Herbal Medicine for Preppers, by Chris S.Being able to take care of our own medical conditions is very important. Sometimes we can't get to adoctor, can't afford it or perhaps there will be a breakdown and there are no doctors available. I'vefound it invaluable to know what to do on my own when out on backpacking trips and an injury orsickness shows up.In cases like this having a good knowledge of herbal medicine and having a few things on hand canmean the difference between agony and wellness or even life and death. I've used herbal medicinefor over 20 years for livestock and pets as well as friends and family members. Having childrenaround has provided plenty of opportunity for using herbs whether it's a scrape that's bleeding oraccidentally eating something poisonous from the cupboard, not to mention a few colds, headaches,bruises and broken bones.Living on a farm with livestock has also been an education. In the years I have used herbs I havenever had to call in the veterinarian, everything encountered has been treatable with herbs andthere have been many notable successes to prove the effectiveness.This is a basic overview of the herbs and formulas I use regularly. It's not intended to be a completecourse in herbal medicine. I do not have all the answers, I just have a small amount of experiencethat may help someone someday. These are basics, I have used many things that work wonderfullybut I find myself grabbing these basic things most often and am sure that if I had these few herbs onhand I wouldn't be completely helpless, in fact, I feel incredibly rich. With that said, here's thefavorites from my herbal medicine bag.Fresh GarlicOne of the few herbs that I use almost exclusively fresh. Freezes well too. One of my favoriteantibiotics, illnesses and parasites just can't bear to stick around when you are taking lots of garlic.For ear infections I make a garlic oil by soaking crushed fresh garlic cloves in olive oil, leaving in awarm place for 24-36 hours. Applied by dropper into the ears and held in place with cotton this hasalways worked for my family. Garlic works through the combination of chemicals in the plant thatwhen combined work effectively. The goal is to combine them, and this is best done with fresh garlic.As distasteful as it may be the most effective way to use garlic internally is to chew up whole freshcloves. Swallowing them (chopped to a manageable size) is a close second. Garlic products like pillsand powders are okay but I prefer fresh. Garlic taken internally is a must as well to help fightinfection.Fresh OnionsFor a bad bruise there's nothing better. Simply slice a thin piece of onion to cover the bruise and tapeit on the bruised area as soon after the injury as possible. I've used this many times when one of thechildren runs in crying after being smashed up and with the onion slice in place they are soon outrunning around like nothing had happened, no bruise. For tender skin I will put a little olive oil on thearea before the onion as this helps keep strong onions from burning the skin.Powdered CharcoalDo not be caught without a good supply of finely powdered charcoal. Fifty pounds would not be toomuch, it's free so there's no reason not to have plenty. You can buy activated charcoal for someabsurd amount of money in small containers but the stuff you can make yourself works just fine, I'vesaved many of my livestock that managed to eat something poisonous with it. Powdered charcoal hasa mechanical action, it's not some miracle thing, it just has microscopic pores that somehow absorbimmense amounts of poisons and hold it fast. I use it internally and externally. Internally for anyingested poison, for instance, when my dog eats the rat poison, or externally for things like snakebiteor spider bite. For cases of blood poisoning I clean the wound and keep a charcoal poultice on thearea 24 hours a day until the red line is gone. This has worked well for everyone I have used it on.Making charcoal is easy, simply make a nice hot fire with clean hardwood, willow is very good butmost any other non resinous hardwood will work fine. Don't use old barn boards or treated lumber.Once the wood chunks are red coals use tongs or something as effective to place the coals in anairtight and fireproof container, a metal can with a tight lid works good. Leave this filled with thecoals and sealed as well as practical in the fire, adding more wood to keep the fire burning fairlywell. The coals will not turn to ashes in the can because there is no air for them to burn. After thefire has died down, usually an hour or so, I take them out and let cool. Once cool I grind it all up topowder in a blender. The finer the powder the better. Be forewarned, this makes a terrific mess.CayenneMy number one herb. Stops bleeding, heart attacks (almost instantly) and shock. A couple of pinchesof cayenne powder in a glass of water will almost always stop a bloody nose, you have to drink thecayenne water though. I've had kids balk, thinking it will burn, it won't. I've tried it too many timesand I know there's no burning.Raspberry LeavesI keep some raspberry leaves on hand, especially when I travel, if I feel like I might be getting a coldor flu I have a few cups of strong raspberry leaf tea and usually this takes care of things.