Monday, June 10, 2013
Natural Home Remedies: Tinctures, Salves and Syrups. Plus some recipes to get you started!
In a long term shtf situation all one has to do is look back at history to realize what our greatest threat will be. Disease. Modern science and medicine is something many of us take for granted, especially if we have never had a serious operation or infection. Until it happens to you, you don't realize how many things modern medicine stops from killing us. Something as simple as a small cut can get infected and kill us if it isn't treated properly. For this reason it is essential as preppers and survivalists that we learn as much about medicine as we can to help better our chances for survival.
Infusions, tinctures, teas, salves, tonics and syrups. Even the words sound strange in our modern world, but these types of medicines were common a hundred years ago. If we find ourselves in a long term shtf situation then they could easily be common again. In fact they may be the only things that will help keep us healthy and cure us when we're sick or hurt. So what exactly are each of these things and how do we make them?
An infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol. The most common way to create an infusion is to brew an herb for a long period of time.
To make your own infusion you need a quart jar, one cup of dried herbs, and boiling water. Simply place the herbs in the jar and pour the hot water over top and then seal the jar. Let it steep for anywhere from 4- to 10 hours. Then strain and drink, generally two to four cups a day for best results.
A salve is a medical ointment used to soothe the head or other body surface.
To make salves you need three different ingredients. An oil such as grapeseed oil or olive oil, beeswax, and herbs.
For a firm salve such as a lipbalm you want a proportion of 1 part beeswax to 4 parts oil. To have softer balm lessen how much beeswax you use.
Heat your oil in a double boiler to prevent burning, and add what medicinal herbs you want in your balm. Heat it for twenty to thirty minutes to release the oils from your herbs. At this point you strain out your herbs through cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and put the oil back in the pot. Then add you beeswax to the oil. Keep the heat on low until the beeswax melts.
At this point you can pour it into your container.
A tincture is typically an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material. The extract should have an ethanol percentage of at least 40 - 80% or 80-120 proof. It can also use solvents such as vinegar, glycerol, ether and propylene glycol though not all can be used for internal consumption.
To make a tincture you need a good alcohol. The preferred type for tinctures is vodka because it is colorless, odorless and has very little flavor. Brandy, rum or whisky can also be used if you can't get alcohol. No matter what alcohol you use it must be at least 80 proof (40%) to prevent the mildewing of your plant material.
You can use fresh or dried herbs. For fresh herbs, fill a glass container with them (A mason jar works well). For dried herbs you want 4 ounces of powdered herb to every 1 pint of alcohol.
Make sure you use a knife to stir around the edge of your jar with a knife to remove any air bubbles and then seal your container. Label the container with the date and name of the tincture so you remember what you have.
Place it in a cool dark area and store for 8 days to a month. Shake regularly.
Once finished steeping, strain the tincture into dark bottles and seal. Tinctures will last up to 5 years.
A beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices or plant materials which can have medicinal benefits.
To make a tea take an ounce of whatever herbs you are using and combine with a cup of boiled water. Let steep for three to five minutes or longer for a stronger taste.
A viscous liquid consisting primarily of a solution of sugar in water, which can be eployed as a base for medicinal purposes. Syrups help preserve the finished product, aid in masking unpleasant taste of active ingredients, and enhance the flavor.
To make a syrup combine 2 ounces of herbs and a quart of water. Simmer over low heat and reduce the liquid down to 1 pint.
Strain the herbs from the liquid. Then pour the liquid back into your pot. Add one cup of honey per pint of liquid. Warm on low just enough to blend together.
Bottle, label and refrigerate.
These medicinal products are easy to make, and being able to make these are a great skill to have for when shtf, or even just to have some great home made remedies around the house. You never know when they could come in handy.
As a quick a note: I am not a medical proffessional nor do I have any degrees or training in medicine. Make sure to do your research on whatever herbs and natural remedies before you use them. While homemade medicines may help with sicknesses or injuries, they are not neccessarily a substitute for hospitals and doctors. Do your research, know what you are making and using, and use it at your own discretion.
So if your ready to start trying to make your own home made remedies, here are some basic recipies to get you started:
-1/2 c coconut oil
-1/2 c olive oil
-1/4 c dried comfrey
-1/4 c dried calendula
-2 oz beeswax
-2 tbsp honey
-10 drops lavender essential oil
In a medium saucepan combine coconut oil, olive oil, comfrey and calendula. Cook on low to medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often.
To forgo the cooking method soak the herbs in the olive oil for 2 to 6 weeks. Then following the recipe accordingly, with the exception of adding the coconut oil to the mixture before adding in the beeswax.
Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
Throw out the herbs and wipe out any remaining herbs from the saucepan. Add the strained oil back to the pot, turn the heat to low. Stir in the honey until it is mixed thoroughly.
Next add the beeswax. If using bars, cut into slices before adding. Stir until completely melted.
Stir in essential oil, if using, at this point. Once combined remove from the heat.
Work quickly because the salve will set up rather fast. Pour into the glass or tin of our choice.
Stir occasionally while it cools to ensure that everything settles properly, especially the honey.
Each batch makes a little over a cup. Keeps for a year.
Homemade Vapor Rub
-1/4 c olive oil
-2 tsp beeswax
-25-30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
-20-25 drops rosemary essential oil
-10-15 drops lavender essential oil
Melt the olive oil and beeswax in a small saucepan on low heat until melted, stirring with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and stir in the essential oils - drop by drop. Pour in a small glass or metal container.
Store in a cool, dry place for up to year.
Cough and Cold Syrup
-1 c freshly chopped onion
-1/2 c honey
-1 tsp cloves (optional, pain relief)
-1 tsp ginger powder
Put chopped onions and herbs of choice into a small stainless steel or glass pot. Add enough honey to cover the onions. Turn the pot on low heat and slowly simmer. The honey will soften and become liquidly and you want to keep the temperature very low while allowing the herbs to steep in the honey, with a lid on.
Give it 20 minutes of simmering, then remove it from the heat. Strain the onions and herbs out and store the remaining honey in a small glass jar and with a lid and keep it in the fridge.
Use as often as needed up to every half hour. 1tsp for younger children. 1 tbsp for anyone 10 years and older.
Sleepy Time Tea
-equal parts chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm and lavender
Use a tablespoon of herb mix per cup of boiled water. Let steep for three to five minutes.
Migraine Tincture-3 parts lemon balm
-2 parts feverfew
-100 proof vodka to fill
-1 quart mason jar
Add herbs to glass jar.
Pour solvent over herbs to fill the jar. Alcohol should be 1-2 inches above the herbs.
Place lid on the jar and shake till well combined.
Label jar with contents and date.
Set in a warm, sunny window and steep for 2-6 weeks, shaking daily.
Strain with cheesecloth, and place in dark colored bottles in a cool dark place. Should keep for up to five years.
On the onset of migraine symptoms begin taking 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of the tincture every thirty minutes to an hour until the symptoms subside.
If you give any of these homemade medical recipes a try let us know. We'd love to hear how they work and what you think of them.