Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Beginners Guide: Indoor Container Herb Gardening

​If you're a prepper new to growing herbs, container gardening, indoor gardening or all of the above then you've come to the right place. I'm going to be sharing my beginners guide to indoor container herb gardening here in this post. At the end of this guide you should have knowledge of 5 herbs that are easy to grow indoors and in containers. You'll be able to choose the best herb containers for planting your herb garden. I'll cover some indoor garden lighting as well. I'll also share some tips on picking the best container gardening soil for growing your own indoor container herb garden. So lets get started by picking our containers.



What Makes the Best Herb Growing Containers?

There are a lot of containers to start your indoor container herb garden with we're going to cover a few of the main ones that I find work well here. Containers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and each has its pros and cons that we're going to discuss.



So lets start by talking about what makes a good container for indoor herb gardening.


There are a few different things you're looking for in herb containers and one of the most important in my mind is root space. What I mean by root space is that your pot has to have enough room for your herb's roots to grow inside the container without becoming root bound.


Root bound plants will become unhealthy and eventually die if they aren't properly treated for this will occur if the container is too small for your plant or the plant out grows your container. So with that being said you want an appropriately sized pot for the herb or herbs you're going to be growing in that particular pot.


Drainage is the next trait I look for when selecting a good container for my herbs. Depending on the herb garden plans you might need a pot that drains really well on the other hand you might want a pot that holds water longer than others and this will be based largely upon what herbs you decide to grow.


Now lets take a look at some of the different types of herb containers you can choose from.


herb growing containers terra cotta

Terra Cotta

Terra cotta pots have been used for what seems like forever in container gardening. They come in a wide variety of sizes so depending your needs you can find one that will work for you.



These pots work well for a variety of herbs and offer good drainage as most will have at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Depending on what you're planting one drawback to the terra cotta style pots is that they're made of clay which tends to absorb some of the water from the soil.


Terra cotta containers can also be rather fragile and tend to break if you drop them which can lead to you cleaning up a big mess. Overall though I would say the terra cotta style pots are a great place to start looking for a pot for your herbs.


Plastic Pots

Cheap, versatile and come in a variety of shapes and sizes you can't go wrong with a plastic pot for your indoor container herb garden.



These offer the same drainage as the terra cotta style pots and often come with a drainage plate as well. They can be a little flimsy compared to the terra cottas but you can find ones that are just as sturdy as well just shop around and you'll find one that will work just fine.


Since they're made from plastic they won't absorb water from your soil either. One thing to keep in mind however is that some plastics contain chemicals that could leech into your soil.


Recycled Pots

The recycled pots are a great natural way to grow your indoor container herb garden. They come in various sizes and colors and offer adequate drainage as well.


One thing that I like about these is that they are recycled from various plant fibers making them all natural. The ones that I have are made from bamboo and are biodegradable after several years of use although their life can be prolonged if used indoors.


Herb Garden Container Ideas

Indoor container herb gardening is about having fun and being creative too so lets look at some cool ideas to plant your herbs in. I have seen thousands of different vessels you can plant in one that I've personally tried and had some success with are the cheap plastic totes you can buy at almost any retail store.



They come in various lengths, widths and depths also so they are a great option. You will have to drill drainage holes in the bottom of those if you need more water drainage for your plant. Pottery vases also work great and can add a sort of elegance around the house if you're going that route. Buckets of any sort are a good choice as well.


They offer ample room for root growth and companion planting and most will have some sort of handle. Really the sky is the limit for containers in herb gardening . It's all about what works best for you and the herbs you decide to plant.


Container Gardening Soil

The next thing on the list for our indoor container herb garden is soil. Soil serves many purposes for our plants and all are important and should be taken into consideration when making your container herb garden.



The main things I would consider taking a look at are water drainage, moisture retention, nutrients, and aeration of your container soil.


Water Drainage and Moisture Retention

Both of these are dependent upon what herbs you're going to have in your indoor garden and should be looked into before planting.



For example lavender requires good drainage so it would be a good idea to have a soil that allows the plant to absorb the water it needs and drain the rest. You can add sand, gravel, sphagnum moss and peat to increase a soils draining characteristics.


For something like oregano it requires more moisture retention. Which simply means the soil needs to be able to hold moisture to allow the plant enough time to absorb what it needs.


This can also cut down on the time you have to spend watering your herbs. Adding compost can help to increase your soils moisture retention; you can also buy bags of soil that are especially made to retain moisture.


What About Nutrients in my Soil?

Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are the main nutrients plants need to thrive. There are a ton of different soils you buy but you probably want to invest in some sort of potting soil and go from there.


I've had good luck with using potting soil in the past but one thing you have to keep in mind is that eventually it will run out of nutrients in a container. This means you'll have to supplement your plants nutritional needs by fertilizing which will cover more in just a little bit.


Why does my Soil Need Aeration?

Soil aeration is great for your herb garden. It allows the roots of your herbs to grow and develop into healthy plants and allows them to absorb nutrients and water a bit easier also.


Another thing most people don't know is that plants take in oxygen from their roots and not having enough oxygen for them can be bad. So to increase your soils aeration there are several things you can add.


The first one I recommend trying is perlite it's kind of like styrofoam in that its really light. This also makes your soil lighter and fluffier thus increasing its aeration qualities.


What is the Best Fertilizer for my Indoor Herb Garden?


You'll find a wide range in opinions about this question but I'm going to share with you what I would recommend for some one starting in indoor container herb gardening.


Fertilizers come in two main forms synthetic and organic in these forms you have two types granular and liquid. I recommend staying away from any synthetic fertilizers whenever possible especially if you're going to be consuming what you grow.


They have there place but to me its not indoors and its not in an herb garden. My main complain is if you're using a synthetic granular fertilizer you run the risk of having a child or even a pet eating it. I prefer to use organic fertilizers when I can because its natural and I feel safer when consuming it. Now I still wouldn't recommend letting your child eat a bunch of organic fertilizer.


Another thing to keep in mind here is the ratio of the previously mentioned nutrients: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Based on what your plant is needing you may need to get a fertilizer that is higher in one nutrient than the other.


I generally recommend that you go with a 10-10-10 fertilizer when starting out as this is a good basic ratio. The 10-10-10 simply means that it contains 10% nitrogen 10% potassium and 10% phosphorus. I like to use liquid garden fertilizers when I know my plants need some nourishment quickly and I don't want to leave anything on top of the soil. If you're going for more of a slow release you can go with the granular type you can also premix this into your soil if your soil has no nutrients or lacks the required amount.


Indoor Herb Garden Lighting

We all know that plants need sunlight in order to grow healthy and have a good yield, but how exactly can we get the sunlight inside our homes?


Well there are a couple of ways we can light up our indoor container herb garden; the first would be to place your herbs on a windowsill where they are sure to get all the sun they need throughout the day. This can be a hard thing to do if you don't have a window that normally faces the sun. So this brings us to the realm of artificial lighting. Plants like herbs use all colors of light on the spectrum, but luckily for us they use more of the blue and red parts of the spectrum.


Depending on what you are wanting out of your plants. You can get better results using more of one than the other or even a combination of these colors. You may also want to mimic natural daylight as close as possible this is what I recommend when starting out in indoor container herb gardening.


The color of your lights is based on a unit called degree kelvin I won't go into detail about what it means but it's essentially a scale to determine the color of light which is referred to as color temperature. Now you're cooler colors such as blues and whites are above 5000 degrees kelvin and the warmer colors like reds and yellows are below 5000 degrees kelvin. Natural daylight is said to be about 5500-6000 degrees kelvin; I recommend when you're starting out to find a color temperature some where around this.


Different colors of light can actually trigger different responses in your plants so lets take a look at that. Lets say you're just starting your indoor herb garden and you want to give it a little boost. Using cooler temperature lighting will help to increase vegetative growth.


The next one you won't have to worry about as much if you're growing herbs but if you're growing some veggies you might be interested. Warmer colors have the ability to aid in the flowering and fruiting stages of growth which could lead to better yields and healthier crops.


What Lamps do I Use in my Herb Garden?

HID

When selecting lamps for indoor container herb gardening there are a few options you can take. The first one to look at are the HID (High intensity discharge) lamps.


For most people these are going to be very impractical because of their size. They are a pretty bulky style are quite heavy and tend to have poor choices of color.


They are also the least efficient style of type of lamp we're going to discuss. However a lot of commercial growers do use HID lamps for larger growing operations.


Fluorescent

The next lamp for us to take a look at for indoor container herb gardening is the fluorescent type. These have been a favorite for indoor gardening for awhile now. They are lighter than a HID lamp and are a more budget friendly choice as well.


Another great thing about fluorescent lamps is they come in more of a variety of sizes and color temperatures. If you have a larger area you need to cover you might consider going with a tube style fluorescent lamp.


For those of you working with a smaller area such as myself you could go with the compact fluorescent (CFL) style. Both styles are cheaper than the HID type lamps and offer better efficiency as well.


LED

The last type of lamp we are going to talk about is the newer LED types. These are kind of a hot trend for indoor container herb gardening right now.


I recently worked on the lighting at a greenhouse that was built for a university and they used all LED type lights for their grow rooms.


They offer a very wide array of color temperatures and are the most efficient lamps available.


For pricing they are somewhat all over the map. You can find them as low as $15 and all the way into thousands of dollars it all depends on your budget and the setup you're going for. InaRock makes a good LED light for a descent price if you're just starting out.


What are the Easiest Herbs to Start in my Indoor Herb Garden?

  Now that you've got the necessary items for starting your indoor herb garden it's time to pick the best herbs for it. There are hundreds of herbs that someone could use to grow indoors and out.


I've selected 5 herbs that I find to work well when starting an indoor herb garden.


Aloe Vera

Growing Aloe vera indoors is one of my favorite herbs to use for indoor container herb gardening. It's as easy to grow as it is useful. Caring for aloe vera plants is generally fairly easy from my experience with the herb anyways.



It prefers a well drained soil and only needs to be watered about every couple of weeks or when the soil drys out. This makes the herb particularly easy to grow for beginners or anyone who doesn't have the time for everyday watering.


Over watering can cause some pretty significant damage to your herb. You'll be able to tell if your plant is being over watered when the leaves turn into a brownish black color. The aloe plant also quite useful as a medicinal herb as I've mentioned in previous posts on the blog. Aloe Vera can be used to treat minor burns and cuts, and can also be used to help with acne.


Mint

Growing mint plants indoors is probably one of the easier plants I tried, this stuff literally grows like a weed.



If you're a beginner in indoor container herb gardening this is a must try. You want to be sure that when growing mint plants that you keep them separate from other plants, the reason for this is that they will take over your garden in no time.


I used a basic potting soil for my mint and they seemed to grow just fine the only thing is you want to make sure that they get plenty of light as they tend to grow pretty lanky if they are kept shaded.


Since you're growing your herb indoors you can probably get away with watering it every 2-3 days. Just keep an eye on it and if it looks a little thirsty give it some water. Mint can be used in a ton of different things from cooking to soaps this herb offers a great aroma and flavor.


Basil

I love using basil for cooking it has a great aroma and adds fresh flavor to Italian dishes. I had probably the most success with growing basil indoors simply because I did it from seed to harvest. It sprouts rather quickly and requires only a basic potting soil.



You can water your basil every one to two days as basil likes a damper soil. Another cool thing you can try with basil is cloning I found that this was an easy one to clone so you might give it a try.


All you have to do is cut off a stem about 4-6 inches long with two leaves and put in an inch of water. You can also add rooting hormones to the cut you made to speed up the process. This should take around a week to start seeing results.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass has to be one of the easier herbs to start with in indoor container herb gardening. All you have to do is go to your local grocery store buy some in the produce section, cut the tops of and then put the shoots in a glass of water.



After a few days they'll begin to form roots and you can add them to your container garden. When you go to harvest the herb you can cut the tops and use in teas to and a fresh lemon citrus taste.


Lemongrass requires a bigger container for growing so it might be best to use something like a 5 gallon bucket. You should water your lemongrass regularly especially when it gets bigger as it will consume more water.

Parsley

​Growing parsley indoors I found was pretty easy to accomplish for a couple of reasons. It doesn't require a very deep container to grow in so you can find several different types to get the job done.



I would recommend planting parsley in at least a 4 inch deep pot for best results. I also noticed that every time I cut my parsley for harvest it would grow back so I could get another harvest.


Although the second and third cuttings were never as good as the first. Parsley is widely used in cooking for bringing freshness to a dish it's a great herb to have in your kitchen cabinets and now you can grow it all year round. I grew my parsley in the same soil as my basil and also had it on the same watering cycle. You could pair the two together and have a nice companion herb container that you could use together in cooking.


Now that you've got all your necessary items for starting out in indoor container herb gardening and have some easy to grow herbs; you should be able to keep fresh herbs year round in stock. I hope you found the Beginners Guide: Indoor Container Herb Gardening helpful if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comments section below or contact us by email. Thanks for reading and check the blog for even more articles coming soon.


Posted on May 17, 2022 | Categories:

Monday, 9 May 2022

A List of Herbs and Their Amazing Uses With Pictures

Looking for a list of herbs and their uses? I've often needed a quick a reference myself in the past to look up a particular herb and find their uses. This article will do just that, I'll be listing several common herbs and listing the medicinal properties of each along with how you can use them. I'm aiming to make this your one source for finding information about your favorite herbs, so let's get to it. You can use the Quick Navigation feature down below to quickly locate a particular herb and by clicking the red chevron in the bottom right you'll be taken back to the top of this page. 


​Aloe Vera



The Aloe Vera plant is first on our list of herbs and their uses, and rightfully so. The Aloe plant has an abundance of medicinal properties and has been used for centuries for this reason. The Aloe plant is relatively easy to grow once it has been established, it doesn't need watered everyday or even every week for that matter. This makes the Aloe plant a great choice for people who are away often or for those who might forget to water it. Let's take a look at some of the medicinal properties of this herb that I mentioned earlier. 

Key Medicinal Uses​

  • Burns
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • Colitis
  • Immune Support
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Skin toner
  • Wound Healer
​The most common uses for Aloe would have to be for treating burns, wounds and skin conditions. This along with the ease of growing an Aloe plant make it an excellent choice to have in your herbal first aid kit. The real magic of the Aloe Vera plant comes from the gel inside the leaves, to extract this all you need to do is take a knife and take off the thick skin on the outside of the leaf. The part you're after is the clear inner gel, sometimes referred to as the inner fillet, because you're sort of filleting the leaf. When used on minor burns you should run the affected area under cool water for about ten minutes before applying the Aloe gel. Continue to apply the gel several times per day for both burns and skin conditions. If you're using the Aloe gel for lowering blood sugar levels take about one tablespoon daily (be sure to use an aloe gel that's free of aloin if taking orally).

Caution

When using Aloe you want to be sure not to apply it to any open wounds. Also be careful when processing the leaves. As I mentioned above you want to make use of the clear gel part, and steer clear of the yellow sap​ that oozes out. While not a big deal when applying to the skin one should be aware of this yellow sap when taking aloe gel orally. This yellow sap is called aloin and if ingested will act as a laxative, if aloin is used for prolonged periods it can lead to depletion of electrolytes and dependence for normal bowl function.

Basil​



​Aside from being a great herb for the kitchen basil has a place as an herbal medicine as well. One reason I really like the basil plant is the fact that it's super easy to grow, you just need to be sure you water it from time to time. It's a very aromatic herb too having kind of a licorice smell and taste as well. One cool thing that I found you can do with basil is cloning it. Sounds crazy right? It actually is pretty easy all you have to do is find the plant you wish to clone (the parent plant) and trim about 3-4 inches down from the top of a stem. You'll want to make sure you make the cut just above a node. This area will be where a leaf attaches to the body of the stem and is where new growth takes place. Then you simply remove the lower leaves of the cut so that you're left with a stem containing 4-6 leaves on the top. After that you simply just need to place the cut into a shallow dish of water and wait for roots to sprout, then you simply just plant the new basil clone into some soil. To speed up the root growth I've found that applying a rooting hormone and some honey to the end of the stem helps a lot. As I mentioned above basil has a place as an herbal medicine so let's take a look at the properties of the basil plant that we can use.


Key Medicinal Uses

  • Antibacterial
  • Mild sedative
  • Relieves gas
  • Bites and Stings
  • rooting hormone

As you might expect from an herb like basil it has a pretty profound effect on the digestive system and therefore works great for treating things like indigestion, bloating, and gas. When you're using basil to treat these problems I'd recommend taking around 2-4 grams per day taken orally. Basil can also be used to ease the effects of insect bites and stings, simply crush the leaves so the juices can be applied to the affected area. To help from getting bit or stung in the first place you can rub the juice on the skin in the same manner, basil works rather well as an insecticide so this should help repel the bugs.

​Calendula



​Also known as pot marigold or poet's marigold, calendula is different than the common marigold that's usually seen in gardens. Unlike the common marigold calendula is edible and has very little scent. During medieval time in England the calendula herb was commonly used in stews, syrups, and breads. Calendula is also rather easy to start from seed and is able to adapt to many growing conditions making it an ideal herb to grow. The herb is found in many gardens all over the world for subarctic to tropic regions. Now let's take a look at the key medicinal uses that make calendula such a prized herb to have.


​Key Medicinal Uses

  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Wound Healer
  • Antimicrobial
  • Blood Cleanser
  • Dermatitis
  • Calendula salve

Making creams, lotions, ointments, salves and soaps are the most common ways to use the calendula herb. Calendula has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions and infections in some minor wounds. The calendula herb can also be taken orally to help ease upset stomachs, ulcers and fevers as well. Most often you will see calendula applied externally to treat minor cuts, burns, bug bites and more. If you're using it to treat digestive disorders using the petals to make a tea or tincture is a great way to treat peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal infection. It's recommended that you take 3-5 grams a day to help ease these digestive disorders.

Caution

​If you're allergic to any plants in the Asteracae family you should steer away from using calendula. You could develop a sensitivity to any topical use which could lead to the development of a rash.

Cayenne Pepper​



​Probably best know for adding a little spice to your dish the cayenne pepper has much more to offer as a medicinal herb. Most lists of herbs tend to leave out the uses of cayenne pepper for whatever reason, but I feel that they are worth mentioning here. The use of cayenne can be found back as far as the Aztecs and Mayans; commonly they would use it for toothaches and infections. The main chemical responsible for the vast medicinal benefits is capsaicin, this is the same chemical that gives you that burning sensation when you bite into a jalapeno. If you're interested in tips for growing peppers check out the article we've previously posted.


Key Medicinal Uses

  • Antiseptic
  • Local analgesic
  • Counter irritant
  • Stimulant
  • Relieves gas
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve Pain
  • cayenne capsules

Most often you'll find the cayenne pepper being used as a cream, lotion or salve to treat problems like arthritis, shingles, joint and muscle pain related to fibromyalgia. It has also been shown to ease the pain of cluster headaches, improve circulation and relieve heartburn when taken orally. For nerve pain, apply a cream that contains about 0.075% capsaicin 3-4 times per day. You can also treat arthritis type pain by applying a cream with a concentration of about 0.025% 4 times a day. Often times it may take 6 to 8 weeks to see the results of cayenne begin to work, but just be patient and it will work. Capsules can also be found containing cayenne and are a great way to orally take your cayenne. In some cases cayenne pepper has also been know to decrease appetite and burn calories although this is probably only a small effect overall.


Caution​

Some times when capsaicin is applied to the skin it can cause a burning, stinging, redness and even a rash. Most often this rash is more irritation than anything and well get better after the first few uses. If the rash persists though you should stop the use as you may have an allergy towards capsaicin. Also capsaicin should never be applied to broken skin. Remember to where gloves if you're working with a higher concentration and don't touch your face, if you don't where gloves be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before making contact with your face. 

Chamomile​



​The next herb on our list is chamomile, this is another great herb with a wide array of uses. The Spanish name for this herb is manzanilla which simply means "little apple" it's no surprise that the Spanish people gave it this name. When the leaves and petals are bruised they give off a very distinct apple aroma. There are two main species chamomile German chamomile and Roman or English chamomile, they're all similar in there medicinal effects but the Roman or English species have a more pronounced aroma than the German variety. Both varieties are relatively easy to grow from seed, in fact if they are left to seed on there own you'll find that they have grown back the next spring.

Key Medicinal Uses

  • Digestive aid
  • Colic
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Eczema
  • Anti-allergenic
  • Anti-inflamatory
  • Wound healer
  • ​How to Use
  • dried chamomile


Chamomile is very common in the form of a tea, it's simple to make a home too. Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 teasopoon of dried chamomile. Allow the tea 5-7 minutes to steep, the longer you let the tea steep, the more powerful the calming effects will be. Chamomile capsules can also be found and are a quick and easy way to get the benefits of Chamomile. Making a topical cream from chamomile is also a great way to relieve the symptoms of eczema, in fact it has been shown that a low dose of hydrocortisone cream showed the same results as that of the chamomile cream for treating eczema.

Caution

​In rare cases people have shown symptoms of an allergic reaction to chamomile this is generally people who have severe ragweed allergies. Generally speaking chamomile is a very safe herb though.

Chickweed​



​Chickweed is an annual herb that can be found all over the world in temperate as well as arctic regions. An interesting characteristic of the chickweed is that it sleeps, at night the leaves will fold up covering the young buds and shoots. Chickweed is also known for being quite a nutritious herb and is a good choice to include in your salads.  The whole plant can be used both dried and fresh in herbal remedies. Let's have a look at the main medicinal uses now that this herb is best know for.

Key Medicinal Uses

  • Astringent
  • Demulcent
  • Relieves itchiness
  • Cooling effect when applied topically
  • How to use
  • Chickweed salve

Chickweed is probably best know for it's ability to relieve itchy skin, and is used a lot in treatments for eczema, nettle rash, and bug bites. A simple chickweed slave can be made by mixing olive oil, chickweed, beeswax, and lavender for fragrance. Finely chop the chickweed and let it sit and dry for about 24 hours. Then you'll want to mix an equal amount of the chickweed and olive oil and blend the mixture for around 20 seconds. Next place the mixture in a metal dish suspended above another metal dish with water in it. Heat the water in the bottom dish to a boil, don't let the bottom of the top dish touch the water this could allow the mixture to get too hot. Stir the mixture frequently then strain through a cheese cloth. Then using the same method melt the beeswax and add the infused oil, stir to combine and then remove. The salve can be put in a jar for later use.

Caution

Chickweed can cause allergic skin reactions in some cases. The herb also contains saponins which are toxic in high doses it's been documented that cattle have died from eating too much of the herb. Although several pounds would need to be eaten to kill the animal.

Cinnamon​



​Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.


Key Medicinal Uses

Diabetes
Mild stimulant
Aromatic
Astringent
Antimicrobial
Relieves gas

How to Use ground cinnamon?


The most significant use of cinnamon is to treat diabetes, take 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon daily to help level out blood sugar levels. Capsules of cinnamon can also be found the dosage varies but generally 1-6 grams of cinnamon capsules per day spaced out is a good amount. A nice little way to substitute cinnamon sugar would be to combine one cinnamon stick freshly ground with 6 teaspoons of stevia. This is great for adding to toast, oatmeal or fruit.

Caution

Ground cinnamon is very safe, the volatile oils can however cause a skin rash. Small amounts of coumarin can be found in Cassia and other cinnamons, generally only large doses of this compound will cause blood-thinning and liver problems, but it's something to be aware of. Also if you're planning on having surgery you should stop the use of cinnamon at least one week before going in as it has a blood thinning effect. You should also take care to monitor your blood sugar to avoid an unsafe drop in blood pressure.

Clove​



It comes as a surprise to many that clove is actually a flower bud, these buds have to be picked at just the right time. Before flowering the buds will turn a deep red and this is the ideal time to harvest your clove. Clove buds come from an evergreen bush with vibrant pink flowers and purple berries. The clove plant does best in warm and humid regions. The earliest written record of the use of clove as a medicinal herb is by the Han Dynasty in China around 300 B.C. Like cinnamon clove was a prized spice and once rivaled the value of oil. Now let's take a look and see what some of the key medicinal properties of clove is and how we can use this herb.

Key Medicinal Uses

  • Analgesic
  • Stimulant
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-emetic
  • Antoxidant
  • Antimicrobial
  • How to Use
  • clove oil

For toothaches a clove or drop of clove oil on a cotton ball can be placed on the aching tooth. This method should be used sparingly however and do not place the oil on the gum. For nerve pain a diluted oil up to 3% max can be applied to the skin to treat problems such as shingles. In small doses clove powder can be useful for treating things such as nausea, indigestion, and bloating.

Caution

Never ingest the essential oil without carefully diluting it first, and in some cases external use can lead to dermatitis. Clove should be used sparingly and just be sure to monitor how your body reacts to it.

​Comfrey



Comfrey's use dates back centuries to at least the time of the ancient Greeks. During the Middle Ages comfrey was a widely cultivated herb found extensively in the gardens of monasteries. Throughout the 1700's and 1800's comfrey was also a popular herb grown in many gardens across Europe as well as America. Sometime during the late 1970's however research revealed that comfrey when taken internally can cause severe liver damage so it has lost popularity and internal use is even banned in many countries. Applications in the from of ointments, poultices, or creams are still considered safe though. Comfrey can still be found growing wild in central Europe, and the eastern United States as well as  a few western states.

Key Medicinal Uses

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Demulcent
  • Wound healer
  • Astringent
  • How to Use
  • Comfrey ointment

The best ways to use comfrey today are through gels, ointments, creams, liniments or poultices. You can find extracts that have the dangerous alkaloids removed while still have the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties retained. Massage any of these methods into a bruise, sore joint or muscle 3 - 4 times per day.

Caution

I mentioned earlier many countries have banned the use of internally taking comfrey, so I must caution you again to not take comfrey internally. The alkaloids found within it can be very damaging to the liver.

Dandelion​



​The dandelion is often thought of as a weed due to the fact that it can very easily over run a yard and choke out grass. Dandelions are actually a great herb, they offer plenty of nutritional benefits as well as medicinal, which is why it makes our list of herbs. One great thing about the dandelion herb is that the whole plant can be used from the flower down to the roots. The leaves make a great addition to salads and the flowers (when still yellow) can be eaten raw, cooked or made into a dandelion wine. Even the root of the dandelion can be consumed, usually it is roasted and ate or added to a nice cup of tea. Due to it's good diuretic properties dandelion is also sometimes called piss-a-bed. 

​Key Medicinal Uses

  • Diuretic
  • Liver cleanser
  • Mild laxative
  • Kidney cleanser
  • How to Use
  • Dandelion tea

As I mentioned before the whole dandelion plant can be used. The root has many beneficial medicinal properties in the digestive system such as the stomach, liver, and pancreas. The dandelion root helps to increase digestive secretions and has also showed capabilities of stabilizing blood sugar levels. The leaf of the dandelion herb primarily acts on the kidneys helping with fluid clearance and even weight loss. Dandelion leaves are a common choice for those looking to lower blood pressure too. When combined with other herbs it works to effectively relieve skin problems such as acne, boils, and eczema.  

Caution

​Generally considered a safe herb dandelion can have a negative effect on people who have allergies to ragweed. Also be sure that any dandelions you pick have not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.
Posted on May 09, 2022 | Categories:

Sawyer Mini Vs. LifeStraw

Sawyer Mini Vs. LifeStraw: Dimensions


 The first and most obvious difference is the size of these two filters. The Sawyer Mini is only around 5 inches and weighs two ounces! This filter is extremely compact and lightweight and will easily fit in your pocket or like I did make a neck lanyard for it out of 550 paracords. Being this compact offers a lot of advantages in terms of carrying it because it is very unobtrusive.


The LifeStraw also only weighs two ounces but is 9 inches long. It is extremely light but its length makes it slightly less convenient to carry on your person but is very easily carried in you day pack or backpack. It’s only 1 inch in diameter so it is a thin filter and easily portable.


Sawyer Mini Vs. LifeStraw: Performance Specs

THE LIFESTRAW IS VERY LIGHT AND COMES WITH A LANYARD.



The fact that each one of these is portable and convenient is one thing but how well they perform is really what matters in a survival situation. The Sawyer Mini’s filter is guaranteed to filter at .1 microns which translates into a very effective filter. It will filter 99.99999% of all bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa so you are very strongly protected from dangerous organisms that can cause waterborne illness. Besides the awesome filtration capability this filter will filter up to 100,000 gallons before the cartridge is exhausted. This is an insane amount and is basically a lifetime supplies worth of potable water for three people.


The LifeStraw uses a .2 micron filter that will protect you from up to 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa organisms. This is still a fantastic percentage when you consider if you just drink from a body of water you get 0% protection from these life forms. It will filter up to 264 gallons of water so I would definitely get a couple of these if you plan on using one for hiking but keep one for emergency reasons.


Sawyer Mini Vs. LifeStraw: Conclusion



THE SAWYER MINI COMES WITH A COMPLETE KIT.


Overall the fact that you get so many more gallons out of the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System and the fact it comes with the ability to thread onto a standard water bottle and hydration packs, comes with a 7” straw attachment, and a drinking pouch that it will thread onto, as well as a syringe you can use to clean the filter with all while being very closely priced to the standard LifeStraw model makes it a great option. Plus it comes in a more compact size (minus attachments) so it is extremely simple to grab and go with.


The LifeStraw is a good option especially as a bug out bag item but its size and significantly less gallons it can filter make it lag behind the Sawyer Mini. You can find a LifeStraw on sale for about half the cost of the Sawyer Mini from time to time which makes it a good idea to pick one up. LifeStraw does offer other models and set ups, as does Sawyer, for larger amounts of water filtration so make sure to look at those options. It’s better to have either of these than to have to chance it when drinking water in a survival situation. Both companies make other options for larger water needs and styles so check them out as well. Thanks for reading and check back for more content.

Posted on May 09, 2022 | Categories:

HexMag Series 2 Magazine Review

 HexMag is already well known as an American company supplying the demand for polymer magazines for the AR-15 and have now improved on their design. The first series of the HexMag worked well for most and now have increased the magazines capabilities with the Series 2 magazine. I’ve been using them for a little over a month and have experienced the improvements in the new design.

HexMag Series 2 Magazine Review: Specs and Features

The main change is the redesign of the feed lips on the magazine making it compatible with a lot of other platforms of rifles now besides the AR-15. This is a fantastic feature because you hear a lot of people with different systems such as the SCAR and Tavor having issues with some magazines either not feeding or accepting more standard magazines. Even a lot of AR-15’s have quirks with the type of magazine that works well in them (one of mine included).



The Series 2 HexMag is made from HexMag’s proprietary polymer that has always proved to be very reliable and robust. There are some good videos of torture tests of them and holding up just fine to abuse. I’ve put them under normal stress and they have not had any sort of issues in my personal use of them, which I expected because the same can be said for their Series 1 magazines.


Another new feature on the Series 2 mags is that they have a guide for use with a stripper clip for faster loading. Simply line up the stripper clip in the guide and push down and you can reload the magazine much quicker than by individual rounds. It is a smart and simple design and is proof the engineers at HexMag are thinking of options to make things easier.

SOME OF THE DIFFERENT FOLLOWERS.




If you like options for different colors of magazines as well they do offer a good variety of colors for you to choose from. They offer black, gray, OD green, and flat dark earth. This gives you some good choices depending on your environment.


The other cool option that HexMag has continued with their Series 2 magazine is their HexMag ID system. This allows the follower to be changed to different colors and has a color coded indicator on the bottom of the magazine so you can color code your different ammunitions and recognize which one is which very quickly and easily. For example my defensive ammunition is loaded with the zombie green follower and indicator so I can check the bottom of the magazine and see that those are the rounds for varmints of intruders and will not be launching green tips through my walls.


HexMag Series 2 Magazine Review: Use and Testing




Like I mentioned I have been using these magazines for over a month now and am extremely happy with them. I have one of each color and they have all performed without issue and all fit into my picky AR which is a great relief as the Series 1 magazine wouldn’t. So if you have a gun that is very finicky about the magazines it accepts try the Series 2 and more than likely your gun will work just fine.


As I said I have just put them through normal use (which has involved them being dropped on the ground) but I haven’t dropped them from an elevated position fully loaded onto concrete because you can cause anything to fail if you try hard enough and most of us won’t be dropping our magazines off cliff sides or out of buildings. That being said they are as sturdy as any other polymer mag I own and will certainly last longer than me. The design of the HexMag just appeals to me so I just like using them the most. They are instantly recognizable and stand out from the pile of other magazines I have.


HexMag Series 2 Magazine Review: Conclusion and Accessories


One of the best things about HexMag is the fact they address the problems of consumers. Essentially HexMag has not just been pumping out magazines and becoming stagnant they keep coming up with new accessories and modifications to improve their product and as a consumer is something I really appreciate. They also have amazing customer service and have always answered my questions in a very quick manner.


To go along with the HexMag ID system they also offer grip tape that is precut into hexagonal shapes to peel and stick inside the hexagon pattern on the magazine to offer more traction. It works well and so far I haven’t had any issues with the adhesive staying on. You can load up all the hexagon shapes or just put it in the areas with the most contact of your hand and it will work fine.


Overall HexMag did a great job on their second generation of their magazine and improved it to make it far more adaptable than most as well as reliable. These magazines sell for around $12 as of right now and can be found cheaper on sale or if bought in bulk. Check out their website to stay up to speed on what new stuff they will be offering as well as get more specs and information on the Series 2 magazine and their other accessories. Thanks for reading and check back for more content.

Posted on May 09, 2022 | Categories:

How to Sight in a Red Dot Sight without Aiming

 A red dot sight allows for many types of shooting and combines the advantages of using your iron sights and riflescope. They provide you with assistance no other sighting system offers.



Whether you are in a competition, hunting, or combat, red dot sights allow you to use your agility to its furthermost potential.

With the best quality red dot sights, you can improve your speed and remain accurate at the same time. The fact is using one gives you a fantastic experience but zeroing them is a pain.

So is it possible to zero in a red dot sight without aiming? Let us find out!

Different Methods of Sighting in a Red Dot Sight

The first concept in using a weapon is to learn how to sight the target. Now to answer the question if you can zero a red dot sight in without aiming, the answer is no.

You can sight it in without shooting and eventually becomes a natural process the more you use your weapon.



You can follow various methods to sight in a red dot, and we will look at them here.

How to Sight a Red Dot Sight without Iron Sights

All that the sighting of a red dot does is to aim the zero, for example, the centermost point of the target (bulls-eye.) With a rifle zeroed adequately, you can aim and hit any target.


As you can see, aiming plays an integral part throughout the process of sighting in a red dot sight. This is where the Laser Boresighter comes in handy to sight on a target if you do not have iron sights.

There are different models available, but the best one is the bullet shaped one. You need to insert it in the chamber of the weapon, and you can get end-mounted boresight these days as well.

However, the placing is different, as you need to put it down the mouth of the barrel to activate the laser. Now that you have positioned the laser, it is time to sight the red dot in with a boresight (here we will be working with an AR platform, and the instructions vary from one weapon to another):


Place the upper part of the rifle on a steady platform after removing it from the lower by dispatching the charging handle and bolt.

Once you have done the previous step, you can now look down the barrel to achieve the distance needed to the target.

After working out the distance, move the upper part until you get the dot centered on where you’re pointing.

Look down the barrel again to see if the upper moved while sighting.

If you find the dots, not lined up, you need to readjust the barrel, aim, and go back to the sighting.

Once putting everything together, you can send a few rounds down to correct it depending on your point of impact.

Sighting in with a boresight depends on the model you are using. If you are using an optical model, make sure to attach the same to the bottom of the barrel and bring into line the lens of the sight.

Here you need to zero the red dot through the grid of the lens — the following steps to rotate the reticle to coincide with the middle point of the grid on the optic. The guns zeroed in after adjusting the crosshairs to the center of the device.

If you are using a visual Boresighter, you need to remember to remove the bolt from the gun. After removing the pin, you need to position the rifle to the target while standing at a firm stand — the aiming using this model is done through the barrel of the weapon.

Co-Witness of Optic with Iron Sights

If your weapon has iron sights co-witnessing it with a red dot sight is simple, as you do not need the boresighter to help.



Furthermore, it works as a backup iron sight when shooting. With a proper sighting of the two sights, you can transition seamlessly from the backup iron sights to the optic and vice versa.

Alternatively, the iron sights allow you to make accurate shots at close range. Here are some steps to get you started:


First, you need to have iron sights available on the rifle. These days many weapons do not have this luxury.


The majorities of AR 15 guns depending on the model have a fixed front and rear sight with standard height.


However, if you have a non-standard model you need a riser or spacer to align it with the red dot optic.

Once you have everything set up with the spacer or a riser if needed, you need to zero the iron sights​:


1

Set up a target, as you need one to shoot at when zeroing in the rifle. Set the object at 25 yards as the chance of missing the mark is smaller.

2

Load the rifle with the ammunition you plan to use the gun with as using different leaves you with differences in the sight adjustment.

3

Establish your position by using the method you plan on shooting. If you intend to do bench rest competitions, you need to use a bench rest, and if you use prone position the most, you need to use the same method. Once in place take your time to get a natural point of aim to give you accuracy.

4

Once establishing the sighting fire five rounds and adjusts if needed. The important thing is to get a tight cluster of shots.

5

After completing the sighting and you find that all the shots are within the point of impact, you are almost done.

6

Now move the target to the desired position you want to shoot from 25 to 200 yards and follow the above steps to finalize the zero.

Now that you have sighted in the iron sights, you can mount the red dot optic and adjust the reticle until it lines up with the iron sights.


For you to be able to do this, you need to be at the back of the sight to align the dot with the iron. You can do this by using sandbags or any other stable support. 


Once aligned you need to verify that the zero is correct with the optic by taking on the same shooting position or style you used for the iron sights. The important thing is that the red dot needs to match up with the iron sight. 


Old School Way of Bore Sighting


While there are many gadgets available to make your life easier to zero in your rifle—it is vital to know how to perform the task without the help of specialized equipment.

Here you can find an old school method of boresighting a rifle. The main thing is the weapon must be a bolt-action model with a removable bolt.



Mount the red dot optic, center the reticle and make sure it is well balanced and level on the weapon.

Secure the rifle on a bench using a vice, or you can use a bipod or sandbags. The important thing is the rifle must not move when performing the task.

Remove the barrel, look through it, and center the bore of the gun on a target set the distance you plan to shoot.

Once done all you need to do is move up to the red dot sight and center the reticle on the center of the target.

By following these steps, you should be able to get your 1st shot on paper and pretty close to the target.


Conclusion

With a red dot, sight such as the Vortex Venom vs. Viper model mounted to a rifle helps you to shoot on target.


Whether you have a handgun or rifle with these mechanisms, it provides better sighting to pull the trigger at an aimed point. The red dot optic helps you to get on target and not magnify your view.


If you do have one with a magnifying glass, you can shoot up to 75-yards, but if you are not doing long range shooting it will help you hit your target more and save on ammo.


As you can see preparing your weapon with an optic to work together with or without an iron sight is not complicated.


The important thing is to do it correctly, but sighting in a red dot optic is not possible without aiming, but you can do it without shooting.


Another vital thing to remember is if you want to make sure the firearms are zeroed in you will need to make a couple of shots to adjust the sight if needed.


We hope that the steps on how to sight your red dot optic with your rifle give you a better insight to get it done right the first time.


Furthermore, to maintain your skills always practice with your iron sights to continue the ability if ever the optic decides to fail on you.

Posted on May 09, 2022 | Categories: