Practical Self Reliance: 20+ Immune Boosting Herbs

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has compiled a list of twenty immune-boosting herbs and mushroom to help stave off illness.

Natural immune-boosting herbs work to support a healthy immune system, ideally preventing illness or speeding recovery.  Staying healthy starts well before flu season, and all of these herbs for the immune system can play a helpful role.

Immune Boosting Herbs

Immune-boosting herbs are a big part of my families’ wellness routine, and we need all the help we can get with a doorknob licking toddler and extra snuggly preschooler in the house.

Even before children, natural immune boosters were a regular part of our lives.  I worked in a hospital, and my husband flew cross country regularly for work.  While handwashing and other preventative measures are obviously the first step, sometimes you need a bit of extra help when you’re surrounded by sick people on a day to day basis.

Just recently, I found myself making a batch of our favorite herbal immune booster…elderberry syrup.  I’d harvested fresh elderberries in our garden that we’d grown from cuttings, and I started looking around for other herbs for the immune system to add into the mix.  A short walk around the garden and nearby woods and I’d picked more than 20 different immune-boosting herbs, flowers, roots, mushrooms, and lichen.

Add in a stop at the spice cabinet for immune-boosting spices like ginger, black pepper and garlic and I had quite the spread to choose from…

(Note: I am not a clinical herbalist or healthcare provider.  This is based on my own experience and research, but I encourage you to verify it with other sources.  Please consult a healthcare provider before beginning any health regimen, herbal or otherwise.) 

Herbs for the Immune System

Herbs for the immune system generally fall into three categories:

  • Immune Stimulants ~ Generally used for a short period of time, immune stimulants are best used on a short term basis.  The best time is right as you’re starting to get sick, or anytime you’ve been exposed to an illness.  Those times when someone coughs right on you, or you’re about to go on a long flight where there may be extra pathogens in the recirculated air.  Examples include Echinacea and usnea lichen.
  • Herbal Immunomodulators (or Immune Tonics) ~ Often used over a long period of time, immunomodulators are tonics for the immune system.  They’re not meant to be overtly healing during acute illness, but rather to help balance your system and promote a healthy immune response.  Examples include tulsi (holy basil) and reishi mushrooms.
  • Anti-Microbial Herbs ~ While they may not directly impact the immune system, they’re helpful in treating illness and maintaining health.  While prescription antibiotics have their place, minor illnesses (or injuries) can be treated with anti-microbial herbs instead.  Some are specifically antifungal (for topical issues) while others are more generally antimicrobial.  These disserve an article in their own right, and I’ll cover them briefly at the end.

While these three classes of herbs are somewhat different from each other, the terminology often gets mixed, even in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  Some, in fact, fall in multiple categories.  The main thing to keep in mind is that not all herbs are for long term use and not all herbs for the immune system will have a direct impact if you’re already sick…(continued)

Click here to read the entire article at Practical Self Reliance.

The Medic Shack: COVID-19

Chuck at The Medic Shack shares his thoughts and preparations for the COVID-19 virus sweeping the world.

The Coronavirus, Covid-19 is rampaging around the country. People are dying in America.

Okay. Got your attention now? The above statement is true. It is NOT as bad as it sounds. As of 3-4-2020 11 people have died from Covid-19.  But its the delivery of the sentence that makes it menacing.

The Covid 19 virus is spreading. We are having community acquired illnesses happening We have confirmed deaths in the US from it. We have people panicking over it. People are scared and are grasping at straws of hope from some real unsavory news sources. I do not have the answers people want. Hell I’m no doctor nor epidemiologist. What I am, is a person who has seen disease break out in the 3rd world and here in the US. That has treated people as a US Army Medic, Paramedic and instructor.

So lets get to what we do know.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia. They’re usually spread through direct contact with an infected person. Other well-known coronaviruses include SARS and MERS

COVID-19 is similar to other respiratory illnesses and symptoms include a fever, dry cough, sore throat and headache. There may also be aches and pains, fatigue and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

While most cases are mild, some individuals may experience more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, and may experience pneumonia in both lungs. Those with health issues or underlying conditions may also have a harder time recovering. The incubation period is still up in the air. From as little as 2 days to as much as 21. The “happy” medium is about 14 days.

It may 14 days or longer after exposure for symptoms to appear. It also appears to be contagious during the incubation period.

What’s the difference between a cold, a flu and COVID-19?

All three are respiratory illnesses but each is caused by a different virus. The cold is caused by the rhinovirus, the flu is caused by the influenza virus, and COVID-19 is caused by the novel 2019 coronavirus. All three can lead to pneumonia if complicated by other health issues or underlying conditions

The cold, flu and COVID-19 are all spread the same way, from close person-to-person interaction, though the cold and COVID-19 can also spread through airborne particles.

COVID-19 like a bad cold and the flu does it’s worse damage on those that have co-morbidity COPD, Uncontrolled Diabetes. Hypertension. Weakened immune system, overweight with general poor health. This is targeted to some dear friends I know and love. Overworked. Over stressed. Not caring for themselves. Not enough sleep. When you get weakened by health or life, your immune system is taxed.

If you add in ANY co morbidity to that you are at a high risk of getting ANY VIRUS.

Going back to one of my favorite movies, Pop Quiz hot shot You walk into a crowded grocery store. A shopper has coronavirus. What puts you most at risk of getting infected by that person? WHAT DO YOU DO???

Experts agree they have a great deal to learn, but four factors likely play some role: how close you get; how long you are near the person; whether that person projects viral droplets on you; and how much you touch your face. Also age and health are huge factors.

A virus by itself is immobile. It can not move on its own and it is to small to be moved by wind. It needs to catch a lift. A droplet of moisture, Dust. Dander from pets or people. That is why the masks come into play. No mask outside of a Level 3 or 4 suit from Fort Meade can stop a virus. They are on the average .1 to .17 microns. The best N95 can stop only to .3 microns Your surgical mask can stop particles of about 5 microns in size. N95s are in very short supply.

So short that hospitals are having a bit of a tough time to get them. And what new masks come off the line are not heading to Amazon or Home Depot. They are heading to the CDC and your health care facilities. Unless you read our article on the N95 mask, be aware that most people do not know how to properly seal one. N95 HEPA Mask

Am I worried?

To say I am not concerned about this bug would be a lie. But also I am not bouncing like a fork dropped in a garbage disposal. It is something to keep a very close eye on. Today 4 March 2020, CNBC released this headline

Chinese scientists identify two strains of the coronavirus, indicating it’s already mutated at least once.

The headline is eye catching. But when you read into it, it is not as inflammatory as it seems. But it does raise some questions in my tin foil hat covered mind.

What can we do to protect ourselves?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Clean surfaces you often touch.
  • Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick.

A lot of people have been comparing this to the flu. With out getting all into Med Speak, they are similar that they are viruses. But it ends there. Look at it this way/ Both a Malamute and a Husky are dogs. They come from the same climate. The look a bit alike. After that they are totally different. They replicate in a similar manner, but the attack the body in the same manner. The Covid-19 can live for a few hours on most surfaces., It is THOUGHT not CONFIRMED that it can last up to a few days under ideal conditions.

Disinfection.

This is where the chink in the armor of COVID-19 shows. Almost any disinfectant, that is applied according to its directions, will kill it. The old Standby of bleach will do it. For surfaces that can’t take bleaching Lysol. We have also found the old fashioned concentrate Lysol in the brown bottle. That stuff will kill ANYTHING!

For those that can’t take the harsh chemicals, embrace your hippy self!

For surface disinfection Essential oil such as Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme are good choices for their reported antiviral properties . My wife likes to make her own consisting of 10 drops lemongrass oil, 10 drops of tea tree 10 drops peppermint. 4 ounces of 100 proof vodka and 2 ounces of Colloidal Silver. She places this in a sprayer and uses it to spray it on surfaces. No wiping. Let it dry on its own.

Colloidal Silver.

Good stuff. It is NOT the miracle drug that cures warts constipation Ebola freckles bad breath and bad complexions. Used and most importantly MADE correctly it is a good thing to have on hand. We use. And no we’re not blue!

Always use .999 pure silver, DO NOT USE STERLING SILVER! There is also .9999 pure but it is expensive and unnecessary. We use 1/8″ ribbon also called “bezel”.

Make Your Own Colloidal Silver

Fill a quart jar about 1/2″ from the top with distilled water and heat to boiling. The reason for this is because distilled water, not having any minerals in it, is a poor conductor of electricity. After being heated to near boiling, it will allow for the electrolysis to take place. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER TYPE OF WATER! Now make a hook on one end of each strip of silver (like a candy cane) and hang them on the edge of the jar and into the water, about an inch apart. Clip the two wires from the generator to the silver strips making sure that the clips do not touch the water or each other and that the strips do not touch each other!

You can tell when it has begun the process, you can see a what looks like smoke coming off of one the strips. If it doesn’t appear to be doing anything in a minute or so, scoot the wires a little closer together. If that still doesn’t work, sprinkle a few grains of table salt right in between the strips and it will take right off. Will it kill Covid-19? I can not answer that here. FDA rules. But we use it at home. A Damn good write up is on The Medic Shack Colloidal Silver

Hand washing.

Sounds goofy in a way. But a lot of people do not know how to wash their hands. Correctly. Now we’re not talking the surgical scrub I do every day. Just basic hand washing.

  • We Your Hands.
  • Use soap. Antibacterial is not necessary.
  • Scrub your hands while counting to 20. Make sure to get in between your fingers and your nails
  • Rinse completely.
  • Dry with a paper towel. SHTF paper towels will be like gold. Use a clean cloth towel and hang in the sun to dry. Viruses HATE ultraviolet light. Use a separate towel for each person. Seriously.
  • Use that paper towel or towel to turn off the faucet.

There are different schools of thought on using a towel to turn off the water. In the medical field we used to be taught that from day one. Today some say it doesn’t matter. YMMV.

Water temperature. It doesn’t matter. Up until 2 weeks ago, I told one of my best friends to use warm water. ANNNND some studies have been published and they all agree it doesn’t matter. The soap and water combination works either way.

Alcohol and hand washing

Alcohol based scrubs. I mentioned earlier that we use a product called Avagard for surgical scrubs. I also said that we do a real scrub first thing in the morning and after eating or going to the bathroom. What I didn’t mention is why we do those old style washing up. The reason is right above y’all, In hand washing. The scrubs kill bacteria. To a point. They kill viruses. To a point. Hand washing doesn’t kill them. It REMOVES them. And it will remove Covid-19

That is why I cringe when I see a porta potty with that little bottle of hand sanitizer, Yes its better than nothing. It is however a false sense of security. That fecal bacterial that ends up on EVERYONE’S HANDS is still there. They are weakened, but they are not killed. Something to think about.

A friend of mine who is marrying a Marine friend of mine.  I don’t know who to be more concerned about Sigurd getting civilized, or Jessica getting Uncivilized! She wrote this piece on a Facebook group:

Jessica Kozack The Soul Purpose

There is a lot of hype going on about the Novel CoronaVirus known as Covid-19. I wanted to discuss how to protect from viruses like Covid-19 and also the flu which is also going around. I find I always feel better when I am prepared. Aromatherapy can be quite effective in treating and preventing illness along with being supportive and healing while sick. I did have the flu a month ago. It was brought home by my daughter who caught it at a school fair and she proceeded to sneeze directly into my face uncontrollably.

I knew in that moment regardless of what I used or did I would catch it so I used aromatherapy to support us and prevent us from getting any secondary infection.

1) Wash hands thoroughly and often with good old soap and water

2) Make your own hand sanitizer with Vodka, Colloidal Silver, Aloe Vera, and essential oils that are antiviral

3) Make a cleaning and disinfecting spray using vinegar and water with essential oils and cleanse surfaces, etc multiple times a day in your home, work space etc

4)Diffusers are our best weapon for killing airborne viruses and treating respiratory illnesses. I have many diffusers and I recommend using them at this time in your home to kill virus bugs and support the immune system.

Pets and Oils

**Please be mindful of your pets and children when using essential oils. They should always be diluted and diffusers should not be located directly near your pets especially with the super bug killing essential oils as they are harsher. If someone is ill and you are using a diffuser with the super bug killer it is best to keep your pets out of this room. Pets will also walk away from a diffuser if it is to strong for them. Just be mindful.**

A diffuser works best if it turns on every 15mins with a timer and diffuses for a minute. You would need to get a timer for most diffusers.

Here is my list of essential oils.

Super Bug Killer oils a little goes a long way and never use undiluted:

Lemongrass

Cinnamon

Clove

Oregano

Thyme

Expectorant and Antiviral Oils:

Ravensara

Eucalyptus

Tea Tree (multipurpose bug killer)

Oils that soothe an inflamed respiratory tract:

Cedarwood

Frankincense

Pine

Spruce

Balsam Fir

Benzoin

Oils that support secondary bacterial infections and kill bacteria:

Rosemary

Peppermint

Lavender

Lemon

**Eucalyptus, Lavender, Cedarwood, Tea Tree, Lemon , Benzoin are safer less harsh oils to use around small children and Elderly.

If I am going to be dealing with a super bug I will have the harsh oils on hand and will use them safely and responsibly. When used safely

and responsibly they actually work most effectively and typically with no contraindications or negative impact.

Do not ingest essential oils they are 75-100x stronger than the plant, fruit, herb they are derived from. If you take anything internally keep it to herbs and supplements.

Used with permission from Jessica Kozack The Soul Purpose

And in closing:

We have talked about in past blogs on some of the herbs that MAY help fight off the virus TMS Post on Coronavirus 

By staying healthy, eating right and doing your best to avoid crowded places and sick people is one of the best ways to beat this. Do your normal prepper things that we always do. DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN THE PANIC. Right now there is not to much to panic about. Other than your 401K taking a massive dump at the market. Right now it is almost impossible to get ibuprofen, Tylenol, basic cold and flu medicines at the local stores. There is  for some reason there is a massive run on toilet paper at Costco.

You already had all that right? If not you have read our posts on cold and flu and other posts we have made on this? Good I thought so! Don’t panic. Do not over work yourself. And don’t get yourself all worked up over something out of your control. Stay out of crowds. If you feel sick STAY HOME. A lot of conferences around the country are being canceled. For good reason. As preppers we play it smart. Don’t forget that. Play it smart

Pioneer Thinking: Medicinal Uses of Garlic

Autumn has fallen upon us once again. The garden is largely put to bed, but one of the things I’m out planting at this time of year is garlic. Garlic is, of course, a delicious food staple. In addition to being a food source for thousands of years, garlic has been used as a medicinal plant for nearly as long. It’s medicinal uses have been recorded by the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, ancient China and Japan, and in India’s two thousand year old Charaka Samhita medical text. So, if you weren’t think about garlic already, get out and plant some!

The following excerpt is from an older article by Pioneer Thinking: 14 Medicinal Uses of Garlic

Garlic and Health

Garlic (allium sativum) is a member of the onion family which has been used for culinary purposes for millennia and in recent years has been labelled a super food.

Unsurprisingly in the four thousand year history of this little vegetable or herb, it has been found to have numerous uses for medicinal purposes.

Open Wounds and Infections

Wounds and infections can be cleansed and treated with a garlic solution. After the wound has been cleaned, grate or pound twenty or so cloves of garlic, being careful to use only clean utensils. Mix it with a little water to make a paste which can be spread over a sterile gauze dressing and applied to the wound. Keep in place with a bandage and leave for two days when the process should be carefully repeated. During World War II, when antibiotics were scarce, garlic was often used in this way to treat wounded soldiers and protect against gangrene and septic poisoning. During the first war, garlic was also widely used to treat dysentery and typhus.

Throat and Ear Infections

Because garlic kills bacteria it works both externally and internally and many people use it to treat throat infections, colds etc. More often than not nowadays, garlic is taken as a supplement in capsule form, but making your own linctus could not be easier. Simply boil a head of garlic gently in water for 2 hours to make a light tea, adding syrup or honey to sweeten if necessary. Strain this and allow it to cool slightly before sipping. Garlic is also soothing and beneficial in ear infections if garlic infused oil is gently massaged around the ear area.

Oral Thrush and Digestive Tract Disorders

For a more palatable flavor, garlic can be mixed with apple cider vinegar and sweetened with honey. This can be sipped, used as a gargle or administered with a teaspoon like cough medicine. The combined properties of garlic and vinegar help to destroy harmful bacteria in the mouth and digestive tract. It can therefore be used to cure mouth ulcers and oral thrush.

Boosting the Immune System

Taken little and often, garlic can help to boost the immune system. The allicin in garlic is similar to penicillin, though not as strong. It is produced when the garlic is finely chopped or crushed, which increases its strength. For internal problems, chewing on a clove of garlic can release the antibiotic properties. However it is important to use only white cloves as the green thread which is sometimes found in the center of a clove of garlic is not only indigestible but is also what causes the notorious and lingering garlic ‘pong’ on the breath.

Athletes Foot and other Fungal Infections

For external fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, a garlic foot bath is both refreshing and effective. You can make this by crushing 4 cloves of garlic with salt or rubbing alcohol into a foot spa or bowl large enough to hold the feet and soaking the feet in this for half an hour. After thoroughly drying the feet, you can rub the infected area with cotton wool swabs soaked in little garlic oil. A twice daily application should help to clear up the fungal infection.

Counteracting ‘Bad’ Cholesterol

The other ingredient of garlic is diallyl sulphide. This is widely believed to be beneficial in combating LDL (low density lipoprotein) or ‘bad cholesterol’ – that scourge of modern society. The phytochemicals in garlic appear to work in the same way as statin drugs which are often prescribed to lower cholesterol. The benefit of using garlic is that, being completely natural, it has no side effects. Studies have shown that garlic can be as beneficial as a low fat diet in reducing cholesterol and by combining both, levels can be reduced by 20%. 800 mgs of dried garlic or 5-10 cloves of fresh garlic should be consumed daily for best results.

High Blood Pressure

There has also been a lot of scientific interest recently in using garlic to lower high blood pressure. Whilst studies are inconclusive, early signs seem to suggest that garlic can help to bring down blood pressure levels. Garlic can be taken as a supplement along with your normal anti-hypertensive medications or as an extract or distilled garlic oil; 600-900 mg daily is the normal recommended dose, which may sound high, but is relatively small in terms of raw garlic. Fortunately, unlike allicin, the health benefits of the diallyl sulphides are not destroyed by cooking, so including garlic in recipes is the easiest way to help lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure

Stroke

Another worrying lifestyle disease these days, which is often linked to cholesterol and blood pressure, is stroke and once again garlic has been found to be beneficial. This is because garlic is rich in anti-coagulant or blood thinning properties, similar to aspirin. Studies have shown that garlic reduces platelet stickiness which is responsible for hindering the circulation of blood around the body. Increasing your dietary garlic intake or taking garlic supplements (500 mg three times a day) can thin the blood and help prevent the onset of stroke.

Why Garlic Benefits Sufferers of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, or the build up of plaque in the walls of the arteries, is known to be alleviated by garlic. It works directly by reducing the lipid content in cells of the arteries and thus preventing their dangerous accumulation. Recent studies show that women may benefit more than men by increasing their intake of garlic to prevent thrombosis.

An Essential Role in Diabetes

Diabetes is a frightening disease which is growing in number in the United States. It currently affects between thirteen and fourteen million people. It is a metabolic disorder caused when the body is unable to break down foods properly, causing more sugar to enter the blood stream than the pancreas (which produces a hormone called insulin) can deal with. For diabetics, consuming garlic is invaluable as it reduces blood sugar levels, either by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin or by making existing insulin more available or more effective at its job.

The Kidneys and Bladder

The function of the kidneys is to filter the blood and help remove toxins from the body. When they become damaged due to diabetes, hypertension or other medical conditions, they become severely strained and serious problems can kick in. The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic promote kidney health by eliminating free radical damage and purifying the blood. Garlic is a natural diuretic which means it helps to eliminate excess salt and water through the urine. Garlic therefore is an internal cleanser, helping to flush harmful toxins out of the body.

Respiratory Problems and Lung Disease

The combination of garlic’s antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties, not to mention is high concentration of sulphur makes it extremely effective in combating all manner of respiratory ailments, from bronchitis to pneumonia. Because it acts as an expectorant and a decongestant to clear the lungs, sufferers of chronic bronchitis can benefit considerably from adding garlic to their daily diet.

Anti-Cancer Effects of Garlic

It has been observed for decades that in countries where garlic and onions form a regular part of the diet, the incidence of cancer is much lower, causing scientists to study the link between cancer and nutrition. The ability of garlic to stimulate the gastric juices and restore the intestinal flora is what accounts for its success as a detoxifier and cancer-preventing agent. In the most extreme cases, the best results seen from using garlic to prevent or treat cancer have been from drinking garlic juice or chewing fresh garlic cloves. Stomach cancers have responded particularly well to garlic medications but occasional successes with other forms of cancer, even in the advanced stages, have been claimed.

Worm Infestation

Intestinal parasites are relatively common but extremely distressing and potentially dangerous if left untreated in toddlers and children. Parasites like tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms and pinworms are tiny creatures that find their way into the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes burrow into the muscles. They can cause a whole host of distressing symptoms of varying severity and need to be eliminated. The natural sulphur in garlic helps to expel and eradicate them.

Dr. Alton: Human Waste Disposal Off Grid

Dr. Alton at Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine has a post up on Human Waste Disposal Off the Grid, talking about the danger of infectious diseases when the grid and/or utilities are down. If you are in the Cascade Subduction Zone total destruction area, this is relevant for you. It’s also relevant to anyone else who may be subject to a grid-down scenario.

 

Most of our readers don’t live in an underdeveloped country, so they might assume that their infrastructure will stay intact even after a disaster; Also, they might continue to count on clean drinking water and safely prepared food. Likewise, they think there will always be ways to easily flush waste from our immediate surroundings so that it goes far, far away to a treatment facility.

When our infrastructure is damaged, however, we become easy prey for infectious disease. You only have to look back a few years to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the subsequent Cholera epidemic there to know this is true.

Earthquake Tent City in Haiti 2010

We’ve discussed problems related to food and water often in the past, so let’s talk about waste. If you can safely dispose of waste, you will have the best chance to stay healthy.

When electrical power is lost for a significant period due to a storm or other disaster, water utilities cannot operate the pumps that maintain water pressure in the pipes of your home. This pressure is one way that utilities ensure that your waste goes to a facility that can eliminate harmful bacteria. Without it, a “boil-water” order is often issued by the authorities.

Harsh lessons learned as a result of disasters have led to the outfitting of waste treatment facilities with generators. Generator power is helpful, but only while you have fuel.

Therefore, we must realize that human sewage will be a big problem not only in the aftermath of a storm but also in a long-term disaster. If the water isn’t running, a community without a ready supply of it will have a nightmare on their hands after as little as three days.

There are various examples of this in the recent past. In the grand majority, people were clueless as to how a flush toilet worked. After filling whatever porcelain options were available, they proceeded to pick rooms where they would relieve themselves and, as a result, their homes were uninhabitable in less than a week…

Read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.