Gardening for Food, Medicine, and Self-Care (part 2)

In my last article, I told you about a plant called lambsquarter, often considered a weed but actually a wonderful powerhouse for food and medicine. In this article, I will introduce three more common plants with qualities that might prove useful in a survival situation.

Plant number one is the plantain or plantago. This perennial weed is not actually related to the banana relative with the same name. Some of the medicinal properties of this plant are contained within the seeds and seed husks. These are the materials that, when ground, are the ingredients in psyllium laxatives. Making a tea made of both the leaves and the seed husks of the plantain produces a drink that is not only soothing for cold symptoms but also contains antibacterial properties.

The second of the plants for today’s article is the most common. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) can be found in many gardens throughout the United States, sometimes showing up uninvited as a weed and sometimes intentionally planted for its colorful flowers. Purslane is an edible plant, with a chewy texture and a mild flavor. It has more beta-carotene than spinach and is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This plant has been used throughout history as a remedy for inflammation and arthritis.

The last, but not least, of the helpful plants I’d like to introduce you to is yarrow (Achillea millefolium). This plant has several nicknames, including Staunchweed, Bloodwort, and Nose Bleed. These nicknames point us toward the most important quality of the yarrow plant: it can slow down bleeding. The leaves can be added to warm water to make a compress for a bleeding wound. Even easier, the leaves can be chewed to make a poultice to be placed on a wound. A tea made from the dried leaves of the yarrow plant is said to reduce fever, help clear sinuses, ease indigestion, and fight colds and flu.

While these plants could prove to be useful should a survival situation arise, there is absolutely nothing to stop you from adding them to your garden right now. Easing a reliance on the drug store can never be a bad thing, and being self-sufficient is the goal of anybody planning for survival.