Wednesday, May 1, 2013

INFORMATIVE - Natural Remedies

I'm lucky enough to have quite a bit of experience and even a little formal training with medicine and medical treatment. When I was younger, I spent the better part of my teenage years in and out of hospital and it's continued into adulthood as well, though to a lesser extent. You definitely pick up a few things here and there, and I decided to supplement it early on with some proper tutelage. If at all possible, it's MASSIVELY valuable to pay the money and get formal first aid training. It will benefit you hugely in a tight spot, and, more importantly, will give you the confidence to act in the moment when everyone else is frozen to the spot.

However, what about the long term? Generally speaking, even a formally trained individual can only help a person to the extent of getting them safely to a hospital, but what if that's not possible, and you have to care for someone - or yourself - for an extended period?

Well, there are plenty of ways in which you can treat people medically just with things you can grow in your own garden. Many people dismiss natural remedies as hokum these days since the advent of Western medicine, however, much of it is corporatized and can easily be replicated by an intelligent individual who has learned the right tricks.

If you don't have a green thumb, don't worry. I'll be covering plant cultivation techniques in a later post. For now, let me outline some of the things that are valuable to grow in your garden:

Silverbeet (Swiss Chard) - Beta Vulgaris Flavescens

This plant is, essentially, a multivitamin. It is often called the healthiest plant on the planet, as it is a nutritional powerhouse. In each leaf you can find Vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Choline, Betaine, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium... The list goes on.
In addition to this, medicinally speaking, it has a long history of use as an anti-inflammatory drug, but most importantly in the treatment of tumors. While not as potent as proper chemotherapy, anything helps when it comes to a tumor!
Taste-wise, the leaves of this plant (you can leave the stem out as it has little value) are very similar to lettuce. Personally, I have replaced lettuce in my diet with silverbeet leaves as they're just fantastic.

Sweet Basil - Ocimum Basilicum

Sweet basil is incredibly easy to grow, and it grows HUGE if you let it. And DO let it, as it is amazing. Not only does it smell fantastic in your garden, it is a powerhouse of nutrition and has some great medicinal properties.
First of all, they're a hugely powerful flavour enhancer and spice, both fresh and dried (and they dry easily which is great for storage) and, as such, are a great way to make food palatable when you're roughing it.
The leaves are so aromatic when broken that they also make a really great air freshener and odour-beater.
Medicinally speaking, they have great digestive properties, doing everything from easing flatulence to helping restore normal bowel function. The leaves and flowers also can be used in teas to help ease colds and fevers, and in a poultice can ease insect and even snake bites, as well as relieve skin problems, as they have a distinct cooling effect.
Extracts from Sweet Basil have also long been used in some cultures to flush out internal parasites and bad bacteria from the system, and it has even been used, quite effectively, as an antidepressant in some cultures! Its natural perfume makes you get hungry and is a great way to ease nausea and get people to eat again when they're sick and need nutrients.
It grows almost like a weed and the wood of its stems make for really great kindling once dried. It is, however, a fairly thirsty plant and needs a fair amount of water to stay healthy, but it can go into a hibernation of sorts during dry seasons.

Self-Heal - Prunella Vulgaris

This little beauty is a great herb to have in your garden. Not only is it a nutritional powerhouse, virtually every part of the plant is antibiotic. You can make teas with it or use it in poultices to help with infections or for cleaning open wounds. You can make a mouthwash from an infusion of the entire plant which will alleviate a sore throat, thrush or gum infections, and teas made from it can even aid in the treatment of diarrhea and even internal bleeding!

Garlic - Allium Sativum

Everyone knows about garlic. While it's a pain to grow, once you've got a good sized crop going, it pretty much looks after itself. Garlic can be used orally to relieve earache, pneumonia, infection, colds, even the black plague. Used in a poultice (which I'll cover in a future article) it can aid in the cleaning of open wounds and infected sites.

Echinacea - Angustifolia

The medicinal effects of Echinacea have long been debated with regards to its infection fighting capacity and immuno-boosting properties, but for many centuries many cultures have regularly used it. It also can be used in a poultice to help clean and disinfect open wounds, and also be used to treat dipthera, cellulitis, blood poisoning and colds, and also works as quite a good antibacterial.

Pau D'Arco - Tabebuia

Pau D'Arco has a very long history in Spain of treating bacterial infections, viruses, fungal infections and also has a history of use to treat active cancer. If you have plans to keep bees, they LOVE the flowers of this plant, and make great honey fom it. Definitely one to have in your garden if your climate supports it.

Aloe Vera - Aloe Perfoliata

Another plant that most people know about. This plant is EXTREMELY easy to grow, and hardy. It doesn't need much treatment, needs no fertilizer and very little water, being a succulent. Its leaves are filled with a juice that can be used as a topical treatment for burns and dermatitis. When soaked in water, the leaves will produce a tonic that can be used a system cleanser and for the treatment of many forms and symptoms of gastroenteritis, and is pretty healthy to have on a daily basis anyway, as it also provides quite a bit of nutrition and can even act as a natural energy drink to some extent. The juice inside the leaves of this plant work excellently as a replacement for toothpaste in a survival situation, and also works as a brilliant hair conditioner. Given how easy it is to grow, I reckon that no-one has an excuse not to grow this plant!

Manuka Honey

If you don't keep your own bees then this is a great one to stock up on. One good thing about honey that few people know about is that it is the only food on the planet that does not spoil. It never goes off, never expires. There have been pots of honey unearthed from ancient Egyptian tombs that are still perfectly good to eat. Not only is honey fantastically good for you, but it's also a great source of nutrition. When mixed into hot water it can help digestive distress. It can be used to help beat a cold, can be used to make bad tasting things delicious, and, most importantly, will help hold a poultice together while adding to the infection and bacteria fighting properties of whatever you've mixed into it.
There are many varieties of honey, but of all of them, Manuka honey is by far the most potent medicinally speaking. It is cultivated in Australia and New Zealand, but can be found worldwide. Since it is relatively cheap and never spoils, it's worth keeping a stockpile of it as you don't need much at a time. This stuff is so potent that it can even kill off flesh-eating bacteria and help with necrosis! Seriously, keep a bucket of the stuff in an airtight container at home. You'll thank me later!

So that's all for now. As for putting the above things for use, I'll do up a separate article for that later. As for growing this stuff, if you're not familiar with gardening techniques, I'll do an article for that, too. In the meantime, do a bit of further research and you can have a pharmacy in your own back yard!

- CumQuaT

1 comment:

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