Herbal Remedies

Product Review: Seneca Herbal Black Salve

by Todd Walker

I was made aware that the ground I walked upon, was the very medicine of the Earth. ~ Kevin W. Luce

We often get comments and emails from folks wanting to advertise their product(s) on our site. Since we don’t allow advertising, if the product seems to be something that would add value and be useful to our readers, I’ll give it a try – and an honest review.

For instance, after our first post in our Herbal Medicine Kit series, Ben left a comment asking me to review an all-natural healing and drawing salve his family makes. I agreed, and I’m glad I did.

A few days later I received a jar and their brochure.

review_seneca_herbal_black_slave
After three weeks of using Seneca Herbal Black Salve, I’m pleased with the results!

History of Seneca Herbal Black Salve

The brochure states:

The salve was developed by Myrtle Peterson (also known in the Seneca language as ‘Gayanose’) while she was studying herbal medicines in Olean, New York. Myrtle was a Seneca Native American know for being a Hawk Clan Mother, member of the Seneca Government, and on of the authors of the Seneca Dictionary. Myrtle was also a renowned herbalist, authoring various books and pamphlets on local herbs and their uses.

Made completely from natural herbs, the salve can be used for:

  • Healing open sores and skin ulcers caused from Diabetes, Sebaceuos Dermatitis, and other conditions.
  • Soothing skin rashes caused from diapers allergic reactions, and plants (poison ivy!).
  • Healing minor cuts and burns.
  • Helping with eczema and scaly skin diseases.
  • Drawing irritants our of the skin, such as slivers, metal shavings, and glass particles.

Directions for Use

  1. Apply a generous amount of salve on affected area.
  2. Cover with gauze or bandage.
  3. Change dressing 2-4 times per day (or as needed) until area is completely healed.

CAUTION: For external use only. When using this product, avoid contact with eyes. Keep out of reach of children. Do not eat. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.

In 2001 I was diagnosed with skin lupus (cutaneous lupus erythematosus). Thankfully, only my skin is affected – not like the systemic type. Exposure to the sun’s UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays is what triggers flare ups on my skin. This sucketh since I love and spend lots of time outdoors!

The area most affected is my neck.

Over the years I’ve used a prescription salve to treat the rash which is often misdiagnosed as rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema. In an attempt to avoid prescription medications, I’ve tried many natural remedies – coconut oil, tallow, and bees-wax concoction – to help the condition. Eventually the red “butterfly” rash will turn white and flaky and cause scaring if not treated early.

Testing the Black Salve

I tested the salve on two conditions: skin lupus and tick bites.

Lupus test: A few of the lupus spots on my neck had started transitioning to the white, flaky phase. Instead of applying a generous amount as recommended, I began applying a thin layer on the rash. Just enough to cover the area. I didn’t want to walk around with a bandage on my neck.

Over the last three weeks, the Seneca Herbal Black salve has worked to stop the flare ups on my neck and head. It hasn’t cured the condition. But I’ve never had any other natural product work this well. It even appears to help with the previous scaring the rash left in past years.

Tick bite: Another source of skin irritation for me is insect bites – tick bites in particular. No matter how many prevention measures I take, these pesky bugs seem to find me. I’ve been dealing with three bites for two months now.

When bitten, I remove the tick and apply crushed plantain immediately. This takes care of the stinging and itching for a day or two. But the bite takes a long time to completely heal. I guess it goes with the territory of having my skin condition. I’ve had bites take 6 to 8 months to go away completely.

They itch, I scratch, and the cycle continues. So I tried the Black Salve on a bite on my leg as recommended in the pamphlet. After 24 hours, the welt had reduced in size and no longer itched!

I applied another round of salve on the area for two additional days. This bite stopped itching for the first time in two months.

For maintenance purposes, I spread a dab on the ‘butterfly’ rash on my neck daily. Now I’m able to shave the area with ease. The rash is no longer raised and inflamed.

The prescription cream works to a certain degree but I hate to use the chemicals in the tube. For me, the Seneca Herbal Black Salve has become my go-to ointment for my skin.

If you’re interested in ordering for yourself, family, or herbal medicine kit, contact Ben’s family business in Jamestown, NY:

Phone: 716-640-7453

Website: Seneca Salve

Email: sales@senecasalve.com

As I stated earlier, we don’t allow advertising on our site. We do promote products that we’ve personally tested and would recommend to our readers. We have no financial interest in this family run company.

However, I did receive a free jar to try. And I’m so glad I did. I’ll be ordering more. The 2 ounce container sells for $19.95. In three weeks of daily use, I’ve used about a third of the jar.

They also sell a salve for animal use. If it’s anything like the salve I used, it would come in handy on pets and larger animals on your homestead.

If you try it, I’d be interested in hearing your results!

Keep doing the stuff!

Todd

P.S. ~ As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook pageThanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, 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: Herbal Remedies | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for External Use

Part 3 of our Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit series.

by Kat Yorba

What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights. ~William Lawson, 1618.

Spa of Colonial Williamsburg Herbal Experience

Image credit

Welcome Back….

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit!

Today we will be looking at the various external Herbal Preparations!

Only about 6 in all and then at the end of this post I will be sharing basic, foundational Recipes for many of the Herbal Preparations.  These recipes you can build upon and customize for your specific uses.

Here we go…

Preparations for External Use

Aromatic Waters

Scented waters are used to treat many different skin issues ranging from acne to even burns.  Because there is much dilution of the essential oils used, aromatic waters can be applied directly to the skin without an issue.  They can also be taken internally and they are wonderful to use for herbal compresses.  Having a few on hand is a good thing!

Body Oils

Body oils are made from herbs or essential oils, combined with your oil of choice for your specific condition or use.

Tummy rubs are a great way to use herb infused body oils…especially for children who just will not take that nasty tasting herb!

If you add heat-producing herbs such as cinnamon, clove or cayenne to your oil you have a fabulous liniment for rubbing sore muscles and joints.  I use this after a very long day massaging!  Body oils can also be an excellent basis for making creams and lotions!

Compress

Compresses are quick but very effective for many uses:

  • Headaches
  • Bleeding
  • Bruises
  • Muscle Cramps of all kinds
  • Sore Throats
  • To Increase blood flow for circulatory issues

Compresses are easy, remember?!  Soak a soft cloth in any of the following:

  • Strong Herbal Tea
  • Diluted Tincture or Glycerite
  • Essential Oils
  • Aromatic Water

Wring out the cloth and apply to the skin.  Then sit or lay down for a period of time.  While you’re at it, enjoy a cup of Herbal Tea!

Castor Oil Pack

Same as a Herbal Compress above but soaked in Castor Oil which has been warmed.  The cloth is placed on the skin and a warm hot water bottle or hot pack is placed on top.

Herbal Baths

In my opinion, Herbal Baths should be on the front line when it comes to combating illness or stress!!  Lets look at all the components of an Herbal Bath:

  • Herbs; single or a combination
  • Aromatherapy; herbs and/or essential oils
  • Hyrdrotherapy; Hot or Cold and sometimes both

All of these components are extremely helpful in combating illness and stressful situations in life.  Heat from the water relaxes tight and sore muscles and a cold bath will help in the reduction of inflammation and swelling.  The very act of sitting in a bath and doing nothing while allowing warm waters to relax your body and aromatherapy to fill your senses helps your body to let go of stress.  Stress as we know, is one of the most common factors in promoting disease and illness.  Baths nip that in the bud!

Variations on full baths may include foot or hand baths with the additions of essential oils!  Pure bliss if you have been on your feet working all day or working with your hands all day long.

Poultice

Poultices are similar to Compresses, however the actual Herbs or Clays are applied directly TO the skin.  Then the poultice is wrapped with a cloth or bandage.

Usually the herb is pounded or blended (and yes, even chewed) into a sticky paste then spread on the afflicted area and topped off with a bandage.

Clay Poultices use clays, dried/powdered herbs, essential oil and are usually moistened with Herbal Tinctures or a strongly brewed Herbal Tea.

Salve

A Salve is basically a thick herbal oil.  Olive oil is the most common oil base but others can be used as well such as Coconut oil.  Salves are used for many conditions such as:

  • Skin issues
  • Minor bruises
  • Cuts, scrapes
  • Rashes, eczema
  • Swelling
  • Minor Burns

Note: We will be making several of these during the Herbal Medicine Kit Course

The Basic Recipes

These are basic, generic recipes that will guide you as you formulate your own Herbal Medicine Kit.  Feel free to modify, customize and create as you learn and grow in your Herbal walk.

Tincture Formula

1 ounce dried or powdered herbs

5 ounces Vodka or Everclear

Chop herbs, place in clean jar…do not pack too tightly.

It is important for the Vodka to saturate them.  Cover with just enough liquid so they are completely submerged.  Put on a tight lid and store for 2 weeks.  A dark place is fine, shake contents twice daily.  If you used powdered herbs stir with spoon twice daily.

After 2 weeks strain out the herb pulp, compost, and store in a clean bottle in a cool, dark place.  Tinctures will keep for 6 years or longer.

Glycerite Formula

1 ounce herbs

6 ounces glycerin

4 ounces distilled water

Chop herbs, place in clean jar…do not pack too tightly.

Combine glycerin and water; pour over herbs.  Put a tight lid on and store at room temperature.  Shake contents every day to distribute the mixture.  After 2 weeks strain out the herb pulp, compost, and store in a clean bottle in a cool place out of direct sunlight.  Glycerites will keep for at least 2 years.

Herbal Vinegar Formula

1 ounce fresh or dried herbs

5 ounces vinegar, any kind

Chop herbs, place in clean glass jar, not tightly.  Pour just enough vinegar over to cover herbs.  Put a tight lid on it.  If you lid is metal cover with plastic wrap first so the Vinegar does not cause corrosion.  Keep at room temperature.  After 2 weeks strain out the herbal pulp, compost, and bottle in a pretty glass jar.  Herbal Vinegars last for years.

Herbal Pills

Dried or powdered Herbs of Choice

Empty Capsules

Capsule machine

**I will give several recipes for Herbal Pills as this course progresses.

Simply grind or powder your herbs, put into capsules and take as directed!

Body Oil

2 ounces dried herbs

1 pint Oil

Chop herbs, place in clean glass jar, cover with your oil of choice.

Now you need to heat your oil/herb mixture:

5 hours at 180 degrees with either a double boiler on the stove top, oven, electric turkey cooker or Crock-pot-on the lowest temperature or even on warm (my personal favorite).

When done, strain out the herbal pulp, compost, and bottle in a clean glass jar.  Stored in a cool place the herbal oil will keep several months.  Stored in the refrigerator it will keep even longer.

Body oil can be thickened by adding Beeswax, Shea Butter and heating slightly.

Body Oil with Essential Oils

4 ounces Oil of choice

½ tsp (50 drops) Essential Oils

Combine ingredients and your done.

Healing Salves

1 C. Body Oil

¾ ounce Beeswax

8 Drops Essential oils

Combine Body oil and beeswax, heat mixture just enough to melt the wax.  Add essential oils, stir and then pour into clean glass jars.  Let cool.  Stored at room temperature this salve will keep for 6 months.

Herbal Compress

5 Drops Essential Oils

Small bowl of water

Soft Cloth

Add essential oil to water. Soak cloth in water and wring out.  Fold cloth and apply to afflicted area.

Skin Healing Poultice

1 handful of herbs

4 ounces of water

Blend ingredients in blender into a thick slurry.  Spread on wound, holding the poultice in place by wrapping gauze around it.  Leave poultice on wound for 20 minutes to one hour.

Looking Forward

Next week we will be learning about Herbal Preparations for Bites, Stings and Splinters.  This will include in-depth information on Echinacea Root, Lavender and Bentonite Clay.

Preparations we will cover will be an Oil, Poultice and a Tincture!

Shopping List

Lavender Essential Oil

Echinacea Root

Bentonite Clay

Have on hand distilled water

High proof Vodka or Everclear for Tincture

Small Glass Bottle with dropper for storing your oil preparation

*Check last weeks postings Resource List if needed for your supplies

Blessings to you and yours,

Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

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

In case you missed any posts in this series….

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

Part 2: Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for Internal Use

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, 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!

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Categories: Herbal Remedies, Natural Health | Tags: , , | 8 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: , , | 7 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: , , , , | 17 Comments

21 Home Remedies for a Toothache

[Editor's note] I’ve put off getting my bottom wisdom teeth pulled for about 20 years. I had my top two removed 10 years back and had planned to remove the bottom as they look like the x-ray below.

They get sore occasionally. Nothing too bad. DRG will tell you I put up with pain to avoid doctors and pharmaceuticals. I need to schedule an appointment for this ‘elective’ surgery before it becomes emergency surgery at a most inopportune time. Until then, these home remedies will get me through.  

Today’s post first appeared on Survival Life and is republished here with the author’s permission. Check out Joe’s bio at the end of the article.  

By 

impacted teeth x ray

This week I had to write my article a little ahead of time as I will be out of the office for a few days.

I went for an annual cleaning at my dentist and a routine X-ray showed that my lower wisdom teeth had turned sideways and were now completely impacted.

I had put it off long enough and it was finally time to schedule in to get them removed.  I was lucky this time that they hadn’t caused me any pain and have not started to damage my other teeth, but I really started to think and I realized one very important thing…

You can’t schedule a toothache and it never fails that a major toothache hits when it’s late at night and your dentist’s office is closed, or you’re somewhere remote and getting to a dentist any time soon is just not an option.

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of a toothache knows that it is not just your mouth that hurts.

A toothache can be felt in just about every part of your body.  I have had a few so bad that they made me sick to my stomach from the pain alone.

Although in most cases only a doctor can cure the source of the problem, this list of treatments & pain relief remedies should get you through until you can visit the dentist.

It is important to note: If you have a toothache, there is a reason for it and it’s best to have it taken care of by a professional as soon as possible, rather than having it treated at home in hopes that the underlying issue will go away on its own. If it’s infected (if your gum area is swollen), don’t delay in getting professional medical care.

Directions: Apply the below remedies directly to both the problem tooth and surrounding gums unless otherwise directed.

For items that direct you to chew, or for liquids that are to be swished around inside mouth, direct the liquid on and around the sore tooth as much as possible.

Do not swallow liquids. Rinse your mouth and spit them out when done.

  1. Salt Water: Mix a heaping tablespoon full of salt in a small glass of warm water; swirl around inside your mouth for as long as you can, spit out. Repeat as needed.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide: Swoosh a bit of hydrogen peroxide. If the taste is too horrid for you, try diluting with a bit of water.
  3. Alcohol: Swoosh a bit of whiskey, scotch, brandy or vodka. A strong mouthwash that contains alcohol will do the trick too.
  4. Vanilla Extract: Saturate a cotton ball with vanilla and hold in place. Can also use a cotton swab dipped in extract.
    Other extracts that have the same effect are:
    Almond Extract
    Peppermint Extract
    & Lemon Extract
  5. Tea Tree Oil: Just a drop or two will do the trick. You can also add some to a cotton swab and hold in place or add a few drops of tea tree oil to a small glass of lukewarm to warm water and rinse your mouth with it.
  6. Oil Of Oregano: Mix a few drops with a bit of olive oil, then saturate a cotton ball with mixture. Can replace the olive oil with lukewarm water if preferred.
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and hold it in place. Can also try regular household vinegar.
  8. Ginger Root: Take a fresh piece of ginger and chew it a bit.
  9. Garlic: Take a clove of garlic, smash it and apply (settle it inside cheek). You can also mash some garlic with salt.
  10. Peppermint Leaves: Chew on fresh peppermint leaves. You can also dried leaves, just hold them in place.
  11. Potato: Cut a fresh piece of potato (raw, skin off) and hold in place. Can also pound a piece of raw potato, mix in a bit of salt and use the mash.
  12. Lime: Cut a slice or wedge of lime and apply, bite into it if you can to release some of the juice.
  13. Onion: Slice a piece of fresh onion and hold it inside your mouth. The onion needs to be freshly cut (so it provides a bit of onion juice).
  14. Plantain: Chew up a fresh plantain leaf. If you’re too sore to chew, use the other side of your mouth. Once the leaf is macerated a bit apply it to the problem area and hold in place.
  15. Cucumber: Slice a fresh piece of cucumber and hold it over the sore area. If refrigerated, you might want to bring the cucumber to room temperature before using (if sensitive to cold) otherwise a cool piece can be soothing.You can also mash a piece with a bit of salt and pack it around the sore tooth.
  16. Cayenne Pepper: Make a paste with cayenne pepper and water.
  17. Black Pepper: You can use this full strength or make a mix of pepper and salt.
  18. Baking Soda: Take a cotton swab and moisten it with a bit of water, dip it in baking soda (coat the swab really well with baking soda) then apply. You can also make a mouth rinse by mixing a heaping spoonful of baking soda in a small glass of lukewarm to warm water, dissolve the soda then swish the mixture in your mouth.
  19. Cloves: This is remedy from the old timers (my great grandparents), rest a clove against the sore area until pain goes away. You can also use a drop or two of clove oil (BE CAREFUL: too much can be toxic) or make a thick paste of ground cloves and water or ground cloves and olive oil.
  20. Tea: Make a fresh cup of tea then take the used tea bag (still warm) and stick it in your mouth. Careful not to tear the bag. The tannins that are naturally in tea leaves can help numb things.
  21. Ice Pack: Cover an ice pack with a face cloth or towel then hold over your cheek where the problem is. This will help numb things. Make sure that you have some type of cloth between your skin and the ice, otherwise you can severely damage your skin.If that doesn’t work, try the opposite–a hot compress (making sure that it is not so hot as to scald your skin).

Tips

  • If the pain is unbearable and there’s no dentist available, call your local hospital’s emergency room–chances are they have a dentist on call that can treat you (for a fee of course).
  • Try gently brushing your teeth and flossing–this might bring some relief.
  • One old-time remedy that you should not follow is to place an aspirin against the sore tooth.  You will have just as much if not more of an effect by swallowing the aspirin.Aspirin is actually an acid (acetylsalicylic acid to be exact) and placing it directly against your gums or teeth will cause corrosion of your teeth and acid burns on your gums.
  • If the side of your face is in severe pain and it feels like you’re going to lose your mind (I’ve been there, done that)–it could be a sinus infection or an allergy that affects your sinuses rather than a problem tooth (even though it definitely feels like it).Try taking a decongestant or if that is not available, a shower set on the hottest setting may help clear your sinus cavities.This might help relieve things until you get to a doctor. Chances are a prescription antibiotic is what you’ll need to clear up the sinus infection.

    If it is a sinus infection please don’t wait to get it taken care of!  I have permanent damage to my left eardrum from a sinus infection that became so congested it literally burst my eardrum as a pressure relief valve.

Have I missed any of your tried-and-true methods to relieve tooth and gum pain?

Please share it below in the comments section.

Please be aware: These are notes I have collected in my personal life over the years, in my own research as well as tips gathered from my grandparents and great grandparents.

They are not by any means professional medical advice and a trained dentist should always be contacted as soon as possible.

P.S. If you have a toothache it may be in your best interest  to go on a soft food diet until you get to the dentist.

Click here to see what I ate for days after my surgery that has earned a permanent spot in my pantry.

About ‘Above Average’ Joe: 

I am the managing editor of Survivallife.com I am just an average guy with an exceptional passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I look forward to growing with you! Feel free to follow me on facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Categories: Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Medical, Preparedness | Tags: , | 16 Comments

Once Bitten Twice Shy: Taking the Sting Out of Yellow Jackets

by Todd Walker

I’m typing this post with a very swollen left hand.

I’ve always reacted badly to insect bites. While putting up a wooden fence for a friend yesterday, I disturbed a yellow jacket nest in a bed of ivy. One power-packing bugger hit my in the knee. I killed it and ran about 10 feet away. Then one hit my left hand. I hightailed it away from the area. Fortunately, I only ended up with two stings.

One yellow jacket sting to my left hand and one on my right knee - pictured below.

One yellow jacket sting to my left hand and one on my right knee – pictured below.

wasp sting kneeKnowing my reaction to wasp stings, I started walking the yard to find my favorite remedy, plantain leaves. I quickly chewed a few to activate the goodness and applied the greenery on my bites. The plantain immediately worked to relieve the stinging. The painful sting was not my biggest concern. The swelling and reaction worried me.

The Band Aid I used to hold the plantain on my knee lasted all of 3 minutes before coming off. Sweat and Band Aids don’t mix well. I used medical tape from my first aid kit to secure the natural remedy to my hand. I put my gloves on and went back to work.

Now for the unprepared part.

I didn’t have Benadryl in my work/construction kit. Bad move, Todd! I keep antihistamine meds in all my other kits (hunting, backpacking, get home bag, etc.), but failed to pack any in my construction kit.

Had I been stung multiple times, a hospital/doctor visit would have been necessary. Dirt Road Girl gave me Benedryl when I got home that afternoon with an added dose of lecturing about my not being prepared. My wasp encounter left me uncomfortable, but could have been worse.

Tips to avoid and treat stings

1.) Avoidance –  This is the obvious choice. But sometimes you encounter them anyway. What to look for when outdoors:

Photo credit

  • Eastern Yellow Jacket – Yellowish with black bands around its body. Only 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch in length, their smooth stingers, unlike honeybee’s barbed stingers, allow them to inject painful venom in victims multiple times.
  • They build underground nests in cool, shaded areas.
  • When disturbed, their attack zone is about 15 feet from their nest. They will get in your clothes and continue their stinging assault. Steer clear if at all possible!
  • These wasps are actually valuable to have around when they’re not mad at you. Their beneficial in that they kill and eat spiders, caterpillars, and other garden pests. They forage up to one mile from their nest. 
  • They’re fond of sweet stuff. You’ll see them hovering over sweets, meats, and sugary drinks at picnics. Stay away from an area if you notice yellow jackets flying in and out of the ground. 
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, scented perfumes, and ‘girly’ smelling body soap. These strong odors and flashy colors attract wasps and bees.

If you are allergic to stinging insects, take precautions before you have a run in with these dangerous pests protecting their turf! An allergic reaction happens when your body over-defends against the venom.

2.) Treating stings

The key to reducing damage from wasp stings is to treat them as soon as possible.

Immediately after being stung, I started looking for plantain. I applied it as quickly as I could chew it. Even getting it on that soon, my hand and knee are still swollen and itchy.

For folks that are extremely allergic to the venom, I recommend seeking immediate medical attention. Serious allergic reaction symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Slowed speech
  • Tightness in the throat or chest area
  • Fainting
  • Losing consciousness
  • Anaphylaxis

People have died from mass envenomation from stinging insects. If you are aware of serious allergic reactions from venom, have your doctor prescribe epinephrine (adrenaline) injecting devices and carry them it in all your kits, home, and office.

Remedies and treatments for mild reactions from stings:

  • Topical and oral antihistamines work to help reduce inflammation and itching. Scratching the itchy sting site could introduce bacteria into the skin and cause infection.
  • If you have cold presses or ice available, apply 10 minutes on and ten minutes off (repeat as necessary) to help reduce the itching and swelling.
  • Plantain - Where there is no doctor or medical treatment available, I highly recommend plantain (weed – not banana) leaves. Release the juices by chewing or crushing and apply ASAP. Plantain is a common weed found in most places.
  • Apply a clay/mud pack to the affected area. Wrap it with clean cloth or bandage and allow the pack to dry.
  • Meat tenderizer mixed with water to form a paste can be applied to neutralize the venom.
  • Along the same lines, baking soda and water can help heal the sting.
  • Activated charcoal and water will help as well.

Yellow jackets, though small in size, pack a wallop. Take precautions to avoid them, be prepared to treat nasty stings, and don’t let stinging insects keep you from enjoying the great outdoors.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

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Categories: Bushcraft, Herbal Remedies, Medical, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

13 Reasons to Use this Wicked Herbal Remedy

by Todd Walker

What if wicked chickens laid deviled eggs?

That’s probably not going to happen. But then again, Monsanto hasn’t tried – yet.

Either way, here’s a wicked sounding herbal remedy that you should consider adding to your home apothecary.

Witch Hazel

Image credit

Witch hazel is a common flowering shrub found in North America. The witchy name came about by its limbs being used in divining, dowsing, or witching for water. A dowser would use a witching wand made out of a stick or branch of witch hazel to find a vein of water underneath the earth. Finding water by witching is still used today.

This practice was considered witchcraft by some religious folk. Whatever your beliefs on witches and magic, this scary sounding plant actually offers many healing qualities.

Here’s 13 of the wicked good benefits of using witch hazel:

NOTE: Witch hazel tinctures made from the plant can be ingested in small amounts. However, the witch hazel on the drug store shelves contains isopropyl alcohol and should never be used internally.

A.) Acne. The leaves, twigs, and bark of the plant are loaded with tannins which act as an astringent. When applied to the skin they help tighten and dry skin.

B.) Hemorrhoids are a pain in the arse! Witch hazel is one of the main ingredients in Preparation H because it works so well to shrink blood vessels. When the SHTF and your run out of over the counter medication, this herbal remedy will be your bottom’s new best friend.

C.) Sore throat and laryngitis. Gargle with a mixture of WH and cloves to relieve and heal sore throats. Again, NOT the drug store kind!

D.) Teething babies with diaper rash. WH will help sooth both ends of your baby.

E.) Bruises, bumps, and sprains. Soak a cloth with WH and wrap it around a bruise overnight to reduce swelling and discoloration. Test your skins reaction before applying any new herbal remedy.

F.) Bleeding. Minor internal bleeding (ulcers and gums) can be treated with WH. Some doctors prescribe WH to help stop bleeding after surgery when appropriate.

G.) Cleanse wounds and reduce inflammation. On my last tattoo, I asked the my artist what he was applying on my tat. Witch hazel. It works as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Use WH on minor scrapes and cuts on your body.

H.) Diarrhea from stomach flu and irritated bowel. Make a sipping tea with WH. Add some mint for taste.

I.) Itchy skin. From poison ivy to sun burn, apply witch hazel to stop the itching. Bug and spider bites respond well to WH, too.

J.) Shaving aid. WH stops razor burn. Styptic pencils contain astringents and use the same properties found in WH to stop bleeding.

K.) Fever. Apply a damp cloth with WH to the forehead or back of the neck to help break a fever. I’ve never tried this, but lots of people swear by this trick.

L.) Swimmers ear. This one I’ve tried. As a kid, my brother and I spent lots of time in the water and got swimmers ear often. Mama would stick a cotton ball soaked in WH in our affected ear(s) to wick the moisture.

M.) Dry and cracked hands. Though it removes oils, the astringent properties also seal moisture in the skin. Use it on your hands when they begin to show signs of cracking from hoeing on your homestead.

Here are two DiY recipe for witch hazel extract: The Mountain Rose Blog and New Life on a Homestead if you’re interested.

Witch hazel is one of the few remaining American medicinal plants allowed by the FDA in over the counter drugs. Our earliest American pioneers knew the effectiveness of witch hazel for all manner of ailment and illness – even without the Food and Drug Administration’s stamp of approval. And they stocked it in their home apothecaries and covered wagons.

How about you? Got any good witch hazel stories? Share them if you’d like in the comment section.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

This information is solely for educational purposes. IT IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.  I am not a licensed physician, just sharing information, folks. Do your own due diligence before using any herbal remedy.

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Medical, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

A Board Game That Could Save Your Life

As a teacher, the importance of play in learning cannot be overstated. Sadly, we’re not allowed to have fun in government schooling anymore. Interest-led learning is out – Procrustean bed style schooling is practiced.

The Crunchy Mama’s review of Wildcraft! reverses the notion that learning is boring. Whether you’re into survival and preparedness or not, this board game is a great way to introduce kids and adults to the world of wild food foraging. It might even save you one day!

—————–

Wildcraft! board game — an excellent and fun introduction to wild edibles and medicinal plants

BY THECRUNCHYMAMACHRONICLES ON JULY 12, 2013

Good day, friends!  I want to share with you today my review of a board game that introduces children and adults to wild edible and medicinal plants.  The board game is called Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game created by Kimberly Gallagher with herbalist John Gallagher and artist Beatriz Mendoza.  I purchased this game 2 months ago and I receive no monetary benefit by recommending this product to you.

I wanted to write this post because my family is wild about Wildcraft!  I don’t have to twist my children’s arms to play it — they ask us to play it and they have shared their enthusiasm for the game with others (such as Nana and cousins).  Actually, my two oldest realized that they can play without mommy or daddy and play it at least once a week on their own.

Of course, their enthusiasm is not the top reason that I take the time to write this post for you.  The subject of the game, wild edible and medicinal plants, and this terrific approach to learning them is the top reason.  I have written several posts on wild edibles (1234) because I am enthusiastic about fresh, local, nutritious and free food; I desire to share my first-hand knowledge of wild edibles with you because I believe that you might share or acquire my enthusiasm for wild edibles.  I use herbs for health and specific ailments and have done so for the past 6 years or so but I would not call myself an herbalist or herb expert.  Of course, I always want to learn more and I pick up herbal knowledge here and there, as needed.

As with other things of importance in life, I want to teach my children about wild edible and medicinal plants.  My oldest (who is 8 years old as of this writing) can identify quite a few wild edibles and he, like his mother, loves to share with others his wild edible knowledge :)  Wildcraft! board game is a great way to reinforce the things that we have already learned as well as to learn even more.

I’ve created a 3-minute video to introduce you to the game.  It’s here:

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My middle son (age 6) really enjoys the game for the “adventure” of the game, the matching aspect, the cooperation aspect, and, like the Gallagher’s children as explained here, the shortcuts and slides of the game.  I love the fact that they are learning the names and pictures of useful wild plants.  For families who have no or little previous experience with using wild plants, it gives an introduction to the concept that nature provides plants to help us stay healthy, to heal our wounds and ailments and to meet our nutritional needs.  Unfortunately, many children and adults in our “fast food and drug store” culture have never been exposed to those ideas.  For various reasons, many people from that culture decide to pursue a more natural path for their health and well-being.  This game is a terrific help for newbies to learn some of the wild edible and medicinal plants that nature provides.

While I do really love the game, there is one thing that I was disappointed in.  The game does not teach any specifics on how the plants can be used to cure ailments or to fulfill hunger.  One of the top things about eating wild edibles is learning which part of the plant you can eat, at what stage in development you can eat it, and how to properly prepare it (i.e. does it need to be boiled in 3 changes of water?).  Some plants have edible and toxic parts so it is vital that you know those things.  It’s the same with medicinal plants.  You must know which part is safe to use, how to prepare the part, how to use the part (i.e. is it safe to ingest or can it only be applied externally?), and how much to use.  The creators do acknowledge this and have provided a lot of freebies (e-books including a cookbook and a 10-video beginning herbal lesson series) to help you learn how to use the plants to meet your health needs.  I personally went through the 10-video herbal lesson, learned from it and enjoyed it.

The price is $37.00.  For some, that price might seem a bit high for “just a game”.  I certainly  understand.  For our one-income family, it was money well-spent.  We will continue to enjoy playing this game, learning better and better how wild edible and medicinal plants can help us.  And we will continue to learn the deeper learning material offered as freebies including a monthly herbal newsletter.

If you are on the fence about spending that much on a game, here is some great news — they guarantee that you will love Wildcraft! or they will refund your money AND you can keep the game!

Even if you do not have children in your life, as long as you have another person who is also interested in learning wild edible and medicinal plants, I highly recommend that you get and play the game together and, of course, learn and start using the plants in your cooking and for your minor ailments.  Of course, if you are on prescription drugs, you should consult with your physician to make sure that the herbs that you are interested in incorporating into your “medicine chest” will not cause you problems.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, they are sold out of the game.  Their website indicates that they will have more by the fall (2013) and that you can enter your email address to be notified when the game is again in stock and available for purchase.  The space to enter your email address is at the bottom of the webpage.

If you have purchased this game, I’d love to hear what you think of the game!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  If you like what you’ve read, please consider subscribing via email or by following me on Twitter or YouTube (where I upload videos more often than I post on my blog).

Author bio: The Crunchy Mama is a libertarian unschooling mama to three sons, married to her husband since 1998.  They live on their Midwestern homestead of 2 ½ acres with chickens, ducks, dogs and an ever-growing organic vegetable garden.  She is an avid wild food eater.  In general, she’d rather be outside enjoying creation. If you’d like, you can connect with The Crunchy Mama on Twitter @thecrunchymama, YouTube, or on her blog Crunchy Mama’s Urban Homestead.

 

Categories: Herbal Remedies, Real Food, Survival Skills, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

15 Unconventional Uses for Honey

Source: Life Hackery

by Paul

The bee, feared for its nasty sting, comes as an unwelcome visitor in our gardens. People often scamper away when they see the buzzing insect approach their direction. Scary as the bee is, it brings a product enjoyed for its sweet natural taste and its number of alternative uses – honey. As a practical soul, you can make your domestic life a bit more convenient with such a useful item. Purchase a jar of honey and discover all of its benefits.

Honey, aside from being a tasty snack, can be used for a variety of home and health-related applications. With its natural formulation, it is used as a treatment for some illnesses and a vitamin supplement. It is also known to moisturize and disinfect the skin, making it an unconventional moisturizer, antiseptic and antibacterial solution. For years, vegans have used honey to promote good health. Now it’s your turn to reap the rewards in using the bee’s healthy byproduct. Here are 15 unconventional uses for honey.

  1. Skin Moisturizer - Honey, when mixed with eggs and some flour, is an effective skin moisturizer. Best of all, it is gently formulated, so it can be used by people with sensitive skin. Mix four tablespoons of honey with a couple of egg whites and a few tablespoons of flour, depending on your desired consistency. Stir the mixture until it thickens. When the mixture is ready, you can use it as a hand and body lotion or a moisturizing face mask, eliminating the effects of dry skin.
  2. Antiseptic - Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical used for cleaning wounds and helping them heal quickly. Honey happens to contain a good amount of the chemical. It only needs to be released by diluting the substance in water or body fluids. When applied on an open wound, the glucose, contained by honey, is diluted and gradually releases hydrogen peroxide. The substance facilitates your wound’s faster healing. Due to its viscous consistency, it also prevents wounds from sticking to the dressing and the appearance of scars.
  3. Acne Remover - Honey might be a gentle skin moisturizer but it is certainly tough on acne. With constant exposure to the bee fluid, pimples eventually wither and fade. Apply a small amount of honey on the pimply regions of your face. Cover them with adhesive bandages. Soon, your zit attack will be nothing more than a distant memory.

Read the other 12 unconventional uses for honey here.

 

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Categories: Herbal Remedies, Natural Health | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Wild Food Survival: Can I Eat Those Mother’s Day Flowers?

[Editor's Note: After Mother's Day, florists must be taking the day off. So how many of the blooming plants are actually edible? Crunchy Mama (See her full bio below) gives us a detailed analysis of a popular plant that you may have in your yard that's pretty and nutritious. I hope you enjoy the second post in her Wild Food Series here on our blog. Leave her some feedback please.]

Reprinted with permission from  Crunchy Mama’s Urban Homestead.

Gorgeous, Delicious and Nutritious Violets! My Wild Food Adventures Series

BY THECRUNCHYMAMACHRONICLES

I’ve said that ostrich fern shoots are my favorite wild edible but violets are a super-close second.  They are so lovely!  On my property, I have lots of Viola odorata.  Collecting Violets

The young leaves are mild and great in salads.  The flowers are mild-tasting with a hint of sweetness; you can just pluck and eat or gather some for a beautiful addition to your salad or sprinkle on your cooked and plated food.

Violets top my salad In this photo, I have a base of cut-up turnips topped with an avocado slice, tomato slices, garlic mustard leaves, and violet flowers and young leaves.

Here are some close-up photos that I took:

Violet flower Violet leave front Violet leave back

Violets & other plants

In this photo, you see a violet plant growing all by itself and so I just used some scissors to harvest the leaves.   Harvest Violets

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Here is the itemization of the violet:

Identifying Features:

Flowers have 5 petals in a butterfly shape.  They grow as a single flower at the end of the stem.  There is a sharp bend where the flower and the stem join.

Leaves are heart-shaped; the sides often curl toward the juncture of the stem and the leaf.

Roots are fibrous and are NOT edible and actually toxic according to Teresa Marrone.

Time of Year: mid-spring to early-summer for the flowers and leaves (before they become tough from the summer heat)

Environment: Preferably moist soil with some shade.

Method of Preparation: You can eat the flowers and young leaves (lighter green) raw.  You can also cook the young leaves as well as older leaves as you would spinach.

Medicinal uses? Yes! Two Herbal Mamas has a video on how to make an oil infusion with violets. And on their blog they have a post which lists the medicinal qualities of the plant: “Violet…contains saponins, salicylates, alkaloids, flavonoides and volatile oils. The actions of this shy plant are anti-inflammatory, expectorant, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, laxative and stabilizes capillary membranes. Violet contains an enormous amount of Vitamin A. Chew on a violet leaf and spit it out on to your hand. Give the leaf a good rub. You will feel the slippery mucilage contained in this powerful plant. Mucilaginous herbs are moist, and soothe skin ailments and internal mucous surfaces.”


Poisonous look-alikes?  Larkspur and Monkshood– there blooms look similar perhaps to an untrained eye but you can absolutely tell the difference between them and violets in short order.

The larkspur bloom has a long spur on the rear of the bloom.  There are good photos here. The leaves are very different as well.  And, lastly, there are multiple blooms coming from one stem (unlike the violet which is one bloom on the end of the stem).

There are some good photos and information on monkshood here. Again, the leaves are very different from violet leaves; monkshood leaves are palmate while violet leaves are heart-shaped. While the blooms can be the same color as violets AND have 5 petals they are shaped differently.  According to the Wikipedia link at the beginning of this paragraph, “[the flowers] are distinguishable by having one of the five petaloid sepals (the posterior one), called the galea, in the form of a cylindrical helmet; hence the English name monkshood.”

According to Abundantly Wild by Teresa Marrone, you would be wise to collect violet leaves only when the plant is in bloom because the leaves can resemble some poisonous plant leaves.   When the plant is in bloom, it will be easy for you to recognize and gather the correct leaves.

As with anything that you put in your mouth, you need to properly identify the plant. Here are more resources on properly identifying and eating violets:

Green Deane’s Eat the Weeds;

Eating Violets by The Urban Forager (Ava Chin);

Wild Man Steve Brill (great illustrations and close-up photos);

Elias and Dykeman’s Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide (pages 95, 96, 116);

Abundantly Wild by Teresa Marrone;

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Great Lakes Region by Thomas A. Naegele

Author bio: The Crunchy Mama is a libertarian unschooling mama to three sons, married to her husband since 1998.  They live on their Midwestern homestead of 2 ½ acres with chickens, ducks, dogs and an ever-growing organic vegetable garden.  She is an avid wild food eater.  In general, she’d rather be outside enjoying creation.  She can be followed on Twitter @thecrunchymama or on her blog Crunchy Mama’s Urban Homestead.

 

Categories: Herbal Remedies, Natural Health, Real Food, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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