Medicinal herbs are among the most useful items for preppers so learn how to use them and survive in emergency situations.
Wondrous Medicinal Herbs for Saving Lives
I rely pretty heavily on my medicine cabinet to help me deal with everyday aches, pains, and everything in between. From allergies to sprained ankles, I often find myself popping the top of a pill bottle for relief.
What I failed to realize is I'm not taking advantage of the best resources available to me — mother nature's medicine cabinet. Find out what are the good medicinal herbs and their uses in certain medical situations.
1. Willow Tree
When it comes to surviving, one of the main necessities is pain management. From headaches to back pain, roughing it can cause a few bumps and bruises and is definitely not headache free.
What many people don't know is the willow tree is popular for its pain-killing abilities. These uses of herbs date back to the early Greeks.
One of their top physicians, Dioscorides, is said to have used willow for pain and inflammation. Since that time, the willow tree has been used for illnesses.
The bark of the willow contains an effective painkiller called salicin glucoside. Aspirin is a synthetic copy of alcoholic salicin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, the same substance found in the willow.
What Is Salicin? Salicin is a form of alcoholic glucoside, which is used to reduce inflammation in the human body. It can also be found in poplars and willow leaves, which is then used as an analgesic, antipyretic, and an anti-inflammatory agent as well.
The synthetic version has some unwanted side effects such as internal bleeding.
The benefit of using willow over aspirin is there is no potential for hemorrhaging. It's estimated a person can lose up to two teaspoons of blood by taking synthetic aspirin.
Some of the uses of willow is a cure for:
- pain management
This magnificent tree has been and is once again returning as the go-to herb for survivalists to deal with minor aches and pains. It's a must-have for any bug out bag.
However, if you prefer alternative medicines like their synthetic counterparts, you can get them over the counter.
How to Use Willow Bark:
It can be chewed straight off the tree which speeds up the delivery of the salicin through ingestion, but that might prove tough unless you're a beaver. Or, you can suck on the bark allowing transdermal (absorbed through the skin) transfer.
It can also be chewed or crushed, then used in a compress for small wounds. Tea lovers can have the willow bark steeped in boiling water and its tea ingested.
So the next time you find yourself in the woods or in the health-food store, pick yourself up some willow bark, and get rid of those bothersome headaches!
2. Garlic Oil
There are so many benefits of using garlic as a medicinal herb, it's hard to pass up for my bug out bag. The primary reason I listed it here is for its antibiotic properties.
Having an antibiotic is a must for survival and garlic is one of nature's best. However, if you're not a fan of this pungent garden plant, then you can replace it with echinacea.
Garlic is a natural penicillin, making it the best of the best. The thiamine in garlic cures ear, nose, and throat infections.
It contains germanium which strengthens your immune system. The pungent smell of the herb is a sulfur-containing enzyme called allicin, which has its own medicinal benefit — it destroys fungus!
It's a detoxifier, a blood purifier, and has anti-viral properties. I personally take a 5000 mg garlic oil gel cap every day.
And although I have an enlarged heart valve, my blood pressure is always below 120/80, and I can directly attribute it to the benefits of Garlic.
You can use garlic oil internally or externally. Although if you want to use it on your skin, I recommend you apply a small amount of olive oil first.
The main survival benefits of garlic:
- treats infections (internally and externally)
- get rid of parasites
- expels worms, including pinworms
- improves cardiac health
- wards off bugs and mosquitoes
Just the sheer volume of health issues garlic can solve and how easy it is to grow and store them is the reason it has a permanent place in my everyday life, especially in my bug out bag.
3. Cayenne Peppers
Do these things come with a kick? You bet they do, but they have numerous medicinal purposes, too.
Most people know about the use of this powerful plant for a thermogenesis process for weight loss. Recently, cayenne pepper is a medicine for pain relief.
This easy-to-grow plant can increase the action of the heart without increasing blood pressure. It helps with circulation and has even been used to prevent heart attacks.
It's been used for stomach ulcers, sore throats, bronchitis, colds, and helps with congestion. Cayenne pepper's most valuable use for survival is its ability to help stop both internal and external bleeding.
With its versatility and the ability to easily dry and store these peppers, it's a must-have for your B.O.B. Let's face it, in survival mode, you're going to get banged up, so having a plant that helps stop bleeding is essential.
How to Use Cayenne:
You can ingest cayenne but take it with food. For external use, it can be ground up and used in a poultice and applied to wounds to help stop bleeding.
Just as its name suggests, its main use is to reduce fever. This type of medicinal plant can ease migraine headaches, inflammation in the joints, and sinus pressure.
The active ingredient in this bright little flower is parthenolide. Studies have shown parthenolide prevents the release of serotonin, histamines, and several other chemicals that cause inflammation in the body.
For female survivalists, it can help with those nasty premenstrual headaches, too!
How to Use Feverfew:
Ingest it by chewing the flower or buying it in capsule form. Be cautious about the quality when buying a processed form of this herb.
5. Valerian Root
This is one of the medicinal herbs I personally use most often. Although I have to say it smells something awful, like a teenager taking their shoes off in the car right after football practice! However, its benefits are worth holding your breath for.
Valerian is nature's valium, and for a good reason. It has a calming effect on the body by influencing the cerebrospinal system. Its sedative effect reduces pain and anxiety.
When you're in survival mode, anxiety comes with the territory. Having something to counter it is a no-brainer!
This herb also slows the heart rate while increasing the strength of each beat. It's used to reduce muscle spasm, which is extremely helpful when you're on the run! You'll definitely find this valuable herb in my bug out bag.
Check out this video on the many uses of a willow tree by Christopher Nyerges:
At the end of the day, survival is about preparation for as many possibilities as you can. When disaster strikes, one of the first things people will loot are medicine and prescription drugs.
These things will eventually run out and those who are knowledgeable about nature's medicines might have a better chance of surviving the ordeal. So start learning about the uses of medicinal plants today and know which tree, plant, or even weed will save your life!
Do you know other medicinal herbs not mentioned here? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 23, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.