With a growing dependence on technology and modern medicines, people often forget that most medications are based on herbology — the use of botanical knowledge, plants, and herbs to medically treat patient symptoms. While there is no denying the complexity and efficacy of many modern medical practices, there is also no evading the truth that medications are often deeply rooted in ancient herbal teachings and practices.
That said, seeking modern medical attention rather than using a poultice made from herbs is likely preferable in emergencies. However, as a prepper, being aware of the potential healing power of backyard herbs is a must. While there are many herbs and mixes with healing qualities, five, in particular, are easy to grow and relatively common in the wild.
Salvia officinalis or common sage is a perennial herb that typically grows in dry, hot climates. It requires full sun and does best in sandy soil. Preppers and survivalists will find this herb most beneficial for treating fevers and excessive sweating because of its phytosterol properties. Additionally, you can use sage to treat other problems, including:
- Excessive phlegm
- Throat inflammation
You use sage for medicinal properties by using the leaves in a tea or drying and eating them. If you choose to use the leaves in tea, you will need to avoid evaporation. Cover the tea for at least ten minutes before drinking it to protect the critical ingredients.
Rosmarinus officinalis or rosemary is a common herb that thrives in dry, well-drained soil and humid climates. It is an anti-inflammatory, which means it helps maintain antioxidant levels and improve circulation. To use rosemary, you should brew it into tea.
Beyond its anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary is a capable herb. The carnosic acid in the herb means it is a preventative for many conditions, including:
- Neurological degeneration
- Memory loss
Mentha piperita or peppermint is an excellent remedy for gastrointestinal problems because it helps relieve intestinal muscle strain while improving bile flow. You can use peppermint to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Gastric emptying disorders
- irritable bowel syndrome
- Colonic spasms
Additionally, as the active ingredient in peppermint is menthol, it can work as a decongestant or expectorant, even soothe sore throats. To get the most out of peppermint, it is best to extract the essential oil. Removing the oil will require steeping the crushed leaves with vodka inside of a covered jar. The potency of the extract will depend on the duration of the steeping. When you finish steeping the leaves, you can strain them, leaving the extract behind.
One of the most effective plants for survival is Hyssopus officinalis or hyssop. The plant has natural antiseptic properties and is quite helpful as a poultice for treating scrapes, cuts, and bruises. You can also boil the leaves, straining the mixture to soak bandages.
In survival situations, it is not uncommon for people to get anxious or suffer from other psychological conditions, like insomnia. Nepeta cataria or catnip can help. The plant acts as a natural sedative and can help calm and relax the body. You will first dry the leaves. Then, you can either coat them in honey and eat them or use them in tea.
Sometimes, in survival situations, you might have to rely on what is available in your backyard for medical treatment. The five herbs above are excellent and common plants; there are many more for the interested prepper. What are some other plants with medicinal purposes you know about?