The Aromatherapy Home Medicine Chest – Part I: The Essential Oils

Here we will have a brief look at ten essential oils considered by some to comprise the ‘basic home care kit’. While by no means exhaustive, this list will go a long way to providing effective (and often pleasant!) treatments for you and your family for things like cuts and scrapes, sunburn, digestive troubles, stress related conditions and more. In the second article, we will cover specific applications and uses of each oil.

Oil #1: Lavender

Lavender has often been called the ‘medicine chest in a bottle’ for its broad range of applications. Every home should keep Lavender on hand, even if no other oil is used, as it is so very effective on burns. It’s anti-inflammatory action is responsible for the beginnings of modern aromatherapy, as Dr. Jean Valnet discovered Lavender’s healing properties after being burned in a laboratory accident. Lavender is considered to speed wound healing and reduce scarring. The oil is also pleasantly calming, and can be used to reduce stress in a variety of situations – a commonly used technique is to apply Lavender oil ‘neat’ (undiluted) to the soles of the feet of patients recovering from almost any ailment.

Oil #2: Tea Tree

When first examined for it’s antiseptic properties, Tea Tree essential oil was found to be 100 times more powerful than carbolic acid – the medical standard at the time. Tea tree has an extremely broad range of antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties that have been confirmed by modern scientific research. Often used topically on small wounds, Tea Tree is also commonly found in oral hygiene preparations, and can also be effectively employed for Candida, athlete’s foot and acne, among other things.

Oil #3: Peppermint

An excellent digestive tonic, Peppermint essential oil can sooth many stomach complaints. For the traveler, it’s effectiveness on calming motion sickness can be of great help. Further, at least eight controlled studies have shown Peppermint oil to be effective in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a painful condition of the intestines. Beyond it’s support of the digestive system, Peppermint is delightfully stimulating to the mind, brightening and sharpening mental focus. Finally, Peppermint is considered by some to be a more effective insect repellent than citronella when used on the body (rather than in the surrounding air).

Oil #4: Chamomile

Ah, the great tension reliever, Chamomile oil. This extremely gentle essential oil is useful for a wide variety of nervous conditions, and is often indicated for cases of stress in children (including teething and general ‘crankiness’). Rubbing into the solar plexus is a commonly used application if that is where one tends to ‘hold tension’. Chamomile essential oil is available in to varieties, German or Blue Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. The Roman variety is most often used for stress relief, whereas the German variety has the added bonus of being an extremely effective anti-inflammatory.

Oil #5: Eucalyptus

Another essential oil with a broad range of properties, Eucalyptus is most often used for respiratory conditions, being useful in clearing congestion with coughs and colds. However, it’s effects are certainly not limited to the airways – because of it’s broad range of effects, it has been called the aromatherapists ‘designer oil’. Eucalyptus oil can cool the body in Summer (or due to fever – use in a compress), and support the immune system in Winter. Diffusing Eucalyptus oil can kill most staphylococcus bacteria, again being supportive of bronchial infections. It is considered equally effective in cases of cystitis, candida, and sunburn, to name a few, as well as being an insect repellent.

Oil #6: Geranium

Geranium (sometimes known as ‘Geranium Rose’) works wonderfully on both physiological and psychological levels. It’s floral aroma is brightening and uplifting, while also working as a sedative. Malte Hozzel has made this statement regarding this oil: “Geranium’s vital, sensual presence is not subtle, but direct & unavoidable, making it one of the oils of choice for aphrodisiac qualities. (Geranium Essential Oil) inspires natural beauty & enjoyment, uplifts instantly & “tonifies” the mind & intellect in a powerful, nearly demanding attitude. Mobilizing hidden creative & emotional reserves, helping us to rise to our own earthly & spiritual identify. A fiery beauty for the spells of all worlds.” Particularly noted for it’s effect on female physiologic conditions, Geranium oil can be effective for menopausal problems, uterine and breast complaints.

Oil #7: Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil is an effective physical and mental stimulant, whether used in a diffuser or in a morning bath. It’s slightly spicy, rather than floral aroma, has a warming effect particularly useful for arthritic joints and other muscular complaints. It also has a long history of treatment for colds and flu – Rosemary was a component of ‘Four Thieves Vinegar’, which robbers rubbed upon their bodies to prevent infection when up to no good during the plague years of the middle ages. Also, Rosemary is the essential oil most often associated with improving hair growth in cases of Alopecia.

Oil #8: Thyme

Thyme oil is a powerful antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic and diuretic, though it should be employed with great care. There are many types of Thyme oil available, but only the ‘linalol’ chemotype is appropriate for use with children; all varieties should be diluted prior to topical application. Given the precautions, Thyme can be a first line of defense in cases of flu, being used in a room diffuser. It also supports elimination of toxic wastes from the body (particularly noted for excessive uric acid), and it’s warming quality can eliminate mucous and phlegm. It’s application for the digestive system is that of a powerful anti-parasitic, and for the muscular system, it can be helpful for rheumatic aches and pains. Thyme oil may also be supportive in cases of hair loss.

Oil #9: Lemon

A recent study on test-taking college students showed the diffusion of Lemon oil into a room improved test scores more than any other oil. In addition to it’s mind-brightening qualities, it can also disinfect room air and act as a natural deodorant. Lemon has been noted to support liver function, and is also commonly used to assist in weight loss and cellulite reduction. In blends, lemon adds a pleasant top note, and can create a synergistic effect with other oils. Finally, Lemon oil is commonly used as both a fragrance and flavoring agent.

Oil #10: Clove

The power of Clove essential oil is noted upon the first sensing of the aroma – it is quite strong, sharp and earthy. Clove oil has been found to be the strongest anti-oxidant of any essential oil, and is a component of ‘longevity’ formulas. It is also an extremely potent antibacterial, effective against a broader range of microbes than any other oil except perhaps Oregano – Clove oil has even been employed to sterilize surgical instruments. Clove also has analgesic properties, and can be used to temporarily reduce the pain of toothache. Clove oil (or ground cloves) is also a component of Dr. Huda Clark’s anti-parasite protocol, helping eliminate parasites from one’s digestive system. This is a very powerful oil which should be diluted to 1% or less for topical application.

So, there we have a possible ‘top ten’ essential oils for the home medicine chest, a selection with an extremely broad range of uses for common ailments seen in a family setting. It is important to note that all essential oils are powerful, and they should be treated with caution and respect. Always refer to a trusted source before making specific applications of any oil, as many can be irritating or possibly toxic if used incorrectly.

What’s in Nature’s Medicine Chest for Horse Allergies and Hayfever?

Does your horse suffer from allergies and hayfever like symptoms? Spring and summer can certainly be the time of year when such unpleasant problems can make themselves known. Just like humans, horses can suffer the horrible effects of hayfever but luckily there are some wonderful herbs available to ease the discomfort.

Hayfever in horses can often manifest as a recurrent cold like symptom with coughing and streaming eyes. It can be like a constant recurrent cold which your horse never seems to fully recover from. The lungs can become inflamed and your horse can be more susceptible to infections. Head shaking is another possible symptom. He may be tired and lethargic and generally seem quite miserable.

There are different causes to allergic respiratory problems. There are molds, spores and weeds which can be found in hay or even in the pastures during spring and summer. The body can become sensitive to these elements and cause an allergic reaction. When feeding hay it is wise to wet the hay so you are decreasing the dust element.

Your vet will be able to possibly find the cause using a procedure that looks at the fluid and cells in the horse’s lungs to see how bad the allergy is. There is also a blood test that can determine what ‘in fact your horse is allergic to which in turn will make it a lot easier to treat.

From a herbal perspective the horses immune system is usually seen to be quite low. You therefore can start treatment by boosting the immune system early in the season. Herbs such as Echinacea, Garlic. Rosehips and Kelp are all great general immune boosting herbs. Echinacea and Garlic will also be helpful for fighting any infection that may be developing.

Natural expectorants can help soothe a cough and clear the passages, making breathing easier for your horse.. Herbs such as Mullein and Marshmallow are 2 such herbs. Vitamins found in herbs can help restore damaged tissues and build up the immune system also.

Natural antihistamines have an important part to play when it comes to allergies. Horseradish is a lovely effective herb and can help reduce streaming eyes and some of the uncomfortable symptoms. Also calming down an over reactive nervous system with herbs such as chamomile is a great way to go.

Medicine Chest In A Bottle

Tea tree oil is steam distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. This indigenous tree is found only in tropical northeastern New South Wales Australia. The name tea tree was given by Captain Cook during his exploration of Australia during the 1700’s. After running out of tea on his voyage, he found a fragrant plant and brewed the leaves into a spicy beverage and named these plants, tea trees.

Tea tree oil is both powerful and safe. It is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The Aboriginal people of New South Wales have used the tea tree plant medicinally for thousands of years. In the early 1900’s, tea tree oil was readily used by dentist and surgeons as a disinfectant and for incisions. Dentist also used tea tree oil for gingivitis, bleeding gums and infection. During World War II, tea tree oil was included in the first aid kits of medics. It was poured on wounds to prevent infection. It was also used very successfully to heal wounds that were already infected. They were amazed to find that this powerful germicide dissolved pus without damaging the surrounding tissue.

The beauty of tea tree oil is that it penetrates deep into the skin tissues. Acne and nail fungus are popular conditions many use tea tree oil for. It is effective and gentle on the skin. There are numerous other conditions that tea tree oil is effective on such as, arthritis, athletes foot, bites and stings, candida albicans, cold sores, dandruff, eczema, head lice, hemorrhoids, muscle aches, psoriasis, rashes, sinus congestion, warts, wounds and more. Don’t forget about your pets. It’s great for removing fleas, ticks, lice and as an antiseptic.

Tea tree oil should only be used externally, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Make sure to choose high quality tea tree oil that is 100% pure. Tea tree oil can be found in body lotions, foot creams, deodorants, dandruff shampoos, toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, healing saves and even dental floss.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you would like to see more of this article, or some of the many other articles I have written, you will find them on my web page below in the resource link below.

Many of the articles I have on my site pertain to natural remedies that I use personally . One of the articles is about Emer’gen-C. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t use this product at least once.

Emer’gen-C is by far the best I have ever found in replenishing electrolytes. It is nutrient rich with 1000 mg’s of Vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B12, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, chromium and a touch of sodium. The vitamin C is buffered with the minerals so it prevents stomach distress. To read more of this article please visit my site.

This article provided by Michael Comeau and is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to diagnose treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your doctor when seeking medical advice.

Let Aloeride Dominate Your Medicine Chest

Why don’t you take a moment to go and check your medicine chest? I’ll be willing to wait a few minutes.

Now tell me: What did you find in there? Old prescription bottles, half full bottles of medication you did take a year ago? Did you find jars of creams, bottles of lotion, teeth whitener strips? Did you find any medication in there you sometimes need to take in order to fight heart burn? And heaven knows what else you found hiding on those shelves.

In my opinion it’s time you clean out your medicine chest. Throw out all the jars, bottles and pills that contain chemicals. By no means am I telling you to throw out anything the doctor prescribed for you. Never stop taking any prescribed medication without informing or asking your physician. Just make sure you also put Aloeride in your medicine chest. You may ask: “And why should I do that?”

Aloeride is the superior Aloe Vera product on the market right now.

For centuries Aloe Vera has been known for its medicinal properties. In ancient times Kings and other persons of royal descent would not leave their palaces, homes, or tents without it. In those days Aloe Vera was mainly used for sunburns, first degree burns and cuts and scrapes. It was also often rubbed onto the skin to make it look smooth and healthy.

Although many people think of Aloe Vera as a cactus the plant in reality belongs to the Lily Family. It originated in the Eastern and Southern regions of Africa, but is now cultivated world wide.

Many companies have developed Aloe Vera products. Some of these companies are good and others not so good. They manufacture creams and lotions containing Aloe Vera. Unfortunately, preservatives and additives are used and the product loses much of its potency. Aloe Vera really is at its best when taken internally. It’s a very tedious task to extract the juices of the Aloe Vera plant properly, without disturbing the nutrients in the juice.

Most companies developing Aloe Vera products have developed the product in liquid form. The problem with that is that Aloe Vera juice has a very unpleasant taste. So, in order to try to improve the taste, companies have added fruit juices to the mix. Not only does this process dilute the Aloe Vera substance but it also puts additives, preservatives and other chemical properties into the mix. The end result is an inferior product.

This brings us to Aloeride. To produce Aloeride the sap is extracted from the plant so carefully that the nutrients stay pure and are unaltered. Aloeride comes in powder form and retains the potency of the nutrients from the original plant.

Independent Labs have done studies and found that the molecules in Aloeride achieve what research determined Aloe Vera should be able to achieve. The studies revealed that Aloeride is by far the superior Aloe Vera product. Doctors all over the world recommend it.

Aloeride is used for so many ailments that you hardly need any other products in your medicine chest. Aloeride is successfully used to treat eczema, psoriasis, acne, Gerd/Gord, colitis, stomach ulcers, IBS and IBD, also known as Chron’s disease. It positively affects digestive problems and also helps Diabetes patients.

The tiny capsules containing the powder are embedded in a foil strip. Every box has 2 foil strips in it, each containing 14 capsules. This makes it also easy to carry the product with you wherever you go.

Alternative Medicine For ADHD – Is Your Medicine Chest Locked?

Parents were shocked by a recent report which stated that a majority of teenagers engaged in dealing in ADHD drugs (such as Ritalin and Strattera and Vyvense) had gotten their supplies from the family medicine chests ! Parents are now becoming much more aware of alternative medicines for ADHD and know that there are alternatives out there which will not turn their children into drug users and ruin their childhood and adolescence.

Teacher Knows Best?
Many thousands of ADHD children are treated with powerful psychostimulant drugs. I read a recent blog post about a thirteen year old boy whose teacher insisted that he should be put on Ritalin. The parents’ doctor agreed to give him Ritalin but after some time noticed some strange side effects :- he was moody, ate paper and pencils and was generally displaying ‘psychotic episodes’. After a succession of ADHD drugs (including Paxil which has NOT been approved by the FDA for children under 18!), the parents decided to take him off all drugs. The school expelled him as they insisted that he should be on Ritalin. The good news is that the boy is now homeschooled, is off all ADHD drugs and is doing much better.

Behaviour Therapy
Behaviour therapy is sometimes considered for ADHD children. This functions by setting up a rewards/cancelling privileges for good and bad behaviour. Some of these procedures can range from simple checking off lists to software programs which records scores and everything else!

TV Parenting?
Active parenting is another way to approach ADHD. This can range from clear scheduling, setting of chores, listening skills and a whole range of techniques which ensures that the child’s behaviour is monitored and s/he is surrounded by love and attention and is not left alone with a TV or PC.

Cognitive Therapy
Some parents also consider cognitive therapy which is basically ‘how you think is how you feel’. Let me give you an example. If the child is encouraged, he will build his self esteem, improve his self confidence which in turn will lead to optimism. The child’s positive thought patterns are influencing his behaviour which will invariably improve.

Herbal Medicine Chest in Your Backyard

What could be easier than growing an herb garden with no effort? Of course, you’ll have to harvest your weeds, but you would do that anyhow: it’s called weeding.

Spring is an especially fertile time for harvesting your weeds – roots and all – and turning them into medicines. Here then are some tips on how to find, harvest, prepare, and use a baker’s dozen (13) of common weeds that probably already grow around you.

To make your medicines you’ll need glass jars of various sizes with tight-fitting lids. And at least a pint each of apple cider vinegar (pasteurized), vodka (100 proof is best, but 80 proof will do), and pure olive oil (not extra virgin) or good quality animal fat such as lanolin, lard, or belly fat from a lamb or kid. You will also want a knife, a cutting board, and some rags to mop up spills.

In general, you will fill a jar (of any size) with coarsely-chopped fresh, but dry, plant material. (Do not wash any part of the plant except roots, if you are using them, and be sure to dry those well with a towel before putting them in your jar.) Then you will fill the jar with your menstruum, that is the vinegar, the oil, or the alcohol. Label well and allow to stand at room temperature, out of the sunlight for at least six weeks before decanting and using. (See my book Healing Wise for more specific information on making preparations.)

A field guide is helpful for positively identifying your weeds. The one I like best is: A Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Common Weeds in Colour, complied by E. A. Upritchard. (Available from the New Zealand Weed And Pest Control Society, P.O. Box 1654, Palmerston North) This book even shows you how the weeds look when they are emerging.

Ready? OK! Let’s go outside with a plant id guide or experienced herbalist and see what we can find.

Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa pastoris) is an annual in the mustard family. Cut the top half of the plant when it has formed its little heart-shaped “purses” (seed pods) and make a tincture (with alcohol), which you can use to stop bleeding. Midwives and women who bleed heavily during their period praise its prompt effectiveness. Gypsies claim it works on the stomach and lungs as well. A dose is 1 dropperful (1ml); which may be repeated up to four times a day.

Cleavers (Gallium aparine) is a persistent, sticky plant which grows profusely in abandoned lots and the edges of cultivated land. The entire plant is used to strengthen lymphatic activity. I cut the top two-thirds of each plant while it is in flower (or setting seeds) and use alcohol to make a tincture which relieves tender, swollen breasts, PMS symptoms, and allergic reactions. A dose is 15-25 drops (.5 – 1 ml); repeated as needed.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) has many uses, including delicious salad greens. I cut the entire top of the plant and eat it or use alcohol to make a tincture, which dissolves cysts, tonifies the thyroid, and aids in weight loss. A dose is a dropperful (1 ml), up to three times a day.

Daisy (Bellis perennis) is a common perennial weed of lawns and open areas. Quite different from the native daisy (Lagenifera petiolata), the little English daisy is related to feverfew and has similar abilities. I use the leaves and flowers to make a tincture (with alcohol) or a medicinal vinegar which relieves headaches, muscle pain, and allergy symptoms. A dose is a dropperful of the tincture (1 ml), up to twice a day; or a tablespoon of the vinegar in the morning.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) is a persistent perennial of lawns and gardens and one of the best known medicinal herbs in the world. (The native dandelion of New Zealand – Taraxacum magellanicum – is medicinal too.) Those who love a pure green lawn curse the sunny yellow flowers of common dandelion. But those who are willing to see beauty anywhere (such as children and herbalists) treasure this weed. You can use any part of the dandelion – the root, the leaves, the flowers, even the flower stalk – to make a tincture or medicinal vinegar which strengthens the liver. A dose of 10-20 drops of the tincture (.5-1 ml) relieves gas, heartburn, and indigestion, as well as promoting healthy bowel movements. A tablespoon of the vinegar works well, too. More importantly, taken before meals, dandelion increases the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thus increasing bio-availability of many nutrients, especially calcium. The fresh or cooked green leaves are loaded with carotenes, those anti-cancer, anti-heart disease helpers. And the oil of the flowers is an important massage balm for maintaining healthy breasts. (There’s lots more information on dandelions in Healing Wise.)

Dock, also called yellow dock, curly dock, and broad dock is a perennial plant, which my Native American grandmothers use for “all women’s problems.” The Maori call it paewhenua or runa. It is another plant that disagrees with sheep, especially when the land is overgrazed. I dig the yellow roots of Rumex crispus or R. obtusifolius and tincture them in alcohol to use as an ally when the immune system or the liver needs help. A dose is 15-25 drops (.5-1 ml). I also harvest the leaves and/or seeds throughout the growing season and make a medicinal vinegar, taken a tablespoon at a time, which is used to increase blood-levels of iron, reduce menstrual flooding and cramping, and balance hormone levels. If the chopped roots are soaked in oil for six weeks, the resulting ointment is beneficial for keeping the breasts healthy.

Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) and Ragwort (Senecio jacobea) are hardy perennials that have a reputation for poisoning livestock, like their cousin tansy. Although not good for sheep, these two Senecios are some of the world’s most ancient healing plants, having been found in a grave 60,000 years old. You can use the flowering tops and leaves with your alcohol to make a tincture which acts slowly to tonify the reproductive organs, ease PMS, and stop severe menstrual pain. A dose is 5-10 drops (.2-.5 ml) per day, used only once a day, but for at least 3 months. (A larger dose is used to speed up labor.)

Mallows (Malva neglecta, M. parviflora, M. sylvestres) grow well in neglected gardens and are surprisingly deep-rooted. The flowers, leaves, stalks, seeds, and roots are rich in sticky mucilage which is best extracted by soaking the fresh plant in cold water overnight or longer or by making a medicinal vinegar. The starch is extraordinarily soothing internally (easing sore throats, upset tummies, heart burn, irritable bowel, colic, constipation, and food poisoning) and externally (relieving bug bites, burns, sprains, and sore eyes). The leaves, flowers, and bark (especially) of the native Hohere (Hoheria populnea) are used in exactly the same way by Maori herbalists.

Plantain, also called ribwort, pig’s ear, and the bandaid plant is a common weed of lawns, driveways, parks, and playgrounds. Identify it by the five parallel veins running the length of each leaf. You may find broad leaf plantain (Plantago major) with wide leaves, or narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata) with lance-thin leaves. Either can be used to make a healing poultice or a soothing oil widely regarded as one of the best wound healers around. Not only does plantain increase the speed of healing, it also relieves pain, stops bleeding, draws out foreign matter, stops itching, prevents and stops allergic reactions from bee stings, kills bacteria, and reduces swelling.

Try a poultice or a generous application of plantain oil or ointment (made by thickening the oil with beeswax) on sprains, cuts, insect bites, rashes, chafed skin, boils, bruises, chapped and cracked lips, rough or sore hands, baby’s diaper area, and burns.

To make a fresh plantain poultice: Pick a leaf, chew it well and put it on the boo-boo. “Like magic” the pain, itching, and swelling disappear, fast! (Yes, you can dry plantain leaves and carry them in your first aid kit. Chew like you would fresh leaves.)

To make plantain ointment: Pick large fresh plantain leaves. Chop coarsely. Fill a clean, dry, glass jar with the chopped leaves. Pour pure olive oil into the leaves, poking about with a chopstick until the jar is completely full of oil and all air bubbles are released. Cap well. Place jar in a small bowl to collect any overflow. Wait six weeks. Then strain oil out of the plant material, squeezing well. Measure the oil. Heat it gently, adding one tablespoon of grated beeswax for every liquid ounce of oil. Pour into jars and allow to cool.

St. Joan’s/John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) This beautiful perennial wildflower may be hated by sheep farmers but herbalists adore it. The flowering tops are harvested after they begin to bloom (traditionally on Solstice, June 21) and prepared with alcohol, and with oil, to make two of the most useful remedies in my first aid kit. Tincture of St. Joan’s wort not only lends one a sunny disposition, it reliably relieves muscle aches, is a powerful anti-viral, and is my first-choice treatment for those with shingles, sciatica, backpain, neuralgia, and headaches including migraines. The usual dose is 1 dropperful (1 ml) as frequently as needed. In extreme pain from a muscle spasm in my thigh, I used a dropperful every twenty minutes for two hours, or until the pain totally subsided. St. Joan’s wort oil stops cold sores in their tracks and can even relieve genital herpes symptoms. I use it as a sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, St. Joan’s wort does not cause sun sensitivity; it prevents it. It even prevents burns from radiation therapy. Eases sore muscles, too.

Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) This scentless perennial mint is one of the great unsung healers of the world. The leaves and flowers contain more antioxidants – which prevent cancer and heart disease, among other healthy traits – than any other plant tested. And as part of the mint family, self heal is imbued with lots of minerals, especially calcium, making it an especially important ally for pregnant, nursing, menopausal, and post-menopausal women. I put self heal leaves in salads in the spring and fall, make a medicinal vinegar with the flowers during the summer, and cook the flowering tops (fresh or dried) in winter soups.

Usnea (Usnea barbata) is that many-stranded grey lichen hanging out of the branches of your apple trees or the Monterey pines planted in the plantation over there or in almost any native tree in areas of the South Island Alps, where it is known as angiangi to the Maori. If in doubt of your identification: Pull a strand gently apart with your hands, looking for a white fiber inside the fuzzy grey-green outer coat. To prepare usnea, harvest at any time of the year, being careful not to take too much. Usnea grows slowly. Put your harvest in a cooking pan and just cover it with cold water. Boil for about 15-25 minutes, or until the water is orange and reduced by at least half. Pour usnea and water into a jar, filling it to the top with plant material. (Water should be no more than half of the jar.) Add the highest proof alcohol you can buy. After 6 weeks this tincture is ready to work for you as a superb antibacterial, countering infection anywhere in the body. A dose is a dropperful (1 ml) as frequently as every two hours in acute situations.

Yarrow (Achellia millefolium) This lovely perennial weed is grown in many herb gardens for it has a multitude of uses. Cut the flowering tops (use only white-flowering yarrow) and use your alcohol to make a strongly-scented tincture that you can take internally to prevent colds and the flu. (A dose is 10-20 drops, or up to 1 ml). I carry a little spray bottle of yarrow tincture with me when I’m outside and wet my skin every hour or so. A United States Army study showed yarrow tincture to be more effective than DEET at repelling ticks, mosquitoes, and sand flies. You can also make a healing ointment with yarrow flower tops and your oil or fat. Yarrow oil is antibacterial, pain-relieving, and incredibly helpful in healing all types of wounds.