Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Natural antiobiotics in your pantry

Here are 5 items you should always keep in or near your kitchen. They're useful for everyday tasks, but in an emergency they do double-duty.     

Vinegar: You can use vinegar to keep your home clean and sanitary. In any sort of a breakdown, hygiene and a clean home become more important than ever – it's the first line of defense against disease, which often follows in the wake of a disaster or social breakdown.

You can use vinegar to clean sink drains, to clear away mildew, and to deodorize just about anything.

You can make sure produce is safe to eat by washing it in a mix of vinegar and water. Adding four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water makes a sanitizing wash that's good for fruits and vegetables – it will remove pesticides and nasty germs.

You can also use vinegar to treat mild ailments. Dabbing a cotton ball soaked in vinegar on minor burns or insect bites relieves pain and itching. Mix equal parts vinegar and honey and take a tablespoon every four hours to relieve a sore throat and cough. Vinegar is cheap and lasts a long time in storage. Stock up!

Honey: This sweet, golden substance can be a real lifesaver when it comes to health issues. During any sort of social breakdown that makes it more difficult to get medical care, infection becomes an important concern.

Honey can help. It works as a natural antiseptic. You can apply honey to cuts and abrasions to prevent infection.

You can also use honey to treat the symptoms of many mild illnesses. For example, mix honey with lemon juice to help soothe a sore throat.

It's an unpleasant topic, but during times of unrest, you're also more at risk of picking up parasites. Drinking honey mixed with vinegar and water can clear most parasites out of your system.

Bleach: Bleach is excellent for sterilizing surfaces, which can keep your food safe to eat. But more than that, you can use bleach to make water safe to drink. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon of chlorine bleach to a gallon of clear water (1/4 teaspoon if the water is cloudy), and allow it to stand for at least 30 minutes. Then it will be safe to drink, cook with, or clean with. Like vinegar, it's cheap and easy to store.
Baking Soda: Baking soda works well as an antacid. In the event you have an upset stomach, stir ½ teaspoon of baking soda into a half a cup of water and drink it. Repeat every two hours as necessary, but don't take more than seven glasses in the course of a day. Limit your doses to three if you're over sixty.

Apply a paste of baking soda and water to poison ivy or other rashes for nearly instant relief.

In a pinch, you can also use baking soda as a fire extinguisher. Pouring baking soda on a small fire will quickly suffocate it.

Salt: Few pantry items are more common and everyday than salt. But this favorite food seasoning can be a lifesaver during turbulent times.

First, your body needs salt to survive. In the modern American diet, too much salt is more typical than too little, but that can change and change fast during a breakdown. Having plenty of salt on hand not only makes your food reserves more palatable, but also keeps this critical nutrient as part of your daily diet.

That's not all, though. Salt is one our earliest ways of treating wounds and staving off infection. To this day, a saline wash is a typical first-line treatment for cleaning wounds or eye injuries. You can dissolve 1½ tablespoons of salt in one cup of water to make a 10% saline rinse that you can use to clean small cuts and abrasions. This is one more household item you can use to prevent infection.

Salt is also an excellent food preservative. You can pickle and can a number of foods with salt and you can even preserve meat with it, should you be without power and looking for ways to make your food last longer.

Coating raw meat completely in coarse salt and storing it in a cool place (around 59 degrees) can keep the meat safe to eat for up to three weeks. And, it makes it taste good when you cook it, too. Avoid eating meat that takes on a bad smell during this process – it's a time-tested means of preserving meat, but that doesn't mean it's 100 percent foolproof, so use your common sense.

Between these five items, a few rolls of duct tap, and several packs of zip-ties, you'll be prepared to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, to keep your food supply safe, to treat water if needed, and to keep your environment clean and safe. That's not too shabby using just a handful of things that don't cost much and that you probably keep on hand anyway.

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