Useful plants grow all around us. It’s time to start building your herbal armory of plant allies now.
My book, 10 Common Plants worth Knowing in a Long-term Survival Situation, will introduce you to ten at a time. I’ll help you make allies of them, enabling you to build your herbal armory.
- Red clover
- Red Raspberry
- Red Mulberry
- Witch Hazel
This book is meant to be written in. I’ve given space to record your harvest locations, identification notes, place to write things that you think will be important for anyone trying to follow in your footsteps in the next generations.
All-Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
Here’s a sample chapter from the book.
All-Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
All-Heal is a perennial plant that also goes by the name Self-Heal. The botanical name is Prunella vulgaris. It grows in mounds of deep green leaves, looking fairly inconspicuous until it begins to bloom. The leaves feel a bit like sandpaper and the stems are square. I’ve found it growing in shade and in full sun, in moist ground and in dry areas. When growing in the shade it tends to be darker green and larger mounds. In full sun the plant is smaller overall. It comes back when you mow over it or cut for harvest.
It has many square stems rising from a mass of fairly shallow roots, and is often more than a few plants clustered close together. The square stems means it is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), however, this member of the family doesn’t have the characteristic “mint” smell or flavor. If you look closely at the flowers, you’ll see the family resemblance there too. Learning to recognize family resemblances can be helpful when it comes to identifying a plant you’re not sure about. It can often offer you a starting point in your quest.
The purple flowers and their cylindrical cones are easy to spot.
What is left after most of the blooms are done is shown in the last photo. Some of those plants are still blooming, but you can see the empty green bracts that are left from the ones that are finished.
The species name of this plant is “vulgaris”, which means during the time period when it was named, this plant was commonly used for medicine. It also designates a common plant, which meant it would be accessible to the masses of ordinary folk. Nowadays it isn’t often used, but historically it was valued for its antibiotic, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I use it in my general purpose healing tea blend (in the book this links to recipe). I also use it to make a salve good for cuts, scratches, scrapes, burns and spider-bites. You can find the recipe for that salve here (in the book this links to the recipe).
The whole plant can be used, but I generally only use the tops (cut just above the first set of leaves) just as it begins flowering. This way, the roots will continue to live.
Harvest and Preparation
Dry the plant on a screen or spread out on a layer of newspaper. Stir it around daily so it doesn’t mold. When completely dry put it in a brown paper bag and save for later use. If you prefer to use a tincture, chop and add the fresh herb to a glass jar to about 3/4 full. Add an alcohol of your choice to fill the jar. I generally use 190-proof grain alcohol and dilute it by half with water. This brings the alcohol content down to around 47%.
How to Use
I don’t usually use this herb alone. My own preference leans toward teas, so I add this to a blend to make a strong hot tea (not live in the preview, but link goes to the page in this book on tea preparation) for bathing wounds or to use as mouthwash for ulcers or abscesses. I’ll use it fresh if I don’t have it dried on hand when the need arises. To make a salve, I’ll also combine it with other herbs and will always use it dried in that case.
Table of Contents
I don’t know about you, but if TEOTWAWKI actually does strike in my lifetime, my goal is more than simple survival. Surviving is great for the initial crisis, but if the situation stretches on beyond a few weeks I want to do more than survive.
I want to THRIVE.
Plants give us food, shelter, clothing and medicine. They can even offer comfort and make it easier to smile.
One of the ways to ensure life is more than just a day-to-day survival struggle is to learn the plants in your immediate surroundings.
Unless the catastrophe that brings us to a survival level of life is environmental (major flood, ice age, some other large scale habitat destruction), plants will still be growing all around us as if nothing has happened. And if it was environmental in nature, plants will be the first thing to recover and these kinds of plants in particular (those most often called “weeds”) are likely to reappear first.
Gaining this knowledge should be part of every prepper’s game plan. If not yourself, then someone in your nearby network needs to be more than familiar with the plants and how to use them.
That person needs to be well-practiced and know the plants like the good friends and allies they are.
There’s no time like the present to get started.
- Red Clover
- Red Raspberry
- Witch Hazel
- Types of Preparations and Recipes
- Books and Resources
- About the Author
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.