Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by Gr3g » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:42 pm

almm wrote:While I'm not likely to have much in a 72-hour type kit, I will be including herbs in my longer-term food storage (or an INCH kit). I use herbs and other plant derivatives (essential oil, for example) for a lot of minor first aid uses. Ginger and peppermint are anti-nausea, I have a tincture of a number of herbs for cold and flu symptom relief, I made my own sore muscle rub, and so on. I also make my own toothpaste and lip balm, which I like more than storebought.

In addition to being handy in a disaster, these are skills and supplies that I think would be crucial in a long-term collapse of society type disaster. I'm working on increasing my wildcraft such that I could harvest my own herbs for minor medical use, in addition to food.
Thanks for replying, perhaps you could post your mixtures so that we can all benefit from them? I'll add them to the first post under a new category.

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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by Confucius » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:48 pm

I always take salt and cayenne with me when I'm camping or hiking. Obviously, both are tasty, and cayenne is quite effective at stopping minor (biggest I've ever used it for was a fairly deep gouge in my thumb, turns out wood gouges are pretty damn effective on meat) bleeding.

Pretty amazing how fast it works, just sprinkle cayenne on the cut, and within a few seconds (and with a slight sting, more a warmth really) the bleeding stops. Obviously, may not work for everyone, and I know some people are squeamish about sprinkling foodstuffs into an open cut, but it's always worked well for me.

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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by almm » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:29 pm

Toothpaste: Coconut oil, baking soda, ground up calcium tablets, xylitol or stevia, peppermint essential oil. You could make it with all baking soda and no calcium but it tastes very salty and I prefer to use a different abrasive for most of it. I prefer to use xylitol, which has several benefits for dental hygiene (tooth remineralization and it kills bad bacteria) but stevia can be more convenient.

First mix two parts ground calcium with one part baking soda and one part xylitol. If you're using stevia instead of xylitol, throw in about one of the tiny spoons it comes with per about every eight or ten ounces of final product. Then mix in an amount of coconut oil about equal to the dry ingredients by volume. Coconut oil melts at about 82*F, so I find mixing everything a lot easier if I nuke it a bit first, or put the whole thing on a burner on low for a bit. Mix until homogenous. Add about 25 drops of peppermint eo per four ounces of toothpaste.

I keep it in a four-ounce metal tin and rub my toothbrush across the top of it. It gets harder in the winter and may well melt in summer: if it does, make sure to stir it so the dry ingredients don't settle out before you use it. You could also make this any flavor you liked with essential oil or maybe even cooking flavoring extracts, though I prefer to use eo's. Just make sure it's something food-safe. Everything in this toothpaste is edible, so no need to call poison control if you swallow some. It does not have fluoride or detergents. It doesn't really foam, but it does clean your teeth. Rinse the sink with warm water after spitting, since cold will solidify the oil.

Lip balm: one part beeswax, one part shea butter, three parts sweet almond oil, essential oils for scent/flavor to taste. Melt ingredients in a double boiler -- I like to use a pyrex measuring cup in a pot of water. Add the essential oil last, as the stuff that makes it smelly/tasty tends to be volatile and will boil off faster than the other components. Stir. Put into tins or tubes -- I use cheapo plastic eyedroppers/pipettes which I can throw out rather than try to clean, and which can be submerged in the boiling water if the balm solidifies and gunks them up. When making multiple flavors I tend to float measuring cups in the double boiler to keep everything warm while I separate out an amount to add eo. Keep the water boiling until you are done with everything, as it will make cleanup easier. Beeswax doesn't want to come off things for anything short of boiling water and dish soap. Also, remember that anything in boiling water is very hot, and don't reach in and grab things with your bare hands; I've done it and hurt myself :?

My sore muscle rub I made by steeping arnica (good for bruises and strains) and kava kava (a relaxant) in sweet almond oil over low heat for several days. I filtered them out and keep it in a bottle. I may add some essential oils to give it an icy-hot feel, or I may not, I'm not sure yet. If I do I'll probably add peppermint (it does the "icy"), lavender (topical analgesic), and something else to give the "hot"; still need to do research to find something for that last. Arnica shouldn't be used on broken skin.

My cold and flu tincture I made by filling a jar with chamomile, yarrow, nettle, mullein (expectorant for coughs, especially productive ones) and possibly one other herb (been a long time since I made it), then filling the jar with 100-proof vodka and leaving it to sit for a couple months. I strained it and keep it in little dropper bottles, and generally recommend one or two droppers-full per day. It tastes mostly of chamomile and burning (not the nicest vodka) but I had a housemate who loved the flavor. *Remember to label anything you make* this way -- once I accidentally gave a for-external-use-only rub to someone internally, which was a bad day (he induced vomiting and wound up with some stomach trouble, mercifully the amount of tea tree oil it in was small but that stuff is not good for your insides).

I was at Roostalk, an herbalism and wildcraft festival, lately, and took a couple of great classes on herbal med. I'll see about digging out my notes and transcribing them for y'all.

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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by ZomCon Sargeant » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:34 pm

What a great thread!

I do pack various spices in my pack. Salt, black pepper, crushed red peppers, sugar, pure cane sugar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, and garlic salt.

I put crushed red pepper on almost everything I eat. Pasta, pizza, soup, chili, eggs, etc.

Looks like I will be adding a few other different spices now. Thanks!
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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by duodecima » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:11 pm

NoAm wrote:
Ad'lan wrote: Very impressive. The only thing i'll quibble on is preground spices. I always buy my spices as whole pieces and then crush or grind them myself, makes them go a lot further, and they store better for longer.
Thank you sir! I haven't researched whole spices but could see using less freshly ground, due to the fact that fresher would stay stronger, longer.
I might also add that everything that we have stored in mason jars has been vacuum sealed, to hopefully make it last longer.
What Ad'lan said - get whole! If one is too lazy (like me) to mortar and pestle things, a coffee grinder works great for most of them. The smell of fresh ground cumin or coriander is amazing, and they really are about an order of magnitude better than pre-ground bought at grocery store. (Only half an order of magnitude better if buying in bulk from a place with good turn-over...)

Maybe you could have a thread about what to do with the herbs you grow so we don't hijack this one?
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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:14 pm

Printed in sections and stored it together with appropriate preps: salt, sugar, baking soda, etc.
This way I don't have to dig for it when I need the info.
Again, great info...
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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by Perkidanman » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:54 pm

Don't forget garlic! It's both tasty and a good medicine (not to mention a good vampire deterant, haha). If you boil the leaves of wild garlic you can use the resulting liquid as a disinfectant wipe.

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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by Gr3g » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:52 pm

Update:

* New - Not all salts are equal - the differences & benefits
* New - Most sugars are equal - the minor differences
* New - Pepper (White/Black/Cayenne)
* New - Garlic (still a work in progress)
* New - Alternative More Advanced Solutions
* Update - New pictures added and text modified to make the post more intuitive & readable
* Update - Addition to Bicardonate of soda

This update has taken a while, however I'll continue trolling the interweb to see what I can find. If you remember or come across anything you think should be added then let me know and I'll update the post.

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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by azrael99 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:29 pm

those trick are AWESOME!!!!!!!!

love that tread.
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Re: Do you value herbs & spices enough?

Post by LtCmdLeia » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:41 pm

Great post.

I sell herbs, spices and my own seasoning mixes at local farmers markets. Needless to say, we have tons of them in the house and use them daily. Food is never boring at my house, and we look to herbs often for health needs.
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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by Gr3g » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:11 am

Post update!

New section added: Tinctures!

Thanks for the continued feedback, over the next few weeks I'll search out some tincture recipes. Tincture recipes really do appear to be a potential backcountry godsend.

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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by azrael99 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:42 am

my own little ad to this tread

in case of the start of a flu
mustard: i tea spoon of mustard powder in your bath, take your bath for a good 30min at least, get out, go to bed.
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Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by wee drop o' bush » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:36 am

Each spring I make a liniment rub for joint-ill in my lambs. It's a blend of rosemary, peppermint & ginger essential oils diluted in almond oil that has been infused for a month with a vanilla pod split lengthways.

I'm a trained aromatherapist so I use blend percentages but the rule of thumb is a 4% blend for animal use and a maximum 2% blend for humans.
A 4% blend is 4 drops of essential oil to 5 mls carrier oil. The maximum safe human blend of this is 1% as they are 'hot' essential oils, this means only 1 drop:5mls.
In a 100ml bottle you'd add 20 drops, 6 of each plus two extra ginger for human use, and 80 drops:23 of each for animal use.

It really eases the pain and inflammation. After a few days when I have to catch the lambs to rub this on them...I know it's done the trick :D

As always if you have allergies to any of these ingredients don't use them; also immediately cease usage should irritation occur & seek medical advice.
Last edited by wee drop o' bush on Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by Gr3g » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:39 am

azrael99 wrote:my own little ad to this tread

in case of the start of a flu
mustard: i tea spoon of mustard powder in your bath, take your bath for a good 30min at least, get out, go to bed.
Thanks a lot azrael99, I have added it under a new section called random until I can re-structure the post. I need to split parts of the first post into medicinal/non-medicinal, however I want to first atleast have a 10+ tincture recipe's on there.

I'm also thinking about a "backcountry cuisine" or "backcountry cooking" thread over in the Self-Sufficient Living forum where everyone can contribute with their own recipes. Herbs and spices will arguably be used for cooking first, the redundancy aspect of herbs and spices and their alternative uses is where the real value lies.

All the best and thanks again :D
wee drop o' bush wrote:Each spring I make a liniment rub for joint-ill in my lambs. It's a blend of rosemary, peppermint & ginger essential oils diluted in almond oil that has been infused for a month with a vanilla pod split lengthways.

I'm a trained aromatherapist so I use blend percentages but the rule of thumb is a 4% blend for animal use and a maximum 2% blend for humans.
A 4% blend is 4 drops of essential oil to 5 mls carrier oil. The maximum safe human blend of this is 1% as they are 'hot' essential oils, this means only 1 drop:5mls.
In a 100ml bottle you'd add 20 drops, 6 of each plus two extra ginger for human use, and 80 drops:23 of each for animal use.

It really eases the pain and inflammation. After a few days when I have to catch the lambs to rub this on them...I know it's done the trick :D

As always if you have allergies to any of these ingredients don't use them; also immediately cease usage should irritation occur & seek medical advice.
This is excellant wee drop o' bush. I dont really know where to place this? The thread started out using raw ingredients however essential oils are a much more refined product.

Since you are a trained aromatherapist would you mind writing a guide, then listing some recipes, we could add a Youtube video which you think is suitable? When done we simply add this as a new section and co-author this since it's starting to grow to a point where structure is going to make or break this? If you dont agree or dont want to then maybe an entirely new post on essential oils would be best.

Let me know your thought and thanks again :D

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Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by wee drop o' bush » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:01 pm

Gr3g you're right it doesn't quite fit in...but I was winging it a bit as the 3 essential oils used are all from edible herbs...hell if it doesn't cure a lambs sore leg at least they'll be nicely marinaded :lol:

I'll pm you about what you want to do, sorry for the derail :)
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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by ZombieGranny » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:26 pm

Reminds me of the tea I use for my arthritis in the wintertime.
Really warms my hand joints.

1 Cassia shard, 1 whole clove, dried citrus peal, sprig of pineapple weed (or chamomile) and 1/8 inch licorice root.
(Those 5 items are small enough to fit in a pill reminder box.)
Drop in the bottom of your teacup in the morning, and just leave in the bottom for subsequent cups of tea.
Start next day with a new cup.
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Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by wee drop o' bush » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:43 pm

For an irritating dry cough swallow a pinch of granulated sugar...my husband's grandmothers remedy.
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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by Gr3g » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:24 pm

wee drop o' bush wrote:hell if it doesn't cure a lambs sore leg at least they'll be nicely marinaded :lol:
Almost spat tea all over the screen when I read that, very very funny.

The essential oils would be a good edition and it's still totally relevant, perhaps added an extension. I was winging this thread anyway, it's grown much larger than I had anticipated. I'll check my pm, thanks.
CipherNameRaVeN wrote:Printed in sections and stored it together with appropriate preps: salt, sugar, baking soda, etc.
This way I don't have to dig for it when I need the info. Again, great info...
Great idea, glad you can use it.
Perkidanman wrote:If you boil the leaves of wild garlic you can use the resulting liquid as a disinfectant wipe.
Added, thanks.
wee drop o' bush wrote:For an irritating dry cough swallow a pinch of granulated sugar...my husband's grandmothers remedy.
Added, thanks.
Zombie Granny wrote:Reminds me of the tea I use for my arthritis in the wintertime. Really warms my hand joints.
Added, thanks.

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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by DurzoBlint38 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:53 am

Fantastic post, thank you. I've copied and pasted this to a Word document so that I'll always have it.

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Re: Herbs and spices - so much more than food flavouring!

Post by Poboyspecial » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:43 am

We have been using Ginger for a long time now for a lot of things... it is great for nausea, and digestion problems. We use it in Teryaki chicken, soups, etc.... We also found that Capsicum is great for a lot of things too, and is very versitile in dishes. Tumeric also has some very helpful aspects, and can be implemented into many tasty dishes. Just some tasty info. that is good for you.
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