9 Herbs for Health and Natural Medicine
If you’re a prepper, stockpiling meds and keeping the first aid kit ready is probably nothing new. However, it’s just as important to utilize the natural resources around us in a true SHTF scenario. Keep on reading to learn all about how making natural medicine can improve your survivalist journey.
Why Natural Medicine is Important
Even those who aren’t looking to stock up the prepper pantry can reap the incredible benefits of understanding herbal medicine. They’re ideal for handling minor issues and improving health in between doctors’ visits. While you shouldn’t fully rely on them unless it’s totally necessary, they might be survivalists’ best resource if SHTF.
Our earliest ancestors found plants to heal wounds, cure diseases, and ease troubles with the mind. We can use these qualities today to spare first aid kit supplies and meds in the prepper kit for more serious issues. There’s a great advantage for preppers who know which plants are helpful – and which to avoid at all costs.
Determining Dangerous Plants
Mother Nature has plenty of lush plants to nourish us, but some can have the opposite effect. It’s crucial to know how to determine which herbs are safe for use before going into a survival scenario. The universal edibility test, as well as books for herbal medicine, are a great place to start.
For this test to work, you first need to fast for eight hours. Unfortunately, that means nothing to eat or drink but purified water. Not the most fun process, but it’ll guarantee a true assessment of the plant.
After your fast, cut the plant up into parts: leaves, roots, flowers, stems/stalks, and seeds. This step is essential because some of the plant may be edible, while others could be poisonous. Each plant part must be tested individually for it to work accurately.
Start by rubbing a plant part on your skin to see if there’s a reaction. Make sure to crush up the stalks and roots so the plant’s juices seep onto the skin. If there is no reaction within eight hours, continue with the test.
If it’s possible, cook a small portion of the plant parts to try. Testing them raw is okay, but cooking is likely to yield better results in your digestive system. Put a small portion of the cooked plant against your lips – but don’t bite!
Keep the plant part pressed against your lips for at least three minutes. If there is any sort of reaction, like swelling or tingling, then stop eating it. Finally, place a small portion in your mouth.
Still be sure to refrain from chewing or swallowing. Just let the plant sit on your tongue and watch out for any swelling. You’ll need to hold it there for 15 minutes total (tricky, but vital).
Now you can finally chew, but still don’t swallow it yet. Ideally, the chewing process should take 15 minutes, as well. At this point, it’s okay to swallow if no issues arise.
If you don’t experience any adverse reactions after eating the small plant piece, you can then consume it in a larger portion (about ¼ cup). If you get through another eight hours without feeling sick, accumulating a rash, or experiencing any other issues, consider that part of the plant safe to eat. Now that you understand how to determine which ones are poisonous, let’s look at the best of the best.
Healthiest Plants Every Prepper Needs
Whether you’re a stockpiling survivalist or wellness lover, ginger is a must-have ingredient. Its active ingredient (gingerol) is an antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticoagulant. No wonder people far and wide consider ginger a superfood!
When it comes to heart issues and those who suffer from strokes, ginger’s anticoagulant qualities come into play. They can help you avoid heart attacks and strokes by preventing blood from clotting. Its antioxidant properties may also help fight free radicals that play into heart disease, making ginger twice as effective on the heart.
Ginger has been included in holistic medicine for centuries to treat all sorts of upper gastrointestinal problems. Rely on the plant for relief from stomach pain, heart burn, constipation, bloating, and even morning sickness during pregnancy. It eases these issues by helping induce the stomach to release its contents in the small intestine.
Speaking of stomach pain, what if you’re feeling nauseas during survival? For those who experience motion sickness, ginger will treat all symptoms. Studies have shown it may even be more effective than Dramamine for treating nausea, cold sweats, and dizziness.
Even your immune system can reap ginger’s benefits. By promoting your digestive tract, it helps facilitate proper nutrient absorption within the body. Ginger can even boost the body temperature; maybe that’s why gingerbread’s such a great winter treat?
Struggling with arthritis and joint paint is no joke during a survival situation. Because gingerol has anti-inflammatory properties, it’s extremely effective and relieving the pain and swelling that comes with those issues. People with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis have even reported increased mobility with regular consumption of ginger.
Infections like staph and strep can wear you down, even when you’re recovering with prescription meds from a cozy bed. It may be more effective than traditional antibiotics for treating the illnesses. And if you are sick, ginger doesn’t interact with other medications so adding it your diet won’t do any harm.
If you’re looking for another ultimate healer, turmeric is loved for its powers across the world. It’s one of the most active plants against bacteria. To say that turmeric treats wounds is an understatement – it’s a natural medicine.
Turmeric works as both an antiseptic and an antibacterial to help treat cuts and burns by fighting infections from bacteria. It speeds up wound healing and repairs damage on the spot. Not to mention, it’s alternative to medicine for healing various skin conditions like acne and eczema.
To use turmeric as an antibacterial, make it into a paste using water and apply to the skin. It can also be used to heal infections as a poultice, though it does tend to stain the skin. But its powers don’t stop there: turmeric inhibits tumor growth.
Since this plant contains curcumin, a component that may stop cancer from spreading, turmeric acts as an anti-cancer agent. In fact, the curcumin within turmeric is what helps fight body-wide inflammation. Sprinkle turmeric on broccoli and cauliflower for double the cancer fighting powers.
Those with diabetes may experience some relief with turmeric. Diabetic preppers must know that turmeric helps control blood sugar, but it can even help prevent the disease altogether! Its high level of antioxidants can even help balance blood sugar levels to restore energy levels.
Because it’s an analgesic, turmeric is excellent for providing pain relief. Instead of reaching for ibuprofen next time you’ve got some discomfort, grab some turmeric to lower histamine levels and reduce inflammations. Adding black pepper can also increase the active ingredient of curcumin by twenty times.
Even coughs and colds stand no chance against turmeric. Create a gargle with a glass of warm water, a pinch of salt, and three pinches of turmeric powder for relief. Those with dry coughs can add a teaspoon of turmeric powder and a tiny bit of black pepper to boiling water before simmering and sipping with honey.
If your survivalist issues are more toward the stomach region, use turmeric to soothe as a stomach tonic. Long known as a mild digestive, this plant can help with diarrhea, dysentery, stomach bloating, intestinal worms, ulcers, and loss of appetite. Make delicious turmeric tea or sprinkle some of the plant’s root into smoothies for benefits.
While physical health is important, us preppers must keep our minds in line when SHTF. Turmeric can promote mood balance and help us navigate the depression that could come with a survival situation. Just by casually cooking with it, you could be improving your mood significantly.
Garlic deserves all the hype it gets; but not just for making food taste extra delicious. It’s been proven through extensive medical research that the plant has antibacterial properties. We can use it to fight infections, so garlic must be on your herbal medicine list.
Those who sustain a minor injury can treat it by creating a salve out of garlic. You can use it to fight off infection at the wound site by preventing bacterial proliferation. If you’re looking for an inside out solution, of course we know garlic is edible.
There’s nothing fun about getting a splinter, especially during a survival emergency. Cut a relatively thin slice of garlic and place it over the splinter for relief. Secure it with a bandage and check back in a few hours: the splinter should work its way toward the skin’s surface.
Another issue that makes SHTF scenarios even more stressful are parasites that live in the gut. Luckily, raw garlic has been used to treat them for centuries. Taken internally, anywhere from two to four cloves of garlic in your daily regimen can help banish these painful organisms from the body.
Since garlic is also known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, taking it at the first sign of a cold is always a good idea. The reason it’s so effective is because an enzyme known as allicin has the ability to fight the agents causing sickness. At the first sign of sickness, consuming about four cloves of crushed, raw garlic during the day could help.
With colds often comes a nasty cough or sore throat. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory qualities can help soothe an irritated throat as well as helping clear out the buildup of mucus and phlegm. The solution involves ingesting garlic in tea or, more typically, soup.
Garlic is even natural therapy for painful ear infections: start with one crushed clove. Infuse in olive oil for a few minutes and while it’s still warm, start to strain. Allow a few drops of this DIY garlic oil to rest in the ear canal and in a few minutes, you’ll start to feel relief.
Known for its fragrant aroma and various health benefits, rosemary is an herb preppers need to know. You can use it to heal from the inside out, starting with your mind. Research shows that smelling rosemary, along with lavender, experience significantly reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Similarly to turmeric, rosemary has been known to suppress tumors. One study found that rosemary extract worked to suppress tumor development of tumors in the colon, breast, liver, and stomach. It is also used to aid with easing digestion.
To create a soothing relief for upset stomach, try enjoying a simple rosemary tea. Just boil a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in fresh water until it becomes a light green shade. Add honey and lemon for taste, and voila!
Those who don’t love the taste of tea can reap the benefits of rosemary through inhalation. The herb has antihistamine properties that can reduce the inflammation of nasal passages. With just rosemary and steam, quick relief is possible.
Start by placing a handful of fresh or dry rosemary and steam it for soothing relief. Once it’s steamed, drape a towel over your head and lean over the bowl. Then deeply inhale the steam for a quick release of inflammation.
Congestion can be a struggle to relieve, especially if you’re in a SHTF scenario. You can use rosemary infused oil to help loosen the phlegm that often accompanies a cough or cold. Simply massage a drop or two of oil onto the chest or throat every few hours for continued relief.
Did you know nutmeg has tons of medicinal qualities, on top of making sweet and savory dishes more flavorful? It’s found to have plenty of health benefits including relief from pain, indigestion soothing, body detoxifying, reduced insomnia, and increased immune system function.
Nutmeg is largely known for its dental health healing properties. The spice has antibacterial properties that have been tremendously effective against oral pathogens that cause disease and bad breath. Good thing your teeth will be nice and clean, because nutmeg can make you smile more!
A study found that nutmeg can act as a potential antidepressant, and the spice has been used to improve mood since the creation of folk medicine. It may also help keep people happier by improving their sleeping habits. A little nutmeg has been shown to aid with both the duration and quality of rest.
As far as nutrition goes, nutmeg packs a big punch. The plant is rich in fiber which keeps the digestive system healthy and prevents blood sugar from spiking. Not to mention it’s also a source of vitamins A, C, and E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.
Preppers can use nutmeg by grounding it fresh and using it to spice up dishes. It’s delicious in coffee, hot cocoa, tea, or warm milk. Even use the herb to season vegetables like sweet potato and cauliflower, sprinkle it over fruit, add it to cereal, or bake with it.
Speaking of sweet and spicy seasonings, preppers can’t forget about cinnamon. It has plenty of medicinal qualities. For starters, use cinnamon next time you’re feeling nauseous.
In small amounts, cinnamon can be wonderful for an upset stomach. Boil one stick in a cup of water for about 10 minutes before straining and slowly sipping the tea. In addition to helping out the stomach, it can provide antioxidant benefits.
Cinnamon contains some of the same compounds (polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids) found in dark berries, dark chocolate, and red wine. These compounds help reduce free radical damage within the body and can even slow down the effects of aging. Cinnamon is one of the best plants in terms of antioxidants.
This plant’s anti-inflammatory properties are just as incredible. Cinnamon can help lower inflammation in the body by reducing sweat, repairing tissue damage, relieving muscle soreness, and lowering certain allergic reactions. Preppers often mix it with healing tea along with fresh ginger for ultimate healing power.
Due to all of these healthy qualities, cinnamon consumption has been associated with reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and lowered blood pressure. It can also help with blood clotting and proper blood circulation. These factors make it a great natural medicine for blood pressure.
Those struggling with diabetes may experience improved health by consuming cinnamon. It can help lower blood sugar levels in the body while improving sensitivity to insulin, the key hormone needed for blood sugar balance. When insulin resistance occurs, it can lead to type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Infections and fungus stand no chance against the power of cinnamon. The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon may also help fight the of certain dangerous bacteria such as listeria and salmonella. Cinnamon oil has been used to treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
Consuming cinnamon can reduce the amount of harmful issues in the body’s digestive tract. It can also be used to treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot. To treat it, boil several cinnamon sticks in a quart of water before soaking your feet for 20-30 minutes once it has cooled.
If you’re an essential oil advocate, you’ve got to check out oregano. The oil has long been known as a digestive aid, antifungal, and antibacterial. Preppers can rely on oregano to treat fungus, candida, and even parasites.
So, what is candida? It’s an icky type of yeast infection, or fungi, found in the mouth, intestinal tract, and private areas. Using oregano essential oil can help combat this problem at its source.
To get rid of awful parasites, dilute oregano oil with coconut oil (or another carrier oil of your choice). Then, place the concoction under your tongue to kill parasites and ease infections. Even toenail fungus can be treated with oregano oil.
Apply daily drops of oregano essential oil to your toenails, allowing full saturation if you have fungus. Although it’s slow, this natural solution proves to be quite effective over time. Even adding a few teaspoons in a water bucket to soak can be beneficial.
There are a few ways to go about treating yourself using oregano’s healing powers. Topically, apply the oil with another carrier oil when possible. Apply to infected or injured areas several times a day, making sure to reapply before bedtime.
If you don’t have time for the oil to dry before getting into those cozy PJ’s, try taking dietary supplements instead. There are plenty of long-lasting oregano oil soft gels that would be great for the prepper medicine cabinet. Those with diffusers will feel plenty of relief from breathing in the oil while sick.
As sage rises in popularity among the holistic health community, it’s no wonder preppers are adding it to their garden, too. This herb can help improve your health from head to toe. Even troubled minds can potentially be eased by sage’s healing.
Sage has been researched for its effects on depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. Taking extracts of two different sage species for several months seems to improve learning, memory, and information processing in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Those who aren’t suffering from the disease yet, can fight it ahead of time with the herb.
Your mouth will be just as happy as your mind with sage in the picture. Tea made from sage leaves can be used as a gargle to promote oral health. If you’re really in a pinch, the textured leaves can make a stand-in toothbrush.
Sage’s traditional uses for oral health include being used in a mouthwash for bleeding and receding gums, or as a gargle for hoarseness, swollen glands, and sore throats. Even now, it makes a nice addition to the herbal first aid kit for throat health and dental hygiene.
Speaking of oral health, sage is known to get rid of cold sores. Applying a cream containing sage and rhubarb to cold sores may be as effective as some medical creams. However, sage’s qualities don’t stop there.
In the past, people used this herb to support the nervous system during fevers and treat signs of distress. Sage could treat high fevers with convulsions and delirium, or lower ones with restlessness with muscle spasms. The digestive system feels sage’s benefits as well.
Sage is used to treat plenty of digestive issues like loss of appetite, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. This is because constituents in sage are believed to assist the body with the breakdown of fats and proteins. Its astringent, antispasmodic, and carminative actions can help calm the digestive system, as well.
If you want a natural healer that’s been around for generations, look no farther than cumin. People have been using it to treat conditions ranging from indigestion and diarrhea to headaches for many years. Some in India have used it to treat kidney and bladder stones, eye disease, and leprosy.
Cumin has plenty of antibacterial effects. Research has shown that it may help kill some of the bacteria that can get in your body, causing you to get sick. It has been shown to limit the growth of microorganisms including E. coli.
In addition to fighting bacteria, cumin can also battle cancer. In several animal studies, scientists found that cumin herbal medicine seeds may prevent the growth of different cancer-causing tumors. These seeds are best known for assisting with those within the liver, stomach, and colon.
Cholesterol control is one of cumin’s best qualities. Many studies have shown that it may help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, which is good. Another study found that eating cumin can help lower an organic compound within the body that may interfere with how it responds to insulin.
Now that you know some of the top herbs for creating natural medicine, prepping just got a whole lot easier. Stock some of these herbal medicine seeds in your survivalist garden and you’ll be ready for anything. Before you go, don’t forget to check out more prepper tips and tricks from Crow Survival