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. Here are 7 plants that you can use to help you survive all kinds of illnesses and injuries:
1. Cayenne Pepper. Stop bleeding. 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 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.
*Do NOT use if you or the person you are treating is pregnant, as the plant can cause a miscarriage.
3. Plantain. Clean wounds & calm rashes. Not the fruit, but a common weed found in yards and forests. The weed is useful in treating ailments including bee stings, poison ivy, rashes, sprains, and skin lacerations. If the skin is broken, soak plantain leaves in water for five minutes and apply them shiny side down directly on the wound before wrapping it in gauze. Change the dressing twice a day to prevent infection. For stings and irritations, crush the leaves by chewing them and apply them to the welt to relieve swelling.
4. Burdock. Fight toxins. 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. This last effect has yet to be tested in humans, but it couldn’t hurt to try!
5. Dog Roses. Prevent vitamin C deficiency. A type of wild rose found across Europe, North America, and Australia, dog roses are used to make rose hip tea. The rose hip is the round portion of the flower just below the petals that contains 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.
6.Common Mallow. Treat sinus irritation & congestion. Common mallow is rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Therefore, it is a very nutritious plant that can help treat various ailments and keep your immune system strong. Eating common mallow leaves is an easy way to relieve sinus irritation and congestion from colds or allergies. The root is also useful as a natural toothbrush as it fights infection.
7. Witch Hazel. Calm dry, itchy & irritated skin. 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 in a bottle. You can rub this tonic on affected skin to cool and calm bites, scratches, and other topical irritations. Do not ingest.
Warning: Always ensure you know how to correctly identify plants that are safe to ingest before using anything as a first-aid remedy. Familiarize yourself with any plant you plan to use in a survival situation before the need arises.
Now it’s time to look through your first aid supplies and think about how they could be supplemented with natural remedies that could save your life. Ready, set, survive!