top of page

Episode 90 S3-9

Herbal Answers to Everyday Ailments


Special Guest:

The Walls of Freedom Ch 9

Cat Ellis

In The Walls of Freedom story, Toni attempts to help Daniel to feel better using herbal remedies. The Changing Earth Podcast is honored to welcome Cat Ellis back to this season. Cat is an herbologist and the author of the book Prepper's Natural Medicine and Prepping for a Pandemic.

Play the Podcast

Audio Drama Slide end a (YouTube Display Ad) (1800 x 720 px) (2600 x 720 px)(3).png

Download Day After Disaster for FREE!

One week commercial-free access to the audio drama, access to the Changing Earth Archives, behind-the-scenes clips, and more!

Cat is not a doctor and she can not give medical advice, says the government but she has been an herbologist for many years and has made many observations over that time period. She shares those observations with us today as a suggestion of care and neither she nor I are in any way responsible for what you decide to do with that knowledge. Keep in mind that the herbal remedy recommended can be as varied as the cause of the problem itself. Today Cat is giving us simple go to herbs for many of the common ailments we face. When the shelves are empty in the pharmacy we will need different ways to improve our health and comfort sick bodies.

Tummy Aches

There are many different things that can cause upset stomachs, from intestinal infections to morning sickness. Here are some herbs that will help sooth those upset stomachs: 

  • Peppermint - When growing your own peppermint you have to keep it contained; otherwise it will take over your whole herb garden. This herb tends to be a well received flavor but if you prefer spearmint over peppermint you can use it as a replacement. However, spearmint won't have the same potency as peppermint. Peppermint treats nausea from many different sources. It calms intestinal spasms and even the smell can help to sooth that nauseous tummy. You can use it in culinary applications, have it as a tea or utilize the essential oil. Possessing this herb in the essential oil form makes it highly portable and a suggested herb for your first aid kit. Also if you make your own essential oils, peppermint has a very high oil yield.

  • Ginger - Ginger is very good at soothing an upset tummy. Raw ginger can be too hot for children and sensitive pallets. Candied ginger is sometimes a better fit. Candied ginger is portable and won't go bad. It is another must for your herbal first aid kit. 

  • Red Raspberry Leaf - Is a nausea treatment that is safe for pregnant women and kids too. An astringent made from red raspberry leaves will contain very low levels of tannin and is used to treat diarrhea caused by intestinal issues. Tannin is useful for pulling cells together to relieve pain and calm diarrhea. 

  • Marshmallow

  • Chamomile

If you have a nervous stomach (who wouldn't in an SHTF situation?), bitters are always helpful. Americans have removed a lot of bitter flavors from our diets making the flavor strange at first. Once you get used to it, you acquire a taste for them. Examples:

  • Angelica Root - a mild bitter

  • Gentian  - a supreme bitter

Cat has additional information in her book Prepper's Natural Medicine on how to treat water borne illnesses with herbs.

Respiratory Ailments

There are some herbs that are very effective at assisting the body fight an influenza infection. 

  • Elderberry - This plant grows in a wide area throughout North America. There is a good body of research supporting this plant's effectiveness as stimulating the immune system. You can buy it raw, find a bush or plant a bush for cost effectiveness. It is available commercially as "Sambucol" but is usually rather expensive. 

  • Cayenne - This pepper has anti-inflamatory properties and takes away swelling in mucus membranes. It becomes an effective cough syrup when mixed with lemon or apple cider vinegar.  Cat suggests growing your own dwarf trees to produce your own lemons and limes indoors or in a small green house. Here is directions on making instant Fire Cider a traditional cold remedy.

  • Both Thyme and Juniper are anti-microbial herbs. Use them in a steam of boiling water. Let them steep by putting a plate over the bowl to bring the oils out. Then put a towel over your head and breath deeply to get them into your tissues. You can add a touch of peppermint or cayenne to make it more powerful. 

  • Anise - can be added to brandy to make an elixir. 

  • Codonopsis - is another herbal option. This plant is an expectorant and will make your cough more productive.

  • Lobelia - is very good for a spasmatic cough. You should only take this herb in a tincture and you don't need a lot. Do not take it in a tea as it induces vomiting in large doses, unless you want to induce vomiting. Use this any time you have severe muscle spasms. This herb is also used to treat asthma, and in worst case scenarios it has been used to treat anaphylaxis. 

  • Cramp Bark - is an alternative to Lobelia. It is not as strong but still an effective anti-spasmatic.

  • Grendellia - is another expectorant and well help with spasmatic coughing.

  • Hyssop - can be used to make a traditional herbal cough medicine known as "herbal tussin"


The remedies for pain will be as varied as the cause so Cat gave some suggestions for broad pain killers, including:                                                                                       

All of the above herbs are a natural source of salicin which has been synthesized to make Aspirin. White Willow is probably the most commonly known. Meadowsweet used to be used in mead making, a honey wine, to flavor the drought. They can all be made into a medicinal alcohol which can be very effective at reducing pain. I was suprised when I was searching for what a Wintergreen plant actually looked like. It produces little bell flowers that are very pretty. For a birch application you would be harvesting bark same way you do with the white willow. Do not take any of the above herbal treatments if you have an allergy to Aspirin.

  • Arnica - is good for blunt force traumas, bruises, strains, and sprains. The skin must be intact and it is recommended for external treatment only. The most commonly used arnica is mountain arnica which must be grown at a high elevation but there is also a meadow arnica (Arnica Shamafonis or Arnica Cortofolia) which anyone can grow.

  • St. John's Wort  - The flowers must be fresh; heat them in oil to make an infused oil and then you can turn that oil into a salve. Apply this salve topically.

  • Valerian - is another herb that is used to help people in pain sleep and can be used topically for pain and spasming muscles including the lungs.

  • Feverfew - Useful for treating migraine pain.

  • Black Cohosh - can also be useful for treating migraine pain. It is an anti-inflamatory. Prepare it in a tincture and make it into a massage lotion.

  • Turmeric and Ginger - combat inflamation and can be used in culinary applications.

Serious Pain

  • California Poppy or Mexican Poppy - This plant is a cousin to the Opium Poppy and although it does contain the opiate the quantities are great reduced. You can use the seeds to make a tincture to treat pain. 

  • Cannabis - Make sure to check your state laws as this herb is not yet legal in all states and is still illegal on a Federal level. Remedies made from the cannabis plant do not have to have the phycotrophic effects and this herb has many healing benefits. Smoking this plant is the quickest way to feel the effects and ease pain. A little of this herb goes a long way. You can also make it into a salve and apply it topically. There are legal ways to obtain seeds for this plant and it is highly suggested that you have seeds stored or know where you can obtain it if you were in a SHTF situation.

Sharing is Caring!

Please Subscribe, Like and Share

Follow us on social media to discuss the novels, audio drama, and latest podcast takeaways.

  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
The Walls of Freedom Ch 9

Cat Ellis

"My love of herbs began in the late 1990′s with simple cold and flu remedies and grew into a full herbal practice, including workshops and private clients. My herbal practice leans heavily on Western Traditional Herabalism (European and American herbal traditions).

My husband and I have been preppers “officially” since 2008. We were already interested in camping, gardening, beekeeping, and other self-reliant hobbies. A loss of income, however, kicked our interests in preparedness, homesteading, and modern survivalism into high gear.

It was probably inevitable that my herbalism would be influenced by being a prepper. I have spent a lot of time and effort to research the best options in extreme, last-chance scenarios. As a prepper, this is just being practical. As an herbalist, I am humbled by the power and simplicity of plant-based medicines to address truly serious conditions.


I’m not a doctor. I cannot diagnose or give medical advice. I am an herbalist, midwifery student, massage therapist, and a prepper. I see the potential for emergencies where people are cut off from modern facilities and help is just not coming. I see the potential for scenarios where pharmacies may have nothing but empty shelves.


It is my belief that herbalists can fill in some of the gaps in the absence of modern medicine, whether that be from an EMP, a natural disaster that leaves communities stranded for extended periods, an economic collapse causing an interruption in supply, or any other obstacle that puts modern medicine out of a person’s reach." -Cat Ellis

bottom of page