This is a guest post by Kim B and entry in our non-fiction writing contest – where you could win $100 cash. (This contest ends on June 5 2011 so get busy)
When TSHTF, if it’s bad enough, there may be no way to purchase much in the way of mouth washes, pastes and so on. If you don’t know how they’re made or how to mathematically figure it out then you’re going to be left without a means of trying to help yourself. Going through a period of TSHTF, life will already be “trying as it is” but adding in a problem with your mouth will make life a living hell. If you’re independent and intelligent a nice infection can turn you into a grouchy, defenseless, whimpering baby because, with the pain, your mind will be overtaken and you may be unable to think well. You don’t want to be vulnerable when TSHTF so it’s time to take your mouth health and how you’ll handle it into some serious consideration.
It wouldn’t be great if you’re eating scratchy, crunchy foods that make contact with your gums, wearing dentures that rub your skin the wrong way or picking your teeth with a pointy object that punctures your skin and you get a sore spot because if any germs get in then you’re going to be in for the typical “infection roller coaster ride” with all of the perks of pain, salty taste, inflammation, possible loss of appetite, etcetera. With no way to nip it in the bud you know you’d be suffering endlessly but your situation may not come close to that because might decide to make your own antiseptic mouth rinse and chase those little unseen pests called “bacteria” off, or at least die trying.
Take it from someone who’s had experience with this sort of thing. Yes, me. Cavities, a small amount of plaque buildup around a few teeth, inflammation, pain, the list continues on to what, at the time, seemed to be almost endless. Three trips to the tooth doc and I was all fixed up and on the road to recovery, so I thought. For over a year my gums, teeth and everything were fine, but wouldn’t you know it? All it took was to floss the wrong way and breech the skin ever so slightly, didn’t even feel it happen, and back to an inflamed state with infection to soon follow. The little thing that decided to take up residency in one part of my gums decided after a few weeks that it would find a new locale for partying because it was becoming a little overcrowded at the upper level of the Infection Café. So, it packed it’s bags and went to the basement of the spacious Jaw Room and a few weeks later some of it’s friends headed on over to the 1st and 2nd stories of the Wisdomless Hotel all the way across Don’t Hate My Needle Town. It’s been much quieter these days but I don’t trust them because you know how friends are. One minute they can hate each other, the next it’s like they never split up and they’re back at it.
I know that it’s good that I have gone through another bout with my gums because I’ve found some things that are working to heal them, namely an antiseptic mouth rinse. I didn’t know that it was going to work but I bought it anyway and it’s helped immensely. The swelling goes down a little more each day, the exposed nerves which won’t tolerate a salt rinse no matter how mild a solution it may be aren’t feeling the pain that they’d been going through, I can chew food again and life is looking up once more.
When I looked at the back of the bottle for instructions for using it I also examined the ingredients, active and inactive, and next to them I found that the makers used measurements that tincture-makers use which happens to be “ml”. At first it didn’t occur to me that the company had used “ml” but when it hit me, I was overjoyed. At times, I make tinctures and I always use a short glass, like a shot, with “ml” (milliliter), “oz” (ounce) and other markings upon it’s side which makes it convenient to measure alcohol, water and other liquids.
Upon examination of the information on the rear of the container, I saw that the mixture contained water, sweeteners, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and coloring. Nothing out of the ordinary. The contents were good tasting, pretty looking, nice smelling, not harmful unless swallowed at the dose used for rinsing the mouth because hydrogen peroxide is not edible. In the warnings section, I read that the product should not be used for more than a week and, if symptoms do not clear or get worse by then, see a doctor. Thoughts rolled through my mind…stop using it on the eighth day…don’t swallow too much of it…I can put it in my mouth and it can go all over in there… This was confusing to me because anything that goes under the tongue is absorbed very rapidly, much more so than the process of “on top of the tongue”, and is the preferred method of medicinal administration of aspirin in hospitals during a cardiac emergency. The same is true with many homeopathic medicines although some vials do not state to dissolve them in that way. I know that even the most poisonous of substances can heal in the correct amounts so I have not worried that the small amount of hydrogen peroxide that I am administering to myself, being absorbed into my system via under my tongue, will be any different. I also can’t help but remind myself that radiation is much more deadly but in the same token it is being used to help people live.
The seven day limit for using the rinse arrived and I was left with the dilemma of what I could do to continue using a rinse which was working because all that I may need is a little more time. I sat with the bottle for about half an hour before realizing that I could safely take this matter into my own hands and make my own mouth wash. I wouldn’t do that with a broken bone or brain injury but, in this situation and under my circumstances, there was no other alternative.
If I was going to make my own mouth treatment, I was going to have to figure out what main ingredients I would have to use and how much. Looking at all of the ingredients, there was water, (drinking) alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sweetener and flavoring. The alcohol, which I suspect to be the base for sterilizing and killing off infection, is likely Vodka which was listed at 4.1% or .041 which, after doing some math, is equal to 19.68 ml. The hydrogen peroxide was listed at 1.5% or .015 and is equal to 7.20 ml. The entire bottle contains the standard 16 fl. oz. (fluid ounces) or 480 ml. After converting percentages to decimals I came out with the correct measurements for each ingredient. To find the milliliters for each ingredient, I did a few quick multiplications and received the answer I was looking for.
This is what it looked like when I was calculating for exact measurements no differently than I would when making an actual tincture. Alcohol: 480 x .041 = 19.68 (ml); hydrogen peroxide: 480 x .015 = 7.20; 19.68 + 7.20 = 26.88 ml. To find the amount of water and other ingredients I had to subtract the total of the alcohol and peroxide from the amount contained in the bottle: 480.00 – 26.88 = 453.12 ml.
An important feature to tinctures is that the amount of alcohol may range from 20% and on up with the lowest percentage helping the person or company manufacturing it to make it very inexpensively. It is possible to use solely distilled water as your carrier but because it contains nothing that will keep the herb and liquid pure and sanitary, it may spoil or be worthless in the future. Without alcohol or a true preservative to keep it, there is no guarantee.
Having the exact figures, I was able to measure out everything and put it all together before adding sweeteners and coloring. To concoct my antiseptic mouth rinse, I measured out 480 ml of distilled water and removed as close to 26.88 ml of it as I could, to allow room for the peroxide and alcohol, of which I chose to stay on the low side because I would later add small amounts back to it to tame it down, if needed. I poured the water into a steam-sanitized dark glass bottle, measured and added the peroxide and then the remainder of the alcohol. I shook the mixture a few times, opened it and began adding liquid sweetener in small amounts until it reached a taste that I could tolerate. I really appreciate the flavor and ability of peppermint, I generally use it in oil form, to give a bold smoothness to the nasals and cool and soothe the skin especially when irritation is present. One drop at a time, until it reached about the right flavor for my taste buds, I had the level of minty freshness that I wanted. When I was finished with the rinse, I tried it out and it was as good as what I had bought from the store. I’m not stuck with using only Peppermint and have been interested in adding Wintergreen and mixing up other flavors as well but for now I’m staying with my current recipe. The bottle is now in storage, ready to use at any time. Whenever money is tight, it is fun to go shopping at home. Please don’t blame me if what you make doesn’t turn out right because there is always room to make adjustments. If you have too much water in it, add more alcohol. Or, if there’s too much alcohol then add more water. If you make it too sweet then you’ll have to add and taste one ingredient at a time until you get it just right. Experimentation is the key when messing up or, if everything has gone wrong, starting over might be the next step.
If there were no doctors, knowing how to ferment corns, grains, pumpkins, apples and other foods and decreasing the substance down to the proper degree will never leave a survivor without their antiseptic medicine. Alcohol is one of the best medicinal items to have on hand because it is good for wounds, sedation, relaxation, sanitation, infections, etc.
If I were an alcoholic I would still make the mixture but allow the vapors to dry off before using it or I might just harvest the herbs that are needed, prepare them like a tea and rinse for a minute or two as I would with the alcohol-based wash.
There are several herbs that you can buy that are already prepared which are astringent and ideal for helping your mouth such as Witch Hazel which should not be swallowed, Lavender oil can be added to a rinse or a few drops added to a sugar cube and absorbed under the tongue, most Willow barks and White Oak bark, I’ll let you look up that one. If you don’t want to or can’t use peroxide for any reason then the herbs can be used in it’s place as all three have healing qualities. Just remember that when using fragrant or aromatic substances, you should test your wash after each addition to keep your senses from being overpowered or the mixture from tasting too strong, causing it to be, sort of, on the side of a turnoff.
I never expect immediate or instant results because herbs and other “natural” medicines take time but I am always sure of one thing and that is that my problem will be resolved if I’ll just stick with it. Through experience I know that, equal to the medicines of the pharmacies sold throughout the world of today, herbs have always been around and they work at about the same rate of speed. The conventional doctor that you would see nowadays will say that there are only so many of one type of drug offered but with “natural” medicine, when one does not work or seems not to, there is always another that can be used. If that doesn’t seem possible, recently water went into my ear when I was washing my hair and my ear became very infected. It had drainage, was so swollen that it was puffy, I couldn’t hear well and I was suffering a fever. I didn’t have anything for it because money’s been tight, the herbs and tinctures have been a little low for a while, and there was nowhere else to turn. After the short examination, the doctor said I had something like Swimmer’s Ear and he explained that what had caused the infection was similar to, but not, a yeast infection. I was sent with a prescription to be filled, thankful for Wal Mart and their $4 plan, but when I went over the included information papers several hours later I learned that I couldn’t use it if my ear had a perforation. I was feeling disappointed and hopeless. I needed an antibiotic so I grabbed my tube of triple antibiotic ointment and lightly slathered it on, around and just inside my ear. I had success with the ointment because the infection cleared by the next morning and the healing was finalized within a few short days. When I found out that I could not use the medicine, I returned to the pharmacy that same day and told them of my trouble. They notified the physician but there was nothing more that he could do for me because that was the only medicine available. It was disheartening because that was all that scie!
d come up with to treat the problem that I had. When the late hours of the day had come, I was wishing for some “natural” medicine because my options wouldn’t have been limited to just one.
Whether an addict or not, I’d still have alcohol, grow herbs and make my own medicines because WTSHTF they will be extremely valuable to myself and others.
I know where my medicine is going to come from and I hope you do, too. What are your plans – please share with us in the comments below…