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Make Your Own, Old-Time Herbal Remedies And Household Cleaners

February 23, 2013 by  

Make Your Own, Old-Time Herbal Remedies And Household Cleaners
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Many of my ancestors came from England where they were converted to the Christianity. They came to America in ships looking for a better life. They were promised freedom of religion and their own piece of ground in the wide-open spaces of Utah, and they were given a new hope and vision for their future.

My ancestors were willing to live in extreme poverty and to walk thousands of miles to reach their new home. They traveled in covered wagons filled with food supplies and minimal household necessities. Many of them pulled handcarts with small children in them. They encountered harsh winters, lack of shelter, illnesses, lack of food and water, and problems with snakes and wild animals. Many of the people moving west died along the way and were buried in shallow graves.

The pioneers used the food items they brought with them and what they could scavenge from the land for food and for making medicines. Foods such as berries, mushrooms, flowers, weeds, dandelion root and herbs were gathered and dried. The pioneers knew which plants were edible and which plants were not, and they knew which ones were medicinal. They were fishermen, hunters and trappers. They would kill deer or other wild animals and dry the meat to preserve it for future use.

The settlers moved in groups that functioned as one big family. They had many things in common and made sure the entire group was fed and taken care of. They walked together, ate together, sang together and prayed together. They relied upon the Lord for their very existence.

Wild Herb And Berry Tea

In pioneer times, people had to rely on the herbs and berries they found growing wild in the mountains or along riverbanks and streams. Simple herbal tea was a staple for any illness. They made soothing herbal teas by adding boiling water to five or six berries along with a spoonful of honey or molasses. This was their medicine when a doctor was not available.

Stomachache

My pioneer ancestors found many medicinal herbs growing wild along the trail to Utah. Spearmint or peppermint was a real find. They would dry these herbs and take the leaves to make tea to soothe an upset stomach.

I harvest peppermint leaves in the summer from my peppermint plants. I dry them and save them for my own peppermint tea.

To make peppermint tea, place five fresh or dried leaves in a cup. Add hot water and let it set for a few minutes. Add sweetener such as ½ teaspoon of honey, molasses or stevia to taste. Drink it to settle an upset stomach. It works great.

Sore Throat

To sooth a sore throat, pioneers gargled with a mixture of salt and water. It seemed to work quite well. Even my grandmother used this as a remedy for sore throats when I was a child.

Make a salt-water gargle by mixing ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup of warm water. Gargle with it and spit it out after 30 seconds. This will help a sore throat.

Soothe A Cough

As my ancestors settled into their homesteads and the Wild West was tamed, they were able to get items like lemon juice and glycerin brought in from California on wagons or by train. They would make their own cough syrup using everyday simple ingredients that they had on hand. These recipes were handed down from generation to generation until over-the-counter cough syrups were available.

Cough Syrup

1 cup honey
Juice from two lemons (about ½ cup)
½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon glycerin

Mix together all ingredients and take 1 tablespoon at a time to soothe a cough. Glycerin can be purchased in a drug store or pharmacy.

Relieve A Fever

Rubbing alcohol was a staple in my grandmother’s medicine cabinet. When we had high fevers, she would soak a cloth with rubbing alcohol and rub us with it. Every few hours, we took a cool bath and had another rubdown with rubbing alcohol. She made sure we had plenty of water, chicken soup and lots of bed rest. That would break a fever instantly. If we were coughing, then we also got our chests rubbed with Vicks VapoRub.

Emergency Toothpaste And Mouthwash

Baking soda mixed with salt in equal parts works well for cleaning teeth. Swish mouth with warm water to remove all the paste. If you have any gum problems, you can rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide. After 30 seconds of swishing it around in the mouth, spit it out.

Cleaning Products

Cleaning products were made from scratch using items that every household had on hand: alcohol, dish soap, vinegar, cream of tartar, soda, salt, ammonia and even wood ashes from the fireplace. The pioneers were so innovative. Our generation has become dependent on the grocery store for every type of cleaning product. We have dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, oven cleaner, stovetop cleaner, floor cleaner, glass cleaner, degreaser, car wash, shampoo, body wash, face wash, baby wash and dog wash. My grandmother just made an all-purpose household cleaner and used it for everything.

Window Cleaner

1 pint rubbing alcohol
1 tablespoon liquid dish detergent
4 tablespoons ammonia

Mix together all the ingredients and add enough water to make 1 gallon of cleaner. Shake the mixture well and transfer part of the cleaner into a spray bottle. Use it to clean and polish windows.

Household All-Purpose Cleaner

½ gallon water
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup of ammonia
¼ cup soda

Mix all ingredients together and add enough water to make a gallon. Shake it well and transfer some of the cleaner to a spray bottle. Use on all surfaces as an all-purpose cleaner.

Drain Cleaner

1 cup baking soda
¼ cup cream of tartar
1 cup table salt

Put ¼ cup of this mixture in a clogged drain. Add 1 cup of boiling water and let it stand in the drain for a while until it loosens up the clog.

Jewelry Cleaner

¼ cup concentrated lemon juice

Soak tarnished jewelry in concentrated lemon juice. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the jewelry. Be careful not to get the lemon juice splash on your clothing, because it causes bleached-out spots.

Silver Polish

Take the ashes from a fireplace where you have burned wood. Mix the ashes with a little water to form a paste. It is the best silver and copper polish; it will really shine them. Wood ashes and water form lye, which is one of the ingredients in homemade hand soap.

Furniture Polish

1 quart hot water
1 tablespoon of turpentine
3 tablespoons boiled linseed oil

Stir all ingredients together and keep in a glass jar with a lid. Heat a small amount in a metal can on low heat just until it softens to warm it up before using. Rub it on, wipe it off and polish with a soft cloth.

Turpentine and linseed oil can be purchased at any hardware store. This polish is better than any commercial furniture polish available today.

ION (Stabilized Oxygen)
ION photo

I keep ION on hand for medicinal purposes. Just like my ancestors could not live without their household staples, I feel the same way about ION for modern times. I keep it in my purse, medical kit, vehicle and grab-and-go bag.

  • Ion will kill bacteria on contact, so I use it as a mouthwash. Mix 20 drops of ION into about half a cup of water. Use as a gargle or to swish around in the mouth to kill bacteria that might be causing gum disease, tooth decay, etc.
  • I also put 3 drops of ION on my toothpaste and brush my teeth with it.
  • Ion can be used to disinfect countertops, floors, toilets, sinks, etc. Mix 20 drops in ½ gallon of warm water. Use a clean cloth and wipe down countertops, sinks, etc. This will kill bacteria on contact.
  • I drink 20 drops per day in a smoothie, glass of water or juice. This oxygenates the blood and boosts the immune system by killing off any harmful bacteria in the body. To learn about the many uses of ION (stabilized oxygen), click here.

Cookin With Home Storage168
These recipes came from my book Cookin’ With Home Storage, a fascinating cookbook with more than 500 old-time recipes, remedies and household cleaners as well as recipes using dehydrated food and shelf-stable pantry food.

–Peggy Layton

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website www.peggylayton.com. To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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  • FreedomFighter

    Good review of organic, biodegradable, renewable and cost effective alternatives to the usually harsh chemical compounds sold to consumers today.

    The ION oxygenator is a must have, I have been using it for several years in conjunction with a reverse osmosis and Big Berky water filter. I love the Big Berky it’s the most cost effective filter system I have owned, the reverse osmosis system is a bit expensive to operate and the water does not actually require that degree of filtering, though I use it to make coffee, tea, juice, powdered milk, drinking water and the like, the BB for cooking and everything else.

    I add the ION to the filtered water for my pets; dogs include a shep/wrotti, ausycal, beshan, iggys and several cats (big Tommy mouse killers) they love it for some reason. I even tested by placing identical water dispensers of reverse osmosis filtered water next to each other, one with 15 drops ION the other without: my pets will without fail drink up all the ION water and not one drop of the plain filtered water. I did this test several times; even the cats would go for the ION water every time.

    I use the ION for my stored water of course but also use it several times a week for my refrigerated drinking water, everyone whom visits thinks my well water is the best they have had. When I clue them in on the process of filtering an ION drops, they invariable ask were to get the stuff they never have heard of it.

    10 or 20 bottles of ION is a must have in the proper prep supplies and for everyday use – good stuff, and yes I do have your Cookin’ with Home Storage, good food recipes and advice.

    Laus Deo
    Semper FI

    • Mr Diesel

      You can make your own water filter for a lot less money with two food grade 5-gallon buckets and this filter setup from CTD.

      http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/CAMP-352

      • FreedomFighter

        I like it — momma wont let me put it in the kitchen — great and cost effective

        Laus Deo
        Semper FI

      • Mr Diesel

        The Big Berkey is prettier. ;-)

  • independent thinker

    An old Native American (Cherokee I think) colic releaf. Boil a sliced onion in water and give small amounts of the liquid to the colicy baby. Catnip tea is supposed to work also with or without a splash of shine.

  • MNIce

    Aspirin is nothing but the synthetic form of the active ingredient in willow bark tea. It’s an old aboriginal American remedy.

    Honey mixed with and equal part of lemon juice is a good sore throat reliever. Take 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.

  • Old Henry

    Yes, the salt water gargle does work. I have used it for several years now whenever I feel a sore throat coming on. In the last year or so I have been using the Real Salt that I get from Peggy rather than the sodium sold in the store. However, I do not spit it out. After gargling I swallow the salt water since it is REAL salt and has all the minerals in it. That helps me alkalize.

    Apple Cider Vinegar is also good for treating acid reflux. Take one teaspoon of it to overcome the acid reflux.

  • Bob W.

    When I was a boy, I,m 61 now, my Granny would have me walk along the rail road tracks and pull up a certain plant to make cough medicine. It had wide leaves with the upper side very fuzzy and the bottom smooth, late in the year a stalk would grow from the center of the 12 to 18 inch bunch of leaves to about 3 or 4 feet in height and have yellow blooms at the top. She would boil the cut up roots and drain off the liquid to mix with honey, blackberry juice or black cherry juice, a little tannin from the inner bark of an oak tree and some whiskey. It tasted just like Vicks Formula 44 and worked well. I wish I knew exactly how much of each to write a reciepe to pass on but I never wrote it down.

  • Sadie Brake

    Bob W. says:
    February 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

    When I was a boy, I,m 61 now, my Granny would have me walk along the rail road tracks and pull up a certain plant to make cough medicine. It had wide leaves with the upper side very fuzzy and the bottom smooth, late in the year a stalk would grow from the center of the 12 to 18 inch bunch of leaves to about 3 or 4 feet in height and have yellow blooms at the top.

    This plant is Mullein….I dehydrate the leaves and make tea or do as the Native Americans did, smoke some of it in a pipe. It works wonders for bronchitis and asthma.
    Great for respiratory problems.

  • Henry

    Vicks VapoRub is a BIG no no for me and sister. So don’t assume that any remedie even if all natural is safe for everyone.

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