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Reindustrialization After The Fall- Part 1, By Redneck Granddaddy

Okay, the balloon went up, but you were prepared enough that two years later, you and your family are still alive at your retreat. Great! Right? Well, maybe. Let’s take inventory.

Post-Balloon Evaluation

Food Storage

Your food in storage is about gone. You have been gardening for the last ten years and thought you were golden, but the first year wasn’t near big enough. The second year you went way big and plowed more land while the tractor still ran, but you didn’t have the seed or fertilizer. Still, you carried on with composting and seed saving, but most of your heirloom varieties were really hybrids mislabeled and sold as heirlooms. That was a teachable moment.

It’s good to be frugal, but Gullible is the name of a large, vicious dog that sooner or later bites everyone in the butt, and if you had read the fine print you would … Continue reading

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The Left’s Vindictive Databases: For Blaming, Shaming, Defaming, and SWATting

A key tactic of The Left is to demonize their political opponents. They have become increasingly sophisticated at this since the turn of the 21st Century. Most recently they have assembled voluminous databases on “Right Wing”, “Alt-Right” , and “Hate Groups.” But by lumping together legitimate conservative political activists (such as Tea Party groups) and right to life groups in the same lists as racists, bigots, the KKK, and assorted anti-Semites, they have besmirched the reputations of nearly everyone who opposes the socialist agenda. Some of the latest generations of databases can safely be called Vindictive Databases.

A new article in Wired magazine describes the level of database automation that The Left are now employing: Meet Antifa’s Secret Weapon Against Far-Right Extremists. This article reveals a large database called Whack-a-mole. This tool automatically mines data from Facebook, based on keywords like “patriot” and “anti-Obama” without applying human analysis. … Continue reading

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New Date for Jim Cobb Basic Food Storage Class

Hello everyone

Sorry for any inconvenience but we had to move Jim Cobb class to March 3rd, 2018. Here is the link to the event. Hope to see a lot of people there. We have a few surprises and giveaways, so come and learn about food storage.

Basic Food Storage with Jim Cobb

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Clarity of Mind and Survival- Part 2, by The Recovering Feminist

This is the second part of an article that focuses on the reality of forgiveness in a person’s survival mindset. It is not approached from a psychological perspective but recognizes that having a clear and sharp mind is critical not only for making good survival decisions but for making good decisions in general. In part one, we covered how forgiveness is essential to survival, vengeance v. mercy, and the sexual assault epidemic, including the harm of the “me too” trend. Let’s continue on.

Confront Evil

Some of the worst acts of betrayal happen to those in positions of vulnerability who feel helpless under the influence and power of evil men. We must be willing to listen carefully to the hurts of others and not be afraid to speak truth to both the victim and the offender. I am aware of a particular woman who was sexually assaulted by two medical … Continue reading

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Clarity of Mind and Survival- Part 1, by The Recovering Feminist

Survival and a Clear Mind

Survival necessitates recognition of both outer and inner realities, both material and immaterial truth. We tend to think externally about survival. For instance, we think of addressing food storage, first-aid, efficiency, self defense, physical preparations, et cetera, but we fail to realize that all of these decisions are influenced first by a clear and sharp mind. We all have an inner life. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the inner life affects every decision we make. Harboring bitterness over past scorn or wallowing in the life experience of betrayal influences a person’s clarity of mind. Likewise, the mind of an offender consumed with guilt and refusing to yield to the mercy of forgiveness is equally affected.

A clear conscience and a sharp mind produce the best decisions. When pressures mount and survival is at stake, these two (clear conscience and sharp thinking) are crucial. A … Continue reading

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Economics and Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on Hyperinflation in Venezuela. (See the Economy and Finance section.)

Precious Metals:

First off, over at Zero Hedge: Gold ETF Holdings Surge To 4-Year Highs Ahead Of Lunar New Year

Forex:

Just as I have been warning you for several years in this column: It’ll be another weak year for the US dollar, Goldman Sachs predicts. It is wise to hedge into foreign currencies. For stability over the next several years, the Swiss Franc is still my favorite.

Commodities:

Alcoa Headwinds Vs. Constellium Tailwinds

 

Continue reading

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The Long View- Part 3, by J.M.

I try to have a long view, one that is both near and far in perspective. We are in the final part of this article, taking a look at the preparations required for a long-term scenario, in the event of a major societal break down. This is part of my routine, as I evaluate my own preparations compared with risk assessments.

We have looked at repairs, food, water, weapons, and medical topics in the previous two portions of this article. Now let’s move on to how we keep warm and prepare our food.

Heating and Cooking

If you don’t live near the equator, you’ll probably need a source of heat for your dwelling, and you’ll definitely need a source of heat for cooking no matter where you live. And unless you’re near a surface coal mine, the only real viable long-term sustainable source for producing heat … Continue reading

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The Long View- Part 2, by J.M.

I try to have a long view, one that is both near and far in perspective. Whenever significant events occur, I do a quick review of my potential events risk analysis to see if anything’s changed that might impact how I’m prepared. In this article, I am taking a look at the preparations required for a long-term scenario, in the event of a major societal break down. We have covered the need for repairs and tools to make repairs, when items or parts and supplies won’t be easily replaced or shipped to us.

Food (continued)

Yesterday, we also covered a significant portion on the subject of food, particularly on gardening and practicing now to supply your family’s food needs, but we haven’t completed this discussion just yet.

Hunting and Fishing

Are hunting and fishing part of your long-term survival food plans? Bear in mind that after a major TEOTWAKI disaster … Continue reading

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The Long View- Part 1, by J.M.

I try to have a long view, one that is both near and far in perspective. Whenever significant events occur, I do a quick review of my potential events risk analysis to see if anything’s changed that might impact how I’m prepared. For example, when North Korea started acting up, I realized that I needed to do some additional preparations to handle potential nuclear and EMP events. At the start of every year I also do a deep-dive review to see if there’s anything I might need to re-consider or adjust.

A Question During This Year’s Review

During this year’s review I thought of a question that I really didn’t have good answer to: How long am I really prepared to survive for? I have about a year’s worth of food stored. Every year I have a decent-sized garden that I harvest and can for the winter, and I also … Continue reading

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The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. South Africa’s Cape Town issues a water crises warning.

Mine is Real

Reader P.S. sent in this YouTube video that is almost humorus. Two young perpetrators attempt to rob a quick-mart at gun-point. The only problem is that they didn’t check outside before they did it and almost immediately a cop enters who opens fire on them after they have hopped the counter, striking both. You can hear one of them yelling: “It’s fake! the gun’s fake” and the cops response is priceless: “Oh well, mine is real.” At least this time, crime did not pay.

Asteroid

Reader G.P. sent in this article profiling an asteroid that is half a … Continue reading

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Apartment Dweller Prepping- Part 2, by AKM295

When I relocated to the big city and moved into a shared apartment, I began to simultaneously look at prepping and consider how to make this work– living with others and trying to be prepared for a disaster.

What I’ve Learned From Experience (continued)

I’m writing about what I’ve learned over year’s of experience of living through power outages and disaster, including Hurricane Sandy. In covering topics for apartment dwellers, we have taken a look at storage, food, and water.

Security

When I was moving out from my childhood home, I tried to figure out how I could get my 12 gauge, Mosin-Nagant, revolver, Glock, and accompanying ammo and kit to my new tiny apartment. According to everything I had seen, I needed to cover all of my bases to be well prepared. It wasn’t until I had everything laid out that I realized how ridiculous this was going to … Continue reading

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Apartment Dweller Prepping- Part 1, by AKM295

Precious metals, dehydrated food, bug out cabins, and surplus everything are some of things that may spring to mind, thanks to pop culture and the media, when you mention prepping to someone who isn’t familiar with the topic. Those were the things that I thought of too, when I first began looking into how I could be more prepared for an emergency or disaster I might face back when I was fresh out of college.

When I Moved To A Big City

Back when I was a naive graduate who moved to a big city with student debt on my back, one room in a small shared apartment to call home, and extremely limited resources, a lot of the information I was finding did not apply to me or my living situation. I’m not starting a homestead or prepping a house for a family. I was one guy in his … Continue reading

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Cold Weather Injuries

Working in a cold weather environment presents many new challenges as well as more dangers. Understanding and recognizing these dangers may save your life or the life of a family member or comrade.

Here are some Injuries and Conditions associated with working/living in a cold weather environment.

Types of Injuries

Chilblain

Definition:

Chilblain is a medical condition that is often confused with frostbite and trench foot. Chilblains are acral ulcers (that is, ulcers affecting the extremities) that occur when a predisposed individual is exposed to cold and humidity. The cold exposure damages capillary beds in the skin, which in turn can cause redness, itching, blisters, and inflammation. Chilblains are often idiopathic in origin but can be manifestations of serious medical conditions that need to be investigated. Chilblains can be prevented by keeping the feet and hands warm in cold weather. A history of chilblains is suggestive of a connective tissue disease. Full Story>>>

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Survival Blog

SurvivalBlog.com The Daily Web Log for Prepared Individuals Living in Uncertain Times.

  • Preparedness Notes for Friday – July 20, 2018
    by Hugh James Latimer on July 20, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Today is the 82nd birthday of novelist Cormac McCarthy (born, 1933.) He is the author of the survivalist novel The Road, which later became a popular movie with the same title. SurvivalBlog Writing Contest This has been another entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include: First Prize: A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar […]

  • What is Survival?- Part 4, by MuddyKid
    by SurvivalBlog Contributor on July 20, 2018 at 7:03 am

    I’ve asked the question, what is survival. Mostly, up to this point, I’ve talked about providing long-term resources for food when the stores are no longer an option. We’ve talked about gardening, foraging for plants, and hunting or trapping. This was just part of my journey in developing a means for survival. Feeling Depressed, Looking Through Digital Window As I had previously mentioned, during my time out in the woods learning skills and testing my gear, I was also reading […]

  • Economics & Investing For Preppers
    by James Wesley Rawles on July 20, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on obsolete stock certificates. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)   Precious Metals: Gold: If Only […]

  • The Editors’ Quote of the Day:
    by James Wesley Rawles on July 20, 2018 at 7:01 am

    “In hindsight it may even seem inevitable that a socialist society will starve when it runs out of capitalists.” – Larry Niven The post The Editors’ Quote of the Day: appeared first on SurvivalBlog.com. […]

  • Preparedness Notes for Thursday – July 19, 2018
    by Hugh James Latimer on July 19, 2018 at 7:05 am

    July 19th is coincidentally the birthday of handgun designers Samuel Colt (born 1814) and Gaston Glock (born 1929). o o o SurvivalBlog Writing Contest This has been another entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include: First Prize: A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public. A Gunsite Academy […]

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Colds vs. Flus

When you wake up sneezing, coughing, and have that achy, feverish, can’t move a muscle feeling, how do you know whether you have cold symptoms or the flu?

It’s important to know the difference between flu and cold symptoms. A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. While cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. The flu can also result in serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalizations.

What are common cold symptoms?

Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.

With cold symptoms, the nose teems with watery nasal secretions for the first few days. Later, these become thicker and darker. Dark mucus is natural and does not usually mean you have developed a bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection.

Several hundred different viruses may cause your cold symptoms.

How long do cold symptoms last?

Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold to others, so stay home and get some much-needed rest.

If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.

Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.

What are common flu symptoms?

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more. A common complication of the flu is pneumonia, particularly in the young, elderly, or people with lung or heart problems. If you notice shortness of breath, let your doctor know. Another common sign of pneumonia is fever that comes back after having been gone for a day or two.

Just like cold viruses, flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you could be infecting yourself with a virus, which makes it very important to keep hands germ-free with frequent washing to prevent both flu and cold symptoms.

Is it flu or cold symptoms?

How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts. Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees. With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially with the flu virus and you will feel miserable. Body and muscle aches are also more common with the flu. This table can help determine if you have cold or flu symptoms.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes, usually mild Usual; higher (100-102 F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Occasionally Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue,  Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
Complication Sinus congestion; middle ear infection Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection, pneumonia; can be life-threatening
Prevention Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu symptoms; get the annual flu vaccine
Treatment Decongestants; pain reliever/fever reducer medicines Decongestants, pain relievers, or fever reducers are available over the counter; over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to young children; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some cases; call your doctor for more information about treatment.

Usually, the time of year will give you some sense of what you’re dealing with. The standard flu season runs from fall to spring of the next year.

When do I call the doctor with flu or cold symptoms?

If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days can be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
  • Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
  • Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
  • Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection (sinusitis). If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.

In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent vomiting

In children, additional signs of an emergency are:

  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Lethargy and failure to interact normally
  • Extreme irritability or distress
  • Symptoms that were improving and then suddenly worsen
  • Fever with a rash

Can I prevent flu or cold symptoms?

The most important prevention measure for preventing colds and flu is frequent hand washing. Hand washing by rubbing the hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds helps to slough germs off the skin.

In addition to hand washing to prevent flu or cold symptoms, you can also get a flu vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza. Seasonal flu activity in the United States generally peaks between late December and early March. Within two weeks of getting a flu vaccine, antibodies develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Children receiving the vaccine for the first time need two doses delivered one month apart.

Antiviral medicine may also help prevent flu if you have been exposed to someone with flu symptoms.

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Some Good Comes from Hawaii’s False Alarm.

Hawaii Emergency Test Photo: NYdailytimes.com

Residence of Hawaii had a wake up call and many in the press and government are calling this delayed warning a horrible event, but I disagree.

Chairman of the FCC Ajit Paisaid

“The false emergency alert sent yesterday in Hawaii was absolutely unacceptable,” the chairman said. “It caused a wave of panic across the state — worsened by the 38-minute delay before a correction alert was issued.”

Pai added the false alerts, believed to have been caused by human error, “undermine public confidence in the alerting system and thus reduce their effectiveness during real emergencies.”

I contend, “Why shouldn’t we keep people on their toes?”  Reports that people were “freaking out” and in a state of “panic”, can lead to some good and people may realise that to live their lives in a “Daily Fog” or “LaLa Land”, can lead to being unprepared for a real emergency.  It is time to think about the possibilities of a real disaster or attack.

Have we grown so complacent in our world, that we get upset at a false alarm, when this in fact is a real world reality check.  Wake up and recognize that we live in a modern world that has forgotten that disaster and strife can affect us.

SHTFandGO – Plan, Prepare, Protect

 

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Using Essential Oils As Medical Tools

For the person who is concerned about long-term survival scenarios, a hard reality is that stored pharmaceuticals will run out over time. This leaves them with only natural options, such as the plants that grow in their own backyard. These were used with skill by our ancestors, who had little else to treat sickness and injury.

While teas are the simplest way to utilize your medicinal herbs, many swear by essential oils as a storage option with other medical supplies. These items have much more longevity than fresh plants and can include those that don’t naturally grow in the area.

An essential oil is distilled from whole plant material, not a single ingredient; therefore, each one has multiple compounds that might be medically useful. To take an example, English lavender has about 20 different chemicals, including esters, ketones, and terpenes. These combinations make each oil unique. Oils may be produced from leaves, bark, flowers, resin, fruit or roots. For example, Lemon oil comes from the peel, Lavender oil from flowers, and Cinnamon oil from bark.

Although you might not realize it, you’ve been using essential oils all your life in soaps, furniture polishes, perfumes, and ointments. Previous generations of conventional physicians commonly included them in their medical bags. Indeed, many standard medical texts of the past were really instruction manuals on how to use these products.

Essential oils aren’t easy to produce without distillery equipment. Although it only takes a few leaves of peppermint to make a tea, you would need 5 pounds of leaves to make 1 ounce of essential oil. One source states that it takes an entire acre of peppermint to produce just 12 pounds of oil. The same source says that 12,000 rose blossoms are required to produce a tablespoon of rose oil. These concentrated versions are the ones you see marketed in small, dark bottles. Unless you intend to buy distilling materials, you should accumulate essential oils in quantity but use them sparingly.

The strength or quality of the oil is dependent on multiple factors, including soil conditions, season harvested, subspecies of plant, rainfall, and, in some cases, even the time of day. This is akin to the conditions that determine the quality of a particular vintage of wine. It also explains the significant variance you’ll see in the effects of the same oil from year to year.

You might be surprised to learn that the Food and Drug Administration only requires 10% essential oil in the bottle for it to be marketed as “Pure Essential Oil”. Beware of claims of FDA certification; the FDA has no certification or approval process for these products.

Making Essential Oils

The manufacture of essential oils, known as “extraction”, can be achieved by various methods:

Distillation Method: Using a “still” like old-time moonshiners, water is boiled through an amount of plant material to produce a steam that travels through cooled coils. This steam condenses into a “mixture” of oil and water from which the oil can be extracted

Pressing Method: The oils of citrus fruit can be isolated by a technique which involves putting the peels through a “press”. This works well only with the oiliest of plant materials, such as orange skins.

Maceration Method: a fixed oil (sometimes called “carrier” oil) or lard may be combined with the plant part and exposed to the sun over time, causing the fixed oil to become infused with the plant “essence”. Oftentimes, a heat source is used to move the process along. The plant material may be added several times during the process to manufacture stronger versions. This is the method by which you obtain products such as “garlic-infused olive oil”. A similar process using flowers is referred to as “Enfleurage”.

Solvent Method: Alcohol and other solvents may be used on some plant parts, usually flowers, to release the essential oil in a multi-step process.

As each essential oil has different chemical compounds in it, it stands to reason that the medicinal benefits are also different. An entire alternative medical discipline has developed to find the appropriate oil for the condition that needs treatment. The method of treatment may differ, as well. Common methods are:

1) Inhalation Therapy: This method is also known as “aroma- therapy”. The simplest  way to perform direct inhalation therapy involves putting 2 or 3 drops of essential oil on your hands, rubbing them together, and inhaling.

Steam inhalation therapy utilizes the addition of a few drops of the essential oil in a bowl of steaming water (distilled or sterilized), which is then inhaled. This method is most effective when placing a towel over your head to catch the vapors.

Many people will place essential oils in potpourri or use a “diffuser” to spread the aroma throughout the room. This technique probably dilutes any medicinal effects, however.

2) Topical Application: The skin is an amazing absorbent surface, and using essential oils by direct application is a popular method of administration. The oil may be used as part of a massage, or directly placed on the skin to achieve a therapeutic effect on a rash or aching muscle.

It’s wise to always test for allergic reactions before using an essential oil in this manner: Even though the chemical compounds in the oil are natural, you could still exhibit an allergy to it or be irritated by it (case in point: poison ivy).

A simple test involves placing a couple of drops on the inside of your forearm with a cotton applicator. Within 12-24 hours, you’ll notice redness and itching if you’re allergic. Mixing some of the essential oil with a “carrier” oil such as olive oil before use is a safer option for topical use. Another concern, mostly with citrus oils applied to the skin, is “phototoxicity” (an exaggerated burn response to sun exposure).

Although we have seen many sources recommend applying essential oil over the location of an internal organ, some reservations exist about whether such an application will really have an effect on that organ. It is much more likely to work on skin issues or, perhaps, underlying muscle tissue.

3) Ingestion: Direct ingestion is unwise for many essential oils, and this method should be used with caution. Professional guidance is imperative when considering this method, except for a very few instances. A reasonable alternative to consider is a tea made with the dried herb. This is a safer mode of internal use, but the effect may not be as strong.

Hard Data

Essential oils have been used as medical treatment for a very long time, but it’s difficult to provide definitive evidence of their effectiveness for several reasons. Essential oils are difficult to standardize, due to variance in the quality of the product based on soil conditions, time of year, and other factors that we mentioned above.

In addition, there are many subspecies of plants that may differ in their effects. An essential oil of Eucalyptus, for example, may be obtained from Eucalyptus Globulus or Eucalyptus Radiata; these plants may have their own unique properties. These factors combine to make scientific study problematic.

In most university experiments, a major effort is made to be certain that the substance tested caused the results obtained. As essential oils have a number of different compounds and are often marketed as blends, which ingredient was the cause of the effect? If the oil is applied with massage, was the effect related to the oil itself or from the physical therapy?

The majority of studies on essential oils have been conducted by the cosmetics and food industries. Others have been conducted by individuals or small companies with a vested interest in the product.

Definitive studies of possible medicinal benefits are usually performed in universities sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, they generally have little interest in herbal products because they are hard to patent. Therefore, serious funding is hard to find because of the limited profit potential.

Commonly Used Essential Oils

Despite the lack of hard data, essential oils have various reported beneficial effects, mainly based on their historical use on thousands of patients by generations of healers. Although there are many essential oils, a number of them are considered mainstays of any herbal medicine cabinet. Here are some of the most popular:

Lavender Oil: An analgesic (pain reliever), antiseptic, and immune stimulant. It is thought to be good for skin care and to pro- mote healing, especially in burns, bruises, scrapes, acne, rashes and bug bites. Lavender has a calming effect and is used for insomnia, stress and depression. It has been reported effective as a decongestant through steam inhalation. Lavender oil may have benefit as an antifungal agent, and has been used for athlete’s foot or other related conditions.

Eucalyptus Oil: An antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant (also an excellent insect repellent), Eucalyptus oil has a “cooling” effect on skin. It aids with respiratory issues and is thought to boost the immune system. Consider its use for flus, colds, sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, bronchitis, and hay fever. Eucalyptus may be used in massages, steam inhalation, and as a bath additive. Although eucalyptus oil has been used in cough medicine, it is likely greatly diluted and should not be ingested in pure form.

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil: Diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut, Tea Tree oil may be good for athlete’s foot, acne, skin wounds, and even insect bites. In the garden, Tea Tree oil is a reasonable organic method of pest control. In inhalation therapy, it is reported to help relieve respiratory congestion. Studies have been performed which find it effective against both Staphylococcus and fungal infections. Some even recommend a few drops in a pint of water for use as a vaginal douche to treat yeast. Tea Tree oil may be toxic if ingested or used in high concentrations, around sensitive areas like the eyes.

Peppermint Oil: This oil is said to have various therapeutic effects: antiseptic, antibacterial, decongestant, and anti-emetic (stops vomiting). Peppermint oil is claimed to help for digestive disorders when applied directly to the abdomen. Some herbalists prescribe Peppermint for headache; massage a drop or two to the temples as needed. For achy muscles or painful joints, massage the diluted oil externally onto the affected area. As mentioned previously, definitive proof of topical application effects on deep organs is difficult to find.

Lemon Oil: Used for many years as a surface disinfectant, it is often found in furniture cleaners. Many seem to think that this disinfecting action makes it good for sterilizing water, but there is no evidence that it is as effective as any of the standard methods, such as boiling. Lemon oil is thought to have a calming effect; some businesses claim to have better results from their employees when they use it as aromatherapy. Don’t apply this oil on the skin if you will be exposed to the sun that day, due to increased likelihood of burns.

Clove Oil: Although thought to have multiple uses as an anti-fungal, antiseptic, antiviral, analgesic, and sedative, Clove oil particularly shines as an anesthetic and antimicrobial. It is marketed as “Eugenol” to dentists throughout the world as a natural painkiller for toothaches. A toothpaste can be made by combining clove oil and baking soda. When mixed with zinc oxide powder, it makes a temporary cement for lost fillings and loose crowns. Use Clove oil with caution, however, as it may have an irritant effect on the gums if too much is applied.

Arnica Oil: Arnica oil is used as a topical agent for muscle injuries and aches. Thought to be analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it is found in a number of sports ointments. As a personal aside, we have tested this oil on ourselves and found it to be effective, though not very long lasting. Frequent application would be needed for long term relief. Although some essential oils are used as aromatherapy, Arnica oil is toxic if inhaled.

Chamomile Oil: There are at least two versions of Chamomile oil, Roman and German. Roman Chamomile is a watery oil, while German Chamomile seems more viscous. Both are used to treat skin conditions such as eczema as well as irritations due to allergies. Chamomile oil is thought to decrease gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation, and is thought have a calming effect as aromatherapy, especially in children.

Geranium Oil: Although variable in its effects based on the species of plant used, Geranium oil is reported to inhibit the production of sebum in the skin, and may be helpful in controlling acne. Some believe that it also may have hemostatic (blood-clotting) properties, and is often recommended for bleeding from small cuts and bruising. When a small amount of oil is diluted in shampoo, it may be considered a treatment for head lice.

Helichrysum Oil: Thought to be a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory, Helichrysum is used to treat arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia as part of massage therapy. It has also been offered as a treatment for chronic skin irritation

Rosemary Oil: Represented as having multiple uses as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic, Rosemary oil is proven to control spider mites in gardens. Use a few drops with water for a disinfectant mouthwash. Inhalation, either cold or steamed, may relieve congested or constricted respiration. Mixed with a carrier oil, it is used to treat tension headaches and muscle aches

Clary Sage Oil: One of the various chemical constituents of Clary Sage has a composition similar to estrogen. It has been used to treat menstrual irregularities, premenstrual syndrome, and other hormonal issues. Sage is also believed to have a mild anticoagulant effect, and may have some use as a blood thinner. Clary Sage also is thought to have some sedative effect, and has been used as a sleep aid.

Neem Oil: With over 150 chemical ingredients, the Neem tree is called “the village pharmacy” in its native India. Many Ayurvedic alternative remedies have some form of Neem oil in them. Proven as a natural organic pesticide, we personally use Neem Oil in our garden. Reported medicinal benefits are too numerous to list here and seem to cover just about every organ system. It should be noted, however, that it may be toxic when the oil is taken internally.

Wintergreen Oil: A source of natural salicylates, Wintergreen oil is a proven anticoagulant and analgesic. About 1 fluid ounce of Wintergreen Oil is the equivalent of 171 aspirin tablets if ingested, so use extreme caution. It may also have beneficial effects on intestinal spasms and might reduce elevated blood pressures.

Frankincense Oil: One of the earliest documented essential oils, evidence of its use goes back 5000 years to ancient Egypt. Catholics will recognize it as the incense used during religious ceremonies. Studies from Johns Hopkins and Hebrew Universities state that Frankincense relieves anxiety and depression in mice (we’re unsure how, exactly, this was determined, but it probably involved a cat). Direct application of the oil may have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is thought to be helpful for wound healing. As a cold or steam inhalant, it is some- times used for lung and nasal congestion.

Blue Tansy Oil: Helpful in the garden as a companion plant for organic pest control, Blue Tansy is sometimes planted along with potatoes and other vegetables. The oil has been used for years to treat intestinal worms and other parasites. One of its constituents, Camphor, is used in medicinal chest rubs and ointments. In the past, it has been used in certain dental procedures as an antibacterial.

Oregano Oil: An antiseptic, oregano oil has been used in the past as an antibacterial agent. It should be noted that Oregano oil is derived from a different species of the plant than the Oregano used in cooking. One of the minority of essential oils that are safe to ingest, it is thought to be helpful in calming stomach upset, and may help relieve sore throats. Its antibacterial action leads some to use the oil in topical applications on skin infections when diluted with a carrier oil. Oregano Oil may reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron, so consider an iron supplement if you use this regularly.

Thyme Oil: Reported to have significant antimicrobial action, diluted Thyme oil is used to cure skin infections, and may be helpful for ringworm and athlete’s foot. Thyme is sometimes used to reduce intestinal cramps in massage therapy. As inhalation therapy, it may loosen congestion from upper respiratory infections.

“Thieves’ Oil”: Many essential oils are marketed as blends, such as “Thieves’ Oil”. This is a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils. Touted to treat a broad variety of ailments, studies at Weber State University indicate a good success rate in killing airborne viruses and bacteria. Of course, the more elements in the mixture, the higher chance for adverse reactions, such as phototoxicity.

I’m sure I missed some of your favorites. There are as many oils as there are species of plants.

Some important caveats to the above list should be stated here. Many of the essential oils listed are unsafe to use in pregnancy, and some may even cause miscarriage. Also, allergic reactions to essential oils, especially on the skin, are not uncommon; use the allergy test we described earlier before starting regular topical applications.

Even though essential oils are natural substances, they may interact with medicines that you may regularly take or have adverse effects on chronic illness such as liver disease, epilepsy, or high blood pressure. Thorough research is required to determine whether a particular essential oil is safe to use.

Having said that, essential oils are a viable option for many conditions. Anyone interested in maintaining their family’s well-being, especially off the grid, should regard them as another weapon in the medical arsenal. Learn about them with an open mind, but maintain a healthy skepticism especially about “cure-all” claims.

Essential Oils As Medical Tools