Healing Medicine of the Rose – Physical, Spiritual, Emotional

 

Healing Medicine of the Rose

Roses as Food and Medicine for Physical, Spiritual, Emotional Healing

 

Exquisite, graceful, alluring, the rose is associated with sophisticated beauty and love. But the rose is much more than an ornamental flower adored for its heady aroma. The healing medicine of the rose is extraordinary and under-appreciated, and using roses as food and medicine can offer us deep physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. There are many simple ways to enjoy the extraordinary healing medicine of the rose, including making your own rose elixir (combing rose, honey, and brandy), rose honey, rose infused vinegar, rose tinctures, and rose water. Let me share the medicinal benefits of the rose, and six simple recipes for creating your own rose medicine.

 

Exquisite, graceful, alluring, the rose is associated with sophisticated beauty and love. But the rose is much more than an ornamental flower adored for its heady aroma. The healing medicine of the rose is extraordinary and under-appreciated, and using roses as food and medicine can offer us deep physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. There are many simple ways to enjoy the extraordinary healing medicine of the rose, including making your own rose elixir (combing rose, honey, and brandy), rose infused vinegar, rose honey, rose water, and rose tinctures.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Seeking Joyful Simplicity. ~ Michelle

History and Mythology of the Rose

Throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, the significance of the rose is celebrated in art, literature, poetry, and mythology. In addition to their beauty, roses were grown in medieval gardens for use as food, medicine, and making perfumes.

Vishnu, the supreme God of India, created his bride Lakshmi using roses.

Grieving the death of her lover Adonis, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, created the red rose when her tears fell.

In Roman myth, Flora, the Goddess of spring and flowers, discovered the body of her dearest nymph and begged all the Gods to come to her aid and change the body of her beloved nymph into a flower. Apollo gave the breath of life, Bacchus bathed the body in nectar, Vertumnus gave her fragrance, Pomona gave fruit, and Flora gave her a crown of petals.

 

Exquisite, graceful, alluring, the rose is associated with sophisticated beauty and love. But the rose is much more than an ornamental flower adored for its heady aroma. The healing medicine of the rose is extraordinary and under-appreciated, and using roses as food and medicine can offer us deep physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. There are many simple ways to enjoy the extraordinary healing medicine of the rose, including making your own rose elixir (combing rose, honey, and brandy), rose infused vinegar, rose honey, rose water, and rose tinctures.

 

Healing Medicine of the Rose

Roses were often used as food and medicine. Roses are part of the large Rosaceae family which includes strawberries, raspberries, almonds, apples and more.  Roses provide healthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Roses, especially rose hips, are high in vitamin C and cancer-fighting compounds.

Emotional and Spiritual Healing

But I have found the most benefit of the power of the rose to be its ability to heal our aching hearts.

We all experience grief and heartache at times, but sometimes our pain becomes too heavy a burden to carry. Rose medicine can be a wonderful way to soothe our aching hearts or lift us from deep grief.

Herbalist Kiva Rose uses roses as food and medicine and especially the powerful rose elixir. Rose elixir is exceptionally uplifting and can be used to relieve trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, heartbreak and chronic stress and fatigue. Kiva recommends using rose elixir similarly to Rescue Remedy for its soothing and recuperative effects.

The energy of the rose is elegant and uplifting, and the rose, like many plant medicines, is able to adjust to our needs.

Intuitively we know the rose is uplifting – simply inhale the aroma of the rose and notice how it affects us emotionally. Roses are sensual and evoke the spirit of love in the heart and mind, and are considered an aphrodisiac. Used thoughtfully, the rose has the powerful ability to lift depressive moods and to create a sense of well-being.

Medicinal Parts

There are thousands of varieties of roses cultivated around the world. All parts of the rose can be used as food and medicine, including: leaves, petals, hips, roots and root bark. When choosing roses as food and medicine, only use only organically grown roses. Strongly aromatic roses make the best medicine.

 

Six Delightful Rose Recipes

Rose Elixir

Ingredients:

Glass jar with lid
Organically grown fresh or dried rose petals
Brandy
Raw Honey

Directions:

  1. Fill your jar with rose petals.
  2. Fill the jar 2/3 full with honey.
  3. Stir the honey to coat the rose petals.
  4. Add the brandy, enough to cover the rose and honey.
  5. Cover the jar and gently invert it, turning it upside down and right side up several times to gently mix everything well.
  6. Let sit for several weeks.
  7. Strain. The used rose petals make a nice topping for desserts or eaten by the spoonful.
  8. Store your elixir in a covered jar. I enjoy using a decorative bottle like this one.

Ways to Enjoy Your Rose Elixir

  • Take by the teaspoon
  • Add to seltzer or mineral water
  • Add to tea or other beverages
  • Use as a topping for cakes and muffins
  • A lovely topping for ice-cream

Rose Honey

If you want to avoid alcohol, you can make a simple herbal-infused honey using rose petals. The process is the same as the elixir, except you eliminate the alcohol and simply cover the rose petals with honey. Rose honey can be used to top baked goods, in plain yogurt, on homemade bread, by the spoonful, added to beverages and of course rose honey makes an elegant gift.

Rose – Infused Vinegar

Rose vinegar is lovely and can be used to make colorful vinaigrette salad dressings and makes an aromatic addition to sauces and marinades.

Your rose vinegar can be combined with water in a spray bottle to use on sunburns and bug bites – roses are cooling and offer relief from conditions of heat and inflammation. Rose vinegar would be a lovely addition to your homemade hair rinse. And of course, rose vinegar would make a unique gift.

Ingredients:

Rose petals fresh or dried – red or dark pink petals  create a distinctively colored vinegar
Glass jar with lid
Vinegar of your choice

Directions:

  1. Fill your jar with rose petals
  2. Cover rose petals with vinegar and stir to remove air bubbles. Add more vinegar if needed.
  3. Cover (I used a piece of waxed paper under the metal lid to protect it from the vinegar)
  4. Allow to infuse for a few weeks. You will see the vinegar take on the color of the roses.
  5. Strain the rose petals and enjoy your lovely new vinegar.

Rose Tincture

Rose tinctures are generally used in small amounts. One half to one dropper full at a time on the tongue delivers the medicinal qualities of the rose directly to the bloodstream. Sometimes I add a dropper full to a small glass of water or an herbal tea.

Ingredients:

Pint jar with lid
tinted glass jar with dropper for storage of your tincture
Roses fresh or dried to fill your jar
Brandy

Directions:

  1. Fill your jar with rose petals (full but not stuffed)
  2. Add brandy to completely cover the roses, stirring to remove air bubbles. You might need to check after a few minutes and add a little more brandy as the roses soak up the alcohol, especially if you are using dried rose petals.
  3. Label, cap and allow to sit for at least four weeks.
  4. After four weeks, strain the rose petals and keep the tincture in a tinted glass jar. I prefer keeping my tinctures in a small tincture bottle with a dropper for ease of use. When the small bottle runs out, I simply add more tincture from the larger jar (using this this tiny funnel.)

 

Rose Infused Oil

Rose oil can be used directly for skin care, as a massage oil, to create a healing salve, or added to your favorite natural homemade lotion recipe. Rose is cooling, soothing, and excellent at relieving pain and inflammation. This makes rose oil perfect for all kinds of skin care including rashes, eczema, hives, and poison ivy.

Ingredients:

Dried roses
Jar with lid
Carrier oil – Olive or Almond Oil

Directions:

  1. Fill your jar with dried rose petals. Dried is best for making an oil, since the moisture present in fresh rose petals might cause mold to form in the oil.
  2. Add oil to the jar, making certain you completely cover the rose petals. I suggest adding the oil and giving the jar a gentle stir to remove air pockets. Add more oil as needed to cover the petals.
  3. Cover and let sit for at least four weeks, but try to remember to shake daily.
  4. After four weeks, use cheese cloth or similar material to strain your oil. Squeeze the cheese cloth to get all that precious rose oil out!
  5. Store in a cool dry place.

 

Rose Water

Rose water is simple to make and can be used in so many ways. Use the links for inspiration and instructions on using your rose water to make your own:

Ingredients

  • Rose petals fresh or dried – 1/4 cup for dried petals, 3/4 cup for fresh petals
  • Water 1 1/2 cups
  • Cheesecloth
  • Dark bottle for storage

Instructions

  1. Add your rose petals and water to a saucepan, cover and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered.
  3. Simmer until the petals lose their color (5-10 minutes)
  4. Keeping the lid on, allow the water to cool completely.
  5. Strain through your cloth.
  6. Store in a dark bottle in a cool place

The Majestic Power of the Rose

Roses capture our imagination and are a wonderful way to say “I love you.” But roses are much more than simply decorative ways to commemorate our love, they can change us – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I hope you invite the majestic rose into your life and find ways to enjoy the extraordinary health benefits.

Wishing you good health,
~ Michelle

More on Roses as Food and Medicine

http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Wild-As-A-Rose.htm

http://joybileefarm.com/how-to-eat-a-wild-rose-roses-for-food-and-medicine/

 

If you enjoy learning how to use herbs to improve health, consider the Herbal Academy’s online courses. They offer introductory, intermediate and advanced classes. The Herbal Academy’s programs are rich and full with recipes to get you started creating your own herbal remedies.
Online Introductory Herbal Course

 

Shared on the Homestead Blog Hop!

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Weekend Book Review – The Suburban Micro-farm

Suburban Homesteading and Micro-Farming

 

Many of us have decided to take an active role in providing food for our families, and not all of us have a lot of land or a lot of time to do it. Suburban homesteading is becoming increasingly popular and practical, despite the obvious challenges. Micro-farming is a way to enjoy the rewards and benefits of growing our food in small spaces. Amy Stross offers her excellent advice and guidance on over-coming the challenges of suburban homesteading with her book: The Suburban Micro-Farm, Modern Solutions for Busy People.

 

Many of us have decided to take an active role in providing food for our families, and not all of us have a lot of land or a lot of time to do it. Suburban homesteading is becoming increasingly popular and practical, despite the obvious challenges. Micro-farming is a way to enjoy the rewards and benefits of growing our food in small spaces. Amy Stross offers her excellent advice and guidance on over-coming the challenges of suburban homesteading with her book: The Suburban Micro-Farm, Modern Solutions for Busy People.

Weekend Book Review: 

The Suburban Microfarm – Modern Solutions For Busy People
by Amy Stross

Amy Stross writes at Tenth Acre Farm, and she is my favorite resource for information and inspiration on creating an edible landscape. She is a teacher turned suburban homesteader and is passionate in her desire to share her ever-growing knowledge and experience with turning her suburban space into an edible, low-maintenance landscape.

Disclosure – Amy shared a pdf version of her book in exchange for my honest review. I enjoyed the book so much, I purchased the paperback version from Amazon. Already it is earmarked and filled with highlights and penciled notes. It’s a great addition to my gardening, edible landscaping, homesteading library of resources. This post contains affiliate links -if you purchase through these links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for reading and supporting Seeking Joyful Simplicity.

 

Many of us have decided to take an active role in providing food for our families, and not all of us have a lot of land or a lot of time to do it. Suburban homesteading is becoming increasingly popular and practical, despite the obvious challenges. Micro-farming is a way to enjoy the rewards and benefits of growing our food in small spaces. Amy Stross offers her excellent advice and guidance on over-coming the challenges of suburban homesteading with her book: The Suburban Micro-Farm, Modern Solutions for Busy People.

 

Amy recently published her first book: The Suburban Micro-Farm, Modern Solutions for Busy People. .

Don’t let the word “Farm” in the title intimidate you! This book is for anyone who wants to include more home-grown food in their lives, and she offers strategies for all levels and a variety of circumstances including urban, suburban, and rural living.

Amy’s writing is direct, practical, and insightful. She understands the challenges we face in trying to add growing food to our already busy lives. She offers suggestions and strategies based on her own experiences, and her years of working with communities and individuals trying to expand their home-grown food production.

Amy’s book is not only full of in-depth information, she offers links to her supplemental materials to get you started, keep you organized, and stay on track.

…at the core of this book is my strategy for developing a plan, prioritizing tasks, and keeping records. I’ll share my process for organizing my micro-farm – along with a host of supplemental materials – to help you confidently turn your dream of a productive yard into a reality. The downloadable, supplemental materials will guide you in planning what to plant and when, utilizing checklists and monthly calendars to stay on track, and keeping records.

 

In both her e-book and print book versions, she includes links to to other resources such as her monthly gardening checklist to keep us on track; a monthly calendar for planning your succession planting; a seed starting and planting worksheet to help you plant your crops at the right time, and more.

Having read many “Homesteading” books over the years, I am usually disappointed as the author attempts to cover a broad subject without adequate depth of information to be truly useful. That is not the case with Amy’s The Suburban Micro-Farm. Amy offers in-depth information on Soil Development, Growing Vegetables, Micro-farming fruit, herbs, seed-starting and planting, edible landscaping principles, permaculture principles and practical applications for the suburban homesteader.

I admit after two years on our new land, juggling my desire to expand our gardening and food production while balancing work, a long commute, homeschooling, and the needs of my family has left me feeling a little burned out. This past year my enthusiasm for the homestead has waned.

Spending time with Amy’s writing has given me the encouragement I needed. Using her strategies, planning tools, and practical strategies, we will be expanding our edible landscape this year.

How do you find time for growing food?
What are your favorite homesteading books?

~ Michelle

More Resources:

5 Myths About Micro-Farming: What’s Keeping You From Your Goals?

 

Planning Your Homestead – Edible Landscaping and Permaculture

 

 

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Anxiety and Overwhelm – Discovering Your Strengths

Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure but no urge to be productive. It’s wanting friends but hating socializing. It’s wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely. It’s caring about everything and then caring about nothing. It’s feeling everything at once and feeling paralyzingly numb.

You might feel like you will never feel better, but you will. I know, because I beat anxiety and overwhelm. You are stronger than you think. Let me show you how…

Fear and Overwhelm

It was seven in the morning and already I felt like a complete failure. Tears blurred my eyes as I searched the dresser, trying to find a simple pair of socks my four-year old would agree to wear. We were already late – again. I had lost my temper – again, and just shouted, no, screamed at my sweet little girl in anger, grief, frustration, and overwhelm.

I didn’t know if I could keep doing this. Working full-time, single parenting, driving 200 miles every week to exchange the kids with my angry and manipulative ex-husband. I had lost my mother the year before, and my father the year before that. And now my marriage of eight years was over. I felt so alone.

I felt weak, overwhelmed with my life, angry, and disappointed. Facing custody battles, job changes, moving again, and bankruptcy. Constantly sick, and exhausted, I felt like my life was falling apart.

But I survived

That was nine years ago, and somehow I survived it. Writing this, I realize I never gave myself credit for all the things I was doing right. For the courage it took to make changes in my life and to simply keep going.

Things aren’t so complicated these days. The stresses in my life are far less catastrophic. But like snow packed into a ball, rolling along and getting bigger and bigger, the small daily stresses can quickly become too much.

 

What are you stressing about?

There are so many ways to live a life. Why is it so many of us live in a state of constant overwhelm and anxiety? Maybe the specific causes of our overwhelm are different, but I see and feel it everywhere. We are stressed and angry and fearful. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I don’t live a perfect, stress-free life. And I don’t have all the answers. But I can share what helped me during the most traumatic time of my life, and these are the things I try to remember when I am feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

Conquer Anxiety and Overwhelm

  1. Give yourself permission
  2. Use the Power of Gratitude
  3. Give Yourself Credit

Giving Ourselves Permission

The tired advice to think positive when we are faced with anxiety and overwhelm is shallow and only leads to feelings of guilt. It seems to imply we shouldn’t feel bad. Ever.

How about we give ourselves permission to feel angry, stuck, overwhelmed, exhausted, and just plain unhappy. For the longest time I thought I had to keep a brave face, and denied even to myself how miserable I truly was and how much I was struggling.

“I acted like it wasn’t a big deal when really it was breaking my heart.”~Unknown

It’s OK to feel angry, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And it’s OK to share these feelings with those closest to us. Far too often, we are afraid to admit just how much we are struggling. I met so many women during my years of health coaching that were struggling against really tough circumstances, but just didn’t want to burden others with their problems.

But sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is to shed our mask and share our burden with others.

Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure but no urge to be productive. It’s wanting friends but hating socializing. It’s wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely. It’s caring about everything and then caring about nothing. It’s feeling everything at once and feeling paralyzingly numb.  You might feel like you will never feel better, but you will. I know, because I beat anxiety and overwhelm. You are stronger than you think. Let me show you how...

 

 

The Power of Gratitude

OK, I know I said I wasn’t going to suggest you simply “think positive”. But experiencing gratitude is much more than simply trying to think happy thoughts.

I frequently write about practicing gratitude and the positive changes it can have in our daily lives. Our modern culture is one that encourages us to feel discontented – marketing and media want us to find solutions to our unhappiness in their products. And although social media and the internet are great ways to bring us together, they can also cause us to feel inadequate when we compare ourselves to others who seem so much happier, healthier, wealthier, and wise.

Focusing on the good in our lives, even the small things, causes a powerful mental shift that also affects us chemically. Thinking of the many blessings in our life can alter our brain chemistry by causing a surge in the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters, and the more we practice gratitude, the stronger and longer-lasting the positive effects.

 

But how do we do feel gratitude when our world seems to be falling apart around us? How do we find gratitude when we are in pain, angry, overwhelmed, or just plain feeling miserable?

It takes practice. Start small. Find ONE THING you are grateful for, and then find another. Make gratitude a practice – when you wake in the night and your mind  won’t stop and you feel your anxiety rising – STOP and remember your gratitude. Keep bringing your mind back to something good, breathe deep, and see what happens.

Many days I would feel so completely overwhelmed with my life and the many circumstances out of my control, I found it hard to breathe. But I kept coming back to the practice of gratitude anyway. I needed it.

There are many ways to approach the practice of gratitude when life is too much. Some people keep a gratitude journal where they write their list and review it daily.

I approached practicing gratitude with my mother’s rosary. For every smooth bead on her rosary, I had to say one thing I was grateful for. And it was incredibly difficult. But the more I did it, the more I found to be grateful for. Blue sky, happy memories, the songbirds outside my window, anything to remind me of the goodness in life.

 

 Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Give Yourself Credit

When life keeps throwing things at us and we feel one more thing will break us, how can we focus? I know when I feel overwhelmed, a lot of the underlying feeling is FEAR. And that fear can be gripping. Can we ask ourselves – “what are we afraid of?”

Nine years ago, I had just lost both my parents within a year and a half. A year after that my marriage ended. I felt weak, vulnerable, and I feared I could not cope.

I feared I couldn’t manage single parenting while juggling two jobs and that I would be a terrible parent to my young children and they would be ruined for life. I feared letting my personal crisis interfere with my responsibilities at work and letting my employer down. I feared financial ruin.

I wish I had remembered back then to give myself credit for how courageous, strong, and determined I was. Sometimes we are so busy beating ourselves up and feeling afraid, we forget to acknowledge everything we are doing right.

What are you doing right in your life? Can you tell me five of your greatest strengths? How about ten? How often do you consider your strengths and all the things you do right? Why is that?

 

 

Moving Forward

The four-year old little girl I lost my temper with all those years ago is growing into a compassionate and wise young woman. During that awful time in my life, my biggest worry was for my children and their well-being. It turns out, we all survived.

What ever you are going through, you will survive too. Remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to experience the fear, anger, and overwhelm. But don’t let yourself get stuck there. Find your gratitude – and carry that little bit of bright light with you. 

And give yourself credit – you are stronger than you think.

In peace and contentment
~ Michelle

More Resources on Contentment:

Seeking Joyful Simplicity – Slowing Down and Living Joyfully 

Leo at Zen Habits has a really thought-provoking article on Practical Steps to Contentment.
Mark has a funny take on happiness –Stop Trying to Be Happy
Everyone finds contentment in different ways. I’m curious, how do you find yours?

Seeking Joyful Simplicity on Facebook

 

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Prepping for Beginners – How to Start Prepping and Keep It Simple

Prepping for beginners – what do we need to be prepared for, how to start prepping, and how do we keep it simple? Prepping used to be considered a radical activity, but more and more we are realizing the need to be prepared for all kinds of emergency situations.

When you consider the definition of Prepping, it becomes clear we all can benefit from basic planning:

Prepping
– the act or process of preparing something or preparing for something.
– the practice of making active preparations for a possible catastrophic disaster or emergency, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

 

Prepping for beginners - what do we need to be prepared for, how to start prepping, and how do we keep it simple? Prepping used to be considered a radical activity, but more and more we are realizing the need to be prepared for all kinds of emergency situations. When you consider the definition of Prepping, it becomes clear we all can benefit from basic planning: Prepping - the act or process of preparing something or preparing for something. - the practice of making active preparations for a possible catastrophic disaster or emergency, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

 

The following is a guest post by Dan Sullivan from Survival Sullivan

Does prepping seem intimidating? Do you feel like you don’t know where to start? Have no fear, because a one year stockpile and dozens of survival items are NOT prepping.

The key is to not only start small but to focus on the most critical aspects of survival FIRST. In this article I’m going to show you how to do that and, although I won’t be able to cover every scenario, I will point you in the right direction.

What most people don’t realize is that prepping is not about zombies and asteroids. Not at first, at least. You can leave those for later because, at first, you need to focus on the smaller yet critical emergencies that can affect you and your family.

These emergencies can be anything from earthquakes to your kid being lured by a stranger to heavy snow. Believe it or not, there’ve been social experiments proving that no matter how many times you tell a child not to talk to strangers, he still walks off with them.

Here’s a list of the most important emergencies to consider:

  • earthquakes
  • hurricanes
  • car and bike accidents
  • dog attacks
  • weather-related incidents (hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms, ice storms, extreme temperatures, flash floods)
  • food poisoning
  • a prolonged economic crisis (this could directly affect you in that you could lose your job or, at the very least, you’d have to spend more to put food on the table; just look at what’s happening in Venezuela right now, people are resorting to drastic measures to put food on the table)
  • burglaries
  • car breakdown
  • assault
  • house fire
  • terrorist attacks (we’ve seen a lot of these lately, some causing countries such as France to declare state of emergency)
  • social unrest (people have gotten used to rioting, which means they will not only be more organized but will also come in larger numbers)

By doing a simple Google or YouTube search for each of these, you can find out how to prepare for each. It’s nothing complicated but it wouldn’t hurt if you could do drills with your family to make sure your reaction times are good and that you know what to do without thinking too much about it.

 

Prepping for beginners - what do we need to be prepared for, how to start prepping, and how do we keep it simple? Prepping used to be considered a radical activity, but more and more we are realizing the need to be prepared for all kinds of emergency situations.

 

Once you take care of these, the next step is to worry about your 72 hour emergency supply, or stockpile. This will come in handy in case of heavy storm, state of emergency (like was declared in Brussels in 2015 after a terrorist attack), flood, ice storm and so on.

Of course, floods and hurricanes can have long-lasting effects, but a 3 day emergency supply is the absolute minimum you should aim for if you’re just starting out. Focus on acquiring:

  • basic foods: honey, protein bars, beans, rice, pasta, canned food (MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are also an option but, with so many food choices, they don’t really make sense; they’re expensive, high in sodium and cause constipation)
  • 2 gallons of water per person per day (that’s 6 gallons / person for the 3 days)
  • basic over the counter medicine (ibuprofen, aspirin, Tylenol, antibiotic cream) stored in a cool, dry dark place (First Aid Medical Kit)
  • other survival items: Fixed Blade Survival Knife, hand crank flashlight, emergency radio
  • some supplies in your car’s trunk (plus, make sure you always have enough fuel in the tank for an evacuation)

Skills

Skills are more important than gear, the reason I didn’t talk about them until now was because I wanted to ease you into prepping. You have to learn basic survival skills:

  • starting a fire (I made a list of all possible ways here)
  • using an emergency radio (to listen to radio stations and hear the latest developments during a hurricane, a flash flood or in case of social unrest)
  • using a water filter (you can use a personal water filter such as the LifeStraw or the Sawyer Mini to drink water that is free of bacteria and other harmful compounds – usage is trivial)
  • using an emergency blanket (say your car landed in a body of water, you got out and you need something to keep you warm after you dry yourself off)
  • using a fire extinguisher (everyone should know how to use one)
  • shutting off utilities (if your house catches fire or is affected by a hurricane)
  • getting in shape (regardless of the emergency you face, you’ll need strength, speed, stamina and flexibility)
  • finding your way back if you get lost (either in a foreign city or the wilderness)

These are all critical if something happens. You don’t want to be unable to move when you see your house on fire, you don’t want to try to figure out how to use your HAM radio when you need it most.

Do Things that Are Free

Oftentimes, when we get into something new, we’d prefer not to spend too much money until we see some sort of results. Here’s a quick list of things you can do that won’t cost you a dime:

  • go through all the food in your fridge, freeze, pantry and basement and store the one with the longest shelf life separately for dark days
  • start doing at-home workouts
  • download or print survival article such as this one for future reference
  • practice your skills
  • print maps of your area and mark on them things like exit routes, get home routes, vending machines, road blocks and so on
  • designate a safe room and move some of your preps there
  • start a wish list of things to buy and monitor for discounts
  • start planning designing a survival garden
  • start walking more and using your car less to improve your stamina
  • take free survival and first aid classes (if any are available where you live)

…and many more. I don’t want to overload you with information, I’d be much more content if you took action based on what you read.

In fact, let’s do a quick exercise before we wrap this up. Pick 3 things from this article right now that you can do before reading or doing anything else. Just leave everything else and do them, even if all you do is print a Google map of your town or city.

The key to preparedness is to take action over and over again. The more often you do it, the safer you will feel and be. So why not set aside one hour a day to read and prepare?

Bio

Dan Sullivan is one of those prepper bloggers who doesn’t compromise on quality when it comes to survival information. Emergencies are not to be taken lightly, the wrong kind of info could cost you your life. He and his team of writers are posting almost daily high-quality articles on www.SurvivalSullivan.com.

 

 

 

 

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Honey-Vinegar Cough Medicine

Simple and Effective Medicine

Are you prepared for your next cold? Do you want to make your own herbal medicine but feel overwhelmed at finding the ingredients or preparing the medicine yourself? Don’t wait until the next time you aren’t feeling well to try an herbal remedy! There are simple yet powerful medicines you can make easily at home with common kitchen ingredients. And I can tell you from experience, they work remarkably well.

Start now with this easy, yet incredibly effective honey vinegar cough medicine.

 

Are you prepared for your next cold? Do you want to make your own herbal medicine but feel overwhelmed at finding the ingredients or preparing the medicine yourself? Don't wait until the next time you aren't feeling well to try an herbal remedy! There are simple yet powerful medicines you can make easily at home with common kitchen ingredients. And I can tell you from experience, they work remarkably well. Start with this simple but incredibly effective honey vinegar cough medicine.

 

When gardening, homesteading, and using herbal medicines, good planning is important. Last year my family I and suffered repeated bouts of respiratory illness, made worse I’m sure by the cold, damp, and mold-infested home we were renting. I ended up with an unshakable bout of chronic bronchitis.

This year I planned ahead for the cold and flu season, starting with growing many of the healing perennial herbs used in my recipes. In October, I shared my recipe for making your own simple and delicious cold and flu medicine using the collective power of sage, ginger, garlic, and raw honey.

My husband and I both used this medicine with remarkable results. I eliminated one cold as it started, and shortened another to just three days. My friends at work even commented on my quick recovery.

Usually, I suffer from a lingering cough after a cold, but this time I started taking an oxymel – a blend of honey, herbs, and vinegar (it was tasty with a kick!), and my cough was gone in a week.

 

 

I made the oxymel early in the fall, using fresh herbs from my garden. But you can make yourself a batch right now with fresh, dried, or a combination. First I will describe the medicine, and then provide the recipe. Check out the PDF file if you want to save or print.

If you are serious about adding plant medicines into your life, this simple oxymel recipe and the cold and flu herbal honey are incredibly easy to make, and they really work!

Oxymel

Oxymel is a Latin word meaning “acid and honey” which describes the practice of combining herbs with vinegar and honey. Vinegar helps to concentrate and direct the herb’s medicine to the respiratory tract, and honey is an excellent antimicrobial and soothing for coughs and sore throats. Oxymels are a tasty way to take your medicine!

Most often oxymels are taken by the spoonful, but are excellent combined with sparkling mineral water or seltzer water, added to a salad, smoothie, or stirred into a warm tea.

There are several different methods for making oxymels, depending on the type of herb you plan to use. The simplest method, and the one I use, is to simply combine the herbs with vinegar and honey, and allow the plant medicinal properties to infuse. This is the best method for aromatic herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and those in the mint family, as it preserves the aromatic oils.

The Herbs

I combined three herbs that have been traditionally used in the treatment of upper respiratory illnesses. I used fresh herbs from my garden, but you can use fresh, dried, or a combination of fresh and dried.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

Hyssop has been shown to have antiviral properties, excellent for relieving symptoms associated with cold and flu season. Hyssop has a warm spicy energy, and has a long history of use as remedy for treating upper respiratory symptoms.

Hyssop has a pungent flavor, said to be similar to camphor. I don’t care for the strong flavor, so I combined my hyssop with the aromatic sage and thyme, both of which have medicinal properties to complement the hyssop.

Sage (Salvia officinallis)

Sage is my favorite kitchen medicine! Sage is a plant used as food and many kinds of medicine for thousands of years. For colds and flu, research demonstrates antiviral and antibacterial properties – killing the virus and bacteria responsible for our respiratory infections. Sage relieves our cough and sore throats, and because sage has astringent properties, it’s excellent for treating drippy sinus. *Should not be used medicinally when pregnant or breast-feeding.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is another mint family (Lamiaceae) herb known for its antimicrobial properties. It helps to relieve fevers and sore throats, and has expectorant qualities, helpful in relieving coughs. In fact, thyme has a long history of treating coughs. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek physician and pharmacologist, wrote of the healing benefits of thyme in his Materia Medica, a text that was widely read for nearly 1,500 years. Clinical studies are indicating the benefits of thyme (dried or extract) in treating bronchitis.

Thyme has a hot, dry energy, and a wonderful aroma and flavor. (It’s another one of my favorite kitchen herbs.)

 

The Recipe

Click Here to save or print recipe
Honey Vinegar Cough Medicine
In my garden I grow Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum. This is not the same as Hyssopus officinalis, but they are both from the Lamiaceae (mint) family and have similar medicinal properties.

To make this recipe you’ll need…

  • Hyssop (fresh or dried) Buy Dried Hyssop Here
  • Sage (fresh or dried)
  • Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • Good quality honey (raw is best)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Jar with a plastic lid (If you use a metal lid, place waxed paper to prevent the vinegar from eroding the metal)

To make your oxymel, you want a good ratio of herbs to vinegar and honey. The easiest way to do this is to fill your jar 1/3 with the herbs and add equal parts honey and vinegar to fill the jar. Label and place lid. Although you can begin using the medicine within a day or two, it’s best after it sits, preferably a week or more.

When you are ready to use, strain the herbs and take by the teaspoonful. If dealing with an acute issue it is generally better to take smaller amounts more often, rather than larger doses only a few times a day. For my congested cough I took this oxymel 2 teaspoons every 2 hours for the first few days. Once my cough improved, I took 2 teaspoons three times a day until my cough was resolved (about three days.)

Oxymels will keep for a long time.

Further Resources:

Mountain Rose Herbs has an excellent explanation of the history and uses for Oxymel medicines, as well as suggestions for different methods depending on the types of herbs being used. The article can be found here: http://mountainroseblog.com/herbal-oxymels-methods/

Herbalist Rosalee de la Foret offers an explanation of the different methods for oxymel preparation as well as a neat recipe for making a tasty and healing respiratory oxymel using evergreen needles. Her article can be found at her blog Methow Valley Herbs.

And if you want to learn more about making and using herbal medicine for you and your family, I highly recommend The Herbal Academy online courses. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed their Intermediate Herbalist Course. They offer all levels of classes, from beginner to advanced, and their coursework includes plenty of recipes!
Herbalism Courses for all levels
 

In good health,
Michelle

 

This post was originally shared January 2016 and has been updated. This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Seeking Joyful Simplicity. ~Michelle

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