First Aid

50+ Dumpster Diva Hacks that Convert Waste to Wealth

by Todd Walker

Part of our Self-Reliant Summer series

possum mentality will lead people to think you’re cheap. In our propped up economy, I call it industrious, resourceful, and plain smart. Why buy stuff with hard-earned cash when other people’s trash is everywhere?

Over 50 Dumpster Diva Hacks to Convert Waste to Wealth

Dumpster diving is certainly NOT above the members of our Doing the Stuff Network. These resourceful folks embody the Dumpster Diva mentality. In fact, repurposing or up-cycling everyday items is an integral part of homesteading, prepping, bushcrafting, back-to-basics living, and emergency first aid.

Once you catch the Dumpster Diva bug, you’ll view dumpsters as treasure chests! I’m sure our handlers have pesky prohibitions against this uncivilized pursuit – so dumpster dive at your own risk. Ask permission from business owners before taking what you think is trash. Especially when prowling for pallets. Most businesses recycle pallets and consider taking without permission theft.

But here’s the thing…

You don’t have to actually dig in dumpsters to repurpose stuff. Up-cycle, repurpose, and re-trash are trendy terms for what our grandparents did to get through hard times. Use it up, wear it out, and then find another use for the item other than its intended purpose.

Check out the projects below and get in touch with your trashy side.

Dumpster Diving for Self-reliance

1.) Cheap to Free Stuff

That metal DVD rack collecting dust could be repurposed to feed rabbits.

Grace (DST Networker) up-cycled a 25 cent yard sale find to dispense hay in her rabbit hutch.

Grace (DST Networker) up-cycled a 25 cent yard sale find to dispense hay in her rabbit hutch.

She could have dumped several dollars at the local feed and seed but went all Dumpster Diva and made an unconventional – yet functional – rabbit feeder.

2.) Landfill Love

Michael, my brother from another mother, found an 18 foot long tent and other items he repurposed from the local landfill.

Landfill Love

I think his best up-cycling miracle performed was when his gas tank on his old Datsun pickup ruptured. He ran a gas line from a gallon gas can to his engine with the can sitting inside the hood of his truck. A fire hazard? Yes. But he had to drive to work and this was a short-term fix. Might come in handy in a bug out scenario. Redneck genius!

3.) Billboards

You didn’t hear me wrong. Large tarps are expensive but have endless uses around a homestead…

  • Protect equipment from weather
  • Wind block
  • Shade animals
  • Ground cloth
  • Roofing, etc., etc.
Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A shot of my 14′ x 40′ tarp from my shop roof

I bought a 14′ by 40′ billboard for $14 a few months ago. A portion was used as a roof for my trapping shelter (personal space). A few of our readers have scored free tarps by just asking the work crew for old billboards!

4.) Pallets

With a little sweat equity, free wood for projects around your homestead, yard, handicrafts, or house can be found in wooden shipping pallets. No disassembling required for some projects. Here’s some DiY pallet projects from around the web to get your mind geared to repurpose…

I love it when people start trading theory for action! Resilient Man emailed the first steps of his journey to self-reliance and active resilience. He’s getting his hands dirty using pallets to build a chicken coop.

5.) Containers

Without becoming an obsessive compulsive hoarder, you can turn waste into wealth. The key here is to organize waste to prevent your house from becoming a death trap of trash.

The plastic five gallon bucket may be the most under appreciated prep item ever… until you need one and none are to be found. Ever tried to create your own containers from raw materials? Not an easy task! That goes double for glass.

Keep your wine bottles, mason jars, and other glass items. For an unusual use of mason jars, check out our post on Mason Jar Oil Lamps. They make Healthy Fast Food meals as well!

6.) Think Before You Toss Everyday Items

Here’s a round-up from a few of my Prepared Blogger friends who can help you take dumpster diving, repurposing, and up-cycling to new levels.

7.) First Aid/Medical

Lizzie over at Underground Medic put together Ten unconventional additions to your emergency medical kit worth checking out.

If you haven’t discovered the many survival uses for duct tape yet, The Survival Doctor (Dr. James Hubbard) wrote an entire book on how to use duct tape for medical emergencies - Duct Tape 911: The Many Amazing Medical Things You Can Do to Tape Yourself Together

The Dumpster Diva Award goes to…

One of our amazing members of the Doing the Stuff Network is now crowned Dumpster Diva! She and her husband are building a homestead house (Earthship) out of old tires!

Earthship house being built by a Doing the Stuff Networker

Dumpster Diva’s house in progress!

I hope Part 2 in the Self-Reliant Summer Series encourages you to trade theory for ACTION! We’re planning an entire summer of self-reliance articles to keep us Doing the Stuff. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

What’s your favorite repurposing hack for self-reliance and preparedness? Comments are always welcome…

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Sherpa Tip: Equine Vet Wrap in First Aid Kits

by Todd Walker

Sherpa Tip: Equine Vet Wrap in First Aid Kits

I first discovered this flexible, self-adhesive bandage as a handle wrap for my sledge hammers 4 years ago. I needed grips for the handle to do a workout called Shovelglove. If you’ve never tried swinging a stick with a 12 pound hunk of metal on the end for 20 minutes, it will have your entire body begging for mercy!

Sherpa's Quick Survival Tip: Equine Vet Wrap

A six and 12 pound Shovelglove tool

We keep Co-Flex in our medical supplies even though we don’t own horses. On a recent tick bite to my upper buttocks – they seem to find the most inaccessible spots for attachment – I applied my usual plantain spit poultice with a band-aid 3 times daily. The problem with this is that the adhesive from the band-aid irritates my skin. And no, I don’t have a hairy butt! That’s probably too much information right there.

Sherpa Tip: Equine Vet Wrap in First Aid Kits

First Aid items in my bushcraft kit

For those with sensitive skin or you’re covered in Cro-Magnon body hair, this tape is the ticket! A non-latex version is available as well.

Tape with Benefits

Self-adhesive

Co-Flex functions like an Ace bandage without the metal clips, velcro, or safety pins. I applied plantain to the bite with a small gauze pad and secured it with two wraps around my hips. *No Pics to Document* You’ll have to take my word on this one. The bandage did roll at my waist while bending but held the pad in place for most of the day.

Lightweight/Flexible/Breathable

It performs well on body parts that don’t bend. But the flexibility allows you to wrap an elbow or wrist to hold a bandage securely. You can apply enough compression without constricting the limb.

Sweat and Water Resistant

It won’t turn loose fording a river or while sweating profusely in a sprint to escape zombies. This alone is reason enough to stock up.

Abrasion Resistant

Adds a layer of protection for wounds. It’s durable stuff!

Trading Theory for Action

FYI: If you store a roll in your first aid kit, you’ll need to find a way to prevent compression. I had a roll of camouflaged Co-Flex in my bushcraft kit that had been smashed, compacted, and abused. I needed it to wrap up my tick bite poultice. I tried to find the end to peel but it had turned into a solid lump of tape. Even slicing through to the next layer to start the roll yielded no results.

Sherpa Tip: Equine Vet Wrap in First Aid Kits

I split through the continuous mass to the cardboard core. Aha! This could be repurposed for fishing bobbers (floats), an improvised pillow for someone with a tiny head, elastic cordage, etc., etc.

Got any other ideas on using this multi-purpose kit item?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

Thank you for Sharing the Stuff!

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a rare third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

 

Categories: Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

10 Reasons to Add Plantain to Your SHTF Medicine Chest

by Todd Walker

10 Reasons to Add Plantain to Your SHTF Medicine Chest

No matter how domesticated we’ve become, at our genetic core, our hunter-gather within longs to be unleashed. In our quest to express our primal genes, we encounter Nature’s revenge from stings, bites, cuts and injury. The fear and misery that follows is enough to keep one indoors and isolated from our natural environment.

If you only learn to identify and use one medicinal herb, I’d like to recommend plantain. Over-the-counter medicines won’t always be available. In North America, this plant is prolific.

Plantain (not the fruit) can be found most any place there’s soil and sunshine. On the trail, in the backyard, and growing in sidewalk cracks, this pesky plant is sprayed, pulled, and hated by millions hellbent on preserving pristine lawns.

I first discovered plantain’s effectiveness on tick bites years ago. It is now my go-to remedy. My skin reacts wildly to stinging/biting insects and poisonous plants. You’d think I would avoid the woods but I can’t. The rewards outweigh the risks many times over!

The good news is that nature provides an antidote – in abundance – which works better than store-bought chemical stuff!

Picking Plantain

There are over 200 varieties of plantain around the world. The roots, leaves, flowers and seeds can be used both internally and externally. The two commonly found in North America that I use are…

Scientific namePlantago major

Broad leaf plantain

Broad leaf plantain without the stalks and spikes formed. It’s too early for them to grow the spikes I guess. The spots on the leaves are dirt from a recent rain.

Common name: Common plantain, broad -leaf plantain, snakeweed, and White Man’s Foot. The last nickname came about as the english and europeans brought seeds over to North America because of its healing properties. Native American’s are said to have coined this name since everywhere the white settlers stepped, plantain seemed to sprout.

Scientific name: Plantago lanceolata

Common name: Lance leaf, snake plantain, ribwort plantain, black plantain, narrow-leaf plantain, and long plantain.

This narrow-leaf variety is more plentiful in my area

This narrow-leaf variety is more plentiful in my area

Narrow -leaf plantain with the head and stalk

Narrow -leaf plantain with the head and stalk

The long stems on the narrow-leaf plantain have seed heads at the tip. As a kid, we would pick these stems, wrap the end around the head and ‘shot’ them like a sling shot of sorts. I know, we were easily entertained.

For more identification info, here are a few links that may help: Broad-Leaf Plantain and Narrow-Leaf Plantain.

Properties of Plantain

I’m not a herbalist or expert feral food forager. After all…

it’s the things that you learn after you know it all that really matter!

I’m not giving medical advice here. This is simply my first-hand experience of Doing the Stuff with this wicked-good weed.

Understanding the properties of this plant broadens its medicinal application. My main use of this plant has been for stings/bites and skin conditions. However, with a little research and digging, I’ve discovered many uses for this common weed.

NOTE: Traditional uses of plantain and other herbal remedies may not have been proven effective through scientific studies or approved by the FDA. But you probably know how I feel about the Food and Drug Administration – use their advice (and herbal remedies) at your own risk after doing your own due diligence.

There’s no money to be made in herbal meds by the FEDs. Commercial pharmaceutical companies can’t monopolize a weed. Just a thought!

#1 Alterative (Cleansing) Uses

An Alterative herb cleans the blood and organs that help eliminate waste products from your body.

  • Blood poisoning – I witnessed red lines from an infected tick bite disappear with a plantain poultice.
  • Improve liver function

#2 Anti-inflammatory Uses

  • Reduces swelling from bites, stings, and sprains. Approved in Germany for topical treatment.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflamed digestive tract

#3 Demulcent (Soothing) Uses

  • Mucilage (husks of plantain seeds – Psyllium harvesting tutorial) forms a soothing film over irritated and inflamed membranes.
  • Cough suppressant
  • Bronchitis and other upper respiratory conditions
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Sore muscles – apply warmed, bruised leaves to sore or sprained area

#4 Diuretic (promotes production of urine) Uses

  • Kidney problems – taken as a tea throughout the day
  • Bladder problems
  • Bed wetting
  • Water retention

#5 Refrigerant (Cooling) Uses

  • Burns – apply a bruised whole leaf to burned area. An excellent substitute when aloe is unavailable!
  • Sun burn – make plantain tea and spray on burned area.
  • Scalds and mild ulcers
  • Abcess on gums and teeth
  • Laryngitis
  • Lung infections – even pneumonia
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Hemorrhoids – heals and sooth via plantain tea and salves
  • Diaper rash and cradle cap – apply plantain oil or slave infusion to affected area

#6 Styptic (stop bleeding) Uses

  • Chew into spit poultice or crush in a mortar and pestle and apply to minor topical wounds.

# 7 Anti-toxic Uses

  • Plantain contains Aucubin which is a powerful anti-toxin
  • Anti-venomous for snake, insect, and bug bites. Get medical attention where available if you are ever snake bit or allergic to insect stings!

#8 Astringent (drawing) Uses

  • Splinters
  • Poisonous bites and stings
  • Eczema
  • Boils
  • Glass shards
  • Poison ivy - relieves itching and helps dry the rash
  • Acne
  • Stinging nettles
  • Gout

#9 Laxative

  • Relieves constipation
  • But also works on diarrhea

#10 Antimicrobial (antibiotic) Uses

Plantain packs high amounts of beneficial chemicals for health and healing. Vitamins A, C, K, and calcium are abundant in this ‘weed’. The chemical mix of tannin, sorbitol, aucubin, acids (eg, benzoic, caffeic, chlorogenic, cinnamic, p-coumaric, fumaric, salicylic, ursolic, vanillic, ascorbic), alkaloids (boschniakine) and amino acids (eg, alanine, asparagine, histidine, lysine).

  • Athlete’s Foot
  • Bacterial infections
  • Anti-cancer effects – no human studies have been performed but has been shown to reduce tumors in rats.

Note: This information should be verified by YOU before using plantain medicinally. In no way is this information intended to overlook the advice of medical personnel. If you are taking other medications, please consult your physician before using plantain for self-healing. While plantain has no known toxicity, be aware that there are documented adverse effects in pregnant women. 

Further scientific studies on plantain’s usefulness can be found here.

Medicinal Recipes

Plantain decoctions, salves, teas, tinctures, poultices and infusions can be made with simple recipes. Here are few you can check out:

  1. Astringent Tincture
  2. Plantain Oil from Susan Weed
  3. Topical Salves
  4. Internal Herb Methods

Plantain is a prolific ‘weed’ that tops the list in my herbal medicine chest! What’s your top healing herb?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a rare third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Herbal Remedies, Natural Health | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for Internal Use

Part 2 in our Herbal Medicine Kit series. See the other posts in this series at the end of this article.

by Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

Herbs: “Trees, shrubs, mushrooms lichens and fruits & vegetables that have medicinal properties…or ALL medicinal and cosmetic plants as herbs.”

Welcome Back

There are countless different herbs and as many different combinations of herbs that are used for our good health and healing.  Thankfully, there are only a few basic and different types of preparations that are used in treating illnesses and wounds.

These preparations take dried or fresh herbs and transform them into life giving medicine that can be taken internally in the form of teas, capsules and the like, or applied topically such as salves, oils, bath salts and compresses.

Sometimes you will use both methods of preparation for a single herb with differing expected outcomes such as using St. John’s wort to make capsules and also a salve.  The nature of your ailment will ultimately determine your preparation.

Ingredients for your various preparations can be obtained from a variety of sources:

  • Your own kitchen/back yard
  • Harvesting from the wild
  • Your whole foods market
  • Your local Herb Store
  • Online Herbal Supply Companies (links will be provided for who I use)
  • Recycle & Re-use containers

For most of your preparations the supplies you will need on hand are quite basic and once you purchase or acquire them, you can get a lot of use for quite a long time out of them!

  • Quart Mason Jars, Pint Jars, Recycle sauce & salsa jars**
  • Amber or Blue 2 oz. bottles with droppers
  • Labels
  • Strainer OR Cheesecloth
  • Herbs (of course)
  • Liquid of Choice (Alcohol, Glycerin)
  • Beeswax, Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Almond oil, Apricot Oil, Oils of your preference, clays
  • Cheesecloth or Muslin for compresses
  • Capsules (capsule maker-inexpensive, will provide links)
  • Honey, Vinegar
  • Re-fillable tea bags OR Tea Spoon/ball

Image source

Now lets look at various basic Preparations for Internal Use…

Preparations for Internal Use

Glycerites

Glycerites provide an alcohol-free alternative to the popular tincture in which the herbs properties are extracted with alcohol.  Glycerine is used to create a Glycerite…the Glycerine extracts the herbs medicinal properties instead of alcohol.  Glycerin has a syrupy consistency and is sweet, but does not affect the blood sugar like honey/sugar can.

There are two types of Glycerin; one derived from animal fat, a by-product of soap making and the other is derived from vegetable oil.  Animal fat Glycerin is sold in Pharmacies, vegetable oil Glycerin can be found at Natural Food Stores.  Be careful, there is also a petroleum Glycerin becoming more and more available!

Average dosage for Glycerite: 30 drops or ¼ tsp. to ½ dropper-full.

Dosage should be diluted in water, tea or juice as irritation may develop.  Glycerites are not as potent as tinctures and are more expensive than teas.

They are easy to prepare and make other preparations from such as syrups.

Capsules/Pills

Capsules or pills release their herbal contents in the stomach as they dissolve.  They provide an easy way to take herbs without the bitter aftertaste.

They are slower acting and generally less potent than tinctures.  But armed with a variety of intake can be an excellent addition to your arsenal come cold/flu or allergy season.  Hit illness with all fronts, I say!

Pills are more convenient when feeling really, really ill as they do not require preparation such as teas would.  They are also easily portable to work or school so you would be able to keep up with your remedies on the go.

After purchasing empty capsules and a capsule maker, your Herbal Capsule selection is only limited by your creativity…not your herbal/whole food store of choice’s availability!

The typical capsule is comparable to half a cup of tea or 1/6th of an ounce of herbs.

Syrups

A syrup is a tincture, liquid extract, glycerite or sometimes even a very strong tea.  All are normally sweetened with sugar, honey or glycerin.  I prefer honey for the added benefits honey brings to the table, however if you have issues with your blood sugar glycerin would be an excellent choice for you.  Also any preparation made with honey should NOT be given to children under the age of 2)

Syrups make ideal cough syrups as it coats and soothes the throat.

Syrups herbal content can be lower due to dilution, the average dosage is 1 TBSP.

Teas

Teas are the simplest and least expensive way to prepare herbs.  A cup of tea only costs a few pennies.  The typical dosage is usually 1 tsp per Cup and 1 C. 3-4 times a day.  That’s roughly 6-10 cents a day!  Some tea remedies are fever reducing teas and work only when taken as a hot tea because of the heat promoting sweat.  Tea does have certain advantages…forcing you to be still, quiet and relax for the few minutes your are partaking of it’s health benefits.  But it can also be a hard cup to swallow when the herbs that will help you are strong, bitter and foul smelling!

Methods:

Infusion:

Pouring hot water over herbs and allowing to steep for 5-10 minutes either in cup or kettle.  Flower and leaves are the usual herbal ingredients.

Decoction:

Gently simmering herbs in a pot of water for 15-30 minutes. Roots and bark are the usual herbal ingredients here.  Keep heat low and cover with lead to keep all of the essential oils in the tea.

Cold Infusion:

Soaking herbs in cold water for 8 hours or more. Delicate fragrant herbs are used in this infusion.  In this manner they do not lose their essential oils.

Tinctures

Tinctures are a concentrated liquid for of herbal medicine.  A tincture is easy to carry with you, easily to take and needs no refrigeration.  It will keep for years as well.  With tinctures it is easier to take those strong tasting and smelling herbal preparations especially when you need large doses.

Average dosage: 30 drops, ¼ tsp or half a dropper-full.

The liquid medium of choice for tinctures is alcohol which draws out very important properties from the herbs.  It also extracts compounds which are not water-soluble.  Making a tincture requires no heat which means that precious essential oils are retained.

Tinctures are more costly than tea…about 35-40 cents a dose, or a couple bucks a day.  But there is something to be said for convenience!

If alcohol is a concern for you then you can eliminate much of the alcohol by dropping a dose of the tincture into a cup of hot boiling water or tea.  The alcohol will evaporate behind.

Vinegars

Herbal Vinegars are prepared like Tinctures, using vinegar to infuse the herbs instead of alcohol.

Most Herbal Vinegars are made for culinary use, however an herbal vinegar is easy to make and can be used as an additional weapon in your arsenal when combating illness such as sore throat…use as a gargle!  It can also be used quite effectively externally as a hair rinse or skin wash for fungal infections or even perhaps as a douche for yeast and other infections.

Typical dosage: 1-2 tsp.

That concludes our look at Preparations for Internal Use.  Next post we will cover Preparations for External Use and give you a shopping list for your first recipes!

Here are resource links that may help you in gathering ingredients for upcoming preparations…

Resources for Ingredients On-Line

Mountain Rose Herbs

Herbs, Essential Oils, Packaging, Equipment,

Bulk products such as clays.

From Nature With Love

Same as Mountain Rose

Capsule Connection

I suggest 00 size which is smaller, this is what I purchased…0 is a bigger capsule, okay if you are used to taking larger pills.  You can find various capsule machines and empty capsules on Amazon when doing a search…this is just a suggestion.

The Bulk Herb Store

Same as Mountain Rose and FNWL

StarWest Botanicals

Starwest Botanicals is your on-line supply source for bulk herbs and natural products. Dried herbs, organic herbs, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas, organic essential oils and aromatherapy supplies are part of the nearly 3000 natural products to choose from at Starwest Botanicals.

About Kat Yorba: I am a “red-neck country wife” to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way! Connect with Kat on her blog, Simply Living SimplyFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+.

Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit series

Part 1: Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

 

Categories: Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Medical | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

I’m excited to introduce Kat Yorba to the Sherpa family of contributing authors! She will be adding value in the herbal medicine realm – an area I’m weak in but have always wanted to tighten up.

This is her first installment and introduction to a series called Herbal Medicine Kit. Please welcome Kat and check out her bio at the end of this article!

Why Go Herbal?

by Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

As Homesteaders, Preppers and people who just want to eat and feel right….we have learned that “Whole” foods are best for us.  If we nod our heads in agreement with that statement, then why do we continue to use man-made chemical pills, syrups and drugs when we get sick?

The best course of action in my opinion would be the “whole” route…granted the road less traveled, but getting busier everyday!  Your bodies were created to break-down, metabolize and use effectively whole foods, plants, spices and the like….so, let’s look at several reasons why it would be good for us to “Go Herbal!”

  • Herbs are nature made…so they are really and truly natural.
  • We know what’s in them; they have a very small ingredient list!
  • Very inexpensive to grow, harvest, create and use.
  • They work!

I am sure there are many more very good reasons but this is an awesome start!  Let’s take a peek at #2 for a minute: The ingredient list….have you looked at that cough syrup you take, lately?  I have been dealing with allergies this season quite badly…and instinctively reached for a leading name brand allergy syrup to relieve my symptoms.  But lucky for me, I have been on this reading labels kick so I did!  Wow…take a look:

Diphenydramine HCI, anhydrous citric acid, D&C red #33, FD&C red #40, flavors, glycerin, monoammonium glycyrrhizinate, poloxamer 407, purified water, sodium benzoate, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, sucrose.”

Some of the ingredients I actually know like glycerin and purified water, but the ones I cannot pronounce I am quite sure I don’t want in my body!!

Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

Barrel of medicine

Your “Go-to” Herbal Medicine Kit!

The Herbal Medicine Kit 101 – Your Basic First Aid

So let’s create an Herbal Medicine Kit that you can have in your home for any minor medical emergency and everyday aches, pains and illnesses.  The beauty of this kit is YOU make it; so you know what’s in and YOU customize it for you and your family!  This also means YOU can decide how far you want to go in deploying your Herbal Medicine Kit; bit by bit or cold turkey!

Herbal Medicine Kit 101 will deal with just the basics to get us all started.  But look for future postings for information and recipes for specific ailments, and issues that come with the changing seasons.  These posts will help you expand your Herbal Medicine Kit and create a very personalized kit just for you and yours!

What’s In the Herbal Medicine Kit?

Thought you would never ask.  Here’s a run down for you:

Dried Herbs

Herbs we will look at and use in-depth:

Arnica

Lavender

Tea Tree

St. Johns Wort

Yarrow

Astragalus Root

Baptisia Root

Echinacea Root

Comfrey

Calendula

Yellowdock

Grindelia

Goldenseal

Oregon Grape Root

Essential Oils

Essential Oils we will look at and use in-depth:

Lavender

Peppermint

Eucalyptus

Cinnamon

Clove

Marjoram

Chamomile

Lemon

Tea Tree

Citronella

Pennyroyal

Cedar

Rose Geranium

What products will I make?

Aloe Burn Spray

Arnica Tincture

Herbal Compresses

Herbal Healing Salves

Herbal Liniment

Homemade Aloe Vera Gel

Insect Bite Oil & Repellant

Lavender Smelling Salts

Antiseptic Spray

Poison Oak, Ivy & Sumac Past

Ant Bite Remedy

St. John’s Strain & Sprain Oil

Wound Healing Tincture

Yarrow Tincture

Looking Forward

Once a week, Herbal Medicine Kit will be updated with new information ranging from detailed info on each of the herbs and essential oils listed, recipes for the products listed above and fun trivia and pics thrown in for good measure!  I hope you look forward to traveling down the Herbal Road with me…as much as I do!

As we both become more and more familiar with herbs and gain greater knowledge of them I feel confident that we will all find ourselves turning to herbs first in most first aid and everyday illness situations.  I hope you will enjoy and find useful the tutorials (printable too), in-depth descriptions of plants, tips, tricks and recipes that will be a part of this series.

I look forward to learning with you!

About Kat Yorba: I am a “red-neck country wife” to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way! Connect with Kat on her blog, Simply Living Simply, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

 

Categories: First Aid, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Natural Health | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Using the Humble Onion for Colds and Coughs

Many times we get comments from our ‘Commentistas’ that are so value-adding that I have to share them in a blog post. The Herbal Survivalist constantly adds value to the readers of this site and the followers at The Herbal Survivalist Spot. Here’s a homemade cough and cold syrup recipe that she shared this morning using onions! One of my favorite eats.

onions

Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup with Onion and Honey

by The Herbal Survivalist

It comes from a book I mentioned briefly before called 10 Essential Herbs by Lalitha Thomas. This is a rare (I believe because it’s out of print) book from 1996 that my mother-in-law stumbled upon somewhere. It’s very interesting because Lalitha is not a “certified” anything when it comes to herbs, but it’s clear as you read through the book that they are very much a part of her daily life and that her own personal study and use of herbs is extensive. Personally, I’m very happy to read a book by someone who doesn’t have letters after her name but has devoted much of her life to learning a craft, and Lalitha is incredibly skilled at communicating how to use herbs in a down-to-earth way for anyone who is just learning. I love this book in particular because it focuses on 10 easily acquired herbs (cloves, chaparral, cayenne, comfrey, ginger, garlic, onion, peppermint, slippery elm and yarrow) and shows you how to treat almost anything with only these 10 herbs. Amazing!

This recipe I’m sharing comes from her chapter on Onion, which I confess I had sort of skipped over at first to read the other chapters on more “interesting and useful” herbs. The laugh is on me, because when I finally got around to reading about the humble onion, I was astounded at how useful it is! I made this recipe in 20 minutes yesterday while puttering around the kitchen making other things and Abbie and I have been using it since then. It seems to be keeping her coughing to a minimum, as well as helping to ease my sore throat and minimizing my stuffiness. I feel like it’s helping to decongest my sinuses, which is such a relief, even if it means I’m going through tissue by the boatload.

Ingredients:
1 cup freshly chopped onion

About 1/2 cup raw honey

Plus any of the following (optional):
1 tsp. Cloves (whole or powdered)- specifically good for pain relief

1-2 Tbsp. Comfrey or Slippery Elm (dried or powdered)- Comfrey is particularly good for healing, and Slippery Elm has more of a reputation for soothing and coating the throat

1-2 Tbsp. fresh chopped Ginger root OR 1 tsp. Ginger powder- Ginger increases warmth, circulation (important for healing) and the overall effectiveness of the syrup

**You can include all of these optional herbs, but at a maximum of 2 Tbsp. extra herbs total

Directions
Put chopped onions and any herbs of choice into a small stainless steel or glass pot (not alumnimum). Add enough honey to cover the onions ( for me, this seemed to be about 1/2 a cup, though I didn’t measure exactly).

Turn the pot on low heat and slowly simmer. The honey will soften and become liquidy, and you want to keep the temperature very low while allowing the herbs to steep in the honey. It’s best to keep a lid on to help keep all of the medicinal properties of the herbs in the syrup, and just take the lid off to give it a quick stir every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn at all (though the temp. should be low enough to prevent this).

Give it 20 minutes of simmering, then remove it from the heat. Strain the onions and herbs out and store the remaining honey (which might have flecks of herb in it and this is fine) in a small glass jar with a lid and keep it in the fridge.

The syrup can be used as often as needed, up to every half hour. Here are the dosages:

1 tsp. for a younger child

1 Tbsp. for anyone 10 years and older

While we’re on the topic of using onions medicinally, I thought I should mention another use I learn yesterday. A commenter said that when her children are sick, she puts chopped onions in a small bag around their neck when they go to bed and in the morning, they wake up well. First I had ever heard of it, but I’ve heard stranger things. Wouldn’t you know it that later yesterday, as I was reading about onion in the book, I read that breathing the fumes of an onion will help with congestion from a cold or other illness!

Since both Johanna and I have been plugged up lately (her more at night, me all the time) I decided to chop a large onion into chunks and put it in a bowl on the night table near where we both sleep. I couldn’t quite bring myself to actually put it in bed with me, but I could still smell it, for sure! Well, last night was the best sleep I have had in a few nights and the first time that I woke up without feeling all plugged up! Three cheers for the onion!

Adult recipe additions

These additions are to be used by only an adult 80lbs or over
Herbs to add:
Cumin 1/4 tsp nutrition
Cayenne 1/8 tsp for heat diaphoretic
Slippery elm bark powder 1/2 tsp nutrition demuculant
Thyme 1/4 tsp strengthen immune system

After straining onions and syrup take warm onions in a press or potato ricer and press juices out into the honey. This is the consent rate. The good stuff.

For more great tips and helpful herbal remedies, The Herbal Survivalist provides free info and recipes at The Herbalist Survivalist Spot. Also consider ordering her e-book “Herbal Survival and First Aid” here

As always, thanks for stopping by – and follow me on Twitter if you’d like: @SurvivalSherpa.

 

Categories: First Aid, Frugal Preps, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Natural Health | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Preparedness priorities: First aid, part II

First aid.  This area of basic preparedness is covered well over at Living Freedom (Clair Wolfe’s blog). Also, be sure to check out an excellent article over at Backwoods Home Magazine by Clair on the importance of other people in our preparedness plans!

Preparedness priorities: First aid, part II

Friday, November 9th, 2012

This is another guest blog from Will Kone, aka BusyPoorDad. His first installment is here.

—–

What are the minimal items to have in a first aid kit?

We have all seen the ads, heard the sales pitches, wallowed in the fear-mongering marketing. “You MUST have this special kit! Your life depends on it!” Which is why companies who sell specialized first-aid kits feel they have to charge so much for stuff they sell. After all, it must be great, it costs a whole lot!

I have nothing against making money selling stuff. And there is value in having someone else doing the work of assembling it for you. But I’m not made of money and I doubt the person I am seeing when I write this is either. I’m a practical guy, and want the lowest price, but highest quality, goods. With that in mind, let’s look at the minimum you want when building a first-aid kit.

First off, what do you know? Are you Dr. Bones or Nurse Amy? A Paramedic? Boy Scout? A fan of House and Grey’s Anatomy? If you have never taken a first aid class, your kit should be a lot smaller than the kit for the ER Doctor. (If you have not taken a first aid class, do that. This assumes you know the very basics.)

Second, who is this kit for? Many commercial kits [Ed note: especially those intended for the SHTF prepper] seem to be marketed towards either the single warrior in the middle of a combat zone alone or the Special Forces Medic trying to care for a battalion from a back pack. This scares off the new prepper. Medical kits seem like some mystic bag of equipment that needs massive training to assemble and use.

They are not.

The most basic need for a kit is one that a person can use on someone else. My home has five people in it. The kit I have today is five times bigger than it was when I was single. Since you are going to use this kit, it should contain items you know how to use and you should have a good idea who you would most likely use it on.

Third, apply a risk assessment. The actual risk assessment is beyond this article, [Ed note: maybe medical risk assessment is a topic for another post; general disaster risk assessment MJR covered here recently]. Odds are, you will say to yourself, “Odds are I will most often need to deal with minor scrapes and cuts.” If you don’t cut your own wood, you are not likely to have a chainsaw accident. If you make your own soap, you are more likely to encounter burns or chemicals.

Lastly, you need to consider how available help is. First aid does not fix a major problem. If you cut off a hand, you are not going to pull something out of that expensive kit that will re-attach it. A large cut, cracked bone, some burns, heart attack, etc. can only be “fixed” by serious medical attention. First aid, and later emergency medical care, are aimed at keeping the problem from getting worse till you can get to a doctor or other medical provider.

Sure, there are people who can re-set that bone and cast it with a toothpick and duct tape. I’m not that person and have only heard about them.

Your starter kit should be enough to help you take care of an injury till help can arrive or you get to the help.

Read the rest here

Categories: First Aid, Preparedness | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Regular Guy Strategy: Escaping Prepper Prison

I read lots of folks lamenting over family and friends who don’t embrace prepping. I can’t blame them. Images of being holed up in an underground bunker, sleeping on a canvas cot, crapping in a coffee can doesn’t appeal to them. Me either.

Even though it’s going more mainstream, “prepping” is prison. You feel shackled. You can’t tell anyone you’re storing extra food, bullets, or even band aids. If we don’t observe OpSec (Operational Security) we get labeled “prepper”, “survivalists” – or even worse, extremist. We wake up in a puddle of sweat worried that we’re not ready for TEOTWAWKI and TSHTF because we’re not living off-grid in the boonies with three years of food storage, fuel storage, and the latest weapons. We’re scared to build community – afraid to blow our cover. It’s that OpSec thing again.

Welcome to Prepper Prison. The bars and razor wire are in our minds and souls. Fear rules. Doom and gloom is upon us! The experts tell us how to get ready. What to buy. Skills to learn. Books to read. Where to move. Lists to make. Here’s a news flash: We’ll never be completely ready. You might possess expert knowledge in one area, but no person can do it all. Don’t underestimate the importance of community in making your jailbreak.

I began tunneling out of my cell last month. I felt like “Andy” in Shawshank Redemption. He was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He finally quite accepting the institutional ‘authorities’ plan for his life. He planned his escape. He had lots of time and a will to be free. His tools of freedom were a rock hammer, a pin-up poster, and his fellow inmates – “Red” in particular. Pressure and time did the rest. It was a simple choice: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” He chose living.

I often wonder if I’m good enough. Do I have enough stuff to get me through the next two inches of snow? Don’t laugh my Yankee friends. We shut down around here with a light dusting. A run on bread, milk, eggs, and PBR soon follows.

With Dirt Road Girl not working, we’ve slashed our survival supplies. Honesty is a crazy quality. I’m the first to admit I’m no guru at preparedness or self-reliance. I’m just a regular guy trying to become as self-reliant and prepared as humanly possible. Compared to preparedness experts, and I’ve read many of their books, I don’t even come close to being ready. I don’t own any night vision goggles or fancy optics for my guns. Would those be cool to own? Sure. I just don’t have $3,000.00 extra fiat dollars lying on top of my stash of gold bullion. Dang, I forgot OPSEC! There is no gold in my underground bunker. Now that we are in Great Depression II, I’m guessing many are a little short on money to buy what the ‘experts’ recommend. So I thought I’d share my Regular Guy Preparedness Plan.

1.) Build community. This is a freebie. It cost some time, but that’s it. Building relationships in the community is the most important, yet it’s a glaring weakness of mine. A lone wolf will always object to this strategy. I realize the importance of flying under the radar. Uninvited attention is bad. I got that part. It’s just so anti-me in the other compartments of my life. I’m very social. So are we stuck with the YOYO (Your Own Your Own) method of survival? Not hardly. Retreating to the jungle to live off the land is so Hollywood. Stop the fantasy.

Is mediocre good enough? I hope so. I’m a serial multi-tasker – read mediocre at lots of stuff. I’m also well aware that I can’t provide all that I need for long-term survival. I’m below average at first aid and medical skills. I’m not going to spend time trying to become a combat field doctor or a RN. I’m not that interested in the field. For those that are, great! For our immediate group, we have someone who is medically trained. Then there’s that motor head cousin of mine that can rebuild an engine blindfolded. Not me. I can do the basics. There are other areas that need to be shored up in our group. That’s where building community comes in. But how?

Here are some places to network, build community, and plan your prison-break.

  • Local meet up groups. Face to face and local is both real and productive.
  • Family – if possible. This one is often times the hardest to penetrate in many cases. This is whispered at some Thanksgiving dinners – “Okay sweetie, stay away from crazy Uncle Henry. He totes guns and raises chickens in his yard.
  • Local farmers markets and food co-ops. Buying local builds community.
  • Gun/hunting/hiking/outdoor clubs. It’s easy to bring up preparedness speak with folks sitting around a fire eating beans and sipping rot-gut coffee or bourbon. “Man, what if we had to do this for more than a long weekend?
  • Church, school, and work. Like fishing, you have to go where they are to catch them. Even then, they don’t always take what you offer.
  • Internet prepper groups: Wolfe Blog, Prepper Groups, American Preppers Network, Alt-Market, A.N.T.S. (Americans Networking To Survive). Be wise about sharing personal info until you establish trust. Face to face meetings can follow when both parties are ready. I know, it sounds like online dating.

2.) Regular Guy Skills. People tell me I’m handy – right before they ask me to do stuff for free. I like adding skills to my toolbox. I’m best at those that I enjoy and interest me. You probably are too. Skills don’t cost much, but offer a great return on my time. Here are some Regular Guy Skills I find helpful and relatively cheap:

Chemistry: The most overlooked skill in survival. I’d like to recommend “Caveman Chemistry” by Kevin M. Dunn. Mr. Dunn offers 28 projects to help you become a producer, more self-reliant, and a cool science nerd. Want to make your own mead, gunpowder, soap, pharmaceuticals, and plastics? Get the book.

Build stuff with your hands. If you already do this in your day job, start reading the book above. Or try this one: Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World. Read broadly to stretch your mind outside the preparedness world. Diversify.

For those that are trapped in cubicle hell, find little things to do around the house to shrink that honey-do-list. Make your own gear. Learn to restore and sharpen an axe or other bladed tool. Here’s an old adze I restored last month.

Treating an adze I found at a flea market

I recently made a cedar bench for Dirt Road Girl with pioneer hand tools – I did cheat and use my chainsaw twice. I ended up building a shaving horse in the process. Another useful bonus tool created from this bench project.

Make stuff with paracord.

Learn to sew. Check out my wool hunting shirt I made from a 20 dollar, 100% wool army blanket.

More Dave Canterbury inspired gear

Stock your toolbox. You can pick up pioneer tools and other off-grid hand tools cheaply at yard sales, estate sales, Free Cycle, thrift stores, and grandma’s attic. I like new stuff as long as it’s old. I bought a set of bits and a brace from a guy off the side of the road for $10. The local antique malls charge $25 to $45 for these items. If you buy nice, you only buy once. Avoid cheaply made junk.

Bits for my brace

What’s on your wall?

Wish these were mine. Shot these at the Foxfire Museum this summer.

3.) Regular Guy Priorities. I use conventional wisdom from experts when preparing for SHTF sometimes. Chew on the hay, spit out the sticks. Other times I kick conventional wisdom to the curb. I’m unorthodox. For instance, I don’t store a lot of wheat. Your kidding, right!? No. It’s not something I eat. The experts tell me to stock things that I use in my eating plan now and practice cooking from my food storage. I stock stuff I eat. There’s logic for ya.

I write IEP’s (Individualized Education Plan) for students with special needs. Preparedness should be no different. Each of us should write our own IPP (Individualized Preparedness Plan). There so much information out there that most folks have no idea where to start. Avoid information overload by starting with your unique, individual situation. Throw out the cookie cutter books and build your own IPP. Priorities for your family will differ from our family (ex: environment, finances, mindset, fitness level, diet, health, spirituality, location, etc.).

Start with the basics: water, food, shelter, and a way to protect yourself. This is enough material for an article all to itself. I’ll try to keep it short. Develop your IPP based on your individualized needs. I hope I’m preaching to the choir about self-defense. If you’re not comfortable owning evil guns, develop a plan to defend your family with other tools. Guns are simply tools by the way. No different from your Smart Car, garden hoe, or blender. Your faith may be a roadblock to owning these fine tools. If so, check out Kathy Jackson’s article tackling Christians and Passivism.

If you’ve got a spring or well on your property, water is less a priority than someone who lives in the Arizona desert. My point here is to keep ringing the individualized bell. Break the mold. Be yourself. Prepare for yourself and the unique needs of your family… no matter what the experts tell you. To assume their plan will work for you and me is dangerous and costly. Think. For. Yourself.

Look, I just gave you the best advice ever. Does that make me an expert now?

Doing the stuff,

Todd

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, DIY Preparedness Projects, Economic Collapse, Firearms, First Aid, Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Self Defense, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Potassium permanganate: The Most Useful Survival Chemical

Today’s post is reprinted with permission from Urban Survival Podcast hosts Aaron and Jonathan who are two city boys with a lifetime affinity for the outdoors, but a love of the city, passion for survival topics, and Libertarian Ideals. Check out their site In The Rabbit Hole with a focus on the things that matter most: What’s likely to happen. Then preparing for it in a rational and productive way.

Refreshing vision gentlemen! If you believe an alien invasion is eminent, their site isn’t for you. If you want help prioritizing your steps to preparedness for life’s curve balls, then you’ll find sound advice.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

__________________________________________

Source: In The Rabbit Hole

by Aaron Frankel on July 28, 2011

Potassium permanganate sample full 300x196 Potassium permanganate: The Most Useful Survival Chemical

When people think about survival tools, chemicals are usually not one of the first things that come to mind. Potassium permanganate should though.

Also known as KMnO4, Condy’s Crystals and permanganate of potash, Potassium permanganate is a jack of all survival trades.When it comes to survival, the more you know, the more you can do with less. Like wilderness medicine, it also often becomes about improvising with less than ideal tools.I first learned about the usefulness of this chemical while watching a Survivor Man episode titled Sonoran Desert. In the Sonoran Desert episode (Season 1 Episode 2), Les Stroud demonstrates how mixing Potassium permanganate and glycerin will start a chemical fire. Intrigued, I did some digging.

Turns out it’s not just good for making fires. It’s also good for:

  • Purifying water.
  • Creating an antiseptic solution.
  • As an anti-fungal treatment for the hands and feet.
  • As a cholera disinfectant
  • Treating canker sores
  • Marking snow as an emergency signal.

Proceed with caution, however. The information provided in this article is intended for emergency situations only. Caution should be exercised when using any of the following information.

Potassium permanganate will start a fire when mixed with a couple of different compounds. Glycerin is the most common, but antifreeze will also do the trick. Antifreeze seems to create a reaction that is a little more violent. Be very careful when using either. The reaction is not always immediate. It can take several seconds for the reaction to start a fire – let it be.

Read the rest here

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, First Aid, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Water | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Herbal Tinctures from Lawn Weeds

[SS Note: Plantain is my go to herb/weed for all stings/bites and poison oak rashes. I simply chew it for a few seconds and secure it on the effected area with tape, band aid, or whatever is available. Instant relief!]

Source: Catastrophe Network

We, like most of the country, have been experiencing drought the past few weeks, so the lawn hasn’t been mowed in a some time. While the grass is dead, there are several weeds (herbs) that are thriving. Two of them that I have identified are of course plantain and yarrow. Today, I decided to make a tincture out of those beneficial herbs before I mowed the grass and destroyed them all. To do this, I picked a quart jar full of each kind of herb and then dropped them in the food processor with a little vodka. After pulverizing them, they now fit in a nice little pint size jar, which I then filled to about a quarter inch from the top with vodka. In a few weeks, or maybe a month or two, I can strain out the pulverized leaves and I will be left with a very potent herbal tincture of plantain and yarrow.

Plantain tincture can be applied externally to:

  • Act as an antidote for stings, bites, poison ivy, etc.
  • Stop bleeding and promote healing
  • Pull out puss, slivers, dirt, etc. from wounds.

Plantain tincture can be taken internally by putting a few drops of tincture in water and drinking it to:

  • Serve as a general antiinflammatory and antiallergenic
  • Heal urinary tract infections

Yarrow tincture can be applied externally to wounds to quickly stop bleeding or taken internally by putting a few drops of tincture in water and drinking it stop bleeding of the digestive system, such as a bleeding ulcer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Plantain
Yarrow
Categories: Bushcraft, First Aid, Frugal Preps, Herbal Remedies, Medical, Preparedness, Primal Skills, Self-reliance, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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