Sustainable Civilization: From the Grass Roots Up
MEDICAL TREATMENTS IN NATURE Many modern drug miracles are in their basics derived from molecules from nature. When hunting in nature, it is vitally important to properly identify the plant you are harvesting before you use it. Be certain to obtain and use clear and accurate plant identification books for your region. Better yet, take classes or go with an experienced guide.
Please also be cautious, as nature does not care about your intent or opinion, if you collect the wrong resource, dead is dead. Please be judicious, these are precious natural resources, and should be ecologically harvested, ensuring you leave enough to maintain the natural colonies. Ensure you gather in the proper season, in safe (uncontaminated areas) where gathering is allowed.
Potential seed sources, if not available to you locally, are:
1. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange A - Vitamin A - The human body can manufacture A by exposure to sunshine, and it is available in natural sources such as cod liver oil. ACETIC ACID - 5% (household vinegar, 1 gal). This can reduce the microbial count (especially Pseudomonas) in infected wounds. Half strength vinegar can be used to irrigate the ear in external otitis. Use 3 Tbsp per quart of water as a douche for vaginal infections.
ALOE LEAF (Aloe Vera) - This plant has hundreds of uses, the most popular its ability to alleviate the pain of burns and speed healing. To relieve the pain and itching of hemorrhoids, carve out a suppository sized chunk of the inner leaf gel and insert into the rectum.
Eight ounces of the juice or whole leaf extract may prevent or reduce the size of kidney stones.
ARNICA - Herb, native to Europe, member of Compositae family. Fatal internally, useable externally on bruises as a tea, squeezed, or alcohol solution. ASPIRIN - Reduces heart attacks by 50%, reduces colon cancer by 40%, reduces strokes, and reduces inflammation causing headaches and arthritis. In 1899 in Germany it was shown as the distinct chemical. In ancient Greece it is in a tea made from willow bark for the aches and pains of childbirth. It was in the 1970s when how it worked was explained. The drug is very safe. Allegations it should not be given to young children are unsupported by evidence, while the alternative drug acetaminophen, is many times more dangerous. The drug works its wonders by modifying the prostaglandin system, which is connected to everything from the thickness of your stomach lining (protecting you from the acid in your stomach) to thermoregulation of your body to your ability to perceive pain. Take one 325-mg aspirin every week (the irreversible effects last about seven days). Buffered brands may be better for sensitive stomachs. Be careful to not drink much alcohol with aspirin as both can thin the blood and theoretically lead to increased bleeding. Consider half an adult or even a baby aspirin. At age 50 take two per week. At age 60 take one per day. These would probably last for many years or decades, stored cool and dry. It is a dirt-cheap substance; maybe $10-20/kilo from a bulk house. ASTRAGALUS - A Chinese herb that has traditionally been used to strengthen the Wei Ch'i, or immune system. It is regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune function. It has been proven effective in cases of colds, flu and even cancer. American Cancer Society reported that it restored immune functions in 90% of the cancer patients studied. It improves the white cell function and general resistance to infection.
BARLEY - Soluble beta-glucan fiber remains even in refined flour.
BETA CAROTENE - Primary source: carrot 1 raw, 5.7mg; 1 sweet potato, 10mg; spinach, ½ cup, 4.9mg; cantaloupe 1/8, 4.0mg; turnip greens ½ cup, 3.9mg; cooked pumpkin ½ cup, 3.4, swiss chard ½ cup, 3.2mg; kale ½ cup, 3.0mg;
BILBERRY - Herb, strengthen capillaries around eyes. (Also blueberry), aids night vision.
BLUEBERRY - Something about blueberry, glutamine, arginine, lysine, glycine, and ornithine gives you the opportunity to elevate IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) and enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle. see Can Foods Actually Reverse Aging? by the WholeHealthMD Advisor. The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience (9/15/99), was done by researchers at the U.S. Agriculture Department's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston...those fed blueberry, spinach, or strawberry extracts...are high in antioxidants (some of which give these foods their distinctive colors)...All three...improved short-term memory...only blueberries enhanced balance and coordination as well...the rats were fed the blueberries at 19 months, the equivalent of ages 65 to 70 in humans. After eight weeks, the blueberry-fed rats' rod balancing skills actually increased--from five to 11 seconds, suggesting an age-reversing benefit. The researchers aren't sure which specific compounds in blueberries give them their punch, but they suspect that other foods may provide age-reversing benefits. Prunes and kale, for instance, are also extremely high in antioxidants but have not yet been tested. The Tufts center is also sponsoring studies on vitamin E, aspirin, and B vitamins. Suggested dose: Further studies in people are needed. Still, according to Dr. Shukitt-Hale, just half a cup of blueberries may help keep our mental and motor skills sharp. Although this study used a specially prepared blueberry extract, no blueberry supplements or extracts are on the market yet. A suitable alternative may be bilberry (40 mg 3 times a day), a European relative of the American blueberry. Choose a bilberry extract standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides--potent antioxidants found in the fruit.
BORON - 3-6 mg/day to help osteoporosis.
BOSWELLIA SERRATA - Gum resin tree extract help arthritis.
BROCCOLI SPROUTS - At three days they may contain up to 20x sulforaphane glucosinolate of older plants, (1 oz "dose") which may trigger exzymes in the body to kill or deactivate cancer. Helps cholesterol & protect retinal cells from u/v.
BURDOCK ROOT (Arcticum lappa) - Well know as a blood detoxification agent and eaten as a vegetable known as Gobo in oriental cuisine. It is available throughout the U.S. It is used for skin eruptions and dry scaly skin conditions, and as a digestive stimulant and to lower blood sugar. Its seed is diuretic and kidney tonic. The root is now found in supermarkets and can be cooked as a vegetable or made into a decoction. Fresh plant fluid extracts of the root and seed are also available in health food stores.
BUTTERBUR (Petasites hybridus) Root - 75 mg twice per day for migrane headaches.
C - Vitamin C is well known for its ability to fight viruses and bacteria by stimulating the white cells, which are the "soldiers" of the immune system. Vitamin may be the most important antioxidant when it comes to immune system function. It works well with other immune activators and does not cause any side effects. Vitamin C should be the buffered alkaline form (mineral ascorbates) rather than the acidic form (ascorbic acid) and should be combined with bioflavonoids which prolong vitamin C’s action in the blood circulation. The powdered form of vitamin C is recommended to achieve optimal dosing. A tablespoon of vitamin C powder (about 10,000 mgs) can be added to juice. Good products are Twinlab’s Super Ascorbate C powder and Alacer’s powdered vitamin C.
CASTOR OIL - An anti-inflammatory, applied externally, soak a cloth and apply to the swollen joint held with hot-water bottle.
CATNIP - A mild digestive herb, and can even be given to babies with colic.
CAYANNE PEPPER - Said to stop severe bleeding. An overall digestive aid. Avoid if you have an ulcer. For chronic pain, it triggers production of endorphins, pleasure chemicals made in the brain to overcome pain. Capsaicin can be used as a topical ointment to relieve arthritis pain. It may also lower cholesterol and improve blood flow.
CELERY - Alleged to reduce blood pressure due to its 3nB content which is said to block stress hormoes and relax blood vessel walls. Two stalks per day.
CHAMOMILE - (Chamomilis) is actually two different plants- one annual and one perennial. Both have slightly differing effects but are similar enough to be used interchangably. The blossoms are the medicinal part, and they make a wonderful digestive, anti nausea tea. Make an equal mix of lemon balm, peppermint and chamomile. Drunk after a large meal, it helps digestion and relaxes an overfull stomach.
CHAMOMILLA - Used for overall soothing effect, pain relief, and infection prevention. CHARCOAL, ACTIVATED - Activated charcoal is a fine black odorless and tasteless powder made from wood or other materials that have been exposed to very high temperatures in an airless environment. It is then treated, or activated, to increase its ability to adsorb various substances by reheating with oxidizing gas or other chemicals to break it into a very fine powder. Activated charcoal is pure carbon specially processed to make it highly adsorbent of particles and gases in the body's digestive system. Activated charcoal has often been used since ancient times to cure a variety of ailments including poisoning, diarrhea, constipation, and cramps. Its healing effects have been well documented since as early as 1550 B.C. by the Egyptians. Activated charcoal's most important use is for treatment of poisoning. It helps prevent the absorption of most poisons or drugs by the stomach and intestines. In addition to being used for most swallowed poisons in humans, charcoal has been effectively used in dogs, rabbits, rats, and other animals, as well. It can also adsorb gas in the bowels and has been used for the treatment of gas or diarrhea. Charcoal's other uses such as treatment of viruses, bacteria, bacterial toxic byproducts, snake venoms and other substances by adsorption have not been supported by clinical studies. By adding water to the powder to make a paste, activated charcoal can be used as an external application to alleviate pain and itching from bites and stings. Charcoal works by binding to irritating or toxic substances in the stomach and intestines. This prevents the toxic drug or chemical from spreading throughout the body. The activated charcoal with the toxic substance bound to it is then excreted in the stool without harm to the body. When poisoning is suspected the local poison control center should be contacted for instructions. They may recommend using activated charcoal, which should be available at home so that it can be given to the poisoned child or pet immediately. For severe poisoning, several doses of activated charcoal may be needed. Based on its ability to adsorb or bind to other substances, charcoal has been effectively used to clean skin wounds and to adsorb waste materials from the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it has been used to adsorb snake venoms, viruses, bacteria, and harmful materials excreted by bacteria or fungi. However, because of lack of scientific studies, these uses are not recommended. Activated charcoal, when used together with other remedies such as aloe vera, acidophilus, and psyllium, helps to keep symptoms of ulcerative colitis under control. While charcoal shows some anti-aging activity in rats, it is doubtful if it has the same effect in humans. Charcoal should not be given for at least 30 minutes after ipecac or until vomiting from ipecac stops. Activated charcoal is often mixed with a liquid before being swallowed or put into the tube leading to the stomach. Activated charcoal is available as 1.1 oz (33 m) liquid bottles. It is also available in 0.5 oz (15 ml) container sizes and as slurry of charcoal pre-mixed in water or as a container to which water or soda pop can be added. Keeping activated charcoal at home is a good idea so that it can be taken immediately when needed for treatment of poisoning. For acute poisoning, the dosage is as follows: o Infants (under 1 year of age): 1g/kg. o Children (1-12 years of age): 15-30g or 1-2g/kg with at least 8oz of water. o Adults: 30-100g or 1-2g/kg with at least 8oz of water. A person can take charcoal tablets or capsules with water or sprinkle the content onto foods. The dosage for treatment of gas or diarrhea in adults is 520-975 mg after each meal and up to 5 g per day. Some activated charcoal products contain sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sweetener as well as a laxative, therefore, it may cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. These products should not be used in infants. For uses other than for treatment of poisoning, charcoal should be taken two hours after other medications. Charcoal should not be used to treat poisoning caused by such corrosive products as lye or other strong acids or petroleum products such as gasoline, kerosene, or cleaning fluids. Charcoal may make the condition worse and delay diagnosis and treatment. In addition, charcoal is also not effective if the poison is lithium, cyanide, iron, ethanol, or methanol. Activated charcoal may cause swelling or pain in the stomach. A doctor should be notified immediately. It has been known to cause problems in people with intestinal bleeding, blockage or those people who have had recent surgery. These patients should talk to their doctor before using this product. Charcoal may be less effective in people with slow digestion. Charcoal should not be given for more than three or four days for treatment of diarrhea. Continuing for longer periods may interfere with normal nutrition. Charcoal may cause constipation when taken for a drug overdose or accidental poisoning. A laxative should be taken after the crisis is over. Activated charcoal may cause the stool to turn black. This side effect is to be expected. Patients should consult a doctor if they have pain or swelling of the stomach. Activated charcoal should not be mixed with chocolate syrup, ice cream, or sherbet to make it more palatable. These foods prevent the charcoal from working properly. CHIVES - Related to onions, with its own tangy tast. Stems and flowers are high in vitamin C, folic acid , potassium, with sulfur compounds and essential oils. Eases stomach distress, protects against heart disease & stroke, helps fight bacteria.
CHLORELLA - Since publication in 1951 by a team of Japanese doctors, it has been touted as “Nature’s Perfect Food” around the world. When the super tough cell wall of chlorella is successfully “cracked," and the precious nutrients are extracted, it single-handedly provides an enormous amount of beta carotene (6 times that of spinach), pure protein (50-60%), RNA/DNA nucleic acids, alkaline, vitamins and minerals (11 times the calcium of cow’s milk), and 7% chlorophyll.
COD LIVER OIL - Ok, it tastes awful, but it has uses for joint pain, rheumatism, gout, rickets, etc. Its Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D may normalize cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and help keep arteries open. It may even reverse destruction of joint cartilage. (Try adding some lemon juice, or getting it in capsules and freezing them.)
COMFREY LEAF/ROOT - (Symphytum officinalis) - Can be grown as a house plant. Like Aloe, it is a natural herbal bandaid, useful for cuts, scrapes and burns. It is styptic, which means that it will stop bleeding. Commonly known as "knit-bone," it stimulates tissue regeneration. Used externally as a poultice, it helps heal bone fractures and deep wounds. Recovery rate is accelerated with use of this fresh plant poultice on muscle, tendon and ligamentous injuries. Thoroughly cleanse the wound with an antiseptic first, because Comfrey is so quick to regenerate the tissue that it will seal over the wound with the bacteria still inside. It grows into a large plant, with big fuzzy leaves, which are extremely high in protein and make excellent animal feed. They’ve been eaten for salad greens for years, BUT DON’T DO IT! Comfrey is one of several herbs which has been implicated in severe and even fatal liver damage, and is no longer approved for internal use in this country at all.
CRANBERRY - Among the top 10 antioxidant rich foods. Helps treat urinary tract infection. Aids against gum disease. Compounds in the juice may interfere with even antibiotic resistant bacteria making it impossible for the bacteria to cause an infection. (1/2 cup dried per day) Also helps keep blood vessels more flexible.
CURRY - Tumeric, found in curry powder, is a potent anti-inflammatory. It may help the swelling of arthritis, and benefit the liver where it stimulates the flow of bile and helps break down dietary fat. The active substances may be "circumin". Used since ancient times to flavor food and prevent spoilage. Scientific American (FEB 2007) reports the biologically active components curcumin and related compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflamatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal properties (sounds like food preservation, doesn't it...) as well as potential activity against cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimers, and other chronic illnesses. A preventative dose might be in the range of 4 to 8 grams per day. (40 times the typical Indian diet)
D - Vitamin D - The human body can manufacture A by exposure to sunshine, and it is available in natural sources such as cod liver oil. Helps protect against things like osteoporosis and cancer, and even normal germ infections, such as a cold or the flu. Vit D stimulates the body to produce cathelicidin, a natural antibiotic. It is listed here in natural cures as you can generally obtain what you need by 15 minutes of sun per day, the alternative being 5,000 i.u. per day of D3, the form of vitamin D the body itself makes.
DANDELION ROOT - (Taraxacum officinalis) - Is naturally high in potassium, making it a safe diuretic, increasing the ability to eliminate waste products through the urinary channels. It helps restore kidney function and relieves liver and spleen congestion. It is extremely beneficial as a spring tonic which stimulates sluggish liver function. The root should be made into a strong decoction, which means that it should be cut into small pieces and simmered in a glass or enamel vessel for at least 10 minutes before straining and drinking. The fresh plant fluid extract can also be used. Put 20-30 drops into a cup of hot water and drink as a tea. The entire plant is considered edible.
DATURA - (Jimsonweed) A deadly nightshade containing alkaloids, which in addition to being killers, are strong painkillers. DON’T TRY IT! S
E - Vitamin E - An immune booster, aim for 100 to 400 milligrams per day.
ECHINACEA - Has a rich tradition of use by North American Indians who used it medicinally more than any other plant. Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. In other words, it makes our own immune cells more efficient in attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells; including cancer cells. Its antiseptic and anti-viral properties are used for sore throats, flu, colds, infections and allergies. It also has tumor inhibiting properties. The most potent form is a fresh plant fluid extract, however, medicinal benefit can also be derived by mixing a decoction, as explained under Dandelion.
ELDERBERRY - (Sambucus canadensis) The American elder (canadensis) , also known as Elderberry, is small tree that grows to 12 feet and is native to North America. The European elder (nigra) grows to 30 feet, is found throughout Europe, Asia, North Africa, and has been naturalized in the United States. The tree has been called "the medicine chest of the common people. The flowers, leaves, berries, bark and roots have all been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. An extract, sambucol has been shown effective in fighting viruss, available in liquid and lozenge. The fruits have been used to make elderberry wine, and when cooked, can be used in pies and jams. The berries contain more vitamin C than any other herb except rosehips and black currant. The elder also has a rich background of cultural superstitions. In the Middle Ages legends held that tree was home to witches and that cutting down one would bring on the wrath of those residing in the branches. The Russians and the English believe that elder trees ward off evil spirits and it was considered good luck to plant a tree near your home. Sicilians think that sticks of elder wood can kill serpents and drive away thieves. This herb has a long history dating beyond the stone ages. Egyptians discovered that applying its flowers improved the complexion and healed burns. Many early Indian tribes used elderberry, and its variants, in teas and other beverages. In the 17th century the British often drank home made wine and cordials that was thought to prolong life and cure the common cold. The berries from the elder contain a considerable amount of vitamins A, B and C, as well as flavonoids, sugar, tannins, carotenoids and amino acids. Warm elderberry wine is a remedy for sore throat, influenza and induces perspiration to reverse the effects of a chill. The juice from the berries is an old fashioned cure for colds, and is also said to relieve asthma and bronchitis. Infusions of the fruit are beneficial for nerve disorders, back pain, and have been used to reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder. Raw berries have laxative and diuretic properties, however the seeds are toxic and may induce vomiting and nausea. Elderberries are edible when cooked. Elder leaves contain the flavonoids rutin and quercertin, alkaloids, vitamin C and sambunigrin, a cyanogenic glucoside. Fresh elder leaves also contain hydrocyanic acid, cane sugar, invertin, betulin, free fatty acids, and a considerable quantity of potassium nitrate. Elder flowers and elder flower water have been used in a variety of ways topically and as a tonic mixture. Elder flowers are a mild astringent and are used in skin washes to refine the complexion and help relieve eczema, acne and psoriasis. Flower water makes a soothing gargle and when strained makes an excellent eye wash. The leaves and flowers are a common ingredient in ointments and poultices for burns and scalds, swelling, cuts and scrapes. Infusions and preparations with the blossoms combined with other herbs have also been used to quicken recovery form the common cold and flu. Parts Used: Bark, leaves, flowers, berries. Common Use: Topically for infections, inflammations and swelling. As a wash for skin healing and complexion purification. As a tea and cordial to sooth sore throats, speed recovery from cold and flu and relieve respiratory distress. Cooked and used in jams and conserves. Care: Prefers sandy or loamy soil rich in humus and nitrogen. Full sun or partial shade.
EPHEDRA TEA - A natural source of ephedrine, an ancient Chinese treatment for allergies, asthma, and even the common cold. The body builds up resistance, requiring increasing dose size, so long term use should be avoided. May raise blood pressure and heart rate. The natural source is the angelica (Dong Quai) plant, an oranmental flower. EYEBRIGHT – A simple tea made from eyebright -- an herb that you can grow in your own garden is said to help vision, and as it strengthens the optic nerve, make the eye less vulnerable to cataracts. This nerve-boosting also may help the brain, which, after all, is made up of nerve cells. FENNEL - Relieve muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, indigestion, diarrhea. Looks like flattened celary with a feathery top. FOLATE (Folic Acid) - To obtain a recommended daily dose of 800 mcg would require eating around 2 1/2 pounds of strawberries, or around 1/2 pound of healthy liver twice per week. GARLIC (Allium sativum) - Used since the days of the Egyptians to treat wounds, infections, tumors, and intestinal parasites. Modern scientific research confirms the benefits of these and other ancient uses for garlic. The Allicin in Garlic is responsible for many of its healing properties. It stimulates the immune system, increasing the activity of white blood cells that fight foreign organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and yeast. Garlic is particularly effective in treating upper respiratory viral infections due to its immune-enhancing properties and its ability to clear mucous from the lungs. Best known for its antibiotic bulbs or the milder garlic greens can be eaten raw at the onset of a cold or flu. A small piece of bread may be necessary to make the spicyness more palatable. Grow garlic greens by planting the bulbs in a 4-inch-deep pot, and trim them to use in salads or stir fry dishes. Garlic oil is effective on ear infections, easily made by finely chopping enough fresh organic garlic bulbs to fill a jelly jar, and cover with organic olive oil. Cover the jar with cheesecloth held on with a rubber band. Let the mixture sit in a warm room for a week or a sunny window for several hours (if you need it right away). Strain the oil and store in an dark glass jar. The warmed oil is then placed in the ear and plugged with a cotton ball. Leave in overnight and treat nightly until the infection is gone. This therapy is not to be used in cases of eardrum perforation. A garlic cough syrup can be made by simmering freshly chopped garlic in apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes. Strain the resulting liquid, add honey and simmer down until the mixture is thick and syrupy. The vinegar neutralizes the garlic taste, making it much more tolerable, yet preserves the antibiotic effect.
In World War I, garlic powder was sprinkled on wounds to inhibit infection. Made into a strong decoction (like brewing tea, but actually boiling it for about 5- 10 minutes) it makes an effective soak for things like ingrown toenails, boils, infected scratches and cuts, try a garlic decoction with calendula (pot marigold) petals, thyme and comfrey leaves added. In general the plants prefer "cooler" weather.
GINGER ROOT (Zinziber officiale) – Has a carminative effect,which will help relieve digestive problems which result in gas formation. It is also a diaphoretic, used both as a tea and added to a soaking bath to stimulate sweating and reduce fevers. In cases of abdominal or menstrual cramping, a ginger fomentation can be made. A fomentation is prepared by slicing 1-3 large roots into a half gallon of water and simmering in a covered pan for at least 30 minutes. A cotton cloth is then dipped in the mixture, wrung out (wear rubber gloves, it's hot!) and applied to the abdomen as hot as can be withstood. Two folded bath towels are placed on top to help maintain the heat of the fomentation as the therapy progresses. Internally, 1/4 teaspoon of ginger or one dropperful of the fluid extract can be added to 1 cup of warm water to alleviate nausea, morning sickness or motion sickness. and to aid digestion.