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Make Some Fire Cider

cidermaking

Join the cause! World Fire Cider Making Day is Sunday, February 2.
> Sign the petition to protect “Fire Cider” from trademark restrictionhttp://chn.ge/1be9xdb
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For more information about this cause, please go to my webpage on Herbal Roots zine.

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Treating Tuberculosis


In this part of my preparedness series, I will talk about different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that wouldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of tuberculosis should be assessed and treated by a medical provider when necessary.


What is it?

Also known as “TB” or the consumption, tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) is a bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs but  it can also travel through the bloodstream and the lymph nodes to other parts of the body. It is a contagious air-borne disease that is easily spread by casual contact. It is easily spread through coughing, sneezing, spitting, discharging mucus and kissing.

 

Why should it be feared?

In the 19th century, 25% of the deaths in Europe were caused by tuberculosis. To this day, 3 million people die from tuberculosis every year, mainly in developing countries. 

The bacteria usually remain dormant in the body. 90% of those infected with the bacteria produce tuberculosis antibodies but will show no signs of infection and cannot spread the disease. 

The disease is often difficult to treat and strains are now showing up that are resistant to antibiotics. About 1% of new cases in New York City are caused by bacteria that are resistant to 1 antibiotic and 7% of the recurrent cases are resistant to 2 or more antibiotics. Those who are infected with the resistant bacteria has only a 50% chance of survival.

Complications can cause lungs to collapse, fluid to form between the lungs and the lung membrane, complete obstruction of the airway passages and more. It can also turn into military disease and tubercular meningitis.

 

What should be done?

During normal times, antibiotics should be taken. Pyrazinamide and streptomycin are the main antibiotics used. If no antibiotics are available, be prepared to use a heavy arsenal of herbal antibiotics to try to combat the disease.

Any phlegm coughed up should be buried or burned to destroy the bacteria and keep it from spreading. Do the same with stools and urine. Wash all clothing, bedding and linens in hot water with bleach. 

Those attending the patient should wear a N95 respirator mask.


What are the stages?

Incubation Period: 3 – 6 weeks, though it can lie dormant for years

Symptoms of Active Tuberculosis: 3 weeks

75% of those infected with active tuberculosis will show signs of pulmonary tuberculosis:

Cough lasting longer than 3 weeks

Chest pain

Cough produces bloody mucus

Fever

Night sweats

Weight loss

Loss of appetite

Fatigue

Pallor

The other 25% of those infected with active tuberculosis will show signs of extrapulmonary tuberculosis which is not contagious but often will co-exist with pulmonary tuberculosis. Those with extrapulmonary tuberculosis are often already immunosuppressed people and children. Locations of extrapulmonary tuberculosis include:

Central nervous system in meningitis

The pleura (the membrane that wraps around the lungs)

The lymphatic system in scrofula of the neck

The genitourinary system

Bones and joints in Pott’s disease of the spine

 

What are my options?

Tuberculosis has been successfully treated in other countries using herbal medicines. Treatment must be continuous and taken for at least 6 months and best taken for at least 1 year. This is because tuberculosis bacteria die slowly.

Step 1: Boost the immune system

Begin taking herbs to boost the immune system. Those who come in contact with the patient should also take these herbs to boost their own immune system.

Echinacea (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallid

A strong dose is recommended: 1 drop of tincture for every pound of body weight taken 4 times a day for 10 days.

 

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry is an immunomodulator. Take 1 dropperful every 2 hours for 7 – 10 days.

Take large doses of vitamin C. Rose hips, Elderberries, Pine needles, tomatoes, citrus fruits all have large doses of vitamin C. 

 

Step 2: Fresh Air

It is important to get fresh air daily and the patient should practice deep breathing. 

Daily exposure to sunlight is important too, exposing the eyes without glasses or contacts for at least 15 minutes daily. 

Keep the patient warm and do not allow them to become chilled. 

 

Step 3: Eat nourishing foods

Avoid eating sugary foods, preservatives, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and any medications that may contain immune suppressing substances. 

Add foods and herbs to the diet that include both vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B6, C, E, Beta Carotene, Selenium, Amino Acids, Lysine and Zinc. 

The following vegetables and herbs should be eaten in large quantities: 

Beets, carrots, garlic and  medicinal mushrooms such as Reishii (Ganoderma lucidum) and Shitake (Lentinus edodes) which can both be found in the wild. 

Seaweeds, dark leafy greens, miso soup, dandelion greens, Nettles (as food and in infusions), sweet potatoes, broccoli, prunes and lentils.

 

Step 4: Antispasmodic Herbs 

These herbs will be useful for soothing the cough and providing some relief. They are also healing for the lungs.


Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis

Marshmallow should be incorporated into the regimen for treating tuberculosis.  As a mucilaginous herb, Marshmallow will help to absorb toxins and carry them out through the stools. Cold infusions of marshmallow root are very soothing to the lungs and airways. Hollyhock root (Alcea spp.) and Okra pods (Abelmoschus esculentus) are both related and can be used interchangeably if Marshmallow is not available.

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)

Dosage is 5 drops tincture.

Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Wild Cherry Elixir or cough syrup is soothing to the lungs and will help with coughing spasms. Take 1 teaspoonful as needed.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Daily infusions of Mullein leaf can soothe irritated lungs and aid in healing. Strain infusion as some people find the hairs irritating to the throat.


Elecampane (Inula helenium)

Honeyed Elecampane roots can be sucked on to relieve coughing (see recipes). Take 10 drops tincture as needed.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Comfrey is a great healer. Drink infusions of Comfrey leaf daily and rub Comfrey root oil or salve onto the chest to help with spasmodic coughing and to help heal lungs.

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

Horehound succus can be taken to relieve coughs. Horehound is an antispasmodic and specific for coughs. Take 1 teaspoonful as needed. 

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme soothes irritated throat, has antibacterial properties and can help calm spasmodic coughs. Drink 1 cup of tea 3 times a day.

New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)

New England Aster is used for treating asthmatic conditions and is sedating. Take 1 dropperful as needed. May be combined with Elecampane as they work well together for conditions of the lungs.

Onion (Allium cepa)
Onions have been used to cure patients of tuberculosis. Eat onions several times a day. For coughs, make a succus of chopped up onions and honey and take 1 teaspoonful as needed.

Step 5: Other Herbal Treatment

The following are various herbal treatments that are recommended to be used for treating tuberculosis. Use what you have available in your region. They will need to be taken daily for the next 6 months – year.

Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa)
James Green recommends combining twigs of Forsythia with Honeysuckle flowers (Lonicera japonica) in a 1:2 ratio in a tea or hot lemonade, up to 3 cups per day.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
China has used Honeysuckle for centuries to treat all sorts of respiratory problems, including tuberculosis. Use a tincture of the flowers, 2 droppersful 3 times a day, or a handful of fresh flowers in a cup of boiling water, drank 3 times a day. If not flowering, use twigs and dried leaves to make a bitter tea which can be flavored with other herbs and sweetened with honey. 

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Another herb used by China for treating tuberculosis, the roots are sweet and often accepted by children for the sweet, familiar taste. Drink a cup of tea 2 times per day. Avoid licorice if patient has high blood pressure.


Garlic (Allium sativum)
A powerful antibiotic, garlic should be eaten with every meal. Cloves can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. Eat several cloves each day. This is another herb used by the Chinese to treat tuberculosis and studies have shown that taking garlic while taking the antibiotics for tuberculosis actually enhance the action of them, making them more effective. 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

1 dropperful 3 times daily. If available, fresh ginger can be boiled for 10 minutes then allowed to steep for 1 hour. Strain the liquid and add honey to sweeten.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
This herb has also been found effective for treating tuberculosis. If you grow your own tree (in a container part for more temperate areas), you can make a tea form the fresh or dried leaves to drink 3 times a day. Otherwise, you can use 1 – 2 drops of essential oil in a cup of water or herb tea. Do NOT use more than 2 drops as it is very potent.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
The silica content in the bones is reduced by tuberculosis. Silica is needed to develop resistance to disease so it is important to restore the silica levels in the bones. Take 1 dropperful of tincture 3 times daily while being treated for tuberculosis.

 

Berberine Rich Herbs
Berberine inhibits bacterial diarrhea caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Herbs such as Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon Grape Root (Berberis aquifolium), Goldenthread (Coptis chinensis) and Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) should be taken daily. Dosage should be 1 – 2 droppersful 2 times daily.


Poke root (Phytolacca americana, P. decandra)

This herb is a low dose botanical and needs to be respected but it is a powerful herbal treatment for lymph and glandular problems as well as an extreme immune booster. It is also an antibacterial and magnifies the effects of Echinacea which should also be taken when treating tuberculosis. Do NOT increase this dosage as serious side effects can take place including dizziness, seeing floaters, spaciness, vomiting, prostration, convulsions and death. When taken appropriately it is safe and highly effective. Take 1 – 3 drops of tincture per DAY up to 3 months. If symptoms of overdosing appear at any time, back off from the dose.

Cleavers (Galium aparine)

Cleavers is another herb that cleanses the lymph. Take 1 dropperful of tincture 2 times a day or 2 cups of tea each day.

Sources

Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss pgs. 344, 371, 544 – 547

The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D. pgs. 431 – 434

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Treating Polio


In this part of my preparedness series, I will talk about different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that wouldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of polio should be assessed and treated by a medical provider.

 

What is it?

It is a virus which only infects humans. It is more common during summer months in temperate climates. The virus lives in the intestinal tract and the mucus of the nose and throat. 


It should be noted that there is some dispute that polio is caused by a virus and the possibility of polio actually being symptoms of DDT poisoning. For more information, see sources at the end of this chapter.


Why should it be feared?

It is highly contagious. Anyone residing in close proximity of the infected person will most likely contract the virus. It is generally spread through handling the infected person’s stools. There has been some research showing flies may also contribute to the spread of the virus.


Up to 95% of the people who are infected will have no symptoms but will still spread the virus to others.About 2 – 5% of children and 15 – 30% of adults infected with the poliovirus will die from the infection.


Polio can cause paralysis, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), high blood pressure, fluid in the lungs, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. 


What should be done?

During normal times, there is no treatment for the polio virus. Supportive care is used to control fever or pain. Fluids are offered to keep the patient from becoming dehydrated and the patient should rest until the fever is gone. For every 3 days of fever, 2 extra days should be spent resting.


For severe cases, medications are given to reduce pain and improve strength. Antibiotics are given for treating secondary bacterial infections, if they should arise. Antibiotics will not do any good for the actual poliovirus. Breathing assistance with a ventilator may be necessary as well.


What are the stages and symptoms?

Incubation Period: 4 – 35 days

While the incubation period runs between 4 and 35 days, symptoms usually start 7 – 14 days after becoming infected with the poliovirus.


Those infected with the virus are contagious 7 – 10 days before and after symptoms are seen and can spread the virus for weeks in their stools.


Symptoms

Up to 95% of the people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. There are 3 types of polio:

I. Minor polio, referred to as abortive poliomyelitis. Minor symptoms last 2 – 3 days with complete recovery and no paralysis or other serious symptoms will occur. 4 – 8% of the people who are infected will develop minor symptoms which include:

Fever

Sore throat

Abdominal pain

Constipation

Nausea

Vomiting

Flu-like symptoms

 

2. Aseptic meningitis

Early symptoms can be similar to minor polio symptoms. Then aseptic meningitis symptoms can develop but will improve within 2 – 10 days with complete recovery. It is estimated 5 – 10% of infected people will develop this type of symptoms. Aseptic meningitis symptoms include: 

Stiffness of the back or legs or back/leg pain

Stiffness in neck or neck pain

Increased or abnormal sensations

Fatigue

Muscle spasms

 

3. Paralytic poliomyelitis

Less than 1% of those infected with poliovirus will result in paralysis. Those falling in this category will begin with other minor illness symptoms plus:

Fever

Muscle aches

Loss of reflexes

After several days, the symptoms will improve. 5 – 10 days later, the fever returns and paralysis begins and progresses for 2 – 3 days. Usually, once the temperature returns to normal, the paralysis goes away. The risk of paralysis increases with age. Children 5 and under often have paralysis in 1 leg. Adults often have paralysis in both arms and legs. Most people with paralytic symptoms recover completely and muscle function returns to some degree. If paralysis hasn’t resolved after 6 months, it is usually permanent. Other paralytic poliomyelitis symptoms include:

Painful muscle cramps

Muscle Twitching

Bladder muscles may be disabled, causing uncontrolled urination

Breathing may be affected

Headache


There are several types of paralytic poliomyelitis:

Spinal polio 

Most common, affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and may cause paralysis of the muscles that control breathing and the arms and legs. If neurons are completely destroyed, there will be no recovery from paralysis.


Bulbar polio

Sever type, affects the cranial nerves which control the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and swallow. May also affect the movement of muscles in the face, heart, intestines and lungs. Affects ability to breathe, speak and swallow and can be fatal without respiratory support.


Bulbospinal polio

A combination of bulbar and spinal paralytic polio and can lead to the paralysis of arms and legs and also affect breathing, swallowing and heart function.


Post-Polio Syndrome

Some people who have recovered from polio will contract Post-polio syndrome 10 – 40 years after the initial illness. Signs and symptoms include:

General fatigue and exhaustion after minimal activity

Breathing or swallowing problems

Muscle and joint pain

Sleep apnea and other sleep related breathing disorders

Decreased tolerance to cold temperatures

Muscle weakness in arms and legs that may or may not have been originally affected



What are my options?

Prevention is the best medicine. Cleanliness is best to avoid contracting the disease. Avoid sugar and increase calcium in the diet. Quarantine anyone suspected to be infected. 


Step 1: Kenny packs.

Named after a nurse from Australia who practiced this treatment with her patients. She applied hot water packs to the patients on parts or all of their bodies. Have the patient take hot baths or apply hot water bottles to the body and wrap in wool blankets.


Step 2: Boost the immune system

Vitamin C supplements or herbs high in vitamin C such as pine needle tea (Pinus spp.) and rose hips (Rosa spp.) tea and/or tincture, elderberries, citrus, strawberries, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, mulberries, passionfruit, tomatoes should be given. 


Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) given hourly (tincture form, 1 dropperful) or alternated hourly with Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) tincture, 1 dropperful, through duration of illness.


Avoid sugars, alcohol (tinctures are ok), and processed foods. Feed patient wholesome food, dark, leafy vegetables, nourishing bone broths, etc. 


Step 3: Herbal Treatments

Antispasmodic Herbs

If patient is having muscle spasms, abdominal cramping or muscle cramps, use any of these herbs you have available:


Tincture or tea, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea as needed unless otherwise noted.


Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) 

Tincture can be applied directly to the area and rubbed on like a liniment or taken internally.


Catnip (Nepeta cataria)


Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Tincture or tea, taken internally. Essential oil can be applied to cramped area, it should be diluted, 1 – 2 drops in 1 teaspoon carrier oil (whatever you have available).


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)


Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Tincture, tea or syrup, taken internally, 1 dropperful, 1 cup of tea, 1 teaspoons syrup as needed.


Cannabis (Cannabis indica, C. sativa)

Infused animal fat or coconut oil, applied locally to muscle spasms or used as massage oil.


Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 

Useful for heart conditions, heart palpitations and other problems of the heart. Use if heart problems are suspected. Tincture, 1 dropperful as needed.


Nervines

These herbs will help soothe nerves that are being attacked by the virus while helping to calm the patient.


St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Tincture taken internally, 10 – 15 drops 3 times a day. Infused oil used during massage.


Milky Oats / Oatstraw (Avena sativa)

Infusions of Oats (both tops and straw) are very soothing to the nervous system. A bag of oatmeal in the hot baths will also help in soothing the body.


Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Tincture, 1 dropperful every 2-4 hours or tea, 1 cup 4 times a day.


Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 

Useful for heart conditions, heart palpitations and other problems of the heart. Use if heart problems are suspected. Tincture, 1 dropperful as needed.


Sedative Herbs

Herbal sedatives are helpful for treating patients’ anxiety towards paralysis and muscle weakness. Keeping the patient calm is important.


Tincture or tea, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea 3 times per day unless otherwise noted. Can be taken every 15 – 20 minutes for first hour.


Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)


Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)


Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 

Useful for heart conditions, heart palpitations and other problems of the heart. Use if heart problems are suspected.


Antiviral Herbs

These herbs are antivirals and may help reduce the virus in the body. These can be combined or used singly. Use what you have available.


Tincture or tea, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea 3 times per day unless otherwise noted.


Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is often used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Use if heart problems are suspected.


Catnip (Nepeta cataria)


Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Tincture, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea 3 times per day.


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)


Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)

Studies in China show promise for Japanese Knotweed inhibiting poliovirus. Tincture of roots/rhizomes, 1 – 2 droppersful 3 times a day.


Step 4: Massage and Physical Therapy

This treatment should be reserved for the recovery stage, after the fever lowers. Passive and strengthening exercises, sitting balance and standing balance training all should be incorporated. 


Light massage can be helpful during and after the onset of symptoms. Make a massage oil out of any available oil infused with equal parts of Skullcap (Sculletaria laterflora), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) oil.


Sources

Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide. How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits and Alternatives by Aviva Jill Romm pgs. 


Healing Lyme Disease Naturally by Wolf D. Storl, A Necessary Comment Regarding Polio pgs. 80 – 82


http://www.physiotherapy-treatment.com/polio-treatment.html


http://naturalencyclopedia.com/Polio 


http://www.tolaymat.com/Diet-English/Illnesses/Polio-E.html 


http://polio.emedtv.com/polio/treatment-for-polio.html 


http://www.itmonline.org/arts/coxsackie.htm


 

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Treating Anthrax


In this part of my preparedness series, I will talk about different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that wouldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of anthrax should be assessed and treated by a medical provider.


What is it?

 

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by spore-forming bacteria known as endospores. It most commonly appears in domestic and wild herbivores such as cattle, sheep and goats but can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from the infected animals. While carnivores (including humans) can contract the disease from eating herbivores, there is little chance of it being spread from human to human by contact.

Anthrax has also been listed as a potential biological weapon and has been used as such in the past.

Why should it be feared?

Spores live in the soil and can live for decades before an animal comes into contact with the spores (usually by grazing) and is infected. 

When humans come in contact with the spores through inhalation, the disease can cause severe and fatal respiratory collapse. Historical mortality was 92% and in modern times when treated early, mortality was 45%.

Those who contract anthrax through eating tainted meat face a 25% – 60% chance of dying from the disease, depending on how quickly it is treated. 

The least feared form comes from those who contract anthrax through cuts in their skin. It is rarely fatal if treated and those who go untreated face a 20% chance of progressing to toxemia and death.

What should be done?

During normal times, testing should be done to determine which type of anthrax has been contracted and antibiotics should be given both intravenously and orally. Antibiotics used are erythromycin, vancomycin, penicillin, cyprofloxacin or doxycycline. For inhalation anthrax, a new drug, raxibacumab, also known as ABthrax was created for emergency treatment of inhaled anthrax. If death occurs from anthrax, the body should be isolated to prevent the spread of anthrax germs. Burial does NOT kill anthrax spores. 

There are three ways of contracting anthrax: 

Inhalation / Pulmonary – Caused by inhaling spores. Has highest death rate. This mode of infection is the mode used as a bioweapon.

Ingestion / Gastrointestinal – Contracted by eating anthrax-infected meat. This is the rarest form of anthrax contraction at time of publication.

Cutaneous – Infection is contracted by the bacteria entering the body through a cut in the skin. This method is the most highly contracted form (95% of all anthrax cases are cutaneous), least lethal and easiest to treat.

Those who died due to known or suspected anthrax contraction should be cremated and all items, bedding, linens, etc. coming in contact should also be burned to destroy the endospores. Buried spores will continue to live and may contaminate the surrounding ground over which they are buried. 

Those handling bodies with anthrax/suspected anthrax exposure should use respiratory masks capable of filtering particles 0.5–5.0 μm as this is the bacilli size range. A disposable gown and gloves should be worn as well. 

Clothing, linens, etc. can be decontaminated by boiling in water for a minimum of 30 minutes. Chlorine beach will NOT kill spores. 

What are the stages?

Incubation Period: 24 hours – 2 months

Incubation depends on the type of contracted anthrax.

Inhalation: less than 7 days – 2 months

Ingestion: 1 – 7 days

Cutaneous: up to 24 hours

Initial symptoms: 1-5 days

Inhalation: Symptoms begin with cold or flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, mild fever, nonproductive cough, fatigue, chest discomfort, muscle aches, sweating and malaise.

Ingestion: Begins with nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever which progresses to severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood and diarrhea that is usually bloody.

Cutaneous: Starts out as a raised, itchy bump that may resemble an insect bite. Localized itching may occur as well. Within 1 – 2 days the bump changes to a blister. 

Progressive symptoms: 4 – 8 days

Inhalation: After a 1 – 5 days of initial symptoms, there may follow 1 – 3 days of improvement after which an abrupt onset of high fever and severe respiratory distress occurs. 

Ingestion: Spreads throughout bloodstream, creating more toxins and causing abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and vomiting blood. Lesions may appear in the mouth and throat (and intestines which will not be seen). 2 – 4 days after symptoms begin, abdominal pain decreases while accumulation of fluid develops in the abdomen. 

Cutaneous: 7 – 10 days after developing the bump, changes into a painless ulcer that is 1/3 – 1 inch in diameter with a necrotic center that is black. Lymph glands in the surrounding area may swell. 

Death: 2 – 30 days

Death generally peaks at 8 days after exposure.

Inhalation: Shock, followed by death typically caused by respiratory collapse within 24 – 36 hours after high fever occurs. 

Ingestion: Shock and death occur 2 – 5 days from onset of symptoms. 

Cutaneous: As long as treated, rarely occurs.

What are my options?

Even if you cannot get antibiotics, treatment is possible IF it is caught early enough. The most common form (cutaneous) has an 80% chance of resolving on its own. 

Step 1: Cleanse

Inhalation: Use a neti pot to rinse your nasal passages if you suspect exposure. Follow directions supplied with the neti pot. After you have rinsed your nose, spit out any liquid that runs into your mouth and blow your nose. 

Cutaneous: Flush the wound with a saline solution 

Step 2: Boost the immune system

Begin taking herbs to boost your immune system. 

Echinacea (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida)

A strong dose is recommended: 1 drop of tincture for every pound of body weight taken every hour for at least 10 days.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry is an immunomodulator. Take 1 dropperful every 2 hours for 7 – 10 days.

Take large doses of vitamin C. Rose hips, Elderberries, Pine needles, tomatoes, citrus fruits all have large doses of vitamin C. 

Step 3: Eat nourishing foods

Avoid eating sugary foods, preservatives, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and any medications that may contain immune suppressing substances. 

Add foods and herbs to your diet that include both vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B6, C, E, Beta Carotene, Selenium, Amino Acids, Lysine and Zinc. 

The following vegetables and herbs should be eaten in large quantities: 

Beets, carrots, garlic and  medicinal mushrooms such as Reishii (Ganoderma lucidum) and Shitake (Lentinus edodes) which can both be found in the wild. 

Seaweeds, dark leafy greens, miso soup, dandelion greens, Nettles (as food and in infusions), sweet potatoes, broccoli, prunes and lentils. 

Step 4: Herbal Treatment

The following are various herbal treatments that have been suggested to be used for treating anthrax. Use what you have available in your region. Combine as many herbs as possible. Herbs that go especially well together will be mentioned in their descriptions.

Poke root (Phytolacca americana, P. decandra)

This herb is a low dose botanical and needs to be respected but it is a powerful herbal treatment for lymph and glandular problems as well as an extreme immune booster. It is also an antibacterial and magnifies the effects of Echinacea which should also be taken during an anthrax scare. Do NOT increase this dosage as serious side effects can take place including dizziness, seeing floaters, spaciness, vomiting, prostration, convulsions and death. When taken appropriately it is safe and highly effective. As a preventative, 1 drop of tincture per DAY up to 3 months. If contact is suspected, dosage may be increased up to 1 drop 6 times a day depending on body weight. For children, stick to 1 drop a day and for teenagers and adults up to 110 lbs, use 1 drop 3 – 4 times a day, backing off if any symptoms of overdose appear. For adults and teens over 110 lbs, use 1 drop 4 – 6 times a day, backing off if any symptoms of overdose appear.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow kills both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Tincture can be added to the neti pot for rinsing the nose (add a dropperful to the pot before flushing). Take 1 dropperful 4 times a day for 20 days.

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)

Cayenne is antibacterial and useful for many things. It can be sprinkled directly into a cutaneous anthrax wound site or made into a tincture to be added to water and drank. Adding it to your food can be helpful too. As a tincture, take 20 – 30 drops in a cup of water 2 times a day.

Garlic (Allium sativum)

A powerful antibiotic, garlic should be eaten with every meal. Cloves can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. 

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Considered to be one of the most important herbs in the world by many herbalists, this herb can help flavor less tasty herbs while being useful to kill bacteria, boost the immune system and nourish the lungs among other things. It is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs.  1 cup of tea 3 times daily or 1 dropperful 3 times daily. 

Usnea (Usnea barbata)

Another powerful antibacterial, tincture dose is 1 dropperful 2 times a day for 10 days.

Ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius, P. ginseng) 

Boosts the immune system, and nourishes with the production of responses necessary to help fight off anthrax such as killer t-cells, interferon, antibodies and phagocytes. Can be taken as a tincture, tea or extract. Safe to take in large amounts but if you start feeling jittery, shaky and unpleasant, back off on your dosage.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous)

Astragalus is safe and a long term immune booster and is restorative. It is best taken long term. Either tincture and take 1 dropperful 3 times daily for 6 months or add roots to daily food such as soup.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)

Wild Indigo is a natural antibiotic, capable of preventing microbes and bacteria from multiplying in the body. It also has an immune enhancing effect. Take 1 dropperful 3 times a day.

 

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Also referred to as Siberian Ginseng, Eleuthero is an adaptogen and will help the body to recover. 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea taken daily for 1 month. Some people may have reactions to Eleuthero such as jitters, shaking, spaciness and headaches. Discontinue use if these symptoms appear.

 

Kitchen Herb Tea Blend

Many kitchen herbs are antibacterial and useful for fighting off infection. A strong tea can be drank several times a day and can include kitchen herbs such as Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), and Sage (Salvia officinalis).

Sources
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Treating MRSA


In this part of my preparedness series, I will talk about different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that wouldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of MRSA should be assessed and treated by a medical provider when necessary.

What is it?

 

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, is a common type of staph bacterium that lives on the skin and in the nasal passages of 30% of the population. It is known as methicillin resistant because this particular strain of Staphylococcus has become resistant to the popular antibiotic methicillin which can no longer be used to kill off the staph bacteria.
Why should it be feared?
Although MRSA can be found on the body of 30% of the population, most will never have any problem related to it. However, it can cause a serious threat to those who have a weakened immune system, are ill or recovering from an illness, have been injured or have had surgery. If it enters the body through an open wound or through an instrument contaminated with MRSA or by cross-contamination from another person, it can be difficult to cure and can lead to death.
MRSA can enter the lungs and cause pneumonia. Urinary tract infections, bone infections and blood poisoning (bacteremia and sepsis) can also be caused by MRSA. Some staph infections can cause a “flesh eating bug” bacteria which are called necrotizing fasciitis. This bacteria does not eat flesh but causes the destruction of skin and muscle by releasing toxins. 
MRSA is now resistant to methicillin, amoxicillin, nafcillin, penicillin, cephalexin, and oxacillin and other beta-lactam antibiotics. 
What should be done?
During normal times, patients are usually treated by using clindamycin, tetracycline or vancomycin. Vancomycin is currently the first choice of treatment for MRSA and linezolid for treating MRSA pneumonia. MRSA is now showing signs of becoming resistant to vancomycin. Depending on the severity, IV antibiotics may be required.
If taking an antibiotic to treat MRSA or any other bacterial infection, follow the doctor’s instructions and take the full course to diminish the chance of creating a superbug.
Do not use antibacterial soaps and sanitizers which also create stronger, more resistant bacteria. Regular soap and water are sufficient to kill germs. 
Alternatively, herbal medications are also showing great value for treating MRSA and may be used alone or in conjunction with conventional medications. Bacteria cannot become resistant to herbs the way they can synthetic drugs so they make a great choice to reach for when treating MRSA, especially when caught early.
Those caring for someone with MRSA should take precautions to not contract MRSA themselves. Wear gloves, disposable gowns and a face mask and burn all materials that come in contact with the bacteria to kill the bacteria.
What are the stages?
Incubation Period: weeks – years
MRSA can remain dormant on a carrier’s body for years without causing any problems. 
Symptoms:
Symptoms usually show up quickly and include:
-Redness to affected area
-Swollen, painful
-Warm to touch
-Small red pimple-like bumps or a bump that looks like a spider bite
-Full of pus or draining
-Fever
-Red streaking moving out from the infected area
Secondary symptoms:
These symptoms could indicate the  infection has spread to the blood, lungs or other parts of the body.
-Difficulty breathing
-Chills
-Chest pain
What are my options?
MRSA has been effectively treated with herbs in various parts of the world and can be easily treated using herbs in a crisis situation. The best line of defense is to catch it early and work with the immune system to fight it. 
Step 1: Cleanse
Clean the area where the infection is visible. Use Echinacea tincture as a wound dressing (see information on Echinacea under Herbal Treatment).
Days 1 – 3: Place tincture on a sterile cloth or bandage over the affected area twice a day and attach with bandage or tape.
Days 4 – 10: Change bandage with Echinacea 1 – 2 times daily as necessary.
If the affected area is abscessed, it may be lanced and drained if there is someone qualified to lance it. 
Step 2: Boost the immune system
Take large doses of vitamin C to help boost the immune system. If you do not have access to vitamin C, you can find it in many plants around you. Pine needles, rose hips, elderberries, citrus, strawberries, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, mulberries, passionfruit, tomatoes. Incorporate these foods into the patient’s daily diet, make teas from the herbs and use as many as possible non-stop for at least 2 weeks.
Diet should consist of bland foods such as rice, beans, steamed vegetables, bone broth, etc. Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine and other foods that suppress the immune system. 
Step 3: Herbal Treatment
The following are various herbal treatments that have been suggested to be used for treating MRSA. Use what you have available in your region. 
Herbs listed to be used as a wash can also be powdered and applied directly to the infected area if the area would better be suited to remain dry.
Honey (raw, from local sources)
Apply directly to the infected area, cover with a sterile bandage and change daily.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida)
Use a tincture of a combination of E. angustifolia and E. pallida roots mixed with E. purpurea roots, leaves and seeds for most effective treatment in 50% alcohol (though any available Echinacea can be used). 
Days 1 – 3: patient should take 1 – 2 droppersful every 15 – 30 minutes for the first 3 hours. After the 3rd hour, decrease dose to 1 dropperful every hour while awake for 3 days.
Days 4 – 10: Continue taking 2 droppersful 3 times a day. If there is no improvement to infection, continue taking 2 droppersful tincture every 2 waking hours. 
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Patient should eat up to 3 bulbs (not cloves) of garlic daily. Continue for at least 7 days after all signs of infection are gone. Pickled garlic (see recipes) may be eaten. May cause nausea or vomiting if consumed in large dosages.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Fresh ginger may be eaten daily (pickled and candied are good too). 1 oz. fresh root or 2 teaspoons dried root to 8 oz. water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add honey to sweeten if desired and drink throughout the day. Tincture of fresh root only, 1 – 2 droppersful 4 times daily.
Pau d’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa, T. avellanedae, T. heptaphylla)
Acacia (Acacia angustissima, A. constricts, A. greggii)
All parts of the Acacia tree are useful. For MRSA, use decoction of roots and drink up to 6 cups per day. 
A wash of the leaves, stems and pods can be used on the infected area (before applying Echinacea tincture). 
Mesquite (Prosopis julifera, P. pubescens)
Can be used as a substitute for Acacia. For MRSA, use decoction of roots and drink up to 6 cups per day. 
A wash of the leaves, stems and pods can be used on the infected area (before applying Echinacea tincture).
Juniper (Juniperus spp.)
Juniper is high in vitamin C. Studies have proven Juniper to be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Tincture of cones (berries) 5 drops to 1 dropperful 3 times daily. Tea made from 2 teaspoons ground needles or cones per 8 oz. water steeped for 20 minutes, drink throughout the day.
A wash made from a strong decoction of the cones, needles, roots or bark can be used to cleanse the infected area several times daily. Use 1 oz. herb to 1 quart of water, simmer for 30 minutes then steep for 8 hours for use. 
Sources
Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner
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Individual Salve Packet Tutorial

I saw this idea on a prepper website but I cannot remember which one so I can’t credit them. If I find them, I’ll link back to their site as they had some great tips on there. They used neosporin type salve to create their packets but since I use all herbal salves I and my friends make, I decided to cater these to using my own salve.

To make them you will need:
-drinking straws (clear are best so you can see inside)
-tea light
-needle nosed pliers
-scissors (forgot to photograph but you know what those are!)
-your choice of salves

Begin by poking your straw into your salve. Imagine how much is usually needed for a typical wound and fill it to that point.

Pinch the end of the straw with your finger to push the salve further into the straw and create an empty space. Using the pliers, grip that space, leaving a tiny bit of straw sticking out of the side.
Hold the straw over the tea light to melt the end. Slide your pliers to the end and pinch it shut.
Gently squeeze the salve towards the sealed edge to verify your seal.

Turn the straw around and pinch the other edge as close to the salve as you can without squeezing the salve out the other side. Use your scissors to cut off the edge and seal as you did the other side, being sure to squeeze and check for leaks.

All finished! The straws I used gave me 5 individual packs per straw. These are perfect for storing in the first aid kit and will also be great for building a mini first aid kit to put in the kids’ back packs for when they go hiking in the woods. To open, simply use a knife.

Optionally, you can use a sharpie marker to write what type of salve is in the tube. Since I used 3 different types, I wrote down their names on each. Be sure to wash the tubes in soapy water first to remove any salve residue so the marker writing will be permanent.

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Treating Influenza

This is a project of mine, researching different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that couldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis due to lack of medical assistance or medicine. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. 

What is it?

Also referred to as the “flu,” influenza is a virus caused by influenza viruses A, B and C that infect the respiratory tract of many animals, birds and humans. 

Types A and B are the most common and cause respiratory illnesses that are often epidemic and usually during the late winter though they are often seen year round in all climates. 

Type A viruses are divided into types based on two surface proteins, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). At this time there are 16 known H subtypes and 9 known N subtypes. The pandemic of 2009 was the swine flu, represented as H1N1 while the earlier avian flu was referred to as H5N1 and affected mainly birds. Type A infects humans, other mammals and birds. 

Type A viruses go through 2 kinds of changes. The first is a series of mutations over time which causes a gradual evolution of the virus which is known as antigenic drift. The second is an abrupt change in the hemagglutinin and/or the neuraminidase proteins known as the antigenic shift. In the second case, a new subtype of the virus will emerge rapidly, causing pandemics. 

Type B viruses change only by gradual processes and do not cause pandemics. They infect humans and seals.

Type C usually causes a very mild respiratory illness or none at all. They infect humans and pigs.

Why should it be feared?

Influenzavirus A has the capability to rapidly mutate and change, causing pandemics that can be deadly, attacking the lungs and turning the immune system on itself, effectively causing the body to attack itself. 

The pandemic flus have been known to attack young, healthy adults instead of the usual victims of influenza who tend to be infants, elderly or immune compromised individuals. The 1918 Spanish flu (H1N1) lasted for 18 months and is blamed for killing 50 – 100 million, or roughly 3% of the world’s population of 1.86 billion. 500 million or 27% of the world’s population were infected with the Spanish flu which spread to the Arctic and Pacific Islands.

Tissue samples from frozen victims were used to recreate the virus for study which led to the discovery that the virus kills through a cytokine storm. A cytokine storm is a overreaction of the body’s immune system, the turning of the immune system against the body which explains the severe nature of the virus and the unusual set of victims. In this instance, a weak immune system is actually a good thing.

Transmission is primarily through large-particle respiratory droplet transmission such as coughing or sneezing.

Influenza can also cause a secondary infection such as pneumonia which can become life-threatening.

What should be done?

During normal times, many advise to be vaccinated though the vaccine is often only speculation as the strains of the virus are so quickly mutated. During a pandemic, it is doubtful enough vaccines could be made in time to prevent the virus from spreading. Isolation is the best prevention. Keep yourself and your family in the house, if mail delivery is still running, use protective measures (rubber gloves) and do not bring it in the house. Discard unnecessary mail and let all other mail sit in a spot for at least 4 days to ensure the virus is dead before bringing it in the house.

For those who show symptoms of the flu, antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are taken. During a pandemic, these antivirals may not be available. Additionally, the antivirals amantadine and rimantadine may be given to prevent the virus from infecting cells but are only effective against viruses which possess the M2 protein. Viral strains are now showing resistance to these antivirals.

Make sure the patient stays in bed, warm, well hydrated and eats well. Discontinue the use of tobacco, alcohol, sugar and processed foods. 

Quarantine anyone coming into your household for 5 days. If they show any symptoms during this time period, treat them for influenza.

Caregivers should use caution in handling of patient, their bodily fluids and all clothing and linens. Wear a N95 respirator mask, gloves and gown.

What are the stages?

Incubation Period: 1 – 4 days

Patient is infectious from 1 day before symptoms appear though children may shed the virus several days before symptoms appear.

Main Symptoms: 3 – 7 days up to 2 weeks for more severe strain

Initial symptoms are abrupt:

-Fever
-Malaise
-Myalgia
-Headache
-Nonproductive cough
-Sore throat
-Runny nose

Children may present other symptoms as well such as:

-Otitis media (earache)
-Nausea
-Vomiting

Some patients may only have respiratory symptoms without a fever. 

Patients are infectious until 5 – 10 days after the onset of symptoms. 

Complications:

Infections can cause secondary illnesses such as:

-Viral pneumonia
-Bacterial pneumonia
-Sinusitis
-Otitis media

or even death.

Children may experience febrile seizures (about 6 – 20%)

What are my options?

The first step is preventing influenza from invading your home and family. Take all precautions to avoid coming in contact with those infected. In the event of a threat of a pandemic, it is wise to keep children home from school and adults to stay home from work if at all possible. Wear N95 respirator masks and latex gloves when forced to be in public. 

 

Step 1: Prevention

During the winter, keep healthy by getting plenty of sleep and fresh air, eating healthy, minimally processed foods and supplementing with a good source of vitamin D3. From the Fall Equinox until the Spring Equinox, all family members should take a daily dose of vitamin D3:

0 – 2 should take 1,000 – 2,000 IU

2 – 12 should take 2,000 – 5,000 IU

12 to adult should take 5,000 – 10,000 IU

Our primary source of vitamin D3 is through sunlight. However, during the winter months, the angle of the sun does not give those in the northern hemisphere enough exposure to supply us with enough D3. This is why most people become sick in late winter. 

Step 2: Boost or Modulate the immune system

Before getting sick, boost your immune system to fight off infections. Daily doses of these herbs can assist with this but should be stopped if it is known or suspected that the virus operates using a cytokine storm:

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Take lots of  garlic (3 – 4 raw cloves a day). Continue to take even if symptoms appear as garlic can reduce cytokine storm.


Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida)

Take 1 drop for every pound of body weight once a day. 

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)

Drink 1 cup of root decoction daily or take 1 – 2 droppersful daily. 

If symptoms of the flu appear, discontinue taking the above herbs and switch to any of the following:

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Syrup or elixir, 1 tablespoon 3 – 5 times per day

South African Geranium root (Pelargonium sidoides)

Tincture of root, 1 dropperful 3 times per day.

Holy Basil / Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Tincture, 1 dropperful 3 times per day.

Step 3: Support the Fever

Do NOT suppress the fever. Do not take acetaminophen or NSAID’s such as ibuprofen or aspirin. The fever’s purpose is to burn off the virus. Adults can go up to 108° F before human cells begin to die. For children, exceptions are for infants up to 1 month, 101.4° F may be critical which rises to 102° F at 2 months of age. As long as the patient is comfortable and the fever is below these critical points, allow the fever to burn.

Keep the patient well hydrated, offering herbal teas often. Herbs that will support the fever and help the body to burn and kill off the virus include:

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)

Osha root(Ligusticum porteri)

Peppermint (Mentha peperita)

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra)

Honeysuckle Flower (Lonicera japonica, L. sempervirens and other Lonicera spp.)

Of the above listed herbs, use what you have available and offer hot tea often. Keep an insulated pump pot (see supplies section) by the patient’s bed to have a supply of hot tea on hand at all times. Diaphoretics work by being dispensed hot.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Antiviral, febrifuge; general and severe aches and pains “bone break” sensations caused by fever. Tincture 30 – 60 drops in warm water or tea every 2 hours. Infusion of herb (2 tablespoons per quart of water) frequently sipped (every 1 – 2 hours).

Step 3: Reduce Cytokine Storm Activity

The following herbs will inhibit influenza symptoms and  inflammatory cytokines.

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Take lots of  garlic (3 – 4 raw cloves a day). Continue to take even if symptoms appear as garlic can reduce cytokine storm.

Baikal Skullcap Root (Scutellaria baicalensis)

Tincture 2 – 3 droppersful 3 times daily.

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa)

Infused oil, taken in capsule form. 1 00 capsule daily.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

If available fresh, 4 slices per 8 oz. water. Powdered root add 1/2 teaspoon to 8 oz water. Bring to boil, turn off heat, cover and let steep for up to 1 hour. Strain and drink 3 cups daily. Tincture 1 dropperful 3 times daily. 

Red Sage Root (Salvia milthiorrhiza

Tincture dosage: 50 drops 3 times daily.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Tincture of flowering tops, 3 – 4 droppersful 3 times daily.

Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa)

Powdered root add 1/2 teaspoon to 8 oz water. Bring to boil, turn off heat, cover and let steep for up to 1 hour. Strain and drink 3 cups daily. Tincture 1 dropperful 3 times daily. 

Step 4: Soothe and Support the Cough
Teas are helpful for coughs as they are soothing and warming though tinctures are also beneficial and can be added to an herbal tea. The herbs below may be mixed together or used singly according to their availability. 

Honey 

Although not an herb, honey is an excellent treatment for soothing coughs. Adding powdered herbs such as turmeric, ginger and other mild tasting herbs can also help heal sore throats and irritation caused by coughing spasms. Honey can also be added to an herbal tea to increase the herbal tea’s power. 

Use raw honey from a local source. “Honey” purchased from a store may not be live, rendering it useless for medicine. Honey may contain botulism spores and should be used with caution for babies under the age of 1. 

Herbs for dry, spasmodic coughing:

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)

Antispasmodic, mild expectorant. Tincture 10 drops to 1 dropperful every 3 hours as tolerated. If nausea develops, cut back dosage. Start with lowest dosage amount and increase if necessary. 

Pleurisy Root (Asclepias tuberosa)

Expectorant, demulcent, relaxant, mild diaphoretic. Good for coughs with burning sensation, coughing up blood (indication of cytokine storm). Tincture 1 – 2 droppersful 3 – 4 times daily. 

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Demulcent, antiviral. Decoction take 1 – 2 tablespoons every 3 hours. Tincture 1 – 2 droppersful every 3 hours. 

Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Antispasmodic, expectorant, antiviral. Syrup take 1 teaspoonful as needed. Tincture take 1 dropperful every 20 minutes until coughing eases then lower to every 2 hours or as needed. 

Peach (Prunus persica)

Antispasmodic, expectorant, antiviral. Syrup take 1 teaspoonful as needed. Tincture take 1 dropperful every 20 minutes until coughing eases then lower to every 2 hours or as needed. 

Balloon Flower root (Platycodon grandiflorus)

Anti-inflammatory, bronchial dilator, anti-tussive, expectorant.  Take 1 – 3 droppersful 3 times daily.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

If using leaves to make tea, strain through muslin and drink 3 cups daily or sip as needed. 

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)

Root or leaf can be used. If using root, make a cold decoction. Demulcent, ant-inflammatory. Drink 3 cups daily or take 1 dropperful 3 times daily. 

Herbs for moist, hot coughs:

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis a.k.a. H. decumbens)

Especially helpful for later stages of influenza. Tincture, 1 dropperful or 1 cup tea 3 times daily.

Elecampane root (Inula helenium)

Expectorant, anti-tussive. Tea can be made from the dried root but it will be bitter. Sucking on honeyed roots can be very helpful (see recipes). Tincture can be taken, 1 dropperful every 2 – 4 hours. 

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata, P. major)

Astringent, expectorant, antispasmodic, tonifying for mucous membranes. Hot tea works exceptionally well, especially when combined with Thyme. Drink 3 cups daily or as needed. If using tincture, take 1 dropperful 3 times daily or as needed. 

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Antiseptic, antibiotic, expectorant. Hot tea works exceptionally well, especially when combined with Plantain. Drink 3 cups daily or as needed. If using tincture, take 1 dropperful 3 times daily or as needed. 

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Drying, astringent, anti-inflammatory. Drink 3 cups daily or as needed. If using tincture, take 1 dropperful 3 times daily or as needed. 

Sources

The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism by Matthew Wood 

Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss pgs. 355, 357, 498 – 499 
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Treating Cholera

This is a project of mine, researching different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that couldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis due to lack of medical assistance or medicine. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of cholera should be assessed and treated by a medical provider.

 

What is it?

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It occurs primarily by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. Contamination can come from an infected person, regardless is they are showing symptoms or not. Seafood is often the cause of cholera outbreaks in the developed world.

It causes diarrhea and vomiting which if left untreated can cause death, usually through dehydration.

Why should it be feared?

The severity of the diarrhea and vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration which can lead to death. About 3 – 5 million people are affected per year. There are about 100,000 – 130,000 deaths per year related to cholera infection worldwide. 

When treated, mortality rate is less than 1%. If left untreated, it can be as high as 60%. Some strains such as those seen in Haiti and India in the mid-2000’s caused death within 2 hours for the first sign of symptoms. 

75% of those infected will not show symptoms while the bacteria present in their stools can live 7 – 14 days after infection, potentially infecting others. 80% of those who develop symptoms will only have mild or moderate symptoms. The remaining 20% will develop acute watery diarrhea and severe dehydration which can lead to death if untreated.

What should be done?

During normal times, unsafe drinking water should be treated before using or avoided altogether. If there is a cholera outbreak, antibiotics and oral rehydration solutions are given. Intravenous fluids may be used to rehydrate a patient more quickly. Antibiotics are not necessary though they can shorten the duration of the illness and are typically given for 1 -3 days. Doxycycline is the first choice though there is now a resistance to it. Other antibiotics used include erythromycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and furazolidone. 

Keep the patient hydrated by offering electrolyte and rehydration drinks often. Allow them to continue to eat frequent small meals to encourage healing. 

Make sure all water is properly strained and safe for drinking and cooking.

Make sure feces is properly disposed of. If using a humanure system, make sure the composing is working properly so the feces will be properly heated destroying the bacteria. The best option would be to burn the feces.

What are the stages?

Incubation Period: 2 hours – 5 days

Initial Symptoms: 1 day

After a short incubation period, symptoms include:

A sudden onset of large amounts of watery diarrhea

Vomiting

Muscle cramps

Stool will be grey, slightly cloudy with specks of mucus and have a slight odor

Additional Symptoms: 1 or more days

As the person becomes dehydrated, he will start to experience:

Thirst

Weakness

Increased heart rate

Reduced urine production

Coma

Death

What are the options?

Cholera is easily treated without the use of conventional antibiotics. The most important thing is to keep the patient from becoming dehydrated.

Step 1: Encourage fluids

Give the patient lots of fluids. If you have access to intravenous fluids, definitely use them if needed. If the patient is too weak to drink, enemas of the rehydration fluids can be given. 

Have the patient sip their rehydration fluids every 5 minutes around the clock until he begins to urinate normally. A large adult needs 3 quarts a day. Give a child about 1 quart a day or 8 oz for each watery stool. Even if the person is vomiting, continue the small sips. 

Alternate between the rehydration drink recipes in the recipe section if the patient is not eating. You can add 1/2 cup of fruit juice, coconut water or mashed ripe banana to either drink to boost the potassium content.

Step 2: Diet

Allow the patient to continue to eat as they feel up to eating. Keep the diet light and easy to digest so the body can concentrate on fighting the infection. Foods to feed the patient include:

Bone broth, vegetable broth

Miso

Oatmeal or barley water

Congee (12 parts water to 1 part rice)

Natural juices both vegetable and fruit

Ripe fruits, especially pears and apples to help cleanse the bowels and bananas

Yogurt

Step 3: Herbal Treatment

The following are various herbal treatments that are recommended to be used for treating cholera. Use what you have available in your region.


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow kills both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Take 1 dropperful 3 times a day for 7 days.

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)

Cayenne is antibacterial. As a tincture, take 20 – 30 drops in a cup of water 2 times a day for 5 days.

Garlic (Allium sativum)

A powerful antibiotic, garlic should be eaten with every meal. Cloves can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. Eat several cloves each day. For those who can’t eat, make garlic tea by chopping up a clove of garlic and bringing 8 oz. water to a boil. Let steep for 10 minutes, strain and add honey to taste. This water may be used in the rehydration fluid recipes.


Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Tinctured Ginger is effective against cholera bacteria. 1 dropperful 3 times daily for 7 days. If available, fresh ginger can be boiled for 10 minutes then allowed to steep for 1 hour. Strain the liquid and add to the rehydration fluids recipes.


Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis

Cold infusions of marshmallow root can be drank to soothe the intestinal walls and irritations. Can also be given as an enema. As a mucilaginous herb, Marshmallow will help to absorb toxins and carry them out through the stools. 

Berberine Rich Herbs

Berberine inhibits bacterial diarrhea caused by Vibrio cholera. Herbs such as Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon Grape Root (Berberis aquifolium), Goldenthread (Coptis chinensis) and Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) should be taken daily for 3 – 5 days. Dosage should be 1 – 2 droppersful 2 times daily. 

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Place 1/4 ounce whole cloves in 3 quarts water and boil until only 1 1/2 quarts of water remain. Have the patient drink 1 cup throughout the day.

Onion (Allium cepa)

Chop 1 ounce of onion and place in a mortar and pestle with 7 black peppercorns. Thoroughly pound and feed to the patient.

Sources

Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss pgs. 345, 429 – 432

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Treating Smallpox


This is a project of mine, researching different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that couldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis due to lack of medical assistance or medicine. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of smallpox should be assessed and treated by a medical provider.


What is it?

It is an infectious disease caused by a virus. There are two variants of the virus, Variola major and Variola minorV. major is the most common form of smallpox and is also the most severe. 

Infections are highest during the winter and spring in temperate climates. Tropical climates can see infections throughout the year with few seasonal variations.

Smallpox is considered a ‘filth’ disease so making sure your community keeps clean can help to reduce the chances of outbreaks. 

Smallpox looks similar to chickenpox and is often mistaken as chickenpox or vice versa. 

Why should it be feared?

Variola major has a mortality rate of 30% while V. minor has a mortality rate of 1%. It causes ulcerations of the cornea which can leave infected persons blind in one or both eyes. It can also leave severe scarring. There is no cure or conventional medication for smallpox. It can be spread by prolonged face-to-face contact as well as through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated items such as clothing and bedding linens.

What should be done?

During normal times, there is no treatment for the smallpox virus. Supportive care is given to control fever and pain. Fluids are also administered to prevent the patient from becoming dehydrated. 

The patient should be quarantined and all linens and clothing should be washed in hot, soapy water with bleach to kill the virus. All infected surfaces should be washed with a bleach water solution.

The caregiver should wear a face mask and wash their hands with hot, soapy water after any contact with the patient or patients belongings.

What are the stages?

Incubation Period: 7 – 17 days

During this time, infected people feel fine and do not show any symptoms. They are not contagious at this time. 

Stage 2/Initial Symptoms: 2 – 4 days

The first symptoms include general malaise, fever, headaches and backaches, and sometimes vomiting. The fever will range between 101° to 104° F. The patient is possibly contagious at this point.

Stage 3/Early Rash: 3 – 4 days

A rash will first be seen as small red spots in the mouth and on the tongue. These spots will develop into sores that break open and spread large amounts of the virus into the mouth and throat. This is the most contagious phase of the virus.

When the sores in the mouth break down, a rash appears on the skin, beginning on the face and spreading down the arms and legs then to the outer extremities. They will often be present on the palms and soles. The rash usually spreads to all parts of the body within 24 hours. The fever usually starts to fall when the rash appears and the patient will start to feel better.

On day 3 the rash becomes raised bumps or pustules. 

On day 4, the raised pustules fill with a thick, opaque fluid and the pustule will have a depression in the center, making the bumps look a bit like donuts. 

The location of the rash and the shape of the pustules are both major indicators that the patient has smallpox and not chickenpox. 

On day 4 the fever usually rises again and will remain high until the scabs for over the pustules.

The rash occurs at the same time during this period with the pustules on any part of the body remaining in the same stage of development.

Stage 4/Pustular Rash: 4 – 5 days

The pustules become sharply raised and round and often are described as feeling like there are bb pellets embedded in the skin. The patient is still contagious.

Stage 5/Scabbing: 4 – 5 days

The pustules begin to form a crust and then will scab over. About 14 days after the rash first appears most of the pustules will have scabbed over. The patient is still contagious. 

Stage 6/Scabs Heal: 5 – 6 days

The scabs begin to heal and fall off. Marks will remain on the skin that may eventually become pitted scars. Scabs typically fall off 14 – 28 days after the rash begins. Once the scabs have completely fallen off the patient is no longer contagious.

What are the options?

There are many herbal remedies which will be beneficial for treating smallpox. 

Keep the patient comfortable and avoid bright light since the eyes are weak at this time. 

Step 1: Diet

Keep the diet light and easy to digest so the body can concentrate on fighting the virus. Foods to feed the patient include:

Bone broth, vegetable broth

Miso

Oatmeal or barley water

Congee (12 parts water: 1 part rice)

Natural juices both vegetable and fruit

Ripe fruits, especially pears and apples to help cleanse the bowels

Yogurt

Step 2: Encourage the Fever and perspiration

Giving diaphoretic herbs and hot baths will encourage rash to break out quicker and encourage faster healing. Give teas made from any diaphoretic herb available. Store teas in a thermos after making to keep them warm for administering as the patient needs them. Offer a continuous cup of tea for sipping and encourage them to drink often. Alternate with rehydration fluids to keep the patient from becoming dehydrated.


Do not attempt to suppress the fever or stop the pustule eruptions. Only use herbs to bring them out faster, encourage perspiration to flush the body and support the body as it works through the process.

For best results try:


 

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is specific for smallpox. May be combined with equal parts of Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa) and Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) for best results. If Lady’s slipper is not available, substitute Catnip (Nepeta cataria) or Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis). 


Red Sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza)
Regular Sage (Salvia officinalis) may be effective if Red Sage is not available. 

Do not give medications or herbs to suppress the rash and pustules from erupting, this is part of the body’s cleansing process. The larger the break out, the more toxins that will leave the body. 


Step 3: Alleviate Itching

To soothe itching, wash pustules with either full strength lemon juice or a mixture of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water. 

Make a bath tea of Burdock root (Arctium spp.), Yellow Dock root (Rumex crispus) and/or Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis) to relieve itching. 

Step 4: Reduce Pitting/Scarring

Jethro Kloss suggests using a sterile needle to pop the pustules 4 days after they come to a head and washing them thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide to prevent pitting. 

Goldenseal  (Hydrastis canadensis)
Goldenseal is a specific to reduce pitting. Washes of Goldenseal root may be used to cleanse pustules as they burst. A salve made from Goldenseal root, fat and beeswax or even an oil of Goldenseal root and fat can be applied several times a day over the pustules to avoid much pitting.

Step 5: General Herbal Treatment

In addition to the above mentioned herbs, the following are various herbal treatments that have been used for treating smallpox. Use what you have available in your region.


Bistort (Polygonurn bistorta)

Decoction of root is cleansing, astringent and toning.

 

Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Red Raspberry leaves can be mixed with Bistort for a toning and astringent tea.

 

European Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Do not confuse this with American Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides). European Pennyroyal has a warming influence for the stomach and is also diaphoretic and stimulating which is good for treating feverish conditions, bronchial congestion and eruptive diseases. Give 6 – 8 oz. infusion every 1 – 2 hours.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, M. discoidea)

Chamomile and Pineapple weed (also known as wild Chamomile, M. discoidea)  are very soothing to the eyes and can help ease pain and inflammation of the eyes. Make a strong tea, soak some flannel cloth in the tea and drape over the closed eyes. It may be warm or cool, whichever the patient finds most soothing. The tea may also be used a was over the eyes. Be sure to strain all Chamomile plant material out first. 

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Tea or tincture from this plant can be soothing to the nerves, helping to calm an anxious patient. Catnip is also good for treating fever and can be used as an enema to help bring on perspiration. Catnip will also help to overcome the discomforts of smallpox. 1 cup of tea several times a day or 1 dropperful of tincture as needed.

Sources

Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss pgs. 369, 538 

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Anniversary Issue of Plant Healer Magazine

It’s hard to believe it’s already been 1 year since my friend Kiva started the Plant Healer Magazine yet, this issue marks the 1 year anniversary!

This issue is 264 amazing pages of articles from well known herbalists, up and coming herbalists and even kid herbalists! There are lots of drawings, color photographs and art work pertaining to herbs. It is published quarterly and features a variety of articles including monographs about plants, herbal marketing, herbal medicine making, herbal birthing, the roots of herbalism, herbal botany and many more topics that are of interest to the traditional herbalist.

You’ll also find stories, cartoons, poetry and a variety of herbal posters to amuse and delight yourself!

I had the pleasure to write 2 articles for this issue in addition to offering a full paged drawing titled ‘Harvest’ to contribute to this beautiful publication. It has to be one of the most beautiful and informative herbal publications that can be found.

To celebrate the anniversary issue, Kiva and her partner Jesse Wolf Hardin are offering some amazing bonuses to go along with the usual subscription rate, including a discount to attend the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference in September 2012 at Mormon Lake in Arizona! The discount will only be available for the next few weeks though so if you’re interested, you need to grab it up soon. Click on the banner to head on over there:

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Herbal Spotlight – Red Clover

This month’s Study Group was all about Red Clover. Below is a summary from tonight’s class. For more information on Herbal Study Group, click on the link to the left.

This beautiful pinky purple flower is an attractor for native bumble bees (honey bees are too small to reach the nectar), feed for livestock and medicine for humans.

The delicious blossoms are known for their anti-cancer activity, especially when dealing with breast, ovarian and lymph cancers. She has an affinity for cysts, especially in the upper region of the body and works well when there are single cysts.

Full of vitamins and minerals (calcium, chromium, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus and vitamins A, B complex and C), this herb makes a wonderful daily infusion that is mildy sweet and satisfying. Try it iced for a cool summertime refreshment.

Tonight we had a chance to head to my local Red Clover patch and harvest a basketful. It went quickly with 5 extra hands helping! That harvest gave us fresh blossoms to make tea and tinctures for all to take home plus enough left over to fill my drying screens for infusion making later in the year.

Red Clover will continue to bloom through the summer but will taper back for awhile and bloom again in late summer. Because of this, she is often known as the herb that gives second chances though it is said the first blooming is superior to the second blooming.

Back in the house we talked about the differences between herbal infusions and teas and then got to sampling. To demonstrate dried herbs offer a higher mineral content than fresh herbs I had made infusions of each earlier in the day and let them steep for 8 hours. We also made a tea of both the fresh and dried blossoms, letting it steep for about 10 minutes. The results were amazing and varied! The dried infusion was dark in color, slightly sweet and mild tasting. The fresh infusion tasted like water even though it had sat for the same period of time. The coloring was also much lighter.

The teas were delightful, demonstrating that Red Clover makes a wonderful beverage tea. Both the fresh and dried were sweet though the dried was a bit stronger. The kids happily guzzled down our leftovers.

In addition to her anti-cancer properties, Red Clover is wonderful for treating coughs, especially irritable, drippy coughs such as coughs from Pertussis and Measles. She is useful for treating Mumps as well, working on the inflamed glands.

Red Clover has mild laxative, diuretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. She contains coumarin that can change to dicoumarin if the blossoms ferment during drying. This is because the coumarin can combine with a common mold that is found on Red Clover called Botrytis mold which if dried too slowly will ferment and turn to dicoumarin.

If you were unable to make tonight’s class, you are welcome to download tonight’s handout here. Feel free to share with others but please credit me with my work.

 

Want to learn more about Red Clover? You can purchase this month’s issue of Herbal Roots zine  Crazy for Clover which contains 35 pages of stories, songs, poems, games, puzzles, recipes, crafts and more, all focusing on Red Clover for only $7.99.

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For more information, go to Herbal Roots zine’s website: www.herbalrootszine.com.

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Herbal Ally Challenge #12: Make A Herbal Salve

The next challenge is to use some of your oil to make a salve. Salves are great for applying your ally where you need him without a huge mess. They are compact and can be traveled with easily and ready to use when the fresh herb isn’t around. 
Assignment 1:

Read a few different perspectives on salve making:

Healing Wise by Susun Weed pages 273. Similar excerpt can be found at this online article: Be Your Own Herbal Expert part 6 by Susun Weed 
Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech pages 87 – 88 (Second part of Chapter 10)
The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green Chapter 18: Ointments, Salves & Balms pages 201 – 208 (click to see online…5 pages are missing from this version)

Assignment 2:

Make a salve using any oil(s) you have previously infused with your ally. If you have an oil for each part of the plant, make a salve out of each.

To make a salve, you will need your infused oils, beeswax and vitamin E. You can purchase vitamin E capsules at your local drugstore. You’ll only need a few drops. 
Measure your oil and place it in the top of a double burner. For every 4 parts oil, add 1 part beeswax. For instance if you have 4 oz. of oil, you’ll add 1 oz. of beeswax. 
Gently heat until the beeswax is melted. Dip a teaspoon into the salve and bring out, shake off. Let it set up either at room temperature or in the freezer for quicker results. When it has hardened, you can tell how thick the salve is. If you think it’s going to be too hard, add a bit more oil. If you’d like it harder, add a bit more beeswax. It will become a bit harder than it is on the spoon so keep that in mind when you make any adjustments. 
When it is the consistency you want it, use the tip of a sharp knife to poke a hole in the vitamin E capsule and squeeze it into the salve. Stir and pour your salve into a wide mouthed jar or metal container. 
Assignment 3:

Journal any thoughts you have on salve making. Write about why you think salves will be a good mix with your herbal ally (or why not).Take a moment to write down any uses you might have for a salve with your herb. Does he have an affinity for muscles? If so, he may be useful for rubbing on sore muscles after a long day in the garden. Does he stop bleeding? Then his salve is a great addition to the first aid kit to staunch bleeding. Salves can be used for healing sore or damaged muscles, nerves, bones, cuts, stings, insect bites, animal bites, diaper rash, mild burns and much more.

After making a list of the obvious uses for your salve, make a second list of possible uses for the salve, whether or not you have ever read about the oil being used for these ailments. Part of exploring your ally is to learn new things, so trial and error will help you discover new uses.
Assignment 4:

Continue meditating with your plant and journal your experiences. Note any changes to your plant in size, color, bloom cycle, etc. Pay attention to your ally’s journey of life. You’ll want to continue doing this throughout the lifecycle of your ally.

Assignment 5:

Catch up on any other Challenges you’ve fallen behind in. It’s always good to go back and review what you’ve been doing just to refresh your memory. 

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Curious About Making Your Food Your Medicine?

One of the best things about herbs is their ability to heal, even when used as food. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart and one I have recently begun embracing wholeheartedly, so much so that when I heard my good friend John over at LearningHerbs.com had created a Culinary Herbalism Course with natural healing specialist K. P. Kalsa, I got very excited.

See, although I fully believe in using my herbs in cooking, I never know if I’m “doing it right” or if I’m using enough herbs or the right herbs. And then, along comes this course! If you are interested in learning more about healing your family and loved ones through food, this is definitely the course for you!

I for one will be there, learning all I can to incorporate herbs in my food. This course is pre-launching this week and there will be lots of videos and recipes shared over the next week for you to decide if you’d like to take the actual course or not. The previews are no obligation so head over and check out the first video to see what it’s all about!

This course takes herbalism to a whole new level. I know you won’t be disappointed in what you see with the first video, I myself learned something new while watching it. I am thrilled and am going to be trying out my own versions of the recipes later this week.

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the Culinary Herbalism website right now and check it out!

P.S. I’m an affiliate of Culinary Herbalism and will receive a commission if you sign up through me but even if I wasn’t, I’d still be recommending this course because I have seen the amazing courses John offers and I know this course is going to be just as amazing, if not more so, just from previewing the first video. My commissions I earn through this course go to a good cause…improving Herbal Roots zine through better technology and tools.

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Herbal First Aid Kit for the Car

Next week I’m teaching a basic Herbal First Aid class at the library so it’s causing me to clean out my kits and restock them which is a good thing! I’m not good at restocking supplies and replacing old ingredients so this was a great time to do so.

For my truck, I purchased a pouch at a thrift store that cost me 69 cents. It is vinyl lined on the inside making it a tad bit water proof and nylon on the outside. Lightweight and durable. I plan to purchase some iron on fabric in green and white to cut out a first aid kit emblem to iron on to the outside. Until then, this will be fine. (For my reason behind using green and white instead of red and white, read this article).

The bag itself measures 11 inches X 7 1/2 inches and 2 1/2 inches wide when full.

Everything is sectioned off into individual packages, mostly arranged by category. The band-aids are placed in an old altoid tin which I might switch out for the misc. things that include tweezers (they will poke a hole in the bag), fingernail clippers, safety pins and a razor blade.

While I am not a big fan of plastic, I like to be able to see what’s in each packet, plus it gives the items a bit more waterproofing. I labelled each bag with contents and taped it across the seal for 2 reasons: 1). if it is opened, it most likely won’t be resealed the same and I’ll know I need to go into that section and re-stock and 2). to give a list of items so people won’t go unnecessarily rummaging through each packet searching for what they need.

This first picture shows the tin of assorted size and shapes of band-aids, a bag containing 4 vinyl gloves and a bag containing peppermint and ginger candies. The candies are a great for helping with upset stomachs, nausea and motion sickness.

The next bag contains 1 tube of lip balm, 1 – 1/2 oz. plantain salve and 1 – 1/2 oz. goldenseal salve. Plantain is great for bug bites, to stop bleeding, bee stings and general wound care. Goldenseal is great for treating more nasty wounds.
Next is the misc. bag. This is the bag I might switch out a bit with the band-aid tin.
It contains: 1 mini multi-tool, 1 pair nail clippers, 1 tweezers, 1 lighter, 1 razor blade, 8 assorted sizes safety pins, 10 alcohol swabs and 3 blister treatment pads.
This next bag is for more serious cuts that band-aids won’t handle.
It contains: 4 butterfly closures, 5 steri strips (similar to butterfly but longer), 1 bottle super glue and as a last resort, 1 4-0 suture kit and 1 3-0 suture kit. I have never sutured but I have watched videos and have a copy of instructions to remind me. I have several of these and I might open one up to practice with on a bit of meat. While I don’t foresee ever being in a situation to require using these, if something were to happen, I’d rather be prepared than not.
This next bag contains 3 types of tape: a bandage type adhesive, duck tape and the self sticking wrap that has no adhesive on it.
This bag contains gauze pads: 4 x 4, 3 x 3 and non-stick.
This last bag is the medicine portion of the bag.
It contains the rest of my herbal medicines:
~1 flannel to be used for compresses, etc.
~10 papaya enzyme tablets, great for upset stomachs when the ginger or peppermint don’t seem to be working (but not to be used if you suspect an ulcer)
~3 teaspoon portioned bags of cayenne to be used for a heart attack (1 bag/teaspoon in a cup of warm water drank will keep the heart attack victim alive. if they have passed out, trickle some in their mouth slowly, wait a bit and repeat until they come to then have them drink the rest). The cayenne can also be poured into a wound that is bleeding profusely (or you can have the victim drink the same water formula as the heart attack victim) to stop the bleeding. Yes, this seems insane and painful but it will save lives. You can read more about using cayenne for heart attacks and bleeding on Dr. John Christopher’s website.

~lavender essential oil for burns, insect bites, to calm
~tea tree essential oil for mosquito bites, disinfectant
~rosemary essential oil for waking up a sleepy driver, calming irritated children, clearing sinuses
~peach elixir for bee stings, coughs
~cherry elixir for coughs, anxiety, stress
~plantain tincture for bee stings, bleeding, allergies, help draw splinters out
~willow tincture for headaches, inflammation, etc. (use like aspirin)
The flannel is wrapped around the tincture and essential oil bottles to keep them from breaking.

I still need to add a few items to my kit to make it complete: strike anywhere matches (they were left behind in the truck), a quick clot to stop severe bleeding (a maxi pad can be used as well) and a sewing kit that I am still assembling with thread, needles and buttons.

Here is a PDF of my Master List which I laminated and placed in my bag. On the back I placed a sketch of how to suture along with reminder notes. You can find my version here. If you wish to include sutures, I highly recommend watching these 4 videos for a complete instructional. My notes are based off this video and the sketch is embellished from his handout (a link is under his videos). He also has a lot of videos about building First Aid kits which is useful but he is strictly a conventional MD when it comes to medicine (no herbal info).

Do you have a first aid kit in your car? Did you purchase a ready made kit, create your own or customize a ready made kit with your own items?

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Alternative Radiation Protection

With the threat of the nuclear reactor meltdown, many people are now fearing fall out on the northwestern coastline of America. The typical recommendation is to take iodine tablets or dip your finger in liquid iodine or betadine (NEVER ingest it). Those living a more natural lifestyle may wonder what they can do naturally to increase their iodine intake without iodine tablets or liquid iodine.

There are several great articles floating around on the internet that have been composed recently and in the past on what you can do naturally. Here is a list of my favorites:

Sean over at Greenman Ramblings

Laura Bruno

Dixie Pauline

Ingrid Naiman

Todd Caldecott

Susun Weed

Margi Flint

At the moment, I have little to fear about radiation from this event due to my geographical location. However, there are nuclear plants all around me and we live on a major fault line that could go at any time. This leads to the potential for a nuclear disaster. Because I take a natural approach and feel I can safely and effectively combat radiation with natural products, here is a list of what I am stocking my pantry with:

Kelp from Ryan Drum – I have a pound stored away that I like to add to food

Miso – due to concerns about soy, I’ll most likely stick with alternate forms of miso. you can find a wealth of recipes for using miso here.

14 Mushroom blend (thanks to Sean and Margi for this source, mine is in the mail)

Herbs: Calendula, Clover, Burdock, Nettles, Oatstraw (see Sean’s article for reasons behind this) – consumed in infusion form

Epsom salts and baking soda – there are so many uses for these 2 items, we always have extra on hand

Niacin supplements – blocks receptor sites that hold onto radiation 
If the first 3 items are consumed on a daily basis, there will be little to fear about radiation from fall out, xrays, plane rides and more.

Darcey posted a delicious sounding recipe on her blog. I’ll be adding this to my recipe book! As a side benefit to eating these foods daily, we’ll be more healthy, have stronger immune systems and be able to combat all types of cancer. Seems like as good as reason as any to increase them in our daily diet.

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Herbal Ally Challenge #7: Oil Infusions Part 1

This is our 3rd week of infusions. Oil infusions are great because they are extremely versatile. They can be used internally, externally, as is or turned into a salve. There are several ways to make oils: stove top, solar and crock pot. The important thing about making your oil is to be sure and strain off all plant material and water or your oil will go rancid quickly.

You can use many kinds of oils to make an infusion. Olive oil is a standard, all purpose base and works well as a massage oil, salve base or salad dressing. If you want to make an oil specifically for a massage oil, almond oil, apricot kernel oil and grapeseed oil are all lighter and work especially well for this task. Coconut oil is also a great base, especially if you will be using it in your hair. Be aware that coconut oil generally solidifies at temperatures cooler than 76 degrees fahrenheit. Don’t limit your oils to vegetable oils. Animal oils can be used as well: emu oil, lanolin, lard, tallow, butter and ghee are all excellent oils to use. 

Assignment 1:

Read a few different perspectives on tincture making:

Healing Wise by Susun Weed pages 271 – 273 (Similar version taken from Breast Cancer? Breast Health! can be found online here: http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/July09/breasthealth.htm )

Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech pages 81 – 86 (First part of Chapter 10)

The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green Chapter 17: Oil Infusion pages 193 – 200 (click to see online…3 pages are missing from this version but you can see most of this chapter)

Journal any thoughts you have on oil making. Write about why you think oil infusions will be a good mix with your herbal ally (or why not). 

Assignment 2:

Make an Oil Infusion from 3 different types of oils. Use 1 form of animal fat. You may wish to make more than one version of each oil to compare differences in methods. For instance, do 2 olive oils, one on the stove top, the other sitting in the sun.

To make an oil, place a handful of oil in the top of a double boiler. Pour enough oil to cover, bring the water below to a boil then turn down and gently heat for 2-3 hours. Turn off the heat and strain out the herbs from the oil by pouring it through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze the cloth to get the final bits of oil out of the plants.

Pour your oil into a jar and cap it. After 48 hours, check to see if anything has settled to the bottom. Usually when using dried material, there will not be anything settling but when your plants are fresh, water can sometimes mix with the oil during the infusion process and will settle to the bottom. If this happens, you will want to strain off the oil from the sediment at the bottom as the sediment will cause the oil to go rancid. 

There are alternative methods for oil infusions. The basic premise of oil infusions is to heat the plant material at a level that the pores open and release the medicinal constituents but not so much that you cook the plant material. Any heat source is acceptable although a continuous heat source is best. 

Sun Method:

Fill a jar about 1/2 full of dried plant material in a jar and fill to the top with oil. Stir with a chopstick to get air bubbles out and put on the lid. Set jar outside in the sun for about 2 weeks. Bring inside and follow instructions for straining and settling.

Crock Pot Method:

If you are making a larger quantity of oil, you can heat it in a crock pot. Place the desired amount of herb and oil into the pot, set on low and let heat overnight. Follow instructions for straining and settling.

Assignment 3:

Make a list of ways you might use your oils. Think about what your herbal ally’s actions and come up as many ideas as possible. Try at least 2 of these uses this week and record your discoveries.

Ideas include: Hot oil treatment for your hair, massage oil, muscle rub, chest rub, salad dressing (combine with your herbal vinegar!), salve base (we will make salves later…)

Assignment 4: (Optional)

Obtain some essential oil of your herbal ally and compare the differences between their scents and strengths. When using as a muscle rub for instance, rub one part with the infused oil and another with the essential oil. Journal about the experience. (Note: do not ingest essential oils!)

How are your vinegars and tinctures doing? Be sure to check on them and taste them! Your vinegars may be getting strong enough to use by now. If they are, try them with your oil on a salad!

Next week we will be starting seeds of our herbal ally so we can watch them grow from sprouts. If you do not have any seeds, refer back to my seed starting post for sources of seeds. We will discuss other options next week but if you are wanting to start some indoors to watch from their sprouting stage (highly recommended) order some seeds!

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Practice learning.

(this is part 10 of a 10-part series, a life’s journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward’s article on the subject. you can find part 1part 2part 3part 4.1part 4.2part 5part 6part 7part 8 and part 9 here.)

gail’s tenth step in her ten-fold path is to practice learning. she says:


Practice learning. Talk to others about your interests. Keep company with others who share your passion. Exchange ideas freely, share your knowledge. Ask others what their experience/observation is. Listen and learn.


As an elder and a teacher I can tell you that some of the people I learn the most from are my young students. They continually keep me fresh and on my toes with their new ideas and information. They inspire me. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something. We are all learners here. Practice learning every day.”


who here is on facebook, raise your hand!


how about herbmentor?


herbwifery forum?


yeah, i belong to them all! and my partner used to make fun of me for being on facebook (i have since converted him and he’s on there just as much as me, if not more!). what he didn’t understand at the time was the wealth of networking, friendship and knowledge of obtained from being on there. even though i don’t know half my list ‘in real life’, i love being part of the herbal facebook community. being able to read, comment and discuss my herbal interests has been a godsend. there isn’t much of an herbalist community in real life so i had to go online to seek it. i am honored to call the people i’m connected to on facebook friends and happy that i’ve been able to meet a bunch of them thanks to kiva and wolf’s hard work of creating the traditions in western herbalism conference!



most of my friends are herb nerds just like me so whenever we get together, talk usually turns to herbs at some point during the visit. there’s not a day that goes by i don’t think of herbs in some form. heck, there’s not an hour that goes by at that! 


my monthly study group is a great way to get together with people who love to talk herbs. sometimes people who study as much as i do come sharing their knowledge too and we all get to learn even more! 



i read articles, blog entries, monographs, plant healer magazine and anything else i can get my hands on. i seek out conferences where i can learn and study and teach. the more i learn, the less i feel i know! this is a lifetime pursuit of knowledge and when i die, i still won’t be satisfied that i’ve learned all i want or can. 


every day, i make a point to read something about herbs, herbalism, medicine, the human body, a disease or anything that has to do with learning in general. it may only be a 3 minute article or an hour absorbed in a great book such as ‘invasive plant medicine’ but every day, i’m here, learning.


practice learning. practice herbalism. practice life. 


every day. 


without fail.

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Be your own refuge

(this is part 9 of a 10-part series, a life’s journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward’s article on the subject. you can find part 1part 2part 3part 4.1part 4.2part 5, part 6, part 7 and part 8 here.)

gail’s ninth step in her ten-fold path is to be your own refuge. she says:


Be your own refuge. OK, the Buddha said this, but it’s worth repeating! It helps to live away from the crowd. Learn to do your own thing. Dance around the rim, live on the edge. Be the center of your own universe. Attract supportive, loving people to surround you. Love them back, but keep your space. You’ll need it. You need to become who you truly are, express what is within you to be expressed. You may want to mirror the plants, but not other herbalists. Learn from others, but develop your own ways, your own formulas, your own path. Practice being yourself.


Get to know yourself. Really well. You cannot know plants or people well until you know yourself. Admit your foibles, acknowledge your strengths, and build upon your knowledge of self to extend help, love, compassion and healing to others.



i’ve been having a lot of fun with this one this past year! for most of my life, i have stopped short of expressing myself, allowing myself to be who i really felt i was because of disapproval from my family and some friends. over the years i misplaced those friends, most on purpose, if they didn’t support me for who i was or accept me for who i was. my family wasn’t so easy though. 

i put up with comments that were painful, being told i looked like a circus side show or that my style was ‘out’ and numerous other snide comments. i started suppressing my desires and choices based on how my family would react. 

and then, last year, i said, no, i screamed: ENOUGH! i wrote down my feelings in a long letter and sent it off which started a long series of replies back and forth in which nothing but silence was accomplished. but in that year, i started coming back out of my shell. 



so now, i embrace myself. i no longer fight with my hair, i let it tangle, dread and love it! i dress in gypsy shabby clothing, go barefoot as long as i can stand it, i wear lots of bones, feathers and other natural objects. my house is decorated with anything we can drag in from outside…limbs, eggs, snake skins, animal skulls, dried flowers, on and on. 

even my zine i write is a reflection of me. it’s my interpretation of each herb, i express each herb through stories, songs, poems, crafts, recipes and more. i sketch them, draw them, paint them and add my drawings to the mix. 

i am becoming my own true wild self, the self i know and love. i share this self with only my closest friends, only those who will love me and appreciate me for who. i. am. 

i reject the society around me but not the community. to the community i offer my heart, my time, my knowledge and my experience through the local markets, my monthly study group and soon monthly presentations at the library. the library who asked ME to present, who accepts me, dreads and all for who i am, freely and happily. 

i tell my friends and children and partner that i love them all the time. i hug, embrace, rejoice with them. i am still working on keeping that space. i have none in my house, my kids are with me all the time. even when i leave, they are usually with me. showering, using the toilet…never alone. but that will come in time i know. and in the meantime, i am learning about my weaknesses and strengths and working on changing what i want or need to change about myself to become a better person.

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Listen to your clients

(this is part 8 of a 10-part series, a life’s journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward’s article on the subject. you can find part 1part 2part 3part 4.1part 4.2part 5, part 6 and part 7 here.)

gail’s eighth step in her ten-fold path is to listen to your clients. she says:


“Listen to your clients. Practice deep listening. Breathe deeply from your heart when you are with a client. Look into their eyes. Listen to the words they use as well as to their tone of voice, where they pause, swallow, take a breath. Learn to listen deeply. Allow your client to tell you what is wrong, what they need. Then commit to helping them. Practice noticing everything you can about your client. Look for the health, look for the radiance, look for the bright light in your clients. Nourish this.”



listening can be such a hard thing to do. and not just listening to the words, but listening to the tones, the vibrations, the emotions, the body language. i have a short attention span so this is one step i struggle with. luckily, i don’t see clients often and usually, they are friends of mine and i am more willing to listen to what they have to say. 



so, i’m looking for guidance on how to listen deeply. how do you listen to someone (not just a client) who is talking about a subject that doesn’t interest you? how do you stay tuned in even though you’ve heard it a million times before? how do you stay focused on their words, thoughts, emotions, body language? how have you learned to listen deeply?

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Cultivate your spirituality.

(this is part 7 of a 10-part series, a life’s journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward’s article on the subject. you can find part 1part 2part 3part 4.1, part 4.2part 5  and part 6 here.)


gail’s seventh step in her ten-fold path is to cultivate your spirituality. she says:



Cultivate your spirituality. Learn to pray. Pray often. Smudge by burning herbs. Give thanks often, many times a day. Fall in love not only with plants, but with all of life. Fall in love with your clients. Commit to them. Pray for them. It is on this level of prayer, the spiritual level that you will connect most deeply with both plants and your clients.

Develop a spiritual discipline if you do not already have one. Cultivate your innate spirituality. Whatever that means to you. Be upright, honest, fair, clear and impeccable in all your dealings. People and plants have to trust you. You must be worthy of that trust. You have to keep your word. You have to be true. Be ethical in the way you interface with life and especially with the earth, with plants, people and all living things. Your way of life, attitudes and sense of ethics, as well as your approach to herbs and herbal medicine, is in large part what will attract others to you.

Cultivate hope. Hope is a critically important part of the healing equation. Your positive attitude is critical to your clients ongoing healing. I tell my community herbalist students that if your client does not turn around to you at the end of a consultation session and say words to the effect of “Thanks, I feel so much better already.” Then you have not done your job.



this is something i need a lot of work on. there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and so spirituality has taken a back burner. i do want to change this though. i have a book on simplicity and quakerism that i keep tucked into my ballet bag for reading before and after class. that’s just once a week but it’s a few moments i can steal towards more moments…



gail’s words are right on with quaker teachings…”be upright, honest, fair, clear and impeccable in all your dealings. People and plants have to trust you. You must be worthy of that trust. You have to keep your word. You have to be true. Be ethical in the way you interface with life and especially with the earth, with plants, people and all living things.” this is one of the quaker testimonies, to be honest and fair in all of one’s dealings. i do hope people see in  this manner as i do try to be honest and fair at all times. i find myself being dishonest when i don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings and i realize this is a major weakness of mine that i need to work on. more so, i need to learn tact so i can be honest tactfully. i tend to be blunt and not always sensitive. not on purpose though. 



i’ll be thinking about this step a lot over the next few weeks while i try to find the time to focus more on my spirituality and with living the quaker beliefs i’d like to be living…

how do you cultivate hope? how are you spiritual? how do you cultivate your innate spirituality? 

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