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Empires have been built on herbs and spices all throughout history. There was a time cinnamon was worth more than gold, and some of the first great fortunes were made buying and selling culinary and medicinal botanicals. Why should this be? What made them so valuable that people would risk their lives scouring the world for new spices and trade routes?

The answer is simple: unseasoned food really sucks.

There may yet come a time when salt and pepper, cinnamon and curry powder become more valuable than all the silver and gold you can carry. Don't believe me? Talk to me after your 1,200th bowl of white rice and we'll see.
Likewise, certain "medicinal" herbs could become very valuable in some situations. Any scenario that disrupts the transportation system could make medicinal herbs worth having, as could any economic disaster which would make them unaffordable.

I thought it would be nice to grow a thread about herbs, spices, their uses, and ways to keep them long-term. Which will be most useful? What's the best way to store salt? Which ones are worth stockpiling to use as barter? Add what you know to the thread and let's create.... The Prepper's Herbal


NOTE: Please see this site's rules section for their policy on medical advice. Short version: we ain't doctors. If you're sick, see a doctor. This thread contains information on the traditional and historical uses of herbs, don't take any of it as fact just because it's online. If you try dangerous things and get hurt, it's not our fault. My momma told me, "Stupid is as stupid does."
 
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I'm gonna start this off with 2 herbs that can be used together to boost your energy...

Eleuthero Root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) AKA: "Siberian Ginsing"

This herb is an anadaptogen, which helps your body deal with stress. It helps your body use it's energy more effectively and gives you an energy boost, increases stamina, and lessens fatigue. It's also a powerful antioxidant, reduces inflammation, and relieves pain. You should probably avoid this one if you have unregulated high blood pressure. Like all botanicals, potency varies. Start with a small dose and don't exceed 400 mg per day.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that's also an anadaptogen. By helping to relieve stress, you can actually feel more energetic. It has been used to lessen the effects of depression, stabilize blood sugar, and reduce inflammation. This one works particularly well with Eleuthero. Start with a small dose and don't exceed about 800 mg a day.
 

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Well, I had hoped people would add their herbal lore here, but that's not happening. Luckily, I used to own a fairly popular site that featured a lot of herbal info, and I still have all the files. :) Rather than do this by individual herbs, let's look at this from the perspective of traditional uses...

Herbs For Burns & Scalds

For teas, the rule of thumb is, one teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water unless otherwise noted.

Unless otherwise noted, steep leaves 5 to 10 minutes in a covered container, twigs, bark and roots, steep 10 to 15 minutes (covered).

Aloe Vera - the juice from the leaves is applied directly on the burn.

Bilberry - Spread berry extract on cleansed skin and cover with a cotton bandage.

Bittersweet - for burns and scalds bathe with extract from the year old greenish brown shoots (or purchase extract). Note, for general skin toning, purchase extract and take a teaspoonful in a little water (this helps the body to eliminate toxins).

Burdock - bruise the leaves, combine with egg whites and make a poultice to apply to the burn.

Chickweed - can be used by bruising the leaves and creating a poultice, extracting the juice and applying it to the burn, or by boiling a couple handfuls of the herb in 2 quarts of water for 10 minutes, then cooled and used as a wash.

Comfrey - the entire plant can be used, mash to a pulp, and apply as a poultice to the burn.

Echinacea- extract from the root... bruised leaves as a poultice

Golden Seal - the powdered root is used in a wash (note: golden seal will stain)

Houseleek - (also known as stone crop or Jupiter's eye, not a member of the allium family) use the juice from the leaves or bruised leaves as a poultice to apply to the burn.

Hyssop - bruise the herb and apply as a poultice

Marshmallow - the juice from the root, and bruised leaves from the plant are used with egg white to make an adhesive poultice which soothes an cleanses the burn.

Nettle- a tincture (herb is soaked in alcohol for 14 days, then filtered, some also add glycerin mainly as a preservative to prevent evaporation) is made with the herb which then can be used to apply to the burn to take away pain.

Plantain- a poultice is made by mashing the leaves and then applying to the burn. Note some folks keep a mucilage by boiling the seeds, straining and cooling.

Slippery Elm - Tea is used as a soothing wash or can be used as a poultice

Tansy - 1 teaspoon of herb per one pint water, infuse for 5 or 6 minutes and drink as a tea. The strained herb can also be directly applied to sunburn. Note this tea is mainly a good general toner for the skin, and is not considered to be as strong a relief as the other remedies listed on this page.

Yarrow - 1 teaspoon of the herb boiled in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes, strained, cooled then used as a wash for the burn.
 

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Herbs For Diarrhea

Any of the following can be taken as a capsule or in a tea... in tea, the rule of thumb is a teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water, steeped in a covered cup for 5 to 15 minutes.

The more scent to the herb, the shorter the steeping time need be. (Think of it that the stronger scented herbs have more volatile essential oil)

Bilberry - tea- 1 pint of water over 3 tablespoons of dried berries, let stand 5 to 10 minutes, bring to boil (boil 5 minutes) take one cup, 3 to 4 times a day. Can also be taken as fresh bilberry juice, 1 cup 3 to 4 times a day.

Black Currant - juice from fresh berries, 1 cup 3 to 4 times a day

Carob - make a cup of carob cocoa, with hot milk(!)

Cloves - half teaspoon per quart of water, steeped, used to relieve cramping.

Lady's Mantle - tea 1 to 2 tsp mixed leaves and twigs in a cup of water, boil 2 minutes, let stand 5 to 10 minutes, take one cup up to 3 times a day.

Nutmeg - half teaspoon of nutmeg several times a day.

Plantain - infusion - one ounce dried plantain leaves in a quart of boiling water. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes, strain and cool. Take a half cup 3 or 4 times daily.

Purple Loosestrife - tea, use the leaves (1 tsp herb per cup of boiling water, steeped 5 to 10 minutes).

Raspberry Leaves - in tea (can also be used as an enema) this and slippery elm are soothing to the intestine.

Slippery Elm - in a tea, 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, steeped a minimum of 10 minutes. (can also be used as an enema, 1 tablespoon powdered per 'bag' of water)
 

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Herbs For Constipation

For teas, the rule of thumb is, one teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water unless otherwise noted.

Unless otherwise noted, steep leaves 5 to 10 minutes in a covered container, twigs, bark and roots, steep 10 to 15 minutes (covered)

Aloe Vera - 1 ounce of the juice taken internally 4 to 5 times a day. Also soothing to the intestines.

Blueberry - eat a half cup of fresh blueberries

Cascara Sagrada - Boil 1 tsp of the dried bark (note fresh bark can be nauseating) in water, boil for a minute, let stand 15 minutes, take a cup of this tea in the evening.

Dandelion - 1 to 2 tsp dried leaves or root in a cup of boiling water.. can be mixed with peppermint and/or roman chamomile

Flax Seed - in a porridge use 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground seeds with a little hot water to make a porridge, eat one to 2 times daily (note some folks add this to oatmeal... )

Licorice Root - Tea, 1 oz per cup of boiling water, steep a minimum of 10 minutes.

Mullein - in a tea, 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, steeped.

Psyllium - the active ingredient in some commercial preparations.

Raspberry Leaves - in tea (can also be used as an enema)

Slippery Elm - in a tea, 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, steeped a minimum of 10 minutes. (can also be used as an enema)

Senna - in a tea, pour a cup of COLD water over 1 to 2 tsp leaves (or 5 pods) let stand 6 to 8 hours.. take a cup of this tea in the evening. OR mix the leaves with cascara sagrida (some also add fennel and chamomile) to make 1 to 2 tsp herb mix.. pour a cup of boiling water over the mixture, let stand covered for 10 to 15 minutes, take one cup in the evening.

Do not be frightened if your urine turns red when you use this tea. Also it is suggested that this is taken in combination with slippery elm, or aloe to soothe the intestine.
 

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Herbs For High Blood Pressure

For teas, the rule of thumb is, one teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water unless otherwise noted.

Unless otherwise noted, steep leaves 5 to 10 minutes in a covered container, twigs, bark and roots, steep 10 to 15 minutes (covered)

Alliums - Garlic, Onions, Leeks... Garlic is the strongest of the alliums for this purpose, it needs to be used on a long term basis regularly at the rate of 2 or 3 cloves a day, crushed and eaten. Some cultures will dip the whole peeled clove of garlic in honey and eat it. Also it is acceptable to press the cloves and extract the juice and ingest that instead of the entire clove.

Cohosh (either black or blue is good for this) - traditionally used in tea, however it is not one of your better tasting herbs, capsules are now available at health food stores.

Hawthorn - Tea, pour a cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of blossoms and leaves. Let stand for 20 minutes, take 1 cup, 2 to 3 times per day.

Juniper - Tea, 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon lightly crushed berries. Let stand covered for 20 minutes. Note: Juniper is a diuretic, so its blood pressure action is due to that vs. via breaking down the cholesterol as the alliums are reputed to do.

Olive - Tea, place 2 teaspoons leaves in 1 cup cold water, bring to boil, remove from heat and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Take 1 cup after meals 2 to 3 times daily. Note, this can irritate the stomach, so be sure to take only after a meal. Note Olive oil contains the "good cholesterol", so when cooking with oil, use olive oil, and minimize the cooking, as its properties degrade with excessive heat.

Passion Flower - Tea, 1 tsp per cup of boiling water.

Valerian - pour 1 cup cold water over 2 teaspoons shredded root. Let stand 8 hours. Take 1 cup evenings as needed.

Wintergreen - Tea, 1 tsp. leaves per cup of boiling water, steep covered. Wintergreen, a member of the mint family, is a mild diuretic also.
 
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This is such great info that I printed it off and will be inserting it into our 3-ring binder on medical stuff.

BIG thanks!
 

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Inor, you're welcome. I have a lot more info... I'll stick it up here in batches.

People tend to forget that the majority of medicines are synthesized versions of substances originally discovered in plants. If there ever comes a time when we can't get the commercial versions, it might be good to have a working knowledge of traditional herbal remedies. I'll keep adding to this thread as time allows, and hope others will contribute.

I also have good pictures of most of these, and might add them as an identification guide at some point.
 

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Herbs For Arthritis

Any of the following can be taken as a capsule or in a tea... in tea, the rule of thumb is a teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water, steeped in a covered cup for 5 to 15 minutes.

The more scent to the herb, the shorter the steeping time need be. (Think of it that the stronger scented herbs have more volatile essential oil)

Black Cohosh - Traditionally in a tea, not one of your better tasting herbs, available now in capsules.

Black Mustard - In a poultice, 3oz freshly ground mustard seeds with fairly hot water (113 degrees F max), to form a thick paste. Place on a piece of cloth the size of the painful body area. Apply the cloth, remove after a minute. Dampened gauze over the skin will prevent the mustard mixture from sticking. If skin is reddened, apply a dab of olive oil after poultice is used.

Burdock - one ounce per cup of boiling water, infused for 15 minutes.

Comfrey - Tea, 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the root, steep 10 minutes.

Dandelion - Tea, 1 to 2 teaspoons shredded root (or mix of root and leaves) in a cup of cold water. Heat and boil one minute. Let stand 8 hours. Drink two ounce installments throughout the day, up to 2 cups a day, for 3 to 6 weeks.

Devils Claw - extract was traditionally used, now commercially available preparations can be found at health food stores.

Horseradish - fresh ground, very strong flavored but very much an internal cleanser (and will clear your sinuses also!).

Juniper - Tea, 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon lightly crushed berries. Let stand covered for 20 minutes. Take a cup in the morning and in the evening for 4 to 6 weeks.

Lavender - Liniment, pour one pint rubbing alcohol over 2 oz blossoms. Let stand tightly sealed for at least one week in a bright warm place. Shake often during this period. Strain and use liniment to rub painful areas.

Licorice Root - Tea, 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the root, let stand covered 10 minutes.

Rosemary - Liniment, pour one pint rubbing alcohol over 2 oz leaves. Let stand tightly sealed for at least one week in a bright warm place. Shake often during this period. Strain and use liniment to rub painful areas.

Stinging Nettle - Tea, 1 to 2 teaspoons dried leaves, 1 cup boiling water, let stand 15 minutes. Take one cup twice a day for 4 to 6 weeks. Note: the greens can be eaten like spinach in the spring, very healthful, and the water used to boil the greens can be used as tea.

White Willow - Tea - 1 tsp shredded bark in one cup cold water, heat and boil for 2 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes. Take one cup twice daily.
 

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Herbs For Circulation

For teas, the rule of thumb is, one teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water unless otherwise noted.

Unless otherwise noted, steep leaves 5 to 10 minutes in a covered container, twigs, bark and roots, steep 10 to 15 minutes (covered)

Black Cohosh - (note: this will slow the pulse as a side effect) Traditionally in a tea, not one of your better tasting herbs, available now in capsules.

Cayenne - (note: this will increase the pulse as a side effect) Also, cayenne is sometimes added to foot powder in shoes and boots to increase circulation.

Chickweed - used as a tea

Golden Seal - (note: this has a side effect of lowering blood sugar) taken as a tea, or as a capsule.

Horseradish - frequently used as a condiment, it will also clear your sinuses

Hyssop - in tea with honey

Rose Hips - in tea with honey, it is also an excellent source of vitamin C
 

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Good thread idea PD. No one really ever looks at much alternatives for meds with herbs. Food definitely sucks without spices. As much as people like to look for food low in salt, the body needs it. Salt is also good for cleaning wounds and keeping out infections. I know it's my number 1 flavoring for meat. I can live without everything else, but I need salt on my meat. For my BOB, I do carry a plastic bottle of spice mix, but it's heavy on sea salt.
 

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Nice thread. Might want to mention what herbs are not so good for pregnant or breastfeeding women. And no self medicating with herbs if you are already taking prescription meds without informing your doctor. I have several good herbal medicine books - a good addition to a prepper's library especially if you can find a book for your local area.
 

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Empires have been built on herbs and spices all throughout history. There was a time cinnamon was worth more than gold, and some of the first great fortunes were made buying and selling culinary and medicinal botanicals. Why should this be? What made them so valuable that people would risk their lives scouring the world for new spices and trade routes?

The answer is simple: unseasoned food really sucks.

There may yet come a time when salt and pepper, cinnamon and curry powder become more valuable than all the silver and gold you can carry. Don't believe me? Talk to me after your 1,200th bowl of white rice and we'll see.
Likewise, certain "medicinal" herbs could become very valuable in some situations. Any scenario that disrupts the transportation system could make medicinal herbs worth having, as could any economic disaster which would make them unaffordable.

I thought it would be nice to grow a thread about herbs, spices, their uses, and ways to keep them long-term. Which will be most useful? What's the best way to store salt? Which ones are worth stockpiling to use as barter? Add what you know to the thread and let's create.... The Prepper's Herbal

NOTE: Please see this site's rules section for their policy on medical advice. Short version: we ain't doctors. If you're sick, see a doctor. This thread contains information on the traditional and historical uses of herbs, don't take any of it as fact just because it's online. If you try dangerous things and get hurt, it's not our fault. My momma told me, "Stupid is as stupid does."
Wow! You're Forrest Gump's brother? That is so cool.

Another great thread Prepadoodle. I had discussions with one of the few full blooded members of the tribe where I'm a cop and she was working on establishing a youth program that got the kids back into the woods (keeping/restoring their heritage is very important) and being able to identify wild plants and then learn how to use their medicinal qualities. I told her I wanted to go too. Unfortunately, the program fell through.

I'm very excited about this thread.
 

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Herbs For Childbirth

For teas, the rule of thumb is, one teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water unless otherwise noted.

Unless otherwise noted, steep leaves 5 to 10 minutes in a covered container, twigs, bark and roots, steep 10 to 15 minutes (covered).

Angelica - 1 oz powdered root per pint of boiling water, used to ensure expulsion of afterbirth.

Blue Cohosh - traditionally used as a tea, however it is not one of your better tasting herbs, capsules are available at health food stores now.

Black Cherry - berry juice was used to reduce pain during childbirth

Buckwheat - Infusion of the whole plant was used for childbirth pain.

Feverfew - Used at childbirth to aid in a difficult labor and ensure expulsion of the afterbirth.. Note, use of this DURING pregnancy is controversial...

Myrrh - traditionally applied to the navel after cord removal to prevent infection.

Raspberry Leaves - one teaspoon of leaves per cup of boiling water in a tea (infused 5 minutes) for pain.
 

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Herbs For Hypoglycemia

For teas, the rule of thumb is, one teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water unless otherwise noted.

Unless otherwise noted, steep leaves 5 to 10 minutes in a covered container, twigs, bark and roots, steep 10 to 15 minutes (covered)

Black Cohosh - 1 teaspoon per cup of water, steeped in a tea. Note, the cohoshes are not one of your better tasting herbs, so you may prefer them in capsule form.

Blue Cohosh - 1 teaspoon per cup of water, steeped in a tea.

Catnip - Tea, use one teaspoon of the herb in a cup of water, drink when cooled.

Dandelion - Put 1-2 Tsp herb or root in one cup water, bring to boil, remove from heat, let stand 20 minutes.

Horseradish - fresh root ground up... note this will also clear your sinuses!

Juniper - Tea: 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon lightly crushed berries. Let stand covered for 20 minutes.

Kelp - a thin layer used in sandwiches or a little sprinkled in with your salad.

Licorice Root - Tea, 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the root, let stand covered 10 minutes.

Marsh Mallow - in a tea, 1 tsp root steeped a minimum of 10 minutes.

Safflower Seed - especially good to take before exercise

Skullcap - traditionally a tea, available now as capsules at healthfood stores.

Valerian Root - 1 tsp powdered root infused in 1 pint water for 10 minutes in boiling water. Take no more than one cup a day, as too frequent use tends to cause headache, nervous agitation, vertigo...

Also be sure to take B vitamins, also, small but frequent doses of protein throughout the day is a good way to stabilize blood sugar, and L-Glutamine is the amino acid that the brain needs, so it is good to keep some of these pills on hand.

Be careful of Golden Seal, it can lower blood sugar.
 

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Yes! Thank you for posting this! I follow Patriot Nurse on Youtube and she has touched base on this a few times..
Also, My Patriot Supply (mypatriotsupply.com) has all of the essential seeds for sale a reasonable prices, heirloom quality, non-GMO, etc... I would advice people to start growing your own as soon as possible, more than likely indoors (this time of year, and I am in IN)
 

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Love this Thread ..Excellent Information..The Following was a article came across :

Garlic - the Miracle Food That Beats High-priced Prescription Drugs

Jack Challem, in his article in The Nutrition Reporter called Garlic the 'Miracle Food' and says, "If garlic had been created in the laboratory instead of by nature, it would probably be a high-priced prescription drug. That's just how good it really is." While most famous for its odor, garlic has much to offer those who can get beyond this negative quality.

Garlic has been used for various cures for millennia. Records from China and India going back 5000 years show they knew garlic's power. Even the Biblical account of the Israelites lamented that, once out of Egypt, they wouldn't be able to enjoy garlic any more! (Numbers 11:5) At the same time in history, garlic was used in the far east to shrink tumors. Later, garlic was part of training for Greek athletes. Even Louis Pasteur, back in 1858, recognized its germ killing properties. During the first World War, surgeons used garlic to clean wounds. Today garlic has been the subject of over 1000 scientific studies. England even has The Garlic Information Center where enthusiasts can keep track of the latest findings.

An article of this size could not begin to expound all the benefits of this herb. Garlic is known to protect against heart disease, cancer (in at least three ways), and infections. Mothers give it to their children to ward off colds, take it themselves to lower blood pressure or reduce cholesterol, and give it to their mothers to fight heart disease. Garlic can help white blood cells fight infection, decrease the risk of blood clots, and build the immune system. It is a natural anti-coagulant, the opposite of cayenne pepper. Garlic is suspected of reducing certain tumors and bacterial and fungus infections. One German study found garlic even helped the body fight the AIDS virus.

Although many sauté garlic into the frying pan, studies indicate this kills the allicin, one of the most beneficial of garlic's compounds. Instead, dice the garlic bud and then wait five to ten minutes so the allicin can be produced. Some deodorizing techniques also remove this so check the capsule bottle to see be sure the allicin is retained. It can also be found in a gel capsule containing stabilized allicin from the garlic.

Many people dismiss garlic as a smelly repellent! "Sure it keeps you healthy. No one who is sick (or well) wants to be around you!" If you are of that opinion, perhaps this praise of garlic's benefits will change your mind. But to be sure, here are two suggestions to eliminate garlic breath, 1) eat a lemon or drink lemon juice, or 2) eat a crushed clove in olive oil. This way you get the benefits of raw garlic without telling everyone (by the odor) why you are so healthy!
 
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I studied herbal remedies for a while during my private practice as well as in med-school. Thanks for a great list, please give us more. As an MD I must point out that there are many, many cautions to be aware of in using any self medication. Especially for people who are on certain prescription drugs and every woman who is pregnant. Also be aware that many recommendations for self medication are hearsay and many are just plain lies, so use good judgement and consult an MD if there is any question as to the safety of self medication.

Good job, Prepadoodle.
 

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Thanks.

You're right about there being certain dangers, of course. Potency can vary wildly from plant to plant and even from one part of the same plant to another. Non-herbal medications are always a known strength, and I wouldn't self-medicate with herbs unless it was the only option.

Having said that. there may come a day when our regular sources of medications are unavailable or simply too expensive. If this happens, it could become important to have at least a basic knowledge of traditional herbal cures.

If pressed to use herbal cures, common sense dictates that you start with a very small dose and gradually increase it as needed. It makes sense to process the herbs so the individual plants within a given species are mingled together to smooth out the differences in potency. It makes sense to treat each season's crop as a new herb and "sneak up" on the dose as if you have never used it before. So yes, there are dangers, but a solid approach can minimize the risks.
 

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There are some common precautions that can be taken as well; Never mix St. John's Wart with any other antidepressants or blood pressure meds. It can cause severe adverse reactions. It might not but more often than not it does. When in doubt ask your doctor and a certified herbalist. Just because your doctor is an MD doesn't mean they know anything about medicinal herbs.
 
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