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Herbal Remedies: Colds and Flu

If you haven’t been blessed with the latest Flu to go around, yet this year…YAY for you!  Ironically, my Doctor had just asked me, “Would you like a flu shot?” and of course not agreeing with all the stuff they put in those shots I said, “No, thanks, I’m good.”

And a week later...BAM…I had the flu!


Feeling sick? You may have the Flu or a Cold!

First come all these lovely, wonderful symptoms: 


Crankiness (more so than normal)

Runny Nose

Sore Throat


Head and Body Aches



It’s a super great idea at the onset of symptoms to take a few days off (yes, you can do this) and rest your body.  Sleep…take it easy…eat lightly(did you know this enhances your immune activity?)…and more sleep.

This allows your body a chance to heal, this is a necessity…not a luxury.  Most of the healing of your virus-damaged cells occur between the hours of midnight and 3AM, so it’s important to be able to get a good nights rest.


Even Kat…I mean Cats get sick!

On a personal note: I…did…not…do…this!  I continued to work for a whole week, exhausting my body, allowing the virus to take strong hold and then….BAM!  I was down for the count.  Don’t be like me, notice you have symptoms…take a few days off and allow yourself to heal!

Did you know that your cold/flu symptoms are a sign that your immune system is hard at work, trying really hard to throw off the infection.  That’s why it’s a great idea to NOTsuppress symptoms.  Yes…I said do NOT!  When you have a fever, you should think twice before trying to lower it…even with herbs.  Know why?  Fevers are one of your body’s natural defenses.  You see, heat deactivates viruses even better than antibiotics.

While aspirin and acetaminophen work well to alleviate pain, they can impair the immune system from working, putting those who are already in poor health at risk for more serious sinus/lung infections and sometimes even worse…pneumonia.

Conventional cold medicines like the liquids and capsules and antihistamines aren’t much better.  Be careful and very selective on what you choose to take or not take.  Sometimes these remedies have little to offer the cold or flu sufferer other than suppressing their symptoms and prolonging their misery.


Be cautious and choosy when taking over the counter medications that may suppress your symptoms and prolong your illness.


The symptoms are your bodies way of purging…detoxing…ridding the system of the foreign invaders.  

Let’s Go Herbal!

Here’s a list of some of the most beneficial herbs for colds/flu:

The Strongest Flu Fighting Herbs:





Tea Tree

Rose Geranium


Lemon Balm


The Strongest Kitchen Spices for Colds/Flu are:


Black Pepper








Tend to Get Colds/Flu Frequently-Try these super immune boosting herbs:

Siberian Ginseng




(They are also great for the lungs!)

Coughs, Sneezing, Body Aches…


Siberian Ginseng-this herb taken regularly will help decrease the amount of colds/flu you get and help prevent bronchitis.

Shizandra-taking this herb helps your system to be more resistant to the flu virus.

Astragalus-helps to increase the body’s production of interferon, which protects cells from invasions of viruses.  It has also been used to prevent both viral and bacterial lung infections.

Echinacea-this wonderful immune building herb also stops cold and flu viruses from reproducing once they have gained access to a cell.  Echinacea stimulates cells in the immune system called macrophages, these cells quickly go to the site of the infection to literally “gobble” up the microbes causing the problem.

Licorice-this herb is a twin of Echinacea in that it works in much the same manner.

Elder Berries-have long been used as a folk remedy for flu.  And those folks really knew what they were doing!  More than one compound in the berries prevent the flu virus from invading healthy cells.  Elder berries may even inhibit more serious viruses such as herpes and Epstein-Barr.  They also lower fever, ease symptoms of sinus congestion, sore throat and headaches.

Osha-a well known southwestern herb, helps ease the pain and discomfort of lungs that are sore as a result of coughing or congestion.  It also relieves the indigestion that often accompanies colds/flu’s.

Natural “herbal” antibiotics can be taken directly into the body via an Essential Oil Steam

(especially good if you have infected lungs or sinuses)


Get those healing herbs…IN!

Essential Oil Steam

3 Cups Water

1/4 tsp. Eucalyptus OR Peppermint Essential Oil

~Bring water to a simmer and turn off the heat.  Add essential oil. Set pot where you can sit down next to it.  Place your face over the pot and drape a towel over the back of your heat to form a mini-sauna.  Breathe in the steam, coming out for fresh air as needed.  Do at least 3 rounds a few times a day.

~If you can’t find PURE essential oils, you may use dried herbs.


Don’t have time for a steam?  


Use your Homemade Nasal Inhaler

1/4 tsp. course salt

5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil, or EO of choice

~Place the salt in a small glass vial with a tight lid and add oil.  The salt will absorb the oil and provide a convenient way to carry the oil without danger of spilling it.  Open the vial and inhale deeply.

Last but most assuredly not least, you want to be consuming MASS quantities of liquids, to help flush everything OUT of your body.  Water, water and more water, diluted juices and teas.  Especially herbal teas.  Here is a great Cold/Flu tea recipe.


Drink some good for you Cold & Flu tea several times throughout the day.

Cold & Flu Tea

1/2 tsp. EACH

Echinacea Root, Peppermint Leaves, Hyssop Leaves, Yarrow Leaves, Elder Flowers, Shizandra Berries.

1 Qt. Boiling Water

~Combine herbs and pour boiling water over them. Steep for at least 20 minutes.  Strain and drink frequently throughout the day.  If you can’t find any or all of the herbs you can make instant tea from tinctures.  Or buy commercial tea with similiar ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Colds/Flu are absolutely no fun.  Just a few tips to remember; at first sign, stop and rest.  Take a few days, sleep, eat lightly drink a lot of fluids, rest your body.  Support your system with good for you herbs and remedies and only take over the counter chemical medications with caution and it’s okay to pick and choose.  Try not to suppress, allow your body to detox.

Once on your feet again, let’s build up that Immune System!!  That’s another post!

Do what Mom always said…Eat Your Soup!

6 Tips to Getting Going Again….. 

1. Drink water. A lot of water. Your body is getting over fighting a virus, infection, what have you, and water makes it that much easier to do so. It helps to detox your body, as well as replenish whatever was lost during being sick.

2. Eat. Sounds pretty basic, but can often be a chore when you’re not feeling your best. As long as you don’t have the flu, make sure you’re eating adequately to maintain the vitamins and minerals your body needs. This also keeps your energy up and assists in your recovery. That being said, make sure you’re eating healthy foods that your body can use, specifically foods packed with Vitamin C and Vitamins B. Immunity-boosting foods are a good idea. Comfort foods can be tempting, but make sure you’re supplementing vitamin-packed foods as well.  Stay away from dairy for awhile…to hard for the body to digest and mucous producing.

3. Get plenty of sleep. This is where your body recovers the most and can do battle with any lingering germs. Sleeping an adequate amount will greatly help your immune system, as well as help you recover faster. Adding in a nap isn’t a bad idea either, if that’s a possibility for you.

4. Assess yourself. It’s hard not to be active for a few days, never mind 2 weeks. You may need to take some more time to recover. Doing some self assessing can be beneficial; don’t start back in to anything prematurely, allowing yourself adequate time to rest and recuperate.

5. Start slow. When you’re ready to get back in to life again, whatever that means for you…take it slow.  Don’t expect your body to automatically bounce back into the groove it was in before you got sick.  It takes time.  Allow yourself to go slow, one thing at a time at back into your routine.  Allowing yourself breaks and rest.

6. Listen to your body. If you start feeling light-headed or nauseous, or anything remotely like “sick”, back off and take it easy.  This applies to anything.  You don’t want a setback and have to check out of life all over again.  Your body knows best so it’s a good idea to listen to it.

This article can also be viewed at Simply-Living-Simply.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!



The Seasonal Food Challenge

Hey Preppers,

Have you ever noticed that your supermarket in Chicago has bananas for sale in February? Down here in South Florida, we have chestnuts available at Christmas time, and lots of other stuff that you know came from a place far, far away. Can anyone even remember a time when the only things you could get to eat were produce that was “in season” and locally grown? I can’t. We take for granted amazing things like coconuts for sale in a market in Montana, and don’t realize that the variety that we have been blessed with, even in the dead of winter, is something that is plain old unnatural. Even worse, the fuel used to transport all these wonderful things to our area leaves a carbon footprint and increases our dependency on foreign sources of oil.

In the old days, we could only eat whatever food was in season, and grown relatively close by if not locally. The complex infrastructure that allows us to eat a wide variety of produce is still intact, but one day that infrastructure, fragile as it is, may no longer be there. What will we do then, after being spoiled our whole lives by the luxury of having the entire world be our grocery store? We’ll have to eat what is grown nearby and producing at that time of the year. It will be a shock, and it won’t be pretty.

I’m looking at our garden. It’s pretty extensive for a suburban property; yet, because it’s so hot here in summer, we have less variety that what we usually have in the cooler seasons. Agriculturally, this is our winter. Despite this, we South Floridians still have cucumbers, okra, some melons, peppers, bananas (yes, we have bananas), sugar cane, avocados and mangos. If we only ate what grew naturally and at this time of year, I could scare up a diet that would keep us healthy just by adding a protein source. But what if we were up north in the winter? We’d be living off whatever we were able to store: corn, potatoes, apples, more if we were skilled at dehydrating.

What if a collapse occurs, and there’s no transportation of food to our area? Without significant food storage, our diet would be pretty bleak by today’s standards. It’s important to plan out now what your daily meals will be like if the you-know-what hits the fan one day. If you’re a prepper, your food storage will fill in the gaps. If you’re not, you’re in trouble.

Here’s a challenge for you. Spend one season, maybe even just a couple of weeks, eating only what’s locally grown and in season for your area. This won’t be a terrible sacrifice in the summer. Many farmer’s markets will sell only locally grown produce. Doing this will teach you what is locally grown in your area, and this is good to know. Visit the same market at different times of the year, and you’ll see how availability changes depending on the season. This will give you a true picture of what is going to go on the table if things go South. If you’re smart, you’ll save some of the seeds from the produce you buy, and plant it next spring. At the very least, you will gain an appreciation for the bounty that we currently enjoy, even if it is somewhat at the expense of the environment in terms of fuel used to deliver it to us.

Dr. Bones

This is a guest post by:


You can view the original article here: http://www.doomandbloom.net/the-seasonal-food-challenge/

Can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Can Do!

You actually filled your deer tags this year.  Your fishing trip gifts you with more fish than you can eat.  You have found a great deal on farm chickens.  What do you do with all that meat?  Have you ever considered canning it?

It is not something most people think of when they are looking to preserve meat, poultry or fish.  Yet there is nothing more simple than just grabbing a jar and cooking.  Why rifle through the freezer and risk freezer burned meat that has been stored a tad bit too long.

To make sure that your meat, poultry and fish are canned safely, it is important that you follow tried and true methods.  All meats are canned using high temperature, or 240 degrees Fahrenheit, to destroy food borne pathogens.  This ensures that your meat can be stored without worry for up to a year.

The first necessity for canning low acid foods like meat is a pressure canner that heats jars to 240 degrees F.  The method of canning using boiling water do not reach temperatures high enough.  To can meat by this method would be unsafe.  Most canners hold 7 quart or 9 pint jars.

Plan to have 1 pint jar for every 2 pounds of meat.  You will need cleaned and sanitized Mason-type jars with new lids and good quality bands.

No matter what type of meat you are cooking make sure that it is a high quality cut that is free from blemishes, bruises, gristle or excessive fat.  The fresher the meat, the better the product.

When canning chicken and rabbit use the freshest you can find.  Mine goes from my rabbit house to the kitchen which is about as fresh as you can get   Soak the rabbit in brine for an hour and then rinse.  Chill chicken for 6-12 hours before canning.  Remove excess fat as this will help prevent your meat from going rancid quickly.  Cut it into suitable sizes for canning.  You can pack them with or without bones.  You can use 2 methods of packing, hot pack or raw pack.

In the hot pack method you must boil, steam or bake the meat until it is about 2/3 done.  Add 1 tsp of salt per quart jar.  Fill the jars with meat and hot broth or water leaving 1 inch of space.  The raw pack method involves simply adding your tsp of salt to your jar with the meat and leaving out the liquid.  I have never used the raw method but it certainly is an option for those who don’t want the broth.

Process in your pressure canner according to it’s instructions  Processing times will vary so a reference chart will be later.

When canning ground meats always begin with fresh beef, lamb, pork, sausage, veal, or venison.  When using venison add one part of pork fat before grinding.  Shape chopped meat into patties and cook until lightly browned.  Remove excess fat.  Fill the jars with meat and 1 tsp salt then add your broth or water leaving one inch of space.

When canning your meats cubed always begin with chilled cuts.  If you are packing a strong flavored wild meat then let it soak for an hour in a salt brine before chilling.  If you are using the hot pack method cook your meat until it is considered rare.

You may also use the meat drippings or any discarded parts of your animals to create a broth for canning and using later in soups and stews.  Simply boil bones and discards until meat is tender and can be picked off the bones.  Let it cool and skim off the fat.  Add the meat back to the stock and reheat to boiling.  Fill jars leaving 1 inch of space.

For all fish except tuna the prep is the same.  Use fresh catches.  Remove the head, tail and fins.  Wash the fish carefully removing all blood.  Split the fish lengthwise and cut into chunks and pack tightly into jars.  Add your 1 tsp salt and water leaving 1 inch space.  Tuna can be packed precooked or raw.  Precooking removes most of the oil but also a lot of the health benefit.  If you choose to precook bake your fish at 225-250 degrees for 2 1/2 to 4 hours depending on fish size.  Make sure that the internal temperature reaches 165-175 degrees.  Refrigerate fish overnight to firm the meat.  Place into the jars with your water, salt and 1 tbsp of vegetable oil per half pint jar.  If canning raw, filet the fish and remove the skin.  Remove blood vessels or any discolored flesh.  Cut meat into quarters and pack tightly.  As with the raw canning method there is no need to use water.

Processing times for meats can be anywhere from 60-90 minutes depending on what you have packed.  You need to be vigilant while they are being heated making sure your canner holds its temperature throughout the recommended time.

TYPE OF MEAT                        PACK TYPE               PROCESS MINUTES

Chicken or Rabbit w/bones   hot or raw            pints 65, quarts 75

Chicken or Rabbit                   hot or raw            pints 75, quarts 90

Ground and chopped meat         hot                   pints 75, quarts 90

Meat cubed, strips, chunks   hot or raw            pints 75, quarts 90

Meat stock                                    hot                   pints 20, quarts 25

Fish                                               raw                   pints 100

Tuna                                         raw/precooked    pints/ 1/2 pints 100

*All PSI will be 10 from 0-1,000 feet and 15 for above 1,000 feet

Refresher Course:

Pour 4-5 inches of hot water in the canner.  Place filled jars in the rack and fasten the      canner lid tightly.  Leave the weight of the vent port.  Heat at the highest setting until steam pours from the vent port.  Exhaust the steam for 10 minutes then place the weight on the vent port.  The canner will pressurize during the next 3-5 minutes.  Start the timing process when you reach proper pressure.  Regulate the heat to maintain a proper pressure.  If your pressure falls below the target pressure, reset your timer and restart your process.  When the timing is done turn off the heat and remove the canner from the source if possible.  Let it depressurize.  After the pressure returns to zero remove the weight from the vent port.  Wait 2 minutes and unfasten the lid.  Remove the jars with the jar lifter and place on a cooling rack.  Cool for 12-24 hours.  Check your seals before storing.  If you find one that is faulty refrigerate the contents and use within 2 weeks.  Store the rest for up to 1 year!

Good luck and good canning!

 Can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Herbal Medicine Kit – Fainting & Dizziness


“Our passion for plant’s it runs through our veins

Our passion for healing and to help ease the pain”

Welcome Back…

 …to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit.  Today we are looking Fainting & Dizziness.  We will be talking about the lovely herb Lavender and making Lavender smelling salts and a Lavender Compress.

Let’s get to it…


Fainting & Dizziness

A “Fainting” Spell

 What IS Fainting, exactly?  Fainting happens because your brain is not receiving enough blood.

 Fainting is characterized by a cold and sweaty feeling, an uncomfortable sensation in the pit of the stomach.

 Why does this happen??  Well, standing up too quickly or overexerting yourself can cause you to feel faint.  A strong emotional shock or the sight of blood is enough to cause some people to feel faint!

A Fainting Episode!



Dizziness is a word that is often used to describe two different feelings, lightheadedness and vertigo. It’s important to know exactly what you mean when you say “I feel dizzy.”

 Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or “pass out.” Although you may feel dizzy, you do not feel as though you or your surroundings are moving. Lightheadedness often goes away or improves when you lie down. If lightheadedness gets worse, it can lead to a feeling of almost fainting or a fainting spell. You may sometimes feel nauseated or vomit when you are lightheaded.

Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. You may feel as though you are spinning, whirling, falling, or tilting. When you have severe vertigo, you may feel very nauseated or vomit. You may have trouble walking or standing, and you may lose your balance and fall.


 Lavender to the rescue!

Lavender Salts

 Probably nobody was as prepared as the Victorians when it came to fainting “spells!”

There herb of choice was Lavender, for everything from sniffing Lavender & Camphor salts to inhaling the aroma of “swooning” pillows…or sachets as we call them now.  Although fainting is not nearly as common these days, almost everyone has a dizzy spell or becomes somewhat “faint” at times.

Lavender salts…

 Lavender is still the herb of choice these days to relieve the occasional dizziness and fainting spell, although any herb with a sharp fragrance such as rosemary, eucalyptus or tea tree will do the trick as well.

 Lavender Compress

Lavender compresses, rolled and ready to use!


Lavender Compress Recipe

Click HERE to print




Keep chilled in the refrigerator.

To take advantage of herbs revivifying effects, place a hot compress on the back of the neck and another on the forehead.  The fragrance of the herbs, and the heat work together to increase circulation.  Combine compresses with the more traditional advice from doctors and place your head between your knees or lie down to get blood flowing into your brain again.

Compresses are also excellent used chilled in hot, humid and sunny weather.  They will help bring down your temperature to alleviate any possibility of those nasty “fainting” spells from heat and over-exertion.

Lavender Smelling Salts Recipe

Click HERE to print


Smelling salts can be any scent that you actually prefer.  Essential oils are messy to transport around, especially in a ladies purse!  Lids come off, oils seep out, bad thing happen and all of a sudden you are a walking rosemary plant!

Here’s an idea; use any essential oil that you like to have around whether that is lavender, rosemary, thieves, a rescue remedy of some sort…and turn it into smelling salts.  No mess, no fuss…no walking rosemary plant!


Recap:  Today we looked at the lovely herb Lavender, made Lavender Smelling Salts and a Lavender Compress.  We talked all about Fainting & Dizziness.

Looking ahead:  Next week we will take a look at Frostbite and Heatstroke.  Our talks will center around many herbs and spices; Cayenne, Ginger, Mulberry, Peony, Peppermint, Licorice and Ginseng.  We will also be making a Foot Warming Powder and a Heat Exhaustion Tea

Reminder:  Gather all your herbs and spices mentioned above.


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Until next post…

Blessings to you and yours,





I am also a Contributing Author at:




Whole Wheat Bread & Roll Recipe

Whole Wheat Bread & Rolls

The Joy of Bread Making!

Ahhh…the quest for the perfect loaf of bread or roll!

And what do we usually end up with? A hockey puck! Or brick!

But no more! I have found the most perfect recipe for whole wheat…yes, you heard me right…whole wheat bread and it is so versatile, you can even use the recipe for rolls, hamburger buns, round artisan loaves, traditional rectangle sandwich loafs! Did I mention it’s NO RISE??!!! Read on fellow frustrated bakers……..

First the recipe…..

Whole Wheat No Rise Bread/Roll Recipe

Click HERE to print

Get your ingredients together…..


***Thank you, thank you Melissa k. Norris!

Now let’s break it down into steps for you….so easy!

Step #1:

Water, yeast, sugar.

Stir your water, yeast, and sugar together. Stir well in a plastic, ceramic or glass bowl. Do NOT use metal…I repeat…do NOT use metal. Your yeasties do not like it! Use a WOODEN SPOON…again, no metal-not even a whisk-yeast does not like metal as it inhibits its growth potential!!! Leave for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy on top. It will look like this:

Frothy top.

Step #2:

Add oil, flour, salt and baking powder and mix well.

Mix, mix, mix.

Step #3:

Knead your dough.

Turn out onto a lightly…lightly floured board and knead gently for a few minutes. Melissa says for 6-8, I have never gone that long. I knead just until the dough is smooth as a babys bottom! See below:

Soft as a baby’s……

Step #4:Divide your dough

This dough will make 1 loaf and 12 rolls OR 2 loaves OR 24 rolls. You decide!

Divide dough…

And again…

Step #5: Form your bread into Loaves and Rolls

Shape into loaf

Cut into portions

Shape into a ball

Step #6: Let rest…yes, rest…not rise…rest!

Let your precious little breads rest a little. You’ve mixed them and punched them and formed them…they’re tired. They will size up a little…but not double. Just FYI.

Resting is good….

Step #6: Bake!

400 degrees for 12-15 minutes for rolls, add 5-10 more for bread

Beautiful Rolls…

Beautiful Loaf…

Melissa recommends baking on a pizza stone. I would love too as well, but cannot find one (I am being frugal and waiting till I find one at a thrift store!), I bake my bread in bread pans AND my round loaves on a foil lined pizza pan and my rolls on a foil lined cookie or pizza pan, lightly sprayed.

Step #7: Enjoy!!

These yummy rolls look so pretty on my china from England!

Really, really good hot out of the oven!!


*I use Turbinado for the sugar in this recipe.

*I use olive oil for the oil in this recipe.

*These keep really well and for a long time in the refrigerator.

*This recipe is very forgiving when it comes to the type of flour used. I have used whole wheat white/wheat half and half and I have used all whole wheat and I have used 1 C each white whole wheat and whole wheat and the rest dark rye.

*Measurements are pretty spot on.

*The baked bread/rolls freeze beautifully…just take out and bake in 350 oven to warm and brown.

Good luck…you won’t need much, this is a fantastic and easy recipe!!

Blessings to you and yours,





I’m also a Contributing Author at:

Modern Homesteaders  http://modernhomesteaders.net