An introduction by the Veridian Caballero
As a prepper it becomes easy to dream up worst case scenarios. From fires, floods and other natural disasters to man-made catastrophes such as an NBC attack, socio-economic collapse or even an EMP. It is an uncertain world we live in, that for the most part is out of our hands. But what is not out of our control is gathering the skills, tools, knowledge and mindset that we believe will give us an edge above and help us to survive the situation.
In this introduction essay I will discuss several common substances that can be used for common ailments.
In a long term survival, SHTF or WROL situation or even just massive price inflation; modern medicines are likely to become rare and valuable commodities. In the event that such items become out of your price range or even completely unavailable it would be a good idea to have some background knowledge about what can be used in a pinch, MacGyver style.
First a legal note:
I am not a physician, pharmacist or any other type of trained professional when it comes to medicines so take this article with a grain of salt, as you would from any other friend. It is YOUR responsibility to fully research for yourself the full effects and potential dangers of ingesting or dealing with ANYTHING. This article is merely to be used as ‘food for thought’ and perhaps open up your mind to other possibilities for diversification of your medical supplies. To sum it up, I claim no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for your actions after reading this. If you agree to these terms feel free to continue, if not stop right now and go blame someone for burning your hand with some McDonald’s coffee or something.
Whew. Now that that part is done, we can begin.
- Garlic & Onions – Yes. In one way or another, Grandma turned out to be right. Garlic and to a lesser extent Onions both seem to possess antibiotic properties. Although not a modern strength antibiotic, Garlic has been shown to possess about 1% of the effective strength of the powerful antibiotic Penicillin. (I.) So although it probably won’t do very much at all against pneumonia or other serious infections, in my experience it helps a great deal with minor colds and flu’s. Garlic and Onion tend to be taken orally. There are supplemental pills on the market if you’re the type who hates the taste and smell of both plants, personally I just put a hardy dose of either or both into pasta!
- Oregano – Another herbal remedy, Oregano finds it’s place in many meals around the world. Oregano Oils, sold in bottles and naturally found in the leaf contain chemicals such as thymol and carvacro which some believe inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. (II.) Again I like to add this stuff to pasta.
- Silver – Any prepper worth his salt has at least thought of investing in silver at one point or another. When talking about the value of precious metals with friends or family someone inevitably tries to ‘point out’ the worthlessness of those metals because the only reason we like them is because they are “Shiny and Rare”. This of course is not true, besides their value as engineering materials and intrinsic value, silver in particular is known for its strong antibiotic properties. Several months ago, when I badly burned my hand on a stove I was given a burn cream that used a silver compound as it’s main antibiotic. For some time, Colloidal silver (microscopic silver particles suspended in water) was used heavily as a serum to cure many ailments (with the only major side effect being the ‘bluing’ of the skin with excessive use). There are even tales of Cowboys from the Old west placing silver coins in their canteens to help purify water, however the true effectiveness of this technique is anyone’s guess. (III)
- Coconut water/milk – From my pacific upbringing one learns quickly not to consume too much coconut water aka ‘coconut milk’. In high doses coconuts do act as laxatives, and thus the main reason not to rely solely on such on a desert island.
- Dandelions – Considered a weed throughout most of the world the dandelion can be made into a tea or eaten for a great laxative. I always knew these things had a purpose! (V)
For Stomach aches and Mild nausea:
- Peppermint – Peppermint can be used for mild stomach aches and nausea. (VI) It can also be used to cure one’s smelly survivor breath!
- Licorice – the root brewed into a tea or even some authentic licorice candy (the black kind, not the fake red stuff) can be used as an anti-diuretic. There are some people who should not use this method such as those with high blood pressure, but again, Research! (VII)
- Alcohol (Ethyl) – Obviously a standard most first aid kits. In a pinch, Alcohol can be distilled from any type of grain or sugar mixed with yeast. (Follow your local laws!) It is also a great anesthetic when taken orally in the appropriate doses.
- Aloe vera – A common outdoor plant in warmer climates and a potential houseplant for colder ones. Aloe vera is touted as one of several ‘super plants’ capable of many beneficial things. In terms of wound cleaning Aloe is great for cuts and scrapes but really shines when used on burns. (VIII) You use it by cutting off a limb of the plant and using the thick green sap on the inside as a topical ointment. The only real downside; it’s sticky, might temporarily stain your skin and it kinda smells… especially if you don’t wash it off and reapply every couple of hours.
Antidotes to Nerve agents:
- The US Military uses the chemical Atropine in order to treat otherwise fatal exposure to nerve agents. Although it’s chemical mechanism is complex the chemical’s origins are far simpler. Atropine is commonly derived from highly poisonous plants such as “Deadly nightshade” and “Jimson weed”. By NO means do I suggest EVER using these plants for anything but landscaping. However, if you are truly worried about being attacked with phosphorous based nerve agents, further research into these plants may be just the thing you were looking for. (IV)
Thank you very much and I hope you enjoyed this article while maybe learning a couple things along the way!
“Keep the blades keen, and the mags loaded!”
I. A summary of the properties of Oregano, http://health.learninginfo.org/oregano.htm
II. Medical uses of silver, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_uses_of_silver
III. Information on Atropine as an antidote, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atropine#Treatment_for_organophosphate_poisoning
IV. Peppermint, http://herbgardens.about.com/od/medicinalherbs/a/Peppermint.htm
V. Natural Anti-diuretics, http://www.livestrong.com/article/195020-natural-antidiuretic-herbs/
VI. More Aloe info, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera#Folk_medicine