Spring, the Liver,and Seasonal Allergies

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

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Similar to Morphine: The Best Natural Painkiller that Grows in Your Backyard

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From injury to disease, pain is a very common ailment or symptom that can take down the toughest of the tough. It’s so prevalent that we are seeing a major

The post Similar to Morphine: The Best Natural Painkiller that Grows in Your Backyard appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Do you have a plan for migraines?

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

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Five Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants

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tooth_ache_painThe crippling pain of a toothache can occur at inconvenient times – perhaps when far from your dentist or even your emergency first aid kit.  Because of the potentially intense pain and potentially critical health concerns associated with a tooth infection, wild herbs to treat toothache is an important category of medicinals to become familiar with in preparation for emergencies in the bush.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

In my previous article Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies I mentioned three herbal remedies (the other two were oil pulling and shiatsu / acupressure).  Of the three, only one related to herbs common in the wild in North America.  I chose to focus on Barberry (Berberis spp.),  though it is a representative of the group – the berberine-containing antimicrobials.  Others include Goldthread (Coptis spp.) and Oregon Grape Root (formerly Berberis but now Mahonia aquifolium).  These and the other berberine-containing antimicrobials are great toothache remedies, and will be discussed in detail below.  The other two remedies in that article, though “natural”, won’t be easily found in the North American forests.  Clove is from Indonesia, and besides it is typically the essential oil that is used for toothaches.  Toothache Plant (Spilanthes spp.) is largely of the tropics.  It can be grown here (quite easily, actually), but I do not know it in the wild of even the warm locations I have been to in North America.  So, what other toothache remedies do we have around?

Berberine-Containing Antimicrobials

Lately, I have been focusing on Barberry (Berberis spp.) in regards to this group.  It is a common invasive where I live (I harvest it regularly as part of maintaining my property in New York state).  It also has the genus name that is the source of the name “berberine” – for the constituent that gives the roots of these plants a yellow color and strong medicinal properties.  Plus, for many years Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been in the spotlight to the point that this native plant has been overharvested.  There are different virtues to the various berberine-containing species.  For instance, Goldenseal roots are fleshy and are therefore easier to harvest and process than the woody roots of the prickly shrub Barberry.  For this reason, Goldenseal is a good herb to grow if you don’t have it locally abundant in the wild.  In the bush, it is basically a matter of finding whatever species you can.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

oregon_grape_forageBarberry species are common in some areas (often invasive).  Once harvested, the inner bark can be scraped off the root.  It can be packed directly onto the tooth or into the cavity.  Oregon Grape Root, also being shrubby (though small), is similar (See image – the root bark is scraped, showing the yellow inner bark.  Also take note of the bowl full of edible berries.  These pictures were taken in Montana.)  Goldthread is so-named because the rhizomes are thin and string-like.  The Chinese species used in medicine is much more fleshy.  Goldenseal is fleshy and can be easily chopped for making tinctures or chewed on for direct treatment of toothache.  Chinese medicine also utilizes a species of Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) with berberine-containing roots.

Phellodendron is another berberine-containing herb commonly used in Chinese medicine.  Often the three Phellodendron (Huang Bai), Goldthread (Huang Lian), and Skullcap (Huang Qin) are used together, perhaps with other non-berberine-containing “yellows” like Astragalus.  Many websites claim that the medicinal actions of berberine are unverified.  (Who knows if it is really berberine that is the main active constituent anyway?  And certainly each herb has countless active chemical constituents.)  However, the berberine-containing herbs from all over the world make up one of the best examples of verification in herbal medicine from different parts of the world.  To the best of my knowledge, all cultures that had access to yellow, berberine-containing roots figured out their medicinal uses.

barberry_tooth_ache_remedyIn addition to a distinct and very useful antimicrobial activity, Barberry and these other herbs are very good for stimulating the liver and gallbladder (take note, for gallbladder attacks are another medical emergency worth preparing for and herbal remedies can be very useful).  They are the quintessential bitter, “heat-clearing” herbs.  The bitter taste indicates cooling, cleansing actions.  “Heat-clearing” refers to the antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties.  These herbs are often the best antibiotics around.  However, because of their strong bitter taste people generally don’t want to use them.  Plus, as with all herbs of powerful effect, there are some cautions and contraindications.

Regarding products available for sale, tincture can be quite useful to treat toothaches.  Perhaps, ideal is powder.  Powdered Goldenseal is often available.  Because of overharvest of native wild stands it is generally best to buy powder made from (organically) cultivated roots rather than from wildcrafted stock.  I would discourage it altogether, except that it really does work like a charm.  Very good to know about.  The powder can be applied directly to the trouble area.  It is also possible to tuck dried material into the gums near the affected tooth.  For instance, a Chinatown apothecary would likely have slices of Huang Lian that could be placed right between the cheek and gum.  Whether from the wild or from the store “chewing” these roots (like tobacco – chewed a little and tucked into the cheek) is a great way to keep the medicine local.

Echinacea

echinacea_cone_flowerConeflower (Echinacea spp. – the genus name is also used as the common name) is one of the best-known herbal remedies, made famous right alongside Goldenseal in the simple American formula Echinacea / Goldenseal that used to be the quintessential herbal antibiotic formula.  Unfortunately, many of the Echinacea products on the market are basically worthless due to the fact that Echinacea has a short shelf life as a dried herb.  Best products, in general, are tinctures made from the fresh root, flower, or seed (the leaf and stem are less potent).  The dried material does hold up for a little while, but not long.  

If you happen to live in an area where Echinacea grows wild, or if you find some in a flower garden, you can simply pick it fresh to chew on it.  If the cone part of the flower is still fresh, you can cut into it to and remove the center for use.  You can also unearth a piece of the root.  It is easy to figure out which part is most potent by chewing on it.  Echinacea, like Toothache Plant (Spilanthes spp.), creates a distinct tingling sensation on the lips, tongue, or whatever part of your mouth it touches.  It also encourages saliva production.  The more you tingle and salvate, the better.  It indicates medicinal potency.  It also numbs the ache.  You can also compare different species by taste.  

Prickly Ash

zanthoxylum_americanumSpecies of Zanthoxylum also have a tendency to produce saliva and a sensation that helps relieve pain.  In this way, it is very much like Echinacea and Toothache Plant.  Sometimes, Zanthoxylum is known at “Toothache Tree”.  The name Prickly Ash is in reference to the pinnately compound leaves, which are similar to Ash (Fraxinus spp.).  Prickly Ash and Ash are not very closely related. There are many species.  I am not sure how all their medicinal properties compare,  If you live near them or are travelling through an area where they grow.  It is worth getting to know them.  You might even find a toothpick, as the name Prickly is not in vain!  The bark is the main part used.  It is available through herb shops as well as in the wild.

Calamus

acorus_calamus_sweet_flagCalamus, or Sweet Flag, (Acorus spp.) is another very interesting medicinal plant.  Like the berberine-containing herbs, the medicinal virtues of Calamus have been verified by many cultures all over the world.  It has been a major medicinal of European and Chinese herbal traditions and has been among the most revered herbs of Ayurveda (the ancient healing tradition of India) and Native American medicine.  Several Native tribes have used Calamus for toothaches.  Moerman (Native American Ethnobotany) lists that the Blackfoot, Chippewa, Cree, Creek, Mahuna, Okanagan, Paiute, Saanich, Shoshoni, and Thomson used Calamus as a toothache remedy.

Read Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food 

Unfortunately, one of the main side-effects of Calamus that is relatively common is that it can cause or exacerbate heartburn.  This clashes a bit with the chewing method of administration I have been promoting for the treatment of toothache.  Perhaps, for mild toothaches a small amount of Calamus would be beneficial and tolerated by most.  But with higher doses, such as one with an intense toothache might be driven towards, there will be a higher rate of intolerance.  Try a little first.

Calamus has many benefits, mostly relating to its pungent, aromatic, and somewhat bitter flavor.  It stimulates digestion, opens the lungs, and benefits the mind.  Native people have traditionally used it to help with concentration and as a stimulant when travelling or for ceremonial dance.  Likewise, yogic and Taoist traditions have used Calamus for the mind.  It is a primary remedy for lung congestion.

The name Sweet Flag is because it looks similar to Iris (the leaves- not the flower), which can be called Blue Flag or Yellow Flag, etc. (according to the flower color).  “Sweet” because it smells nice (such as when walked on), not because it tastes sweet.  If you happen to walk on it, there is a good chance your feet will be wet, as it mostly grows in swampy conditions.  It is also called “Swamp Root”.

Spruce

spruce_tree_tooth_acheSpruce (Picea spp.) and its evergreen relatives are readily available toothache remedies.  I mention Spruce as the representative genus here because they tend to be pitchy and seemed to have been favored by Natives for toothaches.  The pitch is antimicrobial, pain relieving, and can be applied directly to the trouble area.  It can also be used to pack a cavity to fight infection and close the hole.  Cedar, Pine, Hemlock, Fir, and Juniper can likewise be used.  The needles and inner bark are also medicinal.     

Barberry Photo Courtesy of:

anneheathen

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Medicine Growing Your Own!

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

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Deadly Poisons, Wild Edibles, and Magic Medicinals of The Carrot Family

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carrots

carrots_foragingApiaceae, is known as the Carrot Family, the Hemlock Family, and the Umbel Family (after the old name “Umbelliferae”).  It is one of the most important botanical families for the survivalist to become familiar with.  Its diversity and importance are implied with common names for the family ranging from one of the world’s most important vegetables, the Carrot (Daucus carota), to one of the most famous and deadly poisons, Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  With medicinals like Angelica (Angelica spp.) and Osha (Bear Root, Ligusticum spp.), which have been revered around the world since the earliest records of herbal medicine, this plant family seems to have it all.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

This article follows Wild Edibles & Poisonous Plants of the Poison Ivy Family in a blog series on poisonous plants that began with 5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know.  The initial article outlined some basics of five major plant families with poisonous plants.  The article on Poison Ivy included some basics on botany and plant names, in addition to the discussion of the Poison Ivy family.  Here we will focus on Apiaceae.

Umbels & Aromatic Roots

umbel_flower_forageA characteristic of Apiaceae is the flowers being arranged in umbels, which is the source of an older name for the family- Umbelliferae.  The umbel flower is umbrella shaped, or bowl shaped, partially due to the divisions of the flower-top (the pedicels) arising from a single point.  The pedicels therefore, are like the ribs of an (upside-down) umbrella.  Many other flower-tops appear to be umbels, but are supported by a branching structure that does not stem from a single point (Yarrow of the Daisy Family, Elder and Viburnum of the Muskroot Family, and others).  Another distinct tendency in Apiaceae is aromatic roots.  Sometimes people will attempt to explain that Wild Carrot roots can be distinguished from Poison Hemlock and others because they smell like Carrots, but this is far too subjective.  Because it is standard that members of this family have aromatic roots, including poisonous species, many of them could be said to “smell like Carrots” in that they are similarly aromatic.

Read Also: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Apiaceae members also tend to have divided leaves.  There are many technical terms used to describe leaves and their arrangements on plants.  Plants in the Carrot Family tend to have leaves that are lacey or otherwise finely or not so finely divided.  The leaves of Carrots and Parsley (another genus that is used to name the family) are characteristic. Celery is also in Apiaceae.  It is a good example of another tendency in the family to have the visible vascular strands (“strings”) in the stem.

Categories of Plants in Apiaceae

As usual with nature, it is difficult organize Apiaceae by category since in reality there is much more of a spectrum (from delicious and nourishing to extremely toxic).  Our human minds, however, like categories,

The primary categories of plants in Apiaceae are:

Edibles

Medicinals

Toxic Medicinals

Fatally Poisonous

These oversimplified categories are complicated by plants like Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), which is a well-known edible (at least used to be), but also known to cause rashes in sensitive people upon contacting the leaves of the wild plants.

Edible Members of the Carrot Family

One of the world’s best-known vegetables is the Carrot, Daucus carota, which is the domestic variety of the Wild Carrot, which is also known as Queen-Anne’s-Lace.  The root is usually much smaller than the domestic version, white in color, and quite fibrous, but it is indeed a Carrot.

Biscuit Roots (Lomatium spp.) were top foods of the northwest Natives.  I have never tried them, but apparently their starchy roots are good food.  The genus is certainly worth learning about for those living in the Northwest or travelling through (there are notable medicinal species as well), but there are concerns regarding population decline so learning about Biscuit Roots is more in preparation for emergency survival than for expanding your regular diet.

Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) is also known as Goutweed, for its medicinal effect.  It is a common groundcover that was introduced from Europe.  It often spreads “uncontrollably” in landscapes and can be found persisting on old home sites.  It is cooked as a spring green, or potherb, when it can help rid the body of the uric acid build-up after a heavy meat diet in winter.

Though so many edibles and many culinary herbs belong to the Carrot (or Parsley) Family, you should approach this group with caution.  As there are many poisonous species.  Culinary herbs in the group include Parsley (Petroselenium crispum), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum – the seed is Coriander), and Dill (Anethum graveolens).  

Medicinal Members of the Carrot Family

carrots_stackedOf course, all members of the Carrot family are medicinal, just as it can be argued that every plant is medicinal.  There are many home-remedies that utilize Carrots.  Plus the greens and seeds have medicinal uses.  (While you could argue that it is not “medicinal” one of the best-known uses for Wild Carrot is as a morning after contraceptive).  There are also the toxic medicinals, which are described below, that are too poisonous for home-care use.  Here, we will look at the well-known remedies from the Carrot family.  It is an all-star line up.  

Osha and its relatives (Ligusticum spp.) are top medicinals.  A couple species are known to Chinese medicine and used extensively.  Garden Lovage is well-known to the western world, though somewhat forgotten.  And the Osha of the Rocky Mountains it one of our Nation’s most famous medicinals.  In fact, Osha is one of the few herbs that I have come to depend on that is not available in the wild or even in the garden of my area.  Osha grows in high elevations, usually over 9,000 feet.  It has many medicinal uses but is best known as an antimicrobial for lung and respiratory infections.  The Navajo call it Bear Root and consider it a cure-all for lung ailments.  It works remarkably fast, especially if used at the onset of a cold.  I like to chew the root or hold it in my cheek like chewing tobacco.  Once, when harvesting Osha with a friend in Colorado just after he had harvested his honey, we filled jars with roots and topped them with the fresh honey.  A very delicious way to take Osha indeed!  The roots softened in the honey and were then easy to chew.  Plus, the honey was infused with Osha.

dong_quiAngelica is a very important genus of medicinal herbs and worthy of its own article.  In fact, I have already written a paper on AngelicaBut that too only scratches the surface.  With a name like Angelica, its got to be good – or at least it was revered at some point.  Angelica archangelica is the main European species known to medicine.  It has been used for respiratory, digestive, and circulatory disorders, among others.  It is a common ingredient in “digestive bitters” as it is a quintessential aromatic bitter.  Bitter herbs are bitter (not just bad tasting, but bitter, like Dandelion).  Aromatic bitters are also pungent or are predominantly pungent but are similar medicinally to bitter herbs, particularly in that they benefit digestion.  The pungent aromatics are also generally good for moving mucus and blood, which is largely how Angelica species are employed in medicine.  The famous Dong Quai (A. sinensis) is a top herb in Chinese medicine for moving blood (treating blood stagnation) and nourishing blood (treating anemia and similar deficiencies).  It is especially used to treat menstrual disorders and injuries.   

Rattlesnake Masters (Eryngium spp.) have been used for snake bites and as an antidote to poisons.  

Toxic Medicinals in the Carrot Family

Angelica_venenosaMany Angelica species belong in this category, as they are far too toxic to use for the uninitiated.  In fact, even those species above can have properties that are too strong and inappropriate at times, such as because of blood-thinning properties.  Most, if not all, Angelica species are blood thinning, especially when fresh.  However, they are most commonly used dried and because they are so commonly known and used I included them above. (The point about plants being more toxic when fresh is important.  Especially since many herbs in common use are mostly or only available dried, but when you are lost in the bush or otherwise seeking out herbs in an outdoors or end-times emergency you might only have access to fresh plant material.)

Deadly Angelica (A. venenosa) has poisonous properties (as you might expect from the name), yet the Iroquois employed it in poultices in the treatment of injuries.  Another, Poison Angelica (A. lineariloba) was used by the Paiute for pneumonia and spitting up of blood.  

See Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Sanicle species (Sanicula spp.) have some toxic properties, or some toxic species belong to the genus.  On the other hand, they were also used as poison antidote and for snake bites.  They are also known as Snakeroots (like Echinacea and Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga or Actaea).  It is not uncommon that snake bite remedies have some toxic properties.

Fatally Poisonous Members of the Carrot Family

david_-_the_death_of_socratesOne of the most famous poisonous plants and perhaps the most famous of Apiaceae is Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  It is the plant that killed Socrates.  Water Hemlocks (Cicuta spp.) are also very poisonous.  Cicuta douglasii has been called the most deadly plant in North America. Though they too undoubtedly have medicinal uses, they should be considered far too toxic to mess with.  It is said that a single bite of Poison Hemlock is enough to kill an adult man.  It is these deadly poisonous species that make this family dangerous.  Study carefully.

The common name Hemlock is shared with the basically non-toxic member of the Pine Family.  Herein lies the importance of scientific names.  Mentioning Hemlock often causes eyes to open wide in surprise, so well known is Hemlock as a poison.  When scientific names are used alongside the common, we can easily avoid confusion.  Conium and Cicuta belong to Apiaceae, while Tsuga belongs to Pinaceae.

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Seven Essential Herbal Skills Part 2

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

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Seven Essential Herbal Skills

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

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43 Lost Remedies From Our Forefathers

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There are several advantages to learning home remedies for common ailments: you’ll save money by not purchasing expensive medication, you’ll avoid the unpleasant side effects that come with those medications, and you’ll be able to treat ailments in a post-disaster world where medications are unavailable. Anne from Ask A Prepper wrote an article that is […]

The post 43 Lost Remedies From Our Forefathers appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Home Remedies for a Toothache

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tooth_ache_remedy_feature

leo-animal-savannah-teethTeeth are one of the most important parts of the human body, but they are also unfortunately very vulnerable to wear and tear. Regularly in use, teeth are exposed to substances that cause damage, and, can eventually lead to toothaches. It is important to know how to take care of a toothache in the absence of medical professionals and prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are many home remedies for toothaches and plenty of preventive care you can take to avoid toothaches all together.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

First, brush and floss. Doing so now can prevent problems you might not be fully equipped to deal with in an emergency situation down the road. Brushing at least twice a day is the most effective and efficient way to prevent toothaches before they start. Commercial toothpastes can be effective nearly two years after the expiration date listed, and there are ways to make your own toothpaste so you do not have to be dependent on commercial products in the case they are not available or have passed their effective date. A simple paste made out of baking soda and water can make an effective toothpaste, and add some crushed peppermint leaves to flavor it if you prefer.

Essential Oils, Herbs, and Spices

peppermint_tooth_ache_remedyPeppermint does a lot more than add flavor – it can also serve as an effective way to ease a toothache. You can use peppermint essential oil to remedy for a toothache simply by rubbing a bit on the area where the toothache is. A q-tip works well for this application. You can also make a tea of mint leaves, and depending on how severe the toothache is and how you know temperature affects it, drink it either cold or lukewarm.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Cloves are another effective way to ease a toothache in the absence of dentists and painkillers. Like peppermint, you can use either the essential oil or plant form to treat your pain. Apply clove oil directly to the hurting area with a q-tip, cotton ball, or other like product, or just chew on clove buds to release their healing properties. Cloves are an especially good home remedy for toothaches because they are a source of eugenol, which is an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. If your toothache is being caused by bacteria, cloves and clove oil can not only ease the pain, they can help eradicate the source of the toothache. However, be careful not to put too much clove oil on at once, as it can cause side effects when swallowed. For this reason, if you are treating a child’s toothache, be sure to carefully apply a minimal amount yourself. Don’t let them apply the oil as it would be easy for them to accidentally ingest some of the oil if too large an amount is applied and there is excess to swallow. Like cloves, vanilla extract contains eugenol. If clove oil is too strong for you to handle, try using vanilla instead.

Oregano oil and oregano leaves are another natural remedy for toothaches that is easy to have on hand when medical care might not be available. Oregano has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to soothe and combat toothaches. As with other herbal oils, apply it topically to the toothache area using a q-tip or cotton ball.  You can also use crushed up leaves as a paste to apply topically. A mortar and pestle works well for making a paste out of oregano leaves.

garlic_toothache_remedyGarlic also has anti-bacterial properties, and so is useful in fighting a toothache. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it soothes the pain while it is helping to heal what is causing the pain. And, as an extra bonus, garlic can also help fight tooth decay. Garlic can be used by simply chewing it. Before you chew the garlic, though, you should rinse it off to ensure it is clean and will not transfer anything into your mouth that could potentially cause further infection or damage. When you have chewed the garlic enough to get juice out of it, at which point you may feel your mouth or tooth go slightly numb, spit out the garlic and rinse with water. Your breath might not be great after chewing on garlic, so you can also try chewing on a peppermint leaf right after the garlic. This will not only freshen your breath, but give you a double-dose of toothache remedies.

For another slightly unpleasant smelling, but effective, toothache remedy try chewing on onions. Like garlic, onions are anti-bacterial. Prepare and chew the onion in the same way as the garlic to treat your toothache.

Ginger is another commonly available spice that can help you deal with the pain of a toothache. It’s also generally helpful to have on hand in any medical supply kit you are compiling, as it also helps with everyday health issues such as nausea and headaches. Ginger can be used as a home remedy for toothaches that have not yet progressed to the point where it is too painful to chew. In order to use ginger for a toothache remedy, you should cut a piece of ginger root, peel the brown skin off, and chew on the peeled piece of ginger. Try to focus your chewing on the tooth where the pain is centered so that the juice from the ginger root gets on and around the tooth and gum area that hurts. You can also try brewing a cup of ginger tea, waiting until it is lukewarm, and swishing it around.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is effective both at calming nausea and soothing toothaches. As a result, it is a valuable addition to any medical prep kit. Apple cider vinegar also has a long shelf life – up to five years for peak effectiveness, but is still safe to use, albeit less effective, after that time. To ease a toothache with apple cider vinegar, apply it with a cotton ball or q-tip as you would for essential oils.

If you have it available, a sip of alcohol that you swish around in your mouth before swallowing can help with your tooth pain. Not only will it help you tolerate the pain, but alcohol’s antiseptic properties will help to attack the toothache itself.

Essential oils, bottled goods, and dried herbs and spices need to be stored in a cool, dry place to ensure they are at peak effectiveness. You also need to be aware of the length of time they have been sitting in your stores. After a period of time, the effectiveness of these products can wear off. Thankfully, you can grow many herbs and spices that are useful for toothache home remedies either in a garden or indoors with the proper light. A garden or indoor pots that are carefully maintained to encourage the healthy growth of plants means that even in an emergency you can have fresh food, and a supply of plants that are useful in easing the aches and pains of your body.

Simple Remedies

pexels-photo-30492In addition to essential oils, herbs and spices, there are some simpler home remedies for toothaches. One is as simple as an ice pack. Ice is easy to make if you have a freezer, or even if you simply live in a cold environment. There are also many ice packs available for purchase that you can store and activate when needed if you are in a situation where electric freezers are not an option, if water is at a premium, or if the climate isn’t cooperative. Ice can ease swelling and numb pain, and so is good for easing pain as you fight a toothache caused by bacteria with garlic, oregano, or another plant. When you are using ice, though, you must wrap the ce pack or ice cubes in a cloth or towel before holding it against the painful area. Applying ice directly to the skin can cause burns. When you’re trying to solve one health issue, there’s no need to cause yourself another unnecessarily! You should also be careful not to apply ice for more than 15 minutes at a time, but after a break in the application you can reapply it several times throughout the day.

Read Also: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in the United States

Another simple home remedy for a toothache is rinsing your mouth with saltwater. Dissolve a small amount of salt, a teaspoon or so, in warm water, then swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat a few times until the glass of water is gone, and then repeat again later in the day. Saltwater is effective for fighting toothaches because it’s alkaline, and as such discourages the growth of bacteria that thrive in acidic areas and can cause toothaches. Salt also has healing properties, so if your mouth also has sores or other discomfort, the saltwater will help to expedite the healing process of those and increase the overall health of your mouth.

Take Care of Your Teeth

toothbrush-toothpaste-dental-care-cleanMany of the home remedy options for toothaches are based in supplies that are useful for other medical or health issues, and so should be kept at hand anyway in order to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality. However, toothaches should not be taken lightly as they can lead to infections and further problems. As such, in a situation where professional medical and dental care is not readily available, it becomes especially important that good dental hygiene is practiced in order to stave off tooth decay and tooth pain as much as possible.  You need your teeth to keep the rest of your body healthy, so take care of your teeth, be prepared, and know how to deal with a toothache appropriately.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things dystopian and apocalyptic.

 

Natural Headache Remedies

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head_ache_bad

headache_human_normal_remediesHeadaches are a part of being human. Some people get them regularly, and others get headaches only rarely. Severity varies from person to person, as does the cause of the headache. Even when only mildly annoying, a headache can affect your ability to function fully and alertly.  If you’re in a situation where Tylenol, aspirin, or prescription pain medication isn’t an option, nor is doing nothing because you have to be focused on taking care of yourself and others, you need to know how to keep a headache at bay.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

Thankfully, there are quite a few natural remedies that can alleviate the pain of a headache. There are also many natural ways to keep headaches from becoming an issue at all, or at least to minimize your risk of being stricken with one. By employing preventative and natural measures, you can successfully reign in the annoyance of headaches without drugs.

Preventative Measures and Action 

hydrated_water_headacheFirst and foremost, stay hydrated. Water is the cure for so many ills, and headaches are no exception. Should you find yourself in a situation where water is scarce, be mindful of what else you are putting in your body to ensure it is not using up valuable water. Salt, alcohol, sugar, and caffeine will dehydrate you. While all of those can initially ease the pain of a headache, they can also put you in danger of further headaches after the initial easing of pain. If water is plentiful, it is the easiest remedy for a headache – and if it’s curing your headache, you’ll likely notice you have more energy and feel more alert as well.

Related: Emergency Foods From Wild Plants

Lack of sleep can be a contributing factor to headaches, as well. In an emergency situation, sleep may be hard to come by, but you should always get as much as you are able to. In fact, studies show that poor sleep contributes to migraines. Even if you don’t end up with a full-blown migraine, lack of sleep and the dull pain of a tension headache are a poor combination that no one wants to deal with. Forcing yourself to be awake does nobody any favors – go to bed early when you are able.

stretching_headache_reliefMild headaches can also be relieved with stretching. Stretching doesn’t require any resources, simply your own energy and a little bit of space. The first section of your body you’ll want to focus on is your shoulders. Are they lifted up and tight? Let them drop and let out a deep breath. You may notice a difference from just this as your muscles loosen up. A stretch nearly as simple is to straighten up your neck, look straight ahead, and then put your chin down. Look back up, then go left, right, then back, finally returning your chin to the front. Put your chin down on your chest again, and gently roll left to right, keeping your child down while doing this. Repeat until you feel loosened up. Doing these stretches relieves headache-causing pressure from your nerves.

Another way to relieve tension that requires no medicine and simple household objects is to bite down on something – a pen or pencil, for example. Doing so will cause you to use certain muscles that become tight, leading to tension headaches. You might feel silly trying this out, but that won’t matter if you can get rid of a tension headache without worrying about how to find pain relief medication.

Many common herbs and spices can also ease the pain of a headache. However, if you are planning on storing these be aware of how long they have been stored for. Many herbs and essential oils do have somewhat short shelf lives and may lose their efficacy. Be sure to store them properly to get as much use out of them as possible, too.

What herbs can help alleviate a headache?

chocolate_mint_headachesPeppermint is an herb with soothing qualities, and its scent can help to calm nerves and relieve tension, thus lessening your headache. You can boil some water with peppermint leaves and make a peppermint tea to drink (or, if you have them available, use ready-made peppermint teabags). You may also notice that the tea has a strong scent – that’s good, and you should breath it in as you drink the tea. Or, simply breathe in the scent of the steam from your hot tea without even drinking the tea. The strong scent of peppermint alone can relieve tension and ease headaches. You can also use peppermint essential oil to soothe a headache; just rub a small amount on your temples. Dried peppermint has a fairly long shelf life – up to three years, and the essential oil lasts about four years if kept in a cool, dry space.

Feverfew is a famous and oft-cited herb for combatting migraines. It can not only help to lessen the intensity of a migraine once it starts, but has also been credited with preventing the headaches before they start. If you are a regular sufferer of migraines, you might find it worth your while to get a supply of feverfew supplements to keep on hand in case you are in a situation where you don’t have access to your prescription migraine medicine anymore. Additionally, you can grow feverfew either inside (if you have a grow light or a very sunny window) or outside. It’s fairly easy to grow, so if you or someone in your family gets regular migraines it is certainly worth trying to keep a plant. It’s a perennial, so you won’t have to replant every single year, and you’ll have a regular supply of fresh feverfew leaves to help with headache relief. The fresh leaves from the plants can be chewed, about two at a time, to relieve and/or prevent headaches. Some people even include the leaves with their regular meals, in a salad or on a sandwich. Be cautious, though, as if you are new to using feverfew you will want to ensure you are not one of those who experiences swelling of the mouth area from chewing the leaves. Some people also have gastrointestinal issues associated with use of the herb, so try it out cautiously as you first begin using this remedy.

Read Also: Easier Gardening

Cayenne is a spice that you can put to good use as a headache remedy. Commonly available, this spice works to relieve headaches because it contains capsaicin, a pain inhibitor. Using cayenne as a natural remedy is easy enough – just mix a bit (about 1/2 teaspoon or so) with water to dilute the spice, then take a cotton swab, dip it in the mixture, and very gently dab the inside of your nostril with the swab. It’ll be uncomfortable, but as the slight burning sensation subsides, so will your headache. Like most other herbs and spices, dry cayenne pepper has a shelf life of about three years, and should be stored in a dry, cool place. If you have cayenne pepper older than three years, just test it out by giving it a quick sniff – if it doesn’t smell of anything, it’s lost its effectiveness, but if it still has a strong scent, go ahead and use it. You’ll be able to tell pretty easily if it’s still potent.

ginger_plant_headachesGinger is another go-to spice for pain relief. Using ginger to relieve your headaches is pretty simple – steep some fresh ginger root to make a tea, either by itself or with lemon juice. Chewing on some ginger might also help ease side effects of more severe headaches like nausea. You can also grow ginger at home, either outdoors if you live in a warm climate, or indoors in a pot or tub. Doing so will provide you with a supply of fresh ginger root to use not only for headaches, but for a variety of other ailments as well.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is can provide relief from many aches, pains, and ills. It has a longer effective shelf life than dry herbs and spices, as it lasts about five years at full potency. After that time, it’s still probably safe, just not as effective. Be sure when you’re storing it that the cap is always screwed on tightly and it’s in a cool, dry place. To use apple cider vinegar as a remedy for headaches, you have a couple of options. You can boil it with water, at about a 1:1 ratio, then breath in the steam from the concoction. If you want to trap the steam as you do this, drape a towel over your head to fully immerse yourself in the scent. You can also mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with water and drink the mixture. Be cautious of how much apple cider vinegar you are using, as it is very strong and as little as two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water can be effective. To temper the taste of the vinegar, you can also add lemon, honey, or both to the mixture. Lemon has its own therapeutic properties that you might find to be beneficial, and if the headache is accompanied by a head cold, honey can help to soothe your throat.

Adapting to Your Situation

aspirin_old_ad_headachesIn the modern world, it is very easy to reach for an aspirin to cure your headache. If none is available, though, there is a plant found in nature that is nearly equivalent to aspirin in how it treats headaches – the bark of a willow tree. It’s active ingredient is salicin, and the bark is also useful in treating pains other than headaches, including lower back pain. If you live in an area where willow trees grow, identify one, cut a square of bark, and boil it to make a tea. But of course, as with any other herb or plant, if you are not completely sure, don’t ingest anything from it! You can also simply, but carefully, chew on the bark. Be aware that you are not swallowing any splinters of the bark, though – just the saliva that now has the salicin from the bark in it.

As you can see, nature is bountiful when it comes to headache remedies. While those who suffer from the most severe of migraines may not be able to fully feel the relief of modern prescription pain medications, there are ways to mediate the pain should there be no such medication available. For the more mild headaches that everyone gets, but that still interfere with the ability to fully function, simple steps like drinking more water, getting more sleep, and stretching can help to prevent and relieve the pain. Herbs and plants that are commonly available are highly effective in relieving headaches, and make a valuable addition to any medical storage and preparing you may be doing. While modern medicine has its perks, there are other options and with the right supplies and knowledge you won’t have to suffer even if you don’t have access to prescriptions and technologically-enhanced medical facilities.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things dystopian and apocalyptic.

Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts”

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

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Herbal Steams for Cold and Flu Season

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

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Your Herbal and Prepping Questions Answered Live

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

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18 Herbal Remedies for Aches and Pains

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18 Herbal Remedies for Aches and Pains In a SHTF situation, having access to any kind of supply of modern medicine will be a very rare thing. Humanity will be forced to go back to herbal treatments for their ailments. While society would have you believe that herbal treatments and remedies aren’t as good or …

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Women’s Preparedness: Part 2- Just the Herbs

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

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Women in Preparedness!

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Women in Preparedness: Both Men & Women Need to Know Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” If you are a woman or know a woman, which should be about everyone, you’ll want to listen to this episode. Preppers are comfortable discussing blood in the context of bullet wounds or lacerations. By some bizarre sorcery, when blood is part … Continue reading Women in Preparedness!

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Another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live!

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Another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live! Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” On the first Sunday of every month, I do an “Ask Cat” episode. Call in this Sunday evening with all of your natural health, herbal, and prepping questions. What kinds of questions can I ask? Ask anything related to herbal remedies, herbal … Continue reading Another, “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live!

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6 Powerful Natural Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relief Agents for When SHTF

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by Susan: Inflammatory diseases can affect any part of our body, from joints and muscles to our intestine, internal organs, and even our skin. Many are not life threatening, but

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Natural Home Remedies for Knee Pain

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Natural Home Remedies for Knee Pain The knee is the biggest joint of the body. Therefore, experiencing pain after a workout or a sudden twitch of the muscles in the knee can cause you to go about your day in total discomfort. This soreness can last about a few hours or in certain situations, it […]

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Learn the Art of Herbalism Your Own Way

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Learn Art of HerbalismAre you thinking about learning herbalism as a readiness skill to better help yourself and loved ones during an emergency? Let me be the first to tell you that getting a solid herbal education can be tough, but it’s incredibly rewarding. There’s a lot of information to cover, and many different approaches to teaching and practicing herbalism. There are also many different ways to learn herbalism: you can enroll in a local herb school, take online classes, or gather resources to teach yourself. But as a prepper, how do you sort through all of the options and determine what’s right for you?

Herbalism is largely unregulated in the United States. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that you, as a consumer shopping for an herbal education, need to weigh your options and do your research. And if you’re also a prepper, it’s important to feel confident that your teachers have done their research and had extensive experience, and that the course materials will cover topics that are relevant to preparedness and survival.

My Own Herbal Education

My first “official” herbal school experience left me frustrated that my instructor relied mainly on industry street cred and charisma. Most of the information in that course was good, but there were no references to external research ANYWHERE in the course. The more I studied, the more this made me uncomfortable. I had read widely on my own prior to enrolling, so I had a sense of what was reliable and what wasn’t, but it was still a very frustrating experience. Also, my main focus at the time was on working with clients more than preparedness, but the course didn’t really even cover as much of that as was implied. Very frustrating!

After several more years of self directed study, I found an herb school that focused on herbalism in remote settings and for community emergency preparedness. This school (The Human Path) has been a great fit for me, because it has allowed me to fully develop my interest in emergency herbalism, and even offers clinical outreach programs in remote settings that will allow me to gain more experience with my intake and evaluation skills while actively making a difference in communities. Founder of The Human Path, Sam Coffman, wrote this article on The Survival Mom blog.

Around the same time, I also began working for an herb school (The Herbal Academy) that offers online programs (from beginner level to family herbalists to clinical professionals) that are created collaboratively. Because of the school’s emphasis on collaboration, the courses reflect the wisdom and perspectives of many experienced herbalists rather than a single person. Click on this ad to learn what this course is all about. I highly recommend their courses.
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Where should YOU learn herbalism?

There are many more options available now than there were even a few years ago. Take advantage of that! Spend some time researching different schools. You might even be lucky enough to have a local herb school nearby so that you can learn in a classroom setting, which can make learning skills like plant identification and applying your knowledge (via student clinical programs) much easier.

Nowadays, many herb schools are even accessible online (and yes, this is great. Trust me- I mailed my lessons in via snail mail at the first school!). There are several advantages to taking online courses:

  • It’s easier to reach instructors,
  • Easier to participate in virtual classroom settings like webinars and chats.
  • Online, you can quickly research questions you might have.
  • It’s easier to be in touch with current and former students, so you can get their reviews and insights into a particular course before you enroll (always a good idea!).

You should understand, though, that there’s no formal syllabus that all herb schools are required to follow, or any accreditation process that they must undergo (at least in the United States), so where you go to learn herbalism will depend largely on your goals. You will need to take a look at the founder’s philosophy, whether or not the lessons are backed with adequate research materials, and whether the training offered at the school is a match for your needs.

Generally speaking, steer clear of programs that claim to make you a “master herbalist.” The phrase is just hype. There is no meaningful standard by which to judge the qualification. “Certified herbalist” is the same way. Just as there is no accrediting body specifically for herb schools, there’s also no regulatory body that grants titles for herbalists. A school can, however, give you a certificate of completion for successfully passing their exams.  

Herb schools will typically fall into one or the other of these categories based on the focus of their programs. Keep these in mind as you sort through which schools might be a good fit for your needs:

  • Tradition-focuses on a historical subset of herbalism (such as Ayurveda from India)
  • Career- focuses on developing skills and advanced theory needed in a modern clinical setting
  • Family Herbalist- focuses on everyday use of herbs in a family/home setting
  • Survivalist- focuses on herbalism in remote or survival settings
  • New age- focuses on intuitive herbalism, shamanism, or spiritual aspects of herbalism

For preparedness purposes, a course with a survival school is a wise investment, but you shouldn’t overlook a solid foundation with a school focused on home herbalism, either.  A good home herbalism course will usually teach you how to make many different types of herbal preparations and give you plenty of information that you can apply for everyday health needs.   

An herb school may also divide their programs into different tracks based on specific skills or skill levels, such as beginner, intermediate, or advanced, so take your time investigating the schools that interest you. Even if you don’t think every course they offer is a good fit for what you want, there may be a specific track or set of courses that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Here are three school directories you can peruse to get a feel for some of the options available:

Here are three school directories you can peruse to get a feel for some of the options available:

Herbal Education Guide from Plant Healer Magazine

School Directory by the American Herbalist Guild

Herb Schools List at Mountain Rose Herbs

How to Learn Herbalism on Your Own

It’s also possible to be a self taught herbalist. This approach requires careful research and the dedication to seek out many professional perspectives, and no, reading internet forums for different opinions and ideas doesn’t count! There are a few things you can do to make your self-guided herbal preparedness studies more fruitful:

  1. Invest in a solid herbal textbook like Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman, or Principles and Practices of Phytotherapy by Kerry Bone. Read it, cover to cover, and take notes. This will give you a very good introduction to herbalism from the more scientific side. (This is what I did after my first, not-so-successful experience, and it was worth every penny).
  2. Get a few herbal recipe books that teach you how to make herbal extracts, teas, and other preparations. James Green’s The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook, Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health or Homegrown Remedies by Anne McIntyre are all excellent resources. Work through the book and teach yourself to make the different types of products.
  3. Make a list of the types of health problems you know you will need to address, personally, and research them. Start looking up (and using, with your doctor’s permission) herbal alternatives.
  4. Create herbal components for your first aid kits. Here is more information about that.
  5. Part of the beauty of having herbalism as a survival skill  is that herbs are renewable- you can grow them yourself! Select a few new herbs each year and add them to your garden. Many are lovely to look at and can be added to urban and suburban landscaping, or grown on a balcony or patio in containers. Herbs can be difficult to grow from seed, but many do very well if grown from cuttings or root division. You’ll need to learn the specific needs of each plant as you go.
  6. Foraging is much less reliable as a supply tactic than many people think it is. Plants may not be available when you need them, or it may be hard to find certain ones in your area. If you want to learn to forage, you will need field guides specific to your area and lots of time to learn plant identification. You will also need to learn the individual timetable of each plant- when it blooms and when to harvest- and what specific parts are used. You’ll also need to tend your foraging plots so that (hopefully) there will be even more of the plants available the next year because you took the time to spread seed or otherwise help the plants regenerate. It’s best to focus on one or two really abundant “weeds” at a time and add more as you hone your skills.
  7. Wilderness First Aid- if at all possible, take a course in wilderness first aid to supplement your herbal studies.
  8. One prepper and herbalist, Cat Ellis, offers this book written from a prepper perspective, all about various herbal and natural remedies.

All of this goes to show that there are many, many different herbal schools to choose from, and that whether or not you enroll with a school or strike out on your own, you should be a very active participant in your education. Ask questions, read widely, create herbal products to use at home, and really participate in what you are learning! Herbalism is so much more than “book learning” and you will have the best results later by learning to incorporate herbs into your current lifestyle now as well as how to utilize them in a remote or disaster setting.  

Learn more about herbalism right here on The Survival Mom blog

The Basics in Herbal Formulas!

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The Basics in Herbal Formulas! Host: Cat Ellis “The Herbal Prepper Live” Herbal formulas are a severely underutilized resource by preppers. Plant-based remedies provide an easy, affordable, and renewable alternative for post-collapse medicines. Herbs, mushrooms, trees, and other natural items, like honey, provide a wealth of traditional remediesthat you can make and grow at home with … Continue reading The Basics in Herbal Formulas!

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15 Healthy & Frugal Uses for Witch Hazel GIVEAWAY!

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uses for witch hazelYou know how almost everyone has that one thing they swear by? Sometimes it’s a remedy, or a recipe, or an herb. My great-grandmother used to have a bottle of witch hazel in the medicine cabinet of her tiny mobile home bathroom. Myself, I tend to swear by lavender and rose essential oils for most of my aches and pains. If you have those two things, you will basically live forever. (Kidding.)

However, I may now have to expand my list to three sacred items, and thanks to Nana, this product wasn’t exactly a stranger.

A few weeks ago, I was gifted a big bottle of Dickinson’s Deep Cleansing Astringent, enhanced with witch hazel. I tried it almost as soon as I got home, and I loved how clean and fresh it made my face feel, and it smelled awesome, too! But what really intrigued me was the inclusion of witch hazel in the formula. I hardly even knew what it was, but found that witch hazel is actually a fascinating and versatile medicinal herb.

After much research, I have put together this list of wonderful (and surprising) uses for witch hazel in a variety of ways!

Uses for Witch Hazel

  1. It’s wonderful skin food! It can shrink your pores, reduce acne, and help with oily skin. You can also make your own facial toners, cleansers, and astringents with this herb as a base.
  2. Rub witch hazel into your scalp for a natural dandruff treatment.
  3. Use it as a remedy to reduce spider veins.
  4. Soothe diaper rash in infants. Simply use a cotton ball to apply witch hazel to the affected area. Apply to a very tiny area first and watch for any negative reaction.
  5. Witch hazel can help reduce sunburn. Witch hazel contains anti-inflammatory properties, so applying it will not only soothe your skin, it will also assist in preventing skin peeling.
  6. Drink a tea made with witch hazel to heal a sore throat.
  7. Disinfect open wounds. This can be applied to both people and animals!
  8. Use for tick removal. Not just for pets, but adults and children as well. Putting a few drops of witch hazel on the tick will help to loosen it’s grip on the skin.
  9. Witch hazel can act as a flea repellent. There are several recipes online for using witch hazel to repel fleas from infesting your life.
  10. Makeup remover. Mix up your own natural makeup remover with this herb. It’s ultra frugal, too!
  11. Prevent razor burn with witch hazel!
  12. DIY floor cleaner. I already make my own cleaner for when I mop my kitchen floors, and now I’m definitely going to add witch hazel to the mix next time! The solvents in the witch hazel are great for getting up tough stains and residue.
  13. Homemade natural deodorant. Yep. There are tons and tons of recipes on Pinterst for DIY deodorants with witch hazel, although a spritz of witch hazel on each armpit is effective on its own for many people.
  14. Witch hazel can reduce bruises and swelling. Keep a small bottle in your first aid kit.
  15. Make a bug spray with witch hazel and other essential oils to keep away mosquitoes. If this doesn’t work, witch hazel is also good for reducing the itching and swelling of bug bites.

Any time you can use one product for multiple uses, you are saving money and time. Witch hazel is one of those versatile products that you’ll end up using in more ways that you imagined.

Are you looking for more frugal tips? Check out my other lists!

Win a Dickensen’s Witch Hazel product basket in this quick and easy giveaway!

There’s nothing complicated about this giveaway, but it expires soon! One winner will randomly be selected on Thursday, June 17, and notified via email. That winner must respond within 48 hours or a second winner will be selected. Good luck!
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uses for witch hazel

Surviving with Hypothyroidism after SHTF!

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How to Survive with Hypothyroidism after SHTF Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” There’s a quiet epidemic growing around the globe. People are developing hypothyroidism, which is an under-active thyroid. There is also an overwhelming predominance of a specific type of hypothyroidism called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. So much so, that both are nearly interchangeable terms. Right now, in … Continue reading Surviving with Hypothyroidism after SHTF!

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Ask Cat the Herbal Prepper

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Ask Cat Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” It’s time for another “Ask Cat” episode on Herbal Prepper Live! Call in this Sunday evening with all of your natural health, herbal, and prepping questions. Originally, I was going to talk just about hypothyroidism. We’re going to save that topic for next Sunday (6/12/16). I have been … Continue reading Ask Cat the Herbal Prepper

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Herbs for Seasonal Allergies!

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Herbs for Seasonal Allergies Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” It’s springtime, the air smells of flowers and cut grass. The sun is out, and there is a gentle breeze. People are outside, enjoying their backyards, gardening, and cooking out on the grill. On the weekends, perhaps they are out camping or hiking. That is, unless … Continue reading Herbs for Seasonal Allergies!

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How to Make Herbal Tinctures!

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How to Make Herbal Tinctures Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Join me this Mother’s Day, 5/8/16, as I demystify the process of how to make herbal tinctures. Tincture-making is one of the most important herbal skills you need to have under your belt. Herbal tinctures, also called herbal extracts, provide a thorough extraction of the … Continue reading How to Make Herbal Tinctures!

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15 Bee Sting Home Remedies & Tips

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15 Bee Sting Home Remedies & Tips 15 bee sting home remedies for the spring and summer season. These remedies work well. Getting stung by a bee is no fun and the pain can last for a few hours, here are a bunch of home remedies for pain relief as well as some interesting tips …

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Prepping For A Pandemic w/ Cat Ellis

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Prepping For A Pandemic w/ Cat Ellis Josh “7P’s of Survival” This episode of the 7 P’s of Survival Radio Show we will have our good friend Cat Ellis on the show talking about her new book “Prepping for a Pandemic, Lifesaving Supplies, Skills and Plans for Surviving an Outbreak.” Each year pandemics strike, and they … Continue reading Prepping For A Pandemic w/ Cat Ellis

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The Herbal First Aid Kit!

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The Herbal First Aid Kit Simplified Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” One of my listeners emailed me a question about first aid kits, and I thought it would make for a great show topic. Jerry wanted to know how to build an easy, affordable first aid kit with herbal and natural remedies. However, it also … Continue reading The Herbal First Aid Kit!

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Ask Cat- Herbal Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

This type of Q&A always leads to interesting discussions about plants, about health, and our ability to look after our own health care when there may not be any doctors on hand. If you’ve been wondering what to grow, where to get seeds, or how to respond with herbal first aid, you won’t want to miss this show. This episode is all about you. What do you want to know?
Visit Herbal Prepper Website: HERE! 
Join us for Herbal Prepper Live “LIVE SHOW” every Sunday 7:00/Et 6:00Ct 4:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Ask Cat- Herbal Q&A” in player below!

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7 Must Have Herbal Remedies for Your Arsenal

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7 Must Have Herbal Remedies for Your Arsenal As Americans are looking to get away from modern medicine and their nasty side effects, people are turning to more traditional medicine and herbal remedies to help ease the discomfort of getting sick. Long before there were handy little pills, humanity used the food, herbs, and other …

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7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

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7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

Many old health remedies are defined by folklore, myth and the varying claims of natural healers across the centuries. Beyond the claims, however, studies have shown that certain natural remedies actually can provide effective relief for illness and disease.

Here are seven of the best natural remedies that have stood the test of time.

1. Honey

The first recorded use of honey as a medicinal treatment was 3,000 years ago in Egypt. Since then, honey has been found to:

  • Improve digestion – Use a tablespoon or two to counteract indigestion.
  • Relieve nausea – Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
  • Treat acne – It can be used as a face cleanser to fight off acne and is gentle on all skin types. Take half a teaspoon, warm between hands and spread on face gently. Leave on for 10 minutes, and then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • Lower cholesterol.
  • 7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

    Image source: Pixabay.com

    Improve circulation – Raw honey makes your brain function optimal by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation.

  • Reduce insomnia – Add a tablespoon to warm milk to help increase melatonin output and help you sleep.
  • Provide probiotic support – Raw honey is full of natural probiotics which promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
  • Treat allergies – If sourced locally, raw honey can help reduce seasonal allergies.
  • Moisturize skin – A spoonful of raw honey mixed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon can be used as a hydrating lotion.
  • Treat eczema – Use it as a topical mixture of equal parts of honey and cinnamon.
  • Reduce inflammation – Raw honey has anti-inflammatory agents that can treat respiratory conditions such as asthma.
  • Help wounds heal – Raw honey used topically can help speed healing time for mild burns, wounds, rashes and abrasions.
  • Treat urinary tract infections – Due to its antibacterial properties.
  • Relieve sore throat – Mix with lemon or peppermint oil for fast acting benefits or add to tea.

2. Licorice root

Although native people often chewed the entire root raw, the roots of the licorice plant when dried and chopped can be made into a tea.

The Hidden Secrets Of Making Herbal Medicines…Right At Your Fingertips!

Licorice root has been found to help the following:

  • Digestive ailments – Add one teaspoon of powdered licorice root to a cup of hot water. Cover, steep for 10 minutes, and strain. Drink two or three times a day for a week.
  • Respiratory infections – Drink a few cups of licorice root tea every day. You also can mix ½ teaspoon of licorice powder with a little honey.
  • Canker sores – Due to anti-inflammatory and mucosa-healing properties.
  • Liver health – Drink a cup of licorice root tea to promote liver health. Add ½ teaspoon of licorice root to a cup of hot water. Cover, steep for five to 10 minutes, and strain. Drink this tea once daily for a week, take a break for a couple of weeks, and then repeat.
  • Teeth and gums – The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties in licorice root can prevent the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, reduce plaque, fight bad breath and keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy.

3. Willow bark

7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work Willow bark contains salicin, which is the active ingredient in aspirin. Salicin is a proven pain reliever and is anti-inflammatory. To use willow bark, cut a three-inch-by-three-inch chunk of willow bark out of a willow tree. All willows will work but white willow has the highest concentration of salicin.

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

Scrape and cut the inner bark (xylem) onto a pan or plate. Look for a pink color – that’s the good stuff. Wrap in a coffee filter (of other similar filter) and immerse into boiling water. Shut off the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. You should get a reddish, brown infusion.

Strain it again and take sparingly at first (a tablespoon at a time) until symptoms subside.

4. Apple cider vinegar

Books have been written about the value and extensive uses of apple cider vinegar. It has been used to treat osteoporosis, leg cramps and pain, upset stomach, sore throat, sinus congestion, high blood pressure, arthritis and high cholesterol.

It also is known to help with weight loss, and it adds valuable nutrients and micronutrients to your diet. These include soluble fiber in the form of pectin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, lycopene and minerals such as sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Apple cider vinegar is an antiseptic with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, too. That’s because all vinegars have acetic acid in concentrations from five to 10 percent. Use it for cleaning wounds or for general cleaning where germs may lurk.

5. Echinacea root

Native Americans have known about the healing properties of Echinacea or the purple cone flower for centuries. At times, the flowers were infused in tea, but it’s the roots that pack the healing punch.

gonepteryx-rhamni-416805_640What’s been determined in clinical studies is that the antioxidant properties in the roots boost the immune system. As a result, it is a standard treatment for colds and flu in the tribal medicine chests.

Beet Powder: The Ancient Secret To Renewed Energy And Stamina

To make an Echinacea tincture, you’ll need a small one-pint mason jar, a ½ cup of dried Echinacea root, and a pint of vodka. The alcohol in the vodka draws out key elements in the roots and preserves the tincture. I imagine Native Americans used hot water, but some contemporary recipes have indicated vodka as an effective ingredient for an infusion.

To make the tincture, add the roots to the jar, top with the vodka and seal the jar. Store at room temperature for six weeks, shaking the jar from time to time.

After six weeks, strain the tincture and discard the roots. The standard dosage is ½ to ¾ teaspoons, three to four times a day. You can add it to orange juice or other juice if you like. You don’t want to give this to kids if you made it with vodka, but the alcohol actually prevents the growth of bacteria in the tincture.

6. Beet juice

Some recent and significant clinical studies have confirmed something our ancestors knew all along. Raw beet juice can have a significant effect on blood pressure. In fact, one study found that after consuming eight ounces of raw beet juice, blood pressure dropped five points after one hour. In a study done in England, two glasses of raw beet juice a day were found to be as effective as nitrate tablets in treating hypertension.

It appears that some key elements in beets are responsible. These include high concentrations of potassium, foliates and natural nitrites. Collectively, they smooth muscle tissue and increase blood flow, in addition to supporting blood vessel function.

Keep in mind that fresh, raw beet juice is best. Bottled or pre-packaged beet juice is not as effective. If you don’t have a juicer, then you can use a blender and strain the juice. I’ll sometimes use the leftover pulp to make borscht.

7. Aloe

Aloe is another one of those old health remedies that goes back thousands of years. The Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.” It’s a succulent plant and a member of the cactus family. It was used by Native American tribes particularly in the Southwest deserts, where it thrived.

7 Old-Fashioned, Grandma-Approved Health Remedies That Actually Do Work

Image source: Pixabay.com

Aloe will grow in many parts of North America and can easily be grown as a houseplant. Its gelatinous pulp is often used as a treatment for burns and other skin conditions. It has been shown to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antioxidant properties.

Aloe also has high amounts of vitamins and minerals, and can be consumed with juice and some of the squeezed pulp. It contains eight essential amino acids not made by our bodies, plus a range of enzymes.

The following is a short list of conditions it can be used to treat:

External use as a pulp squeezed from the plant leaves:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Cuts
  • Sores
  • Boils
  • Warts
  • Scars
  • Herpes sores
  • Rashes
  • Poison ivy
  • Insect stings
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Hemorrhoids

Internal use in combination with water or juice:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Bloating
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Constipation
  • Colitis
  • Prostate health
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Immune system support
  • Detox

It was difficult to pick only seven natural remedies for this list, when you consider the healing properties of garlic, turmeric, ginger and numerous others. But given the number of benefits we’ve listed here, this is a good start. Stay well.

What old-fashioned remedies would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:

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

Plants vs. Pests!

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Plants vs. Pests
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

Plants vs. PestsLearn how to use plants to repel venomous and disease-bearing pests, such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and spiders. These creepy-crawly, biting bugs, can mean anything from a minor itch to death. And while there are a number of natural remedies for many kinds of bug bites, it would be even better not to get bit in the first place.

2-28-16 51In order to avoid getting bitten by one of these pests, most people reach for the common, toxic bug repellents, such as DEET. DEET is known for its effectiveness. The only problem is that DEET can lead to health problems. This might be a mild skin irritation. But for children, DEET can spell more serious, neurological risks. DEET must be diluted for use with adults, and even more so with children. Plus, it is not to be used at all by infants under 2 months old.

2-28-16 Cat_flea_full_of_human_bloodWhere does this leave us when we are faced with the risks of mosquito-borne illnesses like the Zika virus? What about West Nile Virus, Eastern or Western Equine Encephalitis, or dengue? And what about the diseases carried by ticks and fleas. That covers everything from Lyme to plague. And let’s not forget about spiders, many of which seek shelter in firewood piles, and are attracted to the heat of a warm cabin during cold spring nights.

Do we just douse ourselves and our homes with questionable chemicals? Sometimes, DEET and such products are absolutely appropriate. They are certainly effective. But, what if we are in a TEOTWAWKI situation and supplies run out?

Join me to learn all about plants and essential oils shown to repel common pests that can make you sick. Some can be just as effective or even more effective than DEET as repelling pests. Plus, non-chemical ideas for pest control for infants who shouldn’t be exposed to any of these options.
Herbal Prepper Website: http://www.herbalprepper.com/
Join us for Herbal Prepper Live “LIVE SHOW” every Sunday 7:00/Et 6:00Ct 4:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Plants vs. Pests” in player below!

Get the 24/7 app for your smart phone HERE! 
Put the 24/7 player on your web site HERE! 
Archived shows of Herbal Prepper Live at bottom of THIS PAGE!

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Medicinal herbs, the ones to grow!

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Medicinal herbs, the ones to grow!
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

I’ve been reading a number of blog postsMedicinal herbs Prepper's Natural Medicine lately, each listing what herbs are most important for preppers to grow in a medicinal herb garden. This is my chance to weigh in, because I think most of them have got it all wrong. Sure garlic and chamomile and thyme are wonderful, but there’s more- so much more than can and should be done.

11-8-15 Solomon's_SealAnd here is just one of many reasons why: the primaries in South Carolina and Nevada may have given us a glimpse of who will be the next President of the United States. While things could still change, the front runners are Hillary and Trump. I just finished listening to Trump promise to repeal the ironically named “Affordable Care Act”, aka ObamaCare, if he’s elected President. The Hildebeast pushed single-payer when she was the First Lady, and wants to build onto ObamaCare if elected President.

Either way, access to the medical system and how medical bills get paid, are likely to change in the next couple of years.

Whether this change will be good or not, remains to be seen. Will we still have access to only one option- sick care from our medical system? Sick care has a place. People get sick. But, the goal should be to improve and get off the maintenance medicines, something rarely seen, and not to just maintain a state of unwellness. Plus, it will still probably be expensive.

I cannot stress enough the necessity to grow your own herbs, learn to identify the medicinal plants in your area, and make your own herbal remedies. If you truly want affordable health care, this is where you start. Herbal medicine is your medicine. You have a right to grow your own herbs and make your own herbal preparations.

In this episode, I cover some of the herbs that I think are “must grow” herbs. Some of these will be antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, analgesic, and some will repel disease or venom-carrying pests.
Herbal Prepper Website: http://www.herbalprepper.com/
Join us for Herbal Prepper Live “LIVE SHOW” every Sunday 7:00/Et 6:00Ct 4:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Medicinal herbs, the ones to grow” in player below!

Get the 24/7 app for your smart phone HERE! 
Put the 24/7 player on your web site HERE! 
Archived shows of Herbal Prepper Live at bottom of THIS PAGE!

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Herbal Formulas, The Basics!

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The Basics of Making Herbal Formulas
Host: Cat Ellis “The Herbal Prepper Live

Herbal Formulas, The BasicsHerbal formulas are a severely underutilized resource by preppers. Plant-based remedies provide an easy, affordable, and renewable alternative for post-collapse medicines. Herbs, mushrooms, trees, and other natural items, like honey, provide a wealth of traditional remedies that you can make and grow at home with minimal and easy-to-obtain equipment.

Basics 20140227_162514Herbs also have a sort of stealth function built into them that many preppers can appreciate. You can stock up on lots of your own, custom-tailored herbal preparations and formulas without drawing the same kind of attention and compromising questions you might garner if you tried to stock up on pharmaceuticals. And, due to the fact that the average person is largely clueless when it comes to plant identification outside of a tomato and a cucumber, your Survival Herb Garden will not draw the kind of attention as, for example, your vegetable garden. Most will think your herbs are either a pile of weeds or that your medicinal flowers are purely ornamental.

Basics Anrica Infused Oil in CrockpotWMWhile the practice of working with herbs, known as herbalism, and the study of herbs, known as Herbalogy, might seem strange and esoteric to those unfamiliar with it, or perhaps associated with exotic, far away places and not really something that modern, western culture “does”, Western Herbalism is a viable and effective tradition of utilizing herbs to address both loss of health and encouraging health.

Herbalism is both an art and a skill, and both are easy to learn. Most people when first learning how to use herbs, are surprised at how simple much of it is. This episode will cover the basic methods of preparing herbal formulas, such as:
Basics Rose-Infused HoneyInfusions
Decoctions
Tinctures
Glycerites
Herbal Vinegars
Herbal Honeys
Elixirs
Syrups
Salves, lotions, and creams
Poultices
Powders

Many of these have very long shelf lives of at least one year, and some much longer. You can literally put years of remedies for a multitude of complaints away in a dark, cool spot, and they will still be as good in ten years as they were the day you made them. Be sure to tune in and listen to how easy it is to make your own herbal remedies. They are a prepper’s health’s best friend.
Herbal Prepper Live Website: http://www.herbalprepper.com/
Join us for Herbal Prepper Live “LIVE SHOW” every Sunday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Herbal Formulas, The Basics” in player below!

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What You Really Need in Your SHTF First Aid Kit

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One of the common things a lot of preppers  miss is a good SHTF first aid kit. Sadly, they don’t even realize it. That’s because most people have a $29.95 first-aid kit

The post What You Really Need in Your SHTF First Aid Kit appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Garlic, Post-Disaster Medicine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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