A friend in Puerto Rico, Jennifer, tells me that her town has been on a boil notice for 5 1/2 MONTHS following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Yep, you read that right. Five and a half months. That’s almost 170 days without clean running water. She could probably teach a college course on how to survive […]
One of my favorite uses for honey is as a face cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling baby-soft, and my only complaint is that it almost always gets in my hair, no matter what. We always have at least 1 or 2 large containers of honey in the house, not only for beauty routines, but […]
Natural remedies can be effective against the miserable symptoms of the flu and colds. We use a lot of essential oils in our home, with eucalyyptus, lavender, and frankincense all good choices for a flu patient’s sick room. These 3 recipes use natural ingredients that can be found in the healthy living section of grocery […]
I never get sick. I have a killer immune system. Usually, the common cold and the annual flu pass me by but this last year I wasn’t so fortunate. With no flu survival plan in place, The flu hit me hard and I was knocked off my feet for more than 2 weeks. At one point, my fever was high enough that I was delirious, giving my husband crazy instructions for plugging in a heating pad, as my whole body was wracked with violent shivering.
What was funny is that I knew what I was saying made no sense, I knew I was delirious, and I still kept talking crazy talk. Thank God my husband has a good sense of humor!
Symptoms of the flu
I knew I had a case of the flu when my symptoms became very extreme, very quickly, although for some people, symptoms of the cold can be confused with those of the flu.
It’s easy to confuse symptoms of the common cold with the flu, but in general, flu symptoms are simply worse. The flu comes with a fever, severe body aches, a deep cough, violent chills, severe fatigue — truly miserable symptoms. A cold isn’t a whole lot of fun, either, but those symptoms will be milder — runny nose, sore throat, plenty of sneezing, body aches, and mild fatigue. Once symptoms cross the line from feeling “under the weather”, to “just kill me now”, you probably have the flu.
Putting together a Flu Survival Plan
Before you’re faced with a sick family and have no choice but to make a mad dash to the drugstore, you’ll want to stock up on a few items to make the best of sick days. At the top of my shopping list is Puffs with Vicks (I love getting a nice, deep breath of eucalyptus from the Vicks), DayQuil, and NyQuil. I also keep lozenges on hand, Vitamin C (chewable for kids), a heating pad, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
NOTE: Starting 10/29, Walmart shoppers can save up to $5 on medicine cabinet essentials just in time for cold and flu season. On this date, look in the P&G brandSAVER in your local Sunday newspaper or at PGeveryday.com to find coupons for $0.50 off Puffs and $1-$3 off Vicks products including DayQuil, NyQuil, Sinex and VapoRub. This arsenal of cold and flu symptom relievers will help your family feel better this season.
I’ve also found that sippy cups (yes, even for older kids and adults) are helpful for always having liquids at hand while avoiding all-too-frequent spills. A case of Gatorade or Pedialyte will provide liquids, along with electrolytes potassium, magnesium, and sodium. You can also make a batch of homemade rehydrating liquid using the recipe in this article.
Setting up the sick room
Once a family member has been diagnosed with the flu, in particular, it’s time to set up a “sick room” with all these supplies handy. On the bedside table, have Puffs with Vicks (again, one of my favorites), a spill-proof cup filled with water, Gatorade, or something similar and a trash can to hold used tissues. A high fever will require extra blankets, a heating pad, or a hot water bottle, so have those handy as well. Limit the amount of time well family members spend in the sick room. If there’s anything worse than a full-blown case of the flu, it’s everyone in the family sick with the flu!
If the flu includes nausea, have ready a bucket for vomit, extra towels, and disinfecting wipes to clean all the surfaces that may have been on the receiving end of any splatter. (Ugh — I know, but when you have a home with kids, this is what you deal with!)
For sure, you’ll want to limit this cold or flu to the poor victim who is down for the count. To stop the virus from spreading, require family members to wash their hands frequently — create a checklist for the kids and have them record with a sticker or a check mark every time they wash their hands during the day. Make sure everyone knows how to sneeze properly, covering their sneeze with either a tissue or sneeze into the inside of their elbow. And, when you leave the sick room, be sure to wash your own hands with soap and water.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of P&G . The opinions and text are all mine.
For more than a year my husband walked around, worked at his job, went scuba diving, and tried to lead a normal life, all with a broken back. He was in pain 24 hours a day, and his insurance company would only pay for chiropractic treatments. That’s right. To this day he hates insurance companies, and I don’t blame him.
It took a single visit to the right doctor to determine that not only was the pain real but that two of his vertebrae were broken.
So, he knows a bit about pain.
With that in mind, one item I am always sure to have on hand, whether in my car, in my desk, or in a bug out bag is a bottle of pain killers. The pain killer of choice for our family is usually ibuprofen. I’ve also been known to favor a topical product like Biofreeze, which, incidentally is something our local physical therapist uses from time to time.
Why do I think pain killers, or pain relief, are a vital addition to your bug out bag? Because no one can accomplish much, travel far, carry much weight, or assist others if they’re in pain. Even a blister or two on the heels can slow down the strongest and best prepared prepper and an ingrown toenail? You might as well lie down on the side of the road and tell your survival group, “Go on without me.”
In a dire emergency, from the loss of our power grid to a natural disaster that destroys your home, you will be on your feet more, the sedentary lifestyle will be but a memory, and you’ll discover muscles (and pains!) you never knew you had. So, it makes sense to stock up on pain relief medications in order to walk just a little farther, carry the toddler a little farther, or set up a campsite when your back is killing you.
While I generally prefer ibuprofen, there are other pain killers that might be more suitable for you and your family or group. Let’s take a look at them.
NSAIDs as an effective bug out bag pain relief
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are one of the most common categories of pain killers and have brand names you’ve surely seen around: Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin, Advil, Motrin IB, Aleve. Their generic names are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
Aspirin — Brand names: Bufferin, Bayer, Excel
Aspirin’s active ingredient has been used for more than 2,000 years, and is the original medicine for all aches and pains. Its history is fascinating, and it’s been one of the most researched drugs ever. This article explains how willow and aspirin are similar and this article tells how to use willow as a pain killer, in a pinch. You can count on aspirin to reduce the pain in muscles and joints and for toothaches. Doctors prescribe it on a regular basis to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The main warning a bottle of aspirin carries is that it can cause stomach irritation and bleeding. If you have ulcers, a bleeding disorder, or kidney or liver problems, you should talk with your doctor bef:ore planning on using aspirin as your pain killer of choice. Aspirin shouldn’t be given to children under the age of 2 and any child or teenager recovering from chickenpox or the flu.
Still, aspirin is readily available, inexpensive, and can be effective for years after the so-called expiration date stamped on the bottle. You can expect to feel relief from your pain within 15-20 minutes and get the full effect of the aspirin within 49-100 minutes, based on a dose of 500 mg.
Ibuprofen — Brand names: Motrin IB, Advil, Equate
For the most part, this is what I always try to have on hand. I’ve found that it’s quite effective for headaches and when anyone in the family has body aches from a cold or minor episode of the flu. This is a good choice for bringing down a fever and can even help with migraines, arthritis, and with pains caused by an injury. Like aspirin, ibuprofen can irritate the stomach, although it generally has fewer side effects.
For a few months, I was taking a prescription version of ibuprofen with a dose of 800 mg, twice a day. It was effective, but after a couple of months I had to switch to a naproxen pill due to stomach pains. For this reason, it would be a good plan to have on hand pain killers from the 3 different categories of NSAIDs. If you begin to suffer side effects from one, you can switch to a different one while still contuing to manage the pain. With larger doses beyond the typical dosage of 200 mg every 4-6 hours be sure to talk with a doctor first. Ibuprofen can be very unsafe taken in large doses or for extended periods of time.
A dose of ibuprofen will start to kick in within 20-30 minutes when taken on an empty stomach, so keep an eye on your pain level and take that dose before the pain becomes extreme.
Naproxen — Brand names: Equate, Aleve
Naproxen is another type of NSAID that many experts recommend for the type of muscle aches and pains you get from a workout or vigorous physical activity — something you might expect in a SHTF scenario. It’s also used to treat the pain of gout and osteoarthritis, tendonitis and menstrual pains as well as bursitis.
Like aspirin and ibuprofen, naproxen can also irritate the stomach and it’s not something to take over a long period of time as it can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Risks seem to be higher for older adults. A pregnant woman shouldn’t take naproxen during the last trimester as it could harm the baby.
If naproxen is your choice of NSAIDs, it will take about 45 minutes before it fully takes effect.
Warnings for NSAIDs
Studies have found that NSAIDs (excluding aspirin) increase the risk of heart attack and stroke when taken regularly. NSAIDs can also reduce blood flow to the kidneys, so if you choose to take them, be sure to stay well-hydrated. Just because these are over-the-counter meds does not mean they are meant to be taken daily, over long periods of time
Generally, your best option is to take the least risky drug, at the lowest dose you need to control your pain, for the shortest amount of time possible.
NSAIDs for kids
In the past I’ve been able to stock up on various OTC meds for cheap by watching for coupons and store sales. Often you’ll see coupons for Advil Junior, Advil Children’s Ibuprofen, and other versions of NSAIDs for kids. Read the directions and warning label carefully to make sure that particular medication is safe for your child.
NSAIDs should be given with food in order to alleviate any stomach pains associated with them and NSAIDs have been known to make kids sun sensitive as well. If they’ll be spending time outdoors, apply sunscreen so you don’t have a sunburn to worry about on top of their other complaints!
Acetaminophen for pain relief
The second category of OTC pain killers is acetaminophen, Tylenol being the best known brand. Since acetaminophen isn’t a NSAID, it won’t irritate the stomach but it also won’t reduce inflammation. Instead, it’s usually given for headaches, muscle aches, back pain, colds, fevers, and toothaches. It’s generally quite safe when taken as advised, but it’s also easier to overdose on acetaminophen, and too much can be fatal.
If you’re taking other meds, check the label to see if they include acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated APAP), and if so, add up the total number of milligrams you are taking. Since acetaminophen is a common ingredient in other medications, it’s possible to overdose without realizing it. 2600-3000 mg is the maximum daily dose for an adult, whether taken straight up as a Tylenol capsule or in a combination of other medications taken throughout the day.
One bright spot when you’re in a lot of pain is that it’s generally safe to alternate acetaminophen with a NSAID in order to maintain a higher level of pain relief. Surprisingly, the combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is more effective for dental pain than opiods, such as vicodin. The two work together well as companions as acetaminophen is cleared by the liver, while ibuprofen is cleared by the kidneys.
Ask your doctor or pharmacisit for their recommended dosage, but generally, a dose of acetaminophen and one of ibuprofen taken alternately every 4 hours is safe for most people and is what our doctors have recommended to us over the years.
What about prescription pain killers?
I’m extremely wary about all pain killers, even though I recommend their inclusion in emergency kits and bug out bags. I’m especially wary when it comes to prescription pain killers, and have had friends become addicted to them. Having said that, there are times when the strongest possible pain medication is called for.
This is a tricky area because, first, without advice from a doctor or pharmacist, giving a Tramadol, Vicodin or Percocet, for example, to someone with pre-existing conditions or allergies could be deadly. Dosages are based on weight and the health history of the patient.
Technically, it’s illegal to give a prescription medication to anyone other than the person it was prescribed for. True, in a worst case scenario this isn’t likely to be an issue, but all the same, it’s something to be considered for your bug out bag.
Natural pain killers
Most of the focus here has been on OTC pain killers because they are generally very effective and give quick relief. Natural remedies, though, shouldn’t be overlooked. Be aware, though, that just because a remedy is “natural” doesn’t mean that it won’t interact with other medications you may be taking with negative results. Also, try out any of these herbs ahead of time to see if they are effective or not.
Here are a few common herbal and natural remedies for pain that would be practical to include in a bug out bag.
- Turmeric — For back and joints discomfort
- Boswellia — For osteoarthritic pain.
- Capsaicin — For muscular pain.
- White willow bark, for headaches. Also read this article for in-depth information about headache treatments.)
- Arnica herbal rub — For topical pain.
- Bone broth — Supports joints and is anti-inflammatory. You can buy a powdered version of this.
- Caffeine — May be effective for migraines and is sometimes combined with ibuprofen or acetaminophen for greater relief.
- Kava kava — Sore muscles
There are many other herbs that may help with pain, so continue researching and testing to see what is most effective for you. Then, put several doses of that herb in a water-tight container in your bug out bag. Another tip is to research natural pain killers in this book about foraging and learn how to identfy these plants, so you’ll be able to access them if you’re ever out of range of a pharmacy or doctor’s office.
Prepping for bug out bag pain relief
The best practices for dealing with pain are, first, identifying all the possible causes of the pain and eliminating as many as possible. If the pain persists, then it’s vital to know about the individual OTC drugs, their potential side effects, and how they are best utilized. A well-equipped first aid or medical kit would contain a bottle of each drug that is safe for you and your family members to take, including infant and childrens versions. The charts at this website provide a good summary of information that you can save to your computer and print out.
If you want to carry smaller amounts of these meds, then a vacuum sealer is your best friend. You can create very small pouches using a Food Saver type bag. Use the smallest size bag you can, seal several doses inside, and then trim the edges to create a tiny, sealed pouch. Use a Sharpie to label the pouch with the name of the drug and dosage. You can read more about using a vacuum sealer for things like this here.
Finally, take some time to educate your family members about the safe use of these medications. At some point, it may be up to one on of your children or grandchildren to either take a pain killer dose themselves or provide that med to a family member. They will need to know what is safe and what isn’t.
We recently had an outbreak of lice in our home. My youngest and I ended up with it. Luckily, we caught it early and it wasn’t extensive, but it was still unpleasant and a lot of work. Being a good Survival Mom, I was prepared with a nit comb but I didn’t really know much about treating it. All I knew is that there is a chemical-laden shampoo and tea tree oil can help. As it turns out, tea tree oil is only helpful if you don’t have lice yet. Once you have them, it doesn’t do much.
The first, and possibly most important, thing to know is that there is one, and only one, way to avoid using a nit comb: shave the head entirely. Unless you are talking about a very little boy in summer, this is almost certainly overkill and should be avoided. Just know that you need a GOOD nit comb and that you will spend a lot of time using it. You will also have to do many loads of laundry, as discussed in Part 1.
We used the chemical laden shampoo simply because as soon as a kid uses it, they can go back to school. There are a few problems with it, from my point of view. First, it uses extremely heavy-duty chemicals, applied directly to your scalp. Second, lice are becoming resistant to it. Third, it can cause problems for asthmatics. While I didn’t have a reaction to it, my son’s asthma did get noticeably worse as soon as we used it. To top it all off, the shampoo wasn’t even effective for me, which created a fourth issue.
Would I use it again? Not voluntarily. Will I judge anyone else who uses it? Definitely not, because if it works, then you are done faster and with less mess than going through another route. Plus, schools like it.
There are companies that will come to your house to help you start the cleaning process and to check the head of every family member. The estimate I received was approximately four hours for four people, although it can VERY easily be more, especially if anyone has long, thick, or curly hair. It takes nearly an hour to check one head with no lice, so it will definitely take longer (and cost more) if the infestation is established. It is important to get everyone checked because it is easy to spread among family members. Especially those who share pillows, blankets, hats, etc., and because lice are tiny and easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for. (If you think you don’t share, consider the sofa, winter hats, and hair brushes.) It is also important to have everyone learn how nit pick. Literally.
After three weeks of going through my head for at least an hour a day, coating my hair with vinegar and oil (not at the same time), I couldn’t take it anymore and called in a delousing service. It was painfully expensive but our healthcare savings account money could be used to cover it. At that point, my head was irritated and itchy from the previous three weeks of checking it and calling a service was for the best. They used natural remedies, specifically olive oil, and recommended a really good nit comb. This in one that the professionals used – https://smile.amazon.com/Nit-Free-Terminator-Professional-Stainless/dp/B000HIBPV8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498748519&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=terminator+nit+comb&psc=1
They said that it isn’t unusual for dads to be lice free and for moms to have the hardest time becoming lice-free. Moms usually have long hair and no one to check their heads while they are busy delousing the rest of the family and the home.
I read a lot about how there is no proof these work, but the company we called to our home, uses nothing but olive oil and nitpicking. It boils down to this: natural remedies take time and a lot of it. You can’t put olive oil or vinegar in your hair and rinse it out after ten minutes like you do with lice shampoo. That won’t do anything. Lice have evolved over thousands of years to survive on humans. It takes real effort to get rid of them.
My son and I both felt like vinegar made a huge difference compared to the lice shampoo. We drenched our hair in vinegar, put on a shower cap, wrapped a towel around our necks, and left it that way for at least an hour. After that, I combed through with a nit comb until I wasn’t seeing anything else. Then we washed our hair and went through it with a nit comb again. As with many home remedies, it isn’t clear how long it has to stay on, but I felt an hour was long enough for the acidity of vinegar to do some real damage to the lice, nits, and eggs without aggravating our scalps too much. I have read as little as ten minutes is recommended, but that doesn’t seem like enough time to make a real difference.
How does it work? The acidity causes eggs to no longer adhere to the shaft of the hair, so they become non-viable. From what I have read, vinegar doesn’t do anything to harm or kill adult lice. I do know that vinegar is not a growth medium. It isn’t good for any other living organism, so how could lice be any different. If nothing else, it seems like it should make them more vulnerable to other methods, like olive oil.
Using vinegar every other day, or more will help ensure that even if there are still some living lice, new ones won’t be hatching. You should be done in approximately three weeks when their life cycle ends. If you alternate vinegar to kill the eggs and olive oil to kill the living lice, you can be done sooner.
This is the process recommended by the delousing service we used. It relies on olive oil and a good nit comb and it is a THREE WEEK PROCESS.
Lice can hold their breath for six hours or longer. You will need to coat your hair with olive oil and leave it on for at least eight hours at a time. The easiest way is, of course, to have it on your head when you sleep. This will suffocate and kill the adult lice while conditioning your scalp and hair.
First, thoroughly coat each person’s hair with olive oil and let it sit for 8 hours. Then go through their hair in small sections using a nit comb. Second, have them wash the olive oil out out using a small amount of dish detergent. Shampoo doesn’t cut through the oil as well as dish detergent. Then dry their hair. Third, go through their dry hair with a nit comb. Fourth, re-apply the olive oil and cover with plastic or a shower cap. It is critical that the roots and scalp are well-coated since that’s where lice hang out. Inexpensive and disposable shower caps can be found here. https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B019Y8QXFO?psc=1 The disposable ones are more comfortable than re-usable ones made of thicker plastic. Use your discretion with younger children as sleeping in a plastic cap might be dangerous for them.Continue this process with everyone in the family.
To protect flooring, put something down to absorb any oil spills. Old towels work great. Be sure everyone is wearing an old shirt because oil will probably slide down their neck and get onto their shirt. Wrap a towel around the neck while you are nit-picking and applying oil.
Anyone who has lice, even once, needs to repeat the olive oil treatment for three more days (four days in a row, total). After that, they need to do it five more times, with treatments three days apart. Anyone who does not have lice, should do this treatment twice a week for three weeks.
Clearly, no one wants their bedding stained with olive oil. Cover pillows that aren’t easy to wash with a plastic bag under the pillowcase and simply toss the pillowcase in the laundry after olive-oil nights. We have very nice memory foam pillows, that I would hate to toss in the laundry. They were put to the side for two weeks to ensure anything on them was dead. During this time, I used easily washed throw pillows with pillowcases, that I washed daily.
Tea tree oil in shampoo is a good way to repel lice and prevent an infestation. The Fair Tales brand is quite popular and affordable. Take a look and learn more here- https://smile.amazon.com/Fairy-Tales-Repel-Shampoo-Rosemary/dp/B000O7PL2G/ref=sr_1_2_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1498749639&sr=1-2&keywords=fairy+tales+shampoo Realistically, it is simply something that happens and is difficult to prevent. There is a stereotype of lice being attracted to those with dirty hair. Lice actually dislike dirty hair and hair with a lot of product because it makes it harder for them and their eggs to attach to the hair shaft.
Ironically, when all was said and done, my hair was probably cleaner than it was the day I was born. After weeks of vinegar, olive oil and the nit-picking, the delousing lady said my scalp was pristine. There wasn’t even any dandruff on it.
One of the most uncomfortable day to day health challenges has to be suffering through a round of hay fever every year. Many people rely either on prescriptions or a handful of capsules from the health food store to stay comfortable during allergy season, but herbs for seasonal allergies can be a simple alternative, and surprisingly, many of them are readily available as common weeds.
Because of their weedy, grow-almost-anywhere nature, these plants make a great allergy back up plan for anyone looking for more natural remedies. Here are four of the best wild herbs to learn as part of your health preparedness strategies for allergy season.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
This plant has soft, fuzzy leaves and a dramatic spike of pale, yellow flowers when it
blooms. Mullein is traditionally used for allergies and dry, irritated coughs. It is also good for the lymph glands, which is a bonus for the immune system during allergy season.
It usually grows in dry soil, and a good place to look for this herb when you are first learning to identify it is along roadsides. Roadsides, however, are not a good place to harvest from because they are regularly sprayed with herbicides and collect polluted runoff from the road whenever it rains. Mullein also grows in fields, and is usually happy to grow from seed in the garden. Tea can be made using either the leaves or the flowers.
Plantain (Plantago major or P. lanceolata)
Plantain makes an excellent tea for allergy season support, and the young leaves can also be steamed and eaten like spinach. P. major (the broadleaf variety) and P. lanceolata (narrow leaf plantain) can be used interchangeably. They can often be found growing near one another, although P. major prefers low areas with damp, rich soil and P. lanceolata prefers dry- even sandy- soil.
This herb provides soothing and anti-inflammatory action for the upper respiratory tract, and helps moisten delicate tissues when they are dried out and irritated. Plantain grows almost everywhere that the soil has been disturbed at some point. Look for it around homes, as a weed in gardens, and in abandoned lots. The leaves are the part of the plant used to make tea.
Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
According to folk herbalists, the signature look for someone who will benefit from
goldenrod is those pink, watery “allergy” eyes. Goldenrod gets a bad rap for causing allergies, but usually it’s the ragweed blooming at around the same time that causes problems. If you have had allergy testing and know for sure that goldenrod is a trigger for you, then by all means avoid it; but pesky, less-showy ragweed blooming alongside goldenrod is the culprit for most people.
Goldenrod is easy to spot when it’s in bloom; the plant has a beautiful plume of bright yellow flowers. Fields and abandoned lots are two of this herb’s favorite places to grow. The leaf and flowers of this herb can be used.
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
One of the most well known traditional herbs for allergy season is nettles. Many of the nettle preparations available at the store are fancy, freeze dried versions of the herb, but herbalists have been growing and harvesting their own for hundreds of years before freeze drying equipment came along.
The young leaves from the top of the plant are harvested and dried for later use. Fresh nettles sting, but allowing the plant to dry gets rid of the sting. just be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves when you harvest.
Nettles love rich, moist soil, and will happily grow in damp pastures on low ground, or along riversides; they don’t mind a bit of shade so you may also find them in open woodlands. Some people find that nettle works best for them if they begin using it daily a month or so before allergy season begins.
How to Use Herbs for Seasonal Allergies
All of the herbs above can be used alone or in combination. To make one serving of tea, use one tablespoon of the herb (or one tablespoon of the blended herbs) per 8 ounces of boiling water. Allow to steep, covered, for fifteen minutes, and let cool before drinking. A few rosehips or elderberries can be added for flavor (and extra Vitamin C!). If you prefer a mint flavored tea, mix in a little dried peppermint or spearmint.
Be sure to check with your doctor before using herbs, as some herbs may interact with medications or preexisting medical conditions. For instance, you should use nettle use with caution if you have diabetes or blood sugar problems.You should also discuss using nettles with your doctor if you take any of the following: blood thinners, blood pressure medications, diuretics, lithium, or drugs for diabetes.
Resources mentioned in this article:
- Organic dried goldenrod
- Organic dried mullein leaves
- Organic dried nettle leaves, 1 lb.
- Organic dried plantain leaves
- Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch
You’ve seen this, I’m sure:
The connection between health and freedom?
With good health, we have the freedom to pursue hobbies … spend active days with family and friends … travel … and continue the everyday activities we, perhaps, take for granted in our younger years.
Yet as most people get older, they let health slip away, instead of vigorously pursuing it. And with it, their freedom slips away, too.
But what if I told you:
Health can continue into your 80s and 90s.
And that decline *isn’t* a given in your senior years. But instead, health is something you can actively continue to pursue—and as a result, hang on to that freedom.
In my fourth video chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground, I explore 2 secrets to staying healthy and making your coming years the best ones yet.
Click PLAY to watch the video now:
In the video, I also talk secrets to staying healthy, including:
- A SIMPLE Test to Determine Longevity
- Why Exercise Doesn’t Equal Fitness
- The Absolute BEST Way to Incorporate Movement Into Daily Life
After you watch it, would you leave me a comment?
I’d love to know:
How do you add movement to your life?
What movements make you feel best?
I can’t thank you enough.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
The post GROW: Staying Healthy and Free—Even In Old Age! (Video 3) appeared first on The Grow Network.
We have lived in our home for nearly a decade and I love it. I truly love my yard, but the feeling is not mutual. My yard is trying to kill me. After a lifetime of thinking of myself as allergy free, I have been proven wrong. Oak trees, along with other things, cause me to have an extreme allergic reaction. Care to guess where I live? Yes, in the middle of a 150 acres of forest.
I had no idea that this could be a life-ending allergy for me. Huge portions of this country have primarily hickory and oak forests. I would need to drive at least a twelve hours to be somewhere that doesn’t have oak trees. If you or someone in your family struggles with seasonal allergies, please go to an allergist to find out what they are. In a truly catastrophic event, it is critical that you know the type of environment you can live in.
I have had chronic bronchitis and other coughing-related problems since Junior High. At one point, a doctor prescribed an inhaler, and another mentioned I might have asthma. When I lived on the West Coast, my coughing problems subsided and I thought I had outgrown my allergies.
After I moved back East, the coughing problems returned. After a few years, seasonal allergy flare ups became a problem, so I started taking over the counter antihistamines. Things got worse and I was now using a nasal spray and prescription medication. I remembered my inhaler and tried it. It helped, a lot.
When I developed an allergy to onions, I realized that I needed to see an allergist. When I told her I had used more than 3/4 of a rescue inhaler in three weeks time, she was shocked. Clearly, it was the wrong treatment and I should have been in sooner.
As per normal procedure, I had stop taking antihistamines for a week before the testing, to ensure they were all out of my system. Thankfully I could still use an inhaler. The allergist tested nearly 30 different things on me using prick and intra-dermal methods. I came back as allergic to all of them. I reacted as a 4++, with 4 being the highest, on oak trees. My body was also very reactive to many other common substances such as ragweed and dust mites.
I had no idea how severe my allergies were. There were times I had difficulty breathing and that should have caused me to seek immediate treatment. But it crept up so slowly over a long period of time, I did not think about it. So please get check out by a allergist if you have symptoms that you can’t control. It may be worse than you realize, even potentially life-threatening – like mine.
Medication and Other Steps
There are many steps to help reduce your allergies. If you know you have a pet allergy, accept it and do not get another pet that will trigger your allergies. When you see an allergy and asthma specialist, they will give you a specific plan with remediation steps to take.
One simple step is to use a face mask. I strongly prefer the machine washable, reusable “Breathe Healthy” face masks because I can wear them for hours without the discomfort that cheap disposable masks cause. There are a variety of fun patterns to choose from. Cleaning the inside of you home can stir up dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Cleaning outside can stir up pollen. Wearing a face mask and possibly even goggles reduces how much of the allergen enters your system.
Neti pots can also be a great help, but be careful with the water you use. Buying distilled water is a great choice, although boiling and then cooling water before using it is also popular.
With the severity of my allergies, I will be getting immunotherapy shots. Immunotherapy is a weekly commitment for about five years. It isn’t something that everyone can do, even if they are a candidate for it. I know that I cannot avoid oak trees and I am going to keep my pets. For me, the sacrifice and time of immunotherapy is worth it.
The week leading up to my allergy test, I was wearing a face mask any time I went outside and most of the time I was inside. There were moments when it was difficult for me to breathe, and it wasn’t even peak pollen season.
My doctor prescribed Singulair, antihistamines, a nasal spray, and an asthma inhaler for daily use. I also rely on a rescue inhaler in case of an allergy induced asthma attack. Many allergy medications are available over the counter. It is important to know what medicine is best for you and to keep a good supply on hand.
If a severe allergy sufferer is without their medications for more than a day or two, their condition could degenerate from healthy to life-threatening before help arrives. For example, antihistamines only stay in your system for 2-7 days. Consider keeping extra medication at work, in the car or other places where you might need it.
Local honey can help with allergies for weeds, grasses, and anything else bees pollinate. But bees aren’t big pollinators of trees, so it can’t be a solution for everyone. It didn’t even occur to me that the reason the honey was improving, but not eliminating, my allergy problems was that I had multiple allergies to some things that bees don’t pollinate.
Local honey operates on the same principal as allergy shots. When ingested, your body is exposed to small amounts of an allergen to help it develop a tolerance. Honey has the potential to reduce the user’s overall “allergen load.” An allergen load is the total amount of allergens your body is dealing with at any point in time.
Once you know what you are allergic to, it is important to take steps to reduce your allergen load. You may be able to reduce your total exposure below the allergic threshold, which is where symptoms start. Since it is the total exposure to all allergens that leads to being symptomatic, it makes sense to reduce anything possible.
If you have a cup, and you pour some milk in it, some soda, some coffee, and a little bit of tea, it will eventually overflow. It doesn’t matter that there are lots of different types of drinks in it. The cup will overflow the same if you held it under the sink and filled it with just water. The same is true of allergens. If sufferers can remove or reduce even one or two triggers, it can make a difference.
Certain foods, such as onions, garlic, corn, and wheat, are common and seemingly impossible to avoid entirely. Others, such as passion fruit and quinoa, are fairly simple to avoid. The same is true of non-food allergens. Mites are almost impossible to avoid entirely and oak trees are incredibly common wherever there are deciduous forests. While most of us won’t part with a family pet easily, horses and orchids are pretty simple for most of us to avoid.
Bugging In versus Bugging Out
As a prepper, keep at least one extra month or two supply of your allergy medications, including local honey if you use it. Asthma inhalers are prescription only, making it hard to have extras on hand. Keep a supply of over the counter medicine, including simple anti-histamines, even if they aren’t part of your daily regimen. Remember that having your gear and supplies to keep allergens off you is also a must. A scrub cap (they make scrub caps specifically for long hair), no rinse shampoo, and the “Breathe Healthy” face masks can help keep pollen away from your eyes and nose. Pollen is designed to stick to things, so it will be carried in on the surface of anything that goes outside. Being able to clean your clothes without electricity will let you have pollen-free clothing, when you or anyone in the family has to venture out into nature. Pollen will also attach to your pets (waterless pet shampoo is a good idea), so be prepared to clean a lot during pollen season and in an emergency.
I know my allergies has forced us to change some of our preparedness plans. I am a big proponent of bugging in versus bugging out. In the event of a disaster, my family will have only a month or two of bugging in at our home. We will need to move away from any oak trees before I run out of medications. I will also need to be careful around fires because the smoke triggers my asthma.
As difficult as it is to have allergies, knowing what they are, how to treat them and what to do in an emergency, has given me more control over my health and preparedness plans.
Just before Christmas, my family and I were shopping at a local big box store. Near the dressing rooms, my daughter spotted a young man totally passed out on the carpeted aisle, with a pile of vomit nearby. Since that’s not a normal thing, we immediately alerted a clerk. Being the Survival Mom, I was curious to see this store’s protocol when dealing with a biological mess like this, so I hovered in the distance to watch.
Once the young man was on his way to an emergency room, the clean up protocol consisted of paper towels, a plastic trash bag, and some sort of spray in a bottle. Thankfully, the 2 employees charged with the clean up used plastic gloves. I was surprised that the carpeted section was immediately open to customers, complete with a large wet spot, hopefully sanitized.
I don’t know exactly what type of liquid was in the spray bottle, but the CDC recommends a sanitizing agent specific to vomit and fecal accidents. Stronger than a typical sanitizer, it should be a combination of 1/2 cup bleach to a liter of water.
For businesses, the protocol used by this store’s employeees wasn’t too far off the mark. Official recommendations can vary from county to county and state to state, but most recommend segregating the area so customers don’t track through, possibly spreading germs. Some viruses can become airborne, so a disposable face mask is another recommendation, and some states recommend wearing some sort of cover.
Another common recommendation is to sanitize the area far beyond the original mess. Some germs, such as Norovirus, can spread by air and infect persons dozens of feet away, and, depending on the individual’s health condition, blood could be present as well. Ugh.
Keep in mind, businesses have no idea whatsoever what type of biological mess they’re dealing with, even if the sick person is known to them, so going above and beyond recommended protocol wouldn’t be out of line. After all, every epidemic has a “patient zero”.
Cleaning a biological mess around the house
I had a chance to read Noah’s article, “How to Prep For a Quarantine“, and was reminded of the importance of having the right supplies to deal with biological messes when they occur around the house. Years ago when my young daughter had the Norovirus, it was a horrible mess and I ended up throwing away her favorite pair of pajamas — the diarrhea mess was that bad. Looking back, we were very fortunate that the entire family wasn’t infected with this highly contagious virus.
Over the years, I’ve had to clean up after my own kids as well as their friends whenever unpleasant accidents happened in the house, the car, or anywhere else where I happened to be the responsible adult. Most of the time, these incidents happen, are cleaned up, and there are no further repercussions, but it’s still a good idea to err on the side of caution.
So what should you have on hand to deal when a diarrhea or vomiting episode looks to become something more than just a “one and done” event?
Clean up from beginning to end
First, if you spend a lot of time outside the house or often have a house full of people, you might want to buy a complete clean-up kit and have everything on hand and in one place. A kit like this one contains gloves, absorbent powder, a biohazard waste bag, and a few more items. I’d add a few extras of the consumable items, like the nitrile gloves.
As an extra precaution, I’d also add a simple face mask. A simple vomit or bleeding event isn’t Ebola, but you may remember that that particular virus could be transmitted through any body opening, including nostrils and eyes, which is why Ebola health care workers wore goggles along with their face masks. Face masks are inexpensive and multi-purpose, so adding one or two to your clean-up kit is a simple matter.
At home, these same items will come in handy and not just for biological messes, which is a plus. (If you’re going to buy supplies and gear for any emergency, it’s a very good thing when they can be used for all kinds of emergencies.)
It’s vital that you isolate any potentially contaminated material as quickly as possible. That could mean keeping everyone out of the sick room or barricading a room until you can clean and sanitize the area. Also, be sure to very gentle soak up the blood, vomit, or other mess. Scrubbing at this point will just push the material deeper into the carpet, if that’s where the incident happened.
One of the easiest strategies for the actual clean up is to absorb the mess with paper towels, even if you’ve sworn off paper towels forever. Keep a couple of rolls with your first aid supplies. It’s easy to grab handful after handful, if necessary, and if the particular biological mess contains a virus, easy to put everything in a trash bag, seal, and dispose. If you decide to burn the contaminated paper towels, it will be a quick and easy task.
I’ve been collecting old, white towels for things like this. I keep them in my laundry room and everyone in the family knows where they are. Whenever there’s some sort of emergency, like a flooded toilet or vomit, those are the towels we use. Since they’re already white, I can use bleach when I launder them in the hottest water possible without fear of them being ruined. It’s also no problem if I just trash or burn the contaminated towels.
Using some sort of absorbent material to clean up the mess is a vital first step. You don’t want a pool of blood or other liquid at the bottom of a plastic bag, so make sure everything is first absorbed by paper or cloth towels and then dispose of those in a heavy-duty trash bag. Personally, I like the idea of having trash bags that let everyone around me know that it contains something that could be a health hazard. A box of 50 bright red biohazard bags is less than $12, and I hope to never have to use them all!
Before you just toss that bag, spray down the outside with an antiseptic spray or water/bleach solution, just in case the bag itself was accidentally contaminated. At this point the question is, what to do with the bag now? In an ordinary case of kid vomit or cleaning up after a typical injury with a bit of blood, it’s safe to throw out anything you’ve used in the cleanup. However, in a public health emergency, it will be a different story.
Finish up with your clean up by wiping the area clean one last time with a disinfectant spray like this one. When this is nearly, or completely, dry, spritz it well with a good dose of Stain & Odor Remover. I’ve used this product for years and swear by it.
Most likely a government public health agency will advise you on the disposal of anything that might be contaminated and contagious. In a real emergency, it would be okay to just store the trash bags in an out-of-the-way location until they can be properly disposed of. Be sure to keep them away from the sun, but putting them in a trash can out in the garage or on the patio would be okay. Those plastic bags could rip or be punctured, so if you end up storing them in a safe place temporarily, they should be in either a heavy duty cardboard box, a plastic bin, or something similar.
If the scenario is one of those “end of the world” situations, then burning or burying the waste will be best. That burial pit should be at least 3 feet deep and several feet away from any source of ground water.
Tools of the trade
Here are a few other items to have on hand to clean up biological messes:
- Red hazardous waste bags
- Spray bottle with disinfecting bleach spray — be sure to label bottle with a Sharpie.
- A bottle of hospital grade disinfecting spray (non bleach)
- Nitrile gloves — In a particularly nasty epidemic or clean-up, wear 2 pairs at a time.
- Barrier tape
- Kids ‘n Pets Stain and Odor Remover (I swear by this product.)
In the typical household, these items will probably be used on occasion and not returned to their proper place, leaving you to scramble when it’s time to clean up a big mess. I recommend putting these supplies in a small plastic bin with a lid and then labeling it, “Emergencies Only”. When there really is an emergency, running around and yelling at the kids is not the way to go!
Medical planning and training is a huge subject among preppers, and with good reason. In a large-scale disaster or worst case scenario, medical treatment may be impossible to access. Preppers, as a group, know more than the average person, but there is one area that very few preppers even seem to notice: Homecare Nursing.
I am a Licensed Practical Nurse, EMT, Wilderness EMT, phlebotomist, and CPR/ First Aid instructor. I also instruct disaster medicine with a well known firm and am currently working on my RN. I work full-time as well and have done this over the last several years. In addition to this training, I have had the opportunity to care for two relatives on hospice.
I have noticed that many preppers want to know how to suture a wound or remove “the bullet” or some other “glamorous” task. But the more training I receive and practice in the field, the more I realize how much I do not know, in spite of all my training and experience. That concept really scares me but it’s a healthy fear. Preppers will benefit from that realization as well. Learn the basics. Have the proper supplies ready. And then take the next step to learn how to suture a wound or remove a bullet.
The most ignored area in medical training that I have seen in survival circles is homecare nursing. I know it may be a boring subject, but it’s an absolute necessity to keep your patient alive and viable. It is sad when I deal with a person (young or older) who has contractures, bed sores, develops pneumonia, or just fights to maintain some level of independence because no one in their life provides basic homecare nursing skills.
A basic overview of the skill set necessary
Good basic patient care can be learned and mastered by becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). The job of CNAs is to take temperatures and blood pressures, give bed baths, turn, and feed patients. They help monitor for bed sores, pressure areas, changing incontinent patients, and providing basic necessary care. It may not have the glamour or prestige of removing a bullet, but basic patient care is actually more necessary.
Not everyone understands that a person cannot lie in bed for hours, days, or even weeks without someone really involved in their care. An immobile patient must be turned and checked every two hours. If you turn them and see a red mark on their side, butt, or back, you are probably looking at a bedsore very soon. Bedsores can kill patients!! I have seen Stage 4 pressure ulcers that go to the bone. Do not let that happen. Patients need to be clean, dry and intact – always!
Bed-bound patients need to be exercised daily to help prevent contractures, a shortening or distortion of muscle or connective tissue. Contractures ultimately have the patient going into a fetal position. In nursing school we have worked with patients that required four adults to just change them and get them out of bed. Very, very sad.
This exercise involves having the patient move all their joints through their full range of motion. One or more caregivers may have to help with this. Start with the head by going side to side and rotations, move to the neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, knees and toes.
I also use incentive spirometers for lung exercises. This can help prevent pneumonia. If that is not available, try chest physiotherapy. Try cupping your hands and have the patients on their side. Use your cupped hands and tap on the patients back to loosen anything in the lungs. Do not use too much pressure but tap several times a day.
- Gloves – No latex. I prefer Nitrile for durability (available at Costco). It is impossible to have too many. I personally have 10 –12 cases. Each case has 10 boxes of 100 gloves. (Latex allergies are fairly common; there are nitrile allergies but they are far more unusual.)
- Bed pan
- Urinal – Male and female.
- Wash basin
- Emesis basin
- Bed pads for incontinence – Reusable or disposable. The reusables are strong and can be used to help turn/ reposition your patient
- Incontinence briefs (diapers) and pull-ups
- Baby wipes – You can never have enough.
- Thicken – Makes liquids thick for people with swallowing difficulties.
- Nosey cups – Plastic cups with the nose section cut out to help with liquids for patients with limited mobility
- Incentive spirometers – Lung exercisers.
- Cane – Carbon Fiber is far lighter than other options.
- Bedside commode
- Gait belt – Assistive belt to help a patient ambulate.
- Blood pressure cuff and stethoscope
- Manual wheelchair
- Hand Cleaner
- Clorox and sprayer
I designed a “raised platform bed” for homecare nursing because I could not justify a hospital bed with hand cranks. The raised bed allows me to care for the patient without killing my back.
This is just a starting point to help you begin to think about skills and supplies you may want to add to your repertoire. It is far from complete but should give you an idea about needs for your patients. The American Red Cross may offer classes in your area to provide more training.
Remember, everyone in your family or group will need training and practice. Someday, the patient may be you, and these simple procedures may save a life, including your own. Also and most important, many of these tasks are not fun. Many are done for infants and young children without any thought. Please be kind and offer privacy and dignity to your patients. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
Guest post by Dave, LPN, EMT, WEMT. Originally published February 3, 2011 and updated.
A typical first aid kit provides only the bare minimum of supplies that a well-equipped home should have when it comes to health and medicine. After giving this a good deal of thought, here are 23 additional medical supplies you should have on hand. Some will be easy to acquire, while others may take more effort.
A few items are notated with an * and are to be used only by individuals with advanced medical training. If this isn’t you, don’t cross the item off your list. There may very well be a doctor, nurse, EMT or other individuals with training nearby, and if you have the supplies they need, it will be a huge advantage to keeping someone alive.
Medical Supplies You Should Have on Hand
1. N-100 High Filtration Face Mask/Respirator
2. A secure treatment area
Being able to attend to urgent medical needs in a secure area is something you may not have thought of. In addition to the presence of hysterical family members and friends whose loved ones’ lives are in jeopardy, there could be additional threats from outsiders. Take some time to plan where your makeshift treatment/triage area should be located.
3. Medical skills and ability
Acquire and practice knowledge, concentration, control, stamina, will, training, and expertise. By all means, take a First Aid and CPR class, but don’t stop there. Wilderness Survival classes are offered at REI stores and some community colleges offer classes for EMT students. Red Cross offers a lot more than just basic First Aid and CPR.
4. Spare battery for cell phone
This could be your own life-saving connection to the outside world. If you have a smartphone, download Red Cross apps as well as other survival apps.
5. Reference Materials
6. Penrose Drain Tubes
These can be used as tourniquets or drains, etc.
7. Suction Device, manual operation (non-electric)*
For anyone choking who is needing “suction” or as you “intubate” (only for advanced care professionals).
8. Foley Catheters*
Used for urinary blockage relief, but also for a make-shift “chest tube” when necessary!
9. Nasogastric Tubes and Large Syringe*
These can be used for Rectal IV instillation when an IV cannot be accessed.
10. Bouillon cubes
Can be mixed with water for an electrolyte solution to drink when very ill. The solution can also be administered rectally with the concept above as well. Very handy to know and have on hand in a pinch.
These will be a must-have in any post-collapse scenario! Check out this article for more details about how to stock up on antibiotics and which to buy.
12. Oropharyngeal Airways or OP Airways*
These can save a life if you know how and when to use them!
Pedialyte is best, not Gatorade! You can also mix up your own with this recipe.
14. Over-the-counter medications
See list here.
15. LED Lights
You will need lights at night: headlamps, strobes (possibly for attracting moving vehicles or people nearby), reflective vests, powerful LED flashlights (for runners or operations with kit) & possibly a “surgical light”, for which we use a 12-volt car light connected to a car battery!
Hypothermia is a real danger outside when any patient is traumatized.
17. Ear Candles
These are easy to carry and used to provide relief with ear pain.
18. Organic (not synthetic) Natural Multi-B Vitamins
19. Large Commercial Trash Bags
Used to contain waste, worn over your torso as a make shift “rain coat” (don’t forget to punch three holes in the “top” for your head and two arms), or for “shields” when dealing with bloody/infectious messes.
20. Needles and scalpels
Along with these, you’ll need the knowledge to use them properly. Training is necessary to use these items, and DO NOT USE this stuff if you don’t know how to do so, ever! However, if a medical professional is able to provide assistance, they will be invaluable.
21. Reflective Cones
These are often nowhere around when we need one – “outside” in the “Outback” (or on the side of the road)!
22. Emotional Stress Treatment
Have on hand extra meds you and family members are already taking. If you run out of special meds that treat acute episodes, it will definitely be a time to panic!
23. Comfort items
These may not have to do with “medical care” at all. Think of things like candy, DVD’s, animals in our care that we love, protective and security items.
Prevention is the best mode of “medical care” in the world. If we thought this way as a nation – before the accidents occurred – well, I’d be out of a job, wouldn’t I?
There are a few excellent medical websites that are prepper/survival focused:
Prevent first and make sure to gather these medical supplies you should have on hand!
Article by the Outback Doc. Get to know him at his website and blog, Outback Medicine.
The Survival Dental Kit
-#150A or #150 for upper front teeth.
-#23, best for lower molars
-#53R, best for upper right molars
-#53L, best for upper left molars
More dental resources
- “Alternatives to Dentists” DVD
- Coconut oil (I use Tropical Traditions organic.)
- Colloidal silver
- GuruNanda Pulling Oil (combines 4 different types of oils)
- The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green
- High quality Earth’s Living Bentonite Clay (different size containers)
- Horsetail capsules
- Organic horsetail powder, 1 lb. bag
- Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
Article contributed by Joe and Amy Alton, the authors of the 3 category #1 Amazon Bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook“. See their articles in Backwoods Home, Survival Quarterly, and other great magazines. For over 600 articles on medical preparedness in wilderness, disaster, or other austere settings, go to their website at www.doomandbloom.net.The opinions voiced by Joe Alton, M.D., and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. are their own and are not meant to take the place of seeking medical help from a qualified healthcare provider.
Take up snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Get as much natural Vitamin D as you can.
Boost your immune system:
Look natural ways to boost your immune system and with the seasonal influx of flu and colds there is never a better time to get started. I take natural supplements everyday as well as a protective essential oil blend.
Probiotics also help for good gut health which helps overall health.
Look after your heart:
A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and garlic is known to lower blood pressure and is used as a treatment for hyper tension. Heart attacks are common in winter months because of snow shoveling and the like.
In the winter, many of us can go all day without even thinking about drinking water. Unlike summer when we are hot and always drinking it. This is a highly unhealthy practice as the change in season makes very little difference in the importance of water to your body. DRINK YOUR WATER!
I add lemon or grapefruit essential oils to mine to give it some flavor. A drop or 2 is all it takes.
I LOVE my HydroFlask water bottle. Keep my ice frozen for a long time.
What would you add for staying healthy?
Have you ever heard about the Moringa plant? I’ll be honest – I had never heard of such a thing until fairly recently. At first I dismissed it as a fad, but after some extensive research, it looks as though it is here to stay because of its genuine benefits.
Very simply put, Moringa oleifera is a plant that has recently come into the public consciousness because of its high nutritive value. It has many culinary uses, is easy to grow, and can be used to purify water to boot! It goes by other names as well: some call it the “drumstick tree” and in the Philippines it is known as “malunggay.”
I haven’t had the opportunity (yet) to try out any of the many things you can do with the moringa plant, but the more I’ve researched the more intrigued I have become. I haven’t been this fascinated by a plant since I heard about soapwort and vowed I would grow it in my garden and use it as shampoo. But that’s a subject for another day.
Basic nutrition facts about moringa
Moringa has joined the exclusive club of “super foods” that also counts among its members kale, quinoa, and acai berries, for some very good reasons. Moringa is extremely high in over 90 nutrients, including 8 essential amino acids that our bodies need but cannot produce, such as vitamins B, B1, B2, B3, D, and E. It has three times as much iron as spinach, four times the calcium of milk, four times the vitamin A of carrots, and is higher in vitamin C than oranges.
Moringa is one of the highest naturally occurring sources of chlorophyll, the health benefits of which could be the subject of its own article. Because of this, many international NGOs are encouraging the use of moringa as a treatment for malnutrition.
Because of its amino acid profile, moringa is considered to contain a complete protein, which makes it of particular value to vegans and vegetarians. With all these nutrients, one or more moringa plants would be a great asset to your garden, in addition to the foods in your food storage pantry.
The leaves, flowers, seeds, and seed pods are all edible. The flowers must always be cooked, however slightly, before eating to neutralize certain toxic compaounds found therein. WebMD recommends avoiding the flowers entirely during pregnancy because they can act as an abortifacient. WebMD also recommends staying away from the roots and bark, as the same toxic compounds found in the flowers are present in the roots in much higher concentrations, and can cause paralysis and death. The threshold for such a dismal fate is not known, so to be on the safe side, don’t eat the roots.
Young and tender seed pods, also referred to as “drumsticks,” can be cooked as green beans and have a flavor that is reported to be not unlike asparagus. Interesting fact: they call them “drumsticks” because they resemble the things you use to hit drums, not because they have anything to do with a certain favored part of a chicken. They kind of look like really long okra pods, to me. Older trees produce seed pods that are tough and bitter in addition to tender ones; for this reason moringa trees are often grown as seasonal crops even in places where they can thrive year-round. Why not try this drumstick sour soup recipe from Myanmar (Burma)?
The leaves can be found in many traditional South Asian dishes, whether they are dried and added as a garnish, or added to soup, omelettes, or curry. As for the taste, one source said that the leaves tasted like a “pecany spinach” when cooked, and slightly pungent like radishes or watercress when raw. It has become popular in the Philippines to make a pesto dish from moringa leaves. A delicious recipe/ tutorial for such a dish can be found here.
Seeds can be roasted like nuts when mature or cooked like peas when young. Unless you are eating seeds grown yourself, use caution when ingesting seeds. Only eat seeds meant for human consumption, as seeds intended for cultivation are sometimes sprayed with insecticides.
As for the flowers, they can be used to make tea, or can be battered and fried like squash blossoms.
Using Moringa Seeds To Purify Water
As a prepper, this is the thing about the moringa plant that most piques my curiosity. You can not only eat it, but can purify water with it, too? It sounds almost too good to be true. In fact, I am pretty sure I once saw an episode of “I Dream Of Jeanie” that featured some kind of magic seeds that could be used for water purification. Unlike that ridiculous made-for-TV plotline, this looks pretty legit. According to this tutorial, two spoonfuls of dried, powdered moringa seeds can be used to purify as much as 20 liters of water!
Not only does this sound like a practical solution to the widespread problem of water accessibility in the third world, trying this out would be an extremely educational homeschooling activity!
The seed powder bonds with particulates in the water and make them sink to the bottom, so the purified water can be poured off through a simple cloth filter. This method also takes care of most (but, as a caution, not all) of any bacteria present in the water. It doesn’t take care of 100% of all possible water contaminants, but it appears to do a pretty decent job. In a SHTF scenario when bleach drops could be impossible to come by, this could be a legitimate option.
Growing Your Own Moringa
Moringa is a tropical tree native to Northern India and the Himalayas. It loves heat, and does very well in zones 9, 10, and 11. The seeds germinate easily, and the plant grows quickly. Many gardeners report that it can grow up to 20 feet in a single season! If, like me, you live in a colder climate (zone 6 here in the Intermountain West), it is still possible to grow this plant in a greenhouse or as an annual.
Karen Coghlan of Blue Yonder Urban Farms suggests:
GROWING IN A GREENHOUSE
If you have access to a greenhouse Moringa seedlings could be grown in a greenhouse, with temperatures kept well above freezing.
GROWING IN POTS
Moringa grown in pots can be moved inside when the weather changes. Just be sure to provide warmth and light to keep it alive.
GROWING AS AN ANNUAL
If you grow a vegetable garden you are probably aware of the practice of growing vegetable as annuals. Most vegetables are grown in one season and replanted again the next year.
I don’t have a lot of garden space in my backyard these days, but I think next year I will give moringa a try, just for fun. Do any of you have experience with the Moringa plant? We would love to hear all about it.
Win a packet of Moringa seeds!
Karen of Blue Yonder Urban Farms is donating packets of 25 Moringa seeds to 4 lucky Survival Mom readers! Enter the giveaway using the form below. Winners will be selected at random on October 26, and notified by email no later than October 27. Winners have 48 hours to respond.
I really love having fresh, raw, organic apple cider vinegar at home for all of its health benefits. If it can help me stay away from doctors offices or hospitals, I”ll take it. I want to avoid the Superbugs that live in those places. (I won’t even pick up those magazines they have sitting around, because sick people have been touching them).
It’s important to get the unpasteurized, raw, organic form. Pasteurizing apple cider vinegar kills the probiotics and beneficial bacteria found in the gelantinous substance called “The Mother”. If you make it at home, it can be fun, easy, and practically free. I pick the apples from the apple tree in my back yard. They are small, sour, have some bugs, and not good for much of anything. Since they attract a lot of wasps, I decided to pick some of the apples off the ground and do something practical with them.
First, let’s go over some benefits, some of which are backed up by science and some that aren’t. There are home remedies made from apple cider vinegar that many people claim really work for them, even if science hasn’t documented it yet.
According to WebMD: Carol Johnston, PhD, directs Arizona State University’s nutrition program. She has been studying apple cider vinegar for more than 10 years and believes its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications.
“Apple cider vinegar’s anti-glycemic effect is very well documented,” Johnston says. The vinegar blocks digestion of some of the starch. “It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it definitely prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar.” I think that is amazing, but it doesn’t mean to increase unhealthy choices. After all, you don’t want to cancel out those health benefits.
Raw, organic Apple Cider Vinegar, (henceforth referred to as ACV) can help eliminate Candida (yeast overgrowth) in your system. It is often blamed for fatigue, poor memory, sugar cravings, and yes…yeast infections. It also helps break up mucous, so it may help with allergies, sinus infections and other nasty things that go along with it like sinus headache and sore throat.
ACV may help both prevent constipation and diarrhea. (It must be those beneficial bacteria in there helping the G.I. system.)
Cleaning and Hygiene
I wipe down my counters with a solution of diluted AVC. After all, it is a disinfectant, and the vinegary smell goes away after it dries. I think it acts like a deodorizer as well.
I also clean windows with it, and wipe it with crumbled newspaper so it doesn’t leave a paper-like residue. It works just fine. My Grandma Angela taught me the tip about using newspaper instead of paper towels when I was just a kid.
Some people use a 3:1 ratio of water to ACV as a facial skin toner, and say it eliminates blemishes as well. Others said they put AVC on a cotton ball and applied to a wart and bandaged it overnight. I have not personally tried these things, but go ahead and experiment yourself.
We also use a few tablespoons in a quart mason jar of water for a hair rinse after shampooing. It makes your hair silky soft and glossy.
I have a AVC based salad dressing that I make that is really a health elixer. Yum!
- Two to three parts ACV to 1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I like a tangy taste, so I do 3:1) I fill a Mason jar 2/3 with AVC, 1/3 Olive Oil
- 3-4 Garlic Toes crushed
- 1/4 cup Raw Organic Honey (I use 1/2 cup)
- 1-2 TBS Grated fresh Ginger
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
It solidifies a bit in the fridge, so leave warm up enough to be easier to mix just before you put it on a salad. I could actually just drink it straight out of the jar!
One of the health food stores I go to sells a popular well know brand of AVC. Under its shelf space there is a sign listing the following information:
Some of the health benefits of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar include:
- Helps promote youthful skin
- Helps remove artery plaque, infections, and toxins
- Helps fight germs, viruses, bacteria, and mold naturally
- Helps slow down the aging process
- Helps keep blood the right consistency
- Helps regulate menstruation, relieves PMS, and UTI’s
- Helps normalize urine pH
- Helps digestion, assimilation and helps balance pH
- Helps relieve sore throats, laryngitis and throat tickles
- Helps banish acne, athlete’s foot, soothes sunburns
- Helps fight arthritis, and helps remove toxins and uric acid crystals from the joints, tissues and organs
- Helps control and normalize weight
Make your own.
So, I decided it would be great to make my own at home. I began by washing the apples in the sink. Then, I filled my large Coleman cooler just over halfway with cut up apples, cores, and peelings. I mixed in a 4 lb. bag of sugar. I would have done 5 lbs, but now they make the bags smaller.
I covered it with cheesecloth for a few days and kept it in a cool place out of direct sunlight. This gives the natural yeast in the air time to come in contact with the apples and start multiplying in the liquid. Then I close the lid. Every few days, I open it to stir it, smell it, and look for the white mat of gelatin looking like substance: the “Mother”.
Over time (a few weeks), it turns into an alcohol, then into vinegar. I take the apples out around the one month mark, after they have settled to the bottom of the cooler. The remaining liquid remains. My vinegar usually takes four to six months before I think its ready. I like the nice deep amber color that develops. If I opt for jarring it up sooner, it is paler and not as strong because the flavor intensifies over time. It’s just your own personal preference.
Once, it’s ready, I set my cooler up on a chair and stick a bucket under the valve at the bottom. I open it and strain the liquid through a wire strainer lined with a coffee filter, layers of cheesecloth, or non-bleached natural Muslin. Low tech, but it works. After straining, I pour it into pint and quart Mason Jars. I add a little of the “Mother” back into each one. Sometimes even a few Apple Seeds!
I have heard some people who “can” their ACV, but I personally never have. I have never had a batch go bad on me….yet.
If you do the following step, you may lose some of the probiotic benefits you’re aiming for. But, if you would like try it anyway, just warm it in an enamel lined pan at 150 degrees for 30 minutes and pour into your sterilized Mason Jars. You won’t be able to use this as a “starter” for more vinegar, so save some if you wish to keep any on hand. Give it a try, experiment with different methods, and you can soon enjoy your raw, organic, healthy, and cheap apple cider vinegar.