooms such as reishimaitakechaga, or shiitake
  • water (I like to use water I collect from springs)

Instructions

  1. Fill a jar halfway with dried mushrooms.
  2. Fill jar with alcohol, making sure that it completely covers the mushrooms, but leave about a ½ inch space at the top of the jar.
  3. Let it sit for a month. Shake daily.
  4. After a month, strain mushroom-infused alcohol into another jar and set aside.
  5. Next, make a water extract by bringing a half gallon of water to a simmer in a stock pot. Add the mushrooms from the alcohol extract to the simmering water.
  6. Simmer the mushrooms for about 2 hours, until the water has reduced to approximately 8-16 ounces. Make sure to keep an eye on the water level, as you don’t want it to completely evaporate. You may need to add water to the stock pot throughout the process.
  7. Let it cool.
  8. Strain and compost the mushrooms, reserving the mushroom-infused water.
  9. Combine the water extract with the alcohol extract.
    The final product is your mushroom double extract! The alcohol percentage should be somewhere between 25-35%, making it shelf stable.

Source

maitake mushroom

Maitake Mushroom

Other species such as Maitake are also extremely effective in combatting viruses and bacteria.  The King Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii) is a species of the Pleurotus family that has anti-pyretic properties, meaning it boosts immunity to fever and sicknesses.  The King Oyster also has been shown in studies to increase testosterone by as much as five times, a factor that could be helpful in men with problems relating to impotence.  The King Oyster is found throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, and is supposed to be pleasant to the taste and used as a culinary mushroom: on these last two points, I’ll take their word on it!

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is another one, also known as Yamabushitake.  This guy is supposed to also fight inflammation, and also be an aid to boosting cognitive function…protecting from dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is also supposed to increase nerve-growth factor, an important component of brain “maintenance.”

 

Related article: Four Medicinal Mushrooms to Add to Your Natural Pharmacy

There have been several studies relating to “Psychedelic” or “Magic” mushrooms that have yielded dramatic results in treating depression and neurological disorders.  The most important thing with the mushrooms is identification, especially if you gather any types in the wild.  I have the National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America, that has more than 700 photographs…color photographs that I believe are critical to proper identification.  I highly recommend investing in such a manual.

So, to summarize, you don’t have to like mushrooms in order to use them and stock up on tinctures and supplements.  Every time I see one I think of the movie “Attack of the Mushroom People,” and dread their smell and taste…hating the very sight of them.  Yet I respect their powerful and useful medicinal qualities and highly encourage you to research them further and employ them for your own uses.  Fight that good fight, drink coffee, and eat a good pizza…but hold the mushrooms!  JJ out!

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Meet Elena Upton, Local Changemaker

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Elena Upton, Local Changemaker

Elena Upton
Local Changemaker

Website: ElenaUpton.com

Follow on Social Media: Mastering Alternative Medicine (Facebook)

Fast Fact: Elena’s first book, Mastering Alternative Medicine: Your Family’s Guide to Wellness, is set to release this spring. Find all the details and more great tips on her website!

___________________________________________

Tell us a bit about your background—your heritage, where you grew up, and what first drew your attention to the world of natural remedies?

I am a native of New England, and my family ancestry is Italian. You know what that means . . . good food!

My paternal grandparents had a garden, and my grandfather made his own wine. He also owned small neighborhood grocery stores (five at one point). I remember them as being no more than probably 500–600 square feet and jam-packed with fruits and vegetables and imported Italian grocery products.

I would go into the store up the hill from my house after school and, of course, make my way to the little ice cream cooler. He kept a box of change by the register for those who needed a little extra, and I’d pick out a nickel to buy a frozen treat.

I also remember he had a large notebook with names and numbers scribbled in it. He said it was for “credit.” The locals would come in and pick up food staples they needed and run a tab, promising to come back later to pay.

This didn’t connect me with natural medicine specifically, but it gave me a foundation for good, healthy food and a sense of taking care of the community.

Was there a particular “Aha!” moment in your family’s medical history that you’d consider a true turning point away from traditional treatment methods?

The “Aha!” moment that changed my life forever was a ski trip to Colorado with my husband and sons in 1988.

We were visiting my husband’s former college roommate, George, when his wife, Colleen, pulled out a little white box filled with vials. She referenced a booklet, opened one of the vials, and popped a few little pills into her mouth.

She had been getting noticeably sick with a cold. Within an hour or so, though, there was no sign of the cold continuing to materialize.

I asked her what had been in the box, and she said homeopathy.

I had never even heard the word before!

She went on to explain that it was natural medicine from Germany. It is made from tiny expressions of plant, animal, and mineral substances that act as “information” for the body to follow to heal itself.

I thought that was the most amazing thing I had ever heard! When we went back to Massachusetts, I immediately went to the library to research homeopathy. (There was no World Wide Web then.)

The reason I was so interested was because I was developing some health issues, my husband had health issues, and both my sons had their own health problems cropping up. It seemed whatever conventional medical intervention we were given only suppressed the problem or made it worse. I wanted to know what this magical medicine was and why I’d never heard of it.

Soon after, my husband was transferred to California, and my good friend’s family was also transferred there. At our first West Coast reunion, my friend mentioned learning about homeopathy in Ohio and had a prospectus in her hand for The British Institute of Homeopathy. They had opened a satellite school in Los Angeles. Needless to say, we both enrolled. This was the beginning of a decade of formal training in homeopathy.

My health immediately improved with the use of homeopathy. My husband’s lifelong allergies were gone, and my son’s chronic, seasonal bronchitis cleared. I never looked back.

You’re a strong believer in “food as your first medicine.” How has your diet and that of your family evolved since the days before your homeopathic training?

Wholesome, fresh food was always my first medicine with the rich experience from my family.

The piece of the puzzle that came next, once I was deeply ingrained in the holistic medical community, was developing an understanding of how our food sources had deteriorated with the use of preservatives, the introduction of fungicides into “modern” farming, and the advent of GMO seeds.

What studies/training did you undergo to lead to your role today as a homeopath, author, lecturer and product development specialist?

When you study homeopathy, or any other form of holistic medicine (naturopathic, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, chiropractic, etc.), you gain insight into working with the whole person mentally, emotionally, and physically.

This includes their energetic body.

It is a huge departure from the Western model of medicine, with its use of pharmaceutical drugs and invasive procedures. Instead, there is a respect for the innate intelligence of the body to heal itself, if given the correct information. This information comes in the form of clean, nutritious food and natural-based medicines.

My earliest experiences included a Canadian naturopathic doctor who came to work with me in the clinic I opened after finishing school. He had trained in Germany and opened my eyes to many modalities beyond homeopathy.

We found herbs, supplements, and homeopathic remedies to be a winning combination.

In addition, my older son became a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist (yes, I’m very proud!), and we have clients we work with together. He can read their pulse, use needles to direct or unblock energy, fix structural issues, etc., and homeopathy adds another dimension.

Sometimes, when someone is stuck in a certain health pattern and not making the expected progress, I treat with a homeopathic remedy that reaches the emotional blockages, and Bam!, their physical issues clear up.

Grief is, by far, the largest block to healing.

You make an especially ardent case against commonly used antibiotics. Please explain the research behind this movement and the top alternative treatments you credit with keeping you and your family off of antibiotics for 30 years now.

Before antibiotics (and before vaccines were introduced in response to epidemics), there was homeopathy.

It is over 230 years old and is the second largest system of medicine in the world—everywhere but America.

In my upcoming book, Mastering Alternative Medicine: Your Family’s Guide to Wellness, I briefly explain the history of homeopathy and how this inexpensive, safe medicine has been systematically driven out. The space here simply doesn’t allow me to explain the volume of research that exists for homeopathic remedies and the true facts about people saved from smallpox and other diseases when conventional medicine failed.

Armed with a reference guide and a homeopathic kit, you can stop many illnesses in their tracks before they even develop.

Examples include using Euphrasia as soon as symptoms of conjunctivitis (pink eye) arise; Hydrastis for sinusitis, and adding Sanguinaria if it’s chronic; mercurius solubilis or mercurius vivus for tonsillitis; hepar sulph calcarea for dental abscesses; Allium cepa for hay fever; Aconitum and Bryonia (or Gelsemium, depending on symptoms) for the common cold or flu; Belladonna or ferrum phos (depending on symptoms) for fever; and Nux vomica for acid reflux.

I could go on with pages and pages of natural solutions, and this is exactly the subject of my book. Listed above is just a small sampling of the FDA-approved remedies you can buy for $6 to $8 in any health food store or pharmacy or online. (I have an extensive reference section in the book on how to source the remedies you need.)

Not everyone has an opportunity to grow their own food or healing herbs. Even if you do, there are important natural remedies we all should know about sitting on a shelf in your health food store. Just as it takes effort to grow your own food, it takes effort to find health solutions not readily spoken about in mainstream society.

Please tell us how your new book came about and the personal research that fueled it.

For nearly 30 years, I have studied homeopathy and other holistic modalities.

It never gets old to see how quickly people improve (with no side effects) when they use remedies from nature.

I have gathered data, researched, and studied with medical professionals who have found another way . . . a safe way to stay healthy. It was a natural transition to pull it all together and share information you’ll never hear on the nightly news or from your insurance-mandated doctor.

It is your right to keep your family and yourself as healthy as possible. Bringing holistic medicine into your life may be what you are looking for, as it was for me.

Can you offer any last piece of healthy living advice that would be of interest to our Grow Network community?

I would like to stress that, because of the source of homeopathic remedies, they are safe for pregnant women, infants, and the elderly, as well as animals and plants. In essence, when you feed the body what it needs—clean, organic food and clean, natural medicine—it responds in kind.

 

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Congratulations, February Certification Graduates!

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

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

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

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

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

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

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

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

  • Robert Held
  • Scott Sexton

 

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

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

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

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

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

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

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

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

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

Lessons include:

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

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

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

 

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

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

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

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

  • Scott Sexton

 

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

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

NEW! Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

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

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

 

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

7 Ways to Beat the Flu with Holistic Remedies

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ReadyNutrition Readers, you are all undoubtedly aware of how this awful this flu season has been and still continues to spread. According to the CDC, the flu is still widespread in many parts of the country.

There is still concern to be had as medicine shortages continue to some parts of the country. Now, what can you do about it in the home? Let’s go over a basic list of some foods and herbs that can help you safeguard from illness.

Firstly, keep in mind: each strain of influenza varies. Secondly, there are articles I’ve written in the past pertaining to HFV’s (Hemorrhagic Flu Viruses) that it would benefit you to read or refresh upon. There are two factors: TNF-a, and IL-6, that are Tumor Necrosis Factors and Interleukin factors, respectively. These are cytokines that are crucial in white blood cell production to fight illness. The problem with HFV’s (to recap) is that they stimulate these two factors to overproduce: the body literally fights “itself” in what is termed a cytokine storm.

Beat the Flu with These Holistic Remedies

The Ebola Virus and the Avian Flu virus (commonly known as “bird flu”) are examples of HFV’s. I also did an article on what foods and herbs not to take. So, what’s a body to do? There are holistic boosters that you can take that will not raise the levels of these two cytokines during this flu season. Let’s list them here:

1. Garlic (Allium sativa) – simply put, the #1 herbal “broad-spectrum” holistic antibiotic. We’ve put together plenty of articles on it, and 2-3 cloves per meal will help strengthen your immune system and fight viruses, bacteria, parasites, and Dracula. As mentioned before, garlic tends to thin the blood and lessen clotting factors, so don’t use it just before or just after a surgery, or if you regularly have complications with clotting.
2. Vitamin C and Vitamin E: These two are mentioned together because they are complimentary…they each potentiate (or increase) the actions of the other. Preventatively, you can take 500 mg of Vitamin C per day…and (according to such notables as Dr. Linus Pauling) 4-5,000 mg during a time of illness. Vitamin C is water soluble: what you don’t use, you’ll excrete through the urine. Vitamin E you can take 400 IU per day, and it is good for tissue repair and potentiates the effectiveness of Vitamin C. As well, the elderly may benefit greatly from Vitamin E and it helps to protect their age group from pneumonia. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and will stay in your tissues longer than C. Both in tandem are excellent when a person is sick.
3. Fluid Intake: water is key. A person should take in anywhere from a ½ gallon to 1 gallon per day to maintain good hydration. Along with this, I did an article that mentions electrolyte packets you can take orally, available over-the-counter that replace Sodium, Potassium, and others…also containing Vitamin C.
4. Ginger Root: slice it up or dice it up, and throw about a teaspoon to a ½ tablespoon in a salad. It is very good for the stomach, and also aids against the flu.
5. Protein: Everyone who has been reading my articles know how much I emphasize the importance of protein in your diet. The building-block of muscle and of tissue repair, your protein levels become debilitated when you have the flu. Use high-protein sources, such as chicken breast, salmon, or lean beef or steak. You can combine any of these protein-laden foods with the next flu-fighter, that is………
6. Salads: Yes, green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and herbs such as cilantro. The latter removes heavy metals from the system, such as lead and mercury. The former two are packed with iron, potassium, and other vital minerals that you need to maintain fluid balance and to heal up.
7. Citrus Fruits: granted, we already mentioned Vitamin C, but the citrus fruits have more than just C. The principle of Herbalism is that the whole herb or food is always more effective than any of its individual parts. The whole fruit also contains other vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, an important part of your digestion (that normally slows down considerably during the duration of an illness such as the flu).

These are all guaranteed to give you a good start when combined with adequate rest and sleep. I want to close by stressing the importance of exercise and physical training as a preventative measure against illness of any kind. It has been proven time and again by physicians and scientists that the better shape you’re in, the more your immunities and the overall system will fight illness when it comes along. Here’s to your health, and stay in that good fight! JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

March Question of the Month

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TGN Community members, please let us know:

What are your favorite combinations for companion planting?

Leave us a reply in the Forums, here: https://thegrownetwork.com/forums/topic/what-are-your-favorite-combinations-for-companion-planting

Then, stay tuned—we’ll be compiling your answers into an article soon!

 

The post March Question of the Month appeared first on The Grow Network.

5 Herbs Every Homesteader Needs In Their First-Aid Kit

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5 Herbs Every Homesteader Needs In Their First-Aid Kit

Image source: Pixabay.com

I have a long history with conventional medicine and allergies. More than a handful of times, I ended up in the hospital due to a reaction from the treatment for an illness. Should the cure be worse than the illness? Well, my mother didn’t think so. She turned to nature for my herbal first aid — and I’ve been using herbs ever since.

One of the best parts about herbal medicine is that it is generally free and can be found right outside your door!

Herbs and weeds have been used as medicine since the beginning of mankind. As a matter of fact, herbs are still the building blocks for many conventional medicines.

According to the University of Minnesota, “It is likely that humans have used plants as medicine for as long as we have existed. Archeological excavations dated as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plant.”

Let’s examine five specific herbs.

Minor Burns and Scrapes: Aloe

Aloe is the only plant that I seem to have a green thumb for. Incidentally, it is the first herb I ever recall using as a child.

Often seen in many homes as a decorative plant, aloe Vera is effective in treating minor burns, sunburns and scrapes.

Aloe Vera is an evergreen succulent that grows wild in tropical climates around the world. In colder climates, aloe Vera can be grown indoors as potted plants.

Aloe contains active compounds that help reduce inflammation and pain. These active compounds help stimulate skin growth and repair, in addition to acting as a moisturizing agent. Medical studies have shown that burns treated with aloe heal quicker than burns treated with silver sulfadiazine.

Bleeding and Cuts: Yarrow

According to mythology, the Greek hero Achilles used yarrow to stop the bleeding in his soldiers’ wounds.

Recently after a construction accident, my husband had a wound on his foot that nearly reached the bone. Unable to get to the doctors, I applied a yarrow compress to get the bleeding under control until he could receive medical attention. We have successfully used yarrow several times through the years to treat wounds and to stop bleeding.

Yarrow is a common weed that often can be found growing on the sides of the road. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) tends to grow best in sunny and warm climates. However, I’ve had success growing it in my shaded garden, as well.

Through numerous devices – clotting, unclotting, neurovascular control, flavonoids, etc. – yarrow regulates the flow of blood to and from the surface, in and out of the capillaries and venules, thickening and thinning. Through this, it cures all manner of wounds, bruises, hemorrhaging and clotting.

Stings/Bites: Plantain

I bet you’ve walked by this herb thousands of times without even realizing it, but plantain is the perfect treatment for bites and stings. Plantain has astringent properties that help reduce swelling and draw out the toxins from the bite.

When our daughter was just a couple of years old, she was playing with some wind-chimes. Little did I know that hornets had made a nest in them. She ran screaming to me with tears running down her cheeks from the pain. We instantly rushed outside to where I knew plantain was growing, mashed it up, and applied it to the stings. Within just a couple of minutes, the swelling was gone — and so were her tears.

Sickness: Usnea

I often laugh when I think of this herb, because for years I was told it was a sign of disease in a tree. Little did I know that usnea wasn’t a disease, but a cure!

Usnea is a pale grayish-green lichen that grows like leafless mini-shrubs or tassels anchored on bark or twigs. It grows all over the world and can usually be found on sick or dying trees.

Usnea is known to help staph infections, heal wounds, respiratory issues, allergy symptoms, sore throat, fungal infections, urinary infections and sinus infections. Usnea is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, making it the perfect herb to treat sickness.

Headache: Willow Bark

Back in the 1980s, I watched a movie where they treated a headache with eating tree bark. That was my first introduction to the medicinal properties found in willow bark. 

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

“The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). In combination, with the herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds (called flavonoids), salicin is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. White willow appears to bring pain relief more slowly than aspirin, but its effects may last longer.”

If we take the time to study, learn and observe nature, we will realize that it offers us everything that we need to live. From food to medicine, the answer is often right outside our door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Dry Fresh Rose Petals

How to dry fresh rose petals

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

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

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

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

12 Creative Uses for Rose Petals

12 Uses for Rose Petals

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

1. Let Them Eat Rose Petals on Toast

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

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

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

2. Add Fragrance to Your Next Salad

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

3. Help a Boo-Boo or a Sore Throat

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

Simple Rose-Petal Honey Recipe

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

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

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

4. Move Blood, or Stop Diarrhea

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

Rose Tea Recipe

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

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

5. Soothe and Nourish Your Skin

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

Rose Floral Water Recipe

You’ll need:

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

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

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

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

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

6. Ease Your Pain

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

Rose-Petal Oil Recipe

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

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

7. Open the Love Center

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

Rose Glycerite Recipe

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

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

8. Uplift Your Spirits

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

Rose Petal Jello Recipe

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

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

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

9. Add Fragrance to Your Unmentionables

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

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

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

10. Entice You, Entice Me

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

11. A Romantic Dinner for Two

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

12. Relax in Luxury

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

Do You Have More to Add to this List?

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

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

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


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Using Essential Oils: An Interesting Resource

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I came across an interesting resource the other day and thought I would share: If you have an interest in using essential oils, you may enjoy the site Oil-Testimonials.com.

It’s strictly an information resource—no sales pitches or multi-level marketing (although, of course, some people do mention particular products or brands in their stories). And it provides some pretty interesting anecdotal information about how people are using essential oils and which oils they’ve found successful in various treatments.

In fact, Oil-Testimonials has been compiling stories related to essential oils since 2004, and the site claims to have the most comprehensive list of these anecdotes on the Internet. After taking a look at the numbers, I’m betting that’s accurate. If I’m doing my math right, there are nearly 10,000 testimonials on the site (!).

Here’s a brief sampling of some of the site’s most popular posts:

  • Calming a Hyperactive Child: “A friend and coworker of my husband’s sent me some samples of Lavender, Cedarwood, Peppermint, and Peace & Calming essential oils. I was skeptical about how they would work, but after battling it out with a child with ADHD (and no medication because I had run out), I decided it couldn’t hurt anything. I put a couple drops of each essential oil in my son’s hands and had him rub them on his head and neck. Within the next few minutes it was as if I had given my son his usual remedy. This oil application completely changed the way my child acted within a matter of minutes. These essential oils worked better than anything else we have tried. My son now would rather have his oils than the side-effect-laden alternatives.” —Cassandra, Oklahoma
  • Lowering High Blood Pressure: “A friend in his 70s had a physical several weeks ago and discovered that he had high blood pressure (HBP). His blood pressure (BP) had been hovering in the 160/98 range. The doctor suggested monitoring it daily for a month and recording the reading. If it did not come down in a month with better food choices and exercise, medication might be recommended. Meanwhile, I suggested that my friend start using OmegaGize, Essentialzyme, and the NingXia Red juice. After a couple of days on this protocol, I was to meet my friend, but he was late in arriving. It turns out that he had been going from grocery-store pharmacy to grocery-store pharmacy getting his BP checked because he just could not believe the readings. He thought that the blood pressure machines must be broken. After two days on the three products that I had suggested, my friend’s BP was down to 138/78. Needless to say, he is very happy and confident that, by the time he returns to his doctor, his BP will be well within the normal range.” —Rebecca, Colorado
  • Alleviating PMS Symptoms: “My entire life I have had horrible cramps, breast tenderness, and bloating 2 to 3 days before my cycle would start, followed by very heavy, very long bleeding. I could not stand up straight! My mother had read that all of the commercial bath products we use have hormone disrupting chemicals in them. So she sent me Young Living’s shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash. When I received them, I literally grabbed everything else in my shower in one fell swoop and dropped it in the trash. After replacing all of the chemical-laden products with Young Living products, I have not had a trace of any of those symptoms related to my cycle. My periods are shorter and not as heavy, too! In fact, most of the time I forget that I am even on my period.” —Katy, Texas
  • Restoring Feeling in Feet: “My mother-in-law has suffered with the loss of sensation in her feet for MANY years. She is very seldom without her walker. I asked if she would be open to trying something different, and she agreed. I mixed up a blend of Frankincense and Lemongrass essential oils in a base bottle of Ortho Ease Massage Oil and sent it down to her. (NOTE: I added about 35 drops of each to the bottle of Ortho Ease. When mixing up an additional batch, I also added 30 drops of Cypress essential oil.) After applying it twice a day regularly to her feet and calves—about 2 weeks in—she was in the grocery store with her walker. About halfway through, she said she had awful pain in her feet … AND SHE WAS SOOOO EXCITED! She has not had feeling in her feet in so long. The next day she brought her walker into the kitchen with her in the morning and left it there the rest of the day. Her feet felt so wonderful she didn’t feel she needed it!” —Kris, Wisconsin

Again, the Oil-Testimonials site is completely brand neutral, and if you’re interested in using essential oils, I do second its recommendation to “do your own research or ask a trusted friend to find a brand that is reputable.”

Let me know what you think about the site!

 

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Congratulations, Members, on Completing These Certifications!

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

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

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

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

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

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

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

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

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

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

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

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

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

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

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

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

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

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

Lessons include:

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

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

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

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

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

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

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

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

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

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

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

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

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

 

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This Ancient Remedy Is Still One of the Most Powerful Compounds for Health

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Herbal foods that are taken beyond just a culinary reason and are consumed for naturopathic purposes are a beautiful thing.  Why?  Because they aren’t invasive…and you are supposed to follow the least invasive path to taking care of ailments.  Curcumin is the focus of this article.  It will help with heart disease, with Alzheimer’s, with joint pain, with diabetes.  What I’ve listed there is far from exhaustive.Let’s clear up the confusion about it first.  Curcumin is not an herb but is a component of one: Turmeric, or Curcuma longa.  The herb’s root forms into a rhizome, an “L” shaped underground protuberance.  The spice Turmeric usually contains only a small amount of curcumin: anywhere from 2-5%, which is not much and is not necessarily bioavailable.  This latter term refers to the ability of the body to utilize it.

Curcumin has been used in India and the Far East for thousands of years quite effectively against dozens…I repeat, dozens…of different ailments, from Crohn’s disease to Cancer.  Curcumin is an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, and it is a cancer-fighter.  In previous articles, we covered oxidation (the tendency of a “free radical” to “steal” an electron from a healthy cell) and how it is a process of aging and disease.

The yellow color of curcumin is responsible for the orange color of turmeric.  It is more than 200 times more powerful than blueberries as an antioxidant.  It increases HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) in your system…the “good” cholesterol…that helps move fats and lipids out of cells and prevents blood clotting in the arteries and veins.

Its anti-inflammatory properties are extremely useful in helping digestive disorders.  More than 60 million Americans are afflicted each year with some type of bowel disorder, and curcumin is extremely effective against all of them, from ulcerative colitis to cancer of the colon.  In addition, it is effective against lower and upper respiratory infections.

The best curcumin can be found in your better health concerns.  You guys and gals know I’ve recommended Wal-Mart for many herbs for both quality and affordability, but not with this one.  The dose will be dependent upon the quality and concentration of the curcumin.  If you buy it as a powder, you can load it into gel-caps or tincture it.  For the latter, it’s good to use grain alcohol, but you can use other liquors.  Just remember that the alcohol concentration varies between them, and you want to have a minimum of about 52% alcohol or higher to preserve it longer and keep that freezing point very low (we’ve covered that topic in other articles).

One last consideration is that if you use curcumin, you also want to use black pepper.  Yes, black pepper contains piperazine that potentiates the effect and effectiveness of the curcumin.  As we know, black pepper is about as rare as glass and probably less expensive.  This is a combination that is not invasive, and you can easily blend in with your routine and meals.  Try it out: do some more homework and see how you can use this remarkable compound simply, effectively, and affordable.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Homemade Herbal Chest Salve

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Homemade Herbal Chest Salve Many people in our nation are blind to the benefits of essential oils They believe things like mouthwash, OTC drugs and even muscle relief are made in factories only and could never be reproduced at home. Once you cross the border into the world of essential oils you being to realize …

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Why the Flu Likes Winter and How Vitamin D Can Help

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It’s Flu Season Again

Ever wonder why people tend to get sick in winter? There are a lot of theories, including that we spend more time indoors and close to others. Another reason is that the flu virus can live longer outside of a “host” in the colder, dryer winter air.

But there’s another reason I believe also completes this puzzle of why the flu only seems to come out in winter: Vitamin D deficiency makes us more susceptible to viral attack (along with zinc deficiency, too).

Why Vitamin D Matters

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone (not really a vitamin) that our body creates when it is exposed to direct sunlight. It also comes from foods like pastured meats and eggs, liver, wild fish, sardines, and oysters. Most of us are already low or deficient in vitamin D because unlike our ancestors who lived outdoors, we live inside offices and Starbucks, and because few of us are eating the foods listed above. About 80% of my clients come into my office with vitamin D levels in the “deficient” range.

Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere above the 35th parallel likely produce little vitamin D in our bodies between October and March. I have not yet found a way to invent a computer screen that emits vitamin D-creating light (but if you steal my idea, I expect half the profits – honor system here, folks). The vitamin D theory of the winter illnesses holds some water as evidenced by research from the National Institutes of Health, and perhaps most forcefully in a 2009 study published in JAMA.

Of course the naysayers have some studies suggesting vitamin D has no effect on your ability to fight the flu. After reviewing such research, it appears these studies only looked at the dosing, not the participants’ actual levels. You could give someone all the vitamin D in the world, but if it’s not raising their blood levels within an optimal range, the study results are not reliable.

So What Is an Optimal Level of Vitamin D?

No one knows, and researchers are in a hot debate on this. There are basically two camps: the 35-50ers and the 50-70ers.

I’m in the camp of the 50-70ers, with some exceptions.  That level should be achieved at least in part through sunlight and food rather than by supplementation. I know people who take mega-doses of refined vitamin D supplements for long periods of time to get that level, which I don’t recommend.

And there is some evidence that those dealing with very serious illnesses can benefit from extra high, therapeutic levels.

Learning From Traditional Lifestyles

I base this opinion in part on studies that look at the levels of those modern hunter-gatherers and societies that live outdoors most of the time — like we did more than 10,000 years ago. Studying people in traditional cultures that are relatively free from “Western” diseases is often a good way to know what may be optimal for the rest of us.

A recent study of the Masai people showed their average levels at 48ng/ml (range: 23-67). And the Hadzabe averaged 44ng/ml (range: 24-68). My recommendations are based in part on this study.

How I Manage My Vitamin D

In winter (October-March), I personally take 4,000-6,000 IUs of D3 (cholecalciferol) from a supplement and a teaspoon of Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil / Butter Oil Blend or a tablespoon of Carlson Cod Liver Oil (containing about 1200 IUs of D3) for a total of 5,200-7,200 IUs per day. In summer, I cut back my supplement to 2,000-4,000 IUs per day and stay on the Cod Liver Oil or Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil.

Listen to your body and your chosen team of health clinicians to guide you on the levels that may be right for you. I have had patients who just felt terrible with levels above 50ng/ml before seeing me (possibly because of other deficiencies — see the end of this post) and others who did not get better until they surpassed that. I think the best evidence today suggests that anywhere from 35-70ng/ml would be a widely safe range for most adults.

These are just what I need to keep my levels around 55-60 ng/ml. You may need drastically different amounts. It’s always best to get tested — which is usually covered by insurance, or you can order your own test kits online.

The Best Ways to Increase Your Vitamin D

  • SUMMER: Exposing your skin to direct sunlight (not through windows). The rule of thumb is 15-20 minutes of sunlight on 70% of your body between about noon-4 p.m. or when your shadow is shorter than you are.
  • WINTER: If you live above about the 35th Parallel (Washington, DC, near where I live is at the 38th), you are probably not making any Vitamin D between October and March no matter how much sun you get.
  • Cod liver oil (I only recommend Carlson and Green Pasture — avoid most others).
  • Wild seafood, especially fatty fish, caviar, and oysters. I prefer VitalChoice.
  • Eat mushrooms that have been grown or dried in sunlight.
  • Vitamin D supplements (my favorites are Carlson A&D from Cod Liver Oil and Enzymatic Therapy Chocolate Chewables).

A Word About Vitamin D Supplements

It’s important to know that vitamin D is a family of similar hormones. When you take a pill form of vitamin D, you are often getting just one isolated form. No supplement will ever fully replace the value of getting your vitamin D from direct exposure to the sun and from vitamin D-rich foods.

The Vitamin A-D-K2 Connection

The fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K2) are fascinating, and they work synergistically together. It’s another reason I recommend getting your vitamin D from food because vitamin D greatly increases your need for vitamin A (retinol) and K2, as Chris Masterjohn, PhD, has clearly outlined.

The bottom line is that we now know that getting vitamin D along with pre-formed vitamin A and vitamin K2 in balance is important. Thankfully, if you take a high quality fermented cod liver oil (with a high vitamin butter oil blend) from Green Pasture, you get these in a natural balance. Yet another reason to not rely solely on a refined supplement.

They say you can’t fight the Fed, but you can fight the flu by optimizing your vitamin D. If you got something from this, spread the word or leave a comment/question below.

(This article was originally published December 11, 2015.)

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20219962
  2. http://www.virologyj.com/content/5/1/29
  3. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=414815#qundefined
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22264449
  5. http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/ButterCodLiverBlend/index.cfm
  6. http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/place-mushrooms-in-sunlight-to-get-your-vitamin-d.html
  7. http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2012/01/22/new-evidence-of-synergy-between-vitamins-a-and-d-protection-against-autoimmune-diseases/

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Antibiotic-Free Meat: A Buying Guide

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Finally, a straightforward guide to help you buy antibiotic-free meat.   If you’re not raising your own livestock, here’s how you can be sure there are no antibiotics in your meat… 

Today, the steak on your plate was raised from a baby calf to butchering weight at speeds that would astound your ancestors.

“Bigger, faster, cheaper” is the mantra of the commercial meat industry, and one key to their success has been the widespread use of antibiotics.

Livestock fed a steady diet of growth-promoting antibiotics can put on weight at impressive rates, but recently scientists are sounding the alarm about the consequences of feeding these powerful medications to essentially healthy animals.

Concerned with the rising risk of antibiotic resistance, many scientists believe that feeding significant doses of antibiotics to livestock has dire rammifications for both human health and modern medicine. The risk of creating superbugs (microbes so powerful that known antibiotics can’t keep them in check) is too real to ignore, and warnings are coming out that unless we begin to take antibiotic resistance more seriously.

The risk of creating superbugs (microbes so powerful that known antibiotics can’t keep them in check) is too real to ignore, and warnings are coming out that unless we begin to take antibiotic resistance more seriously, modern medicine may lose its effectiveness in the next hundred years.[i]

The stakes are high, so take the time to educate yourself about the use of antibiotics for livestock to learn what’s really happening to the animals that become your dinner.

The Mixed Blessing of Antibiotics

buying antibiotic-free meat

Antibiotics are medicines that destroy bacteria, making them useful for controlling, treating and even preventing disease and infections.

In the decades since their discovery, antibiotics have saved millions of lives because simple cuts are no longer a death threat, and invasive surgeries and once unthinkable organ transplants are now routine.

Unfortunately, almost eighty years of global antibiotic use is starting to reveal some downsides.

Because antibiotics work by killing off entire populations of bacteria within your body, they essentially destroy all bacteria within range. However, bacteria are living organisms that have random genetic variances that equip a few out of millions to survive the onslaught of specific antibiotics. These surviving bacteria then become the ones that propagate, and consequently spread their resistant genes.

Over time, entire populations of bacteria become resistant to multiple forms of antibiotics, which makes them SUPERBUGS.

Because they are resistant to most common antibiotics, superbugs are incredibly difficult to control. They are responsible for an estimated 700,000 deaths annually, and that number is expected to rise to over 10 million by 2050.

For this reason, the World Health Organization recently listed antibiotic resistance as a major global threat for the 21st century.[ii]

Out Of Control:  Superbugs and the Meat Industry

sourcing antibiotic-free beef

 

[UPDATE, December 15, 2017: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive Final Rule went into effect on January 1, 2017. The rule aims to reduce antibiotic resistance by eliminating the common practice of using “medically important” antibiotics to promote animal growth and feed efficiency. However, with the approval of a veterinarian, livestock producers may still feed these antibiotics in therapeutic dosages to prevent the illnesses fostered by the less-than-desirable living conditions often found in commercial operations. For more information on this topic, I strongly encourage you to read Angie’s well-balanced comment below. She offers an excellent perspective!]

The root of the problem of antibiotic resistance comes from an overuse of antibiotics themselves, and one of the ways that antibiotics tends to be overused is with livestock.[iii]

While humans need a prescription to gain access to antibiotics, farmers aren’t under the same requirements for their animals and can administer them with minimal regulation. (Please see the update at the beginning of this section.) In 2011, almost 30 million pounds of antibiotics were used for animal production, which was almost four times the amount used by the national human population.[iv]

Why are so many antibiotics given to animals?

In past decades livestock producers began to use them as a preventative measure to keep their animals healthy against infectious disease, something that became increasingly important as factory farms kept animals in tight living conditions.

They later found that small daily doses of certain antibiotics made animals grow bigger and faster, often gaining as much as 3 percent more weight than otherwise possible.[v]

Consumers may like cheap meat, but feeding excessive amounts of antibiotics to animals has some dire consequences for human health.

The growing threat of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria from the overuse of these drugs can compromise the effectiveness of treatments for humans, putting the reliability of life-saving drugs at risk for the people that need them most.

China and Colistin: An Example of Bacteria Gone Bad

Antibiotics meat China

To understand the true threat of antibiotic resistance, you only need to travel over to China to get a glimpse of what the damage can be.

Recent reports have shown that Chinese strains of E. coli (a diverse, often dangerous strain of bacteria) is showing resistance to an old form of antibiotic called colistin.[vi] Discovered in the 1950s, colistin fell out of favor when antibiotics with fewer side effects were discovered. However, as preferable medications continued to be compromised by antibiotic resistance, colistin use became widespread again. Unfortunately, even this trusted antibiotic is becoming vulnerable to E. coli superbugs.

The growing problem with colistin resistance is traced back to the Chinese meat industry, where over 8000 tons of it are given to pigs and chickens every year to enhance their growth.

Strains of resistant E. coli have been found in meat, livestock and even people around the world, and the threat is real that the colistin resistant gene in E. coli could spread to other dangerous bacteria as well. The danger doesn’t just stay near farms, either.

Manure tainted with drug-resistant bacteria often infects nearby water systems.

And flies often carry the bacteria to cities far away, sometimes even to already vulnerable hospital patients.[vii]

Sick From Tainted Meat: 

Modern medicine losing its potency has dire consequences for everyone on the planet, and the effects for your health should be a top concern.

Widespread antibiotic resistance in livestock means that dangerous pathogens aren’t always killed off before meat makes it to your plate. A 2001 report from the New England Journal of Medicine found that 20 percent of ground meat in supermarkets contained salmonella, and 84 percent of that salmonella was resistant to one or more antibiotics.

Antibiotics meat ecoli

A 2001 report from the New England Journal of Medicine found that 20 percent of ground meat in supermarkets contained salmonella, and 84 percent of that salmonella was resistant to one or more antibiotics.[viii] The situation is similar for poultry. Consumer Reports tests of chicken from 2006 and 2012 revealed that over two-thirds of their samples were contaminated with salmonella, 60 percent of which was resistant to forms of antibiotics.[ix]

Though the meat industry believes these statistics aren’t concerning, because people thoroughly cook their meat before eating it, partially raw meat, unwashed cutting boards, or thawing meat juice that leaks onto other foods in the refrigerator are all ways that pathogens can spread.[x]

More Drug-Resistant Diseases

Humans and animals swap diseases all the time. A full two-thirds of human diseases first began in animals, and drug resistance that starts with animals can also jump the species boundary.[xi]

Evidence is now growing that resistant bacteria from antibiotic treated farm animals can spread to the humans that eat them. This means that ingesting drug-resistant bacteria in meat that wasn’t fully cooked might make you ill with a disease that antibiotics are powerless to treat.[xii]

antibiotic-free meat: antibiotics in agriculture

The problem is only growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that over two million Americans become sick with drug-resistant bacteria every year, and more than 23,000 end up dying.[xiii]

The connection between the increased use of antibiotics for meat production and the loss of effectiveness of human medicine is becoming better understood, and the evidence is clear that feeding unregulated amounts of antibiotics to livestock is only going to harm human health in the long run.

The threat of looming antibiotic resistance is real, but those in authority aren’t always acting in the public interest. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council,[xiv] the FDA has buried research findings that revealed 18 types of antibiotics currently used on livestock that carry a high risk of increasing the levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for diseases that affect humans.

Even worse, many of these medications don’t reach the FDA’s own safety standards, yet they are used widely on livestock across the country.

Best Ways to Source Antibiotic-Free Meat:

In recent years, consumer outrage against antibiotics has created positive changes in the food industry.

Three of the largest chicken producers in America (Tyson, Perdue and Foster Farms) recently stated that they intend to reduce the amount of antibiotics fed to their healthy birds.

Large corporations like McDonald’s,[xv] Wendy’s and Popeyes are also taking a stand against fluoroquinolones (a family of synthetic antibiotics) and are refusing to buy birds that have been treated with them.[xvi]

However, there’s still no way to know for sure if these brands are sticking to their promises and keeping antibiotics out of their products.

Antibiotics chicken meat

If you want to reject antibiotics in your meat, you’ll need reliable ways to source antibiotic-free alternatives.

(Assuming you’re not ready to start raising your own livestock, which is what we ultimately recommend.)

Reading The Labels:

Antibiotic free meat

To ensure that the meat you eat doesn’t contain trace amounts of dangerous bacteria, you need to familiarize yourself with the following methods of identification.

  • Country of Origin: Depending on where your meat is sourced from, it might automatically be safe from antibiotics. Since 2006, European Union has banned farmers from using antibiotics to promote growth and instead regulates their use to treating disease only.[xvii]
  • USDA Organic: When organically-raised animals become sick, they are treated with antibiotics and sent to a conventional production system where they are no longer labeled as organic. This means that any meat product with the label USDA Organic is guaranteed to be free of antibiotics, both for promoting growth and for treating illness.[xviii]
  • ‘Raised Without Antibiotics’, ‘No Antibiotics Administered’ and Similar Variations: These labels signify that the meat in question came from animals raised without antibiotics, often in conditions comparable to organic (but uncertified). For extra reliability, look for labels accompanied by a “USDA Process Verified” shield, which ensures that the company in question paid to have their claims verified.

Labels to Avoid When Buying Antibiotic-Free Meat

There’s lots of money to be made selling shady meat, which is why healthy sounding labels that are actually meaningless abound in the supermarket. If you really want to source meat that’s free from antibiotics, be sure to avoid these convincing, yet empty, claims.

  • Antibiotic-Free: The USDA has never legally authorized the use of the term “antibiotic-free”, so if you see it on packaging it has no legal meaning.
  • Natural: The USDA meaning of natural is very loose, and only implies that the final product is minimally processed and doesn’t contain added colors or artificial ingredients. Antibiotics are fully allowed in “natural” meat, making the term meaningless if you’re trying to avoid them.
  • No Antibiotic Residues: Though this isn’t a USDA-approved claim, it’s often used on labels to refer to the fact that antibiotics were not used for the last days or weeks of the animal’s life so that traces of the chemicals would have time to naturally work themselves out. However, the label “No Antibiotic Residues” usually implies that the animal was fed significant amounts of antibiotics earlier in life.
  • No Antibiotic Growth Promotants: Not only is this claim not approved by the USDA, it’s also intentionally misleading. Animals that aren’t given antibiotics to aid their growth levels might still get them regularly to stay healthy in their crowded cages, meaning their exposure levels are far higher than the label implies.[xix]

The growing threat of antibiotic resistance is likely to only get worse.

To cut out the biggest source of antibiotic use and keep the planet safe, do what you can to buy antibiotic-free meat.  Better yet, raise your own livestock.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the continuation of modern medicine might someday depend on it.

(This article was originally published on March 31, 2017.)

antibiotic resistance

Sources

[i] The Biggest Threat to Modern Medicine- Antibiotic Resistance

[ii] World Health Organization: What to Do About Resistant Bacteria in the Food Chain

[iii] STAT- The Livestock Industry is Key in the Race to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

[iv] Consumers Union: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals Threatens Public Health

[v] Frontline: Modern Meat

[vi] Flies are Spreading Antibiotic Resistance From Farms to People

[vii] Flies are Spreading Antibiotic Resistance From Farms to People

[viii] The Isolation of Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella from Retail Ground Meats

[ix] Consumer Reports: The High Cost of Cheap Chicken

[x] Superbug Resistant to Last Resort Antibiotic Arises in China

[xi] 13 Animal-to-Human Diseases Kill 2.2 Million People Each Year

[xii] Frontline: Modern Meat

[xiii] Center for Disease Control: Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance

[xiv] NRDC Petitions FDA: Agency’s Weak Attempt to Curb Antibiotic Abuse in the Livestock Industry is Failing

[xv] McDonald’s Now Serving Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics-Mostly

[xvi] Frontline: Modern Meat

[xvii] European Commission: Ban on Antibiotics as Growth Promoters in Animal Feed Enters into Effect

[xviii] USDA: Organic

[xix] Consumer Reports: Antibiotics in the Meat Industry

 

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The Apartment Apothecary: Herbal Medicine, With Recipes

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

Please accept another one of my virtual high fives! 🙂

You’ve made the switch to…

Well. Done.

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

Why Herbal Medicine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Expect With Herbal Medicine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural Medicines to Grow Yourself and How to Use Them

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

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

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

Garlic

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

As Apartment Homesteaders, we can grow garlic in containers in our patio gardens. Make sure you give them plenty of room to stretch out in the soil in a container that is around 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide.1For instructions on how to grow garlic in containers: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-plant-garlic-in-contain-158494

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

Echinacea

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

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

You can grow Echinacea in a pot on your garden patio.2For instructions on how to grow Echinacea in a pot: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/growing-purple-coneflowers-containers-60904.html

But where most people dry Echinacea, recent studies have shown that fresh Echinacea has far more power to treat colds than the dried plant.3See http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20251749,00.html

Echinacea Tea Recipe

You can make a simple fresh Echinacea tea to drink during the cold and flu season by simply adding 1/2 cup of fresh Echinacea to 8 ounces of water. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the Echinacea. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Strain and add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, local honey. (The honey is especially helpful for a sore throat and a cough).4Find Echinacea tea and other recipes for using Echinacea medicinally here: https://thepaleomama.com/2015/07/21/homemade-echinacea-tea/

Cayenne Pepper

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

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

You can grow cayenne peppers in your patio garden or in a small pot indoors.5For instructions on how to grow cayenne peppers: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-cayenne-peppers-container-47525.html Then, simply dry your peppers in the oven on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

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

Pain Salve Recipe

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

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

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

Turmeric

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

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

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

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

One of my favorite ways to use turmeric is in a tea.8For turmeric tea recipe: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/turmeric-tea-benefits/

Turmeric Tea Recipe

Boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.9Learn how to make turmeric powder: https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/how-to-make-turmeric-powder-at-home-from-raw-turmeric Then, strain the tea and add honey or lemon to taste. You can also add a pinch of black pepper for increased absorption. 

Ginger

Ginger is another plant you can grow fairly easily indoors on your apartment homestead.10For instruction on how to grow ginger indoors: https://newengland.com/today/living/gardening/how-to-grow-ginger-indoors/

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

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

Ginger Tea Recipe

Simply steep between 1 and 1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in boiling water for about 10 minutes; then, strain and sip.11For the ginger tea recipe: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/easy-ginger-tea-23528 

Essential Oils: Round Out Your Medicine Cabinet

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

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

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

Two of My Favorite Natural Remedies

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

Honey and Essential Oils Lozenges Recipe

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

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

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

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

Simple Cough Syrup Recipe

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

References   [ + ]

1. For instructions on how to grow garlic in containers: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-plant-garlic-in-contain-158494
2. For instructions on how to grow Echinacea in a pot: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/growing-purple-coneflowers-containers-60904.html
3. See http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20251749,00.html
4. Find Echinacea tea and other recipes for using Echinacea medicinally here: https://thepaleomama.com/2015/07/21/homemade-echinacea-tea/
5. For instructions on how to grow cayenne peppers: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-cayenne-peppers-container-47525.html
6. Recipe from https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/herbal-pain-relief/
7. For instruction on how to grow turmeric in a pot: http://balconygardenweb.com/growing-turmeric-in-pots-how-to-grow-turmeric-care-uses-benefits/
8. For turmeric tea recipe: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/turmeric-tea-benefits/
9. Learn how to make turmeric powder: https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/how-to-make-turmeric-powder-at-home-from-raw-turmeric
10. For instruction on how to grow ginger indoors: https://newengland.com/today/living/gardening/how-to-grow-ginger-indoors/
11. For the ginger tea recipe: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/easy-ginger-tea-23528
12. I got this recipe from the Traditional Cooking School, but I adapted it so I could make it without an instant pot: https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/instant-pot-cough-syrup/

The post The Apartment Apothecary: Herbal Medicine, With Recipes appeared first on The Grow Network.

How To Use Juniper Berries in Herbal Medicine

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ReadyNutrition Readers, we are going to expound on some of the merits of Juniper berries, from the plant Juniperus communis.  They aren’t actually a “berry,” but are a part of a cone in the Juniper plant.  The berries are used to make gin: that is, alcohol such as grain is infused with juniper berries and leaves and then redistilled to add the flavor of the plant, thus creating the gin.

The Juniper berry is also used in herbal medicine.  Juniper is used as a diuretic, and to treat menstrual problems and bladder infections/UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections).

Juniper in Herbal Medicine

The dosage of Juniper Berries is 2 to 10 grams of the berries, or between 20 to 100 mg of the essential oil.  The berries and twigs can also be used for a tea, but be careful to consume no more than 2 cups of it.  Also, if you’ve never had it before, you should take in a small amount, in case you’re hypersensitive/allergic to it.  Pregnant women and anyone prescribed for Lithium need to avoid consumption of Juniper berries, as well as those with kidney problems.  Also, do not allow Juniper berries to be used on open wounds.

They are green when they are immature and dark/purple upon being mature and ripe.  It is in this latter state they are safe to use.  Juniper berries are used to flavor Norwegian, Swedish, German, Austrian, Polish, and Czech dishes, such as different sauerkraut, roasts, and game meatsJuniperus sabina is a type that grows in central and southern Europe, as well as in Asia.  All parts of this subspecies are poisonous.

There, as you can see by the photo above are the berries turning color from green to purple.  Here’s another photo that shows the plant (the Juniper bush) with the berries turning to purple:

Juniper berry oil is a strong antioxidant.  In order to make essential oils of it, you need to distill the oil from it.  Pinene (technically Alpha-Pinene) from the berry is not only an antioxidant, but you can make bug repellant from it.  That’s right!  It is highly repellant to insects.

How To Make a Juniper Infusion

To make a tea (infusion), you can crush 1 teaspoon of berries and add this to 1 cup of boiled water after taking it off boil and sitting for 1 minute.  They can also be used in compresses to treat gout, as well as being used to reduce warts.  Consult with your physician before undertaking any information in this article.  Juniper berries will be ready when they are purple.  They are strong to the taste, but there are a lot of things that can be done with them.  Happy gathering!  JJ out!

 

(Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get the latest prepping advice, gardening secrets, homesteading tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Using Red Clover in Tinctures and Teas for Women’s Health

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ReadyNutrition Gals (that’s right, Gals, just for you!), here we are going to focus on an herbal supplement that is seasonally dependent…. that’s right, you guessed it…and falling due to harvest at this time. The herb we’re talking about here is Red Clover, with the scientific name of Trifolium pretense. From a naturopathic perspective, the flower buds, dried or fresh are used to make the herbal preparation.

Red Clover to Naturally Help Women’s Needs

Ladies, this drug is important primarily for you. The Isoflavones in Red Clover have a wide variety of effects that you need to consider. In women suffering from menopause, studies have shown that these isoflavones from Red Clover improve arterial functions termed arterial compliance. Isoflavones also have a protective effect on the lumbar spine of women.

Another component of the flower is Biochanin A, and this is a compound that is found within Red Clover extract that has a chemoprotective effect and inhibits carcinogen formation in cells. Carcinogens are cancer-causing substances. It also has estrogenic effects. The extract decreased bone mineral density loss and losses in the mineral content in the lumbar spine for women who undertook a 12-month treatment.
Women who took Red Clover extract who suffered from hot flashes in post menopause had those flashes reduced by 44%. This was determined after a 12-week study. In addition, Red Clover can also be used for respiratory conditions and coughs, particularly pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

The extract comes usually as pills, capsules, or a liquid extract, the latter being the most commonly found form. The reason it is a summer-dependent drug is that after the summer ends, Red Clover should not be harvested, as it becomes toxic around late August to early September, depending on your geographic locale of residence. Contraindications include if you are using anticoagulants (that prevent blood clotting), contraceptives, estrogen/progesterone therapy (due to the potential for potentiation, or an increase in the effects of the already prescribed drugs), and Tamoxifen (Tamiflu), as it will decrease the effectiveness.

How to Use Red Clover

It can also be prepared at home as a tincture in a 1:1 liquid extract utilizing 25% ethanol (also known as grain alcohol).


For Red Clover Tincture:

  1. Pick blossoms in the early morning.
  2. Wash and place blossoms into a jar and pour alcohol over the blossoms, ensuring all are covered.
  3. Seal your jar and place your clover tincture in a dark cabinet.
  4. Store tincture in dark place and allow to sit for 6 weeks and shake 2 times a day.

The daily dosage is 4 grams of the extract, usually taken as an infusion (a tea) in three divided dosages. Sometimes those using Red Clover will have an allergic reaction to it. Consult with your family doctor prior to utilizing it as described within this article.


Red Clover Tea:

  • Add the dry red clover flowers into the hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Drink 3 times a day.

When harvesting it on your own for a tincture, remember to leave a good amount of the plants intact in order that they may reproduce more for the next season. A good rule of thumb is to leave 30% to grow in nature. When you wildcraft your herbs, it is best to place them (the flower heads in this case) in paper bags, so as not to have any leeching from plastic sandwich/Ziploc bags. This will help to wilt the flowers to release their curative properties. In this case, sandwich bags used to “brown bag” lunches for school (do they even do that anymore?) are more than adequate.

So, ladies, try to incorporate Red Clover into your supplies for those conditions outlined. Some things are just made with women in mind, and it appears that the Red Clover was designed in such a way. We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and experiences with this herb. Keep fighting that good fight! JJ out!

 

Please note that red clover is not recommended for use by pregnant women, or those struggling with estrogen dominance conditions. As well, those with breast or ovarian cancer and liver problems should not use this herb. Not for use with contraceptive pills or for those on blood thinners.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

20 Medicinal Herbs That I Have in My Prepper Garden

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“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” –  Hippocrates


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So, many of you may be asking my I want to go to all the trouble and grow herbs and roots for natural healing. You can read about seven reasons why I started a medicinal garden, but in short, I wanted options at my disposal. From a preparedness standpoint, I know that infection and illness could be very prevalent in the aftermath of a disaster and accessibility to medical care will be difficult to find. As well, with the massive over-prescribing of antibiotics in our modern healthcare industry, today’s crop of antibiotics has become less effective. Let’s be honest, bacteria has a 4 billion year head start in the evolution and has been adapting to environmental changes since the beginning of time. The time will come when antibiotics will be moot in terms of its effectiveness.

I love natural remedies solely for their simplicity and worry-free use. It is difficult to overuse natural remedies, but more importantly, they have been used for centuries. While researching which medicinal plants I wanted in my garden, I made sure that many of them were hardy perennials that could perform multiple medicinal duties. I don’t have a lot of space where my herbal garden is, so the plants had to be exceptional. These 20 herbs made the cut and I couldn’t be more pleased with my choices.

Ready Nutrition writer and herbalist, Jeremiah Johnson has written extensively on how to cultivate a medicinal garden to use in a long-term emergency. His favorite medicinals are what he refers to as the 3 G’s: garlic, ginger, and ginseng. You can read his article on the subject.

  1. Angelica – This herb is one that everyone should be growing in their garden. It’s great for children, adults and the elderly. It has antibacterial properties, astringent properties can be used externally as a medicinal gargle for sore throats and mouths and as a medicinal poultice for broken bones, swellings, itching, and rheumatism. It is also known for strengthening the heart. A powder made from the dried root can be used for athlete’s foot, as well as an insecticide and pesticide.
  2. Calendula – Also known as pot marigold, this pretty yellow flower is believed to be one of “the greatest healing agent for all wounds.” It naturally cleanses wounds and promotes rapid healing. It slows bleeding in some cases. Marigold was also used as a toothache and headache preventative in the 1500’s in England. It is an excellent herb to have on hand for skin issues such as eczema, skin inflammations, soothing varicose veins, soothing chapped hands and can be used to reduce body scars. Commonly made into oil by soaking fresh or slightly dried plant parts in one’s choice of base oil, it can be applied topically to relieve all sorts of fungal infections.
  3. Catnip – Your cats may be drawn to this herb, but it has plenty of medicinal uses and a wonderful herb to have in the herbal medical cabinet. Most notably, it has sedative effects and helps calm the nervous system. Making a tea from this herb before bedtime will help settle the body. It also has anti-fever properties, as well as antibacterial effects. The compound can also be used to repel common insect pests such as mosquitoes and cockroaches. When nepetalactone is distilled, it is more effective than DEET than repelling mosquitoes. As a matter of fact, it is up to 10 times more effective in accordance with laboratory experiments conducted by isolating the compound via steam distillation. Read more about using this herb here.
  4. Chamomile – This herb is also most recognized by its sedative effects, but has more to offer than just that.  The flowers can be strained out of the tea and placed into a warm compress to use on ear infections. Tea compresses and tea rinses can be used to gently treat eye problems. It also has the power to assist in comforting the effects of indigestion, morning sickness, nervousness, neuralgia, painful periods and assists as a sleeping agent.
  5. Comfrey – I just added comfrey to my garden this year. Not only does it have medicinal values, but can be used as a nutritional supplement to livestock and used as a fertilizer because it is high in potassium. To make a liquid fertilizer: chop off the top of a comfrey plant and throw the leaves in a bucket. Cover with water and let them rot into green liquid… then water whatever needs a boost. Medicinally speaking, comfrey is also known as “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs.” It helps heal wounds and mend broken bones, and even helps to bring fevers down. Nutritionally, it is a good source of vitamin C and calcium.
  6. Echinacea – Although the root is most widely used for its medicinal purposes, truly the entire plant can be used. This herb strengthens the body’s ability to resist infection and stimulates the production of white blood cells.  Echinacea stimulates the body in non-chronic illness such as colds, bronchitis, sore throats, abscesses and for recurrences of yeast infections. Echinacea can also be taken as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. A gargling solution can also be made with the tea to use with a sore throat.  For cases that are not strep throat related: add 10-16 drops of water or to sage or ginger tea and use as a gargling agent.  If a person is fighting strep throat: every two hours, gargle with the above-mentioned teas to which add a drop full of echinacea extract.
  7. Garlic – This is simply a must-have in your garden. Its medicinal uses are too extensive to list but can be read in more detail here. In short, it is effective in preventing the common cold, reducing recovery time, and reducing symptom duration. An infused oil can be made from garlic to treat wounds and ear infections. And, I need not mention all of its culinary uses.
  8. Ginger – the medicinal value of this root is amazing. In fact, recent studies have revealed that ginger may be stronger than chemo in fighting cancer. It’s truly a remarkable medicinal to have in your garden. Here are 8 more benefits of ginger.
  9. Ginseng – This herbal powerhouse assists with nervous disorders, helps alleviate symptoms related to cardiovascular and blood disorders, is beneficial for diabetics as it reduces the amount of blood sugar in patients with mild to moderate diabetes, inhibits the formation of tumors and helps as a cancer preventative, and helps to minimize the effects of X-rays and radiation produced by radiation therapy as well as negative effects caused by free radicals are minimized and reduced by the adaptogens in ginseng.  Read more here.
  10. Lemon balm – This is one of my favorite herbs. This herb is great for adding a light lemon flavor to dishes, but I love it for its sedative qualities. If you have problems sleeping, this is a great herb to take before bedtime. The aromatic properties help with alertness and can sharpen memory. It is also a good herb for diabetics to use as it helps regulate blood sugar. The antioxidant properties present in this herb are also beneficial.
  11. Lavender – This is a great multipurpose herb to grow. Not only is it a calming aromatic, but it has antiseptic properties, assists with burns, can be used as a stress reliever, good for depression, aids skin health and beauty. Here are 15 more ways to use lavender medicinally.
  12. Peppermint – This aromatic herb is great for digestive aid, and dispels headaches. Peppermint tea will also assist in overcoming muscle spasms and cramps. Due to the camphor present in peppermint, if peppermint is applied to a wet washcloth it can externally relieve pain. This herb also hep clear sinus infections.  Apply a large, warm peppermint pack to the sinus area.
  13. Onion – Onions might not be at the top of your healthy snack list, but you should make efforts to include them regularly in your diet nonetheless. They help to fight insulin resistance, have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial uses, and are powerful antioxidants. They even help to relieve congestions. A time-tested effective cough syrup can also be made from onions. Read more about onion’s health benefits.
  14. Oregano – This little herb works as a savory culinary herb and a potent medicinal herb, as well. Most importantly, it is a powerful antibiotic and has been proven to be more effective in neutralizing germs than some chemical antibiotics. It has been effective against germs like Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Yersinia enterocolitis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. An extract of its essential oil can be made to treat fungal infections and skin issues like dandruff, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Carvacrol and thymol, the powerful enzymes in oregano, help to combat fungal and bacterial infections.
  15. Rose hip – Not only are roses beautiful, but they can assist in boosting our immunity, as well. Rose hips are high in vitamin C and if rosehips are made into a syrup it also”provides a welcome boost of vitamin D, something that should be welcomed when our exposure to sunlight is minimal and our vitamin D manufacture is at its lowest. Vitamin A is naturally present in the rose hips so pregnant women should seek medical advice before taking rose hip syrup.”
  16. Rosemary – This highly aromatic plant is used today in any number of organic products to help alleviate bone and muscle soreness, reduce anxiety and promote well-being.
  17. Sage – It’s anti-inflammatory properties also make this an effective herb. This herb can also be used in aiding anxiety, nervous disorders, used as an astringent. There are aromatherapy qualities to this herb and have been known to lift depression. Rubbing the sage leaves across the teeth can be used to effectively clean the teeth and assist in bad breath. American Indians used this herb as a fever reducer.  Sage has antiseptic properties and the leaves can be chewed to cleanse the system of impurities or made into a tea. Sage has also been known to assist with hot flashes associated with menopause. If a person has stomach troubles, cold sage tea can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Sage can also be used to treat the flu.  Using the tea before and during any type of epidemics and to hasten healing during a flu attack. Sage leaves can be wrapped around a wound like a band-aid to help heal the wound faster.
  18. Thyme – I have multiple thyme plants in my garden and allow them to creep over rocks in my garden. Thyme can help alleviate gastric problems such as wind, colic and bad breath, helps with bronchial disorders, shortness of breath and symptoms related to colds. If it also effective in fighting sore throat and post nasal drip. If a person has whooping cough, make a syrup of thyme tea and honey to help treat the disease. Thyme can also be used to treat a fever.
  19. Toothache plant – My medicinal garden wouldn’t be complete without some dental aides too. The toothache plant has a powerful numbing effect and works great for inflammation of the gums, lips, and mucous membranes of the mouth, and it can be used as toothpaste. It can also be used to alleviate those with asthma and allergies. It also is a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. The toothache plant also contains B-Sitostenone it also lowers blood sugar. Other notable qualities are that it lowers blood pressure, chronic fatigue and is a natural pain reliever to all parts of the body.
  20. Yarrow – This plant was a favorite among Native American tribes who would use it to control bleeding, heal wounds and infections. It can also be effective in cleaning wounds and to control bleeding caused by puncture wounds, lacerations, and abrasions.

Don’t feel handcuffed to using only these herbs in your garden. Think about what future health issues you may have to deal with and plan(t) for them. Even tobacco has its medicinal uses. There are also medicinal weeds that you may want to locate in your yard and cultivate for the future.

Once you get your medicinal garden going, start experimenting with making your own medicinal pantry. Here are some ideas:

In the future, I plan on adding mullein, plantain, marshmallow and some cayenne peppers. What medicinals are you growing in your garden? Share them in the comments section to help our community!

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden

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Growing medicinal plants are a great way to ensure garden sustainability and more notably, have access to natural medicine when you need it most. When I introduced more herbs in my garden, I noticed it had a profound impact on the vegetables and fruits I was growing. It also encouraged beneficial insects and birds to visit my garden and this helped cut down on plants being eaten.

Because of this observation, I changed my focus from solely growing to eat and, instead, worked to create a welcoming growing environment. Not only were my plants healthier, but I had access to natural herbs to use for making extracts and poultices. The following are reasons I feel gardeners should adopt adding medicinal herbs to the garden.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden

  1. Have access to multiple forms of natural medicine for future needs. When you have fresh cut herbs to use for natural medicine, you have access to the freshest forms of their healing properties. For example, what if you cut your hand and did not have a bandage. Did you know that the sage leaf can be wrapped around a wound and used as a natural band-aid? Or, if the bleeding from that cut was so bad that it wouldn’t stop. Did you know that a few shakes of some cayenne pepper can help control the bleed? Or, if you have a severe bruise, make a poultice. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to use herbal medicine.
  2. Calm your senses with medicinal teas. Herbs like lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, catnip, and peppermint have a natural sedative quality to them to help calm your spirits or help you sleep better at night. Taking a handful of leaves and adding them to a cup of hot water will create a soothing cup of herbal tea. Here are some great herbal tea remedies to start with.
  3. Many medicinal plants and herbs are perennials and will come back year after year. The more established the plants are, the more they will produce each year. This will save you money in the long run! I bought a small oregano plant three years ago and it is the size of a small shrub. I have so much oregano now that I can use it for culinary uses and experiment with making my own tinctures and astringents. As well, my echinacea has produced so many “baby” plants that I have dug them up and transferred them to another part of my property where I am creating another medicinal garden.
  4. Feed your livestock! Livestock can also benefit from growing herbs in the garden.  Not only can they be added for additional nutrition, but you can use herbs to make natural cleansing shampoos and even clean wounds. Some herbs I feed my animals are oregano, comfrey, lavender, mint, and sage.  Note: not all herbs are healthy for your livestock, so do research to find out which ones are good for your animals.
  5. Another added benefit of having a thriving medicinal garden is that bees love it! This promotes bee sustainability and a healthier garden, as well. The blossoms put out by the flowers and herbs will attract bees that will, in turn, happily pollinate your vegetable and fruits. Consider planting some of these beneficial flowers in addition to herbs:
    • Asters (Aster/Callistephus)
    • Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia)
    • Salvia (Salvia/Farinacea-Strata/Splendens)
    • Bee balm (Monarda)
    • Hyssop (Agastache)
    • Mint (Mentha)
    • Cleome / Spider flower (Cleome)
    • Thyme (Thymus)
    • Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia)
    • California poppies (Eschscholzia)
    • Bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea)
    • Lavender (Lavandula)
  6. Regrow from cuttings on your windowsill. Herbs like rosemary, lavender, mint, cilantro, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage, lemon balm, and thyme are perfect for starting in a glass or canning jar. Simply add water and set in indirect sunlight – it’s that simple! Read more here.
  7. Herbs can be great companion plants for the vegetable garden. Don’t feel handcuffed to only growing vegetables, but herbs can be planted nearby to do double duty as companion plants. Companion planting can also help control the insect balance in your garden and repel some of the more unwanted guests like mosquitoes. Some favorite companion herbs are pairing basil with tomatoes, chamomile near cucumbers, garlic planted near apple, pear and peach trees, roses, cucumbers, peas, lettuce or celery. Read more about which herbs are great companions here.

Ready Nutrition writer and herbalist, Jeremiah Johnson has written extensively on how to cultivate a medicinal garden to use in a long-term emergency. His favorite medicinals are what he refers to as the 3 G’s: garlic, ginger, and ginseng. You can read his article on the subject.

To better understand natural medicine and using herbals for health, I strongly recommend you read more on the subject. The following books come highly recommended:

Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria,” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor, by Cat Ellis (Herbal Prepper)

This is not a new gardening concept, yet is still not widely used. When you are planting your garden, consider adding a few herbs and watch the benefits grow before your eyes.

 

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

SHTF Dental Care: These Are the Supplies You Need To Survive a Post-Collapse Dental Emergency

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As far as preppers are concerned, the majority of you guys and gals have already probably stored up about a half a pallet of toothbrushes and toothpaste for shtf dental emergencies.  Yes?  No?  Well, in any event we’re going to cover some field-expedient methods to clean up the teeth.  The reason for this is that it’s hard enough in a normal environment to keep those teeth cleaned and healthy.  In a grid down collapse, there will be no dentist and there are going to be a lot of problems that will affect the teeth and gums, so the more you know about oral hygiene now, the better.

Firstly, it is in your best interest to pick up the reference guide entitled, Where There is No Dentist,” by Murray Dickson.  It will be money well-spent, as it covers all of the different procedures to follow for abscesses, tooth extraction, and other “niceties” of oral care when you will not find a dentist, as the title suggests.  A manual such as this is just what your preparedness library needs.

Alternatives to Toothpaste

That being mentioned, what about things such as toothpaste and floss?  Well, many of your aromatic mints can be crushed up and used as toothpaste, such as spearmint and peppermint.  Follow this up with baking soda, and you’ll find a good clean set of teeth after brushing.  Charcoal powder is also an excellent dental cleanser, as well, a strong salt water solution will also be of use.  Cloves, in particular are good for swollen or abscessed gums, and clove oil itself can be used as a topical analgesic with excellent results and can easily be made.


To Make Clove Oil: Dried cloves can also be chopped up to be placed in a jar with 50% ethyl alcohol.  Make sure you cover over the pile of chopped cloves by about ¼ inch.  Tightly close the jar, and shake it vigorously several hundred times a day, once in the morning and once at night.


Keep the clove mixture in a cool, dark place, and after two weeks, you’ll have your solution.  Cloves contain eugenol, which is both an anesthetic and an antimicrobial.  Don’t drink it.  Use it as an oral rinse: a more effective one than most supermarket-brand mouthwashes.  It can also help to prevent and to aid with swollen gums.

Keep this rule in mind: The main causes for tooth problems are poor nutrition and then poor hygiene. 

This does pose a problem, and there are certain foods that can do a number on your teeth. This will be a challenge for you to be able to find not just food, but healthy and nutritious food after a collapse.  Vitamin C is necessary to prevent scurvy, a disease of the gums that eventually leads to tooth loss if unchecked.  Protein deficiencies are also a big problem that can cause teeth to loosen and gums to rot.  Clean water is very important, not just for the care of the teeth, but also to prevent any microorganisms from entering an already unhealthy oral cavity post SHTF.  Boil the water for at least 3 to 5 minutes after you have strained and filtered it in every way that you can.

How to Make Your Own Toothbrushes and Floss

Toothbrushes can be fashioned out of sticks with the diameter of a pencil.  Notch the ends and then hammer the end, spreading out the wood and softening it somewhat.  With these you’ll have to be a little more careful, as there not your “Oral-B” store-bought toothbrushes.  Floss can be made from cotton or nylon thread that you can wax beforehand to strengthen it somewhat.  Just take the start of your thread and press your thumb on top of it, crushing/pressing it into the wax, and then just pull the thread through.  Do this several times to give it a light wax coating that smooths out the thread through the teeth and strengthens the fibers.

Above all else, make sure you have some post-collapse dental supplies. Anything that you can pick up before the disaster is a plus, and you may wish to practice with several of these techniques to find out which are the best for you personally.  The reason is that everyone’s mouth is different, and genetically many are predisposed to having either teeth without a long lifespan or other problems.  As well, have an understanding of how to mitigate dental pain should something arise in a disaster. Prior to taking any actions here, consult with your friendly, certified, government-approved dentist for his or her friendly approval.  Take care of those teeth, and stock up on stuff you need…before the SHTF.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

23 Survival Uses for Honey

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23 Survival Uses for Honey After learning about a meager government stipend offered to beekeepers and reading an article like this I feel like bees might be the next best thing to keep. An article like this one really opens your eyes to what is possible with honey. We all know some wild and mind-bending fact about …

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Natural Medicine: How to Make and Apply an Herbal Poultice

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poutlice1


“The fruit of it shall be for eating and leaf of it for healing…” (Ezekiel 47:12)


5 years ago, I came down with a bad upper respiratory infection. I was taking over the counter medicines, but none seemed to work and I was worried about secondary infections. My wife grandmother suggested I make a mustard plaster (poultice) for my chest. She told me that was what her mother did when she was a child. If it would help me with my chest congestion, I’d try anything. You know what? After a few applications, it worked!

We live in an amazing world where everything is provided for, all that is needed is to learn and understand how to use it. In our pursuit to live a more simplistic lifestyle, it is paramount to understand the vast world of herbs. Some of our favorite herbs can be lifesaving and easily grown in our backyard.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to use herbal medicine is by making a poultice. Poultices are one of the safest ways to use herbal remedies directly on the skin. The overall benefit of using this herbal remedy is the direct contact the body will receive from the herb or plant. While poultices are not as concentrated as essential oils or tinctures but they are an effective way of treating insect bites, burns, sore muscles, and sprains. They also assist is in drawing out infections and are great to help with blood poisoning, swollen glands, cysts, boils, pimples, internal injuries and even tumors. As well, poultices can be used to loosen chest congestion, aiding in expectoration of phlegm.

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What is Needed to Make an Herbal Poultice

poultice2

How To Make a Poultice

Familiarize yourself with natural herbs that grow nearby so that you can later forage for these when needed. For instance, plantain is a common green weed that is often found in lawns. If you know how to recognize it, you can use its extensive medicinal qualities. If you are foraging for herbs, make sure the area hasn’t been sprayed with any type of chemical. The most basic poultice applies the herbs to the skin, either directly or folded into a piece of cotton fabric.

In that same vein, this website states that herbal teas and extracts can also be used. “Compresses can be made using teas or extracts. A cloth dipped in arnica can be applied to unbroken skin to relieve bruising and sprains. Hot castor oils packs are unparalleled for rheumatic joints or congested muscles. Cool sage tea soothes abrasions and vinegar compresses are healing for sprains, sore throat, swollen glands, and aching muscles. Lastly, witch hazel is known to reduce the inflammation in varicose veins and hemorrhoids.”

Some popular herbs to have on hand are:

  • Aloe vera
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Comfrey 
  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry
  • Golden Seal
  • Lavender
  • Marsh mallow
  • Mullein
  • Nettle
  • Oats
  • Plantain
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Applying a Poultice

*If you are using fresh herbs or vegetables, mash or grate them and mix with boiling water to form a paste. If you plan on using dried herbs or clay, just add enough boiling water to form a thick paste.

Using both hot and cold poultices will create different reactions from the skin:

Applying a hot herbal poultice relax spasms and relieve pain. They also draw blood to the skin’s surface and increase circulation. The heat also pull impurities to the surface and relieves congestion (like my grandmother’s mustard plaster) to affected areas. To prolong the heat of the poultice, cover with a towel to keep. You can also apply a hot water bottle or heating pad over the poultice. Replace the poultice as it cools down and repeat as needed (for up to an hour at a time). As well, herbs can be added into a large muslin bag and added to the bath.

Applying a cold poultice or compress reduces inflammation and swelling and soothes excess heat that occurs from sunburns, bruises, strains, sprains, swollen glands and mastitis.

Fomentation is an external application of alternating hot and cold poultices to help capillaries dilate and constrict. This manipulation of the blood flow is one of the best and safest mechanisms for removing congestion and obstruction out the system. Apply a cold (kept cold using ice cubes) compress and leave on for 2-3 minutes. Next, apply a hot compress for 2-3 minutes. Alternate between hot and cold for at least 20 minutes. Alternating hot and cold compresses are also particularly useful for sprains to speed healing and repair. Herbs such as elder leaf, ginger, comfrey or horsetail could be of use here.

Note: A good rule with compresses and poultices is that if it feels uncomfortable then remove it immediately. Anything that is too hot or causing irritation or itching is best removed and allowed to cool or discarded. You can also make compresses with a few drops of essential oil dispersed in warm or cold water in place of teas or tinctures.

Best Types of Herbal Poultices

  1. Wound Healing Poultice – This combination of herbs help to reduce inflammation, sooth irritation, disinfect wounds, stop bleeding and heal tissue. Adding a tablespoon each of dried plantain leaf, Calendula flowers, thyme leaf and yarrow and adding to an empty tea bag will help soothe and heal. This poultice can be made ahead of time and even used on hiking or camping trips. Simply, place the herbs into the tea bag and seal the bag by stapling the ends together. Add tea bags to a plastic container and store in a cool dark place or in first aid kit. To use as a poultice place the bag in hot or warm water and soak for 1- 2 minutes and then apply to the affected area. You can then wrap the area with either a bandage or clear plastic to keep it moist and in place. Healing Antiseptic Wash: The same herbs mentioned above can be used to make a strong antiseptic wash as well. Place the bag in boiling water  and steep for 20 – 30 minutes.  Allow the liquid to sit until it is cool enough to apply to the skin. Remove the bag and reserve the liquid. Once the liquid is cool enough to apply to the skin it can be used to wash and disinfect the affected area.
  2.  Grandma’s Mustard Plaster – Break up congestion in the sinuses or chest. Use 4 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, lukewarm water and a hand towel to make this poultice. Make a paste with ingredients and add to one half of a hand towel. Fold in half and apply to chest area for 20 minutes. Thoroughly wash off after you are finished applying. Repeat steps to back of chest for 20 minutes and wash off when finished. Take note: mustard can burn the skin. Before using, cover the skin with olive oil and then make sure to remove and check frequently and move the compress around to prevent burning.
  3. Poultice for Muscle Strains or Broken Bones – Comfrey reduces swelling and heal wounds and is an excellent herb to use in speeding the healing process of sprains, strains and broken bones. St. John’s wort relieves nerve and muscle pain. To make poultice: crush a handful of comfrey leaves and pour enough boiling water in small bowl to cover leaves. Using a mortar and pestle, mash into a pulp and allow to cool off. Once cool, with a spoon spread the pulp directly on the affected area. Cover with gauze and bandage to hold poultice in place. Leave on for several hours.
  4. Poultice for Insect Bites – Powdered clay including red, green or white clay is an essential component of a natural first aid kit and can help draw out toxins to the surface of the skin from spider bites, mosquito bites, or bee stings. It also relieves swelling from bites. Simply fill a 2-4 ounce container of dry clay, and then moisten with small amounts of water until a paste like consistency is achieved. The paste can be applied to bites, stings, boils, or acne. This poultice can also be used to remove stubborn splinters. Chickweed and lemon balm are also good herbs to use as a poultice for insect bites.
  5. Poultice for Boils  Onions possess antiseptic properties that act as an antimicrobial and irritant to draw blood and “heat” to the boil. Cut a thick slice of onion and place it over the boil. Wrap the area with a cloth. Change the poultice every three to four hours until the boil comes to a head and drains. You can also use a slippery elm and thyme poultice to draw out boils and heal the skin. Here’s what to do: Mash a handful of thyme leaves and cover with boiling water and allow to cool. Pour off excess water and mix in 2 tablespoons of slippery elm powder. Apply directly to the boil or enclose the pulp in gauze. Leave in place for several hours.

The old ways of doing things should not be disregarded. There is a reason our ancestors used these herbs and why the herbal ingredients continue to be shared. In a time when we are becoming resistant to modern medicines due to overuse, it would be advantageous to start turning back to these old remedies.

We’d love to hear what your favorite poultices are! Share them with the Ready Nutrition Community below.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Popular Hollywood Hallucinogenic Plant Could Have Dangerous Side Effects

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hollywood-drugReadyNutrition Readers, this article holds some important information and advice for anyone considering using naturopathic or holistic supplements in their diet.  As a certified Master Herbalist, in no way, shape, or form do I wish my words to be construed as “knocking” herbs and herbal supplements.  There is an article that recently surfaced, however, that bears mentioning, as it presents a substance in a light that is not objective.  The article is entitled Hallucinogenic Plant Ayahuasca Gains Foothold in the U.S.,” by Veronique Dupont of AFP, released on 12/25/16.

Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a constituent of the plant, and it is illegal in the U.S., which makes study of it very difficult.  It is said to produce euphoric and hallucinogenic effects, and is claimed to have therapeutic use in helping addiction, trauma, and depression.  Scientists have looked upon it with wariness, as the South American herb has negative effects when mixed with other medications or when used by people with preexisting medical conditions.  The herb is, however, gaining popularity, and people are trying to use it under the protective blanket of its use in “religious rituals and ceremony.”  Here is an excerpt from the article; please take note of the “distinguished” individuals who (according to the article) recommend using Ayahuasca:

“Thousands are flocking to sample the elixir and swear by its therapeutic properties, despite warnings from scientists and users that ayahuasca can be dangerous and even prove fatal, especially when mixed with other drugs.  Ayahuasca’s proponents, who include celebrities such as Sting, Paul Simon, Tori Amos and Lindsey Lohan, say the plant offers a spiritual experience like no other. Many also say it has allowed them to overcome traumas that no other conventional therapy can tackle.”

Really, guys and gals, Lindsey Lohan?  Sting?  The point that I am making (and I am a trained Master Herbalist) is that scientific research and good laboratory work provide true and useful information that should not be ignored just for the sake of bucking the “Big Pharma” train.  Seriously, if you want good information, weigh any herbal supplement against lab data and scientific research provided for you.  In the past, I have mentioned such reference materials as Medical Herbalism” by David Hoffman (a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine), as well as the PDR for Herbal Medicine,” a compendium gathered by hundreds of Medical Doctors and Herbalists.  I have also mentioned traditional medical references, such as Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary.

These reference materials in no way detract from the principles of herbalism and naturopathic aids: rather, they reinforce them with research, study, and in-depth chemical analyses that are possible only in a laboratory setting.  They give dosages, contraindications, and specifics about the herbs that enable a person to arm themselves with knowledge that could prevent an illness or injury.  Part of your survival supplies is the knowledge to employ them.  Nothing could hold more true than with herbs and herbal supplements.

Most laypersons aren’t particularly fond of scientists and chemists; however, these people studied hard to win approval in their profession…with real and valuable information in their curriculums.  It is my firm belief that traditional medicine and herbalism need to support and complement one another, as they are interrelated, with the latter discipline being the older of the two.  Although there are plenty of laws that are not good, they are not the majority: there is common sense in stopping at a red light, common sense in being required to put a tarp over a dump truck loaded with gravel, and common sense with keeping a snarling dog on a leash and maybe muzzled.  Common sense and the observance of it help keep people safe.  If they “forget,” then the law is their guideline.  Without laws people really would eat one another.

In this light, many times some of these exotic herbs have been used for innocuous or innocent purposes with well-meaning, and through no fault of their own, people have gotten hurt or worse.  The reason for this is they didn’t really know the herb or know what they were doing in the first place.  The scientific research on lesser-known substances should be trusted and further researched before attempting to utilize these herbs, as well as consent and approval of a physician…an individual trained in chemistry and biology with years of practical experience in medicine and (we hope) a professional who places patient care first and foremost.

So, to summarize, learn about herbs and herbalism as much as you can when an obscure or “new” thing comes to light.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and your prevention lies within your references and the professionals you have at your disposal to question regarding your supplements.  There is no shame in asking questions, and it is just as important to know about your supplements and how to use them as it is to have a full supply.  Be safe, and have a Happy New Year!

 

JJ

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Why Your Sleep Needs Change With the Seasons

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 ReadyNutrition Readers, the holidays are in full swing.  As such, there is a mountain of tasks to be accomplished: the ever-present workday, the kids going to school, doctor’s appointments, travel plans, and continuous shopping and planning for the holidays.  As most of you are well aware, we’re in the winter months where the days and the daylight periods are shorter.  December 25 is the shortest day of the year, and for the most part we have darkness for about 14 hours or more.  Whether we realize it or not, this affects us in an extremely negative manner that sometimes calls for a little bit of naturopathic help to get us through it.

Bodies Slow Down in Winter

In the winter months (as is the case for most mammals, of which human beings are classified), the metabolism slows down.  In man’s past, the summer and fall were the times to gather in the winter supplies, such as food and fuel.  Even though man does not hibernate, with the advent of increasing periods of darkness he does slow down.  The amount of work (especially outdoors) that can be accomplished during the wintertime is significantly lessened or abated completely.

In addition to this, man still requires a high caloric intake and a greater need to stay warm during the winter.  We were designed to not continue so frenetically through the winter months.  Yet in these modern times we do.  We are continuously bathed in artificial light and follow after man-made patterns and rhythms, not the natural circadian rhythms that have governed man’s existence for millennia.  In this artificial environment, it is small wonder that people have a hard time keeping up the pace of their existence.

What happens is that with the advent of darkness, your body naturally produces chemical messengers that tell it that the time to rest approaches.  The problem is that most people work a 9 to 12 -hour workday, and now (in the winter months) they leave the house when it is dark and return home when it is dark.  The tasks do not stop.  The treadmill is ever-present and we seem to never be able to leave it.  As a consequence of the pressures of work and holiday requirements, many people are operating with a disturbed rhythm and (this time of the year) experience sleeplessness and/or difficulty in getting a good night’s rest.  There are some natural foods available to help you in this time of the year.

Get a Better Night’s Sleep with Natural Remedies

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) is a really great herb that helps you to relax and obtain the rest that you need.  It is classified as a nervine in herbalism; that is, it directly affects the nerves and helps a person to relax.  It isn’t an herb that “puts” you to sleep; rather, it enables you to rest and enter your sleep-period more effectively.  It is extremely affordable: a bottle of it is available in Wal-Mart for about $5.  The brand I suggest is Spring Valley, with 100 capsules, a serving being 3 capsules that give you 500 mg of the Valerian.

There are no contraindications, except is will make you drowsy. Also, if you are using any kind of tranquilizers, sedatives, or anything that is considered a depressant (remember, cold medicines have alcohol in them a lot of times), the Valerian can potentiate it, adding to its effects.  It should not be taken by pregnant women or nursing mothers. It is best taken about half an hour before bedtime; don’t take it if you have to drive anywhere: make sure you’re home first.

Another aid is Melatonin, which is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the human body.  It is a hormone that functions as a sedative and is used to treat sleep disorders and other things such as jet lag.  Melatonin is also available at Wal-Mart in 5 mg tablets with 120 tablets per bottle that costs about $6 on average.  It is contraindicated with both pregnant women and nursing mothers, and should not be taken by anyone with autoimmune disorders or depression.  Once again, you don’t want to be driving or operating any kind of machinery or heavy equipment, as it will bring on drowsiness.  Melatonin needs about an hour to kick in before you retire for the evening.

I’m recommending these two because it may not be as convenient to wait for Chamomile tea (which is not as strong as either Valerian or Melatonin) to steep, as you may not have the time for it.  Before you start using either one of them, consult with your family physician and ask for his or her approval.  Pleasant dreams!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain

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22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain My son suffers from sore throats a lot during the winter. I hate seeing him in pain and I hate to keep stuffing store bought medicine down his throat because I know it contains crap that shouldn’t be given to animals never mind humans. With …

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There’s Toxic Air In Your Home and This Is How to Get Rid of It Naturally

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 Did you know that poor air quality in the home can cause a condition called “Sick Building Syndrome”? This is caused by an accumulation of toxic gases known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are released from common household goods, including everything from your cleaners to appliances and even the food you eat.

In addition to being carcinogenic and neurotoxic, long-term exposure to VOCs can lead to other serious health implications including, respiratory dysfunction, genetic abnormalities, and dermatitis. It begs the question, what are we subjecting ourselves to, doesn’t it?

NASA’s Clean Air Study reports how certain houseplants help to filter and remove toxins from the air. Houseplants have long been known to clean the air in small spaces, but some of these plants are more beneficial—and prettier to look at—than others. For those of you who prefer the bright colors of flowering plants, the following list shows the best beauties for filtering the air in your home.

5 Indoor Plants That Will Improve Air Quality

Succulents

Everyone loves the ease in caring for succulents and some of these create delicate flowers too. Here’s a quick fact: when photosynthesis stops at night, most plants absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide? But, there are a few plants – like orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads that will take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night time. Meaning, these would be ideal plants to have in bedrooms to keep the oxygen flowing at night.

Flamingo Lilly

AKA Flamingo Flowers, these are durable and fairly easy to grow in low light, low water situations. They can thrive for many years under ideal conditions but are hearty enough to maintain growth for up to two years in even the most adverse situations (i.e., this is a perfect flowering plant for those lacking a green thumb!) . They have large, deep green, heart-shaped leaves and produce long lasting, bright red or hot pink flowers.

The Flamingo Lilly is great at removing the toxins formaldehyde (found in many paper products), xylene (found in tobacco smoke and vehicle exhaust), and ammonia (found in cleaning products) from the air.

*Beware that the Flamingo Lilly (like a lot of flowering plants) is toxic to dogs and cats, so be sure to keep them away from your family pets.

Barberton Daisy

The Barberton daisy is available in many colors ranging from white to bright red. The hybrids sold in garden centers typically produce two or more single stemmed stalks with a single flower sprouting from each one. These flowers are up to four inches wide and are quite impressive to look at. The Barberton Daisy can be grown indoors in medium-levels of sunlight, with moist soil. They can flower at any time of the year and each flower blooms for approximately six weeks.

Barberton Daisies filter out trichloroethylene (found in ink, paint, rubber products, lacquers and varnishes), formaldehyde, and xylene.

Peace Lilly

The Peace Lilly is easy to care for and gives a telltale droop when it is in need of water. They flourish in shade and low light and you can expect your Peace Lilly to bloom with dozens of striking white flowers in the springtime.

Peace Lillies are extremely effective at filtering multiple toxins from the air. They work on trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene, benzene (used in plastics, detergents, dyes, and glue), and carbon monoxide. If you can only have one flowering plant in your home, the Peace Lilly might be a good bet.

*Like the Flamingo Lilly, this one is toxic to pets as well, so beware.

Florist Chrysanthemum

The Florist Chrysanthemum requires bright light and moist, high-quality soil, so it needs a bit more care and upkeep than the other flowers listed here so far. But with the proper maintenance and right kind of soil, the Florist Chrysanthemum will produce lots of big, beautiful blooms (typically in the red and pink color family, though occasionally you will see bright purples and yellows) that will last for up to 8 weeks.

Like the Peace Lilly, the Florist Chrysnthemum filters out multiple toxins including trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene (used in plastics, detergents, dyes, and glue).

*This plant is also mildly poisonous to dogs and cats (if the stems are ingested they will cause stomach upset and disorientation) so again, use caution.

If you feel that your home suffers from poor air quality or quite possibly sick building syndrome, start adding some indoor plants to frequented rooms and see if your health improves.

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Ways to Cut the Duration of Your Cold

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cold-and-fluAt our house, back to school means back to kids bringing home germs. When the leaves start turning, I start reaching for my cough drops, feeling that all too familiar tickle in my throat. If I can, I try to drink tons of water, wash my hands like crazy, and keep the bug from taking hold. But once I know I’m past the point of no return, the following things can help cut the duration of my cold and get me back to my busy life.

Do you know how to tell the difference between a cold and a flu virus?

Sleep Helps You Heal

You probably know this already: one of you body’s first ways of signaling that all is not right internally is to make you very tired and sluggish. Don’t fight this feeling! Take a day or two off of work, if need be. Sleeping early and often during a cold can significantly cut the duration and intensity of a common cold. Sleeping allows your body to rest and recuperate—taking 10 hours of rest now could save you days down the line. Chances are you’ll pass out right away, but if you have trouble getting good sleep (particularly if your cold symptoms include coughing and congestion) put yourself in a dark, cool room with a white noise machine and a high-quality humidifier.

Avoid catchall cold medications that are high in alcohol. Even though these drugs might seem like they’re helping you pass out, what you need is good quality, REM sleep. Alcohol can disrupt your natural, restorative sleep patterns and leave you feeling groggy. If you’re certain you need some assistance with sleeping, some people swear by melatonin as a natural sleep aid.

Exercise (Even If You Don’t Feel Like It)

So, you’ve succumbed to a cold, you’ve slept a solid 8 hours and you’re still feeling under the weather. You should definitely skip your workout today, right? Wrong! Even though the LAST thing you probably feel like doing is slogging through your exercise routine, you don’t want to flake out altogether. Movement and respiration actually speed up the healing process (doctors believe working out causes immune cells to respond to and attack viruses at a faster rate). But instead of doing your normal intensity workout, try doing light cardio such as walking or even speed walking. Listen to your body—if it feels like you can do more, push yourself a little. If you fell like you want to die, dial it back. And of course, it’s not polite to spread germs at the gym, so taking a walk outdoors or at least avoiding a community treadmill is much appreciated.

Give Zinc a Chance

Zinc, which helps boost the immune system, can shorten the duration of the common cold by nearly 50 percent. Studies have not been able to show exactly how Zinc fights the common cold, but research shows that it does work. Zinc has antiviral properties and provides relief from some common cold symptoms such as sore throat. Zinc in lozenge form is the most convenient to use while you have a cold, and it’s available online or at most drugstores.

Studies show that Zinc supplements could also help keep your immune system strong while you’re healthy, potentially staving off more colds. You might think about incorporating these supplements into your everyday vitamin routine.

Remember, Time Heals All

Though it can sometimes feel like your cold will last forever, remember that even if none of the above seems to be helping, your cold will eventually go away. If your symptoms persist for more than 10 days or seem to be intensifying, you should visit your doctor to get a professional assessment.

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How To Make Essential Oils at Home

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 Essential oils have been used for centuries to heal and treat ailments. There are essential oils for medical care, essential oils that can help to naturally clean your home or even make natural repellents. There are essential oils that can soothe symptoms to cold and flu viruses, or you even make your own beauty creams and lotions. In most cases, purchasing essential oils is simple and fairly inexpensive; however, certain oils can be pricey or difficult to come by in some regions, and there is always the chance that you might find yourself in a situation without traditional purchasing options. With a little know-how and some trial and error, you can make your own essential oils at home.

Choosing the Correct Source Biomass

Keep in mind that the process of making your own essential oils is somewhat involved and requires pounds and pounds of the intended biomass (i.e. flower petals, leaves, or other plant material) in order to produce a significant amount of oil. For this reason, some types of oils are better suited to make at home than others. Mint tends to overrun gardens in great hoards, and it is a plant that is strong and resilient, which makes it a good choice for use as an essential oil. If you find yourself with rotting citrus fruit all over your yard, you might want to consider making a lemon or orange extract from the peels. Both mint and citrus oils have multiple uses (you can add them to cleansers, use them in beauty routines, and incorporate them with other oils for use in aromatherapies, or use them to treat medical issues or prevent infection).

Because the elements that are present in the original biomass becomes condensed into the essential oil, you must make certain no pesticides or poisons have been used in the cultivation of your biomass source plant. You need to know exactly where the plant was grown and how it has been cared for before using it as a source material. This likely means using something that grows on your property or on the property of a trusted friend. You might consider setting up a biomass swap with a like-minded person who has different plant material options on their premises.

The Extraction Process

There are many methods for making essential oils. Most of them are complicated and some of them require expensive equipment or a lot of technical training. The following video below details the extraction process, which is the simplest option for making essential oils at home.

Gather up your pesticide-free plant biomass, a glass jar with a lid, vodka, a porcelain-coated strainer, cheesecloth, a dropper and a small storage container. Now you are ready to begin. Understand that this process will take many days or even weeks to achieve the quantity and potency of the essential oil you desire. Though extraction is the easiest home method, it still requires research, time and a concerted effort. If your first attempts do not yield the results you had hoped for, give it another shot. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it, but it is certainly worth the effort.

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Why You Should Consider Eating Peppers with Every Meal

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pepperPeppers are great for flavoring food, but did you know that consuming spicy peppers on a regular basis may substantially extend your life? It was once thought that hot peppers were damaging to the intestines and that they might possibly cause ulcers. However, in defiance of this common misunderstanding, spicy foods have been shown to reduce the risk of ulcers by the gradual eradication of the ulcer-causing bacteria, “Helicobacter Pylori,” effectively balancing gut flora in the digestive tract.

A 2015 Chinese health study suggests that consumption of peppers shows promise for increasing longevity. The study found that “the habitual consumption of spicy foods was inversely associated with total and certain cause specific mortality.” From 2004-2008, there were 487,375 participants in this study, ages 30-79, enrolled in the China Kadoorie Biobank, excluding those with a history of cancer, heart disease or stroke.

A median follow-up after 7.2 years found 11,820 deaths among men and 8,404 deaths among women. The study controlled for varying family medical history, education, age, diabetes, smoking and other variables. It was found that consumption of primarily chili peppers less than once a week  resulted in a 10 percent reduction of overall risk for death. When spicy food intake was increased to six or seven times a week, the reduction of risk went up to 14 percent.

Peppers of all sorts are particularly good sources of Vitamins A, C, K and B6 as well as Potassium and Manganese. As if these properties were not enough to make the case that you should eat more peppers, there seems to be immense benefits found in the properties that contribute to the spicy nature of peppers.

Three properties that are of interest to research scientists are:

  • Capsaicin: Found in cayenne and chili peppers, capsaicin is often cited as assisting with weight loss because it has been shown to boost metabolism by raising body temperature and effectively lowering appetite. Capsaicin also has been found to help protect against heart disease by lowering total cholesterol levels in rats given capsaicin supplements.
  • Dihydrocapsiate (DCT): A similar substance to capsaicin, often found in mild or sweet chili peppers, and sometimes called “CH-19” peppers, DCT in capsule form acts similarly to capsaicin in the body, without the associated burning sensation.
  • Piperine: Found in dried black pepper, piperine may prevent new fat cells from forming. However, more investigation is required in human subjects to understand this mechanism. Consumption of piperine can also increase the bioavailability of circumin, an anti-cancerous chemical found in turmeric root, by as much as 2000%. This means that circumin absorption is particularly efficient when piperine is consumed simultaneously.

The reasons to include fresh, spicy peppers in your daily intake are many. Regardless, not everyone is attracted to the burning sensation from consumption of these peppers. For those who want to avoid this and still yield benefits, you have two options. One method would be to sautée the pepper for a minute or so prior to eating. The heat will cause the spice to lose its potency and will be substantially less spicy. Remember to wash your hands immediately after making any skin contact with hot peppers to keep from causing irritation to your skin, or you could simply wear gloves and avoid contact altogether. Another approach would be to build a tolerance by consuming small bits of a spicy peppers on a daily basis. Gradually, you will find that you are able to handle more of the pepper as you make a consistent

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Natural Medicine: How to Make Your Own Tinctures, Part 1

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 ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, we’re going to delve in the exciting and fascinating world of herbal tinctures.  There are many reasons for making tinctures.  The foremost are:

They are simple and relatively inexpensive, and they are an excellent way for you to preserve the naturopathic herbs that you wish for your supplies on a day-to-day basis and for when the SHTF.  We’re going to give you the basic fundamentals here that you need to get started.

Basic Terminology

Let’s cover a few basic terms you’ll need to keep in mind:

Menstruum – a solvent, in this case with tinctures, alcohol and water that you use to extract the soluble and viable components and constituents of an herb.

Marc – taken from the French marcher, as “to trample,” this is the solid and insoluble matter remaining after you extract an herb’s soluble components.

Tinctures – primarily alcohol or water/alcohol solutions that are created from dried or fresh plants, although they can also be made from vinegar, wine, or glycerin as a base.  Glycerin is a special case, though, as the solutions you make are referred to as glycerites or glycerates, as they have properties that vary from a standard tincture that we’ll cover in Part 2.  The USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) only recognizes tinctures with either alcohol and water or alcohol alone.

Herb Ratios

Now you’re going to need some ratios for herbs.  The International Protocol adopted in Brussels, Belgium in 1902 established these ratios of herbs to menstrua, that is to say, the amount of herb and the amount of menstruum (solvent) for it:

  1. Tinctures of dried plants represent the activity of 20 grams (g) of dried herb in each 100 cc of tincture.  This yields a 20% or 1:5 weight volume (w/v) tincture.
  1. Tinctures of dried toxic or intense plants hold the activity of 10 g of dried herb in each 100 cc of tincture. This is referred to as a 10% or 1:10 w/v tincture.
  1. Tinctures of fresh plants represent the activity of 50 g of fresh herb in each 100 cc (a 50% or 1:2 w/v tincture). The menstruum used in this case is undiluted ethyl alcohol, as with grain alcohol (190 proof).  Note: “proof” when you divide the number by 2 yields your percentage/concentration of alcohol, in this case 95%.

Example: What this means is that if you tincture a dried Dandelion tincture and take 100 cc (the ccs are equivalent to milliliters, or ml) at a 1:5 ratio, you will receive the same actions as if you ate 20 grams (g) of the dried dandelion.

The weight (the weight of the herb) to the volume (of the menstruum) is the w/v method you should be using.  This by far is your most accurate method for delivery of the component parts of the herb.

When tincturing fresh herbs, you want to macerate (chop) them into small pieces.  For dried herbs, you want to grind them into a moderately coarse powder (mcp).

We’re going to give you what you need to get started, and in the second part we’ll cover the finer parts of dosage calculation and adjustments of the menstruum.  For right now, we’re going to use that straight-up 190 proof grain alcohol as your solvent to create the tincture solution.  JJ uses this for most of his creations, bringing us to other reasons to tincture:

  • Tinctures will usually preserve the med the longest in your herbal solutions, on average at least 3 years…the longest preservation method there is available from your own hands.
  • Tinctures with high alcohol contents (you can look up a chart on the Internet) do not freeze, or freeze at ridiculously-low temperatures, such as 75 degrees below zero. With that 95% alcohol content in the grain alcohol, your tincture will not freeze, thereby saving your bottle and saving you a tincture and a lot of grief.

Making the Tincture

Here are the steps to tincturing your herb:

  1. Chop your fresh herb/grind your dried herb.
  2. Place it into a large jar that can be sealed up tightly, filling it to the top with fresh, and ¾ full with the dry.
  3. Add your menstruum. With the fresh, all the way to the top.  With the dried, about ¼” above the top of the herb.
  4. Clean off your rim and lid of the jar, and then put on your lid, and tighten it securely.
  5. Agitate/shake your jar (JJ does it 100 times in the morning, 100 times before beddy-bye), never unsealing the lid…and do this for 14 days. You need to keep this jar in a cool, dry place where no light hits it…in a cupboard will do nicely. Do not open the jar before the 14 days are done!
  6. After the 14 days, decant your liquid carefully into a brown or blue bottle or bottles. Take your marc and press it (a coffee filter works for this…double ‘em up if needed) and pour the liquid from this into your tincture bottle(s).
  7. Filter the liquid if desired (JJ does not: get all of that good, agitated residue…it’ll help)
  8. Bottle your newly-made tincture, cap it tightly, and label it.

Your label should include who made it (that’s you!), the date it was completed, and

Exactly what herb (common name and scientific name), as well as the ratio and what the menstruum is made from.  You can utilize the w/v method to accurately learn how much herb you’re placing in your jar prior to agitation, as well as the volume of liquid menstruum to come up with your ratio in accordance with what was mentioned in the w/v paragraph above.

That’ll get you started!  You need to research your herbs thoroughly prior to conducting your exercises.  Here are 30 of the most popular herbs to start with. There are many variables, and yes, you need to learn as many of them as you can, especially contraindications and potentially poisonous substances.  Next time we’ll cover some dosage calculation and the finer points of crafting yourself a good supply of herbal aids.  Until next time, keep shaking those jars and keep them in the dark!  JJ out!

 

 

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only, and does not diagnose, treat, prescribe, or advise any actions or undertakings regarding illness or injury.  Only your physician is qualified and certified to make such decisions.  Consult him or her prior to taking any actions with the information presented here.

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Reasons Why Drinking Coffee Is Great For Your Health

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coffee healthReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, this piece is to laud the many wondrous benefits of coffee.  Really, I love it without all of the benefits that we’re going to mention, and drink it by the gallon.  There are a few studies that came out about coffee that I think you’ll find interesting; therefore, there’s a little in this article for everyone.  Let me take a sip of my coffee, now, and then we’ll continue.

Ahh, that’s good!  Now, coffee beans happen to be the seeds of Coffea arabica, a cash-crop harvested in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.  The beans are harvested nine months after the plant is in its flowering stage.  Then they are dried, either by the sun for about a month, or with machines.

Why many say this beverage is unhealthy is all the “extras” you put in your java. Cream, artificial sweeteners add extra calories and fat to coffee. If you drink it without any of these, then you receive the most health benefits.

Coffee Has Naturopathic Tendencies

As a naturopathic aid, coffee has quite a few uses.  It can be used to treat nonspecific, acute diarrhea.  This is diarrhea that isn’t long term, and could come from a number of different stressors, most of them not disease-related, such as severe fatigue and overwork, or a sudden change in diet.  Caffeine (the main constituent of coffee) is also a diuretic, which means it causes urination.  For this reason, it isn’t used in diarrhea caused by diseases of the stomach and intestines, as it will help with the diarrhea but cause you to lose water through excessive urination.

Coffee Provides Mental Alertness Seconds After Drinking

The caffeine restores mental alertness, and these stimulating effects occur within just a few minutes after ingesting it, in this case with your cup of coffee.  Although we’re primarily concerned here with it as a drink, caffeine as well as ground coffee is available in other forms, such as tablets and as an ingredient in a mixture.  It takes a lot to overdose, and the lethal dose for an adult is 150 to 200 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight.  To place this into perspective, if you weighed about 120 lbs., you would have to drink about 75 cups of coffee before you checked into the big Starbuck’s in the sky.

Drinking Coffee Helps To Lower Health Hazards

An article by Maggie Fox entitled Study Finds More Evidence Coffee Can Be a Life-Saver,” explains some little-known benefits of drinking coffee.  The study comes from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, in which it explains that coffee can actually help you live longer.  Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology helped run the study, and he and his colleagues found that coffee consumption helps with diabetes, cardiovascular problems, feelings of depression/suicide, and can lead to an overall lowering of mortality risk.  The study found that having 3 to 5 cups per day can lower the risks associated with these health hazards.

Coffee Is Full Of Antioxidants

Coffee happens to be the Number 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet.  Antioxidants are chemical compounds that offset the damage by free radicals to your cells that occurs on a daily basis.  The studies went on to tell how inflammations in your body’s system and resistance to insulin is diminished in diabetic patients by several ingredients in coffee, such as quinides, lignans, and magnesium, among others.

The reason the study is very reliable is this: it was taken from a sampling of 200,000 doctors and nurses over a period of a decade that tabulated their habits.

Statistically speaking, those are pretty good numbers, when you consider the persons being sampled are in a high-stress, high-pressure work environment.  This is not to say that coffee is for everyone, but the really good news about the coffee intake is this:

The beneficial effects were with (regular) caffeinated coffee as well as (“unleaded”) decaffeinated coffee.

In addition to the points made above, you can make your coffee even healthier by adding these superfoods to your favorite brew. It must be mentioned that your coffee grounds can do wonders for your garden. Here are 14 genius ways to use coffee grounds.

The Final Say-So

The final say-so rests with your happy, smiling, family doctor.  Obtain his smiling permission before undertaking any regimen of therapy suggested in the referenced article or using any information in this one.  If coffee is something you normally enjoy (such as I’m enjoying this very moment), then this article should have given you some food for thought that is positive reinforcement to “our” indulgence in coffee.  So, bottom’s up, and keep up the prepping and learning!

 

JJ

 

coffee health

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Common Medications That May be Disturbing Your Sleep

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We all know how critical sleep is in our lives and we’ve all suffered from the occasional restless night. You’re probably aware that caffeine and alcohol can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep, but there are also several other medications you might not be aware of that can lead to sleep disturbances. When it comes to fitful sleep and bad dreams, the monster may be in your medicine cabinet!

5 Common Medicines That Cause Sleeplessness

  • Cipro: This commonly prescribed antibiotic (full name ciprofloxacin) belongs to the category of fluoroquinolones, which are used to treat urinary tract infections and gastroenteritis. Cipro is extremely effective as an antibiotic, but it has also been linked to vivid, violent dreams in adults and agitated sleep walking in young children.
  • Smoking-cessation drugs (Chantix, nicotine patches, Zyban): Many people are not aware that medications meant to help them quit smoking can cause disturbances in sleep. Stressful, seemingly endless dreams as well as frequent waking has been reported by those using these medications.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These are highly regarded dietary supplements used for relieving pain in the joints, as well as improving joint function and lessening inflammation. Both components are found naturally in the human body and have been proven to be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis; however, people who take this supplement at night often note difficulty falling and staying asleep. Other complaints include muscle cramps and sleep talking.
  • ACE Inhibitors: are used to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and other conditions. ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels and keep blood pressure low. Some people who take these drugs develop a dry, hacking cough that can disrupt sleep. These medications can also cause potassium to build up in the body, which leads to muscle cramps and diarrhea—two things that may have you up out of bed frequently.
  • High Doses of B Vitamins: B vitamins such as niacin (aka B3) are often used to help you sleep; however, when taken in large quantities (daily doses higher than 5,000 mg) the opposite can occur. People taking higher doses reported insomnia, vivid, disturbing dreams, and frequent waking overnight.

Natural Remedies Could be the Answer

Prolonged bouts of sleeplessness can have an impact on your health. Sleep deprivation carries numerous health and safety implications, and some are serious:

  • Poor work performance
  • Car accidents
  • Relationship problems
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Mood problems like anger and depression
  • Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, hypertension, cancer, and increased mortality

Any sudden and persistent disruption in your sleep should be discussed with your doctor, but a little analyzing of your medicine chest can arm you with more information before your visit. Alternatively, consider some natural ways to improve your quality of sleep. For instance, natural herbs and essential oils have proven to have a positive effect on restfulness. As well, banana tea have been making the headlines lately as a popular way to catch some zzz’s. If you plan on using these natural remedies, check with your healthcare provider to ensure these natural remedies are safe to take with your medications.

It’s easy to forget that the supplements and medications we take, even infrequently, can impact our sleep cycles. In some cases your doctor may be able to provide an alternative medication or supplement, or they may be able to tweak the dosage or time of day when the medication is administered to give you benefits without disrupting your sleep.

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Top 10 Inexpensive Food Items That Can PREVENT Nearly Every Disease and Disorder Known to Mankind

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Natural medicine

By S. D. Wells – Natural News

(NaturalNews) Nothing’s more true than the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Not only does that ounce of prevention save you the nightmare of being sick, probably missing work and most likely accumulating medical bills, but that same “ounce” of prevention may only literally weigh an ounce and cost less than 15 bucks.

In America, people have been brainwashed by the medical industrial complex into believing that food can’t prevent or cure anything, but just the opposite is true. In fact, there’s a natural cure for every health ill under the sun, and the secret “recipe” involves taking a couple of 5 dollar bills out of your purse or wallet, buying the item, opening the package and putting the remedy in your mouth. It’s a super simple process that seems too easy, and that’s exactly why so many people fail to have the faith required to actually walk the walk, so they won’t have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars at doctor’s offices and hospitals – those dreadful places where health problems often get much, much worse.

Continue reading at Natural News: Top 10 Inexpensive Food Items That Can PREVENT Nearly Every Disease and Disorder Known to Mankind

Filed under: Food

Hives: Natural Remedies to Ease An Itchy Situation

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hives1A friend of mine, Steve, recently asked me, “What is the best way to deal with rashes from poison ivy?”  I told him that the best way is to stay out of the poison ivy.  Not only was he not satisfied with my answer, but also he asked me to do an article on skin rashes and such.  Readers, this one goes out as a dedication to Steve, and if you guys and gals can’t take the initial advice I gave to him, perhaps this information will help you in your hiking and backpacking adventures!

The topic of discussion for this article is hives, and we will present some facts about hives and some measures that may help those afflicted by them.  Hives are known in medical terminology as urticaria.   Defined as such, urticaria consists of multiple, swollen, raised areas of the skin that itch for up to 24 hours, caused by allergens and the body’s immunoglobulin response to those actions. Hives can strike anyone, for multiple causes and reasons.  To really understand how hives work, we have to understand the body’s histamine response.

Understanding How Hives Occur

hivesHistamine itself is a substance that is made from an amino acid, and it causes enlargement of blood vessels and a marked rise in the digestive acid production in the stomach, along with mucous production and bronchial constriction.  Histamine is released from mast cells that are large cells that serve to produce inflammatory responses that are governed by immunoglobulin E.  The mast cells and their mediators produce what is known as a type I hypersensitivity reaction (also known as an immediate hypersensitivity reaction) that lead to the sign-symptom of hives.  Poison ivy (in my friend, Steve’s case) is one of the causes for a type I reaction.

Regarding these explanations, urticaria (hives) is the result, not the cause, of the allergic reaction; however, they pose the problem, albeit short-term.  The actual causes are too numerous to count and can simply be expressed as being anything.  Such a statement means that depending on the individual immunoglobulin response (that is unique per each individual), there is no one thing (generally) to affect all humans.  When a person examines their recent activities leading up to the reaction, it is possible through process of elimination to find the actual cause.  In Steve’s case, he knew that he had been in the poison ivy and didn’t need to narrow down the search so much.

The histamine response is akin to a jigsaw puzzle in terms of illustration of function, albeit an oversimplification.  With an allergic reaction, the offending particle that causes it binds to a tissue receptor site.  This site is the source of the production of the process regarding the immunoglobulin.  The resultant irritation (the hives) stems from histamine production and the irritation of the affected tissue.

There are drugs that block these receptor-sites involved in producing histamine (basically the substance triggering the allergic response); these sites are known as H-1 (histamine) receptors.  The allergen (offending irritant) triggers the histamine production.  What the medications do is function as a tailor-made jigsaw puzzle piece.  They “fit” into the receptor site and block the production of histamine, thereby either preventing or minimizing the allergic response, and thus eliminating or lessening the hives.  Such drugs are known as antihistamines.

The greatest rule to follow is to avoid any known allergens and particles that cause such problems.  One common medication that lowers the allergic reaction is benadryl (diphenhydramine HCl); it functions by blocking the production of histamine as outlined.  Benadryl is available over-the-counter, and it is useful in many applications, such as bee stings and insect bites to severe allergic reactions.

Naturopathic Aids to Alleviate Symptoms

Naturopathic aids are not so readily identifiable to lower the allergic response; the focus of concentration must be placed more on palliative-supportive measures than preventing the reaction.  As mentioned earlier, the reactions are case-by-case and specific to the individual afflicted.  The first step is to know the things that trigger allergies…. for you, and in this manner you can avoid contact with them.  Pollen-allergic individuals (in this vein) surely know it is not beneficial to walk through a field of Canadian Goldenrod.  Once again, knowing yourself and exercising good common sense are the keys to good preventative health care.

Lavender (in the form of an infusion or a bath) is an excellent natural product to help soothe and cool afflicted skin.  Remember, this is a supportive measure: it does not deal with the root of the problem.  If you are experiencing hives, you need to determine the source of the irritation.  Ask questions of yourself.

Are you being exposed to dust, soot, smoke, or particulate matter that may be irritating your skin?  Are you eating different foods or using different sources for those meals?  Are you using any medications that you normally do not use?  Have you changed dry cleaners or laundry detergents recently?  If you’ve been outdoors camping or bivouacking in the woods, what plants were you near?  Are you allergic to any of them?

Number One: take action to identify the cause of the irritation (the hives).

Number Two: remove the irritant(s) or yourself from the source of the environment causing the allergic reaction

Number Three: seek professional medical help if the hives persist.

Hyssop is another cleansing herb that can be used externally to help with anything of an infective and antimicrobial nature.  Make a decoction with it and use it as an astringent/body wash.  The washing is most important (except, of course, if your water supply is the source of the irritation).  The latter condition is known as aquagenic urticaria, in essence hives that are produced by ordinary water in contact with the skin. Washing (in most other cases) will remove the irritants from the skin and allow the hypersensitivity reactions to abate.

Remember, most urticaria lasts for 24 hours; this is a good measuring guideline for you.  If it runs longer than this, it would be a good idea to visit your family doctor.  Be prepared to give the doctor a rundown on your activities and where you slept (sleeping bag, tent, or “roughing” it under the stars on pine boughs).  Knowing these basic first aid and skin care measures can help you in your excursions.  Another thing to keep in mind: autumn brings on changes in the plants, pollen, and humidity in the air; seasonal changes and weather fluctuations can cause things that would not normally be harmful to act as allergens on you.  Above all things, be safe, and enjoy the rest of the summer and your outdoor adventures!

 

JJ

 

The information in this article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to nor does it treat, diagnose, prescribe, or recommend any action or information outlined herein.  Consult with your family physician or health-care practitioner prior to taking any steps outlined here.

 

Additional Resources:

Natural Treatment Options and Strategies for the Great Outdoors: Allergies and Hay Fever

30 Most Popular Herbs for Natural Medicine

Off Grid Antibiotics: For When There is No Medicine

Garlic: A Natural Medicine for the Prepper’s Medicine Chest

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Ways Coconut Oil Can Bring Out Your Natural Beauty

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coconutCoconut oil is everywhere—you’ve probably read about its uses in lifestyle magazines, in recipes and in holistic medicine articles. You might already know that coconut oil is an antifungal great for curing athlete’s foot and for use in treating head lice, but what you might not be aware of is how many of your most expensive luxury products can be completely replaced with this miracle oil. The Beauty Industry spends billions in advertising dollars to promote products they want you to believe are specially formulated and scientifically proven. In fact, coconut oil is not only an affordable alternative, it’s better for your health and safety than most chemical-laden beauty products.

6 Ways to Achieve Natural Beauty with Coconut Oil

Not all coconut oils are created equally. Since you’re putting this directly on your skin, you want to look for an organic coconut oil like this one that will nourish and protect. Make sure your coconut oil comes from a reputable source. Don’t accept anything that is not organic and non-GMO, and make sure that it is cold-pressed and unrefined. Refined coconut oil may have been bleached or deodorized and processed with chemicals, while unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil (also called virgin oil) is mechanically pressed immediately after picking, without any additives. Remember that what you put on your body goes in your body!

 Eye Cream and Nighttime Moisturizer

Because it is quick-absorbing and rich, virgin organic coconut oil is an excellent deep moisturizer for dry, delicate skin.

Simply use your ring finger to smooth around your eyes after your cleansing routine. It might be too heavy to spread over your entire face, but feel free to dab a little over those rough patches on your cheeks and forehead. It’s also a great lip balm!

Shaving cream

Drugstore shaving cream can be irritating and drying to skin. Coconut oil is much more hydrating and won’t clog your razor the way some shaving creams can.

To use, wet the area to be shaved, rub coconut oil over the area in circles, and shave as usual.

Bath oil

 Adding coconut oil directly to your bath is better than bubbles or bath salts. Skip bubble bath and salts, and try adding coconut oil to your bath.

Since coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, simply run hot water over the jar for a few minutes to melt it down. Add a few tablespoons to soak up the moisture.

Hair mask

Coconut oil is one of the few oils molecularly small enough to be absorbed by the hair shaft. Many of the expensive hair masks and leave-in conditioners for sale merely sit on top of the hair and coat it. This can lead to buildup over time and dull, lank hair. Coconut oil actually infuses your strands and repairs damage.

To use, at night, wet the hair and comb a few tablespoons of coconut oil from root to tips. Wrap your hair in plastic or use a shower cap. Get some beauty sleep. In the morning, you may have to wash your hair twice to remove the excess oil, but what you’ll have afterwards is manageable, shiny hair that feels silky and soft.

Makeup remover

Makeup removers are often expensive and they sometimes have harsh chemicals that can burn or sting your eyes. It makes no sense that something meant to remove eye makeup can be dangerous to your sight! Coconut oil is a non-irritating alternative.

To use, apply a small amount to your face with your fingers. Massage the coconut oil on the makeup you’d like to remove, then wipe off with a light-colored cloth (so you can see when all of the makeup is off).

Lip balm

Your lips are one of the most exposed areas of the body. With only a thin layer of skin to protect them, the cold, dry air can wreak havoc. When every ounce of moisture counts, we have to take steps to protect them.

To make an easy lip balm, check out this recipe for step-by-step instructions.

Is it safe to say that coconut could be the miracle beauty we have all been looking for? Bring out your natural beauty and start using these coconut oil products today!

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Mix and Match: Using Essential Oils to Create Personalized Insect Repellent

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 If you’re one of the unlucky ones who get eaten alive by bugs during the summer months, you’ve probably spent a small fortune on stinky, chemical-laden insect repellents. A custom blended essential oil is a great way to save money, avoid harsh reactions to unknown ingredients or known allergens, and customize for the particular pests in your area.

Choosing your perfect potion

You may want to focus your insect repellent oil blend based upon your geographical region.

Mosquitos hate citronella, lemon, thyme, clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, catnip, basil, lemongrass, geranium, and lavender.

Grapefruit, juniper, rose geranium, thyme, and oregano are your best bets for repelling ticks.

Citronella, tea tree oil, lemongrass, lavender, orange and pine work best to deter fleas.

If you’re dealing with multiple bugs, feel free to choose an oil that works double duty. Go by what smells good to you and do a little trial and error to see which scents smell the best together and which seem to be the most effective.

Making your mixture

  • Once you’ve decided which oils to use, fill a clean 4 oz spray bottle with 2 ounces of boiled or distilled water.
  • Add an ounce of witch hazel or vodka (vodka has also been proven to be an effective insect repellent on its own)
  • Next use a dropper to add a total of 50 to 75 drops of any combination of the essential oils you’ve chosen.

This recipe will make a standard-strength mixture—simply add a few drop more or less to tweak until you get the strength you prefer. Even if you need a very strong formulation, be sure to keep the percentage of oils under 15% of the total volume for safety. Leave a little bit of room in the bottle so you can shake the mixture before every application (separation of oils is normal and to be expected—shake before every use for best results). Adding a little bit of jojoba or coconut oil can turn your bug spray into a skin moisturizer as well.

Keep a bottle in your diaper bag, your purse, out on your patio and/or in your car. If, for some reason, you forget to spray on your mixture or you already have bug bites, a drop or two of lavender or tea tree oil directly on the bite will relieve itching and speed up the healing process.

A few warnings about essential oils

Make sure your oils come from a reputable source and be aware about what products you’re already wearing on your skin, as some interactions can occur. It’s also always a good idea to test for skin sensitivity and allergic reactions before dousing yourself with any new oils. Children and pregnant or nursing women can have serious adverse reactions to certain oils so use caution. This natural bug spray is perfect for spritzing your dog around the collar, but avoid putting essential oils on your feline friends, as many of them can be poisonous to cats.

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Contemplating the Kombucha Craze

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 I’ve started to notice a new beverage being offered on tap in bars and restaurants where I live in NYC. My husband, who travels to Portland, Oregon regularly for work, has noticed the same thing:  kombucha, a tea made from bacteria and yeast cultures, is now being sold alongside micro-brews and house-fermented liquors all over the country.

What is kombucha?

While kombucha has been used for centuries in Asian countries, it has only been flowing into mainstream American culture for about the last 10 years or so. In fact, it is such a popular health craze, you can buy your own starter kit and make your own versions and flavors.

Made by adding cultures of bacteria and yeast to a mixture of tea, sugar, and sometimes fruit juices, kombucha is often called a “mushroom-tea” because of the large mushroom cap that emerges during the fermentation process. Kombucha is slightly carbonated, with a mildly tart flavor. It’s very acidic and contains B vitamins, antioxidants, and sugar. A bit of sediment at the bottom of your glass is normal, as these are the beneficial bits of bacteria in the mix. It contains about 30 calories per serving, is typically served cold, and is extremely refreshing.

Can you catch a buzz?

Don’t let the fact that kombucha is now being sold in bars fool you:  there is typically very little alcohol content (usually less that 0.5 percent) that occurs during the fermentation process. Some home brewers have been known to ramp up the alcohol until it approaches that of a very weak beer, but check with your bartender or brewer to determine the exact percentage of alcohol content in the kombucha being offered.  It’s potentially a great drink for the designated driver or others who are abstaining.

Is it a miracle elixir?

Kombucha has been hailed as a miracle drink. It’s been rumored to aid in digestion, elevate the immune system, and some fans even believe it prevents cancer and cures arthritis. There have been very few studies regarding the conclusive benefits of drinking kombucha, although proponents of the drink swear they reap benefits. As with any holistic health trend, it’s probably best to exercise prudence and not expect a health overhaul. Kombucha is certainly a great alternative to sugary soda, and the fact that it’s sold in bars now means another, much healthier, offering for teetotalers.

As with all things alterna-health, it’s best not to overdo it:  the Mayo clinic has shown side effects including upset stomach and allergic reactions in those who consume very large quantities. A bigger concern is that kombucha tea is sometimes brewed in homes under nonsterile conditions, making contamination and infection an issue. Be very wary of any brewing process that involves ceramic pots—because kombucha is highly acidic, the acids in the tea can potentially leach lead and other contaminants from the ceramic glaze. If a bar is serving kombucha on tap, they will be able to fill you in on the entire in-house process so you can ensure you are drinking a high-quality, delicious tea.

Bottoms up!

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Natural Remedies to Soothe Poison Ivy Rashes

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dreamstime_xs_14785335If you spend any time outdoors, you know that poison ivy can grow just about anywhere and is the bane of all outdoor enthusiasts. 85% of the population has some sort of allergic reaction to poison. In all truthfulness, it is not the plant people are allergic to, but the oil in poison ivy, poison oak and sumac. All parts of the plant contain the oil, urushiol, which causes the bubbly, itchy rash. Once the oil makes contact with your skin through direct or indirect exposure (from clothing, shoes, or your pet), a rash can occur within 12 to 72 hours. Within that time, you will quickly regret that innocent brush with nature.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the poison ivy rash. You’re only recourse is to wait it out and try to minimize the symptoms. While doctors can prescribe steroidal creams, these can be costly. Here are some natural remedies to try instead.

Tea tree oil

This essential oil is a great all around natural skin remedy. Once the rash has stopped oozing, tea tree oil can be applied to skin every two hours to stop itching and dry the blisters and rash. Tea tree is generally safe to apply undiluted to skin, but only a few drops are needed.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera has been used for thousands of years and is one of the few natural wonders that has been shown to reduce inflammation, swelling, and itching on the skin. This natural remedy is great for soothing poison ivy or poison oak rashes, and has been shown to reduce itching, pain, and irritation. Aloe helps retain moisture in e skin and protect it especially when the rash becomes dry and inflamed. Refrigerating the aloe vera before use will give more of a cooling effect.

You can even make this soothing itch cream with some aloe vera.

Jewelweed 

If nature created it, there is a remedy for it and jewelweed is the counteracting weed usually found alongside poison ivy. It is a succulent, a member of the impatien family. Crush it and apply to the rash. This alone is by far the best help of any of these treatments.

Witch hazel

Made from the bark of the witch hazel tree, this astringent is soothing and relieves the itch of poison ivy. Wherever you have a rash, apply witch hazel. The cooling, soothing extract will calm the rash down and promote healing. Apply with a cotton ball and discard when done.

Oatmeal bath

Adding a cup of oatmeal to a tepid bath is a wonderful way to relieve irritated skin. Ensure that the water is not too hot. Hot water can cause the blisters of the rash to burst and spread the infection. If you do not feel up for a bath, once a day, you can make a paste of cooled cooked oatmeal and leave it on the skin.

If you happen to come in contact with poison ivy, wash the area as soon as you can and hope for the best. If a rash occurs, start using some of these natural remedies to soothe the rash.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Herbal Antibiotics: When the SHTF, You Will Need This Book

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bookHey there, ReadyNutrition guys and gals!  I need to give you a review on a book that is a real gem for your holistic and naturopathic libraries and protocols.  The book is professionally written, with all of the technical terms and cross-references you will need, but it presents it in a smooth, easily-understood manner in the language of laymen.  The book is entitled, Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug Resistant Bacteria,” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.  The author has written fourteen books pertaining to herbal medicine, and is a leading proponent of using plant medicines as our first line of defense against infections.

The book is very adamant that not only can plant medicines help to combat infections, but that using them on a daily basis is a highly effective method of building the body’s natural defenses against an infection before the illness strikes.

The herbs are broken down into several categories, as such:

Systemic Antibacterials: these herbs are taken up readily within the system and spread throughout a person’s body by way of the bloodstream to all of the cells and organs and fighting system-wide illnesses and organisms.  MRSA is an example of such a disease.

Localized Antibacterials: are herbs that are effectively confined and applied to specific regions of the body, such as the stomach or liver, or on external wounds.  An example here would be an E. coli infection that affects the digestive system.

Facilitative/Synergistic Herbs: these are plant medicines that are taken in conjunction with other herbs or pharmaceuticals that have a potentiating (increasing in effectiveness) effect.  An example in this category would be Berberine, a powerful antibacterial that is increased in effectiveness when taken in conjunction with Goldenseal and used to combat MRSA.

The cool thing about this book is that it enables you to sort what you need by disease and disease-type (gram positive or gram negative bacteria, for example), by herb, and by presenting symptoms that will enable you to categorize and positively identify an infection.  Each different herbal remedy and compound is explained, along with dosages and methods of preparation, step by step, these methods themselves being exceptional in detail and simplistic in their presentation.  Even more: the book tells you how to grow, harvest, and collect (in the wild) the different herbs listed.

The herbs are described in terms of their chemical and scientifically-revealed properties, such as wound healing, pain relief, and effects on the human immune system, for examples.  The plant chemistry and methods of employment are described in great detail.  Preparations and dosages are meticulously listed, along with all of the medical and scientific research and tabulated results from studies (with references) that substantiate their uses throughout the world.  Complete descriptions of tinctures, oils, capsules, salves, poultices, and many other vehicles for use of the medicines are provided, along with step-by-step instruction on how to prepare them.

The only thing lacking in the book, in this author’s opinion, is a good section with color photographs of the actual plants themselves.  This, however, is the norm for most herbal and naturopathic works, and as I have strongly advised in the past, the Peterson’s guides for wild medicinal herbs (the guides are done by region, such as Eastern United States), and the PDR for Herbal Medicines will be useful for identification as such.  This book by Buhner is a hands-on, no frills guide that is packed with information you can readily use, as well as the techniques with which to employ that information.

“The thing of it is,” to quote Mr. Henry Bemis of “The Twilight Zone,” is that this book will really serve you well in a SHTF, grid-down or natural disaster scenario.  Diseases such as typhus, cholera, dysentery, and others will be prevalent in such situations.  The bacterial infections will be seen in your locality; this book will help you to identify the illness and to take that definitive action to arrest the process.  The book is 467 pages and you can find it on Amazon.com for about $25…a very worthwhile investment that will serve you well for your daily routine or for when the SHTF.

So check out “Herbal Antibiotics” for your preparedness library.  Success is not only where you find it: it’s also how you make it.  This fine work is another good tool to enable you to prepare for the next flu season, and also for when times are much harder.  It is a prime example of how you can use the resources growing right in the woods near your home to craft plant medicines to serve you and your family in time of need.  Stay well, and keep fighting that good fight….and fight smart!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Every Natural Medicine Chest Should Have These 3 Herbs

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natural medicineReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, the object of this article is to provide you with a quick reference guide for on-the-spot herbs you can use in your first-aid kits.  The information has a twofold purpose: 1) to provide information on three basic herbs that will run the gamut of what you need for first-aid measures in your bug-out bag, and 2) to list herbs that are readily obtainable.  Regarding item #2, one of the problems with herb supplies is that the best/optimal herb for the job is either not readily available or it isn’t practical to use it (because it has budgetary constraints or presents with a high degree of difficulty to prepare).

Most Common Ailments To Have Natural Medicine For

There are some common ailments and their causative organisms that I’m going to list.

  • Enterococcus (Post-surgical infections, blood poisoning)
  • Haemophilus influenzae (Otitis media, meningitis, sinus infections, pneumonia)
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Tuberculosis)
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gonorrhea)
  • Plasmodium falciparum (Malaria)
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pneumonia, Bacteremia)
  • Shigella dysenteriae (serious/extreme diarrhea)
  • Staphylococcus aureus (Pneumonia, post-surgical infections, bacteremia)
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (meningitis, pneumonia)
  • Escherichia coli /E. coli (foodborne illness, with/without bloody diarrhea)
  • Salmonella spp. (severe food poisoning, extreme diarrhea)

The Three G’s

Guess what all of these guys have in common?  They can all be treated with JJ’s #1 herb

  1. Garlic (Allium sativum): absolutely the best “broad spectrum” herb there is. Massive doses of it only lead to one immediate complication of severe flatulence.  Another contraindication/caution is that garlic is a blood-thinner.  It tends to interfere with those on platelet therapy and should be discontinued prior to a scheduled surgery.  It is easy to obtain.  For ear infections or external wounds you can make an infused oil for it.

How To Make Infused Garlic Oil:

– 5 cloves of garlic

– 4 ounces of olive oil

Chop up the garlic really fine, and place it in the oil…. shake it each day and let it sit in a cool dark place for two weeks…. much the same as a tincture.  Then when needed, apply liberally.

Garlic is such a powerful herb that if you have nothing but garlic, you’re going to be doing pretty well.  It can be found in the wild and easily cultivated.  You’re going to hear flak from people about the allicin content being diminished after gathering/storage/drying, etc.  Just do the best you can.  In a long-term emergency scenario, your stored/tinctured/chopped garlic will have what you need to fight the illnesses.  Along with what has been mentioned, it is antihypertensive, reduces plaque formation with atherosclerosis, lowers risks for cancer, reduces hypertension and lipids, and helps with unstable angina.  Average daily dosage is 1 fresh garlic clove 1-2 times per day.  Average daily dose is 4 grams or 8 mg essential oil.  With commercial preparations such as capsules or tablets, consult with the packaging information as they’re produced at different strengths and concentrations.

  1. Ginger (Zingiber officinale): this is another highly-effective herb that is used with all manner of illnesses. Malaria, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, strep, pneumonia, cancer fighting and Salmonella are just a few that ginger is effective against.  A primary herb against cold and flu, one of the best reasons to have it around is that it’s very safe, especially with peds (kids).  Teas, capsules, tinctures, and fresh (in your food) are some of the methods it can be employed with safety and effectiveness.  Ginger is an antitussive that is almost as strong as codeine, and it clears mucus from the system as an expectorant.  It is also an antihistamine.  It’s great for upper respiratory infections.  (Note: Garlic is good for lower respiratory tract infections….so the two go hand in hand.)

REMEMBER THIS!  Ginger is also great for burn treatment: apply the juice for an instant pain reliever, to reduce blistering and inflammation, and to prevent subsequent infections of the burned area.  You can make a tea and use this tea for burns, as well.

1 ounce/25 grams steeped for 5 minutes in 8 ounces of water.  I mentioned this in the past, and I’ll mention it again: bring your water to a boil, and then take it off-boil for 1 minute prior to steeping your herb in it…the boiling point kills off the helpful components of almost any and all herbs.  Dried root is 1 ½ ounces steeped for 10 minutes.  You can also tincture it, or obtain commercially-prepared tinctures, as well as capsules containing dried root.

  1. Ginseng: In this case, the preferred is Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), although Asian and American ginseng can be used, the latter actually growing in the wild in North America, making that a plus.  The ginseng does the following: enhances the immune system (T-lymphocytes in particular), increases mental alertness, and (proven by hundreds of studies) increases the ability of people to hold up under stressful, severe conditions [nice to know for when the SHTF].  It enhances physical performance, and has been used by athletes with great success.  It can be taken as a tea (3-6 ounces, or 85 to 170 grams) up to 3 times per day.  It can also be found in tincture or capsule form; again, follow the instructions as per the manufacturer on commercially-prepared supplements.  Cautions for those with high blood pressure, as ginseng tends to “get the blood moving.”

So, there they are: Garlic, ginger, and ginseng.  These herbs are easy to obtain, easy to prepare, and easy to use.  The trick is to do further research and really learn about them.  In this manner, you have the knowledge to employ them more effectively, and you can use them to balance and complement one another.  They are safe, reliable supplements that you can pack dried or (when safeguarded) prepare as either oils, teas, or tinctures.  Test them out for yourselves to tailor-make your own supply to fit your needs.  Have a great day, and enjoy the “Three G’s” in your preps!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Aromatherapy: An Introduction on How Aromas Can Heal

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 ReadyNutrition Readers, this article covers some basics about aromatherapy and its uses as a practical tool in your bag of preparedness.  Indeed, holistic and naturopathic methods and supplements are becoming more well-known by the day.  Aromatherapy has its place within the overall discipline of naturopathic medicine.  Let’s cover some basics, then, to start you on your path to researching what works for you and your family.

Aromatherapy is not a new concept nor is it a new discipline.  It is not “mumbo-jumbo” or pagan ritualistic Spiritism.  As a matter of fact, if you need references to dispel such an inaccurate concept, read “The Song of Solomon” in the Torah/Old Testament.  Read its references to myrrh, aloes, lilies, the rose, and other aromatic flowers and herbs to prove such.  That is not to say that oils and scents were not used by nations for purposes less than “above board,” however, the scope of this article is not didactic in nature.  We are addressing aromatherapy from a naturopathic and scientifically-based standpoint as a holistic discipline.

Aromatherapy is based on the concept that healing can occur with the introduction of therapeutic aromas as passively or actively inhaled. Essential oils are volatile, odorous oils extracted from plants; “volatility” here meaning that with the introduction of air, they evaporate easily and quickly.  Essential oils contain alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, and terpenes.  The plant’s leaf structure contains chloroplasts, and it is here that odoriferous materials are obtained.

In the chloroplasts, the odors combine with glucose, and the resultant mixture is glucosides.  These then are passed throughout the entire plant in the manner that red blood cells circulate throughout the human body.  Steam distillation is the preferred and most effective method for extraction.  The concentrations of essences vary as per the plants themselves.  Roses, for example, have a very low concentration of essence, and a ton of petals (2,000 lbs.) may be needed just to produce a 16 fluid ounce bottle of oil.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is a lot of roses!

In the year 1527, a book was printed entitled “Banckes’ Herbal” by Richard Banckes, with the collaboration of Anthony Askham, a physician.  It entailed many practical remedies used with herbs and aromatics, with rose oil being one used to treat liver problems.  In the middle ages, aromatherapy saw widespread use and practice, although the true science behind microbes and microscopy was as yet unknown and undiscovered.

Smells and aromas are very important to us as a species.  Smell is an extension of taste.  Do you know that retching around rotten meat is a protective mechanism of your olfactory (sense of smell) processes?  There are certain chemicals in rotten meat that cause the gagging (and sometimes vomiting) when a person is exposed to the sickeningly nauseating smell of rotting flesh.  This protective response is…you guessed it…your olfactory processes warning you not to eat it…that it is unsafe.

Massage, skin care, and aromatic baths are just a few of the uses to employ essential oils.  Aromatherapy may be applied externally or internally, depending on the type of herb used, the malady it is used for, and the concentration of the essential oil.  Many essential oils applied externally have a deep penetrating effect on the skin’s tissues and act on the organ systems closest to the topical (external skin) application.  It is not a thing to be taken lightly: you can seriously hurt or injure yourself if you do not know the herb type and its concentration (strength) as an essential oil.  Consult with an Herbalist or an Aromatherapist for potential use of essential oils, and before using them consult with your family physician to see that it meets with his or her approval.

There are many reference materials out there to choose from.  One of the difficulties with aromatherapy is that it isn’t as easily quantified as the more conventional herbalism as practiced by Herbalists.  The healing that occurs with the uses of essential oils is as different for people as people themselves differ.  The modalities and paradigms are different, as well.  The Russians and Germans are light years ahead of the United States, with extensive publications available on multi-tiered and in-depth research they conducted.  As mentioned earlier, this is just an intro to give you some food for thought and consider picking up a book on aromatherapy.

In future articles we’ll cover some methods of steam distillation you can employ to make essential oils and flower essences in your home.  We’ll also give a short “Materia medica” list for you as a first-aid kit of oils you may either want to make or gather for your supplies.  History is replete with examples of how this discipline holds efficacy and a truly worthwhile place within the disciplines of holistic medicine.  It is worth looking into and conducting research on, to use as another tool in your survival kit.  Fight the good fight, study hard, and keep your eyes and ears open!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

11 Medicinal Herbs To Help You Ease Pain Naturally

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Although I think it’s a good idea to stock up on OTC medicines, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any natural medicines as well. OTC medicine has an expiration date, but you can grow fresh medicinal herbs year after year, making them a great option for people who […]

The post 11 Medicinal Herbs To Help You Ease Pain Naturally appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

7 Plants & Herbs That Heal Respiratory Infections & Soothe The Lungs

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lungs

 Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, was right when he pronounced, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This has been confirmed by decades of research showing the healing power of food, as well as, inversely, its potential to cause some serious health problems. So many diseases, as well as the exponential rise in chronic disease in recent decades, can be linked to our eating habits today.

We live in a world full of pesticides, antibiotic-laced meats, and processed foods that are manufactured to be addicting. On top of this, the birth and rise of chemical-based medicine has completely wiped out natural remedies that seem to be more effective. Chemical-based medicine, according to many, is also responsible for the massive rise in various diseases.

As Glenn A. Warner, MD, former head of the immunotherapy department of the Tumor Institute under Orliss Wildermuth, MD, writes: “We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of doing research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison.”

This is precisely why Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of The Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world — recently  published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false:

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. (source)

Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime Editor in Chief of The New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), which is considered to another one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, makes her view of the subject quite plain:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. (source)

It is highly unlikely that a doctor would prescribe you a daily dose of celery rather than pills to lower your blood pressure, despite the fact that some foods, like celery, have been shown scientifically and experimentally to have amazing results…

That being said, below is a list of 10 plants and herbs that can heal respiratory infections, boost lung health, and repair pulmonary damage.

 1. Sage

Sage is packed with essential oils which have multiple benefits. These can be unlocked by drinking sage tea, which is used to treat common respiratory and lung ailments.

Sage has thujone, camphor, terpene, and salvene, which, when inhaled in vapor form, can dispel lung disorders and clean out your sinusitis.

To do this, you can brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or vaporizer.

2. Cannabis

Not many people know this, but when you smoke cannabis you actually change its chemical composition in a negative way. If you are going to use it for healing purposes, it’s best to ingest it or use a vaporizer; neither of these methods result in the toxic breakdown of the therapeutic compounds that happens when burning the plant.

Study after study has shown that cannabis is one of the most effective anti-cancer plants in the world. Vaporizing it can allow the active ingredients to trigger the natural immune response that exists within the body, thus reducing the ability of infections to spread.

Vaporizing cannabis (especially with very high amounts of cannabinoids) opens up airways and sinuses, acting as a bronchodilator.

It is even a proven method for treatment and reversal of asthma.

3. Oregano

This herb contains vitamins and nutrients that are vital to the immune system.

Oregano contains compounds, like rosmarinic acid, which are natural decongestants and histamine reducers.

These have a very positive effect on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow.

Oil of oregano is also great and known to fight off strep throat; it is also considered to be a great alternative for common antibiotic treatments.

4. Eucalyptus

This has been used for thousands of years, and today it’s commonly used to promote respiratory health and help ease throat irritation. This is precisely why it’s a common ingredient in several cough medicines.

5. Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus

Both the flowers and the leaves of this plant have medicinal value, and they are both used to make an herbal extract that makes the lungs stronger.

Holistic and herbal practitioners often use it to clear mucus from the lungs.

Tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water.

6. Peppermint – Mentha + Piperita

Peppermint contains menthol, an ingredient that relaxes the respiratory tract and muscles, thus promoting free breathing. Peppermint oil contains many other additional compounds, like limonene and pulegone, which are great decongestants. Many therapeutic chest balms contain these ingredients.

7. Plantain herb – P. Ianceolata and Plantago major

Plantain leaf is another herb that has been used for hundreds of years to help soothe an irritated chest and coughs. It also also contains many anti-inflammatory and antitoxic compounds.  Clinical trials have found it favorable against cough, cold, and lung irritation. Plantain leaf has an added bonus in that it may help relieve a dry cough by spawning mucus production in the lungs.

CE inspires us to begin expanding our way of thinking so we can take conscious steps towards creating BIG change on the planet. CE’s Mission!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Ways the Pine Tree Can Save Your Life

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pine treeHey there, ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals!  Today we’re going to give a few pointers to possibly an overlooked resource for your survival right under your fingertips.  You guessed it: the pine tree.  There are many benefits that pine trees offer for the survival enthusiast.  They can be found virtually in any part of the country; therefore, it will benefit you to explore the resources of this bountiful plant.

Food

Pine needle tea alone contains more than 5 times the amount of vitamin C in an orange.  The way to prepare it is as follows.

Pine Needle Tea

  • 1 handful of pine needles, cut up 1/2 inch in length
  • Boiling water

Take your pine needles (a good, full handful) and cut up the needles until you have a bunch of pieces about ½ inch in length.  Then macerate them (chop them up).  Add them to boiling water, and boil for about 3 minutes.  Then take them off the burner, keeping the pot covered and allow them to steep for a good 15 to 20 minutes or until cool. One cup of it is enough to maintain the RDA for Vitamin C in an adult.

This holds true for all of the pines, however, there are 6 species that must be mentioned for toxic effects.  Avoid these for any kind of food use:  Norfolk Island Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Monterey Cypress, Lodge pole Pine, Common Juniper, and Yew.

Pine nuts can be gathered from pine cones between September and November.  They are rich in Vitamin E, pinolenic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid), and oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat that lowers LDL (the bad cholesterol, Low-density Lipoprotein).  Pine nuts are chock full of essential minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. The nuts also provide the B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates.

From a nutritional perspective, it can also be said that the pine tree can provide for some of your needs in a survival situation.  There is a layer beneath the bark called the cambium layer.  This is a layer that the tree stores all of its energy, similar to the way other plants store theirs in bulbs, roots, etc.  When you extract this cambium layer, you can obtain the carbohydrates by cutting pieces of it up into strips and chewing them.  Don’t eat them!  The fiber will pass through you akin to a lawn mower in Stephen King’s movie “Maximum Overdrive,” thereby defeating the positive gains you may realize.

Chew on those strips and allow the carbohydrates to be softened and absorbed as you such on the plant fibers.  It tastes terrible: akin to turpentine.  Then again, this is survival, and you don’t have the luxury of choice in certain circumstances. The thing that makes the pine so good a resource is that it is a perennial and an evergreen: it can be used in these outlined capacities all year round.

Here is a link you may find interesting that has several films on various uses of pine sap (resin).

Bedding and Shelter

Pine boughs are excellent material for bedding.  When layered properly, they will lock the cold out and keep your heat from being transferred into the ground (conduction).  You can also thatch the top/roof of a lean-to that will enable you to keep drier.  See video here. This is due to the semi-waxy coating on the outside of the leaves (the needles) that help in terms of water resistance.

Fuel

Fire is life in a survival situation and pine wood is an excellent source for fires. Specifically, older pine needles make excellent fire starting material, as well as the older pine cones. Fatwood is another bi-product from the resourceful pine tree. You can find high quality fatwood in forests or in your own backyard that will help to start your fire more quickly. You can also collect the sticky resin from pine trees to use to start a fire – all you need is a dime-sized amount. Pine stumps are an excellent source to look for fatwood and resin. As well, the resin can be used as a waterproofing agent to patch up tent seams, boots and mittens.

Medicine

Incidentally, I almost forgot…the tea I outlined above?  You can also bottle it up and use it as an astringent for minor cuts, wounds, abrasions, and rashes.  Pines are habitats for many different forms of wildlife, such as birds and squirrels.  In a survival situation, it would behoove you to study what pines the birds and squirrels prefer in your locality.

The pine tree can be a very valuable resource for you: for food, shelter, fire and medicine.  Be sure to mind the local laws and ordinances before you practice some of these techniques.  I highly recommend (if you have a Christmas tree) trying it with some of the needles, and experimenting with a tea for yourself, prior to discarding the tree this season.  Have a great day!

JJ

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

When The Meds Run Out, These are The Natural Alternatives That Could Save Your Life

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herbsOne of the perks of Ready Nutrition is to read books on prepping and natural living and share which ones I like with all of you. Like many of you, I have a natural curiosity about natural medicine and practiced using essential oils and herbs to make my own salves and teas. I am by no means a master herbalist but love learning about the subject. I envy author Cat Ellis’s herbal background and believe it will serve her well during a time when there is no doctor. I was so excited when she decided to do a book on the subject and she was kind enough to let me interview her about her book, the Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor.

1. Tell us a little bit about your book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine. 

51ieolyMzzLPrepper’s Natural Medicine is the book I wish I had when I first started learning about herbal medicine. It is written for the total beginner, with no assumptions of prior experience with herbs. However, I have a few tips and tricks that even experienced herbalists would find interesting.This book covers all of the basic skills necessary to make herbal medicine, the therapeutic properties of 50 herbs that will grow almost anywhere in the United States, plus provides formulas for how to create your own medicine. Instructions are provided in an easy to read, conversational style, much as I would speak if the reader were taking one of my classes in person. While this book would be of use to any budding herbalist, it specifically addresses concerns that preppers have, especially long term disasters where the option of getting professional medical care is off the table. For example, how would you treat a snake or spider bite? What about anaphylaxis? Hypothermia?There’s a trend to sanitize herbal medicine with claims that “herbs work gently”. And to a point that’s true. Chamomile is a gentle herb that helps with stress and winding down at the end of the day. On the other hand, some herbs are potent analgesics, antispasmodics, and antimicrobials. Some herbs can help stop bleeding both internally and externally. Others help with seizures.This book is primarily a medicine-making book using herbs for one’s primary source of medicine. It is not a gardening, foraging, or a plant ID book. If your survival plan is to stay mobile, this may not be for you. I do have thoughts for a future book to address those needs, though. If you are stocking up on food, water, ammo, silver, and other supplies, then this is the herbal book for you.

In your book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine, you emphasize the importance of having herbs as part of your preparedness plan. What would you recommend as a starting point for beginners?

I would start off with easy to grow herbs, such as comfrey and peppermint- just try getting either of those two not to grow, and herbs that do dual duty as culinary and medicinal herbs, such as cayenne, garlic, ginger, thyme, and sage. These are familiar to most people, which makes learning how to make herbal medicines less intimidating.

In the book, you mentioned that ingesting essential oils has its place. When is that?

Very rarely, and almost never. There are oils which have GRAS status, which means, “General Recognized As Safe” by the FDA as a food additive. The most common use of this is as a flavoring, whether that be in food or in cosmetics, such as lip balm or lip stick. What this normally means is a drop or two of, say, lemon essential oil in a batch of lemon squares. It is diluted across the entire recipe, and most people don’t sit down to eat the entire batch in one sitting.

However, from a therapeutic standpoint, essential oils are best inhaled or applied topically in some type of carrier, like a salve or lotion, as many are irritating to the skin to apply directly. Regular ingestion of essential oils over time leads to complications, like liver damage, and really misses the mark on how essential oil work best.

That being said, a drop of clove oil applied to a painful tooth, or peppermint oil in an enteric coated capsule for intestinal infections and cramping, or a drop of cinnamon oil added to herbal cough drops or an herbal sore throat spray, are good examples of when ingestion has its place. And, of course, in that batch of lemon squares.

My favorite chapter in the book is the herbal first aid kit. What herbs would you consider the most important and why?

It was tough to narrow it down to just the 50 herbs in the book! But, if I had to pick just 10, my choices would be:

  1. Peppermint: This one herb does so many things. Peppermint can settle the stomach, relieve congestion, soothe away a headache, help cool a person’s temperature, it has a pleasant taste, and kids readily take it.
  2. Comfrey: Two of this herb’s folknames are “knitbone” and “bruisewort”. Comfrey helps to knit tissues back together. This goes in my burn care salve, is excellent in a poultice for a sprained ankle, helps the skin to heal quickly and with minimal (if any) scarring. It works so well, that it should not be used on deep wounds, healing the upper tissue layers and trapping bacteria inside. Short term use only as a tea, though. But could be very useful for someone healing from a serious sprain or broken limb.
  3. Thyme: This is your respiratory system’s best friend. Use in teas, syrups, and most importantly, in herbal steams for any respiratory infection, either bacterial or viral. Add to bath water when you feel sick, to benefit from the steam and sooth the entire body, or use thyme’s antimicrobial properties in herbal cleaning products. Blends well with lavender for the same purposes. Thyme can be taken as a tea or syrup for sore throats and general respiratory relief.
  4. Yarrow: Easy to find growing wild, yarrow is known for its ability to stop bleeding. It is taken both internally and applied externally for this purpose. It can also help reduce fever through sweating, and is an anti-inflammatory, making it a wonderful flu herb, chasing away the aches and pains and fever associated with the flu.
  5. White willow: This tree’s bark contains a chemical called salicin. Salicin is metabolized into salicylic acid, which is the origin of aspirin. The active ingredient in aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, a synthesized version of salicylic acid. White willow is much less irritating to the stomach than aspirin, and in my experience, is more effective and lasts longer. If you don’t have a white willow nearby, meadowsweet is a good alternative for your herbal garden.
  6. Cayenne: Cayenne contains capsaicin, which is well known for pain relief by blocking the signaling of pain from the source to the brain. Cayenne is a vasodilator, primarily of the small blood vessels and improves circulation. This is really important for people who are sedentary or diabetic. Cayenne is also anti-inflammatory, and analgesic. It is a primary ingredient in one of my oxymel (herbal vinegar sweetened with honey) recipes, which I use as an herbal decongestant.
  7. Berberine: This is actually a chemical found in various herbs, not an herb itself. Berberine has more uses than can be listed here. It’s top uses are as a local antibiotic, for blood glucose management, to strengthen the gut wall, lowering liver inflammation, and promoting healthy cholesterol and triglycerides levels. A berberine-containing herb can be used for wound powders. Berberine is excellent for throat infections as a spray, though it does have a very bitter taste. It must come in contact with the infected tissue to have an effect, so sweeten it up with honey or glycerin, then thin with water to work in a spray bottle. Some people taking berberine for its blood glucose and metabolic benefits prefer to take theirs encapsulated. Wherever you live in the United States, there is at least one herb that contains berberine that grows in your area naturally. These might include the Amur cork tree (an invasive on the east coast), Oregon grape root (Northwest), chaparral (Southwest), algerita (Texas and southwest), barberry (not a native plant, but can be grown almost anywhere), and goldenseal (endangered, but was native to east coast and midwest).
  8. Echinacea: This herb has been pigeonholed as a cold and flu herb, but it offers so much more. Echinacea is excellent for wound care, and makes a great addition to wound powders. The tincture is slightly warming and numbing, making it perfect in a spray for sore throat spray, or dental infection or wound. Echinacea is an immuno-stimulant, and it can act as a systemic antibiotic at the right dosage. Dosage is usually far more frequent than people expect, all the way up to once every hour. My preference is for Echincea angustafolia root.
  9. Garlic: Everyone needs lots and lots of garlic. This is the posterchild herb for food being medicine. Have your garlic raw, fermented in honey, or cooked, it’s all beneficial. Garlic supports immune function, is antibacterial, antifungal, and is well known for it’s heart health benefits.  If you want to stay healthy, eat a lot of garlic.
  10. Valerian: In about 10% of the population, it can have the opposite effect, but valerian helps almost everyone sleep. Valerian also helps with pain, spasms, coughing, and can be used topically for sore muscles.  Something to be aware of with valerian is that the dose is really dependent upon the individual. A very small dose may be fine for one person, and the next may need three times that amount.
  11. Mullein: This list needs a good expectorant to round out the list, and mullein is one of the best. The soft leaves from the first year plant are excellent for helping break up stuck phlegm. In the second year, the plant sends up a large stalk with yellow flowers. Pick the flowers and infuse them in olive oil for earaches.

What three points of the book do you want readers to walk away with? What tools would you recommend?

First, herbal medicine works, and works very well, even in serious cases. Herbs aren’t just for gently falling asleep after a stressful day. They can help . Second, while there is a lot to learn in order to use herbal medicine safely and effectively, it is fun learning. This process is enjoyable and empowering, and my book gets you started off on the right foot. And thirdly, the time to learn how to use herbal medicine is right now, while things are still relatively good.

In a long-term emergency, what natural medicines do you think will be needed most?

In a long term emergency without access to a doctor, pharmacy, or a hospital, we will still need to have the ability to treat both acute and chronic conditions. Acute injuries and infections are obvious, and require antimicrobials and analgesics. According to the CDC, however, 1 out of every 2 adults in the United States have a chronic illness, and that’s just based on people who actually go to the doctor for a proper diagnosis.While a lot of preppers are concerned with how to treat a bullet wound, and that’s a valid concern, far more people will require a sustainable source of medicine for heart conditions, diabetes, arthritis, mood disorders, and so on.

We will need:

Antimicrobial herbs: wounds, respiratory infections, and intestinal infections. Several I mentioned above, but I would add clove, black walnut hull, and artemesia for parasitical infections. I would also put special attention toward herbal antibiotics in the face of every-increasing antibiotic resistance. We would need both local and systemic herbal antibiotic alternatives to drugs. Herbs that come to mind as local antibiotics would be berberine herbs, garlic, juniper, burdock, and sage. Systemics are a little more scarce, but sida, bidens, and artemesias such as sweet Annie, cover a lot of ground.
Cardiovascular herbs: In addition to the cayenne, garlic, and berberine I mentioned above, as well as the yarrow to stop bleeding, I would also add bilberry, hawthorne, and motherwort.
Analgesics: In addition to the pain-relieving white willow bark, we will need additional pain relievers. Arnica is great for join pain, especially from arthritis, sprains, and repetitive motion injuries. Corydalis, California poppy, and Jamaican dogwood is a combination used for severe pain. Black cohosh and lobelia can be infused into an oil and a salve or lotion made from it for muscle spasms.
Anti-diabetics: Diabetes is one of our most common chronic illnesses in the United States. For type two, goat’s rue is the origin of the active ingredients for metformin. A three month study found berberine as effective as metformin.[1] There is some hope for type one diabetics with Gymnema sylvestre and fenugreek, as both help to regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas to help the body start to make its own insulin again. Gymnema is not available in plant or seed form in the United States, so one would have to stock up on the dried herb, and tincture it for both dosage and longer term storage.

You have a new book coming out. Can you tell us about it?

pandemicMy new book is called Prepping for a Pandemic: Life-Saving Supplies, Skills, and Plans for Surviving an Outbreak, and is available for preorder on Amazon. This book covers a whole range of issues related to pandemics, and is in direct response to emails I received from readers of my blog and my live internet radio show audience.We have had this unique opportunity to observe and learn from the Ebola crisis in West Africa. We have been witness to individuals attack clinics, what happens when medical facilities reach surge capacity, curfews and quarantines, martial law leaving people without food, had the specter of bio-terrorism lingering, and how our government and media control what the public know. The goals of individuals, staying healthy and not dying, are not the same as government concerns, which are maintaining order and suppressing panic. And, of course, we had the tragic case of Thomas Eric Duncan who brought Ebola to the United States by plane, and spread the disease to hospital staff. There is so much to learn from all this that helps us make better plans in case of an outbreak. If there is any positive side to the horrific loss of life in this unprecedented Ebola outbreak, it would be how to better prepare for pandemic threats.

In the book, I cover seven illnesses I believe are the most significant threats to trigger the next great pandemic. This includes drug-resistant bacteria, viruses which have a demonstrated history of causing pandemics, the human involvement of both terrorism and human error, and the conventional and herbal treatment approaches, if any, are provided. The book wraps up with a pro-active section on how to establish a Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine (SIRQ), with resources to learn more about pandemic preparedness.

My Thoughts on Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor

Have you ever wondered what you would do if there were no pharmacy? In the early onset of my prepping endeavors this question plagued me. Dying from illness or infection is one of the most likely ways one can die in a long-term emergency and without the knowledge of medicinal herbs and natural medicine, you could be a world of trouble. This very question was the first sentence that Cat wrote in her book and what I loved so much about the book. From the very beginning, she cuts to the chase and gets to the heart of topic. Throughout the book (and something she mentioned in her interview with me) she listed fifty of the most useful herbs, medicinal uses and recipes to practice. She holds nothing back in this book and uses a layered medical approach to assembling a natural medicine kit.

This book teaches you the how’s, what’s and why’s about creating a natural medicinal pantry. Because Cat comes from a prepping background she uses a common sense approach to emphasize the vulnerabilities of solely storing western medicine supplies including how supplies will expire, run out and the ever-looming antibiotic resistance bacteria in the near future.

The book is easy to read, written in a friendly manner and is packed with information. If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. From start to finish, I absolutely loved it! Cat is a wealth of knowledge and I will recommend this book for years to come. As well, Cat has an equally informative website, Herbal Prepper that all of you should check out!

 

[1]    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2410097/

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Study Reveals Ginger May Be Stronger than Chemo for Fighting Cancer

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ginger root public domainWe all know that ginger is a healthy addition to any meal, and that it can reduce nausea and inflammation in the human body. It’s a food with curative powers that have been highly regarded for centuries, though science is still unlocking its secrets. Coincidentally, three researchers from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in India may have just stumbled upon one of those secrets, and it will likely have far-reaching implications for the cancer treatment field.

They’ve found that there is a chemical in ginger called 6-shogaol, which has an impressive effect against breast cancer cells. It also targets cancer stem cells in particular, which are largely responsible for spreading cancer throughout the body, as well spurring the growth of tumors that have been previously treated with chemo or surgery. And best of all, it is effective at doses that aren’t harmful to noncancerous cells, unlike chemotherapy.

In fact, the researchers decided to see how 6-shogaol would stack up against a traditional chemotherapy drug known as taxol. While taxol is known to inhibit ordinary cancer cells (and cause a host of awful side effects) it still struggles to eliminate cancer stem cells. The researchers tested the taxol at a concentration that was 10,000 times higher than their 6-shogaol samples, and it still wasn’t as effective at destroying cancer stem cells as the ginger chemical.

As for how 6-shogaol works in the human body, the researchers found 6 different ways that it can inhibit cancer growth.

  • It reduces the expression of CD44/CD24 cancer stem cell surface markers in breast cancer spheroids (3-dimensional cultures of cells modeling stem cell like cancer)
  • It significantly affects the cell cycle, resulting in increased cancer cell death
  • It induces programmed cell death primarily through the induction of autophagy, with apoptosis a secondary inducer
  • It inhibits breast cancer spheroid formation by altering Notch signaling pathway through γ-secretase inhibition.
  • It exhibits cytotoxicity (cell killing properties) against monolayer (1-dimensional cancer model) and spheroid cells (3-dimensional cancer model)

While the study investigated the effects 6-shogaol in the lab, it’s hard to say how well it will proliferate in the human body, if at all. Although previous studies have found that feeding ginger to mice can inhibit cancer, so there’s a good chance that you can receive 6-shogaol by consuming ginger. However, you have to find dried ginger, since it is produced by gingerol chemicals that are dehydrated.

Although the study doesn’t definitively prove how effective ginger would be in the real world, or how useful it would be against other forms of cancer, it certainly is promising. It has provided another perfect example of how mother nature has solutions to health problems that we’ve been struggling to treat with pharmaceuticals for decades. Hopefully, future research will prove that something as simple and affordable as ginger can prevent and treat some of our most devastating diseases.

If you’re interested, you can read the study in its entirety at plosone.org.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Prepper’s Natural Medicine (Book Review)

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

Book Set-Up

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

Chapter 1 – Introduction

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

Chapter 2 – Stocking The Home Apothecary

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

Chapter 3 – Basic Skills

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

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

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

Chapter 4 – Materia Medica

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

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

Chapter 5 – Herbal First Aid Kit

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

Chapter 6 – Everyday Natural Medicine

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

Appendices & Indexes

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

Why I Liked Prepper’s Natural Medicine

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

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

What I Didn’t Like

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

Overall Thoughts On Prepper’s Natural Medicine

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

natural medicine

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