Natural medicine is a popular topic with many preppers. And rightly so. What will we do if the medical care we’re used to isn’t available?
If you want to explore herbal medicine, or if you want to expand your horizons in it, let me point you to a credible resource. Cat Ellis’s book Prepper’s Natural Medicine gives you needed guidance for making your own herbal medicines.
In an SHTF situation, how do we deal with diabetes when no insulin is available? What if we can’t get antibiotics? These and other questions on key medical topics spurred Cat Ellis to collect answers and put them in her book.
Cat’s goal is to teach people how to make medicines from herbs. She addresses both acute and chronic conditions. In the event we’re without hospitals, with her book you’ll be able to prepare the medical remedies you’ll need.
I’ve read Cat’s book, and I interviewed her for this week’s DestinySurvival Radio. What follows is my summary about Cat, her book, and our conversation.
The Herbal Cat
Cat Ellis is the proverbial fount of knowledge about natural medicine. Her dedication, enthusiasm and confidence are quite evident in what she has written and what she says. She gives straightforward, practical information, without the New Age angle I hear from so many herbalists.
We had no problem filling our time. In fact, I hated to bring the show to an end. I plan to have her on DestinySurvival Radio again to answer questions we didn’t get to this time.
Here’s more background info.
Cat Ellis is a practicing herbalist and dedicated prepper. Her love of herbs began in the 1990’s when herbs helped her recover from the flu. Cat now sees clients and teaches herbal medicine through her private practice, Herbwyfery. She is also a massage therapist, certified in MotherMassage™, and is a member of the American Herbalists Guild.
Economic pressures and a desire for greater freedoms sparked Cat’s interest in survivalism and homesteading in 2008. She describes prepping as having “hundreds of practical hobbies”, like gardening, canning, and self defense. For Cat, being prepared brings both peace of mind and personal satisfaction.
Cat’s love of herbal medicine merged with her love of prepping, resulting in her website, www.HerbalPrepper.com. Cat Ellis is the author of Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Lifesaving Herbs, Essential Oils, and Natural Remedies for When There Is No Doctor, and her articles have been published in PREPARE magazine. Cat has also ventured into the world of broadcasting with two weekly, live, internet radio shows. Cat hosts her own show, Herbal Prepper Live, on the Prepper Broadcasting Network, as well as co-hosting, The Medic Shack, on The Survival Circle Radio Network.
Cat Ellis lives on the New England coast with her beekeeper husband and homeschools their children.
The Leaves Between the Covers
Before I share a few of my own observations about Cat’s book, here’s an overview of what you’ll find inside.
When disaster strikes and you lose all access to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, natural medicine will be your family’s best hope for survival. Prepper’s Natural Medicine is the definitive guide to creating powerful home remedies for any health situation, including:
- Herbal Salve for infections
- Poultice for broken bones
- Natural Ointment for poison ivy
- Infused Honey for burns
- Essential Oil for migraines
- Soothing Tea for allergies
- Nutritional Syrup for flu
With easy-to-read herbal charts, a breakdown of essential oils, tips for stockpiling natural medicines and step-by-step instructions for creating your own elixirs, salves and more, this book offers everything you need to keep you and your loved ones safe.
- Stocking the Home Apothecary
- Basic Skills
- Materia Medica
- Herbal First Aid Kit
- Everyday Natural Medicine
This isn’t a big book–a little more than 230 pages, but it covers a lot of ground in a relatively small amount of space. My review copy has no pictures or drawings. If you want to identify plants, you’ll need to get another manual on herbs for that.
The headings and subheadings aren’t printed as boldly as I wish they were. I recommend getting a set of brightly colored highlighter markers and marking up the book as you see fit, so you can find your way around in it more easily.
For doing herbal tinctures, extracts, infusions and more, you’ll need to know about alcohol, vinegar, glycerine, raw honey, just to name a few of the key elements. And Cat fills you in on them all.
Tinctures and the methods for making them are also explained. Cat discusses syrups and elixers, too. She’s a big fan of raw honey because of its numerous benefits.
Get ready to learn several terms, such as infusion and decoction, to name just two.
Materia medica is another important term. It’s a reference guide to substances used for remedies and cures. Chapter 4 is devoted to 50 top herbs. Cat acknowledges there are more, but her listing is a good start. She would have included more, but didn’t want the book to become unweildy.
The herbal first aid kit discussed in chapter 5 is meant for long term scenarios, when there is no hospital available. It lists ailments and injuries you might encounter and the treatments for them. For example, burns, heart attacks, muscle and joint pain, migraines, poison ivy, snake and spider bites, and wound care are just a few.
If you’re serious about natural medicine under such conditions, Cat recommends you take a first aid course suited for wilderness survival.
Chapter 6 emphasizes prevention and good health. Recipes included will help in dealing with a number of chronic ailments, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, asthma, and more. One section is devoted specifically to women’s health issues.
Doseage recommendations include doses for children and the elderly. That’s an aspect of Cat’s book I’m sure you’ll find helpful.
Prepper’s Natural Medicine isn’t meant to be the final word as far as reference guides go. But this one should definitely be in your survival library. You’ll refer to it often.
To do further research, in the back of the book you’ll find a resource listing of books and Web sites. You’ll want to make frequent use of that back matter because it includes an appendix, glossary of actions of herbs, and indices. One index lists ailments and where to find the info about them in the book.
Harvesting the Goods
I have the utmost admiration for those like Cat who study and practice herbalism. I’m interested in it, but it goes over my head in a hurry. Of course, those who have such knowledge will be valuable to you and me in difficult times when modern medical care isn’t available.
Prepper’s Natural Medicine isn’t casual reading. However, I’ve only read through it once so I could tell you about it. I would approach it differently if I were intent on making herbal medicines. It’s truly a study guide.
I appreciate Cat’s conversational writing style. I also appreciate what she relates from her personal experiences. She told me in our visit that she has done what she could to make her book understandable.
She put information in it which she wishes had been in the first herbal books she read. That should be a boost for you if you’re new to natural medicine.
If you’re going to harvest the goods from Cat’s book, I recommend reading it through once to get familiar with it, though you may want to skim the materia medica section. Then go back over the book as needed. You’re not going to get it all with one read through.
If you’re new to herbalism, Cat recommends starting at the book’s beginning because that’s where she discusses the skills that are involved. The herbs she wrote about include those you should be able to grow yourself or buy in bulk. The recipes she provides aren’t theoretical formulas cut and pasted in. She has prepared each one herself.
A Dab of This ‘n’ That
Did you know golden rod isn’t the cause of allergies that most people think it is? Cat says so in her book.
Did you know St. John’s Wort can be used for wound care, not just for depression? You’ll need the book to see more on this, too.
Oh, and here’s a health tip for all of us, both for now and in the future. Getting rid of sugar in our diets would be beneficial for improving our overall health.
Incidentally, if you’re concerned about the alcohol in herbal solutions, don’t worry. Cat assures me you or your children will ingest only a tiny amount, especially when a tincture is diluted.
During our conversation I asked Cat how to know what to do with a given herb. Make a tincture? Dry it? Much depends on what you need the herb to do and how fast you need it. But to take the guess work out of it, in her materia medica she spells out the best uses for each herb.
Concerning essential oils, Cat says in her book to use them with caution. Several require combination or dilution with another oil, called a carrier oil. Otherwise, you may burn your skin.
As for shelf life, dried herbs will last more than a year. Herbs preserved in alcohol have a long, indefinite shelf life. For oils, coconut oil makes a great carrier oil because it resists spoilage. Cat talked about shelf life more in our conversation.
You probably have most of the equipment you need in your kitchen for preparing herbal medicines, especially if you can your garden produce or make jelly. You will likely need to buy suitable bottles and containers.
Cat tells you in her book what glassware and other equipment to use. You can take her word for her recommendations because she’s writing from experience.
No Better Time
Learning to become an herbalist won’t happen overnight. It takes time. Perhaps years. So start now, if you’re serious about pursuing this as part of your prepping strategy.
Don’t think there’s that much time left? Then I suggest you get to know someone who takes herbal medicine as seriously as Cat does. Hopefully, that’s someone who has a copy of Prepper’s Natural Medicine.
Cat recommends not waiting until disaster strikes before you delve into herbal medicine. For example, some formulas take six weeks to complete. Besides, if you have a chronic condition, the sooner you get yourself into better health, the more ready you’ll be in the proverbial SHTF scenario when modern medical care isn’t available.
Cat’s Top Five
Here are Cat’s top five reasons why preppers need to learn about natural medicine.
- Natural medicine works.
- Natural medicine belongs to everyone.
- Natural medicine is easy to learn.
- Natural medicine is sustainable over the long term.
- Natural medicine provides valuable barter items.
Digging at the Roots
As usual, I’ve written a longer post than I intended, but it still only scratches the surface of things. Hear my conversation with Cat Ellis by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for August 27, 2015. (Right click to download.)
Get Prepper’s Natural Medicine by first clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where you can place your order.
If you have questions for Cat, you can contact her through her site at www.HerbalPrepper.com.