Medicinal Plants

As time goes by, pharmacuticals and over the counter medication will be harder to come by.  Because of this, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with plants that have medicinal properties.  Below I have shared some plants that will help with treatment in emergency situations (bleeding, shortness of breath, weakness, nausea, etc).  When doing research on medicinal plants and herbology, you will come across plenty of plants that fall into the realm of homeopathic remedies.  The only supporting evidence that the plant does what someone claims it does is anecdotal at best.  So without further ado:

Aloe Vera

The leaves of the aloe vera plant are used to heal burns and wounds as well as some other skin ailments.  This jagged green plant grows in arid climates and can be found all over the world.  Aloe vera has been marketed as a “cure all” and is included in products ranging from gels and lotions to yogurt.  However, it hasn’t been shown that aloe helps with anything else.

Bilberry

These tiny fruits grow in temperate and sub-arctic climates (such as North America and the U.K.).  They are very similar to the North American blueberry, however they are not the same.  The pulp of a blueberry is a greenish/white color and the pulp of a bilberry is a dark purple color.  On top of being a great food source, it can be used to treat diarrhea and scurvy.

Clove

Clove is a very common ingredient found in many households, but it isn’t an indigenous plant to North America.  It is native to Indonesia and can be found naturally in the surrounding area.  Regardless, if you happen upon some dried cloves they can be used for an upset stomach and as an expectorant.  If you have some clove essential oil, it is an effective topical anesthetic especially for toothaches.

Ginger

The root of the ginger plant is used to relieve nausea.  Ginger can be found throughout Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

 

Indian Head Ginger

Indian Head Ginger, or costus spicatus, is a plant native to the Caribbean and South America.  If you brew the leaves of this plant into a tea it has been known to help cleanse parasites from the drinkers system.

 

 

Kava

Kava may not have a vital first-aid use, but some of the effects make this plant a good one to have around in the PAW.  When the leaves are chewed they have an anesthetic effect on the mouth and throat (similar to that of chloroseptic spray), and if enough are ingested, it can be used as a sedative.  In small doses, the kava leaf can impart a mild euphoria and increased mental acuity.  Kava is native to Polynesian islands from Hawaii to Micronesia, so unless you are lucky enough to be stranded there when at the end of the world as we know it, you probably won’t come across this plant.

 

Sangre de Grado

This is a tree that is native to northeastern South America.  The sap from the “Dragon’s Blood” tree is a very unique first-aid tool.  Rub this blood red sap in a wound until it turns into a white paste and it will form into a latex bandage.  On top of covering the wound it is also a verd strong antiseptic and hemostatic.

 

Sphagnum

Sphagnum moss is common around the world.  There are around 300 known species that mostly look different (the only characteristic that ties them together is the way the branches cluster).  The thing about all the species of sphagnum moss is that they have an antiseptic quality.  So when you wrap a wound, put some sphagnum moss in between the wound and the wrap.

Yarrow

Yarrow is used to stop bleeding (topically), help wounds heal, and as an anti-inflammatory.  It is commonly found all over the Northern Hemisphere.  It should be noted that yarrow can promote AND staunch blood flow depending on how it’s prepared.  Placing the plant on the wound will cause it to staunch blood flow.

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Author: Adrian

Adrian Hannah is a system administrator and poor college student at Michigan Technological University. He currently resides in Hancock, MI where he observes the outside world and puts in his two cents.