A quick update on the Special Operations Warrior Foundation…last weekend, we said we’d donate 10% of all sales to the SOWF and between the 10% of sales and a little extra that I added, we were able to send them just over $500! Thank you very much. To donate directly to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, please go to specialops.org.
The reason that we chose last weekend to raise money for SOWF was because of Memorial Day. And one of the most symbolic items of Memorial Day is the red poppy, which was made famous by the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae in 1915 during WWI.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Near the end of that poem, McCrae says, “If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.” A few years later, in 1918, a YWCA war worker named Moina Michael started handing out red poppies on Memorial day with a note attached that said, “We shall keep the faith.” The practice caught hold and continues to this day by people who want to “keep the faith with those who have died.”
There’s another side to the poppy. Certain varieties of poppies produce opium, which contains morphine and codeine for pain and noscapine for coughing. Morphine in particular has allowed countless soldiers over hundreds of years to die peacefully without pain on the battlefield and has allowed the safe and relatively comfortable transportation of countless other seriously wounded soldiers from the front lines to advanced medical facilities. Ironically, the red poppy from Flanders field contains no opium.
In war and in survival situations, pain occurs frequently. Pain control is something that you need to address when you’re preparing for short, medium, and long term disruptions in the supply chain and/or breakdowns in civil order.
It’s not just a matter of getting rid of pain for the sake of comfort. Excessive pain can cause shock. Excessive pain can prevent sleep and recovery. Excessive pain causes the body to burn excess hormones, brain chemicals, and blood sugar. Excessive pain can cause thrashing which can cause additional injuries and prevent medics from being able to work on patients. In other words, no matter how tough a person is, sometimes it’s better to treat pain than trying to “tough” your way through it.
This becomes an issue on an individual level because medical facilities and first responders are taxed during normal times and operate with a just-in-time inventory…much like grocery stores. In other words, they have a limited amount of supplies, like pain medication, and will run quickly out if not restocked frequently.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to get yourself and your family ready in case you need pain medication and there is none available.
While not effortless, one very effective method of pain control is to go through natural birthing training like Bradley Natural Childbirth or HypnoBabies. Both train you (male or female) how to calm your mind and body down while experiencing pain. One of the drills that you do with this is to practice relaxing while someone is pinching different nerve centers/pressure points. I’ve used the concepts to deal with cavities without pain medication and my wife got to where I could really dig into pressure points without causing her to flinch or exhibit a pain response. We have gone through both classes, but if you’re not pregnant, I think you could get all of the benefit by getting the books, CDs, and/or DVDs.
Another possible technique is to chew on chlorophyll pearls (liquid capsules). Some people are allergic to chlorophyll and it can cause a severe reaction. If you’re not, here’s a story that will give you an idea of the potential.
A lady that I know recently had shoulder surgery. Her job requires that she work with her hands and she couldn’t afford to take any more time off than necessary. In order to keep the pain under control, she was having to take the maximum dose of percocet as often as she could.
On the advice of a friend, she popped a couple chlorophyll pearls in her mouth, bit down until they popped, and her pain disappeared within a few short minutes.
For burns, of course, the aloe plant is one that many people have gotten instant pain relief from at some point in their lives.
Another option that you could consider is buying poppy seeds that are of a variety that produces opium. My understanding is that they are legal to grow, but you should check in your local area before planting any.
In the past, I’ve received a surprising amount of angry emails when I’ve talked about opium. I haven’t figured out if it was because the writers had past drug problems, if they thought I was promoting recreational use, (I’m not) or if it’s something else. In any case, I think that the topic of pain management is important enough to discuss, and since opium is one of the most effective home-grown pain controllers available, it’s worth discussing.
A quick note…if you do grow poppies that produce opium, don’t harvest any of the opium. You will lose all your possessions and go to really, REALLY bad federal prison if you attempt to harvest opium when there are functioning law enforcement entities, but in a Mad Max scenario, a renewable supply of pain medication could save a lot of lives. (Really…don’t screw around with this.)
The seeds themselves are cheap, legal, and you probably actually eat them a few times a month (think ‘poppy seed bread’) and you can buy them MANY places, including local nurseries, and Amazon.com. You want to search for one particular variety, called “Papaver somniferum.” There are SEVERAL really pretty color options within that variety.
Here are the varieties that are available on Amazon > Papaver Somniferum <
As you can probably imagine, a LOT of the literature surrounding poppies come from the “drug culture”, “hippie culture”, and “far-out culture.” That being said, one book that you might want to get is, “Opium for the Masses.” You can find it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932595465/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=surviveinplac-20
Again, I am not advocating illegal drug use, harvesting, or processing…Several of my friends and some close relatives are in law enforcement and they risk their lives fighting illegal drug use. I’m simply including this as something for you to consider if you are concerned about a long-term complete breakdown in civil order. In fact, one rule of thumb that you could follow is that you shouldn’t harvest or process the sap from the poppy unless things have broken down so completely that you feel comfortable asking local law enforcement to guard your garden and come over to help you harvest.
If you want to really get into the botanical specifics, like the specific variety, soil type, plant spacing, fertilizer, and other techniques for optimum morphine yield, check out: http://www.poppies.org/news/botany.shtml
We’re planting some this year. They’re really nice flowers to look at and I don’t want to wait until I NEED the skill to learn it. Who knows…we may even bake a couple batches of poppie seed bread.
Do you have any other natural pain cures or herbal medicines that you plant? Do you plant them in your yard, or somewhere else? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below
Until next week, God bless and stay safe!