Over the past few years, I have acquired a sizeable library of books and eBooks on natural remedies. Some are good to use as a reference but somewhat dry, boring, and overly technical. Others are fluff or simply a glorified blog post article. A select few are outstanding and today’s book is one of them.
Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for Do-it-Yourself Home Healthcare by Dawn Combs is one of those rare books that takes an overwhelming subject and breaks it down into manageable bites. The book begins with an extensive discussion of developing a local medicine community and the value of using healing herbs we can grow ourselves. It then moves on to the many ways you can put these herbs to use, whether as a tincture, oil infusion, steam pot, salve, bone broth, vinegar or any of a number of other methods that can be used administer herbs in emergency and first aid situations.
Something that has been irksome in the past is to pick up a book on herbal medicine only to be presented with a list of 100 different herbs, all recommended for the home apothecary. Talk about overwhelming! I like that Dawn focuses only on twenty common herbs. These same herbs are those she matches up with specific ailments. This makes it very easy to get started using herbs in our daily lives before a survival situation sets in.
Today I share an interview with Dawn plus I have three copies of her book up for grabs in a giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.
An Interview with Dawn Combs, Author of Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for DIY Home Healthcare
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
My book has at its core my belief that we have been disconnected from our heritage of home healthcare. Those of us who are better off go to our gardens for food but we still have to go to the pharmacy for our medicine. We have reincorporated the idea that our food should be local, but we still buy a preparation that is highly processed if it is natural and made by a nameless factory or lab if it is not. Only by learning how to care for ourselves and re-establishing the medicine in our garden rows, side by side with our food, can we truly be self-sufficient.
The book demonstrates how to re-establish a local medicine economy, including growers, makers and even medical professionals. I show how to care for almost 100 ailments using only 20 herbs, thereby demonstrating that a small apothecary where you don’t have to know every herb on the planet is possible. Finally, I show how to take care of the family using common sense methods of evaluation and an awareness of where home skills end and a medical professional may be necessary.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
My research in both of my books to date has been in living on our homestead and caring for our family in the way I teach.
How long did it take to write?
That depends on what you mean! I think I write my books in my head for a couple years as I go about my daily work and interact with my community. Then in about a month’s time I sit down and move it from my brain to paper.
Every book, fiction, and non-fiction includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
The Buy Local, Eat Local movement is an important one and they got the message partly right, but we need to add “Heal Local”. The natural supplement industry takes in more than a billion dollars a year. Imagine what our communities cold look like if we kept that money in our downtowns and in our own pockets!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m a wife and mother first and foremost. My family and their health is what started me on the journey to helping other people with theirs. I am happiest when I am outside in nature, either the woods or near the water. I attract injured animals like a magnet, and my self-sufficiency model can best be summed up by my favorite british t.v. show, “Good Neighbors”.
As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
I am keenly aware that the current healthcare system is unsustainable. We have given up the power over our bodies by taking on the idea that we can’t “know” them without a medical degree. This has created a situation where no one knows how to manage even the most minor health issues at home.
Our emergency rooms and doctor’s offices are clogged with minor issues and our doctors don’t have enough time to really devote their attention to folks who really need it. Mistakes are being made, people are becoming sicker and we don’t take proper responsibility for ourselves. The system in this state cannot go on.
I am attempting to prepare as many people as will listen how to slow down and search for the real problem, rather than chasing symptoms. I am devoted to sharing a roadmap back to health independence.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
Begin by learning some of the plants in the backyard that can be used for health and first aid.
What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?
Hmm… I’m not really a doom and gloom type of person. I don’t think the breakdown of our medical system will be cataclysmic. Instead, I think we will continue to see a slow deterioration of services and a lack of access for most people.
truthfully don’t see this a necessarily a bad thing, but there will be many that are hurt by it as they won’t be prepared with the knowledge, won’t be ready to change their mentality and won’t be interested in the work it requires. Those people will either have to find someone to teach them how to catch up or they might be among those in society that won’t make it.
Do you have plans for another book?
Yes. I’m working on a few pitches right now. I think the next book will focus on what healthy digestion looks like, how to achieve it and what the consequences look like when we don’t make it the focus of our eating. I’m also working on the book after that which is most likely going to be a holistic view of the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenal glands, reproductive, etc.).
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
The knowledge of how to use our native plants is not new age, it is what we should have learned from our grandparents. This is our heritage and we are allowing a cultural preference for medical authority to convince us that we aren’t capable of the techniques and critical thinking involved in self-care.
If we don’t work to keep this knowledge in front of ourselves and our children, we are in danger of losing it altogether and that would truly leave us open to extinction. The truth is, no matter how many survival skills you have, if you are only focused on how you will practice first aid in a crisis, such as war or cultural collapse, but forget to gather the skills you will need in the life that you lead afterwards…. You aren’t truly self-sufficient.
Dawn and her publisher have reserved three copies of hers book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.
A special word about the giveaway question/comment: Please read the question and respond accordingly, even it the answer is “I don’t know”. This week’s question is:
Name one herb or other plant-based item you would like to learn more about relative to wellness and healthcare.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
I love this book and it probably shows. The content in reasonable with no reference to over-the-top, outrageous claims for curing every imaginable disease on the planet. The writing style and voice is pleasant and personal, and the included recipes make me what to head to the kitchen and start infusing some ginger, garlic, and cayenne in olive oil (separately, not together).
As much as I embrace essential oils for day to day wellness and first aid, I understand essential oils themselves are not a do it yourself proposition. Essential oils are typically created through steam distillation using stills and other specialized equipment generally unavailable to consumers. On the other hand, herbs are easily grown in pots or garden beds and often are found in the wild.
It makes sense then, as preppers, to learn about using herbs for DIY home healthcare not only to promote wellness, but to give us alternatives for those times when commercial medicines and essential oils are not readily available.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #13: Books to Help You Prepare.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for Do-it-Yourself Home Healthcare
Most of us understand the value of eating and buying local. Taking back our food, goods, and services from multinational corporations and sourcing them from small growers, producers, artisans, and entrepreneurs benefits our families, our environment, and our communities.
This innovative guide demonstrates that by harnessing multifaceted whole plants, we can rely on homegrown or regionally produced herbs rather than importing exotics and non-natives. Based on the small apothecary model, author Dawn Combs explains how to:
- Maximize the benefits of homegrown first aid, from increased freshness, potency, and effectiveness to community resilience and local economic growth
- Make home herbal healthcare less intimidating and more attainable, by focusing on twenty herbs to effectively treat most common injuries and ailments
- Implement a local medicine culture safely and sustainably, while protecting and respecting wild plant populations
Many herbals overwhelm their readers, presenting a list of hundreds of herbs, each with a different purpose. Heal Local empowers readers by showing that you don’t need to know everything about every herb on the planet to create a complete home apothecary.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.