When you think about preparing to survive after a major event that sets the world off kilter, you need to also think about how you will take care of yourself. Sickness and injury are a fact of life. Unfortunately, when there are no clinics or doctor’s offices, you are going to have to treat yourself with what you have on hand.
There may be hospitals, but they are not going to be willing to waste their time or resources on a sprained ankle, an upset tummy or your headache. You don’t have to suffer. You can treat yourself with plants. Yes, it is folky, but it is effective.
There are hundreds of plants and herbs that can be used to make you feel a little better. What’s really awesome is the fact there are no side effects to using herbs and plants. And, you can grow them in your backyard or learn how to find them growing in the wild. Check out these 20 herbs and plants that you will want to stash away in your medicine cabinet.
#1 Garlic—nature’s answer to antibiotics. Eat garlic in its raw form or buy garlic capsules. You will smell like garlic when you eat a lot of raw garlic, but it can help you quickly overcome a cold and fight off infection.
#2 Peppermint—to soothe an upset tummy or take care of a headache. Steep the leaves in a cup of boiling water and drink as a tea. Crushing the leaves and inhaling the aroma can open up blood vessels that cause headaches.
#3 Aloe Vera—an excellent topical ointment for burns, cuts, scrapes and rashes. Cut off a piece of the plant and squeeze the liquid onto your wounds. Apply several times throughout the day or as needed.
#4 Feverfew—relieves migraines and fevers. Eat the leaves of the feverfew plant to get rid of a migraine. You can also steep the leaves in boiling water to make a tea. The tea is a little more palatable than eating the leaves, which tend to taste bitter.
#5 Ginger—relieves an upset stomach. Slice a few pieces of the root and place it in a cup of boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Drink the tea to relieve stomach cramps and other digestive problems.
#6 Licorice root—in a tea it can soothe an upset stomach and ease ulcer pain. Slice up the licorice root into small chunks. Boil the root in water and drink as a tea. You can also chew on a piece of the root, but the tea tastes better. It has an overall sweet flavor that is actually quite good.
#7 Chamomile—can ease anxiety, calming herb to help you sleep. Ideally, you will want to dry the leaves and flowers to use as a tea. However, you can add several flesh flower heads to a pot of water for a nice chamomile tea.
#8 Lavender—used topically to ease rashes, sunburns, scrapes. You can add fresh or dried lavender flowers to a boiling water to drink as a tea to help soothe an upset stomach or get rid of a headache. To use it externally, make the lavender tea and soak a cloth in the water. Place the tea-soaked cloth over the affected area.
#9 Echinacea—taken as a tea to help boost the immune system. Boil the flowers in water to make an immune-boosting tea. You can use dried flowers or buy capsules to store in your medicine cabinet.
#10 Red Hibiscus—used to soothe a sore throat and lowers blood pressure naturally. The red flowers are boiled in water to create a delicious tea that is sometimes referred to as punch because of the natural red color.
#11 Cayenne—is an inflammation reducer, can be mixed into a paste and used to treat sprains, muscle pain and arthritis. You can mix a tablespoon of cayenne into a cup of almond oil to make a soothing rub. Make a tea and dip a cloth into it to apply to sore areas. Cayenne pepper can be added to a cup of boiling water and used as a gargling rinse to ease the pain of a sore throat.
#12 Cinnamon—for those with high cholesterol, this is a natural remedy to lower it. Sprinkle cinnamon onto your oatmeal or add a cinnamon stick to a cup of water with some honey for a delicious, heart-healthy tea.
#13 Cloves—treat a toothache with cloves or use them to improve insulin function to stave off diabetes. Place cloves directly on an aching tooth for immediate relief. Repeat as necessary. Add a tablespoon of cloves to a cup of boiling water, steep and drink as a tea for internal benefits, like improving insulin function.
#14 Sage—antibacterial properties make it an excellent poultice for placing on open wounds. Place a sage leaf directly on the wound. The antibacterial properties will promote healing while protecting the wound from dirt. Wrap gauze around the leaf to hold it in place if necessary.
#15 Turmeric—a natural anti-inflammatory can ease digestive problems as well as painful rashes. Chop up and grind turmeric into a fine powder to be added to a bowl of rice or in a casserole. It adds flavor while promoting good digestive health. You can buy capsules or make a tea out of the turmeric powder as well.
#16 Lemon Balm—used to treat insect bites with its antiseptic properties. Crumble up the leaves of the lemon balm to release the antiseptic properties. Spread the leaves on the bug bites for immediate relief.
#17 Thyme—infused in a tea, it can relieve cough and congestion from the flu or a cold. Harvest fresh thyme and make a tea. You can also used dried thyme to help break up a cough and relive sinus pressure.
#18 Rosemary—needles infused in a tea improve memory, soothe aches and pains and relieve headaches.
#19 Calendula—used to treat gastrointestinal issues as well as a poultice for wounds. The flower heads can be used fresh or dried to make a medicinal tea. Grind fresh flower heads and apply to wounds. A compress can be made with a calendula tea to help speed healing in open wounds.
#20 Comfrey—applied externally to broken bones or sprains to reduce swelling and ease pain. Pour boiling water over the leaves and flowers. Grind up the leaves and flowers to make a paste. Apply the paste directly to sprains and broken bones. Replace with a fresh poultice every few hours.