SHTF medicine was one of the most valuable skills that I used when my country collapsed. I plan to use that medical knowledge again if times get bad, for me and my family, or simply for other people, as a help or skill for trade.
When the SHTF, people used what was available for treating their medical condition. Results differed.
All different kind of medical problems suddenly happened when the SHTF.
SHTF medicine for chronic conditions
Preppers usually think about injuries and wounds when they imagine real collapse, but tend to forget the spectrum of existing chronic medical conditions) that a lot of people cope with. Those conditions will not disappear when the SHTF, so if your father or spouse has a high blood pressure condition that probably means you will be more likely to deal with high blood pressure complications when SHTF than to treat gunshot wounds.
It does not mean you do not have to know wound treatment, it means you HAVE to know how to deal with high blood pressure.
So it makes sense to watch for already existing medical conditions within your family and to be ready to help with that when the SHTF.
Depending on the level of your knowledge and other circumstances, this can mean learning about natural remedies for episodes of high blood pressure (garlic, for example) or choosing to have huge stashes of meds for high blood pressure, oral or in the form of injections, or learning how to control it with dietary changes, etc.
Best is a combination of all of the above-mentioned skills and techniques.
A frequent mistake is to “lean” on just one technique, skill, or philosophy.
And that is exactly thing that is often seen in survival movement. Natural-herbal medicine.
Natural medicine doesn’t always work.
I knew several people who had knowledge about herbal medicine during hard times in the war. It was a valuable skill, simply because real medicines (drugs) were hard to find.
So they treated people with their own “medicines”. Most of them actually “sold ” those medicines. Some of them actually gave it as a present. (Of course, they always expected something in return. Rarely people do anything for free, which was pretty understandable at that time.)
Some of that it worked, but more of it did not work. It was a situation where you took it or left it, and to take it usually meant some hope.
Not to mention, a big number of scams occurred with that medicines.
You need to understand that the range of medical condition that was happening at that time was pretty wide. Because the medical system was completely out, you could see anything.
The important thing here is to understand that natural remedies might work in some conditions, while in others they are completely useless because of many reasons. (Too slow, too weak, lack of proper diet, a lot of stress…)
I remember treating more than once wounds with a mixture of herbs and other natural remedies like honey, pine needles, and similar.
And you know what was the result?
If the wound got severely infected, the person lost part of their body or even their life.
It was simple like that.
I have seen cases of pneumonia treated with natural remedies from men who had generational knowledge about natural remedies. And yes, sometimes they did have success but often they did not have success.
It was a desperate time. I saw people being treated after being not conscious for days, burning from fever with homemade hot balms, and prayers from 8 men next to their bed, but still they died.
Do not get me wrong, people may die from pneumonia in the most modern societies with advanced medical care, but here we are talking about common sense and layers.
There is a reason why we are using antibiotics to fight serious infections and not natural remedies.
Yes, part of that reason is the greed of big pharmaceuticals companies, I do agree with that. But antibiotics are needed to fight the most serious infections.
So, if you put all of your money on natural remedies, you need to consider again your prepping philosophy.
Natural remedies have their place as an important skill for SHTF, but as an addition to conventional medical knowledge, stash, and skills. Or, in a worst-case scenario, for use when it is the only way to treat illnesses or injuries.
What makes sense vs. what is fancy
When SHTF you will have to solve problems (including medical issues) in the quickest, most efficient way.
There are few reasons for that:
- You’ll have other problems. Most probably that medical issue is not gonna be your only problem. Most probably you will have many other problems concerning resources, safety, and security. You’ll be under stress, physically and mentally.
- There is no time for mistakes. People feel confident in some things today. It is like that because you have the most advanced medical system usually just a phone call away from you. In other words, NOW if you have some kind of small incision, yes, of course, you’re gonna try to solve it with natural remedies, herbs, natural ingredient ointments, or whatever. It is like that because if you messed up and see that your cure is not working, you can sit in your car and go to the emergency room for professional help. Guess what: When the SHTF, if you mess up, you are f***ed.
Remember – when SHTF, a small problem can lead to a very big problem really fast.
Medical preparedness is all about levels.
The first SHTF medicine knowledge that you need is systematic understanding of medical conditions in terms of severity and probability.
Just like all other prepper topics, there is no sense to start preparing from the end of the spectrum or to cover what is unlikely while completely forgetting the basics.
For a very fundamental start it is good to look into hygiene, infection, existing chronic medical conditions (yours or in your family-group), and wound treatment (emergency and prolonged).
Just these few topics will take months of time, especially since you will try to implement natural remedy knowledge together with medical knowledge.
Again, do not get me wrong. Knowledge about natural remedies was very important and valuable, and I believe we all need to know the basics. But do not throw away what modern medicine can offer you just because you have some opinions that natural is the only way.
What I point out very often is the fact that if something is illegal today (like administration of injections, healing with antibiotics, or whatever) from the point of medical legality it doesn’t mean you are not allowed to research the hell out of it and to learn everything possible. When the SHTF, nobody is gonna care about licenses. Knowledge and skills are gonna be more important.
A lot of knowledge is out there and FREE. You can learn a lot through that.
In the end, for us, natural medicine was very important and valuable because a majority of folks did not have a better choice.
About the Author
Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations like Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world. Read more of Selco’s articles here: https://shtfschool.com/blog/ And take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge and advice by signing up for the outstanding and unrivaled online course. More details here: https://shtfschool.com/survival-boot-camp/