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How to Harvest St. John’s Wort for Medicinal Tinctures August 12, 2017

ReadyNutriton Gals, this article is primarily for you, although Guys may be able to take a good amount from it as well.  Some of this information is specifically tailored toward women; however, parts of it are useful to consider for men and other family members, such as children and the elderly.  St. John’s Wort is an herb that many of you are familiar with and that I have written about in the past.  I’m focusing on it here, as it is really the season of the harvest for it and you should put it to good use.

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The Powerful Medicinal Effects of St. John’s Wort

St. John’s is in bloom, now, and vigorously.  The dried, above-ground parts are the ones that are used.  The flowers and fresh buds are the best parts for medicinal use.  It is a perennial plant and grows throughout most of the U.S.  Keep in mind that in some states, such as Montana, it is considered a “noxious weed,” and there is a monetary fine if you grow it/cultivate it even on your own property.

St. John’s is a wound-healer with antimicrobial effects, the latter against organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus.  St. John’s is also one of the herbs that are highly effective in combatting hemorrhagic flu viruses, such as Bird Flu (Avian Flu) and Ebola virus.  It relieves a host of different symptoms and problems that women may find useful. It also aids in dulling nerve pain and pain caused by arthritis.

Depression and anxiety, so common during menopause have been found to be reduced with the use of St. John’s Wort.  It also reduces the symptoms found with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) in a study performed with the administration of just one 300 mg (milligram) tablet per day with standardized 900 mcg (micrograms) of Hypericum, the chemical lending its name to the scientific name for St. John’s Wort, or Hypericum perforatum.  The herb has anti-inflammatory effects as well as being useful as a sleep aid.

When used topically, as in an essential oil, it assists in minimizing muscular pain and swelling, helps to heal minor burns, bruising and is great in treating wounds that have punctures in the skin.

How to Make a Tincture of St. John’s Wort

I have long since recommended it in your “kit” as an antimicrobial and an anti-influenza aid.  The best thing to do is tincture it. Harvest St. John’s Wort when flowers are first opening. This is when they are at the medicinal prime. Keep in mind that it is best to cut off any old blooms when making a tincture because of alkaloids in the spent blooms.

Use a solution of at least 52% ethyl alcohol.  Grain alcohol is the best for this.

St. John’s Wort Tincture

  1. After removing the flower heads and buds (use latex gloves, or your hands and fingertips will be dyed crimson), chop them up finely and place them in a jar.  Cut plant from the top of the plant to the midsection and fill your water-alcohol solution up to cover the chopped-up flowers. Use 1 part herb to 2 parts menstruum (alcohol).
  2. Shake this vigorously 100 times, two times per day, and store it in a dark place.  Do this for two weeks.
  3. When the time has elapsed, strain out the liquid from your chopped-up plants: it will yield a beautiful tincture that is blood-crimson in color.
  4. Store in a brown bottle and label it.

You will have to determine the concentration from the strength of the mixture, and the volume you accrue.  Generally, your mixture will result in about a 250-350 mg/ml dosage of St. John’s for your tincture.

To use St. John’s Wort internally, add 1 dropper full of tincture with 4 ounces of water for up to three times a day.

You can also make an essential oil with St. John’s Wort. Simply add fresh cut St. John’s Wort to a paper bag and allow to wilt for 24 hours. Then, chop the herb as discussed above and add to a jar filled with 2 ounces of olive oil. Submerge the herb into the oil using a spoon. Allow mixture to sit for two weeks and strain plant material oil of oil. Note: Do not squeeze out the oils as this could add moisture to the essential and could diminish the shelf life of the oil.

Now is the time of the year that it is heavily in flower, and ripe to harvest.  You can also hang it in bunches and dry it out, but tincturing is the most effective method.  Remember to consult with your happy, friendly, family physician prior to using any information in this article, or the one I penned previously.  Happy gathering, and enjoy the summer sun and a harvest of St. John’s in the great outdoors!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 12th, 2017
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Using Red Clover in Tinctures and Teas for Women’s Health July 8, 2017

ReadyNutrition Gals (that’s right, Gals, just for you!), here we are going to focus on an herbal supplement that is seasonally dependent…. that’s right, you guessed it…and falling due to harvest at this time. The herb we’re talking about here is Red Clover, with the scientific name of Trifolium pretense. From a naturopathic perspective, the flower buds, dried or fresh are used to make the herbal preparation.

Red Clover to Naturally Help Women’s Needs

Ladies, this drug is important primarily for you. The Isoflavones in Red Clover have a wide variety of effects that you need to consider. In women suffering from menopause, studies have shown that these isoflavones from Red Clover improve arterial functions termed arterial compliance. Isoflavones also have a protective effect on the lumbar spine of women.

Another component of the flower is Biochanin A, and this is a compound that is found within Red Clover extract that has a chemoprotective effect and inhibits carcinogen formation in cells. Carcinogens are cancer-causing substances. It also has estrogenic effects. The extract decreased bone mineral density loss and losses in the mineral content in the lumbar spine for women who undertook a 12-month treatment.
Women who took Red Clover extract who suffered from hot flashes in post menopause had those flashes reduced by 44%. This was determined after a 12-week study. In addition, Red Clover can also be used for respiratory conditions and coughs, particularly pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

The extract comes usually as pills, capsules, or a liquid extract, the latter being the most commonly found form. The reason it is a summer-dependent drug is that after the summer ends, Red Clover should not be harvested, as it becomes toxic around late August to early September, depending on your geographic locale of residence. Contraindications include if you are using anticoagulants (that prevent blood clotting), contraceptives, estrogen/progesterone therapy (due to the potential for potentiation, or an increase in the effects of the already prescribed drugs), and Tamoxifen (Tamiflu), as it will decrease the effectiveness.

How to Use Red Clover

It can also be prepared at home as a tincture in a 1:1 liquid extract utilizing 25% ethanol (also known as grain alcohol).


For Red Clover Tincture:

  1. Pick blossoms in the early morning.
  2. Wash and place blossoms into a jar and pour alcohol over the blossoms, ensuring all are covered.
  3. Seal your jar and place your clover tincture in a dark cabinet.
  4. Store tincture in dark place and allow to sit for 6 weeks and shake 2 times a day.

The daily dosage is 4 grams of the extract, usually taken as an infusion (a tea) in three divided dosages. Sometimes those using Red Clover will have an allergic reaction to it. Consult with your family doctor prior to utilizing it as described within this article.


Red Clover Tea:

  • Add the dry red clover flowers into the hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Drink 3 times a day.

When harvesting it on your own for a tincture, remember to leave a good amount of the plants intact in order that they may reproduce more for the next season. A good rule of thumb is to leave 30% to grow in nature. When you wildcraft your herbs, it is best to place them (the flower heads in this case) in paper bags, so as not to have any leeching from plastic sandwich/Ziploc bags. This will help to wilt the flowers to release their curative properties. In this case, sandwich bags used to “brown bag” lunches for school (do they even do that anymore?) are more than adequate.

So, ladies, try to incorporate Red Clover into your supplies for those conditions outlined. Some things are just made with women in mind, and it appears that the Red Clover was designed in such a way. We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and experiences with this herb. Keep fighting that good fight! JJ out!

 

Please note that red clover is not recommended for use by pregnant women, or those struggling with estrogen dominance conditions. As well, those with breast or ovarian cancer and liver problems should not use this herb. Not for use with contraceptive pills or for those on blood thinners.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 8th, 2017
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20 Medicinal Herbs That I Have in My Prepper Garden May 27, 2017


“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” –  Hippocrates


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So, many of you may be asking my I want to go to all the trouble and grow herbs and roots for natural healing. You can read about seven reasons why I started a medicinal garden, but in short, I wanted options at my disposal. From a preparedness standpoint, I know that infection and illness could be very prevalent in the aftermath of a disaster and accessibility to medical care will be difficult to find. As well, with the massive over-prescribing of antibiotics in our modern healthcare industry, today’s crop of antibiotics has become less effective. Let’s be honest, bacteria has a 4 billion year head start in the evolution and has been adapting to environmental changes since the beginning of time. The time will come when antibiotics will be moot in terms of its effectiveness.

I love natural remedies solely for their simplicity and worry-free use. It is difficult to overuse natural remedies, but more importantly, they have been used for centuries. While researching which medicinal plants I wanted in my garden, I made sure that many of them were hardy perennials that could perform multiple medicinal duties. I don’t have a lot of space where my herbal garden is, so the plants had to be exceptional. These 20 herbs made the cut and I couldn’t be more pleased with my choices.

Ready Nutrition writer and herbalist, Jeremiah Johnson has written extensively on how to cultivate a medicinal garden to use in a long-term emergency. His favorite medicinals are what he refers to as the 3 G’s: garlic, ginger, and ginseng. You can read his article on the subject.

  1. Angelica – This herb is one that everyone should be growing in their garden. It’s great for children, adults and the elderly. It has antibacterial properties, astringent properties can be used externally as a medicinal gargle for sore throats and mouths and as a medicinal poultice for broken bones, swellings, itching, and rheumatism. It is also known for strengthening the heart. A powder made from the dried root can be used for athlete’s foot, as well as an insecticide and pesticide.
  2. Calendula – Also known as pot marigold, this pretty yellow flower is believed to be one of “the greatest healing agent for all wounds.” It naturally cleanses wounds and promotes rapid healing. It slows bleeding in some cases. Marigold was also used as a toothache and headache preventative in the 1500’s in England. It is an excellent herb to have on hand for skin issues such as eczema, skin inflammations, soothing varicose veins, soothing chapped hands and can be used to reduce body scars. Commonly made into oil by soaking fresh or slightly dried plant parts in one’s choice of base oil, it can be applied topically to relieve all sorts of fungal infections.
  3. Catnip – Your cats may be drawn to this herb, but it has plenty of medicinal uses and a wonderful herb to have in the herbal medical cabinet. Most notably, it has sedative effects and helps calm the nervous system. Making a tea from this herb before bedtime will help settle the body. It also has anti-fever properties, as well as antibacterial effects. The compound can also be used to repel common insect pests such as mosquitoes and cockroaches. When nepetalactone is distilled, it is more effective than DEET than repelling mosquitoes. As a matter of fact, it is up to 10 times more effective in accordance with laboratory experiments conducted by isolating the compound via steam distillation. Read more about using this herb here.
  4. Chamomile – This herb is also most recognized by its sedative effects, but has more to offer than just that.  The flowers can be strained out of the tea and placed into a warm compress to use on ear infections. Tea compresses and tea rinses can be used to gently treat eye problems. It also has the power to assist in comforting the effects of indigestion, morning sickness, nervousness, neuralgia, painful periods and assists as a sleeping agent.
  5. Comfrey – I just added comfrey to my garden this year. Not only does it have medicinal values, but can be used as a nutritional supplement to livestock and used as a fertilizer because it is high in potassium. To make a liquid fertilizer: chop off the top of a comfrey plant and throw the leaves in a bucket. Cover with water and let them rot into green liquid… then water whatever needs a boost. Medicinally speaking, comfrey is also known as “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs.” It helps heal wounds and mend broken bones, and even helps to bring fevers down. Nutritionally, it is a good source of vitamin C and calcium.
  6. Echinacea – Although the root is most widely used for its medicinal purposes, truly the entire plant can be used. This herb strengthens the body’s ability to resist infection and stimulates the production of white blood cells.  Echinacea stimulates the body in non-chronic illness such as colds, bronchitis, sore throats, abscesses and for recurrences of yeast infections. Echinacea can also be taken as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. A gargling solution can also be made with the tea to use with a sore throat.  For cases that are not strep throat related: add 10-16 drops of water or to sage or ginger tea and use as a gargling agent.  If a person is fighting strep throat: every two hours, gargle with the above-mentioned teas to which add a drop full of echinacea extract.
  7. Garlic – This is simply a must-have in your garden. Its medicinal uses are too extensive to list but can be read in more detail here. In short, it is effective in preventing the common cold, reducing recovery time, and reducing symptom duration. An infused oil can be made from garlic to treat wounds and ear infections. And, I need not mention all of its culinary uses.
  8. Ginger – the medicinal value of this root is amazing. In fact, recent studies have revealed that ginger may be stronger than chemo in fighting cancer. It’s truly a remarkable medicinal to have in your garden. Here are 8 more benefits of ginger.
  9. Ginseng – This herbal powerhouse assists with nervous disorders, helps alleviate symptoms related to cardiovascular and blood disorders, is beneficial for diabetics as it reduces the amount of blood sugar in patients with mild to moderate diabetes, inhibits the formation of tumors and helps as a cancer preventative, and helps to minimize the effects of X-rays and radiation produced by radiation therapy as well as negative effects caused by free radicals are minimized and reduced by the adaptogens in ginseng.  Read more here.
  10. Lemon balm – This is one of my favorite herbs. This herb is great for adding a light lemon flavor to dishes, but I love it for its sedative qualities. If you have problems sleeping, this is a great herb to take before bedtime. The aromatic properties help with alertness and can sharpen memory. It is also a good herb for diabetics to use as it helps regulate blood sugar. The antioxidant properties present in this herb are also beneficial.
  11. Lavender – This is a great multipurpose herb to grow. Not only is it a calming aromatic, but it has antiseptic properties, assists with burns, can be used as a stress reliever, good for depression, aids skin health and beauty. Here are 15 more ways to use lavender medicinally.
  12. Peppermint – This aromatic herb is great for digestive aid, and dispels headaches. Peppermint tea will also assist in overcoming muscle spasms and cramps. Due to the camphor present in peppermint, if peppermint is applied to a wet washcloth it can externally relieve pain. This herb also hep clear sinus infections.  Apply a large, warm peppermint pack to the sinus area.
  13. Onion – Onions might not be at the top of your healthy snack list, but you should make efforts to include them regularly in your diet nonetheless. They help to fight insulin resistance, have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial uses, and are powerful antioxidants. They even help to relieve congestions. A time-tested effective cough syrup can also be made from onions. Read more about onion’s health benefits.
  14. Oregano – This little herb works as a savory culinary herb and a potent medicinal herb, as well. Most importantly, it is a powerful antibiotic and has been proven to be more effective in neutralizing germs than some chemical antibiotics. It has been effective against germs like Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Yersinia enterocolitis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. An extract of its essential oil can be made to treat fungal infections and skin issues like dandruff, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Carvacrol and thymol, the powerful enzymes in oregano, help to combat fungal and bacterial infections.
  15. Rose hip – Not only are roses beautiful, but they can assist in boosting our immunity, as well. Rose hips are high in vitamin C and if rosehips are made into a syrup it also”provides a welcome boost of vitamin D, something that should be welcomed when our exposure to sunlight is minimal and our vitamin D manufacture is at its lowest. Vitamin A is naturally present in the rose hips so pregnant women should seek medical advice before taking rose hip syrup.”
  16. Rosemary – This highly aromatic plant is used today in any number of organic products to help alleviate bone and muscle soreness, reduce anxiety and promote well-being.
  17. Sage – It’s anti-inflammatory properties also make this an effective herb. This herb can also be used in aiding anxiety, nervous disorders, used as an astringent. There are aromatherapy qualities to this herb and have been known to lift depression. Rubbing the sage leaves across the teeth can be used to effectively clean the teeth and assist in bad breath. American Indians used this herb as a fever reducer.  Sage has antiseptic properties and the leaves can be chewed to cleanse the system of impurities or made into a tea. Sage has also been known to assist with hot flashes associated with menopause. If a person has stomach troubles, cold sage tea can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Sage can also be used to treat the flu.  Using the tea before and during any type of epidemics and to hasten healing during a flu attack. Sage leaves can be wrapped around a wound like a band-aid to help heal the wound faster.
  18. Thyme – I have multiple thyme plants in my garden and allow them to creep over rocks in my garden. Thyme can help alleviate gastric problems such as wind, colic and bad breath, helps with bronchial disorders, shortness of breath and symptoms related to colds. If it also effective in fighting sore throat and post nasal drip. If a person has whooping cough, make a syrup of thyme tea and honey to help treat the disease. Thyme can also be used to treat a fever.
  19. Toothache plant – My medicinal garden wouldn’t be complete without some dental aides too. The toothache plant has a powerful numbing effect and works great for inflammation of the gums, lips, and mucous membranes of the mouth, and it can be used as toothpaste. It can also be used to alleviate those with asthma and allergies. It also is a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. The toothache plant also contains B-Sitostenone it also lowers blood sugar. Other notable qualities are that it lowers blood pressure, chronic fatigue and is a natural pain reliever to all parts of the body.
  20. Yarrow – This plant was a favorite among Native American tribes who would use it to control bleeding, heal wounds and infections. It can also be effective in cleaning wounds and to control bleeding caused by puncture wounds, lacerations, and abrasions.

Don’t feel handcuffed to using only these herbs in your garden. Think about what future health issues you may have to deal with and plan(t) for them. Even tobacco has its medicinal uses. There are also medicinal weeds that you may want to locate in your yard and cultivate for the future.

Once you get your medicinal garden going, start experimenting with making your own medicinal pantry. Here are some ideas:

In the future, I plan on adding mullein, plantain, marshmallow and some cayenne peppers. What medicinals are you growing in your garden? Share them in the comments section to help our community!

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 27th, 2017
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