The Human Path: Herbal First Aid Kit

Sam Coffman, author of The Herbal Medic, at The Human Path has this video about The Herbal First Aid Kit.

Sam Coffman from The Human Path (an herbalism and survival school in Austin and San Antonio, Texas) explains the most fundamental concepts around creating and using your own herbal first aid kit. Sam’s experience as a former Special Forces Medic, while blending that world with herbalism, gave him some unique insights into making and using herbal first aid kits that are highly effective in a variety of situations. He uses the herbal first aid kit that The Human Path sells, as the starting point for talking about the packs, the containers, the herbs, the practicality of what works and what doesn’t, and why you would want to use an herbal first aid kit in the first place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIhXY1q2cv4

Practical Self Reliance: 50+ Ways to Use Yarrow

An earlier post on elderflower mentioned its use in combination with yarrow and mint to fight fevers. Yarrow grows prolifically in our garden, filling in the edges and between rows. In damp conditions, it makes for a pretty soft ground cover — enough so that the kids want a yarrow yard. In this post from Practical Self Reliance, Ashley Adamant discusses many more uses for yarrow – 50+ Ways to Use Yarrow.

Yarrow is a common wild herb that’s useful in both the kitchen and medicine cabinet.  This list of yarrow uses covers everything from biscuits and beer to salves, soaps, and tinctures.

Yarrow uses

Yarrow’s always seemed magical to me, and I remember lounging in my room as a teenager, reading through 16th-century herbals and dreaming of the day I’d spot it in real life.  (Yes really, that’s actually how I spent my free time as a teenager.  I know, I’m such a nerd.)

The problem is, while yarrow grows ALMOST everywhere, I happened to grow up in one of the very few places outside of yarrow’s range…the Mojave Desert.  Now on my homestead in Vermont, it grows in every untended nook and cranny.  We’ll see our first yarrow blooms in early summer, and it’ll keep right on producing through fall, meaning I have a virtually unlimited supply of yarrow (even leaving plenty for the bees).

Yarrow Identification

Though yarrow is incredibly common, so are its look-alikes.  Once you’ve actually spotted yarrow, you’ll agree that the look-alikes aren’t really all that close.  There are lots of low growing herbs with white flower clusters, but yarrow really stands out in a crowd.

Start with the flowers.  They’re white, but not really.  If you were looking at paint samples, they’d have the name “Victorian white” or some other fancy title, because in reality, they’re a muted off white color.

Yarrow leaves are also distinctive, and there’s a reason its species name is “millefolium” or thousands of leaves.  The leaves are feathery, as opposed to the more distinct leaves of Queen Anne’s Lace and other white flowering herbs.

Identifying Yarrow by the feathery leaves and distinct white flower clusters

Make sure you’re 100% certain on your identification, as there are white-flowering plants within its range that are deadly toxic (namely, Water Hemlock).  To my eye, they don’t look anything alike, but as an optimistic teenager desperate to find yarrow in some stray ditch…I may well have made that mistake.

Read this guide to Yarrow Identification for more information.

Benefits of Yarrow

So why is yarrow so magical?  Many reasons!

A wide geographic distribution means yarrow made it into the traditional pharmacopeias in Asia, Europe and the new world.  Yarrow is used in everything from food and drink, to salves and tinctures, to ritual divination and ceremony.

This quick list will give you some ideas, but is by no means comprehensive:

  • Stops Bleeding
  • Skin Toner & Astringent
  • Bitter Tonic
  • Treats Cold and Flu
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Improves Circulation
  • Induces Sweating
  • Reduces Fever

Be aware that while it’s generally considered safe, individual reactions are always possible.  It’s also contraindicated for pregnant women, as it can induce menstrual flow and possibly increase the risk of miscarriage.

Recipes for Cooking with Yarrow

While yarrow is perhaps best known for its uses as a medicinal, both internally and externally, it’s also a tasty culinary herb.  It’s not the only one of course, and many culinary herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, and more) are potent medicinals, taken in the right dosage at the right time.

These yarrow recipes incorporate a small amount of yarrow, just enough to flavor the dish without reaching a “medicinal” dosage.

Recipes for Yarrow Beverages

Believe it or not, hops are actually a relatively recent brewing ingredient.  Before hops became common in beer, herbal beers, or gruits, were all the rage.  Yarrow was one of the most common brewing ingredients, and it was known to create an extremely intoxicating brew.

While hops are a sedative, that dulls the senses and slows the sex drive, yarrow based brews do just the opposite.  There’s a reason yarrow beers (and meads) were popular historically because they lifted you up and sent you home ready to put a few buns in the oven (if you catch my drift).

Our own homemade yarrow beer

Our own homemade yarrow beer

If you’re interested in learning to brew with herbs, specifically yarrow, I’d highly recommend the book Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, which takes you through literally thousands of years of herbal brewing tradition (with recipes for each herb discussed).

The Wildcrafting Brewer likewise includes recipes for yarrow brews and approaches the subject more from a foraging perspective (rather than a historical one).

While the traditions have but been forgotten, a few brewers keep the traditions alive.  Here are a few yarrow beverage recipes to wet your whistle, both alcoholic and non.

Harvesting Flowering Tops for Yarrow Tincture

Harvesting Flowering Tops

Yarrow Uses for First Aid

My most common use of yarrow is as a first-aid treatment for bleeding.  Yarrow tincture in a spray bottle is a powerful astringent, and I’ve watched it pucker closed wounds in seconds.

I always keep a small spray bottle on hand just in case, and it’s worked wonders on all manner of small (but persistent) topical injuries.  It’s also made into styptic powder and DIY quick clot, for similar purposes.

Homemade Yarrow Tincture (Alcohol extract of yarrow)

Over the longer term, something like a yarrow salve is wonderful for treating injuries and promoting healing.  It’s also commonly employed as an itch remedy topically.

Making a yarrow salve is no different than making any herbal healing salve, and it comes together quickly with just a few ingredients.

Yarrow has been used for millenia to stop bleeding and treat minor wounds. A healing salve helps preserve the herb, and ensures that it's on hand when needed.

Yarrow has been used for millennia to stop bleeding and treat minor wounds. A healing salve helps preserve the herb, and ensures that it’s on hand when needed.

More yarrow uses for first aid:

Yarrow Herbal Remedies

Beyond yarrows use as a topical first aid remedy, it’s also commonly used in preventative remedies and internal medicine…

 

Continue reading at Practical Self Reliance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See also this video from Cat Ellis, the Herbal Prepper:

Gardener’s Path: Elderflowers for Food and Medicine

It’s 93 degrees F and rising. Summer is here. Luckily we’ve been enjoying refreshing elderflower spritzers in the evening heat. When we started expanding our vegetable garden to various berries, elderberry was one of the first on my mind. One reason was for medicinal purposes. Hippocrates was writing about medicinal elderberry as the medicine chest hundreds of years B.C. Second was ornamental. And third because of a delicious elderflower spritzer we had shared with a friend in Oregon. We first started making cordial using the River Cottage Preserves Handbook recipe which can be found at their website. The article below, however, comes from Gardener’s Path and describes not only cordial making but several other elderflower uses – How to Use Elderflowers for Food and Medicine.

You may have heard talk about the benefits of elderberries, or even come across elderberry syrup on the shelf of your local health food store. But you likely never heard anything about the flowers.

Often overlooked, the lovely little white or yellow blossoms of the magical elder shrub are also edible and medicinal, with some very special benefits of their own.

What You Will Learn

These enchanting little white or yellow clusters of flowers emit a summery sweet fragrance. The flower essence is said to instill a sense of youthfulness, vigor, and restore inner strength.

These delightful blossoms have a long history of medicinal use and are often used to flavor food and drinks. Read on to learn about their miraculous properties and some of the many ways you can use elderflower.

Medicinal Benefits

Both the berries and the flowers of the elder plant have been used for medicine for thousands of years. While both have similar affinities for boosting the immune system and fighting off infection, elderflowers have some additional unique uses.

Oblique view of a wooden mortar and pestle with freshly harvested edlerflowers preparing to make a tincture.

As an immune stimulator, elderflower tea can provide soothing relief for acute cold systems. The booms are a key component of a traditional tea blend taken to reduce flavor. A concoction of elderflower, yarrow, and mint is a great fever fighter, and was often used historically for measles and chickenpox.

Blooms can also be used to treat conjunctivitis and soothe red itchy eyes, reduce pain and swelling in acute joint inflammation, and relieve toothaches. They are natural antihistamines, and when taken prior to the appearance of pollen, can ease symptoms of seasonal allergies.

As a nervous system support, it is said they have the capacity to heal deep grief, helping to open people’s eyes to the magic of the world.

Clinical studies are even starting to show that these flowers can reduce blood sugar, potentially useful for addressing type 2 diabetes.

Harvesting and Preparing for Use

Depending on your climate, elder shrubs may bloom at various times over the summer between June and August. To harvest, pick a warm dry day when the plant is in full bloom. Harvest during the morning or evening to keep the picked flowers from wilting in the sun or try to find a shady place to set them while you work.

Pluck off entire clusters of blossoms at the base, shake gently to dislodge any hidden insects, and place each bundle into your basket or bag.

If you don’t have any elder plants in your yard don’t worry! Just look for wild ones on the edges of streams, ponds, or along other disturbed edges such as fences or roads.

If you also plan to harvest the berries later in the season, pick flowers selectively, leaving some clusters intact here and there. I would recommend taking no more than a third on each plant. This is good practice anyway, as it is best to always leave some behind for the birds and the bees!

Once harvested, you can preserve for later use by drying and storing in tightly lidded jars in a dark place.

To dry, lay flowers on trays or mesh screen and leave in a dark, dry place for about a week. When fully dry, make sure they are still a similar yellow or white color to when they were fresh. Browning can be prevented by avoiding light during the drying process.

Fresh and dried elderflowers. Top down view.

If you prefer, you can also leave flowers attached to the stem while drying and hang in bunches in a cool, dark location. I often dry herbs in a back closet.

Caution

Before using for food or medicine, it is important to separate the flowers from the stems. Leaves, stalks, and roots of these plants are toxic and should not be consumed.

Ways to Use for Food and Medicine

There are so many great ways to use this enchanting herb. The following are a few ideas on ways to utilize them in food, medicine, and even cosmetics. Try out a few of these suggestions or concoct your own recipes!

1. Tea

For relief from colds or flu, pour boiling water over fresh or dried flowers and steep in a covered container for 10 minutes. Mix in a spoonful of local honey and feel those pesky symptoms ease as you breathe in this steamy sweet beverage.

The cool tea can also be used as a mouthwash. Gargle and rinse to combat sore throats, toothaches, and abscesses.

2. Tincture

The flowers can be tinctured in alcohol for use as an herbal remedy for various ailments. Just place crushed dried flowers in a jar, cover with 60% alcohol, and let sit in a cool dark place for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking daily.

Homemade tincture of elderberry flowers in a glass jar.

Consult with a clinical herbalist and your doctor before starting any herbal medicine.

3. Salve for Inflammation Relief

Use a salve or lotion made from the blossoms to reduce inflammation and pain from sprains and strains.

You can incorporate other healing herbs such as calendula, comfrey, or st. John’s wort for additional support.

4. Soothing Eye Wash

Make an eye wash for relief from itchy eyes, conjunctivitis, or hay fever. Just make a batch of elderflower tea, let cool, and rinse! You can also try soaking a washcloth in the cool tea and use as an eye compress.

5. Syrup

A syrup for fighting off colds, flus, and winter blues can be made with flowers of the elder tree as well as the berries. Or combine them for maximum benefit and flavor!

A glass filled full of liquid and dried elderflowers to make syrup.

This article on elderberries includes an easy recipe for syrup (see unpublished elderberry harvest article) Just incorporate or substitute in the blossoms.

6. Cosmetics

Back in the Victorian era, elderflower water was often used as a skin cleansing lotion, believed to keep the skin young and free of blemishes. Use of elder blossoms in cosmetics is beginning to make a comeback, and can often be found in lotions, oils, and body butters that claim to reduce wrinkles, soften skin, and slow aging.

7. Cordial

A cordial is a type of sweet soft drink that is historically popular in Western Europe and has been brewed since the Roman era.

Delightfully fragrant and sweet, this concentrated syrup can be added to drinks or even mixed into recipes such as cakes and pancakes.

Elderflower cordial steeping in a large pickle jar.

To make a cordial, boil the flowers for at least minutes, strain, and add in equal parts sugar to the remaining volume of water. Including a splash of lemon juice and citric acid will help preserve the cordial and add a pleasant tartness.

To use in drinks, pour 1 to 3 tablespoons into a glass and add water, seltzer, tonic water, sparking wine, vodka, or gin.

Tip: Make a large batch all at once and freeze the extra for later use…(continues)

See also this video from The Human Path and Sam Coffman:

Human Path: Making your own Herbal Medic First Aid Kit – Online Course, Aug. 2020

The Human Path is hosting an eight hour, online course on Making your own Herbal Medic First Aid Kit Aug. 3 – 16, 2020 for $100 ($65 if you register by July 13).

Making your own Herbal Medic First Aid Kit

Building your own first aid kit can be a daunting task – trying to find the best pack to hold your gear, keep the weight manageable and have all the equipment you need in one place..

It even becomes more complicated when you want to add herbal remedies to your first aid kit.

Do you know the essential equipment you must have in your kit?

Do you know the best type of packs to use for small, medium and large first aid kits?

What are the most important herbal first aid preparations to include in every kit and why?

Do you know how to improvise bandages, splits, packs and kitchen first aid herbs?

This is an 8-hour course that includes lectures, videos and resources on:

FIRST AID KIT CONTAINERS

  •  The top three items every kit MUST haves
  • Improvisation – making a great herbal first aid kit from containers EVERY household has
  • How a kit opens and why this is important
  • Compartmentalizing: containers within containers
  • Sizing and weight
  • Car kits, work kits, go bags and mini (every day carry) kits

ESSENTIAL TRAUMA FIRST AID SUPPLIES

  • Necessary bandaging equipment from minor to life-threatening
  • Wound & burn management
  • Sharps from A to Z
  • Hydration, nutrition and recovery
  • First aid improvisation: using materials on hand for your kit (and in emergencies when you have no kit)

MUST-HAVE HERBAL PREPARATIONS

  • Infection control for respiratory, UTI, Gut and Skin
  • Nervines/Adaptogens for anxiety and trauma
  • Immune supportive herbs for medical emergencies
  • Venomous bites and stings
  • Salves and powders (which to use, when and contraindications)
  • Working with herbs you probably have in your kitchen

The Herbal Medic First Aid Kit Course will include eight hours of video lectures, resources for supplies and materials, slideshows and handouts.  Students will also receive access to ‘The Top 25 herbs for the end of the world’ pdf and the ‘Building Your Own Herbal First Aid Guide’ pdf for download. 

In addition, students will be mailed two full-size glossy 11”x17” posters:  “First Aid Kit Essentials” and “Herbs for Emergency First Aid”. One of these posters includes an organized and visual layout to help you understand what to pack in your first aid kit and how to organize it, whether you know nothing about first aid or you are a medical doctor. The other poster includes an organized structure that will help you pick the most essential herbs you need for your kit, with over 50 herbs spanning multiple health care issues from acute to chronic!

This incredible online course will open on August 3rd with 60 days access. All course materials can be downloaded for personal future reference and use, and the posters will ship out on receipt of tuition.

Dates: The online classroom access will open on August 3rd, 2020, with materials made available for download.

Live Session TBA.

Registration will remain open until August 16th, 2020.

Location: This is an online class – you do not have to be in our area to participate! You only need access to the internet to take this class.

Click here for the class info and registration page.

Learning Herbs: Harvest Dandelion Root and Make Roasted Dandelion Tea

Spring is thinking about Summer which means that dandelions are making their presence known in my area. While they can be annoying in the lawn, they also make me think of tea and eating weeds. I try to keep some dandelion tea on hand, finding the flavor somewhere between black tea and coffee; different from other herbal teas. It has health benefits, but sometimes I like to drink it just for a change of pace flavor-wise. Here is an article from Learning Herbs – How to Harvest Dandelion Root and Make Roasted Dandelion Tea.

“But like all good rebels, the dandelions are irrepressible.” —Guido Masé, herbalist and author of The Wild Medicine Solution
Herbalists love to love dandelions. Not only do they grow abundantly all over the world, every single part of the plant offers us either food or medicine (or even a free wish). While I adore dandelion leaf pesto and consider dandelion flower wine to be a delicious burst of flavored sunshine, I would have to say that drinking dandelion tea with roasted dandelion root is my favorite way to enjoy this plant. Besides being yummy, dandelion root is packed with nutrients and minerals and is frequently used by herbalists for a myriad of health benefits. Here’s a look at some of the specific ways dandelion root is beneficial.

PRE-biotics
Dandelion roots are high in a starchy substance called inulin. Inulin is not digested by humans, but when eaten it passes to the colon where it provides foods and nutrients for healthy gut flora. Many pro-biotic formulas now boast that they also contain pre-biotics like inulin. With dandelion roots you can avoid pills and let your food be your medicine.
Liver Health
Herbalists have long relied on the simple dandelion root for improved liver health. Because our livers are involved in many physiological functions, this means that dandelion can be used for a lot of different ailments. Here are some examples: To support healthy hormone levels (poor liver health is associated with imbalanced hormones). To address skin inflammation (poor metabolic pathways can lead to inflammatory conditions in the body that can show up as acne, eczema, etc). To improve digestion (a healthy liver produces bile which is stored and then released from the gallbladder to digest fats). Numerous studies have shown that dandelion improves liver health in animals; I would love to see well-designed human clinical trials further validating this use.
Cancer
Folk herbalists have long used dandelion root to support the health of people who have cancer. Scientists are now looking into this and there are a handful of in vitro studies showing promising results.
Dandelions Are Wallet-Friendly
Another benefit of dandelion is its cost. To make this recipe you can buy roasted dandelion roots from apothecaries (they are fairly cheap). You can also buy raw roots and then roast them yourself. However, if you’d like to take advantage of dandelions you have growing near you, here’s a step-by-step guide to harvesting and roasting your own.
Step by Step Guide to Harvesting and Roasting Dandelion Root
  • Know how to properly identify a dandelion. There are lookalikes! You can read more about how to identify a dandelion in this article.
  • Locate dandelion plants in an area where it is safe to harvest. (i.e., hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, doesn’t see a lot of pet traffic, etc).
  • Carefully harvest the roots, ideally in the fall months. You’ll quickly learn to gently ease the roots from the earth, otherwise they will readily snap off. (Luckily for us as well as the dandelion, the plant will continue to grow even if it breaks off prematurely.)
  • Gently wash the roots, leaving as much of the root sheath on as possible.
  • Finely mince the roots and dry them thoroughly. (If you live in a humid environment you may need to use a dehydrator.)
  • Once thoroughly dried, roast them in a dry cast iron pan on medium high heat, stirring frequently. You’ll know they are done when they have turned a darker shade of brown and have a rich aromatic smell. Avoid burning them. You can also roast them in the oven at 350 degrees, checking on them frequently to stir and keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
  • Once roasted you can store them in a dark, airtight container for up to a year.
Also a word about butter… This recipe makes a foamy creamy dandelion tea with the aid of butter. To get the most benefits from butter, I recommend buying organic pasture-raised butter. While butter used to be vilified as heart-clogging unhealthy fat, we now know that high-quality butter is a good source of important fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins (A, K2) that can actually aid heart health. If you don’t eat butter, you can get similar effects by using ghee or coconut oil instead. You can also omit the butter entirely and enjoy roasted dandelion root by itself; however, using the butter will give this dandelion tea a creamy taste with a foam top that is sooooo delicious.

Creamy Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Recipe
This is a lovely rich roasted beverage that is perfect during the colder months. The addition of butter makes this a creamy and foamy drink, similar to a latte. The combination of dandelion root and high quality butter offers many potential benefits for the liver and heart.
What you’ll need…
2 tablespoons finely cut, dried and roasted dandelion roots (15 grams)
16 ounces water
1 tablespoon butter

(continued)

The Herbal Prepper: Respiratory Relief Tea

Who’s up for a healing, herbal tea when you start feeling a bit Ill? Certainly me, for one. Cat Ellis, The Herbal Prepper, has a nice, lengthy post on making an herbal tea for the remedy of cold/flu/respiratory issues – Respiratory Relief Tea.

This tea is one of my favorite cold and flu season remedies. I make it every year, tweaking it a little bit each time. I make this in large batches in September in anticipation for cold and flu season.

Around the house, I nicknamed it, “herbal tussin tea”. I wrote one version of my tea blend here. In my book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine, I list is as “Respiratory Infection Tea”. Since it addresses common, respiratory symptoms, and not any specific infection, I’ve renamed it, “Respiratory Relief Tea”.

I have also updated this recipe to allow for more effective tea-making techniques. It blends cold infusion, hot infusion, and decoction preparations.

Want the Lazy Version?

If you want an easier method with fewer steps, check out my easier version here. It’s less of a potent remedy, but it has fewer steps and is still effective.

Relief for Common Respiratory Complaints

The herbs in this tea are a blend of expectorant, decongestant, diaphoretic, analgesic, immunostimulant and demulcent herbs. This will support your body as it heals from a respiratory infection by:

  • Making coughing more productive and easier.
  • Supporting natural immune response.
  • Soothing irritated mucosal tissues.

Methods Used

This preparation is a bit more involved than my previously published respiratory tea recipes. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really not that hard.

This tea utilizes three different water extraction methods:

  1. Cold Infusion
  2. Decoction
  3. Hot Infusion

Cold infusions are made by steeping herbs in room temperature water for 4 to 8 hours. I tend to make them in mason jars, filling the jar 1/4 of the way. Then I fill the with water and secure the lid.

I use tend to use wide mouth jars for ease of filling and emptying the jars. I also use left-over lids from canning, or these reusable, plastic lids.

Decoctions are made by simmering hard plant material, such as roots and bark. To 4 cups of water, add between 1/2 and 1 cup of herbs, depending upon your needs and how concentrated you want your end product. Add the herbs to a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, and the water will have reduced by half. Strain, and the resulting liquid is your decoction.

Hot infusions are made by steeping delicate plant parts, such as leaves and flowers, in hot water. I use anywhere from 1 tablespoon up to 4 tablespoons per 1 cup (8oz) of water, depending upon how strong I want the end result.

Measurements

I have listed the ingredients by volume, not by weight. For example, I measure by cup, not by ounces. So, 1 cup equals 1 part.

If you want a smaller batch, use a 1/2 cup or a even 1/4 cup to represent your measurement of “1 part”, and maintain the ratios throughout.

Weighing everything would be more precise, but I haven’t found weighing everything out to exact amounts to matter much with this tea.

How to Make Respiratory Relief Tea

Follow the instructions below on how to make the Cold Infusion Phase, the Decoction Phase, and the Hot Infusion Phase.

Here are the steps to combine the phases:

  1. Make the cold infusion phase first.
  2. Use the resulting liquid as the water for your decoction.
  3. Strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid.
  4. Reheat the decoction (the liquid) if needed to just before boiling.
  5. Add the herbs for the hot infusion, turn off the heat, and cover.
  6. Allow herbs to steep covered for at least 15 minutes.

This takes a bit of time from beginning to end. I suggest making it in larger batches, once a day, and reheat just before consuming.

Honey is a perfect addition to this tea, as it helps to both sweeten the tea and to relax coughing. If you are diabetic and cannot have honey, you can sweeten your tea with something like this monkfruit-based syrup.

Respiratory Relief Tea- Cold Infusion Phase

Ingredients

  • 3 parts slippery elm
  • 1 part marshmallow root
  • 4 parts room temperature water

Directions

  • Combine slippery elm bark and marshmallow root
  • Cover with the water, and allow to steep at room temperature between 4-8 hours.
  • Strain, reserve liquid and discard the plant material.
  • Store cold infusion in refrigerator for up to 2 days if needed.
  • Use this as the water for the decoction phase

There are concerns with slippery elm, as it is an endangered wild plant. If you can, buy organic. That should ensure that it came from a managed population, not from a wild population that might have been overharvested. Otherwise, feel free to substitute Siberian elm instead, or just use 100% marshmallow root.

A quart mason jar will allow for 1 cup of plant material and 4 cups of water. This is the correct ration of plant material to water, and the jars have easy-to-read measurements on the side of each jar.

Use cut and sifted instead of powdered forms. Powdered slippery elm and marshmallow will be much more difficult to strain out. It’s a mess. Ask me how I know…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article in full glory at The Herbal Prepper.

Related:

Wholefully: 5 Cold-Busting Herbal Tea Blends

Learning Herbs: Hyssop Oxymel: A Cold, Flu and Bronchitis Home Remedy

The Medic Shack: Herbal Help for Covid 19

Chuck at The Medic Shack shares some herbal info for boosting the immune system and soothing symptoms of coronavirus.

Herbal Help for Covid 19

Herbal Help for Covid 19 We have been busy. My work has been either totally crazy or worrying about getting enough hours. So I’ve been off the keyboard doing a lot to get things better prepared. The other day my wife told me. You need to start taking your own advice that you write about. Well she really said Read your own damn web pages and DO IT. So that is what we’ve been doing. Got a rushed straw bale garden going Working on some trades. Making a Bowie knife to trade for some things. Filling holes in our preps. Gods I wish we had what we had in New Mexico.

But we don’t. We started from scratch. Like a lot of you. So look if we can do it, y’all can also.

Lets talks about this little bug that is causing such a hubbub.

Covid 19

There is some good news about it. Wait WHAT? Good news? Well YEAH.

  • It is not Ebola or Marberg,
  • Covid19  doesn’t have the high mortality of MERS or Hanta,
  • It hasn’t made Zombies…… Yet.

Overall it has a 98% survival rate. For Gods Sakes. We take bigger risks than that driving to work in rush our traffic here in Charleston.

The at risk population mainly appears to be among the elderly or those with per-existing lung conditions or per-existing conditions that lower immunity. It also seems to affect folks with pre existing cardiac issues. Heart failure and coronary artery disease are the 2 biggies. So far it’s primary way of death is Pneumonia. Lets try to prevent that

The Herbalist point of view.

I’ve been talking with some herbalists that know a lot more than me. All pretty much agree we need to support and build up the body against lower respiratory infection. Talking with some respiratory therapists one of the issues the body has with pneumonia is the bacterial infection and the triggering of the immune response can coat the lungs with “gunk” And yes that is a proper medical term! This can make a incubation “soup” that allows more bacteria to breed and grow. Enter the Lymphatic system. It removes the waste and broken down bacteria, fluids and other items from the lungs. Echinacea is good go to for that. Astragalus, and Ginger are also good. Back home in New Mexico I would use Ginger Echinacea and Ocotillo stems as a tea or tincture.

Coughing

Another thing the virus does is produce a cough. Most of the time it starts out dry. But as infection spreads it turns to a wet, productive cough. The dry cough can be soothed by Marshmallow (Not the Stay Puff kind) Mullein and Pleurisy Root. I sometimes add in some slippery elm to lubricate things up to help sooth the dryness a bit. Not to much.

If/when it transitions to the wet cough we don’t want to stop it. Sounds wrong, but a wet productive cough is the body trying to move the “gunk” out of the body. We now want to help the body “dry out” the lungs and get that crud out. Decent expectorants include elecampane,thyme, Hyssop Lobela and ginger.

Elderberry.

This one is causing a storm. Some think that it causes a cytokine storm and helps the virus with that. I’ve never seen it. I have heard of it from elderberries, but it is very rare. Now there is some work being done with Elder flowers. The flower of the Elder tree. It is showing a higher penchant for attacking a virus than the berry. We use both. I am leaning more toward the elderflower since it is far less sweet and they go a lot farther than the whole berries. I have read that instead of a full 8 ounce cup of the elderflower tea it shows more effect by taking small shots multiple times a day. A few drops of tincture instead of a whole dropper. Right now we have tea in the fridge and a percolation cone going of tincture.

Fire Cider

Our old friend who got “trademarked” by a low life company, They eventually lost the lawsuit. UNFORTUNATELY we don’t have the 6 weeks to make it. Thanks to my partner in prepping crime There is an instant version. Full details are here. Instant Fire Cider, but here is the gist of it:

A very similar remedy can be made at home, right now, with very inexpensive ingredients. You probably already have some, if not all, ingredients in your kitchen. It’s filled with decongesting, anti-inflammatory, and immune boosting ingredients. I’m not as big of a fan of “hot & spicy” as others, but I can’t deny the effectiveness of this combination.

Here’s the recipe (makes 8 oz):

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice or the juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup of raw honey

Directions

  • Add lemon juice, vinegar, and spices to your jar
  • Add honey to bring up to 8 ounces
  • all ingredients in a small jar (like a mason jar or hex jar)
  • Shake well to mix
  • Store in the refrigerator

Finally.

This is a short post. More of a what you can do before and if/when you’re infected. Get off you butt and start gathering the items I’ve listed here. There is no cure and no vaccine. But the gods have giving us the things we need to fight it. Herbs trees and most importantly a brain to do it with. Don’t get all caught up in the media panic or the panic at the stores. Keep a cool head, buy supplies when you can, as you can. Take care of your community, your inner circle. Look if you don’t have to dig into your stores right now then don’t. Use the time we have to keep adding. Don’t buy huge quantities. That makes you a target. Baby steps. Be that no descrpit person that is talked about in the police shows. “What did he/she look like ma’am? I don’t know. Average looking”.

Some herbs to track down

  • Yarrow
  • Astagalus
  • Elecampane
  • Pleurisy root
  • Horehound
  • Mullein
  • Lobela
  • Elderberry and Elderflower
  • Ginger
  • Tumeric
  • Cayanne
  • ACV
  • Honey
  • Hyssop
  • Clear alcohol. IE Vodka , everclear
  • Marshmallow
  • Thyme

There is so much more to cover but there is not much time and much to do. We’ll keep posting as we can. Please add comments to theses posts. Add to them. Share them We will make it though this mess. We will emerge into a different world than we left on January 1 2020. We’ll deal with that as we can. We have some bad stuff coming. Keep your wits about y’all and don’t give up. We’ll make it though this mess and get ready for the next. We have a poop ton of information we have written about prior on The Medic Shack Use them and share them.

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.

Medic Shack: Basics of Herbal Medicine Webinar,

The Medic Shack usually teaches The Basics of Herbal Medicine as a live, in-person class, but because of the pandemic is moving the class on-line. It will tentatively start on March 28th and go for 2 or 3 weekends.

 I have some irons in the fire, and one of them was a local class on the basics of herbal medicine. This was going to be at our house in Summerville SC. We can do up to 6 or so folks at a time. Well with this virus and everything all Topsy turvey, we’re going to do it on line over a few days.

This will be a live webinar, with a study guide and suggested equipment. This is not a herbal certification course like my bud Cat Ellis teaches. This is a get your feet wet on making tinctures, tisanes and  decoctions, What you should treat and what should be left to the pros. Going to do a tentative start date of the weekend of the 28th of March. We can knock this our in 2 or 3 weekends. I’ll take as long as needed to make sure everyone’s questions are answered. We haven’t worked out the cost for the class, but it will be a lot less expensive than the in person one would be. Hope to see you folks there!

This may be the safest way to have classes…

Topics to be covered:images

• Herbal theory
• Introduction to making Tinctures and Herbal teas
• Colloidal silver• Pain control
• Herbal clot accelerators,
• Bites, burns and Skin irritations
• Respiratory and Allergens
• Equipment and safety considerations
• Anti-microbial and Anti-viral

Webinar announcement page

Webinar Signup page

Practical Self Reliance: Making Herbal Healing Salve

Here’s a nice beginner how-to from Ashley at Practical Self Reliance on how to make healing salves. She includes a general recipe and then several herb-specific recipes toward the end. I like to use a calendula salve for minor skin injuries which is similar to the Gardener’s Healing Salve recipe she links. I’ve only included some of the key parts of the article below, more detail is through the article links.

Herbal healing salves are simple and effective ways to enjoy the benefits of herbal medicine, and they couldn’t be easier to make at home.  Salves are semi-solid at room temperature, making them easy to transport and store.  When they come in contact with skin, the botanicals go to work, released by our own body heat for absorption through the skin.

Herbal Healing Salve<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-13045″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Herbal-Healing-Salve.001.jpeg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1″ alt=”Herbal Healing Salve” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

I’ll admit it, as a budding herbalist I was intimidated by making my own salves.  Homemade tinctures and infused oils are easy enough, just place herbs in a medium and wait.

It took me over a decade of herbal practice before I made my first herbal salve.  Start to finish, the whole process only lasted about 10 minutes and I had a whole counter full of homemade herbal medicines.  Why had I waited so long to try this?!?!?!

…Usually, healing salves are made with just a few ingredients.  Often just three ingredients are enough to get the job done, those being herbs, oil, and beeswax…

<img src=”https://i2.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Herbal-Healing-Salve.001.jpeg?fit=600%2C400&ssl=1″ class=”mv-create-image no_pin ggnoads” data-pin-nopin=”true” alt=”How to Make a Herbal Healing Salve” data-pin-media=”https://i2.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Herbal-Healing-Salve.001.jpeg?fit=600%2C400&ssl=1″>

Yield: About 8 Ounces

How to Make a Herbal Healing Salve

Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5 to $6 per batch

Herbal healing salves are incredibly versatile, and this semi-solid topical herbal medicine is an easy way to incorporate natural herbal remedies into your routine.

Materials

Herbal Infused Oil

  • 1 1/2 cups carrier oil (olive, almond, grapeseed, etc)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup dried herbs

Healing Salve

Tools

  • Pint Mason Jar
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • Double Boiler
  • (or saucepan & heatproof bowl)
  • Salve Tins
  • (or other containers)

Instructions

Herb Infused Oil

  1. Add dried herbal material to a pint mason jar. Cover completely with about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of oil.
  2. Allow the oil to infuse at room temperature for 3 to 6 weeks before straining through a fine-mesh strainer. (Note: Some of the oil will absorb into the herbal material, so starting with slightly more than 1 cup of oil should yield about 1 cup for making a herbal salve.)

Herbal Healing Salve

  1. Measure about 1 cup of herb infused oil. Place it in a heat proof bowl (or double boiler). Add about 1 inch of water to a small saucepan and then place the bowl over the water. Turn the heat on low and gently heat the oil.
  2. Add in about 1 ounce of beeswax pistils (roughly 1 heaping tablespoon). Stir gently until melted.
  3. Remove the oil/wax mixture from the heat and pour it into containers.
  4. Allow the salve to cool to room temperature and reach a semi-solid state before using it.

Notes

The amount of beeswax used is a matter of personal preference. Feel free to use more for a firmer healing salve, or less for a softer more spreadable herbal salve…

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

Related:

The Herbal Academy: How to Make Calendula Salve

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.

Sagebrush (Artemisia Tridentata) – Medicinal Uses

Recently researching the treatment of infections without antibiotics, my investigations meandered to the – ubiquitous in our area – sagebrush plant, artemisia tridentata. It is mentioned as a boundary medicine wash in Marjory Wildcraft and Doug Simons’ video Treating Infections without Antibiotics (transcript). The following article from the blog Celebrating Gaia’s Herbal Gifts summarizes most of the information that was available around the internet about the medicinal use of sagebrush, Artemisia Tridentata-Big Sagebrush, a Valuable Medicinal Herb. It may be apropos to note that there are also a lot of non-medicinal uses for sagebrush for the preparedness/survival-minded, including for fire-starting, cordage, baskets, pillow-stuffing, insect repellant, paper-making, etc.

IMG_3765

Sagebrush Country

I live in the big sky country,  the high desert of Central Oregon.  Everywhere I look I see Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata).  The genus Artemisia comprises hardy herbaceous plants and shrubs, which are known for the powerful chemical constituents in their essential oils. In a  search of artemisia on the USDA plants database in Oregon there are 150 species of artemisia that appear. The name Artemisia comes from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana. There are any number of artemisia species that are popular in our modern herbal materia medica,  from wormwood to mugwort.   The intent of this post is to continue to explore my bio-region and develop herbal protocols based on the use of local plants and to that end, sagebrush (artemisia tridentata) will certainly play a  role.  This is by no means a definitive article but a written documentation of my search through the literature related to traditional uses and potential current applications.

My exploration of plants always starts through the eyes of First Peoples/Native American’s, who have had a long relationship with using artemisia species throughout North America.  The focus of this blog is to explore the use of Artemisia tridentata, which is mostly relegated to the western states. Big sagebrush and other artemisia species are therange dominant plants across large portions of the Great Basin.

Any number of tribes used artemisia tridentata including tribes affiliated with my bio-region, Okanagan-Colville, Paiute, Shuswap and the Thompson.  Many of the tribes used it similarly. These uses include the following:  respiratory and gastrointestinal aids, cold and cough remedy, antirheumatic both internally and externally, antidiarrheal, ferbrifuge, dermatological aid, eye wash, gynecological aid, analgesic, diaphoretic, emetic, pulmonary aid, and antidote for poisoning.  All parts of the plant were used including the leaves, stems, seed pods, branches and roots.

tridenta

Artemisia tridentata

It was used both externally and internally.*   Externally it had many uses including: as a poultice of fresh and dried leaves for chest colds, as a wash made of the leaves and stems for cuts and wounds, as a leaf decoction for an eye wash, the leaves were packed into the nose for headaches, the ground leaves were used as a poultice along with tobacco for fever and headaches, the leaves were powdered and used for diaper rash or packed into shoes for athlete’s infection, a decoction of the leaves were mixed with salt and gargle for sore throat, mashed leaves were used for toothaches, a leaf decoction was used in a bath for muscular ailments. *  There are many references to it being used internally as an infusion or decoction, but as one informant indicated it was too strong and powerful to drink, “you wouldn’t have any more kids, no children”.  Internal use is not recommended due to some chemical constituents found in the plant.  There are many references to artemisia being inhaled for headaches, for spiritual cleansing, to produce sweat and rid the body of colds, respiratory infections and pulmonary issues.

Artemesia annua

Artemisia annua

An interesting fact is that the Paiute’s and Okanagan-Colville indicated that they used a decoction of leaves for malarial fever, which is also similar to the use of other artemisias around the world.  Most of artemisia’s research as an antimalarial is focused on Artemisia annua (sweet annie).   Artemisia annua is a very interesting plant and is the source of the most powerful antimalarial drug ever discovered, artemisinin.  It is also being investigated in treatment of breast cancer.

Many of its traditional uses can be attributed to artemisia’s active medicinal constituents including camphor, terpenoids, and tannins. Sagebrush essential oil contains approximately 40% l-camphor; 20% pinene; 7% cineole; 5% methacrolein; and 12% a-terpinene, d-camphor, and sesqiterpenoids.  The essential oils present account for its use in inhalation.  Sesquiterpene lactones are among the prominent natural products found in Artemisia species and are largely responsible for the importance of these plants in medicine and pharmacy.

For my own purposes I can definitely see incorporating it into liniments, antiseptic washes, chest poultice, fumigation, powdered for use as foot powder.  Although there is tremendous oral history of its internal use I personally would be hesitant and look to other herbal options.

A few of my references:

Adams, James D., Garcia, Cecilia.,  Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West. Abedus Press, 2009.

Moreman, Daniel E., Native American Medicinal Plants.  Timber Press, 2009.

Parks, Willard Z.  Notes of the Northern Paiute of Western Nevada, 1933-1944.  Compiled and edited by Catherine S. Fowler.  University of Utah, Anthropological Papers, Number 114, 1989.

See also the sagebrush entry from Herbalpedia.com.

Prep School Daily: Herbal Medicine – Juniper

Jennifer at Prep School Daily writes some nice, informative posts on a variety of preparedness-related topics. Here are a couple on using Juniper as medicine.

Herbal Medicine: Juniper Part I

Herbal Medicine: Juniper Part II

Juniper is another phenomenal antibiotic, and it is so easy to locate. Especially here at my house on Juniper Ridge (really, that’s what it says on the local topographical map), where we have hundreds of juniper trees.  It grows everywhere between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, so I tend to think it just grows everywhere.  But it’s also a really common landscaping shrub.  So if you don’t actually have trees near you, maybe you can find some of the low-growing varieties in a shopping center parking lot or on school grounds.    There are something like 50 or 60 or 70 species of juniper; all can be used medicinally.  The juniper berry of some varieties is quite similar in size and color to a blueberry, but most are smaller than a blueberry and much duskier in appearance, at least until they are washed and dried.

Bulk Juniper Berries, Whole | Buy Juniper Berry | Spice Jungle
My juniper berries look like this, not the big pretty ones you see pictured everywhere else online.

But don’t get too excited about eating these berries.  Sure, you can eat them.  They just aren’t all that sweet or juicy or filling, any of those things that we really like about blueberries and blackberries and strawberries.  The juniper berry isn’t actually a berry.  It’s a seed cone.  A baby tree.  And that’s exactly what the green, unripe berries taste like.  The old, dried berries taste like dead trees.  The bluish/purplish ones, the ones you want for medicine and eating (if you really want to eat them) have the tiniest amount of flesh on them that if you think really hard about while chewing on might just have a hint of fruitiness about them.

However, juniper berries do have their own grand purposes in life.  Some would say their greatest use is as gin, and indeed juniper berries were historically used to sanitize medical equipment (more on that in another post).  Juniper is employed in so many ways and for so many conditions that we’ll need a few posts to cover them all.

Junipers of the western United States were widely used by Native Americans in treating many medical conditions, especially those related to the urinary tract, digestive tract, and skin.

Time to harvest:  Berries–in the fall, after the first frost and the berries have turned blue/purple, and before they start to shrivel.  Berries develop on the tree for two to three years; green berries should not be used…

TPH: Herbal Apprenticeship, 2018

From Sean and Monica at The Prepared Homestead and Huckleberry Mountain Botanicals:

Herbal Apprenticeship

Interested in doing an herbal apprenticeship where you get some hands on experience and delve deeper into your herbal studies?

This apprenticeship will primarily focus on cultivating herbs, herbal preparations and proper storage techniques but we will do wildcrafting as time/weather and what’s growing permits. Each session I will discuss specific herbs so we won’t be working with the same ones. My discussions will include herbal actions, affinities, energetics, & preparations.

Each session runs 6 weeks and will cover a different set of herbs.

What I expect of you:

  • Commitment to the program for the duration (except emergency)
  • Arrive on time
  • Bring necessary equipment and supplies
  • Good attitude and readiness to learn
  • Have fun!

If you feel this is a good fit and you’re ready to take your herbal education to the next level, don’t wait! Those 5 slots will go quickly.

Session 1, May 24 – June 28 10 AM to 3 PM:

$250.00, I am only accepting 5 apprentices to maximize hands-on experience.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! SIGN UP BEFORE APRIL 1 AND RECEIVE A 20% DISCOUNT. 6 WEEKS FOR $199.00

Register


Session 2, August 16 – Sept 20 10AM to 3 PM:

$250.00, I am only accepting 5 apprentices to maximize hands-on experience.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! SIGN UP BEFORE APRIL 1 AND RECEIVE A 20% DISCOUNT. 6 WEEKS FOR $199.00

Register

The Prepared Homestead: Intro to Family Herbal Medicine

The Prepared Homestead will present an introduction to family herbal medicine on Friday evenings from July 7th, 2017 through September 8, 2017 from 5:30 to 8:00pm in Cocolalla, Idaho.

Family Herbal Medicine

Come spend Friday Evenings July 7-Sept 8 5:30-8:00 PM on the homestead learning about Family Herbal Medicine and working with herbs. Herbalism has been around for thousands of years. It has been the traditional method used by people on every continent to support health and bring healing. Today there is a resurgence, a renewed interest in taking charge of our own health and educating ourselves on family herbal medicine know-how. In this 10 week program my goal is to build your confidence in your knowledge and ability so you feel equipped to take care of your family’s basic health needs. Each of these sessions is available individually, they are also available at a discount as groupings (see description below) or at a significant discount when you register for the entire program.

What we will cover over the 10 weeks –


Session 1: Introduction to western herbalism & Burns, Stings, & Rashes

echinacea

  • Why use herbs? Why study family herbal medicine?
  • Basic safety precautions
  • What herbs are growing around your yard you can use to ease stings and bites
  • How to heal a burn fast and reduce scarring
  • Herbs for skin rashes, diaper rashes, and facial breakouts
  • You’ll also learn the basics of making a poultice and when to use this type of treatment as well as drying herbs, part 1

Session 2: Wounds, Bruises, & Cuts

  • How to stop a bleeding injury
  • Best herbs for reducing swelling
  • Herbs that eliminate infection
  • Herbs to have in your family First Aid Kit
  • In this session we will learn to make a soothing compress and continue our discussion on drying herbs

Session 3: Coughs, Colds, & Congestion

  • Intro to wildcrafting
  • Learn the difference between types of coughs and which herbs to choose for each type
  • How to shorten the length of a cold
  • Herbs that help reduce congestion and allow for easier breathing
  • In this session we will make some herbal honey and cover the basics of an herbal bath & steam

Session 4: Fevers, Teething, & Ear Infections

  • When to worry about a fever
  • What herbs to use for different types of fevers
  • Herbs to soothe teething pain and irritability
  • How to treat ear infections naturally
  • We will cover the basics of making an infused oil

Session 5: Indigestion, Diarrhea, Constipation & Stomach Ache

  • We’ll talk about the importance of regular bowel movements and which herbs help
  • Herbs that are good for soothing stomach ache
  • How to reduce IBS and intestinal inflammation
  • We’ll discuss when to make a decoction and infusion and practice making both

Nourishing Herbal Infusion


Session 6: Tonic Herbs

  • This week we move into using herbs for daily health
  • We will cover my favorite herbs to take and what they are good for
  • Using Herbs as your vitamins
  • I will show you how to make a Nourishing Herbal Infusion

Session 7: Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, & Headaches

  • Strategies for reducing stress and anxiety
  • How to use herbs to reduce the effects of anxiety
  • What herbs help quiet the mind and make it easier to fall asleep
  • Herbal treatment for tension headaches
  • In this session we will make an herbal tincture

Session 8: Menstrual Disorders

  • Herbs you can use to reduce cramping and eliminate bloating
  • Treating excess bleeding with herbs
  • In this session we will also discuss diet and lifestyle
  • We will create an infusion blend and a soothing massage oil

Session 9: Adaptogens & Immune Boosters

  • Reduce incidence of illness by using herbs
  • Increase your ability to handle stress and bounce back faster
  • My favorite adaptogens to use and how to easily incorporate them into your life
  • When to use herbs to boost immunity and when not to
  • Benefits of Bone Broth and basic recipe
  • In this session we will make an infused vinegar

Session 10: Balancing Female Hormones

  • Top 6 herbs for balancing hormones
  • Herbal protocol for taking control of your hormones once and for all
  • Lifestyle recommendations
  • Where to buy reliable herbs
  • Making your own capsules

This is 25 hours of herbal instruction and hands-on learning opportunity!

Each session costs $35 when bought individually.

You receive a 20% discount if you purchase one of my grouped sessions:

  • Session 1-5 $140.00
  • Session 6-10 $140.00

Or if you are ready to jump in and take control of your family’s health, then sign up for the entire Family Herbalism Course for only $250.00! That’s a savings of $100

I have space for only 10 people in each class. This is a very interactive, hands-on herb class so be ready to learn tons and have fun doing it!

**Cost for supplies is extra. The list will be emailed to you upon confirmation of enrollment or you can pay a small fee and I will provide all the supplies necessary for each session.

 

2018 Edit; They now have a ten month herbal school — Huckleberry Mountain Botanicals School.