Herbs For Now And After The Zombie Apocalypse
Hey, it could totally happen. And when it does you want to be prepared. That means having a first aid kit on hand that you can count on. A first aid kit that will not only support your symptoms and bring you relief, but one that heals wounds, prevents infection, boosts your immune system, relieves pain, and of course relieves gas and bloating. There is nothing more annoying than being stuck in a bomb shelter during a zombie apocalypse with someone who has gas. So to that end (no pun intended) let’s get started and give you a tour of your new apocalyptic medicine cabinet.
Zombie Apocalypse Digestive Aids
—Gas and Bloating
Gas and bloating happen most often when digestion is compromised and food sits in the gut and begins to ferment. (Sounds sexy, right?) Stress, decreased production of hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes, eating too much, and not chewing your food thoroughly are all things that may contribute to gas and bloating. In these situations, you want to reach for carminative or bitter herbs that stimulate stagnant digestion.
- Carminatives: for that feeling when food is just sitting in your gut. Take a ½ teaspoon of any of the following in the parsley family: fennel seeds, anise seeds, cumin, fennel, or cardamom and chew the seeds coarsely, then swallow with water for relief within 30 minutes. Dill is milder and can be used with children. Seeds are fabulous to have on hand in case you need to grow your own food and keep your family’s digestion strong at the same time.
- Ginger tea: 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 tablespoon organic orange peel, and 3 tablespoons fennel. Pour 24 ounces boiling water over mixture and steep for 10-20 minutes. This can be poured over ice for a refreshing summer beverage.
- Liquid Bitters: These are great when you know you are in stress and digestion may be compromised, or when you know you have sluggish digestion. Liquid bitters promote upper GI secretions and stimulate digestion. Often made with barberry, gentian (insanely bitter), goldenseal, and dandelion. Dose: ¼ teaspoon or ½ dropper full before and/or after meals.
Constipation is sluggish digestion resulting from lack of water, fiber, movement, or stress. This could easily happen while your waiting for the end of the world to end and it is safe to come out of your shelter. The herbs mentioned for gas and bloating can also be used to stimulate digestion and ease constipation, but if you need the big guns, the following are a few ideas to get things moving.
- My favorite Ayurvedic remedy Triphala: 2 capsules twice daily for chronic support (Tri-berry combination: amalaki, haritaki, bibitaki). It cleanses, stimulates, and tonifies the GI tract.
- Bitters as mentioned have a strong laxative and stimulating effect and can be taken for constipation
- Prunes (handy to have in your dried food stores)
- Water and fiber
Acute diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of something; it is usually a good idea not to stop it unless it becomes excessive. It is usually related to a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. Food poising can also cause diarrhea. Diarrhea causes the body to lose vital amounts of fluids, and dehydration is a concern. So, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Here is a great electrolyte replacement beverage for just such occasions:
Chronic diarrhea may be related to digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or untreated bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections. Food allergies and sensitivities may also play a role in chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea may cause an excessive and dangerous loss of vital fluids. In these cases stopping the diarrhea can be a lifesaver.
- Carob Powder: Start with 1 tablespoon mixed in water. Increase dose gradually until diarrhea stops for immediate relief. Active ingredients are pectin (water-soluble substance that aids digestion) and tannins, which are carbohydrates and plant pigments that have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Additionally, the tannins retain water and act as a binding agent resulting in firmer stools.
- Goldenseal: Antimicrobial (endangered herb; please use responsibly) Dose: depending on the person and condition, up to 6 grams/day.
- Garlic: Bombard intestines with it.
- Charcoal: Draws stuff to it and draws it out of the body.
- Probiotics to help your body win the battle of the bugs
- Astringents: Astringents are fabulous for healing the gut, they are used by herbalists to tighten and tone gut tissues and support “leaky” gut or tissues that weep with inflammation: Turmeric, Rose, Blackberry root and leaf, Black and Green Tea, and Witch Hazel are handy astringents to have on hand.
—Acid Reflux/Indigestion/Upset Tummy/Heartburn
- Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL): chew 1-2 tablets to coat tummy and soothe acid symptoms. More can be taken to relieve symptoms if needed.
- Slippery elm bark capsules, powder, or tea: protect this plant and use responsibly. Dose: dependent on person and condition, between 1-6 tablespoons/day before or between meals as needed
- Marshmallow root powder capsules or tea. Dose: dependent on person and condition, 1-6 tablespoons/day before or between meals
- Mullein Leaf: 1 teaspoon per cup water as tea
- 6-8oz celery juice before bed
DGL powder can be made into a paste (swish in mouth for three minutes and spit) to treat mouth ulcers. Who needs the purple pill?
Things that may contribute to acid reflux like symptoms are stress, (a zombie apocalypse could cause some stress) decreased production of hydrochloric acid, or digestive enzymes, eating too much, or the lower esophageal sphincter not closing tightly, can all cause discomfort. H Pylori or other infection may also be an underlying problem. Food causes: coffee, tomatoes, and peppers.
What to do?
- Bitters: ¼ teaspoon or 1 dropper full to stimulate digestion and promote gastric emptying.
- Turmeric: dependent on person and condition, between 1-3 tablespoons per day for its astringent, healing, nutritive, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Goldenseal: Antimicrobial (endangered herb; please use responsibly) Dose: depending on the person and condition, up to 6 grams/day for its antimicrobial properties
- Licorice, marshmallow, slippery elm, mullein leaf to soothe and heal tissues
- Fennel tea; to soothe and heal tissues
- Eat less
- Chew food, be relaxed, eliminate stress
Zombie Apocalypse Liver Support
Let’s say you’ve been drinking too much of that 100 proof vodka you use for your tinctures and your liver starts kicking and screaming. You start getting a muffin top, and your partners in the shelter notice your face is starting to turn a little yellow with jaundice. The first thing you will need to do is put down the vodka. I know, it’s an apocalypse, but if you really want to live, which is why you built the bomb shelter in the first place, it is a good idea to treat your liver with kindness and put down the vodka. Then reach for the following:
- Milk Thistle Seeds: protects and repairs liver. 1 teaspoon seeds/cup as tea
- Dandelion root: 1 teaspoon root/cup as tea
- Beets, dandelion greens, root vegetables
Beets really work well. In fact it works so well it will eliminate the itchy nastiness of hemorrhoids within two weeks by eating a small portion of beets daily. (Hemorrhoids are a symptom of a congested liver.)
It is also good to know that dandelions; a common weed in the Pacific Northwest is a nutrient dense edible herb, not the nasty weed everyone wants to kill. Every time I see a dandelion plant I think to myself, “Look at those tasty bitter greens! Num!”
Zombie Apocalypse Musculoskeletal Conditions
The following remedies are fantastic to have on hand for when you cut yourself whittling in the shelter, get bitten by a zombie, pull a muscle running from a zombie, or burn yourself making a fire to cook your dinner.
—Muscle Pain and Stiffness (Overexertion, Bruises, and Swelling)
- Comfrey Leaf and/or Root Salve: analgesic/connective tissue healing. Great for sprains, wounds, burns, arthritis, and contusions. Comfery salves relieve pain, swelling, support muscle, cartilage, and bone and can be massaged into the tissue or applied topically.
- Ginger Root Salve: warming, use for occasional sore muscles. Can be massaged into the tissue or applied topically.
- Arnica Flower Salve: analgesic (relieves pain) can help treat physical trauma, bruises, strains, and occasional muscle pain. Use immediately after strenuous exertion or injury to prevent, relieve, and reduce swelling, bruises, and pain. Can be massaged into the sore muscles or applied topically.
- Cayenne Pepper Salve: A very warming salve, good for occasional sore muscles, and alleviates pain and itching. Can be massaged into the tissue or applied topically. Do not use on open sores or cuts unless you want to be screaming like a zombie.
- Turmeric or fish oil for internal use.
—Minor Abrasions, Cuts, Scrapes, and Wounds
- Calendula Flower Salve: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, vulnerary (healing wounds). Useful for a wide variety of skin irritations and conditions, including wounds, insect bites, rashes, scrapes, abrasions, cuts, and much more. Suitable for sensitive skin and babies. For topical use.
- Chamomile Flower Salve: antiseptic analgesic. Minor abrasions, cuts, scrapes, and wounds applied topically.
- Goldenseal Leaf and/or Root Salve: antiseptic. Useful for treating minor wounds and skin conditions topically.
- Myrrh Gum Powder Salve: antiseptic, analgesic. Used for cuts, scrapes, scratches, and abrasions topically.
- Oregon Grape Root Salve: antimicrobial, astringent, vulnerary herb that contains berberine (berberine kills yeast and bacteria). Fabulous used topically as a skin disinfectant for minor wounds.
- Thyme salve: antiseptic. Used topically for cuts, scrapes.
—Burns and Sunburns
- Chickweed salve: Antipruritic (anti-itch) emollient (softens skin). Soothing, helps topically with skin conditions, minor burns, insect bites, and other skin irritations.
- Lavender flowers essential oil: analgesic, antiseptic, antimicrobial. Soothing, calming, relieves pain, has healing properties beneficial when used topically for minor wounds and numerous skin conditions.
- John’s Wort Salve: antibacterial, and vulnerary herb that is a profound healer of sunburns. Beneficial for burns, minor wounds, cuts, bruises, muscular pain, insect bites and stings, nerve support, scrapes, and minor burns. Topical use.
Zombie Apocalypse Herpes, Eczema, and Psoriasis
- Licorice salve or poultice has shown to be beneficial for these conditions when used topically.
Insect Bites and Stings
- Echinacea herb and/or root salve: Beneficial for minor sores, wounds, insect bites, and stings.
- Plantain leaf salve: Antipruritic (anti itch) antiseptic. Helps speed the recovery process. Relieves and soothes insect bites and stings, poison ivy, itching, minor sores, bruises, blisters, and damaged skin.
Salves are semi-solid at room temperature; yet soften when applied to the skin and tend to be less goopy than oils.
Salves are created for a variety of external topical uses.
Zombie Apocalypse Inflammation: 4 Rock Star Herbs That Help
- For internal use as tea, food, capsules, or external use as poultice.
- For internal use as gruel, capsules, or external use as a poultice.
- For use internally as a tea or externally as a salve.
- A very cold bitter herb for use as a tincture, tea, or capsules.
Zombie Apocalypse Cold and Flu
Bacteria are linked to infections such as otitis media (ear), tonsillitis (tonsils), pneumonia (lungs), bronchitis (airways), sinusitis (sinuses), pharyngitis (throat), and whooping cough (airways).
Most respiratory infections, however, are caused by viruses rather than by bacteria. It can be difficult to determine whether you have a viral or bacterial infection because the symptoms are often similar. A doctor will most likely have to conduct tests. But here are a few differences:
Over 100 different viruses can cause the common cold. Less intense than the flu symptoms, cold symptoms are milder and can resolve quickly, but can last up to two weeks. Rhinovirus is a cold that can hit at any time of the year.
- Runny or stuffed up nose
- Sore throat
- Mild-to-moderate fever
- Headache or body aches
- Mild fatigue
Influenza A, B, and C virus infections are generally more intense than cold symptoms and can develop into pneumonia. The flu is seasonal, usually running from fall to spring, peaking in the winter months.
- Runny or stuffed up nose
- Sore throat
- Dry, hacking cough
- Moderate-to-high fever
- Shaking chills
- Severe muscle or body aches
- Profound fatigue (may last up to two weeks)
Viruses cause such respiratory infections as the common cold (rhinovirus), the flu (influenza), some pneumonias, and bronchiolitis.
These bugs cannot be killed by chemicals, drugs, antibiotics, or herbal compounds. The only way to fight these is to boost the body’s own immune system, and herbs are fabulous for that! Herbs can also inhibit the development of the virus, or prevent it from attacking a cell, which is better than attacking specific pathogens directly because pathogens mutate over time.
In the case of a zombie apocalypse the following herbs are essential to have on hand considering it will most likely be a viral outbreak that actually causes the zombie apocalypse. Hence the only way to protect yourself against the zombie virus is to deal with the virus. The following herbs can be used to create a custom protocol and will give you some fun insight into the mind of an herbalist and how we combine herbal formulations for our clients and our intention of use for each herb.
Herbal Approach for Cold and Flu
- Boot out the invader (in the case of the zombie virus, prevent it from infecting cells and boost the immune system) The following herbs can be used selectively depending on the infection:
- Echinacea: Inhibits bacteria and viruses from penetrating healthy cells
- Garlic: fabulous antimicrobial that has an affinity for ear and cardiovascular system.
- Oregano: inhibits viral infections, fights parasites and inflammation.
- Elderberry: very efficient at inhibiting influenza, herpes, and bacterial infections.
- Calendula: inhibits viruses, bacteria; inflammation, and treats infections, burns, cuts, and wounds.
- Nourish the infected tissue (In the case of cold or flu the respiratory system)
- Gentian root: an anti-inflammatory and fever remedy great for sinus infections
- Licorice root: Prevention of hepatitis C, HIV and influenza, relieves cough and sore throat, protects against leaky gut, reduces adrenal fatigue, relieves pain and nourishes tissues.
- Ginger: warms body, breaks down toxins, cleanses lymphatic system, relieves nausea, alleviates pain and inflammation, nutritive.
- Support Immune system
- Astragalus root: A renowned immune enhancer and building tonic that boosts the immune system and inhibits viruses.
- Isatidis root: A broad spectrum anti-microbial that has been shown to have activity against many types of bacteria and viruses and can be helpful in reducing fever and stimulating the immune system.
- Symptomatic Relief
- Wild Cherry Bark Syrup for sore throat
- Elderberry syrup for sore throat
- Thyme Tea (expectorant, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, great for coughs!)
Hay Fever and Allergies
- Freeze Dried Nettle: Take 2 and titrate up to 10 capsules at once or per day for immediate allergy relief. (Nettle reduces the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. Nettles are also extremely nutritive, meaning they can be eaten as food during a zombie apocalypse!
- Celery juice for hay fever
- Julia’s sinus chest salve to relieve nasal congestion
Here is a fabulous nettle soup recipe!
Nothing can give you a headache more than fighting zombies. So at the end of the day when you return to your shelter reach for the following herbs for relief:
- Feverfew: Taken fresh, in capsular form, or as tea, feverfew can clear migraines within a month. Chew on fresh leaves at onset of headache or migraine, or mix 1 teaspoon dried feverfew with boiling water as tea.
- Lavender, rosemary peppermint oil: Rub into temples, or inhale.
- Pain relief: White willow, Jamaican dogwood, valerian root teas or in capsular form.
- Julia’s sinus and chest salve: rub into temples and forehead.
Anxiety or Shock
This is definitely a condition that needs addressing in a zombie apocalypse. If you get bitten you may go into shock, which is not conducive to your immune system fighting the virus.
- Kava, St. John’s wort, valerian, chamomile, poppy. These can be taken in capsular form or in in teas. Dosage depends on the person and condition.
- Five flower formula: this is the same ingredient list as rescue remedy; use as directed
- Stress release aromatherapy blend: dab as a perfume on hands and inhale for calming effect.
To help you get to sleep:
- Ground poppy seeds: ¼ teaspoon steeped in warm milk before bed. Slowly increase to the dose that gives you the best sleep without morning grogginess.
To help you stay asleep:
- Ground Nutmeg: ¼ teaspoon steeped in warm milk before bed. Slowly increase to the dose that gives you the best sleep without morning grogginess.
It is okay to use both nutmeg and poppy at the same time. Titrate the dose up until sleep is achieved with a little grogginess in the morning, and then cut back to last previous dose.
Menopause and Female Care
—Dong Quai Root (Queen of Herbs)
Fabulous blood mover, reduces pain and inflammation, promotes menstruation, menstrual regulator, great overall tonic for women. Use for PMS, cramps, menopause. This herb is an adaptogen and has an affinity for the uterus.
Great female uterine tonic and aphrodisiac. Use for menstrual irregularity, menopausal symptoms, and infertility. Can be used to increase or encourage the flow of milk in lactating women.
—St. Johns Wort
Superb for menopausal problems, anxiety, depression, fear, feelings of worthlessness, and nerve pain.
- Activated charcoal tablets: 25 grams or half a bottle for children. Up to a full bottle for adults until emergency help can be found.
Again, if you have consumed too much of your 100 proof vodka you use for tinctures, charcoal can also be used to absorb alcohol and prevent hangovers in cases of overindulgence; take 2 capsules before bed or in the morning with at least 8 ounces of water.
Herbal Mosquito Repellant
- Chaparral, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary essential oils
Herbal Care of Teeth and Gums
This is a valuable recipe to have on hand because you probably wont have access to a grocery store and toothpaste will become the next form of currency, giving you immense bartering leverage.
Twigs contain volatile oils, which stimulate blood circulation, tannins that tighten and cleanse gum tissue, and other materials such as vitamin C, which maintains healthy gums. Bay, eucalyptus, oak, fir, juniper, neem tree in Asia, marshmallow, licorice, alfalfa, or horseradish can also be used.
Qualities of herbal toothpaste: (Can you see the herbal formulation and intent here?)
- Warming: pungent herbs that promote circulation in gums like cinnamon, bayberry root, and prickly ash bark.
- Astringent: herbs that contain tannins, which tighten the gums, such as white oak bark, myrrh, turmeric.
- Detoxifying: to remove debris, echinacea.
- Increase circulation and kill germs: tea tree oil, peppermint, spearmint
- Kill germs: frankincense.
Zombie Apocalypse Herbal Preparations
There are many ways herbs can be used during a zombie apocalypse. The following is a list of preparations to give you an idea of how you can prepare your herbs to be used for different situations.
Bring 1 pint of water to a boil and pour over 1 ounce of herb. For flowers and leaves, steep for 10 minutes; for barks or berries, steep for 20 minutes; for roots, steep for 30 minutes. Can be served hot or cold.
Easy, long shelf life, taste, some properties enhanced by drying.
Boil one quart of water with 2 ounces of herb down to 1 pint; then add 2 ounces of honey or maple syrup.
Never lose potency, alcohol-based, but not potent enough to really get a response. Realistic dose is ½ ounce per day.
Easy and quick to prepare.
Convenient, store well.
Easy and gives immediate relief.
The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be substituted for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional. If you rely upon any information in this booklet or use any of the recipes or products without obtaining the advice of a physician or other health care professional, you do so at your own risk. The nutritional and other information in this article is not intended to be, and does not constitute, health care or medical advice.
© Good Decisions 2016