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Divergent Thinking

Tom Barnett opens some doors to divergent thinking.

Tom Barnett



It’s said that all children are born with divergent thinking. Within 5 years of the schooling system, it’s all but gone. If you ask an adult how many ways they can close a door, they might say, “you can do it hard, soft or medium…so three.” A better thinker might say, “you could close it with your hand or foot, or you could bump it with your hip or your butt…so four.” A better thinker again, might say, “I can think of at least ten different ways. Half of those involve closing it from the outside (pushing), and the other half from the inside (pulling).”

How would a divergent thinker respond? They wouldn’t jump to conclusions, as if a door is a door. They’d think for themselves, and ask questions. “How big is the door? What is it made of? How heavy is it? Does it have a handle? What kind of handle? Is the door suspended from hinges or does it slide? If it slides, does it slide horizontally or vertically? Is it automated or manually operated?”

Guarding your mind is an important part of life. It is the difference between heaven and hell, a prison cell or a life of freedom. Before deciding what it right and wrong, it’s good to make a habit of exploring a topic in a divergent way.

More than anything, it’s good to think for yourself, especially when it comes the trillion dollar industry known as Wellness.


Pine Tip Tea

A Favorite Seasonal Remedy for the Whole Family

Nighthawk Bear



Pine Tip Tea, Great Bear Trail, Naturopathic, Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic Remedy Fresh from the Forest

As a child growing up in Wyoming, my family would go hiking and camping every summer in the Medicine Bow National Forest. One of our favorite camping spots was a place named Vedauwoo (pronounced Vee-duh-Voo). Vedauwoo is known for its strange piles of boulders. This is also a great place to find various types of evergreen bushes and trees, and even to this day I still go hiking there to forage for items I use regularly in my natural remedies.

Vedauwoo, Pine Tip Tea
Snack Break in Vedauwoo

Surrounded by all the various types of pine trees as a child, I had no idea that when I grew up I’d discover they contained one of the most fascinating natural medicines. There is an age old remedy I have discovered that has worked wonders for me and my family in repeatedly beating the common cold and flu, sometimes even in the harshest of conditions.

Field Tested Pine Remedy

During a 19-day course on POW training and wilderness survival while in the Army, I gained some valuable practical experience using these evergreen trees to treat various ailments. The chief ailment I used it for was a common cold/flu.

It was November in North Carolina, when I came down with a fairly severe cold. Staying as silent as possible in our small hide site, piled next to 5 other team mates, I must have also reached a fever since I was shivering while huddled in my 3-layer sleeping bag. Not wanting to be medically dropped from the course, and also just wanting to try ANYTHING to make me better, I began making cups of pine needle tea. This is before I was aware of what terpenes were and how they worked in breaking down mucus and other buildup in the body. All I knew was that my SERE instructor told me it had lots of Vitamin C in it.

I would take water from a stream, boil it, and add the pine needles. I also shared some rose-hips I’d found with my teammates. My cough was barely noticeable after the first night. A cough can often worsen when exposed to cold air. I was cautiously observant in case my conditioned worsened. It did not. My fever also quickly subsided after the first night. Quite surprisingly, nobody else on my team came down with any illness despite our close proximity sleeping in our cramped hide site. The hide site was literally in the nook of a hill where we piled branches and leaves over a few logs and made a makeshift cave. It blended in nicely with the surrounding landscape, but it was like sleeping in a sardine can. Nevertheless, I quickly beat the flu just in time for us to be thrown in a van with bags over our heads, headed to the more brutal part of our training. The rest of my time in that course could have been a disaster had it not been for the application of pine needle tea.

10 Years Later

Since I left the military, I have used this cold and flu treatment every year and have passed it along to my family with similar results. I decided this year to further refine my plant based medicine bag. After a brief search, I found three great tasting combinations you can try that will further boost the already reliable homeopathic treatment of Pine Tip Tea.

Just as it sounds, the tips of the pine boughs can be harvested and simmered in hot water. Although any green pine needles will make an effective tea, the new growth at the ends of the pine boughs hold the freshest and most readily available nutrients. These can be harvested throughout the year, but are perhaps most potent when gathered in the spring. If properly dried, the pine tips can be kept for over a year and still maintain their potency. Keeping the dried bits in a cool, dark, dry area like a root cellar is probably the best condition for their preservation.

Why is it so Effective?

You may also be aware of turpentine, which comes from distilled pine tree sap. There is a small amount of this age-old medicine all throughout the tips of the branches as well. The plant terpenes (after which Turpentine is named) are known to prevent infection in cuts and may even help break down lymphatic buildup in your body that lead to various other illnesses. They also help break down mucus in the body which is amazing when you have a chest cold.

Pine Tip Tea pairs nicely with many other herbal remedies including thyme (used for digestive issues as well as treating coughs), camphor (a powerful cold remedy), and even onion (same). These are all useful not only in the treatment of the symptoms of a cold or flu, but they contain the ingredients your body can use to heal itself far more rapidly than it would if you just gave it drugs. The more we examine nature based medicine, we see how man-made chemicals that are engineered by billion dollar companies really only mask the symptoms of an illness yet do very little to help the body heal itself. We will do better.

Try These Three, Tea-hee

Feel free to expand on these three simple Pine Tip Tea recipes. Your sense of smell will let you know if your body needs or wants any of the properties in the concoctions. As a bonus, these are all safe to give to children, and have been used for many centuries in both early western and native medicine. I have given this to my own daughter throughout her life with good effect. Note: I like to mince the pine a bit if using the long needles, and simmer for 10-20 minutes. You can even let it sit overnight. This is to draw out the maximum amount of nutrients from the pine tips. You can try steeping it like a normal tea as well, as I have not scientifically tested which method is better.

Boil 1 pint of fresh pure water
In the pan of water, add a handful of pine tips
Add 4 or 5 rose hips (dried or fresh, crushed or whole)
Simmer for 10 minutes
Pour into mugs and enjoy
Sweeten with raw, unfiltered honey if desired (honey is a great remedy for sore throats)
Boil 1 pint of fresh pure water
In the pan of water, add a handful of pine tips
Add a two or three finger pinch of thyme (fresh or dried) (if its crushed you can use a tea strainer to keep the pieces together if desired)
Simmer for 10 minutes
Pour into mugs and enjoy
Sweeten with raw-unfiltered honey if desired
Boil 1 pint of fresh pure water
In the pan of water, add a handful of pine tips
Add dried hibiscus flower
Pour into mugs and enjoy
Sweeten with raw-unfiltered honey if desired

Thanks for reading! If you have any natural remedies you’d like to share, we’d love to hear them and perhaps publish them as our next featured article! Submit completed articles and pictures to Check out more remedies at our Wellness page.

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That One Thing

Tom Barnett shares where to find “that one thing”.

Tom Barnett



We’ve all been there. It’s marketing’s best asset: We believe “that one thing” will solve our problems.

It sounds like it was made by God himself, just for us. It’s exactly what we’ve been looking for!
Despite evangelistic praises of Product A or Lifestyle B, fortunately for you, it doesn’t exist.

If life were that easy, it would be boring. “That one thing” always comes with a price tag. Buy this powder, that course, this program, this procedure, that pill, this pilgrimage, and these magic beans. Your problems will dissolve when you hand over money.

“If you don’t take responsibility for yourself, someone else will and it won’t be to your benefit.”

Tom barnett

The paradox is that we have “that one thing” all the time. It’s called intuition.
A friend of mine ate nothing but grapes for a month, because she read an advertorial written by a ‘doctor.’ That was a great experience. It wasn’t because of the abundant quantities of grapezoids that she consumed (a compound found only in grapes, essential to every process in the body*). It was a great experience because she learned she has the discipline to eat only grapes for a month.

If you asked a child (who hasn’t unlearned intuition) if it was a good idea to eat only grapes for a month, what would they say?

– Tom Barnett

*I made grapezoids up, but doesn’t it sound like every marketing blurb you’ve read?

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Faster Healing with Honey

Nature’s Burn Unit

Nighthawk Bear



Honey, Burn Remedy, Natural Remedies
Illustrated by my daughter

Did you know that you can reduce the time it takes to heal from a minor burn by almost 5 days? It’s true, and we’re going to discuss one of the best ways I’ve found to treat minor burns and abrasions for myself and my family. I’m going to show you how to use honey to heal burns in half the time.

 “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” -Samson: Judges 14:14

My uncle was the first person to show me this simple remedy. He had a collection of honey from all around the world from Iraq to Wyoming. Being the only honey connoisseur I know, I feel fortunate he shared with me such a simple way to care for a common injury. I don’t always trust THE experts, but I do trust MY experts. Before we get to how honey is used to heal burns, I’ll touch briefly on some history and lay out a guideline for knowing if a burn is too severe to treat at home. It is best that you only treat things that you’re capable of safely managing. 

Early Writings

The earliest writing I could find that referred to using honey as medicine is from roughly 4000 years ago. There was an ancient tablet found in Nippur, Sumeria (an area about 700+ miles east of the Nile River). It says in part, “grind to a powder, river dust and …(unreadable) then knead it in water and honey and let plain oil and hot cedar oil be spread over it.”  This remedy is assumed to have been for some form of injury. However, it is entirely possible that this was also an early recipe for the first gluten free cracker. 

Another ancient document referencing honey is known as the ‘Ebers Papyrus’ (1550bc). In this document, honey is mentioned more frequently than any other ingredient for various medicinal concoctions when treating wounds. Honey has apparently been known to have antimicrobial properties for thousands of years. I can almost hear Hippocrates saying: “told ya so,” while Galen’s gladiatorial patients mutter: “muth be nithe”.

3 Levels of Burns

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s necessary to circle back around and refresh our memories on the basic types of burns. This is to ensure that we’re clear on what I mean by treating “minor” burns. Severity is determined by both how deep the burn goes, and how much surface area is covered by the burn.

In the diagram (left) and you’ll see the three levels of burn severity. First degree on the left, and third degree (or “full thickness burn”) on the right. If the burn goes through the first two layers and into the hypodermis, it’s considered a full thickness, or a 3rd degree burn.

Partial thickness burns are generally limited to the first and second degree. Once the burn goes through the full thickness of the skin (3rd degree), the chances of serious infection go up. That is why it’s critical to seek trained help for these burns.

3rd degree burns are serious and need to be properly “debrided” or scrubbed. Scrubbing a burn is incredibly painful and should only be done after adequate training. Remember that just because a burn is only partial thickness doesn’t mean it isn’t severe. It is critical to be clear about the amount of area on the body that is burned. So as not to bore you, let’s just assume we’re talking about an area smaller than the size of your palm.

I am not going to address burns located on the groin, near/on the eyes, mouth, or nose. If you or someone you know gets a burn in any of the areas I just mentioned, immediately seek trained medical help.

Note: If a burn goes all the way around a body part (circumferential burn) or covers a significant portion of the body, or if the burn is electrical or chemical in nature, IMMEDIATELY SEEK EMERGENCY MEDICAL HELP.

With that out of the way, we’ll get on to how you can treat those minor burns safely and even reduce the amount of time it takes to heal. 

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”

Attributed to Hippocrates (AKA Hippocrates II) c.460-c.370bc
A greek physician during classical greece

Putting Honey To Work

I first used honey on a rug burn years ago at the prompting of my uncle. It worked like a charm. I applied this easy trick on an egg sized area on my forehead. My uncle was gracious enough to supply me a dab of honey and within 2 days the abrasion was fully healed and the scab painlessly fell away on its own. Within 5 days, the pinkness of the new skin was gone entirely. There wasn’t even a hint of scarring. I only applied honey to the wound during the first 2 days. This is considerably fast healing. Studies conducted in certified medical burn units have also tested honey on major burns with promising results. Thanks to honey, doctors now know how to heal burns in half the time.

I don’t always trust THE experts, but I do trust MY experts.

A study in 2008 mentioned in the UK’s NHS website, 1st and 2nd degree burns healed an average of 4.68 days FASTER than the typical burn treatments used at the time. It is noted that there was no increased risk of infection or skin disorders from using quality honey. I always recommend using raw, organic honey.

 So how do you apply it?

Nature’s Burn Unit

Step I

I start every medical intervention with washing my hands when possible.

Step II

It’s important to clean the wound you’re treating as well, whether it be a burn or a cut, scrape, or laceration. 

 Gently wash (avoid using soaps with essential oils just yet, sometimes that can sting quite ferociously). I keep a bottle of betadine wound wash under my bathroom sink and in my medic bag. After washing, dab dry (do not rub) the burn area with a clean, dry cloth.

Step III

Next, simply dip your finger in the honey and gently spread it directly onto the burn. 

Step IV

Apply a bandage large enough to cover the affected area. If it’s a bit larger than a bandaid, you can lay any form of clean dry gauze on top of the honey. Next, tape it to the skin. You can also wrap rolled gauze around the area if you know how to properly do this without cutting off circulation. Take extra care to really secure the bandage if you’re treating a child who’ll be rolling around in the grass minutes after you’re done. 

Repeat Steps I-IV Daily

I recommend changing the gauze about once a day. You can wash/re-applying honey in the same manner until the burn is fully healed.

Don’t use “honey sauce” packets from KFC. That is NOT real honey. Make us proud and use organic honey. This ancient method is a safe alternative to antibiotic ointments. And as a bonus, you get considerably faster healing times. In a pinch, this is a safe way to keep a wound clean and to help your body heal itself naturally.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share this article to your favorite social media platforms. If you have any natural remedies you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about them! You can submit a completed brief step by step article to For more articles on Wellness click the link here!

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