Posts Tagged With: Wildcrafting

Herbal Medicine Kit: Bites, Stings and Splinters

The end of last year we started a series by our friend and Doing the Stuff Network member Kat Yorba called Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit. With herbs and weeds growing crazy this time of the year, I thought it was time to pick it back up and keep learning about herbal remedies. Here’s part 4…

For a refresher, you can check out the previous posts below:

herbal-medicine-kit

by Kat Yorba

Today we begin a 3 part look at Bites, Stings and Splinters.  In the process we will look at many different herbs, essential oils and clays as well as make various herbal preparations.

Ready to get started?? Here we go:

Bites, Stings & Splinters…Oh MY!

OUCH!

One yellow jacket did this damage!

One yellow jacket did this damage!

Summer brings many pleasures…sunshine, long days, playing in the water and…MOSQUITOES!

If those pesky mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your summer fun…fear not, mother nature is here!  Minor bites from mosquitoes and other insects respond very quickly to a wonderfully easy to prepare herbal oil.

 Insect Bite Oil Recipe – Printable!

Click HERE to print

One more recipe for you…courtesy of Frugally Sustainable!

(This is a more advanced recipe for later use) 

Itch Relief Stick

Itch Relief Stick

Ingredients  

-1 ounce (approx. 2 tablespoons) olive oil infused with calendula flowers, chickweed, nettle leaf, lemon balm leaf, plantain leaf, and goldenseal root

-1 ounce (approx. 2 tablespoons) Shea butter

-1 ounce (approx. 2 tablespoons) cocoa butter

-1 ounce (approx 2 tablespoons) beeswax

-1 teaspoon Neem oil

-2 teaspoons essential oil blend (You can use a blend of clove, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, tea tree and/or ginger)

Method

1. Infuse your oil with the herbs.

2. In a double boiler, or small pot, over very low heat slowly melt the olive oil, butters, beeswax, and neem oil.

3. Once melted remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the essential oils.

4. Pour mixture into a clean roll-up or lip balm tube and allow it to cool on the counter overnight.

Notes

-This Homemade Itch Relief Stick contains herbs that have been well-known for their strong antihistamine, analgesic, and antibacterial properties. Not only will this stick stop the itch, but it may reduce the risk for infection!

-The butters act as skin protectors to provide instant relief of itchiness and pain due to all sorts of insect bites and stings.

-This recipe makes quite a bit — approximately 4 ounces of product — so go in with a friend or two and share resources!

Let’s talk about some herbs and essential oils for a bit, to prepare us for our next posts recipe.

Echinacea

Echinacea is native to North America, with most of the research on this King of Immunity Herbs being done in Germany…and it’s early use gleaned from native healers.  Now it is the herb of choice being one of the handful of medicinal herbs that are well-known by the general public.

There are several species of Echinacea that can be used: E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida.  All 3 species can be used and are interchangeable, however E. angustifolia lasts longer after its been dried.

We mainly harvest the root, but it’s common to see medicine made from the aerial portions of the plant as well.  To harvest the roots and obtain the most medicinal qualities, harvest them in the fall after the plants have been growing for at least 2-3 years.  The aerial portions can be harvested in the summer not matter the age of the plant.  Remember when harvesting the aerial portions to leave enough of the

Plant for it to gather enough energy for next years growth.

Without a doubt, Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs today.  With over 300 echinacea products being sold worldwide.  Nearly 400 studies have shown that Echinacea can be used to improve the immune system in numerous ways.  These include increasing activity of three of the immune systems workhorses-T-cells, Interferon and Natural Killer Cells.  Echinacea also destroys many types of viruses and bacteria.  Echinacea even makes cells stronger and more resistant to invasion.

Also known as

Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea angustifolia, Coneflower, Snakeroot, Purple Coneflower, and Blacksamson.

Constituents

The complex sugars of the herb are its immune stimulants. Polysaccharides and Echinaceoside.

Parts Used

The root, leaves, stems and flowers, of Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, or Echinacea pallida.

Typical Preparations

The above-ground parts of the plant are used to make fresh juice, infusions (warm-water teas), and tinctures. The roots are used in either cut or powdered form for capsules, fluid extracts, teas, and tinctures.

Precautions

Use with caution if you are allergic to ragweed.

*Courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

Lavender

Lavender was widely used in ancient Egypt for its fragrance, and it was also a favorite in the homes of Greeks and Romans.  Even its name is derived from the Latin, lavare, meaning “to wash”, because it was used in scented baths.

In Arab medicine, Lavender was used as an expectorant and antispasmodic, while European folk medicine regarded it as essential for healing wounds and as a worm remedy for children.

This fragrant plant is also famous for its wonderful aroma, which is used much in the perfume industry.  It is also widely used medicinally and is a staple of aromatherapy to promote relaxation.

Lavender has been used for centuries as a tonic to ease conditions of the nervous system.  It is a relaxant that calms nerves, relieves fatigue, depression, migraine and tension headaches, nervous exhaustion, irritability and excitement.

Also known as

Lavandula (spp- intermedia, pendunculata, officinalis and angustifolia) English lavender, Broad-leaf Lavender, Grande Lavander and True Lavender

Constituents

Essential oil containing borneol, camphor, geraniol, and linalool, also coumarins, caryophyllene, tannins, and other antioxidant compounds.

Parts Used

Flowers.

Typical Preparations

Teas, tinctures, and added to baked goods. Cosmetically it has a multitude of uses and can be included in ointments for pain and burn relief.

*Courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

Bentonite Clay

What is it? Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays. Bentonite can be used externally as a clay poultice, mud pack or in the bath and, in skin care recipes. A good quality Bentonite should be a grey/cream color and anything bordering “pure white” is suspect. It has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odorless and non-staining. The type of bentonite offered by Mountain Rose herbs is a Sodium Bentonite.

How does it work? Bentonite is very unusual in the fact that once it becomes hydrated, the electrical and molecular components of the clay rapidly change and produce an “electrical charge”. To state it another way… “Bentonite is a swelling clay. When it becomes mixed with water it rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge.

Where does it come from? Bentonite clay is sedimentary clay composed of weathered and aged volcanic ash. The largest and most active deposits come from Wyoming and Montana. (Mountain Rose Herbs stocks a Wyoming variety).

How is it manufactured? Bentonite is usually quarry mined from deposits that can range anywhere from 100 feet to several thousand feet. This depends on the health and vitality of the land it is processed from and how far a producer will go to find the right clay with the proper characteristics and consistency. From here it is mined from the earth and brought out into the sun to remove excess water and moisture and, to make it easier to work with. After the initial drying begins the final transformation. It gets processed (ground) with huge hydraulic crushers and it then goes through the final process of micronization, or “fine granulating”. This is usually done with the assistance of sophisticated and expensive granulators. Upon completion of this final process it gets inspected by a quality control team and is sent off for consumer use.

Recap:  Today we learned a bit about Bites and Stings, how to make an Insect Bite Oil and another wonderful recipe by Frugally Sustainable for later use!  We also learned about Echinacea, Lavender and Bentonite Clay.  Information provided is of general nature, there is much…much more out there to learn!

Looking ahead:  Next post we will be learning further about Bites and stings, learning what a Poultice is and how to make one, learning what a Tincture is and how to make one.

Reminder:  Have on hand Echinacea root and Vodka/Everclear, Lavender Essential Oil, Bentonite Clay, containers for all your remedies.

Blessings to you and yours,

Kat

———————————————

About Kat Yorba: Hi, I’m Kat. I’m a wife, mother, friend, massage therapist, writer, gardener, and child of God. I LOVE coffee, chocolate, essential oils, good books, cats, motorcycles, guns, drag racing and living in the USA! 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+.

Kat’s Printable Resources:

Herbal Medicine Kit-Bites, Stings, Splinters part 1

Link for Insect Bite Oil

Herbal Medicine Kit-Bites, Stings, Splinters part 2

Poultice Link

Link to Echinacea Tincture

Herbal Medicine Kit-Bites, Stings, Splinters part 3

Link to Ant Bite/Nettle Remedy

Link to Yellowdock Tincture

Link to Yellowdock Syrup

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Categories: Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Natural Health, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Foraging Feral Food: A Hobby Now ~ A Survival Skill Later

Editor’s note: I appreciate your patience with my blogging absence. DRG and I have been visiting our newest grandson who decided to show up 4 weeks early. I should be posting part 3 of The Pillars of Preparedness series tomorrow. Until then, Tess Pennington has graciously allowed me to republish this article from her site, Ready Nutrition. I’m excited to have a few of my articles on her website now!

Enjoy!

________________

Food Freebies in Your Own Backyard

by Tess Pennington

This article originally appeared at Ready Nutrition and is republished here with the author’s permission.

Even if you live in a city, you might be shocked to find out how much food is available, free for the taking. I’m not talking about shoplifting from the corner store – I’m talking about foraging.

In ancient times, humans were hunter/gatherers.  Gatherers spent the day seeking nuts, berries and edible plants. These items were then turned into a nutritious meal or beverage.

The first rule of foraging is BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE EATING. Foraging can be deadly if you eat the wrong thing.

The best way to learn to forage is to find someone who knows how to find all the best goodies. A teacher can speed the learning curve up immensely, and they are likely to know the best local places to find the items.

Unfortunately we can’t always find a willing instructor. If it turns out that you’re on your own, the next best option is a good field guide with photographs. You can often find field guides geared to your local terrain at hiking and camping stores.  Your local bookstore and Amazon are other good resources. You can buy a more general guide, say, for North America, but there will be a lot of information that isn’t pertinent to your area.

When foraging in an urban environment, you have to be very careful that your finds are not contaminated. They can be contaminated with many different toxins, from pesticides to pollution. You will want to stay away from major roadways and railroad tracks, for example. If you are in farm country you don’t want to be in an area that may be contaminated with animal waste from runoff.

Personally, I strictly avoid mushrooms in my search for wild foods. The edible mushrooms and the toxic ones are very similar in appearance, and not something you want to learn by trial and error, as the error could be fatal. There are many books on the subject that cover proper identification if you are a braver soul.

In the city you can often find fruit trees like mulberries and apple trees.  If it appears that the fruits are not being harvested, ask the owner’s permission and bring a bucket!  In the wild, you can find blueberries, blackberries and huckleberries in great abundance.  These fruits are easily recognizable and a great place to start.

There are many edible greens but none more recognizable than the ubiquitous dandelion. Every bit of the dandelion is edible, from the flower right down to the roots. Pick them in the spring when flowers are still yellow for the mildest flavor.

To get started, make a list of in-season items that are familiar to you. Choose a hiking destination, grab your field guide, bring along some containers and start gathering!

Mother Earth News compiled a brief list of some edible plants that can commonly be found in North America:

Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Chicory (Cichorium)
Curly dock (Rumex crispus)
Dandelion (Taraxacum)
Fiddleheads (various fern species)
Lamb’s quarters, goosefoot (Chenopdium)
Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)
Nettle (Urtica)
Peppercress (Cardamine)
Pigweed (Amaranthus)
Plantain (Plantago)
Pokeweed (Phytolacca)
Purslane (Portulaca)
Seaweeds — dulse, kelp, laver, wrack
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
Watercress (Nasturtium)
“Wild” asparagus (Asparagus officinalis ssp. prostratus)
Wild mustard (Brassica)
Wild horsemint, bee balm (Monarda punctata)

ROOTS, BULBS & TUBERS
Arrowhead, wapatoo (Sagittaria variabilis)
American lotus, water chinquapin (Nelumbo lutea)
Jerusalem artichoke, sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Ramps, ramson, wild leek (Allium tricoccum)
Burdock (Arctium)
Grassnut, California hyacinth (Brodiaea capitata)
Groundnut (Apios tuberosa)
Prairie turnip, Prairie potato (Psoralea esculenta)
Cattail (Typha latifolia)
Camas, quamash (Camassia esculenta)
Chufa, nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)
Sego lily (Calochortus Nuttallii)
Coontie, Florida arrowroot (Zamia pumila)

FRUIT
Wild strawberry (Fragaria)
Red and black raspberry, wineberry (Rubus)
Blackberry (Rubus)
Blueberry (Vaccinium)
Wild grapes (Vitis)
Mulberry (Morus)
Juneberry, serviceberry (Amelanchier)
Chokeberry (Aronia)
Elderberry (Sambucus)
Wild cherry (Prunus)
Wild plum (Prunus)
Gooseberry (Ribes)
Buffalo currant (Ribes)
Persimmon (Diospyros)
Rose hips (Rosa)
Prickly pear, tuna (Opuntia)
Pawpaw (Asimina)

NUTS & SEEDS
Acorn (Quercus)
Beechnut (Fagus grandifolia)
Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
Butternut (Fuglans cinerea)
Chia (Salvia species)
Hickory (Carya)
Pecan (Carya illinoensis)
Pine nut, pinyon (Pinus species)
Sunflower (Helianthus species)
Wild rice (Zizania)

Once you’ve brought your bounty home, be certain to wash it very carefully. Look up instructions specific to the food before preparing it, because wild foods can have some unexpected peculiarities. For example, pokeweed can cause severe intestinal distress if you don’t change the water several times when boiling it.

There is little you can do to become more self-reliant than learning to find your own food in the wild. Today, foraging might be just another of your eccentric hobbies. Tomorrow, that eccentric hobby could save your life.

A few suggestions:

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies

Wild Harvest: Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Author’s bio:

Prepper's CookbookTess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com. You can also connect with Tess on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

Categories: Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Pathfinder Gear Review Interrupted by Randomness

by Todd Walker

Having options and being flexible leads to new discoveries.

This was supposed to be a review of a new piece of gear. But the best laid plans of mice and men tossed a welcomed monkey wrench into my machinery.

I headed out to my proving grounds, an undisturbed slice of heaven in the woods, owned by a good friend. I took my walk-in-woods kit and the new shiny object.

Pathfinders Ultimate Bottle Cooking Set Gen2.

Here’s the shiny object – Pathfinders Ultimate Bottle Cooking Set Gen2.

The plastic bag in the foreground contains Micro Inferno fire starters. A nice addition since we’ve experienced massive raining for a month. Very uncharacteristic in our state.

I gathered tender from hanging dead wood and lit a fire with the ferro rod that came with the kit. I clicked a few pics and went to gather more ‘dry’ wood.

Movement to my right caught my attention. Trespasser was my first thought. Nope. It was my friend’s adult son coming to run off what he assumed was a trespasser.

I’d only met ‘Andy’ once in passing even though I’ve spent lots of time with his dad. Funny how things go that way. But this impromptu meeting proved valuable, for me at least.

We walked down to the fire to rescue it from that ‘dry’ wood. As we stood on a rock in the creek, our makeshift classroom, woods lore took over: wild food foraging, fly fishing, hunting, shaving with a straight razor (may not be considered a bearded woodsman skill – but worthy of manly talk), and all manner of bushcraft.

Our fire was next to the stream Andy had spent his life running. He knew all the freshwater springs feeding the creek – and the location of its edible plants. Bingo!

I filtered some water from a spring feeding into the creek. An unnecessary step according to my new friend who drank from these springs his whole life. I wanted to be safer than sorry. He indulged my added safety step.

With water on to boil, I added pine needles for a cup of tea. Andy jumped from rock to rock across the creek and returned with a single leaf of wild ginger (Hexastylis arifolia) for our brewed concoction. Neither of us had tried the combination of pine needles and ginger. We’re both glad we did this trial-and-error tea. The ginger added a sweetness to the pine needle tea and made it very drinkable.

wild ginger

A wild ginger leaf harvested for DRG to sniff when I got home.

“I wish I could bottle that aroma!” I told Andy.

“You can. I’ve made essential oil from wild ginger for a friend for his soap making hobby.”

Is there nothing my new bushcraft buddy can’t do? was all I was thinking. His dad had told me about Andy’s tinkering skills. He makes beautiful bamboo fly fishing rods (even made a bamboo bicycle), phenomenal  photographer, archer, and now, essential oils from wild plants! And with no institutionalized ‘higher’ education degrees to hang on the wall!

What gives!?

How did he learn so broadly and so thoroughly without those bragging papers professors and corporations and governments say are necessary?

Life changes without notice. It’s random like that. Institutional, factory schooling is rigid. And it stifles, if not completely kills, the natural curiosity encoded in our DNA. Andy immersed his adult life reading what interested him, explored his curiosity, and, as a natural consequence, he’s doing the stuff. Flexibility allows him to stay current on his many skills that give him options.

Options lead to anti-fragility and sustainability.

Talking to smart and interesting people is one of the best educations available. And it’s free!

I never would have known Andy existed if it weren’t for me striking up a conversation and meeting his dad at a dinner party a few years back. Parties are great places to get educated. We became best buds and meeting his son has just widened my scope of things to learn and stuff to do!

On our way out of the nature’s classroom, we picked these for dinner.

chanterelles

Chanterelle – an edible and tasty fungus! Not the green plant.

And the Big Green Egg didn’t let us down…

Chanterelles on the Big Green Egg

Chanterelle on the Big Green Egg ~ with other assorted veggies

The Pathfinder review will be forthcoming. For now, I’ve got chanterelle to dehydrate.

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

As always, if you found this useful, please pass it on to your friends. And thanks to all who checked out our new FB page and gave us a ‘like.’

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, Gear, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Did Adam and Eve Practice Permaculture Before the Fall?

Editor’s note: My good friend over at Durable Faith got my wheels spinning with his article challenging conventional wisdom about farming and gardening. I’ve always grown gardens. Til a patch of earth or prepare a medium for a container garden. Plant in rows, build a fence, water, and harvest. Is there a better way to grow more food with less effort? 

In his article, Durable challenges us to pursue the ancient paths – of permaculture. We might learn something hidden. I know I did. 

Tending the Wild vs. Farming – “ask for the ancient paths”

Conventional wisdom is that mankind has evolved from hunter/gatherers to agrarian societies and that only primitive societies gather …

By the Bronze Age, wild food contributed a nutritionally insignificant component to the usual diet. If the operative definition of agriculture includes large scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organizedirrigation, and use of a specialized labour force, the title “inventors of agriculture” would fall to the Sumerians, starting c. 5500 BCE. Intensive farming allows a much greater density of population than can be supported by hunting and gathering, and allows for the accumulation of excess product for off-season use, or to sell/barter. The ability of farmers to feed large numbers of people whose activities have nothing to do with agriculture was the crucial factor in the rise of standing armies.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_agriculture

So farming progress brought us mono-cropping (potato famine anyone), big cities, and standing armies…Progress indeed…

We know that conventional wisdom is just dead wrong on many items. God’s thoughts are higher (Isa 55:9) than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways.

Let’s take a fresh look at the creation story’s account of the garden

Geneses 2: 8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin[d] and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.[e]14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Clearly, it was God who planted the garden, NOT ADAM. So, he was caring for something that already exists, sounds more like tending perennials than planting annuals.

But then came the forbidden fruit, the fall, the curse, and everything changed.

Gen 3: 17:  To Adam he said “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

So looking at this in english, it appears that when Adam was blessed, he ate perennials in a sheltered river valley, but after the curse he had to work the fields and produce annuals, battling weeds, weather, etc.

But in the Hebrew, the word translated as field (haś·śā·ḏeh) in verse 18 is pretty generically used to refer to all types of land in other places in the old testament.

A few quick examples of other ways the hebrew word haś·śā·ḏeh is translated into english

Ezekiel 20:46 –  forest land
2 Samuel 19:29 – the land
2 Samuel 23:11 – plot of land
2 Chronicles 25:18 – the wild

So then, the curse should not to be interpreted as any dissuasion or lack of permission from eating off wild and forest lands. Adam was certainly not promoted to tilling and dealing with weeds as a result of the fall of man.

In the context of what is being called ”peak topsoil”, scientists are taking a fresh look at the methods of historical indigenous peoples and the line between gathering / optimized foraging / permaculture and what we consider to be active farming has disappeared. It seems that it was the pride of the superior race that looked at gatherers and saw their methods as rudimentary.

In fact, a noted expert observed that :

“The Iroquois could support roughly three times as many people on an acre as contemporaneous Europeans could with their wheat crops.”

So much for our modern superiority of technologically advanced agriculture.

1 Corinthians 1: 27 –  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Jeremiah 6: 16 – This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

As for Durable, I am studying native american soil management techniques and the modern equivalent of optimized foraging referenced by the concept of food forests.

I humbly suggest you do likewise.

http://whyfiles.org/2012/farming-native-american-style/

Related articles

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Gardening, Homesteading, Permaculture, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Slippery Elm Bark and its wonders

A week ago I came down with 24 hour stomach bug with a 102 fever – the day before DRG and I had planned to leave on our mini-vacation. Fortunately it was only a 24 hour bug. The fever broke the next morning and we set sail. The effects of the bug had me pulling over several times for ‘rest stops’ since I had to ‘go’ 6 times on what would have been a 5 hour trip.

That was probably too much info. However, the article below is another example of how nature provides so many avenues for healing our bodies – not only when pharma drugs aren’t available, but in place of the local pharmacy.

Source: Totally Organic

The Wonders of Slippery Elm
 
 
 
 

Traditional Use
Slippery elm was one of the most useful medicinal plants of the American wilderness. Native Americans from the Missouri River Valley used a tea of the fresh inner bark to make a soothing laxative. Among the Creek, a poultice of the bark was a toothache remedy. The Osage and other groups applied bark poultices to extract thorns and gunshot balls. Surgeons during the American Revolution used bark poultices as their primary treatment for gunshot wounds, and a soldier, separated from his company, survived for ten days in the wilderness on slippery elm and sassafras barks. During the War of 1812, when food was scarce, British soldiers fed their horses on slippery elm bark. Nineteenth-century physicians recommended slippery elm broth as a wholesome and nutritious food for infants and invalids, and the tea has long been the herbal treatment of choice for acute stomach ulcers and colitis.

 

How to make a “moc” chocolate milk drink with slippery Elm.

 

The Recipe:
Take 10 oz. Hot Milk
2 tblspns Slippery Elm Bark Powder
1 tspn spoon honey
This can be added to fruit juices and create a freshness / earthy flavor. It adds a healthiness to a good quality fruit juice or add it to a freshly juiced juice e.g. apple celery carrot  or sprinkles some throughout your cereals hot or cold. Watch the difference!!!
So why is it so Great !!!
Slippery Elm was also used by native americans to remove the gamey taste out of their meats. It was also used to gel certain kinds of foods. this is because slippery Elm will absorb almost 20 times its volume and becomes like a liquid oatmeal ( this is also known as a gruel).

Read the rest here

Categories: Bushcraft, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Medical, Natural Health, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Topical Home Remedies the Easy Way

By Tess Pennington
Source: Ready Nutrition
August 2012

What will you do when tubes of triple antibiotic cream is no longer as close as the pharmacy department of the nearest Wal-Mart?

With a little study and preparation, you’ll make your own, of course. I have a child with numerous allergies and sensitivities, so even now, with the commercial salves readily available, I prefer the peace of mind that comes from making my own topical remedies so that I know every single ingredient contained within.

Salves and balms are very simple and can be made in a few easy steps.  They have two basic components – the base and the healing herbs.

Step 1: Create a Base for Your Salve Base

  • Petroleum Jelly – I’m not a fan – if you are going to the effort of using natural non-chemical products, you might want to reconsider a base made from petroleum.
  • Beeswax (not good for people with pollen allergies). Also added to salves to harden the oils more easily. For two cups of plant based oil, use 1 1/2 ounces of beeswax. For smaller quantities of salve: one ounce of oil will need about 1/2 teaspoon of beeswax to harden the salve.
  • Lanolin
  • Plant oil (grape seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil) – these are rich in vitamin E
  • Honey (has the benefit of being a natural antibiotic)

Typically, for a larger quantity of salve, you will use around 1/2 to 1 cup of oil. Keep in mind that you want to use enough oil to cover 1 inch above the herbs while they are heated. Once you have chosen your base, then it is time to select your “herbal medicinal” ingredient or ingredients. (See below for a directory of some commonly found medicinal herbs.)

Step 2: Add the Healing Herbs or Essential Oils

If you have essential oils available you can skip the step for extracting the medicinal qualities from the herbs. Otherwise, use this process to extract the healing properties of the herbs.

  1. On a double broiler, stir the 1 cup of plant-based oil and herb or herbs on low heat for one to two hours, stirring often. Ensure the oil is covering the herb blend. The longer you cook the herbs in the oil, the stronger your mixture will be.
  2. Alternatively, use your crockpot on a low setting to extract the medicinal qualities from the herbs.  In the crock pot the process takes 3-5 hours but the mixture does not have to be tended and stirred.  It takes longer to extract the healing qualities from roots than from leaves.
  3. Using cheese cloth or an extremely fine mesh colander, strain the herbs from the oil. Place the oil back into the top of the double boiler and add beeswax to harden the salve. Stir until completely melted.
  4. Check to see if the balm has hardened sufficiently by dipping out a small amount in a spoon and allowing it to cool. If it is still runny, you need to add more beeswax.
  5. Pour the mixture into a sterile container and add essential oils or vitamin E oil (if desired), stirring well.  Store in a cool dry place.
  6. Always test a skin patch before wide use, and then, if there is no reaction, most salves can be used as needed several times per day.

Using the directions provided above many different salves can be created. Try some of the following combinations or refer to the 30 Most Popular Herbs for Natural Medicine for more examples of herbs that can be used medicinally.

  • Aloe Vera and Vitamin E – great for burns and sunburns
  • Calendula and Comfrey – soothing for rashes, burns and minor irritation
  • Aloe Vera and Vitamin E – great for burns and sunburns
  • Goldenseal, Comfrey and Echinacea – antibacterial
  • Black Walnut, Burdock, Echinacea and Tea Tree Oil – fungal infections
  • Eucalyptus oil and Camphor oil – Chest rub (like homemade Vick’s)
  • Arnica Flower – sprains, sore muscles and bruises
  • Tea tree oil and Lavender oil – antibiotic
  • Chamomile and comfrey – soothing for rashes and insect bites
  • White willow bark – mild analgesic

One day you may be looking to nature for your pharmaceuticals.  As well, consider planting the herbs (many of these are perennial) and/or locating places in your area where they grow wild. Do some research – find out what bounty nature provides in your locale and find out how the items can be used in your natural medicine cabinet.

 

For more homemade salve recipes, click here.

 

Author: Tess Pennington
Web Site: http://www.ReadyNutrition.com/

Date: August 3rd, 2012

Related Categories: Featured, Homesteading, Medical Emergencies, Natural Alternatives, Recipes

Categories: First Aid, Frugal Preps, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Medical, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival Skills, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Edible Wild Plants – Sassafras

Source: Sensible Survival

DISCLAIMER:  Don’t believe anything I or any body else tells you about edible wild plants.  Don’t eat edible wild plants based on what you see in a book or on the inter-net.  Get a qualified instructor to show you the plants, and don’t eat them until the instructor shows you how to prepare them, and then eats them him or herself.  Be aware that you may be allergic to a plant that someone else can eat without harm.  Be sure that any plants that you gather have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.
In the “old days” it was common practice for pioneer families to imbibe a spring tonic.  This ritual was part medicinal and part psychological.  It was medicinal in that the tonic in question usually had some medicinal benefit, either real or imagined; and it was psychological in that it was an acknowledgment that the natural world was renewing itself and man, by the act of taking this purifying herb, was to be part of this renewal.  In the South, one of the most common spring tonics was Sassafras tea.
The Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a fairly small tree, sometimes up to 40′ tall, which grows throughout the Eastern United States.  The easiest way to identify the Sassafras is by its leaves.  You will find that the Sassafras has three distinctly different shaped leaves on the same tree.  Some of the leaves are oval shaped, some of the leaves are mitten shaped, and some of the leaves are three lobed.  All of the leaves have smooth edges, and are shiny on the upper surface.  Pictured below: The three different shaped leaves found on the sassafras tree
 
If you have any doubts about whether you have correctly identified a Sassafras, all you have to do is dig up a small root and smell of it.  Sassafras root smells exactly like rootbeer.
To make Sassafras tea, dig up several small roots and wash the dirt from them.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and throw the roots into the boiling water.  Let the roots boil for a few minutes until the water begins to turn a deep red.  Remove water from heat and let the tea steep.  Serve hot or cold.  Add honey or sugar if you like.  Native Americans added maple sugar.
Old timers referred to Sassafras tea as a blood thinner.  They said that it helped a person tolerate the coming summer heat better.  Modern science tells us that Sassafras contains a mild narcoleptic, a drug that induces drowsiness.  The Food and Drug Administration also warns us that Sassafras can cause cancer if given in large doses to laboratory rats over extended periods of time (so don’t give your pet rat a washtub full of Sassafras tea every day).
Apparently mosquitoes do not like the smell of Sassafras.  Take some of the tea and rub it on exposed areas of your skin to repel these pesky little critters.
Yet another use of Sassafras is as a thickener in stews.  You may remember the Hank Williams song about “Jambalya, crawfish pie, and filet gumbo.”  Well, filet is the substance used to thicken gumbo, and filet is made from dried and powdered Sassafras leaves.  If you make your own filet be careful to remove the sharp stems and veins after the leaves have been crushed.  These can cause major stomach problems.  Also, be sure and don’t give your pet rat too much gumbo.
I have read that Sassafras can be used to make a fire-bow-drill, but I have had no success with this.  The wood seems to be too hard.  I have intended to try and dig up a large Sassafras root, let it dry for six months and see if that wouldn’t make a usable fire-bow-drill.  The root of the Cottonwood is the only part of that tree that I have ever been able to start a fire-bow fire with, and I was thinking that the same may hold true for the Sassafras, but I haven’t got around to trying it yet.  Maybe you’ll try it first and let me know.
Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Herbal Remedies, Lost Skills, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Home Remedies for Poison Ivy (Including Plain Hot Water?)

Poison ivy

Poison ivy, with its “leaves of three.”

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Lately, several desperate-sounding readers have asked about home remedies for poison ivy. I feel sorry for them. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac—whichever grows in your neck of the woods—can cause some of the worst itching known to mankind. And it can last as long as a couple of weeks.

And all you who brag you can wallow in the stuff without as much as a scratch: Your day may be coming. As with other allergies, you can not be allergic all your life and, wham, one day you feel the itch and see the blisters. After that, you’ve become one of the chosen—allergic for life.

There’s no vaccine and no surefire cure for rashes from poison ivy and the like. But here are some things you can do.

 

1. Know what the poison plant looks like and avoid it.
If you know you’re allergic, first thing is you better dang-well know what the plant looks like and stay away from it. Leaves of three, let them be.

I know, I know. Not all leaves of three are poison ivy, oak, or sumac. But, if you’re like me and not really an expert in plant identification, I’d advise not taking a chance. Even vines and stems without the leaves can cause the rash, so unless I’m sure, I’m staying away from vines also.

Jewelweed flower

A flowering spotted jewelweed. This plant is a natural home remedy for poison ivy.

2. Look out for jewelweed too.
If you do get into poison ivy, oak or sumac, find some jewelweed. Grab a bunch, crush it up, stems and all, and smear it on your skin. Apparently jewelweed likes growing in some of the same places the three-leaf stuff likes—boggy, wet bottomland. Know what it looks like. No, I mean really know. I’d hate to have you smearing a bunch of poison ivy all over you.

3. If you wash the oil off soon enough, you might not get the rash.
The oil that causes the rash is called urishiol. A brush against a leaf, a vine, whatever, and it’s on you. Sometimes I think it hops on some people who even dare venture nearby. I know it can get in smoke because I’ve see some bad cases of poor souls who inadvertently burned some with other brush.

The sooner you can wash it off the better—hopefully within fifteen minutes. Maximum is probably about four hours. Use soap and water, or rubbing alcohol. Some people swear by Tecnu products for poison ivy/oak/sumac, such as Oak-N-Ivy. Jewelweed soap can be super too.

Don’t forget to wash your clothes, and your dog. But, a word of advice about the latter: Be sure to bathe your furry pal with gloves so you don’t the poison ivy back on you. You’ll probably want to jump back in the shower after you’re done, just in case.


Where to Find the Poison-Ivy Remedies

The links below are for your information. I’m not vouching for the companies, and I don’t make any money if you buy from them.

Here’s where you can get the pharmaceutical products:

  • You can find some Tecnu products at the Tec Labs store.
  • Oak-N-Ivy is available in various places, including REI, or you can order it from your choice of companies.
  • Pharmacies sell hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion and oral antihistamines (Benadryl) over-the-counter.

You can buy or make these poison-ivy remedies:

  • Jewelweed soap: Hard to find. You can order it from the Alternative Nature Herbal Online Store.
  • Witch-hazel astringent: Widely available at pharmacies.
  • Quercetin drops: Hard to find. I’m not positive you can make it, but it does come from onions. You can order the drops from Source Naturals.
  • Oatmeal baths: Widely available, including at Walmart.


Home Remedies to Treat the Rash and Itching

The rash is normally red and raised, with blisters. It usually occurs in the spots where you’ve come in contact with the plant. I say usually because some rashes start that way and seem to spread to other parts of your body. That’s rare, and it’s not the open blisters or soap you use. Blisters don’t spread the rash. Rather, it’s a more severe, systemic allergic reaction you’re having. The treatments are the same.

For the rash and itching, you can try more jewelweed soap and maybe some witch–hazel astringent. Quercetin drops have anti-inflammatory effects and can be taken orally and rubbed on the rash. Cool baths, cool compresses, and oatmeal baths can help the itching.

Here’s one you may not know: If none of the other is working and the itching is driving you crazy, try getting in the shower with the water as hot as you can stand it. (Obviously don’t burn your skin.) Apparently this depletes your body’s supply of itch-causing histamines and can give you relief for a few hours.

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Conventional At-Home Treatments

Hydrocortisone cream may help. The strongest you can get over-the-counter is one percent. Calamine lotion is an option. Don’t get the Caladryl since it can cause its own allergic reaction. Oral antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) ease the itching but can make you drowsy (sometimes a good thing.)


Doctor Treatments

A shot or course of oral steroids, or both, may help—even shorten the course of the rash. (No matter what, you’re likely in for a few days to a couple of weeks of the misery.) You might also get a stronger steroid cream from the doctor.

If you run fever or there’s pus in some blisters, or you’re having any other signs of infection, get to the doctor. If that’s not possible, start on antibiotics if you have them.


What Home Remedy Works for You?

There are probably about as many home remedies as there are people with poison ivy. Some work for some; nothing works for everyone. Trial and error is the name of this game.

So, please help all our readers and do tell. What’s your favorite home remedy?

And while you’re at it, please share your worst horror stories regarding those pretty green leaves.


Poison ivy photo by Jan Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jewelweed photo by Dr. Thomas G. Barnes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Categories: Bushcrafting, DIY Preparedness, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Medical, Self-reliance, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Food Freebies in Your Own Backyard by Tess Pennington

Wildcrafting is a hobby of mine now. It might become essential when the shelves are emptied at the local grocery store. Tess Pennington offers great advice and resources at ReadyNutrition.com.

Food Freebies in Your Own Backyard

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition
April 2012

Even if you live in a city, you might be shocked to find out how much food is available, free for the taking. I’m not talking about shoplifting from the corner store – I’m talking about foraging.

In ancient times, humans were hunter/gatherers.  Gatherers spent the day seeking nuts, berries and edible plants. These items were then turned into a nutritious meal or beverage.

The first rule of foraging is BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE EATING. Foraging can be deadly if you eat the wrong thing.

The best way to learn to forage is to find someone who knows how to find all the best goodies. A teacher can speed the learning curve up immensely, and they are likely to know the best local places to find the items.

Unfortunately we can’t always find a willing instructor. If it turns out that you’re on your own, the next best option is a good field guide with photographs. You can often find field guides geared to your local terrain at hiking and camping stores.  Your local bookstore and Amazon are other good resources. You can buy a more general guide, say, for North America, but there will be a lot of information that isn’t pertinent to your area.

When foraging in an urban environment, you have to be very careful that your finds are not contaminated. They can be contaminated with many different toxins, from pesticides to pollution. You will want to stay away from major roadways and railroad tracks, for example. If you are in farm country you don’t want to be in an area that may be contaminated with animal waste from runoff.

Personally, I strictly avoid mushrooms in my search for wild foods. The edible mushrooms and the toxic ones are very similar in appearance, and not something you want to learn by trial and error, as the error could be fatal. There are many books on the subject that cover proper identification if you are a braver soul.

In the city you can often find fruit trees like mulberries and apple trees.  If it appears that the fruits are not being harvested, ask the owner’s permission and bring a bucket!  In the wild, you can find blueberries, blackberries and huckleberries in great abundance.  These fruits are easily recognizable and a great place to start.

There are many edible greens but none more recognizable than the ubiquitous dandelion. Every bit of the dandelion is edible, from the flower right down to the roots. Pick them in the spring when flowers are still yellow for the mildest flavor.

To get started, make a list of in-season items that are familiar to you. Choose a hiking destination, grab your field guide, bring along some containers and start gathering!

Mother Earth News compiled a brief list of some edible plants that can commonly be found in North America:

Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Chicory (Cichorium)
Curly dock (Rumex crispus)
Dandelion (Taraxacum)
Fiddleheads (various fern species)
Lamb’s quarters, goosefoot (Chenopdium)
Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)
Nettle (Urtica)
Peppercress (Cardamine)
Pigweed (Amaranthus)
Plantain (Plantago)
Pokeweed (Phytolacca)
Purslane (Portulaca)
Seaweeds — dulse, kelp, laver, wrack
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
Watercress (Nasturtium)
“Wild” asparagus (Asparagus officinalis ssp. prostratus)
Wild mustard (Brassica)
Wild horsemint, bee balm (Monarda punctata)

ROOTS, BULBS & TUBERS
Arrowhead, wapatoo (Sagittaria variabilis)
American lotus, water chinquapin (Nelumbo lutea)
Jerusalem artichoke, sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Ramps, ramson, wild leek (Allium tricoccum)
Burdock (Arctium)
Grassnut, California hyacinth (Brodiaea capitata)
Groundnut (Apios tuberosa)
Prairie turnip, Prairie potato (Psoralea esculenta)
Cattail (Typha latifolia)
Camas, quamash (Camassia esculenta)
Chufa, nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)
Sego lily (Calochortus Nuttallii)
Coontie, Florida arrowroot (Zamia pumila)

FRUIT
Wild strawberry (Fragaria)
Red and black raspberry, wineberry (Rubus)
Blackberry (Rubus)
Blueberry (Vaccinium)
Wild grapes (Vitis)
Mulberry (Morus)
Juneberry, serviceberry (Amelanchier)
Chokeberry (Aronia)
Elderberry (Sambucus)
Wild cherry (Prunus)
Wild plum (Prunus)
Gooseberry (Ribes)
Buffalo currant (Ribes)
Persimmon (Diospyros)
Rose hips (Rosa)
Prickly pear, tuna (Opuntia)
Pawpaw (Asimina)

NUTS & SEEDS
Acorn (Quercus)
Beechnut (Fagus grandifolia)
Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
Butternut (Fuglans cinerea)
Chia (Salvia species)
Hickory (Carya)
Pecan (Carya illinoensis)
Pine nut, pinyon (Pinus species)
Sunflower (Helianthus species)
Wild rice (Zizania)

Once you’ve brought your bounty home, be certain to wash it very carefully. Look up instructions specific to the food before preparing it, because wild foods can have some unexpected peculiarities. For example, pokeweed can cause severe intestinal distress if you don’t change the water several times when boiling it.

There is little you can do to become more self-reliant than learning to find your own food in the wild. Today, foraging might be just another of your eccentric hobbies. Tomorrow, that eccentric hobby could save your life.

A few suggestions:

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies

Wild Harvest: Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Author: Tess Pennington
Web Site: http://www.ReadyNutrition.com/

Date: April 29th, 2012

Categories: DIY Preparedness, Preparedness, Self-reliant, SHTF, Survival, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Roots, Twigs, Bark and Parts: The Home Apothecary

Great article over at Rural Spin. I’ve included the entire post below. Pay them a visit by clicking here for great info on living sustainably, self-sufficiently, naturally, and cheaply.

Semper Vigilans,

TEV

Roots, Twigs, Barks and Parts: The Home Apothecary

29 Mar

Medicinal herbs can be made into tinctures, infusions, tisanes, powders, and more.

You can heal yourself and your family frugally by making many remedies in your own kitchen, using plants from your garden or that you’ve foraged. Making your own home remedies from plants (called herbalism) isn’t hard once you understand the basic methods involved, and the home apothecary can also include many preventative concoctions that will help prevent illness in the first place. While there are many medical conditions that will require the intervention of a doctor (be it a Western or Eastern practitioner, or a Naturopath), herbalism is the oldest form of medicine and there’s a reason we still use it today. In fact, many medical drugs requiring a prescription are made using plants.

This ‘spin is devoted to the methods involved when making home medicines. In future ‘spins we’ll focus on specific ingredients. But there is such a huge pharmacopoeia worldwide of beneficial and medicinal plants, it will be hard to pick which ones to focus on! But no matter which plant you use, these are the basic methods you’ll use to process your plants for the home apothecary:

TINCTURES

Tinctures are made using a base of alcohol (such as vodka) into which you steep your plants for a period of time, depending upon the plant you’re using. After the recommended steep time, the mixture is strained through muslin or cheese cloth to remove all of the plant parts, and stored in a dark glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Tinctures are usually taken as drops, and because of this are frequently stored in bottles where the lid doubles as a dropper. Tinctures last for quite awhile because of their alcohol base, which acts as a preservative for the active ingredients.

Pine bud tea is an example of an infusion, where plant parts are steeped in hot water then drunk immediately.

INFUSIONS

Another term for infusion is tea. Dried or fresh leaves and flowers are steeped for about 10 minutes in water that has come to a boil then removed from heat, to extract the active ingredients (do not boil the herbs, just steep them in the hot water). The most medicinal benefit occurs from drinking a fresh infusion rather than one that has sat in the refrigerator.

A tisane is a mild form of an infusion, and generally comes packaged in tea bags. Tisanes (such as chamomile tea or peppermint tea) are steeped for shorter periods of time. Syrups are also forms of infusions, where honey, maple syrup, or similar is added in enough concentration to thicken the infusion.

DECOCTIONS

Roots, twigs, barks, and berries are the plant parts used in decoctions. Boiling water is needed to extract the active ingredients, and unlike infusions, the plant parts are indeed boiled along with the water. After the recommended boiling period (which varies depending upon the plant), the liquid is then strained and is frequently served hot with a sweetener such as honey. Decoctions will last for about three days when stored in the refrigerator.

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils are frequently used in tinctures, steam inhalation, aromatherapy, and therapeutic massage, but it is only through steam distillation that you can make your own proper essential oils. Because of this, it is often easier to purchase essential oils for use in the home medicine cabinet as it can take quite a lot of herbs to distill them at home.

EXTRACTS

“Extract” is a generic term used to describe tinctures, infusions, and decoctions. It simply refers to active ingredients from plants that are extracted for use in a liquid form. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with other terms but it is important to understand the distinction, especially if you need to discuss a problem with a health care practitioner (just to make sure you’re both on the same page).

MACERATION

For some delicate plants or sensitive chemicals in the plants, hot water is too harsh and might negate the medicinal benefits offered by the plant. In these cases bruised plant parts are covered with cold water and left to sit overnight, which provides time for the plant chemicals to seep in the water. In the morning the plant parts are strained out and the liquid is taken internally.

POWDERS

Powdered plant parts can be added to liquids or onto foods, or placed into capsules. You must thoroughly dry the plant parts first, and then grind them fine using a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder.

Ginger is very versatile and can be taken internally via decoctions and powders, and externally as poultices or compresses.

POULTICES AND COMPRESSES

Unlike the above methods, compresses and poultices are applied externally directly onto what ails you. Crushed plant parts are used for poultices, first boiling the plants so they become soft and pliable. You can also mix powders with warm water to make a poultice. Poultices help to soothe bruises, and help heal open wounds and abscesses.

Compresses differ slightly in that cloth is soaked in an infusion or decoction, then applied to the skin. They are milder than poultices, and can be held close to the skin via a bandage if needed.

Categories: DIY Preparedness, Preparedness, Self-reliant, SHTF | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

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