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.

The post Dandelions: 31+ Medicinal and Culinary Uses for the King of Weeds appeared first on The Grow Network.

How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely

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Walking out into the forests or fields and coming back with an armload of food and medicine is a rewarding experience. With every new plant you learn to identify and use, you become more empowered to care for yourself and your family. You also become less dependent on—and less vulnerable to—big, corporate entities. But this expanding freedom also comes with the responsibility of ensuring your own safety.

Poisonous plants exist. Some of them look like the good plants. Some plants are good or bad, depending on the quantity. And even the safest plants can harm if harvested from a contaminated environment.

I want to help you maximize your rewards while minimizing your risks. That’s why I am presenting you with 15 rules for safe wildcrafting. The more experienced you become, the more you’ll see exceptions to the rules and know when to ignore them. But I advise the novice to follow them all, because nobody wants to become a cautionary tale.

 

1) Go Slowly

The No. 1 rule with any new plant is to go slowly. You can have allergies and intolerances to wild plants, just like you can to conventional foods. The first couple of times you sample a plant, use a small portion. Also, you should only try one new plant at a time. This way, if you have a reaction, you’ll know which plant caused it.

2) Talk to a Local Expert

Local experts will often know little tips and tricks that the books and websites won’t mention, and they will have specific knowledge about how the plants look and behave in your area.

If you can’t find an expert in your area, books and websites are an acceptable way to learn wildcrafting. However, they can’t warn you if you’re about to make a mistake. Use caution and consult multiple sources to minimize your risks.

3) Don’t Eat a Plant Just Because Someone Said It Was Okay

I really hope this one goes without saying. If you watch someone harvest it, prepare it, and eat it—and if they’re still alive the next day—then maybe you could try a little.

4) Know Your Environment

Physical hazards include thorns, holes, ledges, wild animals, moving vehicles, quicksand, and volcanoes. Just keep your eyes open and don’t stick your hands and feet anywhere you won’t be able to see them.

Chemical hazards can be a bit trickier to detect. Don’t wildcraft from locations that get sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. (If you don’t know, ask. You don’t want to eat that stuff.)

Avoid foraging beside busy roads. When it rains, the ditches are irrigated by vehicle-waste runoff. Many municipalities will also spray herbicides along the sides of rural roads. Apparently, this saves money compared to running the mowing trucks. But it also ruins many lightly trafficked areas that I would otherwise love to forage from. Areas around trash storage, treated wood, and industrial waste should also be avoided.

Only harvest plants from pure waterways. Streams and rivers can carry dangerous waste for miles.

Respect private property. Don’t go foraging around someone’s house after dark. Getting mistaken for a burglar and shot would just ruin your evening. And why were you foraging in the dark, anyway?

Lastly … you know what poison ivy and poison oak look like, right?

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Poison Ivy

5) Use All of Your Senses    

How does the plant look? What patterns do you see? What colors? What’s the overall shape? How does it feel? (Rough? Smooth? Fuzzy?) What does it smell and taste like? (Ideally, you would be reasonably sure it wasn’t poisonous before tasting it, or even touching it.) Does it have a peculiar sound? Yes, plants can have telltale sounds.

6) If a Plant Doesn’t Match, Don’t Use It

Sometimes you’ll come across a plant that looks ALMOST right, but something doesn’t quite fit. You may have found a subspecies or variation. Then again, it might be a dangerous look-alike. It’s best just to leave that one alone until you can get a firmer identification.

7) Avoid Plants With White Sap

This one has a number of exceptions. Some plants, like dandelions, are perfectly safe. Others might be safe once they’ve been correctly prepared. But as a general rule, if a plant has white sap, leave it alone.

8) Avoid Plants With White Berries

This rule has almost no exceptions. Plants with white berries are plants that do not mess around. Don’t even touch them.

9) Be Humble With Umbels

If you see a plant with umbels,1)Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped, or umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers. you’d better be 110% sure of what it is before you harvest and use it. Elderberry, yarrow, and carrots all form umbels, and they’re great. Poison hemlock has umbels, too, and it will render you in the permanent past tense.

Unfortunately, a lot of these plants will look very similar. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever wildcraft them, but you should probably build up your skills on safer plants first. When you’re ready for the umbels, double-check their characteristics every single time.

No matter how smart you are or how much experience you have, anyone can poison themselves if they get cocky or careless. Do yourself a favor and be humble with the umbles. 

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Umbels

10) Be 115% Sure About Mushrooms

Mushrooms take the term “poisonous” as a personal challenge. Some of them, like the death cap mushroom, reportedly taste good. To make things worse, mushroom look-alikes can be very tricky to tell apart.

On the flipside, mushrooms are delicious and a lot of fun. They can be wildcrafted safely, if you choose the right type. Some mushrooms, like morels and puffballs, are reasonably safe for beginners to gather. Just exercise due caution, research their appearance and look-alikes, and go out with an experienced guide until you get the feel for it.

11) If It Looks Like an Onion AND Smells Like an Onion, It’s an Onion

This rule works for garlic too, but the plant you find has to both look and smell oniony or garlicy. There are some dangerous look-alikes, but none of them are also “smell-alikes.”

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Wild Onion

12) All Mustards Are Edible

You can find mustards (Brassicaceae family) all over the world, and they’re all edible. Great. So what does a mustard look like? The surest way to identify them is by the bloom. All mustard family plants have 4 petals and 6 stamens2)Stamen: The pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower. (4 tall and 2 short). The flowers are often small, so you may need a magnifying lens. Some members of this family may be too spicy to eat in any quantity.

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Mustard Family Bloom

Read More: “Mustard Greens: What You Need to Know Before You Grow (With Recipe)”

13) If It Looks Like a Mint AND Smells Like a Mint, It’s an Edible Mint

Mints (Lamiaceae family) usually have square stems and opposite3)Opposite: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear in pairs, on opposite sides, of a stem. leaves. These leaf pairs will rotate back and forth 90 degrees as they move up the stem. If a plant looks like a mint, but doesn’t smell minty, avoid it. It might be fine. It might not.

Wildcrafting Foraging Safely - Lemon Balm

14) Seeing an Animal Eat It Does Not Make It Safe

Animals can eat a lot of things that would make us sick or dead. They usually know what’s good for them. They don’t know what’s good for us. Don’t copy the animals.

15) Experience Trumps Theory

It may be very helpful to watch a video or read a book about wildcrafting. But until you’ve actually gone out to harvest and use a plant yourself, you can’t rely on that skill. Issues will often come up that books and videos can’t prepare you for. Theory is great for laying a foundation of knowledge, but experience is the ultimate teacher.

Whether the grid goes down or you just have a kid with a tummy ache, do you want to know that you’ve read about it in a book or that you’ve successfully harvested and used these plants before?

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has encouraged you, rather than scaring you off. Wildcrafting is a wonderful way to empower yourself, and it’s just a really fun way to spend an afternoon. If you follow the rules, and use a bit of common sense, you’ll come back in one piece.

What are your favorite plants to wildcraft? Do you have any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments, and we can get a good plant talk going.

 

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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. Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped, or umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers.
2. Stamen: The pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower.
3. Opposite: A leaf pattern in which leaves appear in pairs, on opposite sides, of a stem.

The post How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely appeared first on The Grow Network.

How to (Safely) Participate in World Naked Gardening Day

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Of all the public activities that humans like to do naked, swimming ranks first, but gardening in the buff comes in as a close second. It makes sense that gardeners like to garden naked. I mean, how much closer can you get to nature?

That’s why so many gardeners, farmers, homesteaders, and permaculturists get excited about World Naked Gardening Day. It’s a day to celebrate the natural human form, to get back to nature, and to throw away convention and let it all hang out!

World Naked Gardening Day isn’t associated with any specific company or individual. It is simply a day where people all over the world encourage each other to garden in the nude. Sounds pretty great, right?

The Do’s and Don’ts of World Naked Gardening Day

World Naked Gardening Day is meant to be celebrated by whomever, wherever. But unless you live in the middle of nowhere with lots of acreage and zero neighbors, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make yourself and everyone around you much more comfortable about this “holiday.”

Don’t:

  • Don’t participate if your garden is in your front yard.
  • Don’t participate if your garden is a community garden or on public property of any kind.
  • Don’t forget to warn everyone who may be living in your house/on your property. No one wants a surprise like that first thing in the morning when they wake up and look out the window.

Do:

  • Do have a great time!
  • Do clean possible grass, dirt, and other debris out of your tits and bits after celebrating this “holiday.”
  • Do get creative! Go over to the forums and share your pictures and ideas!
  • Do participate no matter how you look. We love the human body in all shapes!

‘I want to participate, but how…?’

Now that you have an idea of what you probably should and shouldn’t do, you’re most likely wondering how you can show your friends that you participated without leaking your own nudes.

Like I said earlier, you’ve gotta get creative! But if you’re having a hard time with that, here are a few ideas to make your pictures more appropriate:

  1. Use an apron and have a photoshoot with all the vegetables you plan on cooking for dinner.
  2. If you’re a guy, simply turn around.
  3. Use hand shovels or lettuce leaves to cover your breasts.
  4. Use a meticulously placed watering can.
  5. Peek your head and shoulders out from behind trees and bushes.
  6. Use a potted plant or two.

If you follow the tips in this article, you’ll be able to celebrate this fun holiday without creating too much of a stir among your friends and neighbors. Now go out there, get close to nature, and enjoy World Naked Gardening Day!

 

The post How to (Safely) Participate in World Naked Gardening Day appeared first on The Grow Network.

How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods

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How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods

How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods

Hiking is lots of fun, but most people spend very little time thinking about the things that can go wrong. We’re so used to being safe in our day-to-day lives that we cannot conceive anything bad happening to us. The fact that most us of have never experienced extreme survival situations has a lot to do with our reluctance to take precaution measures when going to toe woods.

Continue reading How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Grab & Go Safe – FlexSafe

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It was love at first sight…a travel-friendly SAFE, securely fastened the back of a beach lounge chair. Several times a year, I find myself in a situation where I want to go swimming whether at a lake, on a cruise, snorkeling in a foreign country, or a hot spring […]

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The 6 Best Ways To Predator-Proof Your Chicken Coop (You Are Doing No. 4 … Right?)

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The 6 Best Ways To Predator-Proof Your Chicken Coop (You Are Doing No. 4 … Right?)

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My headlights showed that no one had closed the pop door on the coop even though the sunlight had vanished a half hour prior. I had just returned from picking up pizzas for supper and noticed a hen sitting outside in the snow.

Putting the van in park, I glanced at the coop again. There he was — an opossum standing just inside the building. I honked the horn to warn the other hens. The pop door seemed as if it were exploding as my hens flew out and scattered. Some ran for the safety of the back steps to the house, a few scurried into the garage, and one flew up to the roof to roost. Fortunately, all of my hens returned to the coop unharmed. On this night, pizza saved my flock, but by utilizing a few tips, I hope to prevent this from ever happening again.

Predators are a fact of life on the homestead. Raccoons, opossums, weasels, foxes and snakes are common threats to any chicken coop. In addition to these ground-level predators, air attacks from hawks and owls occur in some rural areas. Of course, completely eliminating the threat to hens is impossible, but managing the threat is doable.

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Here are a few tips to tighten the security of your coop and increase the level of safety enjoyed by your flock.

1. Install an automatic pop door

A sliding pop door is a DIY project that can be made with the help of an electric motor and timer, or it can be purchased and installed rather easily. Using a timer to regulate the door opening and closing can be tricky if your birds free-range, as the length of each day changes dramatically and a bird closed out of the coop certainly will draw predators. If constructing your own door, including a bottom rail will hinder some types of predators from lifting the door and helping themselves to your flock.

2. Upgrade your locks

A few predators, raccoons in particular, are skilled at opening doors and lifting latches. This could pose a problem for the inhabitants of your coop. Upgrade the latches and locks on your coop by including multistep latches and even padlocks to deter the most-skilled predators.

The 6 Best Ways To Predator-Proof Your Chicken Coop (You Are Doing No. 4 … Right?)

Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Replace chicken wire

Chicken wire is fine for some projects, but it is not the best option for protecting your flock. Replace the chicken wire in windows, screen doors and the run with hardware cloth. This cloth is a sturdy mesh that allows air to flow through easily while making it difficult for predators to tear. It also can be used as a covering for a run to deter hawks and owls from sampling your chickens.

4. Bury the fencing

Bury at least 12 inches of fencing below the surface to prevent burrowing animals from entering the run, but do it with the proper materials.

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Uncoated metal, such as chicken wire, deteriorates quickly. When burying fencing for a chicken run, or as a protective measure around the coop, use coated metal below the surface. Chicken wire can deteriorate in as little as three years when exposed to the constant moisture typically found in the soil.

5. Keep it clean

Cleaning the coop is certainly necessary to maintain healthy chickens, but keeping the area surrounding the coop clean is just as important to their safety. At dusk, remove uneaten food and treats from the run and coop. This will discourage predators looking for an easy meal — and rodents that can spread disease — from entering the coop. Remove tall grasses, vines and other debris from around the coop, as well. Predators will be less inclined to stroll out to the coop when they will be in full view.

6. Perform regular maintenance

Small creatures, such as weasels, snakes and young opossums, can squeeze through very small holes. Replace worn or rotten boards promptly, including floor boards. Also, take care that the seams are properly fitted together, using a sealant to ensure there are no gaps for predators to slide through. Mend or replace fencing or hardware cloth that has been damaged.

How do you keep predators out of your flock? Share your tips in the section below:

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Your Charlotte: 3 Ways To Stay Safe When Riots Break Out In Your Town

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Your Charlotte: 3 Ways To Stay Safe When Rioters Come To Your Town

 

Posted Sept. 22, 2016

CHARLOTTE — As the situation in Charlotte continues to escalate, one fact is certain: Wherever there is a high population area, you’re going to have a high chance of people not getting along. In this case, there have been dozens of arrests, accompanied by a taxpayer-paid visit from the National Guard. Protesters even tried to throw a photographer into a fire.

Whether the issue stems from race, politics or economic status, there will be times when tensions in cities reach a critical boiling point — and it’s during such times when the average, peace-loving folks like us should take measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Here are three tips:

No. 1 – Avoid flashpoints.

When certain densely populated areas become a cauldron of human rage and anarchy, that’s when “groupthink” begins to take over. Groupthink is the loss of reasoning in individuals – when they adopt the mentality of the crowd that they’re a part of. As the psychology website alleydog.com explains:

A good way to define this term is to tell you how Irving Janus (the main researcher on this topic) describes it. Janus (1972) said that groupthink is “a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures.”

This is one reason why it’s absolutely crucial for individuals to take cover and stay out of sight for the duration of the riot — especially during the hours that curfew is in effect. Obviously, you’ll want to keep away from downtown areas, but also, it’s best not to come within blocks of businesses, either.

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You’ll know where the rioting has reached a fever pitch wherever there is looting, as this is an invaluable indication of where law and order has been temporarily overturned; places where consumer goods are concentrated tend to be magnets for looting. Also, it’s best to keep away from places that sell alcohol, because A), this is probably not the best time to be attending happy hour, and, B), alcohol will attract and enable the dreaded groupthink amoeba.

No. 2 — Gather your valuables and necessities.

If you currently live within blocks of the rioting, then you’ll want to consolidate, hide and protect your valuables and necessities. It’s really anyone’s guess as to what the groupthinkers are going to do and where the riot virus will spread, which means that it’s best to prepare for the worst BEFORE the anarcho-festivities engulf a street near you.

Your Charlotte: 3 Ways To Stay Safe When Rioters Come To Your TownWith that said, you should make sure that your home is on lockdown, your windows are shut, and any entrances to your residence are secured. Draw the curtains (or even board up the windows if you have the time), so that any peaking inside your residence from the outside is impossible. Next, let’s suppose that groupthinkers will breach …

You should then secure your valuables (jewelry, most of your loose cash, checkbooks, most identification and important paperwork, most of your medications, and expensive electronics. I’ll soon explain why I emphasized the word “most”) by getting them in a safe or lockbox. However, whether you have a lockable compartment or not, you’ll want to get these valuables out of sight to a place that cannot be quickly identified.

This might also be a great time to install a camera inside your home which covers the entry points to your residence.

No. 3 — Prepare to escape.

Now that your valuables are secured, you should start getting your bugout gear together (if that’s not already done). While I’m not necessarily going to discuss what should be in your 72-hour pack, I will say this: Do you remember how I emphasized the word “most” in the last pointer?  Well, you’ll also want to gather enough cash, paperwork and IDs, and medications that will get you by for a few days in the event that you have to leave. Also, make sure you grab some water and food, just in case you end up in the nightmare scenario of getting trapped for a length of time.

Once you’re feeling fairly confident that you could have your group evacuated within roughly 2-5 minutes, then it’s time to ask yourself an honest question: At what point should you actually leave?

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Your Charlotte: 3 Ways To Stay Safe When Rioters Come To Your TownOnce you’ve put your bugout trigger in place, then you’re not going to deal with the mental conflict of the old “should I stay or should I go” syndrome. This also will keep arguments among your own small group at bay, especially if everyone agrees on the trigger in advance. The point is simple — limiting confusion is crucial in these scenarios.

What NOT to Do

Ok, this part is extremely important, so read closely …

DO NOT put on your tactical gear, and if you’re carrying a weapon of any kind, make sure that it’s well concealed. Not only will your tactical vest attract the attention of the groupthinkers (because it could make you look like law enforcement, which is bad), but this is also going to attract the attention of the authorities (because they might think you’re impersonating law enforcement, which could be worse).

During this scenario, the authorities are still in relative control, because they still possess superior firepower, communication and tactical organization in comparison to both the rioters and innocent folks.

So just be smart, keep a small profile, and you’ll be most likely be left alone.

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

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The Often-Overlooked Survival Document Every Homesteader Should Store In A Safe

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The Often-Overlooked Survival Document Every Homesteader Should Have In A Safe

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According to the American Bar Association, about 55 percent of Americans die without a will – the essential document that protects your family from the legal complications and in-fighting that can follow a death.

But even a will may not encompass all the information you need to impart to your family. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork used to track your existence. Even as you move to a more self-sufficient lifestyle, a paper trail will follow you; it’s a feature of the modern age.

Don’t be the only member of your family who knows how to keep your home and lifestyle operating, your wishes in case of death, or where the family jewels are hidden. Prepare a spreadsheet with the following information, and store it in a fireproof safe or other secure location (making sure everyone knows where to find it).

1. Family identification. Document the location of the birth certificates and passports for all members of the family, as well as Social Security numbers, medical information, adoption records, marriage and death certificates, birth dates and legal names.

2. Contacts. Make a contact page for family members and close friends, legal professionals, insurance companies, financial advisors, and anyone else who has been responsible for maintaining your records.

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3. Assets. Detail all assets, such as real estate, vehicles and valuable items. Be sure to list specific information as appropriate, such as serial numbers, Vehicle Identification Numbers and the location of deeds for property. Don’t forget to list financial assets, including bank accounts, investments, stocks and bonds.

4. Liabilities. Maintain updated records for loan information and amounts, credit cards, mortgage and personal lending. Be sure to include specific information about agreements as well as the location of documentation.

The Often-Overlooked Survival Document Every Homesteader Should Store In A Safe

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5. Insurance. Quick access to personal, medical and property insurance policy numbers can speed the company’s ability to provide you with the insurance payments needed to quickly bounce back in an emergency. Make sure you, your spouse, and your next of kin all know the location of and value on insurance policies.

6. Bills. After an emergency or death, bills for items and services purchased earlier will still be owed. Include the account numbers for utility companies, payment information as well as frequency of billing, and the details of any agreements. Contact numbers for billing companies can help your family stop unwanted services before becoming inundated with bills.

7. Emergency plan. Make an account of your family’s plans in case of emergency, upheaval or accident. Determine a meeting place and detail the location of emergency supplies. Make sure even the youngest children have been prepared to find shelter, basic supplies and the rest of the family so they will know how to react if things become chaotic, and practice relevant drills at least once per year.

8. Final arrangements. A will and living trust are necessary for helping your family make decisions in case of your death or incapacitation. All adult family members should have a legal will, as well as written instructions for any actions desired in case of death. This is particularly important in families with children or other dependents, in order to provide for their future and indicate who should be responsible for their safety. Be certain to discuss your plans and desires with close family members and entrust them with your wishes.

9. Homestead journal. Update regular seasonal logs about what you do to your property, how the homestead is made to be productive, plans for future development, and the location of needed equipment and supplies. Enter relevant information about livestock and pets, as well, including veterinary records, pedigrees and directives for ensuring their health. If you do not plan to have your next of kin run your homestead in the event of your death, a detailed plan about how to divide and liquidate assets should be included in your will.

There are many resources available online to help you prepare your “in case of emergency” document. The US Department of Health and Human Services provides a list as a jumping-off point.

Prepare and store the document digitally and in hard-copy, talk over your plans, and make sure everyone understands where to find the information. Providing your family with the tools to pick up the pieces in a worst-case scenario is a realistic approach to guaranteeing their continued prosperity and safety. Don’t leave them stranded.

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

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Kid Safe Sparkler Usage

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            See larger image A Professional’s GuideTo Pyrotechnics: Understanding And Making Exploding Fireworks This book offers a well-rounded selection of reliable, well-researched formulas for the most popular exploding fireworks, including M80s, cherry bombs, ash cans, chasers, globe torpedoes, Knallkorpers, aerial bombs, cracker balls, Flashcrackas and more. For academic study only. List Price: $25.00 USD New From: $14.77 USD In Stock

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Bottled Water-Is It Really Safe for Your Family?

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Bottled Water-Is It Really Safe for Your Family?

3-26-16 Bottled water production lineWater is everywhere, right? It’s a natural resource. As a smart prepper you know that water is one of those basic necessities you need to have stockpiled when SHTF. The most convenient way to stockpile water for a lot of preppers, especially those who urban dwellers, planning to bug in, is to stockpile lots of bottled water. In fact, you may have already made the switch from municipal tap water to bottled water. But is bottled water actually safe for your family?

Sources of Bottled Water:

Regardless of the form in which it comes to you, all water originates in two places, ground water, such as aquifers or springs, or surface water such as lakes and streams. In fact, if you check your state water rights, you will find laws may be different for ground water than for surface water.

The EPA reports that over 90% of public water systems originate from ground water. And yet, over 60% of all people use water systems that rely on surface water. This is because in the densely populated large cities, public water systems tend to rely on surface water from lakes and streams, whereas in the more rural and less densely populated areas, ground water, aquifers or springs, is more likely to feed water systems.

So, no matter what water you use, it comes from two sources originally, either the ground or the surface. Tap water which is monitored by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Regardless of where it originates, bottled water is regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This matters because EPA regulations are actually stricter than FDA guidelines as far as treatment and filtering procedures.

This means that your tap water could actually be safer for your family than the bottled water you are buying.

How to Tell Where My Bottled Water Comes From

Check with your State Department of Health to see if they maintain a list of certified bottling facilities. Some states, like New York, do keep a list on their website that is easily accessible. You can check brand name against the list of certified facilities. New York State also requires water bottling facilities to include their certification number right on the label. If the bottler is listed on the label, you can contact them and ask what their water source is.

3-26-16 walmart-water.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smartTrying to identify whether that bottled water you are paying for is really just tap water, isn’t always easy. Check the label or even the bottle cap for the words from “a community water system” or “a municipal source”. If you see either of these, you are buying water that originally was “tap water”. If there is nothing on the label or cap, call the bottler directly or contact the health department in the state where the water was bottled for more information.

Potential Water Contaminants

Bottled water is generally considered relatively safe for you to drink, especially if you can determine that it was bottled by a state certified bottling facility. Because contamination is always possible, it is safer to boil water before drinking, especially if used for children, the elderly, or those with immune system deficiencies.

State inspected bottling facilities and their sources are checked regularly. If a problem is discovered during inspection, a recall will be issued. But it is possible a water source could be contaminated for several months prior to the next inspection. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) review over four years, found that most bottles tested were relatively contaminant free and high quality. Just over 20% of brands tested, did contain, in at least one bottle, chemical contaminants higher than state limits.

You are probably most familiar with contaminants such as phthalates, which have been said to leach from plastic bottles and containers, over time, into the water inside. It is worthwhile to note that there are currently no legal limits on phthalates in bottled water. Tap water, regulated by the EPA, does have a legal limit on phthalates. In that way, tap water is actually safer.

3-26-16Parasites can find their way into water sources. One of the more common ones is Cryptosporidium or Crypto. This parasite is microscopic, it lives in the intestine of is host, and is shed in bowel movements. It can cause cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease. There are a multitude of Crypto species, many of which infect animals. Humans are also susceptible to some of these. It can be found in food, soil, or contaminated surfaces, but recreational (pools and lakes) water and drinking water is one of the most common ways Crypto is spread.

Crypto symptoms begin within ten days of infection. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea but individuals may experience stomach pain or cramps, nausea or vomiting, fever, dehydration, and weight loss. Symptoms typically last a few days to two weeks in individuals with normal immune systems but can reoccur sporadically over thirty days. Medications may be necessary for those with weakened immune systems but most people recover without medical treatment.

To prevent reduce likelihood of Crypto infection, water should be heated at a full boil for a minimum of 1 minute at low altitude and for 3 full minutes at altitudes higher than 6,562 feet. Crypto can be removed using reverse osmosis filtering, an NSF International Standard certified filter for “cyst reduction” or “cyst removal”, or an “absolute one micron” filter.

Filtering doesn’t eliminate all bacteria and viruses. Filtered water must be boiled or distilled for safety. EPA guidelines are designed to filter Cryptosporidium from public water systems so again, tap water is less likely to be contaminated.

So, is bottled water safe for your family? All you can do is to know as much as possible about where your bottled water originated and how it was treated during the bottling process. Make a decision about whether it’s safe to drink. If necessary, use filtering and boiling or distillation combined to increase safety.

 

The post Bottled Water-Is It Really Safe for Your Family? appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Home Security: How to Protect Your Most Precious Possessions

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Everyone has valuables and keepsakes that they do not want to lose. While you may never have someone break into your house, it is still best to be prepared for everything. If you take these four home security steps, then your most precious possessions will remain safe no matter what happens at your home.

Home Safe

There is no better way to keep your precious possessions safe at home than with a secure, metal safe. If a burglar is able to get inside your house, then they will not be able to access anything you put inside the safe. Bolting the safe to the floor will ensure that they can’t take it to another location. They will move on to something else once they realize the safe is not going anywhere because burglars are looking to get in and out extremely quickly. Most home safes are fireproof too, which provides even more protection for your valuables.

Get a Dog

Nothing provides amazing and cheap home security quite like a dog. Most dogs will bark anytime they hear something abnormal going on in the home. This barking will alert you in a timely manner if you are asleep. If you are not home, then the barking will most likely keep the burglars from entering your home. Barking not only brings unwanted attention to the house, but they are also risking a dangerous bite by entering your home. Even if the dog is extremely friendly, the stranger entering your house does not know that.

Alarm System

The presence of an alarm system is usually enough to deter a burglar from entering your home. The loud alarm and the fast response of the local police department provided by an alarm system gives you a level of home security you can’t get with anything else. Reviews of alarm systems can help you learn more about security systems to protect your home and family. People tend to get relaxed after owning an alarm system, so you need to make sure to set the alarm each night to maintain your high level of home security.

Ample Outdoor Lighting

Dark homes are prime targets for burglars because they can get in and out without being detected by any of the neighbors. Keeping your yard well lit with some nice outdoor lighting is a great way to add style to your home while also adding an extra layer of security.

You never know when your home can be the target of a thief, so you want to have a decent amount of home security at all times. You work hard to get your precious possessions, so make sure you protect them using adequate home security measures.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

8 Personal Items That Should Be In Your Safe Right Now

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8 Personals Items That Should Be In Your Safe Right Now

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There’s many things that people miss when preparing for the unknown – be it a natural or man-made disaster. But one that always surprises me is when people forget to add a safe to their list.

Perhaps our oversight is due to thinking in the terms of major disasters, rather than personal ones. But even then, a safe has its place. If your home is destroyed by an earthquake or tornado, the items in your safe would probably survive. We can’t be so sure about the rest of your stockpile.

For you, a personal disaster can be as serious a problem as a regional or national one. Ignoring this fact could lead to unnecessary suffering for you and your family. Imagine, for example, that your home is lost to a fire. This likely will be as much a disaster for you as if a hurricane hits – perhaps even more so since a hurricane might just damage, not completely destroy your home.

Safes are rather robust structures, designed to be able to withstand a lot of abuse. In addition, most home safes are fireproof to a certain temperature or for a certain amount of time. So anything you store in a safe is likely to survive whatever happens, as long as you can still find the safe.

Home safes aren’t all that big, so you’re better off buying the largest one you can find. With a large part of the space taken up by the thickness of the walls, the interior is much smaller than the exterior. Once you start putting things in it, you’ll quickly discover how small it actually is.

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So, what should you keep in your safe? While it would be nice to be able to put your entire prepping stockpile in there, that just isn’t going to happen. Instead, you’ll need to carefully select key items.

1. Important documents

 

8 Personal Items That Should Be In Your Safe Right Now

Image source: Pixabay.com

Generally speaking, the most important thing to keep in your safe is the documentation that makes up the legal part of all of our lives. That documentation will be key part of being able to rebuild your life after many types of personal or community-wide disasters. In our modern world, if you don’t have the paperwork, it doesn’t matter if you own the item or not. Some documents you should store in your safe are:

  • Home and property titles
  • Vehicle titles
  • Marriage license
  • Birth certificates
  • Copies of degrees and other awards
  • Military discharge papers
  • Insurance policies

More than anything, these documents are being stored in the safe to protect them from fire. If you have some other fireproof place in your home to save documents, you may want to move them there and keep the safe for other items.

2. Account numbers and access

Many people have multiple accounts in multiple places rather than just one bank account. If something happens to you, your family is going to need to know where those accounts are and how to get into them. A list of all account numbers that you have, along with access codes, bank names, and other key information needs to be in the safe.

Of course, for your family to be able to use this information, they’re going to need to be able to get into the safe. Make sure that they either have or can access the combination or are input into the biometric lock.

3. Contact information

With everyone using cell phones, nobody bothers memorizing phone numbers anymore. But in the wake of a crisis, it may be necessary to get in touch with a lot of key people in your life. What are you going to do if your phone is destroyed or lost in a crisis? Keeping a contact list in the safe ensures that you will always have this information, no matter what happens.

4. Computer backups

The best place to keep your computer back-ups is offsite somewhere. Many people keep theirs in the cloud now. But if you have to keep your data files onsite for some reason, the best place for them is in your safe. Copy the data on a removable hard drive and store it in the safe. That way, it’s protected from fire. Better yet, print it out.

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This is especially important if you run a business out of your home. All your records are probably on your computer. Proper storage of your data is a critical part of maintaining your business.

5. Cash

8 Personal Items That Should Be In Your Safe Right Now

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It’s always a good idea to keep as much cash on-hand as possible. In the wake of a disaster when the power is out, the money you have in the bank is inaccessible. You will surely need money to buy things and make repairs to your home. Having cash allows you to start immediately, while everyone else is arguing with the bank to get access to their money.

6. Gold and silver

If you are investing in gold and silver – an excellent idea considering the state of the economy, in my opinion – then store it in your safe. That’s probably the safest place you can store it, and will ensure that your investment is available in a crisis scenario.

One nice thing about gold and silver in your safe is that even if dollars become worthless, these precious metals will likely retain their value. In fact, in such a situation their value might increase.

7. Handgun and ammo

Keeping a handgun in your safe spurs images of fighting off a robber that is forcing you to open up your safe. But that’s really not the reason that I’m recommending it. The main reason is to have at least one gun in your home, which is protected from damage. Ammunition and firearms can be damaged in a fire, leaving you suddenly unarmed and unable to protect yourself and what’s left of your home.

That one handgun in the safe will survive a fire or just about any other disaster. And you’ll have something you can use to protect yourself, your family and your belongings.

8. Survival kit

This one may sound a bit odd, as it is not considered an item of high value. But if you lose everything else, having a survival kit will give you the basics you need to get clean drinking water, start a fire and otherwise take care of yourself. This doesn’t need to be a huge kit, but make sure you at least have the basics. That way, you won’t have to scrounge around looking for them.

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

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