Not long ago I picked up a copy of The Lost Book of Remedies by Claude Davis, and it’s a decision I’ll never regret. Most of the first few days were spent reading it from cover to cover, and since then I’ve been dipping into it a few times a day, always finding something interesting – either a piece of knowledge I’d appreciate, or one of Doctor Davis’s charming anecdotes.
What really impressed me about this book wasn’t just the huge amount of knowledge it contains; it was how painstakingly Claude has pulled together everything he could remember or research about Doctor Davis – his grandfather – and the remedies he used with his patients. For Claude, the book was obviously a labor of love, and his respect for the man who taught him so much shines through on every page.
Anyway, I’m a huge fan of Lost Remedies, so when I realized last week that work would be taking me pretty close to where Claude lives, I thought I’d give him a call. We chatted for a while about what we’ve both been doing since I saw him last, and he finished by inviting me to drop round again.
Visiting Claude is always an experience. There’s something hugely reassuring about his home. When I arrived lunch was cooking in a cauldron out front, and Claude’s wife was just taking some loaves out of the oven built into the side of the open fireplace. This is living the way it used to be done.
Once I’d said hello to Claude and his family, the two of us sat down and started chatting about his latest book. We talked about a lot of things, in fact, but here’s what we discussed about The Lost Book of Remedies.
Me: I’ve read all three of your books now, and loved them. They’re a bit different, though the first two cover a really wide range of skills, dealing with just about everything. The new one is all about remedies and medicine. What made you do things different this time?
Claude: Well, there are two reasons. One’s personal, and the other is something I think all preppers need to keep at the front of their minds.
Me: The personal one… this book was obviously inspired by your grandfather and his work, right?
Claude: Yes, it was. My grandfather was a huge influence on me as I grew up. I was basically raised by my grandparents, and they were remarkable people. Even by the standard of grandparents, they always stood out as old-fashioned; not stuck in the past, but I would say rooted in it.
Me: How do you mean, exactly?
Claude: They always saw the value in traditional ways of doing things. They were never rich, and they’d known real poverty in their lives, so the modern, throwaway society wasn’t for them. I guess you could almost say they were offended by the amount of waste that went on even then. What they would say about society today, well, I don’t even want to guess at that.
Me: I can relate to that. I’m amazed how much money I’ve saved just by looking if I can fix things up, instead of throwing them away and buying a new one.
Claude: Well, that was a way of life for my grandparents, in everything they did. And they taught me those same values. So I guess I wrote this book – edited it, really; my grandfather did the real writing, in his notes – to help preserve some more of the old ways they taught me. And to honor my grandfather’s memory, of course. That’s important to me.
Me: So that’s the personal reason. What’s the other?
Claude: Because healing is something we all need sometimes, but our modern healthcare system is very vulnerable even at the best of times. Getting sick in the USA can be an expensive business, even if you have insurance. My grandfather healed people because that was his calling. He didn’t ask for payment, but most people paid him what they could. Sometimes it was cash, sometimes a sack of potatoes or a couple of chickens. I remember once he set a farmer’s broken arm and came home with half a pig. Well, the modern healthcare business isn’t like that. If you can’t pay, a lot of the times you’re not going to get the treatment. If you know how to use the traditional remedies old Doctor Davis used, you can treat yourself a lot of the time – and do it just as well.
Me: I sure like that idea. I needed treatment for a minor skin condition a few years ago. I’m insured, but the co-payment still put a dent in my budget.
Claude: You could have used a stinging nettle tincture.
Me: And next time I will, for sure.
Claude: Now imagine you weren’t insured and had to pay the full cost. Maybe you have kids to care for too, and money’s tight. Are you going to pay, or just suffer? A lot of people just suffer, but there’s no need to. Four or five generations ago everyone had a load of home remedies for things like that. Real preparedness isn’t just about EMP or natural disasters; are you prepared for an illness you can’t afford to get treatment for? I am, and I want other people to be prepared as well.
Me: That’s true, and I think it’s something a lot of us overlook. We’re so focused on a major crisis that we forget a minor crisis can hit us at any time.
Claude: Exactly! And then, what if that major crisis does come? What’s going to happen to our clinics and hospitals then?
Me: Nothing good.
Claude: You’re right. The whole system will collapse in a hurry. Hospitals run their inventories on a just in time system, like any business. When the supplies stop arriving they’ll run out of things fast. Even basic drugs and things like bandages won’t last long. So everywhere will be overloaded. They’ll be turning people away, and those who do get in might be the unlucky ones.
Me: Why do you think so?
Claude: Overcrowded hospitals with drugs running low? Infection is going to be a real issue. Personally, I’d be a lot happier here at home, with my own remedies that I’ve made and tested myself.
Me: Yes, I see your point. I didn’t think of that.
Claude: You’re not the only one, but I believe we all need to think of that. Whether a crisis lasts weeks or years, people will get hurt. People will get sick. And the hospitals we all rely on could become very dangerous places, both from infection and angry crowds trying to get in. We need to be prepared to treat things ourselves, and we need the old remedies for that. Your first aid kit will run out of supplies eventually. The drugs you’ve stockpiled will expire or get used up. All we’ll have left are the natural remedies my grandfather spent his life learning about and using. We need to know them, be familiar with them, and maybe, most important of all, learn to trust them. Remember, these are all remedies you can make from natural ingredients. There’s a lifetime supply of them out there, if you just know how to find and use them.
Me: Yes, I see exactly what you mean. Well, I’ve learned a lot from your book already, and from now on it’s going to be one of my go-to references. Thanks for sharing all this knowledge with us.
Claude: I know Doctor Davis would have wanted me to do this. He spent his life helping people; if more people can use what he knew to help themselves I know that, wherever he is now, he’ll be very happy.
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