I have been laid up with the winter flu for a couple of days! As a result I have been unable to continue with my planned self reliance projects this past week. Although I have been frustrated about being incapacitated, it did give me a chance to reflect on self reliance health on the homestead!
Self Reliance Health – A Forgotten Skill
When our pioneering ancestors ventured forth into the unknown, they generally didn’t have access to a doctor to consult for health issues! They had to be self sufficient regarding treating day to day illnesses and injuries. To do this, they relied on knowledge passed down from the elders, or by sharing information with other pioneers. They used natural remedies and knowledge of healing plants to self-treat common ailments.
My belief is that today, we have lost much of that knowledge and skill and rely too heavily on access to a medical professional for our treatment.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating turning your back on modern medicine! If it were not for modern medicine, I would probably have lost the use of both my arms after a bad motorcycle accident!
What I am saying is that for day to day and seasonal ailments we have been conditioned into seeking out a doctor and paying big pharma a fortune for drugs with some scary side effects!
When I get a head cold, or the flu, my first go to remedy is ginger, lemon and honey tea and large doses of vitamin C. If I don’t feel better after a few days, or I feel worse and notice the signs of infection setting in, THEN I go to the doctor and possibly get a course of anti-biotics.
What most people don’t realise is that colds and flu are virus related ailments, not bacterial! Anti-biotics have no effect in the treatment of viral conditions. Anti-biotics are usually prescribed for resultant infections from the viral attack!
How To Improve Your Self Reliance Health
There are a wealth of medicinal herbs and plants, some of which are probably already growing in your back yard! You can read my posts on Plantain (link) and Mullein (link), two medicinal plants, often classed as weeds! A little research will go a long way to educating yourself about natural alternatives for common ailments! The great thing about natural alternatives is much less possibility of side effects than modern remedies!
There are various sources you can consult to improve your knowledge on the subject.
- Get yourself a good book on medicinal plants such as Maria Treben’s book Health Through God’s Pharmacy.
- Speak to a friend who is knowledgeable on the subject or try a find a local expert in your area.
- The internet is a great source of information, but be sure you gather information from reputable sites.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure!
The old saying, prevention is better than cure also has bearing on self reliance health. How can you prevent getting sick in the first place, or build your bodies natural ability to fight off sickness?
The best way to do this is taking a holistic approach to your health. Most of us who homestead get a fair bit of exercise in our daily duties, but the other aspect is diet.
We can improve our diet by making a few changes to our lifestyle and eating habits.
- Grow your own food as far as possible. Stay away from GMO foods and eat organic vegetables. The best way to do this is to grow your own! That way you know what you are eating!
- Forage for natural alternatives such as purselane, wood sorrel, dandelion and amaranth. These wild edibles are often packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are lacking in our commercially grown foods.
- Raise your own protein. From eggs to dairy to meat, know where you food comes from. If you do not have the space to raise your own livestock, get to know other homesteaders in your area who do. You can then buy from them or trade your excess organic veggies for protein.
Set Your Homestead Up For Easy Management
We have all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder”. We should have this principle in mind when we setup our homestead. Most of us are in this lifestyle for the long haul! Have you ever given though as to how you are going to run your homestead as you get older and less physically able to handle the necessary chores?
This is something I have been giving some consideration, particularly since the motorcycle accident mentioned earlier has left me with some restrictions to my physical ability. There are always projects to be accomplished and daily chores to be attended to. Projects can always be put on hold, but basic daily chores such as taking care of livestock need to continue. We need to make these daily tasks as simple as possible so that a friend or spouse can continue them if we are laid up for a while. We should also be planning to make them easier for ourselves in our golden years!
Self Reliance Health – Planning For Recovery
One of the most overlooked aspects to good health is rest! When we get sick, our modern society puts unnatural pressure on us. We are under pressure to take drugs to suppress symptoms and under pressure to get back to work as soon as possible. This pressure imposed on us often denies our bodies the thing it needs most to recover. Adequate rest!
Give yourself time to recover and heal! Don’t get back into the daily grind too soon. Your body needs to use energy to heal itself. If you are expending the energy on other things, there is not enough energy for your body to recover! This can result in fatigue and even a relapse and your down time prolonged!
Another aspect to recovery, particularly if you have been on anti-biotics is to improve your gut health. Anti-biotics kill good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria. We need to replenish the good bacteria in our gut. Improving gut health has been shown to have many positive side effects, such as boosting our immune system which helps us fight off the sickness in the first place!
What is the best way to help your gut recover? Eat fermented foods! Fermented foods and drinks are full of good bacteria that help your gut recover from a course of anti-biotics and improve your health! Some forms of fermented foods that can help with this are products like fermented vegetables, milk kefir and milk kefir products such as kefir yoghurt and kefir cream cheese. Kombucha is another source of these good bacteria.
What are your thoughts on self reliance health? Leave a message in the comments to share your feelings on the topic and maybe some of your favourite home remedies.
Take a look at the sites below of my fellow self reliance challenge participants. Many of them have health related posts available which will help you to plan for a healthy homesteading life!
- Lisa Lynn – the challenge organiser from the USA – The Self Sufficient Home Acre
- AnnMarie – from the USA – 15 Acre Homestead
- Nancy – from the USA – Nancy On The Homefront
- Kathi – from the USA – Oak Hill Homestead
- Robin – from the USA – A Life in the Wild
- Candy – from the USA – Candy’s Farm House Pantry
- Farmgal – from Canada – Just another Day on the Farm
- Ashley – from the USA – Practical Self Reliance
- ShawnaLee – from the USA – Homegrown Self Reliance
- Maria – from the USA – Maria Zannini
- Last but not least, yours truly, Frank – from South Africa – My Green Terra
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