Category Archive: Herbs

Three Ways to Use Healing Essential Oils That Work

When it comes to using essential oils topically, most recipes will simply say “add to a carrier oil and apply”.  That sounds simple enough but the reality is that measuring the proper number of drops can be hit or miss.  Most EO brands include an orifice style dropper but just when you think you have doled out the requisite drops, more come out.  This is not only wasteful, but when it comes to essential oils, using more is not always better.

A solution to this dilemma is to create custom salves, butters, and lotion bars that make the application of essential oils a cinch.  Not only is that, crafting these concoctions and using essential oils in this manner fun, especially if you are a do-it-yourself type.  When creating your own blends, you can mix and match oils at will or stick to a tried and true healing combination.


Speaking of a tried and true healing combination, my absolute favorite is a blend that includes equal parts of Lavender, Rosemary, and Peppermint essential oils.  I love them so much, that I have convinced my favorite EO purveyor, Spark Naturals, to offer them with free shipping but more about that later.

First, though, I am recapping three essential oil recipes that simply work, and should be in everyone’s natural first aid arsenal.  They are a cinch to put together, budget friendly, smell wonderful, and are not in the least bit boring.  Not only that, they make a wonderful launching point for some great custom blends of your own.

Miracle Healing Salve – The Recipe

This is the signature recipe that has garnered almost 200 comments from readers on this website.  This all-purpose healing salve is truly a multi-purpose miracle worker!


Ingredients:
1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Tbl Organic Beeswax Pastilles

Containers:
8 each: 2 ounce jars or containers
** or **
4 each: 4 ounce jars (I use these Mason jelly jars)

Essential Oils:
40 drops Lavender essential oil total
40 drops Rosemary essential oil total
40 drops Peppermint essential oil total

Directions
1.  Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer.  While the water is heating, add the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax pastilles in a heatproof jar or measuring cup.

2.  Set the jar filled with the coconut oil, olive oil, and wax into the water and leave it there until it melts, giving it a stir from time to time.  You want a slow, gentle melt so take your time.  It could take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the temperature of the water bath.

3.  While the ingredients are melting, drop your essential oils into each of the containers. For 2 ounce jars, use 5 drops of each oil (total of 15 drops per jar).  For 4 ounce jars, use 10 drops of each oil (total of 30 drops per jar).

Hint:  I have found that it is easier to use a glass medicine dropper than the dropper that comes with the bottle of essential oil.  This is optional and a matter of personal preference.

4.  Pour the melted oils into each of the smaller jars containing essential oils.  There is no need to stir unless you want to since the oils will mix up on their own.

5.  Set the filled jars aside for up to 24 hours.  Although the salve will start to firm up within minutes, it takes at least 12 hours to complete the firming process.

Healing Body Butter – The Recipe


Ingredients
1/2 cup Shea Butter
1/4 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
1/4 cup (2 ounces) Liquid Carrier Oil (Almond, Olive, Fractionated Coconut, Jojoba, Hemp, etc.)
60 drops essential oils

Suggestion: 20 drops each of Lavender, Peppermint & Rosemary Essential Oils (I use Spark Naturals)

Directions
1.  Combine the Shea Butter and Coconut Oil (or other liquid carrier oil) in a large Pyrex cup or mason jar and set on the stove in a pan of simmering water.  You can also use a double boiler but this is so much easier.  Be sure to use a large vessel so that water does not splatter and contaminate the oils.

2.  Gently stir until melted.

3.  When thoroughly melted, remove your cup or jar from the water bath and set aside for 5 minutes.  During this time, the melted oils will cool just enough to prevent overheating the liquid oils.

4.  Add the remaining oils which are already in liquid form as well as the essential oils.

5.  Set aside to cool. The butter/oils will begin to harden a bit which is what you want.

Note:   I set mine in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to speed the process.

4.  Using a hand mixer (I used my blending stick), whip until you have a nice fluffy consistency.  If cooled and semi-hardened as described above, this will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes so be patient.

Note:  Another reason you want to use a large cup or jar to melt the oils is that the whipping process will make a mess all over the place if there is insufficient heat room.

5.  Transfer your Simple Body Butter to a scrupulously clean container and you are done.  I have used both glass mason jars and plastic jars (like these) with success.

This is a small batch recipe but it can easily be doubled or even tripled.

Of course if you prefer to use different essential oils, you can do that too.  Just keep in mind that for this small batch, you will be adding about 60 drops total, depending on the quality of your oils and dilution desired.  It has been my experience that the higher quality the oil, the less you will need.

Note: 60 drops is the same dilution used with Miracle Healing Salve.  It uses a total of 30 drops of essential oil per 4 ounce jar.

Healing Lotion Bars – The Recipe

Making these Healing Lotion Bars is super simple.  The ingredients are readily available and although you can use a fancy mold like I did, you can also use a muffin tin or even an ice cube tray for shaping the bars.  After some trial and error, have found this lotion bar recipe to be just perfect!


Ingredients
1/2 cup Coconut Oil (I used Tropical Traditions)
1/4 cup Shea Butter (I used 100% unrefined from Amazon.com)
1/2 cup Beeswax Pellets
25 drops each of Lavender, Peppermint & Rosemary Essential Oils (I use Spark Naturals)

  1.  Set a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a slow simmer.  You may also use a double boiler but I prefer using a pot of water and a glass measuring cup as a make-shift version so I can better see the action.  This also makes pouring the hot liquid into the molds safer and easier.

2.  While you are waiting for the water, gather your ingredients so they are ready to go.  Add the coconut oil and beeswax to your glass measuring cup and set it aside for a moment.

3.  Measure out a chunk of Shea butter then chop it up a bit into smaller pieces.  Set the Shea butter aside for now.

4.  When the water is simmering, add the glass measuring cup holding your coconut oil and beeswax to the pan and let them melt.  Do not add the essential oils; that comes later.

5.  Give your brew a stir from time to time; this tends to speed up the melting of the wax.  For me, this step took about 10 minutes.

6.  When everything is nice and melted, quickly add the Shea butter.  It will melt quickly which is what you want.  While it is melting, stir it up like a crazy person. I read over and over that this prevents graininess so that is what I did.  I used a dinner knife but you can use a spoon, fork, or even a chopstick.

7.  Once the Shea butter is melted, quickly take your liquid off the burner and add the essential oils.  I used the same oils I use in miracle healing salve (and in about the same proportion) but you can use whatever you want.  Or none at all if you want a plain lotion bar.

8.  Quickly pour the liquid into your molds.  I used this silicone daisy mold and love the results although during my testing and trial runs, I used muffin tins, both bare and with paper liners.  They worked fine but were not as cute.  And these daisy shaped lotion bars are very cute if not a bit quirky!

9.  Set the healing lotion bars on the counter to firm up, or, do what I did and set them in the refrigerator to cool.  They will harden up in an hour or two.

10.  Once the healing lotion bars are firm, pop them out of the mold.  They are ready to use as is although I find that they cure and harden a bit more over the next few days.

Note:  The proportion and blend of essential oils is a personal choice.  Feel free to experiment.  For my healing lotion bars, I used the same oils that I use in my Miracle Healing Salve.  The recipe above made 1 1/4 cup of liquid lotion bar base so I chose to use the same proportion of 30 drops for every 4 ounces of base carrier  oil (in this case coconut oil, Shea butter, and beeswax).long before that.

Three of My Best Loved Oils are Budget Friendly + Free Shipping

Early this month, I contacted the owners of Spark Naturals and explained to them I wanted to do a recap of my favorite salve, body butter, and lotion bar recipes.  I asked them pretty-please if they would run a special free shipping offer on my three favorite oils, namely Lavender, Rosemary and Peppermint.

And they agreed!  For a limited time, Spark Naturals is offering free shipping on your entire order when you purchase any one of these three oils.  To take advantage of this offer, be sure to check FREE SHIPPING at checkout.  This offer is good through midnight, August 21.

When I say these oils are budget friendly, I mean it.  Here is a cost breakdown both before and after adding my 10% discount.

  5ml 15ml
Lavender  6.99 18.90
Rosemary 6.99 13.72
Peppermint 6.46 18.45
Total 20.44 51.07
After 10% Discount using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout 18.40 45.96

11 Ways (So Far) to Use the Miracle Healing Salve EO Combination

The “miracle” of this combination is how easily it resolves a variety of first aid and skin care issues and woes.  Here is a short list of some od the ways I personally use this healing combination of Lavender, Rosemary, and Peppermint essential oil.

1.  Antiseptic Ointment for life’s little bumps and bruises:  Instead of Neosporin, reach for Miracle Healing Salve, Butter, or Lotion Bars to both soothe and heal cuts and scrapes.

2.  Hand and foot moisturizer:  An unbelievably emollient hand and foot moisturizer.  No more dry hands and feet – especially when using the body butter.

3.  Relief for nocturnal foot and muscle cramps.  Rub this combination of oils on the bottom of your feet and on your calves before going to bed.  You must be consistent because at least for me the results are cumulative.   I went from nightly cramps to cramping only 3 or 4 times a month.  Really, this really works.

4.  Promotes healing of scars. Slather the Miracle Salve, Butter or Lotion Bar over new scars and watch them heal in days rather than weeks.

5.  Relieves itching from insect bites, hives, and those mysterious itchy patches that won’t go away.

6.  Eliminates symptoms of mild eczema and psoriasis:  With the addition of 5 to 10 drops of Melaleuca oil (tea tree) to a jar of Miracle Salve or Body Butter, dry, ugly patch of psoriasis on Shelly’s elbow all but disappeared. In the past he has tried everything including diet changes and prescription drugs.  It took about 3 weeks for these healing essential oils to do their thing but they do work. For more immediate results, read Treating Psoriasis with Essential Oils.

7.  Makeup Remover: Smear on your face the wipe away your makeup with a damp washcloth.

8.  Facial moisturizer and serum:  Yes, really.  You would think it would be greasy but the oils absorb quickly and leave your face with a nice, dewy texture.

9.  Cuticle and nail conditioner: No more ragged cuticles or dry, splitting nails.  This is a byproduct of being diligent about #3 above.  It just happened without my realizing it.

10.  Hair serum: A few drops liquefied in your palms and then smoothed over your hair will leave it shiny and less fly-away.

11.  Relieve pet scratching and itching, too. Tucker the Awesome Wonder Dog was scratching himself in one spot on his belly so I put a little Miracle salve on the spot and a couple of hours later he stopped.  Was it the smell, the healing properties or just a coincidence?  I don’t know but it worked.

For dozens of other hints and uses, grab a cup of coffee and read through the 190 plus comments on the original DIY Healing Salve article posted in December 2014.

The Final Word

However you choose to apply your essential oils, the application method does not have to be difficult, tendious, or boring. These recipes are easy to concoct and will give you a jump start on creating synergies that work to heal in a non-toxic manner that is safe and effective for almost everyone.

Pick one, two, or all three methods.  I promise you the results will be worth the effort.  They work.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: backdoorsurvival


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Make Coffee From Chicory Root

Here’s my story of how I discovered a simple, common weed can be used to make coffee from chicory!

For several years, I’ve noticed a beautiful blue wildflower lining the road during the summer. It starts out looking like a weed, but when it blooms, the flower is the color of a Tanzanite gemstone. I’ve noticed that it also grows well along sidewalks, in gravel, or any other harsh environment you can think of. The plant is a dark green and is about 12-24 inches high. The bluish flower petals are flat at the ends, and slightly “fringed”. The leaves closest to the ground look exactly like dandelion. If you are looking for it on a sunny day, they are easy to see. But, on an overcast day or late afternoon, the flowers close up, and it’s harder to spot.

I decided to take some photos and find out what it was.

To my surprise, I found out it was chicory. I remembered hearing that it can be used to make a beverage similar to coffee, but wanted to learn more about it. I also wondered if it had any medicinal properties.


According to Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants & Herbs, the root can be mixed with water to make a diuretic or laxative. It’s used homeopathically for liver and gallbladder ailments, it can lower blood sugar, and has a slight sedative effect. Chicory root extracts have been shown to be antibacterial, and its tinctures have an anti-inflammatory effect. You can learn how to make your own tinctures fairly easily.

Next, I wanted to find out what parts of the plant were edible and how to use it to make “coffee”. I learned that its root must be dried and roasted before making a hot beverage. Its’ leaves are good for both salad and cooked greens. The white underground leaves are great as a salad green in the spring, and the outer green leaves can be boiled for 5-10 minutes and eaten. I decided to go dig up some roots and try roasting them for coffee.

Make coffee from chicory

I found plenty of chicory right around my house and along my street. I thought I could just pull them out of the ground but I was wrong.

It’s had been dry for the last week and we have a lot of clay soil, so I went and got a shovel. Once I started digging, I found some of the roots are very long. Many broke off as I tried to pry them up with my shovel, but I got a decent sized batch quickly.

I soaked them for a short time, then scrubbed the roots clean, and chopped off the rest of the plant. I put those parts in my garden to add to the compost, which is an ongoing project. I patted the roots dry, and sliced them up. I did have to get a heavier chopping knife because some of the roots have a center that is like wood. The really tough stuff, I just added to my garden, and the rest I put on a cookie sheet.

I thought I’d try roasting it slow and low. I turned my oven on to 250 degrees and watched it for a half hour or so. It seemed to dry out but not really “roast” the pieces. So, I turned up the heat to 350 degrees, and about 20-30 minutes later, a wonderful smell came from the oven. The root pieces were turning brown and smelled like chocolate, caramel and coffee, all in one. The darker it got, the better it smelled. Once I thought the chicory root was dark enough, I turned down the oven to 300 degrees, so it wouldn’t burn but just roast a little bit more. I would say the total time was about and hour and a half. I took the roasted root pieces out of the oven and let them cool to room temperature.

I took out my blender, and used the “chop” setting to grind up the roots. I checked on them after several seconds and found it was still too coarse, but once again, the smell was incredible. I think the blades created enough heat to warm the grounds and send the smell wafting up in the air. I knew I needed a finer grind, so I set the blender to “liquify”, and that worked much better. I ended up with a finer grind that almost had the appearance of cigarette tobacco.

I was finally ready to brew a cup of chicory coffee! I added 2 teaspoons into my coffee filter and add enough water to the pot for one cup of coffee. I watched it brew, and it looks dark, just like regular coffee. By the way, in a power outage, a French Press is highly recommended for every coffee lover. You can get one for less than $30, and it’s worth every penny.

Now, the taste test. First, I tried it black. It tastes just like a strong black coffee (too much chicory?) but with a definite mocha, possibly caramel flavor. I may have used too much chicory, so next time I’ll use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons per cup when I brew.

Since I don’t normally drink black coffee, I added a tiny bit of stevia and some Coffee Mate to this aromatic concoction. Oh, my, GOSH!!!!! This is like a fabulous cup of coffee from a pricey coffee house. I really thought it wouldn’t be this good. I can’t wait to go out and gather more chicory root! If SHTF, this will be priceless. There is no caffeine in this drink, so you can have a warm beverage, late at night. I had no idea how easy it would be to make coffee from chicory.

I highly recommend foraging for this wonderful and amazing plant. I can’t believe we’ve lost so much knowledge over the years about living off the land. We all should learn foraging skills. This coffee alternative is free, abundant, delicious, and a great barter item. Better yet, just try it now to enjoy, but save some for yourself for later!

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: thesurvivalmom


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Nootrobox wants to boost your brain power with vitamin D

Who needs the sun? Many Silicon Valley startups pride themselves on long, grueling work hours, toiling from the crack of dawn until late into the night. But that work pride has a toll — they likely suffer from a serious lack of vitamin D.

Most U.S. office workers do these days and Nootrobox co-founder Geoff Woo says that’s affecting our brains.

Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, boosts your immune system and may protect against certain forms of cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Without enough of it, you may experience a sort of brain fog and lowered cognitive function.

Startups like Nootrobox, Nootroo and other “smart drug” subscription services started popping up in the last year to help Silicon Valley workers boost brain power. They join a growing cottage industry of products in the biohacking movement, like Bulletproof coffee, smart cocoa and even small doses of psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms) aiming to give those in startup land a performance-enhancing leg up.

Woo and his co-founder Michael Brandt initially released a “stack” of chemically enhanced pills promising to help people wake up, focus and sleep better. The startup pulled in Andreessen Horowitz, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Zynga founder Mark Pincus as investors to help launch the subscription service in 2015. Nootrobox later released “Go Cubes,” chewable coffee cubes, which offer an “evened-out” caffeine kick.

Now Woo wants to add vitamin D (which is actually a hormone, not a vitamin) to boost brain power, too.

Nootrobox is launching KADO-3, a fish oil and krill oil blend with a specifically high ratio of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) to provide a premium vitamin D designed for cognitive function.


Though recommendations differ on the amount we need in our daily diet, the interest in the vitamin goes all the way to the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama recently convinced the FDA to include vitamin D levels on the new food labels.

But pop in at any local nutrition store and there’s plenty of vitamin D sitting on the shelves. Woo says what’s in those bottles is different from what he’s offering.

“Typical Omega-3 blends have a high ratio of EPA to DHA. EPA is associated with cardiovascular benefits while DHA is associated with brain benefits. Whereas Nootrobox ramps up the ratio of DHA to EPA,” says Woo.

The blend also adds Astaxanthin, a neuroprotective that could help manage the risks of geriatric conditions, and vitamin K2, which also has been shown to benefit both the cardiovascular system and the brain.

Woo also revealed the company plans to eventually create a personalized blend based on someone’s DNA to enhance their overall function and Nootrobox will likely partner with one of the larger genetic testing companies to provide such a product, but he said he is not in talks with anyone and that offering won’t be available anytime soon.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: techcrunch


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The Addictions And Their Consequences After SHTF

In case you didn’t have enough to consider while planning your preparedness and/or evaluating your security risks following a societal collapse, have you thought about the consequences of the many addictions – be they vises or medical essentials?

While the actual numbers are sketchy, the general reality of the sheer number of people who rely on drugs or other vises are staggering – and when they can’t get them, it’s going to be a major problem in more ways than one…

Apparently there are more than 1 in 10 in the United States who are on SSRI’s (anti-depressants). Let’s call it 35 million.

Apparently there are approximately 22 million people who use ‘illegal drugs’ in the United States.

Apparently 7 of 10 Americans take at least one prescription medication. That’s about 220 million people.

There are approximately 130 million prescriptions in the United States for hydrocodone (pain killer).

Approximately 42 million people smoke cigarettes in the U.S.

It has been estimated that 18 million people are alcoholics in the United States while half of all Americans drink alcohol.


The question is this: What additional addictions are there and what possible consequence might they have on a society which has collapsed to the extent of social chaos?

For those who are preparing for a potential devastating economic collapse in which today’s modern society becomes crippled or even crushed from the devastating blow, it is a serious matter to consider that there will potentially be tens of millions of desperate people who may be wrenched from their supply chain of drugs, medications, and addictive vises.

Can you say, ‘withdrawal’?

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: modernsurvivalblog


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The Many Uses Of The Mint Plant (And Why You Should Be Growing It!)


You are probably looking at the title of this article and thinking, “What do you mean, many uses of Mint? It’s just Mint!”

Whether you’re a hobbyist gardener or a hardcore survivalist, you should be growing mint, and this article will tell you why.

A Little More About Mint.

If you’re familiar with mint, it’s probably spearmint or peppermint, and it’s just a flavoring that you occasionally have. There’s a whole lot more to the mint family of plants than that – for instance, lemon balms are a type of mint. Even with ‘pure’ mint, there are various types – spearmint, peppermint, and the like, which all have different tastes and uses. Then there are bee balms and cat mints.

Essentially, you have a family of herbs which have variety and utility. We’ll talk about the utility and diversity of options next.

Why Do You Need Mint Plants?

The various types of mint have almost too many uses to list in a short internet article. However, if you’re reading this site, then you’re probably of a survival-mindset, and so we’ll skip some of the more decorative uses, such as pot-pourri and as a flavoring of cheese.

Firstly, and most obviously, mint plants are great to eat. You can put them in a salad, or you can make your own teas with them. Sure, it’s not going to feed your family on its own through winter, but few things are. Mint is easy to grow (we’ll get to that soon) and adds flavor to whatever it is you’re eating.

But that’s not all. Mint plants are medicinal. They are particularly good for upset stomachs and for the clearing of sinuses, as well as an anti-bacterial remedy and for general cleaning purposes. Hence their use in detergents and over-the-counter toothpastes and bleaches. Of course, if you grow your own mint, you can create your own cleaning materials and cures for ailments, without having to rely on commercial products which may or may not contain a cocktail of unknown chemicals.

For the rugged survivalist, mint works in other ways; you can use it to repel insects by burning some on your campfire, or you can use it to suppress your appetite, meaning that your food stores will last longer.

If you are a homesteader, then mint offers some additional uses for you; it’s great to plant for ground cover – protecting the soil from the elements. Because of its speed and ease of growth, it also makes a great plant to prepare the soil for a future season. It also attracts beneficial insects.

How You Can Grow Mint

Perhaps the greatest reason to grow mint is the ease at which you can grow it.

The reason we stated in the title that you should be growing it is that you can grow the plant in almost any circumstance. From a small herb garden on an apartment balcony to a dedicated plot on a farm for commercial growing, mint can be grown by anyone.

It will practically grow itself, so unless you have a dedicated plot, keep it in containers until you know more about the plant – it will propagate itself and spread like wildfire if you let it.

To start, grab some fresh mint from your local grocery store or plant nursery, and leave it in water until it sprouts roots. Then, plant it in regular soil in a small pot, and wait for it to grow.

You’ll have your mint farm in no time!

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: survivalfoodgear


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15 Natural Remedies For Pain

When people can’t get the pain medication they need through their normal distribution channels, there are other alternatives which may help remedy their pain.

Whether you’re curious about some of the natural remedies for pain or you would like to know some alternatives for ‘just in case’ for SHTF, here are a 15 natural remedies…

Weight loss

It all starts with your body. A healthy weight, and losing weight if necessary is a good start to eliminate many pain associated ailments. It may not be easy, but it works.

Exercise

Again – a healthy body. Exercise programs should include both aerobic exercise like walking, swimming, or biking, as well as strengthening exercises.

Turmeric

Found in curry powder and in yellow mustard, may be the best herbal remedy. A component, curcumin, eases inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Some people take it in capsules, while others incorporate it into their food. The following doses have been studied in scientific research: 500 mg of turmeric twice to four times daily for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (WebMD).

Capsaicin

Chile peppers. An active component of chile pepper, capsaicin temporarily desensitizes pain-prone skin nerve receptors called C-fibers. It also is available as a dietary supplement or capsaicin cream-ointment used on the skin (topical use) to help relieve pain.

Fish oil

Digested fish oil breaks down into hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation. Available from eating fatty fish, or from over-the-counter capsules.

Vitamin D

D deficiency is linked to a host of chronic illnesses, including chronic pain. So many Americans have low vitamin D levels because we spend most of our time indoors. Getting five or 10 minutes of sun exposure two or three times a week in the summer is a great way to get vitamin D for free, otherwise tablets or capsules.

Ice or Heat

Ice packs can help reduce swelling and numb muscle and joint pain, but some folks prefer moist heat to ease aches and pains.

Vitamin B12

A B12 supplement boost helps to ease pain by encouraging your body to thicken its protective coating around your nerves, so they don’t “short circuit” and cause pain. Dosage recommendations include 2mg daily.

Ginger

Powdered Ginger and the oils contained in ginger reduce inflammation at the site of the joint. You can also take a ginger tablet.

Willow bark

Used for thousands of years in many different cultures to reduce fever and inflammation, willow bark is a powerful painkilling herb that is still used today to treat back pain, arthritis, headaches, and inflammatory conditions. The active ingredient in willow bark, salicin, is actually the compound that was first used in the 1800s to develop aspirin.

Skullcap

An herb native to North America, skullcap has been used for more than 200 years to treat anxiety, nervous tension, convulsions, and pain.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a powerful treatment for both muscle and nerve pain. It has been shown to balance levels of a brain chemical known as NMDA that is responsible for transmitting pain throughout the nervous system. Magnesium deficiency is also a common cause and amplifier of pain, so simply supplementing with it can help significantly improve pain symptoms. The foods that are highest in magnesium are things like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Regularly drinking alcohol can also deplete your magnesium levels. A dose of 250 to 500 mg of magnesium a day can start to decrease these deficiencies as well as the pain, after just several weeks. If you have kidney problems, do not use without your physician’s OK.

Acupuncture

Many people find that acupuncture helps relieve pain and disability due to arthritis; several studies have found benefit from the procedure.

Glucosamine

There is some evidence that suggests that glucosamine alleviates arthritis pain. For osteoarthritis, the typical dose of glucosamine used in most studies was 500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate taken three times a day. Ask your doctor about specific dosing.

Tart Cherries

Or tart cherry juice. Tart cherries contain higher amounts of anthocyanins — antioxidants that help repair the tiny tears of muscle damage.


Precautions:
Do your due-diligence and your own research. The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care practitioner.

Sources:
University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Vermont
vitamindcouncil.org
Psychology Today
NaturalNews.com
Health.com
WEbMD

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: modernsurvivalblog


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Managing Blood Pressure With Essential Oils

Something of that concerns every single one of us is how we will deal with health issues in the event modern medicine and western doctors are no longer available to keep us well.  This goes far beyond current health woes because, as you know, stuff happens and someone that is perfectly healthy one day may be stricken with a health-related malady the next.

With that introduction, a few months back I decided to explore whether the use of essential oils could help manage high blood pressure during times of trouble.  From the get go, I will tell you that managing blood pressure with essential oils is a very personal quest.  My own, traditionally perfect blood pressure, had suddenly taken a leap from 120/80 to 160/90 and higher.  I was not a happy camper.

After consulting with my physician, I decided to experiment using essential oils before taking more drastic measures, named pharmaceuticals.

What is Blood Pressure?

Let me quote from Joe and Amy Alton’s excellent book, The Survival Medicine Handbook:

Blood pressure is the measure of the blood flow pushing against the walls of the arteries in your body.  Without this flow of blood, oxygen would never get to all the organs of the body.

If this pressure, however, is elevated over time, it can cause long-term damage.  Many millions of adults in the U.S. have this condition, which is often asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms).  Because of this, it has been referred to as a “silent killer”.  Blood pressure tends to rise with increasing age and weight.

For better or for worse, many adults routinely take blood pressure medications to control this silent killer.  The hope is that by managing blood pressure, a stoke or heart attack can be avoided.

Essential Oils to Manage High Blood Pressure

The results of my research and testing have been quite remarkable.  Before I share what has worked for me, I want to state that my use of essential oils to manage high blood pressure began with a baseline of good health.  A healthy diet, frequent exercise, and height and weight in proportion are always a good starting point for any sort of natural protocol and I passed on all accounts.

With that out of the way, I can tell you that by applying the blend below, my blood pressure has stabilized at about 110/76 in the mornings and 106/66 in the evenings.  On a few occasions it has been lower; low enough for me to verify that it was not too low. (It wasn’t.)

After a bit of trial and error, here is the recipe I use.

Blood Pressure Salve

1 ounce Simple Salve
30 drops Ylang Ylang
15 drops Cypress
15 drops Marjoram
15 drops Rosemary
15 drops Frankincense

After melting the Simple Salve, add the essential oils and mix well using a small stick or toothpick.  Set it aside to firm up overnight.

Twice a day, take a bit of BP Salve, as I call it, and rub some into the sole of the left foot, right below the big toe.  Also rub some below the ring finger of your left hand and over your heart.  These are commonly referred to as the “reflex points” for the heart.  (You might find the WikiHow on Reflexology interesting.)

If you don’t want to make up a batch of Simple Salve (directions here), you can use coconut oil, olive oil, or some other carrier oil.

Although I prefer the salve, I have also used the same essential oils in a roller ball topped with fractionated (liquid) coconut oil.  In that case, use just 10 drops of Ylang Ylang and 5 drops each of the other oils.

Essential Oils Equals Calm Equals Less Stress

There is one additional step I have been taking as part of my overall blood pressure management protocol.  Nightly, I have set a diffuser up on my nightstand and have diffused this same blend throughout the night.

To simplify the process, I have mixed a small bottle of the oils in the proportions shown.  Then before bed, I add water to the diffuser and 8 drops of my blend.  Whether it is a coincidence or not, my nocturnal visits to the bathroom have gone from six or seven times a night to one or two.  I am sleeping better and, of course, my blood pressure is back in the normal range.


This has me thinking that perhaps the reason this protocol is working is because the the oils have been calming.  Calm evokes relaxation and the end result is less stress.  Is that really what is happening here?

I leave it up to you to decide whether you want to try a diffuser; all that I can say is that it is working for me.

A Word About Blood Pressure Monitors

I currently have two blood pressure monitors, although one is new and did not arrive in time for this article.  One, the LifeSource UB-512 is more than a few years old and is being replaced because the battery cover has broken.  It is being held together with tape at the moment but still is cranking away giving readings very similar to those in my doctor’s office.  That said,  I am looking forward to my new Omron 7 and expect that it will perform equally well.

Both Shelly and I have found that our BP readings are lower at night than in the morning. According to our physicians, it is normal to have some fluctuation so there is no cause for worry unless the numbers start to climb above the 140/90 range and stay there.

Regardless of what particular monitor you choose, taking a periodic reading is important so that you can take action if your levels become too high.  As I discovered myself, that can happen in a flash.

The Next Step

Before you rush off and begin to self-medicate using essential oils let me say this.  If you are under a doctor’s care for hypertension (high blood pressure), keep track of your results and share them with your health care provider before making any change in your drug protocol.  With Shelly (aka the Survival Husband), his cardiologist was on board and changed his drug protocol ever so slightly because the results with EOs were promising.  Not as good as mine, but promising.

The other thing is similar to all natural remedies, what works for one person make work better – or not at all – for someone else.  Always keep that in mind and anticipate the need to experiment to find your own unique formula.

Disclaimer:  Remember that I am not a health care professional.  Furthermore, essential oils have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and this should not be construed as medical advice.

Essential Oils for Health and Wellness

After a ton of research, for wellness purposes I use 100% pure essential oils from Spark Naturals.  There are a lot reasons the most important being their commitment to both quality and value.  I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical grade purity.

I also like that they are not an MLM and everyone pays the same price without having to cough up dues or membership fees. Spark Naturals is open about the fact that there is no official system that grades essential oils as A, B, C or Therapeutic grade.  If you see a site that makes that claim, it is marketing hype and not fact.

The Final Word

I personally feel that essential oils are minor miracle workers.  Some of my personal favorites include Melaleuca (Tea Tree), OreganoPeppermint, and Lavender as well as the oils used in the blood pressure salve/blend.  That said, if you are just starting out, I suggest you start with these four and branch out as you become more comfortable with using essential oils for day to day first aid purposes.

If the time ever comes when modern medicine is not available, I know for sure that I will turn to my cache of oils to get me through.  As I have taken to saying:  Stuff Happens – Be Ready!

Related Articles:

Spotlight:  Essential Oils from Spark Naturals

For health and wellness purposes, I use Spark Naturals oils exclusively. By that I mean any essential oil that is applied directly to my skin.  You will find that dealing with Spark Naturals is a pleasure; they have great monthly sales and customer service is top notch!

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via:  backdoorsurvival


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Herbs for Peak Fitness – Survival of the Fittest

There is a whole category of plants that can increase the human body’s ability to adapt and respond positively to stress. These botanicals are called adaptogens, and deserve a place in herbal preparedness plans and gardens for their ability to promote healthy immunity and help your body excel during times of mental and physical challenges.

Benefits of Adaptogens

Although the reality of these plants often falls far short of their fad status and the overblown advertising campaigns of companies that tout them as wonder pills and panaceas, they definitely have much to offer. Studies featuring adaptogen herbs point to an increase in endurance (such as through increased oxygen uptake or utilization); better memory and mental acuity; and shorter duration of or incidences of illnesses such as colds.

In Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman FNIMH, AHG, states that adaptogens “increase general capacity to withstand stressful situations, and hence guard against disease caused by overstress”. He explains that by moderating the stress response in terms of how the body regulates glucose, adaptogens help the body respond more quickly but less drastically; allow blood glucose to stay elevated longer to allow a more sustained peak; and allow the body to back off from the peak more gradually. This has the effect of smoothing out how our bodies respond to stress. Adaptogens also seem to act on key endocrine and immune functions within the body, which relate to stress hormones and our ability to ward off illness.

Four Herbal Adaptogens

Many herbs fall into the category of adaptogens, but rhodiola, eleuthero, ginseng, and ashwaghanda are four of the most readily available and well known.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola rosea

This Russian herb is considered by many to be excellent for stamina, stress, and mental acuity. A favorite of athletes, it can also be used to better adapt to altitude changes and when recovering from head injuries. Several studies have been done on this herb and how it can benefit mood disorders.

Eleuthero

Eleutherococcus senticosis

Eleuthero may improve overall energy, stamina, and immunity, and is well tolerated by most people. Sometimes called Siberian ginseng, it’s not related to the true ginsengs but has many of the same benefits.

Ginseng

Panax quinquefolius and Panax ginseng

Probably the best well known of the adaptogens, Ginseng is excellent for stress, immunity, blood sugar stability, and healthy blood pressure. It’s important to note that the common name “ginseng” can refer to two herbs. In traditional herbalism, asian ginseng (panax ginseng) has a reputation of being the most stimulating of all the adaptogens, and was typically reserved for use by older men. American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) is less stimulating and tolerated well by a wider age range of both sexes. However, American ginseng is in danger of over-harvesting in the wild, so be sure to purchase this herb from a reputable, sustainable company such as Gaia Herbs, Herbpharm, or Mountain Rose.

Ashwaghanda

Withania somnifera

A calming herb, ashwaghanda is the best choice of the bunch for anyone concerned about the stimulating effects of some adaptogens. Among many other benefits this herb is suited for anxiety, hyper or hypo immunity issues, increasing stamina, encouraging healthy blood sugar and blood pressure, and boosting immunity.

How to Use Adaptogens

Unlike most herbs, adaptogens are usually taken every day, or almost every day, for longer periods of time. Some herbalists favor using them daily for a minimum of three months and then taking a break for a week or two; other herbalists might suggest using them indefinitely for as long as desired while allowing one or two days off per week.

These herbs can be purchased as capsules or alcohol extracts. For these, be sure to follow the suggested directions on the package. For preparedness purposes, though, it’s important to know how to make a tea (technically a decoction) with the roots. Not only is purchasing the roots from a reputable source far cheaper than using prepackaged supplements, but it puts confidently using plants grown in one’s own garden within the realm of possibility for the prepper.

In general, one teaspoon of the dried roots can be prepared in 8 oz of water and taken up to three times a day. Some people may find that these herbs make it difficult to sleep if taken too close to bedtime- in that case, take them in the morning only. They are best taken on an empty stomach, an hour or so before breakfast and in between meals.

To prepare a decoction, bring 1-2 cups of water to boil in a small covered saucepan. Add the dried roots, and allow them to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to steep, covered, for a minimum of thirty minutes and then strain out the roots before drinking the tea. A small amount of honey can be added as a sweetener (raw, local honey is beneficial for allergies, so why not?).

Consulting with your doctor before beginning to take a new herb is always a good idea. Adaptogens may occasionally raise blood pressure in some individuals, or cause feelings of jitteriness; they may not be tolerated well by individuals with anxiety disorders or people who are manic or bipolar. However, adaptogens
are usually very safe and have positive benefits for most people.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

 Via :  thesurvivalmom


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An Herbalist’s First Aid Kit

Most herbs are used for cooking or enjoyed their beauty and ability to attract birds and butterflies, but I went on to explore the health benefits of herbs by having friends, reading and taking correspondence courses. Nothing beats hands on experience with herbs, though, and I have had plenty of time to explore the practical side of making and using herbal preparations as well.

Really learning herbalism means acquiring an entirely new mindset when it comes to viewing health and the human body, but in this article I would like to share a few herbs and preparations that I consider to be must-haves for my personal herbal first aid kit.  There are many herbs that are good for first aid uses, but in my experience, these are the best: angelica, elder, catnip, hawthorn, mullein, peppermint, rose, yarrow, and valerian.

If you aren’t sure where to start in learning about herbs for preparedness, this list is it. These herbs are all easy to grow, readily available, and extremely versatile. Take time to thoroughly research each herb from several sources, and you will see what I mean.

Angelica alone can be used for digestive issues, coughs, immunity, sore throats, certain types of joint pain, bladder and kidney problems, and topically to help clear bruises. Actually, angelica, peppermint, and hawthorn can all be used for digestive discomfort, but of different types. That’s why it’s important to learn about each herb in depth- a good herbal resource will help you learn the finer points of using angelica as opposed to peppermint, or hawthorn as opposed to angelica for digestive complaints.

Simple Solutions Using an Herbalist First Aid Kit

Each one of the herbs on the list can be used on it’s own, a practice called “simpling.” Don’t let the word “simple” fool you though- learning about just these nine herbs will keep you busy for quite some time! Here’s the short and sweet info on each herb to get you started:

Angelica: This herb is often used for digestive discomfort, coughs, to boost immunity, and for emotional support.

Elder: Both elderflower and elderberries can be used, and both are expectorant. Elderberry is also immune supporting, while elderflower can help with fevers, allergies, or be used as a calming tea.

Catnip: This herb is great for colicky children (or adults!), and can be used as a calming tea to help promote a good night’s sleep.

Hawthorn: Traditionally used for indigestion, healthy circulation, and as a tonic for heart health, hawthorn is also top notch for emotional support- especially when blended with rose and angelica. Perfect for the emotional fallout that may occur after an emergency situation, or even just a particularly stressful day.

Mullein: Most well known for it’s use as an oil for ear and skin first aid, mullein also has a host of other traditional uses that include support for proper healing from broken bones and as an ingredient in herbal cough formulas.

Peppermint: This tasty, well known herb is helpful for indigestion, cooling for fevers, and useful as a topical for sore muscles, bug bites and stings.

Rose: Excellent topically for skin problems, rose is also beneficial as a tea or in extract form for emotional support. Rose petals can offer herbal support for stress related headaches, allergies, dry coughs, and sore throats; rose hips are a great source of vitamin c, and are also sometimes used instead of cranberry for urinary tract health.

Valerian: Valerian is a lesser known herb, but is great for nervous system support. It was used in Britain during WWII to help people feel calmer and less panicky and stressed during the air raids. It is also a valuable antispasmodic used for muscle cramps and can be added to cough support formulas for the same reason.

Yarrow: Yarrow is an excellent fever herb, and can also be used as a natural styptic, helping to normalize blood flow as an adjunct to wound care. Women can use yarrow to assist in normalizing a heavy menstrual flow and combine it with valerian to help with uterine cramping. Yarrow, Elder, and Peppermint blend together nicely for a traditional cold and flu season tea that can be used when you first start feeling under the weather or running a low fever, to support the body’s ability to fight off an invading cold or flu.

Formulas for Success

In addition to these simples, I also keep a few compound formulas on hand. My must have herbal combinations are:


Herbal Salve: Most commonly based on plantain and/or chickweed, these ointments can contain many other herbs as well. Traditionally, such blends are used for cuts and scrapes; boils; to help pull out splinters or soothe chapped skin- basically any needed skin support. I like a plantain and goldenseal blend the best, but there are many great recipes out there.

Syrups:  There are plenty of good herbal cough syrups on the market, especially ones based on cherry bark, grindelia, or elecampane. The one I like is based mainly on wild cherry. I also keep elderberry syrup on hand at all times for immune system support, and usually like to keep violet leaf and flower syrup for coughs. I find that simple syrups like elderberry are most cost effective if you make them at home yourself. Both elder and violets grow in my backyard, which also explains why they have become such a staple in my herbal pantry.

Vinegar Liniment: For muscle comfort and skin support, I like using an easy to make Three Flower Vinegar:  a blend of elderflower, rose and lavender in a base of apple cider vinegar. Another workhorse of multipurpose herbal formulas, this liniment can be great for sore muscles, as topical help for sunburn or contact burns, for acne break outs, or can be used diluted with cool water on a washrag to help get comfortable during a fever.

Herbal Throat Tea and Throat Spray: Usually a blend for throat comfort has marshmallow, licorice and other soothing herbs. I keep both a tea and a spray on hand. The spray is great for convenience (like when you first wake up in the morning, or are on the go and don’t have access to hot water), but I usually use them together throughout the day for best results.

Mullein Oil: Use either plain mullein or mullein mixed with garlic and other herbs, this is great for any kind of ear discomfort- allergies, pain, tinnitus, or even just helping to clear wax build up gently and naturally. I have also used this inside the nostrils when everything feels dry and stuffy from allergies but there isn’t much mucus production going on.

Herbal eyewash: I am a wimp when it comes to eye pain- most other things I will gamely suffer through, but the least little problem with my eyes drives me nuts. The eyewash I use is an alcohol extract that has rue and fennel, and is meant to be diluted before use. I find that it is great for basic, multi-purpose eye relief- allergies, eye strain, and even soothing pink eye pain until you can make it to the doctor to get checked out. An eye cup is helpful to have for this, especially if you don’t enjoy using eyedrops.

Notes on Quantity and Expiration

For each herb, I like to keep at least 4 ounces of alcohol extract- sometimes referred to as “tinctures on hand.  A single ounce of extract lasts anywhere from 15 days to a month of daily use, depending on the serving size. Since none of these are meant as daily use- just as first aid supplies- 4 ounces is probably overkill. But if you make your own extracts at home, they are inexpensive and it’s perfectly feasible to indulge in a slight bit of overkill here. I also like to keep at least 4 ounces of each herb in dried form, so I have plenty available to make tea, salves, or other projects.

The thing to remember with dried herbs, though, is that they don’t store as long as extracts. Usually just a year, as opposed to an extract’s five years or more (if kept out of light and away from extreme temps), although I have kept some dried herbs for longer than a year in airtight containers kept in dark pantries. They will lose their color and fragrance when they’re no longer good. At that point, they make a great addition to the compost pile if you have one, but I can usually find ways to use them up and rotate in fresh stock before that happens.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

 

Via :  thesurvivalmom


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CDC Quietly Monitoring 1400 Active Ebola Cases In the United States

As was pointed out earlier in the article: Ebola Has Not Gone Away it was suggested that during October 2014 the mainstream news media had been told to ‘shut up’, it has just been revealed that the CDC is monitoring 1400 ‘active’ Ebola cases in the United States – and it’s NOT on their website…



Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson said the CDC is not putting out the current information on how many potential cases of Ebola they are currently tracking in the Untied States.

Attkisson recently said on a FOX News segment,

“I called CDC not long ago and I said how many cases are being monitored in the United States and they said 1,400.”

“Where are these updates on your website?”

“They said they’re not putting it on the web.”

This is public information we have a right to know.

 

By the way, Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS News reporter who was constantly at odds with the Obama administration, is the same reporter who was a victim of sophisticated hacking of her computers by ‘big brother’ – a highly publicized event several months ago. Can you say, NSA?


While some people reading this do understand the bigger picture (that the ‘government media complex’ is well known to be working together – sometimes covering up or distorting the real facts), it is my opinion that the behavior (of hiding this Ebola information) is not in our best interests as American citizens.

It is the self-responsible duty of every American to dig (or at least scratch the surface) beyond just the mainstream news to discover more about what may be happening in the world around us – some of which may directly affect our life or the decisions we make.

I am actually very surprised that we have an investigative journalist who actually reported this – and it was actually aired on FOX News. That in and of itself is surprising.

Do you think we will find out more about the 1400 ‘active’ Ebola cases being monitored in the United States, or where they are located? I doubt it… at least not from the CDC or mainstream.

Stay alert.

 

More on Ebola…

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via :  modernsurvivalblog



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