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Back To Basics - Field Medicine

We should all get back to basics and remember the old ways. If you know some of the old fashioned skills our grandparents used, it could save your life one day, quite literally. Field medicine and the knowledge of natural herbal remedies are important skills if you suddenly find yourself in a disaster zone or an economic collapse.

If you find yourself in a survival situation, you will need to provide for yourself. Everything from food to shelter to medicine will need to be handled by you. Ask anyone who has recently gone through a natural disaster such as a hurricane, which destroyed huge areas, about the necessity for survival planning. 2 months after Hurricane Sandy, many in New York are still without heat and power in winter. Many have no transportation either.

Even for hikers and campers field medicine is a good skill to have. Many people injure themselves each year while out hiking, fishing or camping. Many are far from help when the injury occurs. A friend of mine once threw out her shoulder in the middle of the mountains. We were half a day hike from the nearest help. Knowledge of emergency field medicine saved the day.




The Army teaches soldiers how to treat wounds in an emergency. We learned how to splint a bone, treat bleeding wounds, treat for heat exhaustion, frost bite and more.

Knowledge of the local herbs where you live or camp is also valuable in an emergency. Knowing what herbs to use for an emergency or illness is important if you find yourself alone in the wilderness.

The subject is way too in depth to cover in a single post, but some ideas will be shown. It is strongly recommended to get a book on emergency field medicine and herbal medicine. Get a book that shows you the wild herbal medicinal plants in your area.

In the cold and flu season wild garlic is extremely helpful to prevent sickness. Even at the onset of illness, eating some wild garlic leaves and bulbs boosts your immune system and helps kill harmful viruses. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It works just as well as a shot from the doctor, maybe better because nature has not found a way to overcome its effects such as the super viruses found in many hospitals these days have done with synthetic drugs.

The inner bark of the willow tree is a natural aspirin. Eat it plain or make a tea from it. The aspirin tablets we are all familiar with originally came from the willow tree bark. The advantage of natural herbal remedies is that you are taking the full plant with all of its supporting nutrients. Normally a natural remedy has fewer side effects as its purified counterpart. Once you separate the active ingredient from a plant in order to patent it, you have also taken out all of the valuable nutrients that go along with it. Often you get side effects.

If you break a bone in the wilderness, do not lay there and panic. Normally when you break a bone, you have a bit of time before pain sets in. This is good. Use the time to splint the fracture while you can. If it is a major bone such as a leg or arm, find a piece of wood laying around that is the length of the limb that is broken from joint to joint. For example, if you fracture a lower leg below the knee, then you will splint the bone from your ankle to the knee. If the break is closer to a joint you many need to splint the whole limb.

If you have a broken leg, you will also need a crutch. A long, sturdy branch with a natural Y in it will work well.



Arms should be splinted and then placed in a sling to prevent movement.

Fingers can be splinted together if one is broken. Tie a good finger up against the broken one to secure the break. I have done this myself many times without a visit to the doctor.

To bind your splint to the limb, use any natural substance that you may find laying around. Vines, long grasses, tree bark, willow branches or any other flexible material. Reed grass works as well. Some materials may become more flexible if you soak it in water first. Bind the splint on very well using many pieces of material to tie it on. Clothing can also be torn into strips to use as binding material.

Broken ribs can be agony. There is not much you can do about it. Every breath can be miserable. The only thing you can do is to apply some pressure to the rib and secure the arm on that side in a sling to prevent too much movement. You can tie a band around your chest, wrapping all the way around to apply pressure the the broken rib. Pressure helps prevent movement of the broken bone. Especially if you are walking, you need to apply pressure to the rib. Do not leave the pressure in place too long. At night, remove it, in order to prevent too much stress to the lungs, which can cause a lung infection.

Open bone fractures are a severe medical emergency. If you have an open fracture, seek medical attention immediately to prevent infection and loss of limb. In the field, clean the wound with sterile solution and try to set the bone immediately. Then try to stitch up the wound as soon as possible. Open wounds are extremely dangerous.

In the spring there are many natural antiseptic herbs around. Cattail leaves have a gooey substance at the base of young leaves that is a natural antiseptic and anticoagulant. It is also a mild pain killer. Wild garlic is a natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic.

Scratches or cuts should be cleaned and then covered to prevent infection. If possible, use a natural antiseptic such as mentioned above and then cover the wound. Deep cuts need to be sewn closed in order to heal properly and prevent infection.

Worst case scenarios can also occur where you have nothing to clean a wound with. Urine is sterile when fresh and can be used to clean a wound in an emergency. Infected wounds can be left open to flies. The flies lay eggs, which hatch and then the larvae eat the rotten flesh. When it starts to hurt then they are eating good tissue and the wound has been cleaned out of all rotten flesh. Wash out the maggots and then close up the wound.

Become familiar with the natural pharmacy in your neighborhood. It could save your life one day.


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Troy Reid


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