Not everything in your first-aid kit needs to be from the store. Some of the best resources for relieving ailments can be found in your own backyard; you just need to know how to utilize them. True survivalists know how to use their environment to their advantage. There are a number of plants grown in the wild that are commonly used as first aid if stranded or living off-grid. Here are several options you can use until you can reach professional medical help.
Found growing wild all across the United States and Canada, Native American cultures commonly used yarrow as a medicine for its highly antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-infectious properties. Yarrow can also be used to slow down the bleeding. Steep yarrow gently into a tea and drink slowly to help with colds, muscle cramps, fevers, aches and pain, ulcers and to open all your passages for easier breathing. Steep the yarrow stems and leaves in hot water to make a tea and drink slowly. Chewing the leaves can also relieve toothache.
2. Elderberries And Flowers:
We often see elderberry tea, but the flowers are even more powerful in aiding recovery from colds, flu, and all respiratory concerns. Elder shrub flowers, when gently steeped and cooled, make a remarkable eyewash for pink eye or conjunctivitis and other eye irritations.
3. Aloe Vera:
Native to Mexico and the Southwestern U.S., aloe vera plants can now be found in most people’s kitchens due to their abilities to quickly soothe burns, cuts, scrapes, rashes, and skin irritations. The internal gel of the wide-bladed leaves is ideal for use in protecting and repairing the skin from overexposure to the sun and wind. Eat only the internal gel of the aloe vera to soothe all digestive system concerns, even constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, colitis, acid reflux, and more. Remember to use only the plant’s internal gel, as some people react adversely to the outer leaf.
4. Common Mallow:
This plant works by simply eating the leaves and flowers or making a tea out of the smashed roots and drinking it, treating everything related to sinus irritation, sore throats, congestion and stomach issues. Common mallow is rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and selenium, making it a highly nutritious and delicious edible food. And the roots make a great organic toothbrush with its ability to decrease inflammation and infection.
This beautiful but annoying weed has superlative, medicinal and nutritional properties. Therapeutically, the whole plant, even the roots, can be eaten or made into a tea and enjoyed for improved digestion, reduced water retention and edema, as well as improved vision and reduced cataracts. Nutritionally, dandelion leaves are loaded with vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, and K as well as minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
6. Stinging Nettle:
This common medicinal plant has been used for centuries across North America and Europe for everything from allergies and arthritis to metabolizing waste. Numerous studies have shown that stinging nettle strengthens our kidneys and lymphatic system, allowing us to gently and effectively release metabolic toxins, relieving inflammation, pain, and swelling as well as toning our joints and muscles.
Not the banana-like fruit, the common plantain weed can be found in yards and forests. The small silver-dollar-sized leaves work best. Soak them in water for about five minutes, apply them shiny side down directly on your wounds, and wrap with gauze or rags to secure in place. Repeat this process each morning and night to stave off infection. Plantain rapidly draws infection and inflammation from wounds, strains, and sprains due to its high concentration of allantoin and its ability to break up bacterial biofilms and prevent the venom from bee stings and bites from taking you down, poison ivy, rashes, sprains, and skin lacerations. For stings and irritations, crush the leaves by chewing them and apply them to the welt to relieve swelling.
8. Cayenne Pepper.
Cayenne pepper has been used for thousands of years to help relieve everything from migraines to asthma, but its most impressive and lifesaving property is that it can stop bleeding in only 10 seconds! You’re probably going to need to buy this one at the store since the peppers are hard to find in the wild, but having the powder on hand in an emergency is worth the trip to the grocery store. For external wounds, generously apply the cayenne powder directly to the bleeding. It won’t burn, but it will disinfect the cut and equalize your blood pressure so that the wound can clot naturally. You can also add a teaspoon of cayenne powder to a glass of warm water and drink it to help stop both internal and external bleeding.
Tea made from seeping burdock roots in hot water is known for its detoxifying effects. It helps the liver rid the body of toxins, reducing inflammation. The insulin in the roots soothes the stomach and strengthens the liver. Studies have found that burdock root tea has helped prevent abnormal cell growth in animals exposed to toxic chemicals.
10. Dog Roses.
A type of wild rose found across Europe, North America, and Australia, dog roses are used to make rose hip tea. The rosehip is the round portion of the flower just below the petals that contain the seeds. The rose hips can be eaten raw or made into a tea. They are very high in vitamin C, preventing diseases like scurvy and urinary tract infections, as well as providing a good source of energy.
11. Witch Hazel.
Witch hazel tonic provides relief from insect bites, itching, rashes, and sunburns. This tonic can be found in most convenience stores, but you can also make your own. Remove the leaves and flowers from a witch hazel plant and chop the twigs into a coarse mulch. Boil 1 tablespoon of bark in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes and then remove from the heat and let it seep for 10 more minutes. Strain it once cool and store it in a bottle. You can rub this tonic on the affected skin to cool and calm bites, scratches, and other topical irritations. Do not ingest.