Basic herbal course

Discussion in 'Health & Medicine' started by goatlady, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    I am going to be posting this thread in sequential posts as the information is prolific and long and will not fit all in one. Please hold questions and comments until I get the whole thing posted. Thanks.

    Botanical and Herbal Medicine

    (Note. The following is an introduction to Herbal and Botanical Medicine with a special orientation to preparedness and survival situations. It is written by an author with an interest in herbalism and preparedness. It is offered in good faith. The scientific evidence supporting some of the botanical preparations mentioned here is variable – from strong evidence to anecdote. The “bible” on scientific herbalism is “Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Human Health” by Lewis and Lewis, Published by Wiley 2003. This book deals in-depth with the evidence base for botanical medicine and cannot be recommended highly enough. It is not “how-to” book but a scientific treatise on the subject.

    We strongly recommend you consult a reputable herbal identification and medicine text prior to undertaking any treatments discussed here. Also note that this section has a slight North American bias due the chapter writer’s location, but much can be generalised)

    Many of the present day pharmaceuticals were derived from botanicals or herbs. They can be very complimentary to conventional medications and have a valid track record of treating, easing, and resolving many diseases. While some may have not therapeutic effect at all the reason most have been used consistently for centuries by various cultures is because they work – the efficacy may vary, but they do work to some degree or another. The incidence of serious side effects with herbs and botanicals appears to be low although like anything taken excessively or misused can result in serious adverse effects. There is also a small potential for interactions with conventional medication, and botanical medicines should be prescribed with the full knowledge of other medications the patient is taking.

    Botanicals and herbs work in several complimentary ways. Firstly they can treat illness and disease directly as with most medications. Many, however, work at building the body’s natural defences and effect the more root cause of disease. Most botanicals/herbs work slowly with the body and do their work for the most part gently, unobtrusively, and supportively.

    In order to utilise botanicals/herbs in a survival situation you need to plan ahead. Botanicals/herbs are not just another "prep" item to add to your list - planning ahead in this case most certainly will involve a little more work and time than just buying what you think you need and storing it away.

    Botanical/herb therapies and treatments seem to lend themselves more to a "Bug In" situation rather than a "Bug Out" scenario mostly because it would be difficult to have the added weight of a couple of quarts of tincture in your pack and in a long term lack of conventional medical facilities in order to continue to have the botanicals and herbs available you really need to grow them or know where to gather them in your local area.

    We strongly suggest you get at least one really good medicinal herb identification book. These are available for most countries and areas. A useful series of books in the US are the Peterson Field Guides. The older editions were two books; one for the Eastern U.S. and one for the Western U.S. There are now newer editions: A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America by S. Foster and James Duke and A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs by S. Foster. There many other excellent guides available some very localised to specific areas.

    There are two excellent books focusing on the pharmacology of botanical medicines. In addition to these text book styles there are many other excellent books on herbal medicine although there is some significant variation in how strong the science behind the books are. Don't buy any book blindly, get your local library to special order books for you to read, and then decide if that one would be of use to you.

    The next step is becoming familiar with what is growing wild in your local area. It can be as simple as taking Sunday afternoon nature walks with the family starting in mid to late spring. Do this again in early summer - same areas as before. As you identify herbs/botanicals make a mental or even paper map of these locations. Do your walk again in late summer/early fall and check locations because many herbs and plants need to be harvested before flowering, or after flowering, or after having died down. If you don't have a location map you may not be able to find that clump of purple coneflower (Echinacea) when it has no leaves and no purple flower.
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    Preparation of fresh botanicals and herbs for storage.


    Harvested botanical and herb leaves are traditionally dried to concentrate the medicinal properties. If you have a gas stove with a pilot light in the oven just spread the leaves 1 layer thick on cookie sheets and put in the oven. The heat from the pilot light will dry the leaves perfectly in a day or so. Check the progress and remove leaves from the oven when they crumble between your fingers. You can also use a food dehydrator with the thermostat set between 250-275 degrees F. Overnight is usually enough.

    For fat, thick, juicy type leaves such as mullein or comfrey tie the leaves in small bunches (about 4-6) and hang from a line or rack in a dark warm room.

    Another option is to make drying screens out of 1 x 2s - any size you like - covered with old plastic screen material, attach lines to the corners, and attach those lines to hooks in the ceiling of a dark, warm room. You can use these same screens to air dry outside but not in direct sunshine. Slow and gentle are the bywords for drying herbs. High humidity will slow down the process.

    Store your dried leaves in quart-sized Zip-lock bags with air in the bags or tightly capped jars in a dark place. You do not want to crush the dried leaves at this stage. Be sure and clearly label as to the herb and year harvested. Most dried herb/botanical leaves will maintain their potency for 2 years this way.


    Roots, bark, and twigs are traditionally dried. You should chop the fresh root, bark, or twigs BEFORE drying. A dried whole root or twig resembles a wrinkled railroad spike and is just as hard; they can be impossible to chop or crush if dried whole.

    Wash the root clean of dirt with cool running water, chop, and dry using the same techniques as for leaves. It takes twice as long to dry roots and twigs. There should be NO moisture in the dried root/twig/ bark or it will mould and be useless. I usually try to split open a piece of root/twig with a sharp knife - if it cuts open easily it's not dry enough yet.


    Harvested flowers are traditionally dried. Just spread the flower heads out and dry using the same as the leaf drying techniques. Store the same as leaves.

    Whole herb:

    Occasionally the whole plant may be used in formulas. In that case just
    hang the whole plant upside down in a dark, warm room until the main stem snaps.

  3. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    Medicinal Botanical preparation methods:

    Having gathered your dried herbs and botanicals, what do you do with them to be able to best use their medicinal components? Keep in mind that botanical and herbal preparations are not made and used with precise measurements or dosages. Herbs and botanicals vary greatly in the potency of their medicinal components due to weather, growing conditions, and soil conditions. The traditional measurements/dosages are used primarily based on the minimum found to be effective. There are a few herbs/botanicals which are toxic or can cause negative reactions due to an overdose. There is a degree of trial and error with dosing. You should initially be conservative in your initial dosages.

    Water infusions/tea:
    Medicinal teas are a time-honoured, traditional usage of herbs and botanicals. It is an easy way to treat children or someone who is very ill. A preferred method is to get one of those silvery tea balls, stuff it full of crushed, not powdered, dried herb, put it in a cup, pour boiling water into the cup, let sit (steep) covered if possible, for about 10 minutes. Add some honey if sweetener is needed and sip away. The dosage varies with the herb, but a cup 3-4 times a day is reasonably standard.

    Medicinal teas must be very strong in order to be potent. They frequently taste very bad. The exception to this would be using a very mild herbal tea for infants and children - smaller body mass and weight so teas need to be less strong and ,therefore, more palatable for them.

    If the tea you want to use needs to be used throughout the day make up a quart jar full using 1 tea ball of herb per cup of water, strain after steeping if using loose herbs, and it's ready for use when needed for the day. It will keep safely 24 hours without refrigeration, 2-3 days with refrigeration.

    Oil infusion:
    Oil infusions are handy for skin infections, itchy, dry skin, burns, and as ear drops. Take dried herbs, crush (not powder) put enough in a glass
    baking pan to cover the bottom thinly, and cover the herbs with olive oil. Olive oil will not go rancid so you can make this ahead of time and store on the shelf. Stir the oil and herbs to make sure all herbs are coated with oil, then cover with more oil to at least 1/2 inch. If you have a gas stove with an oven pilot light just leave the pan of herbs and oil in the oven overnight. Alternatively, set the pan of herbs and oil in the sun for about 2 weeks with some sort of lightweight fabric covering it to protect from bugs. Strain the oil out through a cloth with a tight weave, bottle it, and use as needed topically.

    Herbal/botanical salves are just an oil infusion hardened with beeswax. You need lots of the oil infusion. Put the oil infusion in a glass or stainless steel cooking pot and heat gently. Add chopped/shaved beeswax to the warmed oil; usually 2oz beeswax per cup of oil. When the beeswax is melted place a few drops on a saucer, let cool, and touch it. It is too soft add more beeswax to the pot; if too hard add a bit more oil to the pot. The perfect salve should stay hard for a few seconds as you gently press your finger on it then suddenly soften from your body heat. Pour into appropriate containers for use as needed.

    Decoctions are herbs/botanicals prepared in boiling water used primarily for compresses and syrups. If you have NO taste buds it can be drunk! Use approximately a heaping palmful of dried, crushed (not powdered) herb per pint of water. Boil together for about 15 minutes, cool, strain and add sufficient water to bring the volume back to a pint.

    For compresses just soak a sterile dressing in the liquid and apply to the body. To make a syrup add sufficient honey to thicken and make palatable. Good treatment for sore throats.

    Steams utilise the inhalation route. Put 1-2 hands full of dried, crushed (not powdered) herb or fresh (best if available as whole leaf) into a large pot filled with water. Stew or spaghetti pots are good but not aluminium. Bring the water to a boil with the herbs in the water, place pot on a table, cover the head and pot with a towel, hang head over the pot, and breathe deep. Take sensible precautions to avoid burns from the pot and/or water and steam. When no steam is rising, reheat to boiling, and repeat treatment. When the herbs no longer have a scent in the stream you can add more and continue the treatment until desired relief is achieved.

    Tinctures are an alcohol-based extraction that is medicinally the most potent herbal treatment. When you dry herbs/botanicals the medicinal components are concentrated with the removal of the water. Soaking (tincturing) the dried herb/botanical in alcohol extracts those concentrated medicinal components and makes them available. An additional bonus is that alcohol-based tinctures are medicinally potent for years if stored in dark bottles or jars. We tincture most of our herbs and botanicals so they are immediately available for use, and we can be confident they are potent in an acute situation. We also keep dried herbs available for infant/child usage as teas, and also particular dried herbs available for poultices, and compress, and topical usage.

    To prepare the tincture you need quart canning jars with lids, dried herbs/botanicals, and at least 90 proof Vodka. Everclear is excellent to use also and in a pinch you could use another grain-based product. You want the alcohol to become saturated with the medicinal components of the herb/botanical, and other alcohol liquors/whiskey have components already saturating the alcohol so it probably won’t be as medicinally potent, but it would still have more potency that other preparation methods. Fill the quart jar about 1/3 full of dried herb/botanical, chopped root, or crushed (not powdered) leaf, fill the jar to the "shoulder" with vodka/Everclear, secure the lid, shake, and put in a dark cool place. Every 2nd or 3rd day give it a shake. In 10-14 days strain the liquid into dark bottles or jars, cap tightly, and label.

    The commonly accepted tincture dosage is 1-2 eye droppers full, 1 dropper full equals approximately 1/2 teaspoon. Place half to one teaspoon of tincture in a glass of water and drink. Alternatively, you can use the dropper to place the tincture in gelatine capsules. You can also use tinctures to make a nasal spray for sinus congestion/infection. Buy some of those empty 1 oz (30 ml) nasal spray bottles at the drug store, put 8-10 DROPS of tincture in the bottle, fill the bottle with distilled water, and use as often as needed, 1-2 sprays per nostril.

    An easy reliable preparation is herbal/botanical capsules. You can buy empty gelatine capsules in health food stores by the capsule or by the bag of 1000. Just pop the capsule apart, fill the larger section with finely crushed (powdered) dried herb, put back together, and take with water.

    A poultice is warm, mashed, fresh, or finely crushed dried herb applied directly to the skin to relieve inflammation, bites, eruptions, boils, and abscesses. Depending on the size of the area to be treated put enough herbs in a glass dish/pot, cover with enough olive oil, or water, or decoction of the same herb to thoroughly saturate the herb, heat gently until a comfortable temperature to the skin, apply directly to the area to be treated covering it completely, and then cover with a sterile bandage. Repeat the treatment as needed.

    These are made using vegetable glycerine or cocoa butter mixed with a dried powdered herb to the consistency of bread dough. You may have to add some wheat flour to get this consistency. Shape the dough into a suppository shape and chill to set the form. When needed for use let warm a bit on the counter then insert appropriately. This method allows the herb to be in direct contact with the area needing treatment.

    To about a pint of decoction you add enough honey and/or eatable glycerine to thicken slightly. Licorice or wild cherry bark are commonly added as flavouring. Especially good for children to treat coughs, congestions, and sore throat as it will coat these areas slightly ,and keep the medicinal components in direct contact with the tissues.
  4. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    Specific Herbs and Botanicals

    We have tried to refine a list of herbs/botanicals, both wildcrafted and home grown, that would be most useful in treating the most common illnesses or diseases that may manifest in a survival situation. From the reading you have been doing in your newly acquired herb information books you now realize the vast amount of information and herbs available for use. Just use this list as a starting point to adjust and personalize according to your needs and medical situations.


    The following 7 herbs and botanicals grow almost universally all over the U.S. and many more widely. Some are considered weeds.

    1. Burdock (Arctium lappa): Harvest 1st year roots in the fall. Tincture or water infusion. Used internally Burdock will help with arthritis. Used as a poultice or compress Burdock will reduce swelling around joints. It has a blood cleanser effect (detoxifier) and is nutritive to the liver; also mildly diuretic.

    2. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Harvest 2nd year roots in the spring or fall; young leaves in the spring for fresh eating. Tincture, water infusion, syrup. Dandelion is a potent diuretic used internally as a tincture or water infusion. The root has been used for centuries to treat jaundice as it has a powerful alterative effect on the liver. Dandelion syrup is a good treatment for tonsillitis discomfort.

    3. Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia): Harvest 2nd and 3rd year roots in early winter after the plant has totally died back (see, you do need your map!). Echinacea purpurea: Harvest flower heads with seeds before petals drop in late summer. Tincture, water infusion, oil infusion, decoction, poultice, compress, bolus, syrup, capsule. Using these two varieties together gives increases the potency of your treatments. Used internally Echinacea has been found to stimulate the immune response system. For strengthening the immune system dosage suggested is a dropper full (1/2 tsp) daily for a 10-day course, no herb for 7 days, then repeat the 10-day course, etc. Used on this basis it is a flu and cold preventive.

    It is also considered to have antiinflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This herb is a whole pharmacy within itself. An absolute must have in your survival stash. If you can only have one herb in your survival pharmacy make it Echinacea. One option now is to purchase 1# of cut and sifted Echinacea angustifolia root (currently $23/lb), tincture half of it right now, and save half for future decoctions and poultices. This will give you some time to gather your own root, and the tincture will be medicinally potent for at least 10 years.

    Echinacea root tincture has activity against influenza, herpes, and other viruses which includes virus which cause the common colds. Echinacea decoction or tincture can be used effectively to treat gingivitis. Just soak a cotton ball or swab in the decoction and apply directly to the gums twice daily until the disease is resolved. Echinacea has a numbing effect on the tissues. There is anecdotal evidence Echinacea may be an effective treatment for athlete's foot, bladder infections, bursitis/tendinitis, Lyme disease, pneumonia, sinusitis, tonsillitis, viral infections, and yeast infections used both internally and externally.

    4. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus): Harvest leaves before flowering taking no more than 1/3 of the total. Tincture, decoction, water infusion, syrup. Mullein is an excellent treatment for respiratory complaints. It has expectorant action, soothes the throat, has bactericidal activity, and helps stop muscle spasms that trigger coughs. Mullein provides excellent relief and protection against air-born allergens. It seems to give mucous membranes a protective coating that allergens cannot penetrate. A 1 tsp dose protects against allergy symptoms for 4-5 hours with no negative side effects. Mullein has been stated to have narcotic properties without being habit forming or poisonous. It is said to be a strong painkiller and helps to induce sleep. We have not experienced these effects using mullein.

    5. Plantin (Plantago major): Harvest leaves before seeds form in early summer. Fresh, poultice, salve. Plantain is primarily a proven healer of injured skin cells, hence the topical usage.

    A salve or compress of plantain applied appropriately is known to reduce hemorrhoid swelling and pain. Fresh leaf crushed and tubbed on insect bites relieves pain and swelling. No less than the New England Journal of Medicine reported that poultices made from plantain leaves can help control the itching of poison ivy so it should be good for poison oak also.

    6. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense): Harvest flower heads in early summer. Tincture, water infusion, salve, syrup. Red clover tea or tincture taken daily is of great benefit in relieving symptoms of menopause as it is estrogenic. It is also of benefit in relieving menstrual cramps by taking daily during the menstrual time.

    Red clover salve is real useful in treating burns. It is very useful for treating children because of its mild sedative effect and excellent for coughs, wheezing, and bronchitis.

    7. Willow (Salix, any variety)
    If you are allergic to aspirin do not use willow in any form as it contains salicin which is converted to salicylic acid

    Harvest bark and twigs in the fall. Tincture, water infusion, decoction, compress, poultice, capsule.

    If you are taking an aspirin a day for heart attack risk/angina prevention switching to 1 tsp of willow bark made into 1 cup of tea daily provides the same protection. That tea dosage is equivalent to approximately an 81 mg aspirin. For larger dosage amounts, tincture is most useful keeping in mind the tincture will take about 1 hour to reduce pain. Placing drops of tincture directly on a corn, bunion, or wart daily for 5-7 days usually removes the corn, bunion, or wart. Pain relief lasts up to 7 or 8 hours.
  5. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    Home-grown/Cultivated Herbs and Botanicals

    These next herbs are fairly easy to grow in a home garden as they usually do not grow in the wild. You need to start growing these plants now to have them established in case you really might need them.

    1. Aloe (Aloe vera): Use fresh leaves as needed; cut a leaf close to the bottom of the plant, split it open, and use the gel inside topically on burns, minor cuts, and even radiation burns. Antibacterial, wound healing accelerator, antiinflammatory.

    Most commonly found in a kitchen window in a pot, handy for instant use. You can buy potted aloe plants at grocery stores, or nurseries, or get your neighbor to give you one. They live a long time and set new plants from shoots off the roots. You can separate these shoots from the roots of the mother plant and pot separately at 1-2" tall. They thrive best in light with well-drained soil, and do not require frequent watering.

    2. Catnip (Nepeta cataria): Harvest whole flowering tops and leaves. Dry for water infusions, tincture.

    An excellent muscle relaxer/muscle pain killer including menstrual cramps: outstanding treatment for colic, restlessness, and pain reliever for small children; commonly called nature's "Alka Seltzer" for its stomach settling properties.

    Commonly grown from seed sown in the fall but can be grown from root divisions from a parent plant in the spring. Space roots/seeds about 2' apart as catnip can get quite large - up to 4'; does well in full or partial sun. I personally have never been able to germinate the seed, so I bought 6 starts from the local nursery. The plant will self-seed if you leave some flowers on.

    3. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): Harvest leaves before flowering throughout the growing season. You can harvest 2-3 times from the same plant remembering to take no more than 1/3 the total leaves. Dry or use fresh for poultices, water infusions, oil infusion, salve, compress, and decoction.

    Comfrey is right up there with Echinacea as a must have herb. Comfrey has a long history of use for treating sores, i.e. diabetic ulcers, indolent ulcers, and other wounds; contains a compound that promotes new cell growth. Apply comfrey as a compress, poultice, decoction soak/wash, or salve to sores or wounds daily until resolved; will also relieve swelling, and inflammation, and pain. Comfrey makes a wonderful water infusion that is extremely gentle yet powerful treatment for stomach, and bowel discomforts.

    Comfrey is grown from root pieces. Just plant in the spring and stand back. It spreads via root extensions, needs moderate water, and partial sun.

    4. Dill (Any variety): Harvest the leaves when the plant is established in the garden, about 1' tall, again, no more than 1/3 leaves per harvest; harvest seed when ripe usually mid summer depending on weather. Use fresh or dried as water infusion, tincture.

    Dill is regularly used to dispel flatulence, increase mother's milk, and treat/prevent congestion of breasts during nursing. Drink as a water infusion several cups a day or take a dropperful of tincture daily.

    Dill is easy to grow from seed inside or out; likes partial sun but warmth; will self-seed if you don't harvest all the flower heads for pickles and medicinal use.

    5. Echinacea - If you cannot find enough Echinacea in the wild do grow it. It's easy to start from seed if you wait until air temperatures are 70 or above to plant. Does well in raised beds or regular flower beds; likes an alkaline soil, full sun, and moderate moisture. Refer to Wildcrafting section for preparations and uses.

    6. Garlic (Allium sativum): Harvest bulb in late summer when the top has died back, cure (let air dry a few days outside) in the shade then store inside. Use fresh/cured bulbs or cloves of the bulb as water infusion, oil infusion, syrup, tincture.

    Garlic is best known for it's antibiotic action, and for being a hypotensive agent (lowering blood pressure), and is effective in lowering cholesterol. It has been used medicinally almost 5000 years. Extracts made from the whole clove of garlic have consistently shown a broad-spectrum antibiotic range effective against both gram-negative, and gram-positive bacteria, and most major infectious bacteria in laboratory studies. How this translates into action inside the body is not entirely clear and needs more research.

    Garlic taken internally as fresh in solid or as a juice may cause nausea and vomiting.

    Garlic is easy to grow; just plant individual cloves about 1-2" deep, 6" apart in the fall for big bulbs or in the spring for medium sized.

    7. Hawthorn (Crategnus oxyacantha): Harvest berries in the fall. Dry or tincture. Hawthorn has significant cardiac effects. It appears safe for long-term regular use, i.e. daily for years. It may be useful in congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, enlarged heart, and for symptomatic relief from cardiac symptoms.

    Hawthorn is a tree; grows to 20-25 ' tall. We would suggest planting several if heart disease/problems run in your family. Be sure that the Hawthorn you are growing is the correct species for the medicinal properties.

    8. Parsley (Petroselinum sativum): Harvest leaves throughout the growing season taking no more than 1/2 the total each time. In the fall cut the whole plant down to about an inch or 2 from the ground. Dry or use fresh. Tincture, water infusion, fresh and raw.

    Do not use parsley during pregnancy as it can precipitate labour.

    A supportive therapy in liver disease when jaundice is present. A mild water infusion is a good eye wash treatment for conjunctivitis and blepharitis. It is very good for urinary tract infections and as a diuretic. Has been used to dry up breast milk, which would be useful for weaning. A traditional breath freshener.

    Parsley seed is notoriously a slow germinator sometimes taking 2-3 weeks to sprout. Plant barely 1/2" deep in lots of compost. After you cut back in the fall throw a cover over it, and in the spring remove the cover, water, and it likely will come back for another season.

    9. Poppy (Papavar somniferum):

    Be aware of the local legal status of poppies, and be aware that illegal possession of opiates has harsh penalties. Also note that there a number of different poppies and most bought from the plant shop are not Papavar somniferum)

    Harvest resin when the seed pod is fully formed, green, and juicy looking; harvest seed when the seed pod has dried, brown, and hard. Tincture, water infusion.

    When the fully formed seed pod is fat, juicy looking, and still green use a small sharp knife tip to make 3-4 shallow slits 2/3rds the way down the seed pod from the top to bottom direction, space the cuts evenly around the pod. The resin will slowly ooze out and begin to air harden, daily scrape off the semi hardened resin from the cuts and (wearing surgical gloves) shape the resin into a ball shape. Store in a glass container, cool and dark. Each day form the newly collected resin onto the ball. When the resin no longer oozes make 3-4 new cuts, spaced between the old ones evenly, and repeat the process. Three series of cuts per pod is sufficient. When the seed pod fully dries, and turns brown, and hard, and you can hear the seeds rattle when you gently shake the pod, pick the whole pod, and break open over wax paper or paper towel to harvest the seeds. Let a few pods remain on the stems and the plant will self-seed for the next year.

    You can tincture the seeds or resin and also use the seeds for a severe pain relieving tea to use if the patient is conscious. A dropperful of the tincture might be used by inserting under the tongue of an unconscious patient.

    Poppy seeds are usually planted outside when the ground is warm in the spring, partial to full sun, moderate water. Will self-seed if pods left intact on the stem.

    10. Red Raspberry (Rubys idaeus): Harvest leaves throughout the growing season taking no more than 1/3 of the total until frost, then strip the canes. Dry. Most effective as a water infusion. This is a safe and useful herb in pregnancy. It may strengthen the uterine muscle, ease or prevent nausea, help prevent haemorrhage, reduce labour pain, helps reduce or prevent false labour, help decrease uterine swelling after delivery, and reduces post partum bleeding. It also gives good relief of vomiting in sick children and is a good remedy for diarrhoea in infants.

    Red Raspberry grows as 6-8 foot canes from spreading roots. Likes partial sun. Plant 1 year roots. Will produce for years.

    11. St Johns Wort (Hypercicum perforatum): Harvest leaves before flowering. Dry, Tincture, water infusion. Grows wild in many places but most states list it as a noxious weed and spray it every chance they get. You don't want sprayed leaves. Best bet is to surreptitiously dig up a few sprouts and transplant onto your property.

    St. John's Wort has many medicinal properties but is currently best known as a proven antidepressant with absolutely no side effects.

    NOTE: St John Worts is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor so the same food restrictions apply to St Johns Wort as to pharmaceutical MAOIs – wine, cheese, and other foods. Exercise caution

    We feel it may be extremely important to have an antidepressant available during a long-term survival situation, one you can safely take, and still keep functioning well on a mental and physical level.
  6. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    While not technically a plant no discussion of botanical and herbal medicine would be complete without the mention of using honey as a healing agent. This is a common item in food storage programmes, but it needs to be in your medicinal storage preparations also. It is a very effective topical antimicrobial. It is easy to use but messy. It may also be beneficial in deep wounds and ulcers/bedsores.

    Use: Pack the wound/ulcer with honey and cover with a sterile dressing. Change daily, cleansing the wound area with a strong solution of Echinacea root, repack with honey, then redress sterilely. Continue this treatment until the wound is healed. A real strong solution of Echinacea will have a numbing effect which will make the wound cleansing less painful.

    This same treatment is excellent also for burns of varying severity. They will heal more quickly with improved skin regrowth. It may reduce scarring and infection.

    Honey taken internally has also been found to be very effective in treating H. pylori which is the main culprit in the development of gastric ulcers. A tablespoon eaten every 1-2 hours for a week or so should clear up an acute condition, then a tablespoon 3 x daily for a week or so should clear up the condition entirely. A good maintenance dose would be a tablespoon daily.
  7. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    Okay, all done on this. Have at it, folks and enjoy.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2012
  8. oldvet

    oldvet Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much Goatlady, just finished printing it out and I have no doubt that the info could be very usefull in the "not to distant" future.:thankyou::melikey:
  9. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    Thank you so much for this great information!

    Question 1: Any type willow? We have weeping willow trees in my neighborhood, they are okay to use? I had read that there were specific types to use and not all agreed that weeping willows were effective.

    Question 2: Any thoughts on making tinctures during specific Moon cycles? Any potency increases based on when the tincture is made?

    Question 3: Goes along with Question 2- Any difference where a woman is during her own Moon cycle when she makes tinctures? I have been told not to make them during my own Moontime, then others have said that making them during Moontime makes them much more powerful.
  10. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    7. Willow (Salix, any variety) As long as it is genus Salix as stated above.

    I am not into moon cycling for planting or herbal stuff. If that is your leaning go for it. When dealing with practicle things I tend to be VERY practicle and I personally find NO scientific evidence that the phase of the moon has any effect on how much herbal medicinal property gets absorbed by an alcohol molecule when making a tincture. Each alcohol molecule physically can only absorb so much medicinal element and no more so to me I fail to see how a moon phase would be able to increase that specific physical space to make more potency. To each their own.
  11. lovetogrow

    lovetogrow Member

    Thank you for taking the time to post this info goatlady
    GOOD STUFF :2thumb:
  12. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    I start my tintures in the New Moon and strain when the Moon is full.

    Goatlady, Awesome Thread ... Thanks
  13. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    Thanks Andi! And again thank you Goatlady!
  14. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

    I will print this out , thank you:)
  15. ContinualHarvest

    ContinualHarvest Member

    Sounds almost paganistic. The pagans were really good herbalists. A shame they were persecuted.
  16. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    Looks like a great batch of info posted there!

    If you don't mind, I would love to turn those bits-n-pieces of information into a .pdf for people to download and print as required ... would you mind if I attached it to your message?
  17. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    A local store has some bulk herbs. The only Valerian they had was powdered root. Can I make a tincture from the powder? Instructions appreciated.
  18. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    Powders really do not tincture well at all and are not really a potent form of herb. Powders lend themselves well to being capsuled, they just do not dissolve well in alcohol at all, just sit in the jar and make a sludge! The more an herb is "processed" the quicker it looses it's medicinal properties. For tinctures it's best to use herbs as close to their natural form as possible. You can order excellent herbs from I have been using this company for 20+ years. Top notch products, excellent fast service and most usually the best prices to be found. No minimum orders required and no matter what you order the shipping and handling is $7.25, usually 3 day UPS delivery for this area. I also order all my kitchen spices and teas from them also. I like that they list the country of origin for everything they carry.
  19. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    Everclear is excellent to use also and in a pinch you could use another grain-based product ... Just a note on Everclear, you can't get it in Va. and my understanding is N.C. will be making some "proof" changes with the product.

  20. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member

    I have developed the habit of steering clear of recommending using Everclear, especially for novices, because of the extreme alcoholic potency and the very real chance of an inexperienced novice herbalist unknowingly overdosing and developing alcohol poisoning. Used correctly it is excellent for tincturing. But that's just my habit.