Although it’s become incredibly popular of late, there’s nothing new about the concept of leading a holistic lifestyle. After all, along with natural remedies, these practices have been around for thousands of years. And, for those of you who don’t know what a holistic lifestyle is, it’s a means of living your life and healing your body using mother nature’s bounty. Which, undoubtedly, is a style of living you may well have to adopt if you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation.
For this post, I’ve chosen to showcase the Celts and their holistic use of plants, weeds and trees for survival purposes. If you were poorly way back then, you’d make an appointment to visit the ancient doctors of the Celts. These were the Druids, who used plants/trees and rituals in their healing practices, alongside natural remedies. Isn’t it strange that what we see today as “armageddon” survival, the Celts will have experienced as a normal, every day means of living?
The Celts & Natural Remedies
The first thing of note about Celts, was that they practised animism, a belief that all things on earth, whether animate or inanimate, contained a soul. As a result, they became great caretakers of nature, as the last thing they wanted was to anger the spirit or soul that resided within any plant or tree!
Notice, I didn’t say “weed”, this is because they didn’t exist during this period. Its a more modern term for what’s otherwise a perfectly good plant. However, as technology developed, so too did weeds. After all, they’re merely plants that get in the way of humanity’s more modern needs. And so we now find ourselves in the position where many healing plants are relegated to weeds, and as a result, a lot of natural remedies became lost in the aeons of time.
In 2017 an ethnobotanical analysis showed that 128 plant species could treat wounds. And, today I’m going to concentrate on 3 of the more prevalent healing plants. Meaning they are easy to find and to identify, and more importantly, the Celts will have used these plants in their natural remedies, as well as one wild mushroom I’m adding into my ‘survival medicine cabinet’. So, here they are:
The good old stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). This plant will have been used extensively by the Celts as a critical ingredient in their natural remedies. Its ability to heal both internal and external bleeding, as well as various skin conditions, made it a ‘must have’. When applied as a powder or poultice, and due to its anti-haemorrhagic effect, they would use it to treat and stop the bleeding wounds of their warriors.
Nettle teas and tinctures will also have found a place in a Druid’s natural remedies. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-haemorrhagic effects having placed them there, possibly in the No.1 spot! And they can also be used in the treatment of arthritis, sciatica and muscle aches.
I’ll Have a Cup of Tea Please!
I have to say that I prefer to take my medicine as a lovely cup of nettle tea! And why not, thanks to the Boron in the nettle plant, all of the above conditions are helped in a more natural way, and with no pain whatsoever! If you’d like to find out more about nettles, take a look at my blog post, “10 Reasons to Love Nettles”.
It’s also worth remembering that nettles have a far higher iron content than spinach, which pretty much ranks it as a “super-food”. Throwing a yummy nettle soup together will, therefore, ensure that your body is getting all the right nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Did You Know?
The Romans are said to have whipped their aching limbs with nettles, which is a process known as urtication. The victim, oops, I mean the patient, flayed their aching joints with the freshly picked plant!
And did you know that during the war, nettle stem fibres were used to make material for clothing? A practice that the Celts utilised to produce not only a linen-like cloth but also rope. It’s certainly worth bearing this in mind if you’re facing an extreme survival situation!
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
We may all be familiar with the old playground taunt, “dandelions make you pee the bed”, and this unfortunate taunt came about because they make an excellent diuretic! However, you’d have to eat an awful lot of them to pee the bed, and where’s the fun in that?
Today herbalists, as did the Celts, use natural dandelion remedies to detoxify, cleanse the blood, and to aid digestion. Furthermore, this potent weed strengthens the liver and assists it in breaking down toxins. And, as a result, it has a positive impact on conditions such as gallstones or kidney stones, helping your body to break them down and eliminate them (which is pretty damn painful by the way – just saying!).
The hollow stem of the dandelion is home to a milky juice, known as dandelion latex. And it’s this part of the plant that the Celts would use to treat and heal wounds when concocting a natural remedy.
Because of its detoxifying “superpower”, dandelions should find themselves in your survival medicine cabinet for sure. After all, they’re a special friend of the immune system, and you can consume them as a tea, tonic or soup. Of course, there are many other ways to include dandelions in your diet; it’s a case of letting your imagination fly! And, let’s face it, I’m guessing you may well have to be pretty imaginative in a survival situation! If you’d like to find out more about this rather fantastic weed, then take a look at this article, which details 14 conditions that the dandelion can help to heal.
Oh, and another thing, hands up if you remember Camp Coffee? (I have both of mine in the air by the way) As it happens, you can make coffee with dandelions! Stuff natural remedies I hear you say, bring me a cup of coffee!! Instead of chicory, which is in Camp, you use the roots of the dandelion to make the coffee. Dig up the roots, wash them, air dry them or rig up a drying system. Then roast and grind them, and there you have it, coffee, without the nasty caffeine. I haven’t tried this myself, but by all accounts, it does make a weaker but tasty coffee.
This little tree/bush has astounding healing properties and is a powerhouse as far as natural remedies are concerned. If you’re encountering heart disease or problems, then this is the plant you need in your survival medicine cabinet. Its berries, leaves and flowers are packed full of antioxidants. Therefore, congestive heart failure, hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, blood pressure, and angina will all benefit from a daily dose of hawthorn tincture, decoction or tea. And, in case you’re interested, here’s a study that details the use of hawthorn extract to reduce high blood pressure in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.
I recently wrote an article on ‘Homemade Herbal Remedies’ which guides you through the process of preparing natural remedies. But if you’re serious about survival medicine, knowing and learning the many uses of the Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is an absolute must. Needless to say, as is the case with many conventional medicines, don’t take this long term. I’d, therefore, recommend 16 weeks at the most, of 3 doses per day, taken as a tea, decoction or tincture.
Last, but not least, the birch polypore is an amazing wild mushroom which you must make room for in your survival medicine cabinet amongst your natural remedies. It’s readily available and easy to find, and rather than me prattling on about it here, why not take a look at this article, “The Secret Life of a Mushroom”, it’ll tell you everything you need to know about this amazing gift from Mother Nature.
And there you have it, my top 4 natural remedies I’d recommend for the first shelf of your survival medicine cabinet. However, I must say, I’d want to allocate one person in the group as the “medicine doctor”. After all, the Celts did precisely that, using the Druids for that very purpose! This person should be as knowledgable as possible in the administration and prescribing of herbal remedies. Survival, after all, is about preparation.
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