24 Easy-to-grow Survival Herbs with Medicinal Uses
Before there was modern medicine, there were medicinal herbs. Ancient cultures from India to Rome to the Native Americans in the Americas used herbal medicine to treat wounds and retain their vitality for the youth, adults, and elderly alike. Today, we should not be so reliant on modern medicine and should, at the very least, be aware of the medicinal purposes of survival herbs. In this article, we will cover easy-to-grow survival herbs with medicinal uses you can grow in your survival garden.
Growing essential foods and herbs in your survival garden is an important step in becoming a self-sufficient homesteader. Fortunately, there are many herbs you can grow that help improves many aspects of your health. To learn about these herbs, read on.
Why Should You Grow Survival Herbs at Home?
If you are starting a survival garden to secure your food supply, you should consider adding herbs to your yard. Because in addition to cooking with herbs, you can treat all sorts of minor illnesses and wounds.
Herbs Can Treat Minor Illnesses
If you have a stomach ache, nausea, or even a burn, there’s an herb that can help you. Of course, more serious health concerns may require medical attention. But for most minor things, herbs are an effective and natural way of treating health concerns.
Herbs Are Easy to Grow
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, it’s more than likely you’ll be able to grow herbs. Most herbs don’t require much maintenance; you’ll need to make sure they get enough sunlight and water. Note, however, that some herbs don’t like having to share space or share a pot with other plants.
One type of herb that you shouldn’t plant near other herbs is fennel. Fennel can easily overwhelm other plants. Likewise, mint is a high-maintenance plant since it needs a lot of water. Aside from these two herbs, you can easily grow most other herbs.
Herbs Stop Pests
If you’d like to stop using chemical-based pesticides in your garden, consider using herbs. There are a few herbs that have powerful properties for stopping pests from eating your vegetables and flowers growing in your garden. Aside from getting rid of pests, herbs won’t chase away bees, butterflies, and other harmless insects.
One of the best ways to keep spider mites and aphids away from your vegetables is to plant chives. Likewise, basil will chase away carrot flies, while various other herbs can stop tomato hornworms in their tracks.
Herbs Add Flavor
Aside from their medicinal properties, herbs can also add a wide range of flavors to many dishes. Fresh garden herbs are potent in flavor and more nutrient dense than aged herbs. By using herbs straight from your garden, your meals will be far more exciting and flavorful. Plus, if you find yourself in a survival situation, flavorful and delicious meals are a good way to boost the general mood.
Which Herbal Plants Should You Grow?
Below is a list 24 easy-to-grow survival herbs with medicinal use.
1) Aloe Vera
Most people keep aloe vera on hand to treat minor burns; however, aloe vera has much more medicinal properties than being able to treat burns.
You can use aloe vera to treat stomach aches and to serve as a laxative. What’s more, aloe vera can provide you with many antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antiviral benefits.
Ashwagandha is often heralded for its capacity to increase fertility and libido; however, it has many other benefits. Eating ashwagandha may give you a substantial energy boost, a memory boost, and a decrease in anxiety and stress.
During a long-term survival emergency, increasing your libido won’t be a priority. But boosting and maintaining a high energy level will be.
Basil’s antiviral properties allow it to serve as a powerful stomachache treatment aid. People mostly use basil to treat intestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach aches, and muscle spasms.
You can also use basil to treat a fever or headache. Simply harvest the leaves and boil them in water. Then, mix the water with sugar and allow the mixture to cool. Finally, drink one sip of the mixture every couple of hours.
To treat a sore throat, you’d use the same mixture. But instead of drinking the mixture, you’d gargle the water and spit it out.
4) Black Cohosh
Black cohosh can boost your immune system and can provide anti-inflammatory properties. Most people use this herb to treat insect bites and to repel insects. They also use it to reduce swelling after sustaining an injury.
5) Butterfly Pea
You may be familiar with the butterfly pea flower, as it’s often featured in cocktails, herbal tea blends, and cosmetics; it features a bright blue hue.
Aside from its gorgeous cosmetic appeal, it also has various antioxidant and health properties. Specifically, it may be able to keep your skin clear and promote hair health – among other benefits.
The calendula, or marigold, plant can be grown in most places as long as it gets plenty of sunlight and is in moderately fertile soil.
In addition to using calendula for cooking, its pedals can be infused with coconut oil or olive oil to make calendula oil. Calendula oil can be used as an ingredient for DIY ointments, balms, creams, and lotions.
Used as a topical remedy, calendula oil is a natural pain and inflammation reducer that can help treat wounds and minor skin irritation. Early studies have suggested calendula can rejuvenate skin cells, but more research needs to be conducted.
Consuming calendula has anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic properties, making it a healthy supplement for the body.
Aside from adding robust flavor to your meals, cayenne can help heal you of various ailments. It isn’t ideal, but if you run out of bandages, pouring cayenne onto a wound can help stem blood flow and stop bleeding.
Aside from being able to stop bleeding nearly instantly, cayenne serves as a base ingredient in home remedies that treat fever, kidney issues, arthritis, stomach ailments, and headaches.
Many people consider chamomile to be a cure-all. In the US, people most commonly use chamomile for treating anxiety and for relaxation. In Europe, people have found success using chamomile to treat inflammation or swelling.
Although the FDA considers the use of chamomile safe, you need to know that this herb may increase drowsiness caused by medicines or supplements. It may also interfere with the way the body uses some medicines, so you may want to consult a physician if you’re on medication.
Cilantro refers to the coriander plant’s leaves. Its medicinal power lies in the fact that it can help remove metals – such as mercury, aluminum, and lead – from your body. Removing these metals from your body can help certain antiviral medicines and antibiotics work better.
One thing that makes cinnamon so powerful is its ability to improve immune function. It does this with the help of organic compounds found in cinnamon, known as cinnamaldehyde and eugenol.
A 2015 study found that cinnamon can help fight off bacterial strains like Moraxella catarrhalis. This bacterial strain can potentially cause severe damage to the respiratory tract, joints, and eyes.
If you can’t get hold of a doctor for a prescription or you don’t have immediate access to antibiotics, cinnamon is a good alternative.
Cloves are one of the most powerful natural remedies for alleviating toothache pain. Aside from treating toothaches, cloves also come with powerful antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties that can boost your immune system.
If someone in your household has ulcers, liver issues, or blood sugar problems, you should grow cloves and keep them in ample supply.
Eucalyptus is rich in antibacterial, antiviral, anti-infectious, and antiseptic properties. In fact, eucalyptus is so effective that people across the globe have been using it as part of natural treatments for thousands of years.
People often use eucalyptus as a base ingredient for natural remedies and homemade medications for the common cold and respiratory illnesses. It’s also effective for making inhalants to relieve congestion and for making cough lozenges to relieve sore throat.
For sore throats, aside from creating lozenges, you may also gargle with eucalyptus leaves. Doing so may help alleviate soreness and itchiness often associated with bronchitis and a sore throat.
People all around the world use garlic for cooking and for medicinal use. Researchers have found that the compounds you’d find in garlic have antimicrobial, anticancer, cardioprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Most people know ginger to be an herb for easing motion sickness and nausea. This is backed up by research that suggests that ginger is effective in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy or pregnancy.
Note, however, that some people may experience minor side effects when ingesting ginger. These side effects include bloating and gas.
People have been using ginkgo leaf extract to treat a wide range of conditions, such as asthma, fatigue, bronchitis, and tinnitus. You may also use ginkgo to improve memory and prevent certain brain disorders.
Although some studies support the effectiveness of ginkgo, other studies have indicated ginkgo doesn’t improve brain functionality for healthy people.
Note: you should only use the extract from leaves, as seeds contain ginkgo toxin. This toxin may cause seizures if ingested in large amounts.
For centuries, people have used ginseng for medicinal purposes. And for a good reason, it is believed to help reduce inflammation, boost immunity, fight fatigue, and lower blood pressure. Ginseng is also rich in antioxidants.
You can use ginseng as a tonic. Although the FDA considers ginseng safe, you shouldn’t use ginseng if you have diabetes.
17) Klip Dagga
Klip dagga, Lion’s Ear, or Leonotis Nepetifolia, is one of the easiest ethnobotanicals you can grow. Klip dagga grows quite tall, but it’s a fantastic choice for beginner gardeners – as long as you have enough space.
Klip dagga has been used to treat fevers, headaches, dysentery, and snakebites, as well as used to lower anxiety and for relaxation.
Lavender is an antiseptic herb that has far more applications than just aromatherapy oils and wax melts. You can use lavender as a natural remedy for rashes, abrasions, and minor burns.
Many people have also experienced success with using lavender as a treatment for insect bites, headache pain, sprains, and digestive issues.
Mint has one of the strongest cooling properties out of all herbs. This makes it a good tool for reducing inflammation or combating heat stroke.
It would help if you’d harvest mint right before the flowers bloom since mint’s only effective when it’s in its prime. You’d then dry the leaves of the plant and keep them in a dry and cool location until you’re ready to use it. You may blend the leaves in with other herbs, then use the leaves to create tea.
Rosemary is a good herb for easing muscle pain and soothing headaches. Since ancient times, people have been using rosemary to relieve headaches. As with some other herbs on this list, rosemary is best when you brew it as a tea.
Sage is related to mint, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, but it has its own unique benefits. In ancient Rome, sage was used by Romans to treat ulcers and mitigate bleeding, and as a tea to treat sore throats and hoarseness. Sage was also used to help digest fatty foods.
Today, we know sage can be used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. For instance, it can be used to ease menopause symptoms, reduce blood sugar levels, lower bad cholesterol, and protect against certain cancers.
In antiquity, ancient Romans believed thyme represented courage and bravery. Many soldiers would actually wear thyme as they went into battle.
There are over 300 species of thyme, but the one most widely used for cooking is, “Thymus Vulgaris.” Today, we know thyme has other medicinal benefits.
Made into tea, thyme can be used to soothe a sore throat, clear sinuses, and boost mood. Thyme also has antiseptic properties for oral hygiene and can be used to make toothpowder at home.
Another popular way of consuming thyme is with a honey infusion. Thyme Honey has many of its own benefits, including being used to treat the skin. And it is popularly used as a sweetener in tea.
The medicinal benefits of turmeric are well known, and it has been used for thousands of years for its useful applications. Consuming turmeric can be used as a natural neurotrophic, which can boost brain functionality.
It also helps to increase the body’s capacity for antioxidants, reduce inflammation, fight-off depression and is believed to prevent cancer.
Used as a cooking herb, turmeric is a delicious and key ingredient in many types of curry. The flavor is potent, so be careful when cooking a dish with turmeric.
You can use valerian to treat sleeplessness and reduce anxiety. Aside from using valerian as a sleeping aid, you may also use it to add flavor to certain dishes.
If you’re experiencing a severe illness or disease, it’s always best to consult a medical professional. But if what you’re experiencing is mild, it would be better to go with natural remedies rather than artificial ones. Luckily, you can easily grow herbs with medicinal properties in your survival garden.
By growing survival herbs with medicinal purposes, you will have useful resources to treat minor wounds or illnesses. You can treat yourself and your family members, but you can also trade herbs for other valuable resources. And if you learn how to make medicinal ointments, you will become a valuable member of your community.
Also, if you intend to grow herbs and spices at home, you should become familiar with their shelf life. Although herbs are most potent and flavorful when they are fresh, they can be dried and stored for years.
For more info on how to live a healthy and natural lifestyle, check out the other articles on our website.
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