Weeds that heal..
Now I'll always emphasise that food gathering is pretty way down on the list in survival situations – time and resources are much better spent on making sure you are sheltered from the elements and have enough water. But some edible plants have much more uses than just food alone.
Here are some plants that you can use for other less desperate needs.
Willow bark – The active ingredient is SALICIN which is closely related to Salacylic acid used in making aspirin.
Take some bark from a willow tree. Examples include quaking aspens, big tooth aspens, white, black, crack and weeping willows.
Scrape off the inner bark – you'll need a couple of teaspoons of shavings – and simmer in a cup of water for about 15 minutes. Then leave it to cool before drinking. Another option if you can't boil water is to chew the bark.
Don't drink any more than 4 cups of this tea a day, its easy to overdose. And just don't use it if you are allergic to aspirin or have stomach problems.
Here' s a great article that shows how to identify the various types of willow you can use.
Balsam Fir – The sap from blisters on Balsam Firs (Your common or garden Christmas tree) is a strong antiseptic and has been used by native Americans to treat burns, sores and wounds.
You can pop the blisters and the sap oozes out. It's pretty messy but can be used over cuts and wounds to help prevent infection.
It's pretty useful stuff to add to your fire making kit too!
St Johns Wort or Goatweed – You can generally buy St Johns Wort in health food shops mostly as a supplement for anxiety and depression. However, you can use the crushed leaves of the plant as an effective antiseptic dressing too.
They contain Hypericin which is believed to act as a powerful antibiotic and antiviral.
I've heard it heals up wounds pretty fast.
More info and photos to identify St John Wort can be found here:
You can make a tea with the roots of the Common Blackberry.
Just pour boiling water over the cleaned and shredded roots and leave for 5 minutes before drinking the mixture.
You can also use oak bark containing tannin to help stop the trots. Just make a tea with a spoonful of bits of shredded bark or twigs.
White oak bark and other barks containing tannin are also effective.
However, use them with caution when nothing else is available because of possible negative effects on the kidneys.
You can also stop diarrhoea by eating white clay or campfire ashes. A tea made from cowberry, cranberry or hazel leaves works, too.
Just a quick note – This information is for informational purposes only. Medical advice should only be given by your physician.
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