Must Have Everyday Items for Home Remedies

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from TC.

In the scenario where you and your family members would have to be able to rely on yourselves for a while or maybe even an indefinite time, first aid and home medical care should be among the skills you possess. That’s why making sure you acquire them should be among your key interests if you’re getting prepared for the worst that may come. No one is saying you should gain the skills of a neurosurgeon overnight, of course, but being able to craft up some home remedies and knowing a thing or two about what home care strategies to use for common ailments isn’t that hard. Luckily, the online community is ripe with advice and recipes for home remedies, so there are plenty of sources to learn from.

But while there’s an abundance of knowledge on what home remedies can be used for plenty of common health problems or injuries and such, not everyone learning about these things thinks about the needed tools too. If you read up on the various natural home remedies you can use for each type of common illness, you will see that some of them don’t really require much props besides a bandage, some massage and maybe a good night’s sleep.

We’re not going to go through all that here and now. Anyone can pretty much figure out how to massage a strained wrist or how to put a tight bandage over a light wound. The challenging part lies with crafting your own natural remedies out of plants and household ingredients. Most people only read up on this when they are already dealing with the issue. But since preppers always think things ahead and being ready for the down to earth practicalities of it all, you should also have a very clear image of the how-to involved, together with the tools and everyday household items needed for most of these natural cures. Here are our top picks, as well as the things you can use them for.


A Mortar and Pestle is excellent for grinding up herbs to be used in home remedies.

1. Mortar and pestle

This is the basic tool needed for crushing the plants or other medicine ingredients together into a form which is better absorbed by the human body. You will be able to use the mortar and pestle for a wide variety of cooking needs as well, not to mention the medical ones. If you make yourself a hefty supply of basic pills (like aspirin), you will be able to use the mortar and pestle for much more than natural remedies. For example, crushing some aspirin into a fine powder and applying it onto a bandage before putting it on a wound can greatly speed up the healing.

Related Content: Medicine to stock up on for when there is no doctor

Must Have Everyday Items for Home Remedies - The Prepper JournalMust Have Everyday Items for Home Remedies - The Prepper Journal

2. Salt and Vinegar

Salt and vinegar are substances you’d better stock up on as well. You can use them as carriers for a wide variety of natural extracts (which you craft using the mortar and pestle mentioned above, together with alcohol and bottles, as we’ll explain below). Salt can also be used for disinfecting areas in your house, killing flea eggs and thus keeping infestation at bay, (or even disinfecting small infected areas of your skin, like a nasty itch or a flaky scalp, in the absence of fancy shampoos). Vinegar is also a good carrier for plant extracts, and can be used for good old fashion rubs (when dealing with a bad flu) as well. You can also help keep household items free of rust by treating them with vinegar (and oil).

3. Alcohol

After crushing the plant parts you need for crafting up a particular remedy, you need to put them to macerate in alcohol so that the liquid extracts and preserves the beneficial substances into a cure you can effectively use. Not to mention the other things alcohol is good for, from disinfecting wounds to sterilizing tools you will need for sewing up a medium cut and so on. As unpleasant as the thought may be now, you will be content to know everything there is to know if the situation should ever arise.


4. Brown glass bottles and vials

Those plant extracts you can use as natural remedies, crafted with the help of the mortar and pestle and alcohol, need to be stored somewhere. Glass vials and small glass bottles are your best bet, even if they tend to be fragile when hauled around. When preparing for any bad times which may come, choose recipients made out of brown glass (also called amber glass), since it protects the content from direct sunlight, which can damage the precious plant extracts inside and make them less effective.

81z0D1oxsjL._SL1500_5. Oils

Oils are also one of the best carriers for substances you extract for home remedies. Not only that they are able to preserve the active substance well, but they also are ideal for carrying them inside your body (through rubs). You can even add a few drops to your food whenever you feel sick and want to use the matching remedy if you previously crafted it (if the base oil you used is edible). So stock up on vials and some canola or olive oil before reading up on what remedies you can make like this.

6. Sugar

Sugar has plenty of uses besides its culinary ones: it can be used for scrubbing away dirt and harmful substances, and if you add a few drops of a plant-based home remedy to it you can also use it as a cure. Sugar can be used either externally (as a scrub infused with natural medicine, especially effective for skin irritations or funguses), or internally, to make certain bitter remedies more palatable (especially if there are kids in your family too).
Must Have Everyday Items for Home Remedies - The Prepper Journal

7. Pocket knife

You will need the knife for several kinds of survival tactics, as any prepper is already well-aware, but you will also need it to carefully cut away the parts of plants you will use for home remedies. A smaller knife brings more precision to this task, which is why a pocket knife is the best fit, as long as it’s properly sharpened up. You will also use the knife for cutting up bandages, gently scraping up some solid substances you may need for the remedies, and so on.

8. Two stove kettles (one smaller and a good fit on top of the bigger one)

Finally, if you really want to do a good job with improvising natural medical remedies, you should have two small-ish kettles that you can use over a campfire as well as a stove and the likes. One of them should be smaller than the other one, so it can be placed over the larger (medium-sized) one. The procedure is similar to a bain-marie from cooking. The idea is that in the smaller stove some delicate substances extracted from plants should be cooked together for a cure at a smaller temperature than by using direct heat. Hence, the medium kettle will be filled with simmering water to distribute a more delicate and constant heat to the smaller one. Quite ingenious. This last technique is pretty advanced, but don’t worry, most natural home remedies you can make and use don’t require anything that complicated.

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I would add Natural raw honey, good medical books with lots of illustrations on child birth and simple surgery, plaster of Paris, and as illustrated as decent herbal medicine book. Epsom salts and various other medications can be used but you have to know what you are doing. Nothing natural is safe if abused or used incorrectly. Knowledge is required as overdosing on willow bark will easily kill you. Have an ED nurse or doctor close at hand preferably one will experience working in poorer countries is better than playing herbalist but one of those interested in natural remedies is… Read more »

Pat Henry

Great additions to the list Huples! I try to have a lot if not everything (minus plaster of paris) on hand. Medical books are a must-have in my opinion.


Natural Oils are a good thing…. if you know HOW TO — USE THEM PROPERLY!

Occasionally, we will get someone in the hospital because someone used them and the treatment went horribly wrong. Usually, they end up with burns or some sort of rash that almost looks chemically induced. Remember, as with all preps and supplies, know what you have. For instance, lemon oil will do a great job on your skin, but without a carrier oil (another oil to balance out the acidity), your going to be burned horribly.


Add to that two books:
The Herb Book by John Lust
Herbs – An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Kathi Keville

If I could only have two books on herbal medicine, I would chose those two. They both cover a massive spectrum of uses and plants.


I’m glad someone touched on the knowledge aspect as its more important than the ingredients. It never fails to surprise me when I see threads like “how to suture a wound” or something similar. Yeah, the steps are easy enough, but the key aspect is knowing WHEN to do something, followed by the how. It’s far too easy to make your situation worse by misapplication of techniques. There’s a reason a certain degree of education is required to practice medicine (at any level) and there’s a reason seasoned practitioners are more effective than fresh-out-of-school types. Third, know when to seek… Read more »

Pat Henry

I agree with you on the practice aspect. I saw a sign for a 2 day Phlebotomist class the other day that I am considering taking. With that, drawing blood would be much easier but I am looking at IV treatment. Same concept as far as hitting the vein I would assume.

Also, you can practice suturing on pig feet, but I wonder if a similar class would be available.


I’ll tell you from experience drawing blood is much easier than starting an iv. Honestly, neither are particularly difficult, but to draw blood you only need to hit the vein. To start an iv you have to hit the vein, then thread the catheter without passing through the vein in the process. Not difficult, it just takes a certain touch and a “feel”. Hitting a vein almost feels like piercing the skin of a grape (supermarket eating variety) with a needle, best way I’ve come up with to describe it to new RNs at least lol. Anyone can learn the… Read more »

Pat Henry

Great information, thank you!

I have tried suturing on an orange and really the knotting was the most complicated aspect I think for me. Practice is definitely something I need more of and suturing is one thing that I have also heard some people advocate not doing for the reason that you now open up dozens (potentially) new wound holes for the thread that now have the possibility of getting infected. Maybe I’ll just stick with super glue and butterfly bandages…


No problem! It’s rare anyone ever gets curious about how I do my job. It’s usually just “patch me up quick” so it’s nice to see people eager to take their health into their own hands. I think the hardest part about suturing is getting used to manipulation the cordage with hemostats as opposed to ones fingers like anyone that’s ever tied a knot is used to lol. I think for the common person it’s most definitely the way to go (glue and butterflies). Unless you feel like scrubbing an already painful wound you’re setting yourself up for a potentially… Read more »


Raw chicken breasts are a great way to practice. Unfrozen of course.


That’s actually not a bad idea


A small amount of plaster if Paris is essential. Art and craft stores can get it if you do not, cough, have medical access. Lightly bandage the skin, soak the plaster and add a thin layer. It gets hot. Practice on an object. Hard to get off so make it in two halves. Tie together with a secure bandage. For most sthf the splint is shown but honestly for a fracture you’d need to be able to do this. Like I said a good nurse, md is a bonus 🙂

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