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Prepper's Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor Paperback – June 9, 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is written as though Cat Ellis is talking to you. She has done her research and not only has she covered ingredients, how-to instructions, when various things might be appropriate to use, she obviously knows human physiology and anatomy, the herbs she speaks about and their effects on the body. She has backed up her work with resources and studies, and is very specific about how to prepare nature's medicines for use safely.
What I appreciate is the way Cat Ellis talks to you throughout the book. She draws from real life experience and hours of research and hard work. She also brings home the fact that this is not always a substitute for conventional medicine. Some things cannot be helped by herbal preparations and require immediate hospital care- if it's available. If not, this is a book I will be happy to have with me and hopefully I will be able to gather enough ingredients to start making my own 'Nature's First Aid Kit' right away. I won't be sorry.
If I had to want anything more, I'd want a plastic cover for this book because it's going to get handled quite a bit.
Major pet peeve: the book fails to mention widely-available North American wild plants like Yellow Mustard, Garlic Mustard, Alfalfa, American Mistletoe, Antelope Sage, Aspen, Hops, Mint and Bloodroot, just to name a few. I pulled these from a list of traditional Native American medicinal plants; the kinds of plants a survivalist / prepper can easily find growing along country dirt roads, fallow fields and forested areas throughout most of North America. Yeah, space is limited and, as a writer, you have to draw the line somewhere -- you can't cover them all -- but a lot of this stuff grows wild all over the place and just wasn't mentioned in the book. Your typical old fallow field or open natural grassland can literally be a drug store if you know what to look for and how to use it.
The author did a fairly good job of showing how to prepare the various medicines and remedies mentioned but I felt the focused too much on complex preparations as opposed to plants and herbs that can be used as is or with minor preparation work. If you're into doing this kind of stuff at home, then I suppose the book could be a passable how-to reference guide.
Big disappointment: this isn't a "prepper" book per se. When the "Big One" hits there won't be ANY functioning stores. The traditional market economy will have fallen completely apart; no Walgreens, no Walmart, no internet, no Amazon, no Home Depot, no health food stores and no place to buy herbs or anything else. If you live in an urban area, you're going to have to move to the country. We're going back to basic pioneering days my friends, it's going to be Woods-Craft 101! You're going to be focused on living day-to-day, there'll be no time to grow herbs or make your own alcohol and apple vinegar.
If I'm traveling through the countryside, what essential plants should I grab along the way to put into my medicine bundle? With that mindset, I had all kinds of questions while reading, for example: in a pinch could one use plain old common red clay in place of Bentonite? Would that work?
The author did a decent job covering the preparation for each remedy; that's fine, but what if I'm out in a simple cabin in the woods and don't have access to apple vinegar, grain alcohol and a fully-functional kitchen? I don't have time to mix up a batch of XYZ and let it cure / ferment for two weeks, I need something NOW! What could I find in a couple of hours of tromping around a typical field, wet land or woods in North America? How would I extract oil from Birch bark to make mosquito repellant?. How would I use skunk Cabbage to heal some nasty briar cuts?. That's the kind of stuff I was expecting, but the book came up short.
Some color illustrations of the various herbal plants would have been helpful for those of us new to the hobby. Maybe a short section on how to create & maintain a herb garden? This book seems oriented more towards your typical home-gardening DYI herbalist as opposed to a prepper / survivalist forced to live in the wild. If you come across a copy at your local library (as I did), I'd say it'd be worthwhile to bring home for a quick peruse but can't recommend buying it. Most of this info. is available at various internet sites, the book doesn't really add anything radically different unless you want to add another cookbook to your kitchen library.
Here're a couple of interesting sites dedicated to traditional Native American medicine:
Practical info for infections, burns, broken bones, etc. A very nice list of herbs/ingredients with comprehensive info on what part of the plant to use, what effects it's for, uses, how to prepare it, dosing, and contraindications. All very very useful and easy to understand.
Mind you, there are a lot of medical-ish words that are used that you aren't going to be able to avoid in a book on this subject, but all the definitions are in a glossary you can just flip to and check if needed. Extremely thoughtful and sensible. There's also an appendix at the back that's a chart of herbs/plants appropriate by symptom or use. So you can look it up that way. Also very thoughtful.
The book is not huge, but imo is an excellent size, and is light, so would definitely be worth the space to pack if you needed to. All in all, very impressed with this book.