Nature has always been one of man’s most constant and competent allies. Even from the earliest times, once people became able to analyze and use the environment in their favor, nature has been the nr.1 go to source for all of these endeavors. If we trace our steps back a few millennia ago we can witness man’s first efforts of fighting illness and afflictions with the most primitive of tools: raw ingestion of various plants or simple concoctions. These methods might seem weak compared to the wonders brought by the inevitable progress of medicine; however they are not obsolete yet. Luckily for us, nature is still providing us with all the tools we might need in order to prevent or fight off sickness in a SHTF situation. There are plenty of herbs and plants you may have overlooked in your lifetime without fully grasping their healing potential. Here are some of the best medicinal plants to be on the lookout for while outdoors.
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Description: This tiny herb is a flowering plant which is native to northern Mexico and southwestern US mostly. It’s so abundant in California, that at the beginning of the 20th century it was declared the state’s official flower. It also goes by as the golden rod, California sunlight or the golden puppy. It’s a perennial plant that can be easily spotted thanks to its distinctive, bright yellow, orange or even red flowers; each solitary flower is constituted of 4 distinct petals which close during nighttime. It has blue-green leaves which normally which are divided into lobbed segments. It’s abundant in California where it forms massive poppy meadows, but it can also be seen in Arizona, New Mexico or Nevada.
Medicinal properties: The plant can be brewed into a tea or smoked in order to release anxiety or other mild stress disorders. It’s effective as a mild analgesic, antihistaminic and will also help against bladder or liver afflictions.
Precautions: Women should restrain themselves from taking poppy-based products or medicinal concoctions if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Description: It’s a very sturdy and persistent weed which is capable of taking over almost any ecosystem if left alone. It’s native to mostly Europe and Asia and it was brought to North America, Africa and Australia as a food crop. It wasn’t long before escaping out of its “confined space” and building its reputation as one of North America’s most resilient weeds. An individual dandelion plant can produce from one to ten stems, which can be lax or erect. The same goes for the foliage, as the lobed leaves can either grow tall or spread horizontally. The flowers are situated at the end of the stems and are made up from a multitude of narrow yellow petals. It’s very unpretentious when it comes to habitats and can thrive almost anywhere, from roadsides, to disturbed areas, to lawns, to gardens.
Medicinal properties: A dandelion concoction can work wonders in the case of digestive disorders, infections and is also known as a liver cleanser. The oil extracted from the flowers has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Description: The alfalfa (aka. Lucerne in Europe, Africa and Australia) is a pretty common plant of the face of the planted which seems to have originated in south central Asia. In fact, alfalfa roughly translates from Arabic as “the father of all plants”. It has gained a strong reputation as one of the most serious fodders for livestock, all thanks to its high amounts of proteins and minerals. Being a distant relative of the common clover, they share a few similarities especially when young: round leaves, each comprised of three leaflets. Unlike the clover, the leaves will grow longer when the plant begins to mature. It has beautiful tiny purple flowers, comprised in clusters. It tolerates on warm and temperate climates.
Medicinal properties: the seeds have been known to reduce cholesterol; alfalfa tea and extracts will help alleviate kidney problems, bladder afflictions, asthma, diabetes and even digestive problems.
Precautions: Women should restrain themselves from ingesting alfalfa seeds if pregnant or breastfeeding. The seeds and the sprouts may be contaminated by various bacteria.
Aloe plant (Aloe vera)
Description: Aloe vera is one of the most versatile plants as far as its medicinal uses go. It’s been made into all sorts of products along the centuries, such as lotions, ointments and even as a refreshing beverage, rich in vitamins and nutrients. The aloe hype is due to the plants very nature: it’s a plant that thrives in arid climates (deserts areas) and in order to survive it needs to stack as much water and vital nutrients as possible. Despite its capacity of enduring the harshest climate, it will do just as well as an ornamental house plant. It is because of its nutritional reserves people have been using it for the longest of times. It can be easily spotted: it either has a very short stem or none at all. It’s comprised out of a cluster of thick, dark-green leaves. The flowers are yellow (without exception) and tubular.
Medicinal properties: It is probably the best known natural bandage alongside the cactus. It can be used as an applied treatment for burns of all sorts, skin infections and wounds.
Precautions: It may cause allergic skin reactions, purpura (a purple rash); ingesting it may result in constipation, diarrhea and dehydration.
WARNING: Many medicinal plants have poisonous look-a-likes. It’s extremely important to accurately determine a plant before ingesting it or applying it on your skin!
In The Lost Ways you’ll find lots of these common invaluable weeds with pictures, how to identify them, how to prepare them and how to use them… all with different medical effects… because when the medical system collapses this will be your only option to heal yourself.