BDS Book Festival: Home Remedies + Interview with Alex Smith

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
BDS Book Festival: Home Remedies + Interview with Alex Smith

Today I share the next author interview and book giveaway in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival.  I am pleased to welcome back Alex Smith as I introduce his latest book, Home Remedies.  In addition to answering a few prepping questions for us, Alex will be giving a copy of his book to one lucky reader.  More about that in a moment.

Home Remedies Alex Smith Book Festival

Home Remedies – A Primer for All of Us

Oh my gosh you are going to love this little book!  Alex refers to the book as “an excellent primer for the individual with limited experience in the application of home remedies”.  In a word, he is being humble.

Home Remedies is much more than a basic primer if for no other reason than the solutions use common household ingredients and not a bunch of weird exotic items that are difficult to find and expensive to buy.  There is a great section on making oils from dried herbs that looks so easy that I plan to try it myself.  These will not be essential oils, mind you, but useful oils none-the-less and a good alternative for those that may not have the budget for a wide variety of pricey EOs.  You will also find easy, peasy instructions for making tinctures, poultices and salves.

Something I like about Home Remedies is that the ailments are organized alphabetically.  This makes it quick and easy to find a solution to your minor first aid woes.  In many cases, there is more than one remedy for a particular problem.  For example, there is a page devoted “Cold Sores” with a variety of remedies listed so that you can pick and choose what to use based upon the ingredients on hand.  Hint: he recommends real licorice!  There is also a section on home remedies for pets.

There is one thing that is puzzling.  Vinegar is listed as a “Super Plant”. I will need to look for one of those vinegar plants the next time I go to the nursery!

Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

An Encore Interview with Alex Smith

1. To what extent does your family participate in your personal preparedness efforts?

My wife and I are a team, though I tend to lead on the subject. We complement each other very well, however. Her perspective definitely helps further our goals. Having someone to bounce ideas off of is huge. We’ve also started working out together, which has helped both of our routines. I’ve always tended to favor strength training over cardio, but having her alongside me is helping me create a more balanced program for us both.

2. What are your favorite survival or pepping book or books? (They can be fiction or non-fiction.)

Perhaps not a candidate for all-time favorite, but The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight definitely deserves some sort of consideration for perhaps the best use of a few bucks I can remember in a long time.

3. Do you have anything else (announcement, message, personal experience) that you would like to share with the readers on Backdoor Survival?

The next year sure seems to be shaping up to be an interesting one. If you’re lacking anything, I’d suggest you fill in any gaps in your preparedness plan. Quickly.

The Book Giveaway

A copy of Home Remedies has been reserved for one lucky reader.  Here is this week’s question:

What is your all-time favorite home remedy?

To enter the giveaway, you need to answer this question by responding in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 AM Pacific next Thursday and the winner will be selected at random using tools on the website.  Also note that the winner will be announced in the Sunday Survival Buzz and he or she will have 72 hours to claim the winning book.

Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.

summer book festival 2013_04

The Final Word

Sometimes the best things come in small packages.  That is definitely the case with Home Remedies.  Although it is available for the Kindle, I heartily recommend having a print copy on hand.  This is a book you can keep in your first aid kit for those times when a home remedy is the solution to what ails you.

I hope you will enter the giveaway to win your own copy of this great new book!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight Item:  Home Remedies

This little book is an excellent primer for the individual with limited experience in the application of home remedies. In addition to listing common home remedies, it includes instructions for making infusions, salves, poultices and more.  There is information about super plants everyone should have on hand and guidelines for starting your own home remedy garden.

Bargain Bin:  Today is all about books.  Listed below are all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone.owl reading book


Backyard Cuisine: Bringing Foraged Food to Your Table
Home Remedies
Living on the Edge: A Family’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency
Make It Last: Prolonging + Preserving the Things We Love
Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills
The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms: Helpful Tips for Mushrooming in the Field
Good Clean Food
The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight
Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living
The People’s Apocalypse
Go Green, Spend Less, Live Better


Going Home: A Novel of Survival (The Survivalist Series)
Surviving Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series)
Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse
The Border Marches
Rivers: A Novel
After the Blackout
The End: A Postapocalyptic Novel (The New World Series)
The Long Road: A Postapocalyptic Novel (The New World Series)
3 Prepper Romances:  Escape To My Arms, plus 2 other e-books (your choice)
Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids


The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
Escaping Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series)
Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival


Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.

Emergency Essential Order Jul 2013_03

Recent purchases from Emergency Essentials

A couple of the top sale items this month are the Freeze-Dried Diced Roast Beef Steak at 32% off and as well as the Hot Cocoa Combo which is 16% off.  You know how I like to have comfort foods and hot chocolate is right up there on the list.  This particular combo includes 4 cans: French Vanilla, Mint Truffle, Raspberry, and your basic Gourmet Creamy Hot Chocolate.

For a head start on your holiday gift giving, a dozen red emergency candles – including gift bags and bows – are on sale at $49.99 or 41% off.  These are great candles, even for non-emergency purposes.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials


I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here.

The Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items
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Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure (, and can purchased from Amazon.

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69 Responses to “BDS Book Festival: Home Remedies + Interview with Alex Smith”

  1. My favorite remedy is using honey as a poultice for a bruise. Hubby and I are outdoors people and we are constantly getting bangs and dings. On one occasion the chainsaw hubby was running caught a loose piece of wood and kicked it back into his shin, hard. I applied (smeared) some home-raised honey on it and bandaged it up. It didn’t stop the knot that swelled up, but it didn’t bruise or get sore and the knot went away the next day. Good stuff!

  2. Potatoes: Not only are they good, they are good for you…. these are all good remedies in the event of a survival situation

    Peel and grate a raw potato. Rub potato slices directly to your face to get rid of blemishes and pimple scar.

    Apply grated potato poultice on the acne area overnight (it will turn black) and wash off in the next morning. The potato starch draws the acne out making it heals faster or not becoming worse.

    Drinking raw potato juice is an effective arthritis home remedy for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. The juice is prepared by soaking sliced potatoes (medium-sized with skin) overnight is a large glass of cold water. Fresh juice is then extracted. The concentrated potato juice should be diluted with a cup of water and consumed in the morning before eating any food.

    The alkaline juice of the potato neutralizes stomach acid and relieves upset stomach, heartburn and even peptic ulcers. Warm potatoes applied externally help alleviate joint and muscle pain and improve circulation. Raw potatoes reduce itching and skins inflammation.

    A tea made from potato skin can relieve gall bladder problems, thereby enhancing the liver’s ability to clear waste products and toxins from the body. To prepare, peel a large potato and boil the skin in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink the brew.

    • Alice. When you take the sliced potatoes and soak them in water overnight and then extract the juices and dilute for acidic stomach, are you soaking them to make them easier to juice or another reason? I have a super duper juicer. Is it all right to just juice the potato or must I soak it overnight?

  3. In my very early years, I used to get cold sores, or fever blisters on my lips quite often. An uncle told me one ‘B’ vitamin would clear it up. I used the vitamin and he was right. I used that vitamin every time I started get a blister, and it dried it right up. Now that I am old and forgetful, I have forgotten which ‘B’ vitamin it was, so I take B complex to make sure I get the right one. It still works.

  4. Epsom salts can be used as a poultice to draw out infection from a wound. My mom used this many times on the kids when we had a cut that got infected.

  5. Colloidal Silver. Since I make it at home, it can be categorized as a home remedy. I drink it and spray it on everything. It makes food stay fresh longer…keeps colds and flu away…kills bacteria and germs…purifies water…does about everything. I don’t leave home without it.

  6. Even though it contains fluoride, I really like blue Crest toothpaste to stop mosquito bite itching as well as bee sting pains. Applying a blob of the blue stuff seems to stop it in its tracks. If I can’t find any Crest handy, then rinsing the affected area with pure white vinegar seems to work almost as well.

  7. What is your all-time favorite home remedy? i sufferreal bad from poison ivy when i contact it.When i was a little boy my mom would fill the tub with kukewarm/cool water and add bleach to the water then i would sit in the tub.this would dry up and remove all the poison ivy oils .It also killed any bacteria and stopped the blisters from itching and getting infected.This method was more effective than any other poison ivy treatment including the time i had to get a shot from the Dr.I still use this remedy to this day

    • my second favorite is to use vitamin E oil to ease sore nasal passages andaid in scar removal and on stretch marks too

  8. My favorite is to put honey on a cold sore that is just starting to make itself known and then to reapply the honey a couple of times each day until it is completely healed. The honey stops the cold sore from progressing. I use raw honey so I do not know if pasteurized honey will work as well.

  9. When I was growing up my grandmother always gave me hot tea, with honey,lemon and her secret touch – a little bourbon. Now I don’t condone giving children alcohol but in the olden days – things were different – and it worked.

  10. Salt has many applications. Good to gargle for a sore throat, use in a sinus wash, use it on your tired
    feet for a massage and exfoliating cleanse. My dad always put it in the pink eye of his cattle. Cleared it right up.

  11. I think my favorite home remedy is rosemary infusion or rosemary powder. I first used it in my kennel and grooming shop to stop bleeding if I cut a nail to short. My daughter in law used it as an infusion on my granddaughter’s face when she fell off her bike on a gravel road. The infusion helped it heal without any scaring. I never use anything else on a cut. Helps it heal beautifully.

  12. Hydrogen peroxide used after brushing kills germs in your mouth, preventing gum disease. It goes into all the little cracks that my toothbrush missed and foams out anything left in there. My hygienist recommended Listerine, but the hydrogen peroxide is much cheaper and doesn’t have alcohol and other additives. It also is great gargled to relieve a sore throat. Mix half and half with water for both applications. It has lots of other uses too, so it is my favorite home remedy!

  13. My favorite remedy so far is elderberry syrup. If I make it plain we can even have it on pancakes. But I believe it saves us a LOT of colds. One tablespoon a day when not sick and one tablespoon an hour if you do have symptoms of cold or flu. Easy to make with our homegrown honey too. I finally got elderberries growing after many years of trying. You have to make sure they are in a somewhat wet area – – – if you have elderberries growing wild, there is water within 10 feet.

  14. Best and favorite over all – keep an aloe plant in the house – they don’t take much care and they are great on burns, just cut off a piece, slice in half and lay the pieces on the burn.

    • Oh, also raw organic honey – from sore throats with lemon and honey, to burns – just spread it over the burned area and cover with damp cloth for 30 min, to a fix for a sugar craving.

  15. I have several favorite home remedies but the one I go to the most often is my lemon/honey elixer. If I am getting a cold or just don’t feel right, I make a tea with it. Seems to knock a cold right out of the ball park.

  16. Apple Cider vinegar. I use it for indigestion and haven’t needed my perscription stomach meds since I started using it. Just a little bit in a glass of water works every time.

  17. My all-time favorite home remedy? At the risk of sounding like a lush it’s brandy. I like it is it’s versitility. You can stelilize, catherize, sedate (even the fumes can do that for a mild sedative). In a real emergency you can heat with it cook with it and give the illusion of warmth with it. (Use a a warmth drink sparingly as it actually does not warm but cools the body) It can be used as a wash to also bring down a fever, or clean toxic oils like posion ivy off the skin. Dental rinse to prevent, purify or to numb. Everyone knows it was the first medication in an ambulance, it was there for a reason, and is still in my first aid kit to this day.

  18. My fave would be the mother vinegar. With it, I can make vinegar to preserve foods, use it for cleansing and disinfecting, get rid of bugs and also for medicinal purposes. Like a sourdough starter, as long as I have the mother vinegar, I don’t need to carry much weight, so I keep 2 mothers, vinegar and sourdough. Choosing one, it would be vinegar mother.

    • OK can I change or replace or something? The past two weeks I’ve been checking out what’s around me. One such plant is pine. I live in a land of pine trees so I wouldn’t have to carry extras of this. I could just find a pine tree. Check for pine sap. With it I can seal a wound to stop the bleeding; use some pine needles in hot water for pine tea which aids in digestion; use the inner side of the bark for roasting AND I can find it year around. Boy! With this and vinegar, and a snare…I could go light on my bug out bag or carry extras of other than food items. 🙂 Yes, pine trees most definitely and now it leaves me wondering just what jewels of knowledge this book holds. I haven’t even listed the other reasons pine trees are great for survival. Hehehe I am now incorporating it into my diet and practicing on how to use the inner bark in other ways and with what other foods to blend it. 🙂

    • Dee must be a wacko from the west coast. Is this your way of recycling Christmas trees? Eating them? I joke Dee. As you know I am interested in anything to help with my stomach acid. How are you preparing your “pine tea”? Also, there are a lot of different types of pine trees. Do they all have the same medicinal values?

    • John, I saw your reply about me being whacko for pine info. THAT’s precisely how I plan to blend in. 😉 Most won’t know about the benefits of pine, so I have a way to take care of myself and who’s gonna bother an ole lady in a wheelchair gathering pine needles or stripping pine bark from a tree. Whacko is a great description. LOL Depending on how strong you want the tea depends on how many needles to use. Just remember moderation, AND you need to experiment like I’m doing to know how strong and how it will affect you. And bad breath? How can one have bad breath when it smells like pine? LOL 😉

  19. My favorite remedy is using crushed Jewelweed when exposed to poison ivy — also can be made into a soap or salve (since the plant has a spring-to-fall life), very calming then for mosquito bites, and similar itching plant / bug bite reactions. Love it!!! Swear by it. 😉

    • Jewelweed! I used that constantly as a kid when I got poison ivy – which I did often as I lived in a rural area.

  20. Aloe Vera plant…my mom ALWAYS had one and she’d snap an end off and rub it on burns from cooking and sunburns…I think she even used it on bee stings. I can’t grow a houseplant for anything…but I buy aloe vera gel to keep on hand. 🙂

  21. I have always used vaseline on burns. After cleaning and drying well, apply a thin layer of vaseline and wrap lightly. Works, I had 3rd degree burns up my arm, and did the vaseline, minimal to no scarring.

    • I forgot to add that you can use it as a skin protectant against cold or heat. Also you can use it as a fire starter.

  22. Jewelweed for poison ivy.

    My husband and I were both science majors in college (he – chemistry & biology; I – math and physics). Being big fans of the scientific method, I keep telling him that he should rub poison ivy on both arms, and then jewelweed on just one arm, to give a true test of its effectiveness. For some reason, though, he just won’t do it!

  23. I use hydrogen peroxide after I brush my teeth, and it keeps my gums healthy and slowly whitens my teeth. Also use HP to clean my counter tops. Love herbal tea, honey and lemon for sore throat.

  24. This will sound crazy, however I have used this remedy several times for pink eye when I could not get to the doctor’s office. Our doctors office is several cities away ( and of course closed on weekends and holidays) The remedy is …..heat up some milk to just JUST warm, put a straw in the milk, then cover the other end with your finger so as to trap a drop or two in the straw. Put this in the eyes if there is pink eye. This is a home remedy from Mexico it is called “leche-de-teta.’ it translates roughly to ‘milk of the boob.’ Mothers used to squirt breast milk in the eyes of young childern when they got pink eye. Another remedy is to put the stems and leaves of marijuana in vodka. Place the brew in a dark place for several weeks. after that, if someone had/has arthritis or aches and pains from a long day of surviving all you need do is soak a rag with the vodka mixture, rap the affected area for a while….and wala pain be gone. Another use for vodka is to soak stinky feet in the vodka to kill the stinky feet germs.

    • Barbara. I like to read these comments and try to learn “stuff” from them, but you must not be from Ky, as we know what to do with marijuana and vodka, and we don’t soak in it. Although, we do have a few soaks around here.
      Great post.

    • I’ll admit that some of the “stuff” we drink taste like someone soaked their feet in it, but after a few shots, and a few hits, we don’t care.

  25. Plantain- The handiest plant to pick, chew and put the gob on bee stings, insect bites, scratches to ease the pain right away. My little nephew was stung by a wasp, I found the plant near a building, made the instant poultice and he was out playing in just one minute. Kids tell you if it works fast.
    It grows in most states. Another Indian remedy for scratches & cuts is Balm of Gilead (Spring poplar buds with strong antiseptic smell, very sticky sap) – I mix it with beeswax & some wintergreen essential oil. Very fast healing salve.

  26. What is your all-time favorite home remedy?

    Well that depends on what’s ailing me. BUT for flu or colds with body aches, congestion, cough, fever and all else that accompanies those types of ailments I like a hot-totty! My version is pretty cut & dry unlike some other recipes I’ve seen.
    Some honey + bourbon/Jack Daniels whiskey or my fave MYER’S dark rum (called planters punch) + hot water + sliced lemon = mix them together to taste, sip, enjoy as the aches, pains, fever and cough vanish replaced by a warm glo!

  27. My favorite home remedy – I had gotten a sliver in my foot one time. Thought we’d gotten it all out but we didn’t and it became infected. We used dipped some bread in milk, squeezed out the excess and strapped it on with a band- aid. It helped to draw out the infection allowing us to retrieve the rest of the sliver.

  28. My favorite home remedy is whenever anyone in my family has a cold or sore throat, I make the a tea from honey and cinnamon. It releives the symptoms and everyone feels back to normal much more quickly.

  29. Baking soda is our go-to when we are feeling punk, a scant tsp in a cup of water. It rapidly alkalinizes the body, which bacteria and viroids don’t like. Also, a little helps with occasional sour stomach. I brush my teeth with it now and then to break through tarter and whiten. And I wash my face with it as a gentle scrub.

  30. My all time favorite is so simple it is easily forgotten. My mother always soaked a cloth in hot water and placed it on minor skin infections such as pimples, acne, infected scrapes etc. The heat helped draw out the infection and it even helped soothe the pain. No need for the expensive sprays we see in the drug stores.

  31. To get rid of ringworm (even the hardest ones on the scalp): gather 10 sheets of plain newspaper n cut them into 12 in squares and place flat on a clean plate. Strike a match to all 4 corners an let the newspaper burn completely up. Blow off ash. Smear the TINY sticky tar on the plate onto the ringworm. Repeat once daily. This works !! The perscription mess never worked. This did, and fast!!

    • Crazyteacher. I am contemplating taking all these remedies and writing a book. I don’t know whether to put your remedy in the front of the book or on the last page. I can remember once in my life having a ring worm on my leg, and it was almost impossible to cure. If this is a “fixer”, I know we could bottle this “stuff” and make some money…

  32. I have not used many, I am just beginning to smarten up and use the smart antics my Grandma used, so my favorite home remedy as of now and works GREAT is, garlic and olive oil mixed well dipped onto a Qtip and gently inserted into the ear for an earache. If it does not disappear the first night it will by at least the 3rd depending on the amount of pain you were in to begin with.

  33. Homemade elderberry tincture in tea or a teaspoon straight at the first sign of a cold. Also raw honey and cinnamon for a sore throat.

  34. My favorite home remedy is aloe Vera gel. It works on burns, scrapes, rashes, etc. Can also be used for hair gel. I have my 6yr old convinced it’s a miracle cure.

  35. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for many uses. Brushing your teeth, cleaning virtually anything,it was one of the go to items in our house.

  36. Just got into elderberry syrup this year. I had to buy my elderberries, but I’m hoping to be able to grow my own. I also found a hawthorn tree on the property which I read is good for heart ailments; I’d like to make a tincture of them. I want to be able to identify local remedies from the land to use.

  37. Not really a remedy but a preventive. Proper hand washing! Got dreadful sick a few months back and it gave me a wake up call how “dirty” people can be. I’m very selected if I eat homemade foods or store bought food that many people have touched at work and wash my hands often, especially before eating. I guess for a remedy, not really a problem solver but it is for dry skin, daily I use coconut oil and olive oil mixed together for my dry skin. Works wonders.

  38. tea tree oil. My kids probably get tired of me saying, ” Use the tea tree oil”. For an all natural household cleaner I really like apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Cleans the grease off my stove and it’s fun to watch it bubble!

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