Anyone with the interest and knowledge can grow and cultivate herbs for medicinal use, for free. All you need to do is spend some time outdoors learning to identify useful plants that grow in your region. Then you’ll need to learn how to store, process, and use those herbs for medicine.
Step 1) Obtain good herbal identification books from your local library. If you want to have books of your own to keep, you can find many of these at used book stores. Some good references are Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Herbal Remedies from the Wild by Corinne Martin, Healing Wise by Susun Weed, Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairachi, and Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal. And don’t forget Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. In here she teaches syrups, herbal candies, infused oils, salves, ointments, tinctures, and tisanes.
Step 2) Learn one herb at a time. Identify it in the wild, and verify it by at least two comparisons, three is better.
Step 3) Transplant your plant to your garden area. Label it well. Harvest it at the appropriate stage of growth needed to make medicine. Carefully follow directions for preparations.
Step 4) Take a course in medicine preparation, either from a local resource or online. There are also many YouTube videos on this subject that can provide a wealth of information. There are various ways to preserve your herbs, tinctures, etc. When you start learning different methods, you will find which ones work best for you for your various herbs.
Remember to start with one herb, so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. After several months or years, you will have accumulated a garden full of herbs for medicinal use.
I started with mullein. It is easy to spot and identify, and east to regrow at home. Its uses are seemingly endless. It can be used as emergency toilet paper and wound dressing. It is also good for treating ear aches, asthma, and coughs. So, challenge yourself. Learn an herb and discover a new world. Replant an herb and end up with your own medicine chest. All it takes is a good knowledge of herbs, good resources, a will to learn, and a sense of adventure!
When conventional medicine is not readily available, you can sit back and know your family is prepared with natural cures to everyday illnesses. While these medicines will not replace conventional medicines, when SHTF, they will become quite useful. Remember that our ancestors did not always have doctors to rely on. They learned a wealth of knowledge from Native Americans and from elders in the family. To prove the latter, just look inside some old cookbooks from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in learning the basics of herbal medicine, you can read about the 8 week home medicine course produced by Marjory Wildcraft and Master Herbalist Nicole Telkes here: Home Medicine 101
Thanks to Gramme for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest. We have over $1,500 in prizes lined up for the current writing contest, with more to come. Here is a list of the current pot of prizes:
– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $380 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $279 value
– 1 year of free membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $240 value
– A copy of The Summer of Survival Complete Collection from Life Changes Be Ready, a $127 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $60 each
– The complete 2014 Grow Your Own Food Summit interview series, a $47 value
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $42 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $40 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $32 each