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When living off the land, some people want to rely on as few over-the-counter medicines as possible. That’s where medicinal herbs and plants come into play. Let’s not forget the fact that OTC drugs can cost a fortune. I’m not saying don’t have them, but if you can find a natural way to treat your pain, it might be better for you. The medicinal herbs I’m going to talk about can be grown year after year, ultimately saving you money (and a trip to the pharmacy). When learning how to live off the land, this is super-important information to know.
NOTE AND DISCLAIMERS – This article was originally published by a previous owner and manager of this website. We are also not medical professionals, so check with a medical professional before using herbs – and for good measure, we are also including the original disclaimer as follows: **Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I’m just a guy who’s passionate about living off the grid, and I want to share what I think are some great herbs for treating pain. With that said, we are all different. Some people may have adverse reactions to the following herbs and plants. For this reason, I would recommend doing more research into each one, as well as consulting a medical professional, to determine if they’re safe for you.
9: St. John’s Wort
While considered an invasive species, this is one of those medicinal herbs that has been known to treat pain. It’s about knee-high, and is covered in yellow flowers. Mid-summer tends to be the time when these flowers are brightest. But aside from their looks, they can also be strong pain relievers. The reason why is because these plants specifically target nerve pain. In some cases, they’ve been known to heal damaged nerves. When living off the land, it’s recommended that you harvest these flowers when they’re in their prime, and then macerate them in either olive oil or alcohol. I’ve also read about how St. John’s Wort can act as an anti-depressant. Either way, this is one of those medicinal herbs that I highly recommend you do more research on, especially if you’re looking for an alternative to OTC drugs when going off the grid.
8: Balm of Gilead
This is another example of an herb that can be effective at treating pain from burns, sprains, bruises, and sunburns (among other things). It’s normally used topically, but can also be taken internally if extracted in an alcohol base. To make Balm of Gilead, simply harvest the buds between late winter and early spring. By pinching the buds, you’ll be able to see an orange resin inside. This is when you know that it’s time to gather them. Gather these medicinal herbs in a mason jar, then follow up by making your balm. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to do it.
Not only the flowers, but also the berries, and even the bark of the Hawthorn tree are often said to be used to treat pain. We often hear about how Hawthorn can help alleviate pain that can be caused by a woman’s menstrual cycle. So ladies, if you’re planning on living off the land, this section is for you! Additionally, the flowers and berries can be dried and used to make tea. There’s also some evidence to suggest that medicinal herbs like the Hawthorn plant can be used to promote a healthy heart. Finally, if you’re having difficulty sleeping, this may be something worth trying out. Keep in mind that it can sometimes be spelled as “Hawthorne” (with an “e” at the end). Let’s move on to our next herb for treating pain.
6: Willow Bark
Willow Bark does a surprisingly good job at alleviating pain. That’s because willow contains the same major compound that’s found in aspirin. In short, it acts like a mild blood thinner, ultimately helping you experience reduced pain. For this reason, medicinal herbs like Willow Bark should not be used in combination with other OTC pain relievers. Also, people who are sensitive to aspirin shouldn’t use it to treat their pain as it could be potentially life-threatening. What I like about Willow Bark is that you can harvest and dry it at virtually any time. To tap into its pain-relieving power, simply brew it as a tea and drink away. Note, some people like to combine it with peppermint (or a different sweet herb) to help mask the bitter taste that Willow Bark is known to have.
This sweet herb has been shown to provide some pain-relieving benefits. Due to its cooling properties, it can help reduce inflammation related to heat. Also, Mint is known for its “soothing” effects on the nervous system. Although, for some people, it acts in the opposite manner- it’s an exciter. For this reason, make sure that you use careful observation when using medicinal herbs like mint. Make sure that you harvest it during its prime (right before the flowers begin appearing). As far as storage is concerned, keep them in a dark, dry, and cool place until you’re ready to use it. Once ready to use, brew it as a tea and enjoy.
Similar to mint, Chamomile is known to have a duel affect- it can act as a soother in some people, but act as an exciter in others. When used in conjunction with St. John’s Wort (discussed earlier), it’s been shown to help with pain as well as promote better sleep. Once you prepare and dry it, Chamomile can be consumed as a tea. When I started learning about medicinal herbs about five years ago, this is one the first ones I read about and experimented with. Personally, it’s one of my favorites on this list, but since your body is different than mine, you’ll need to do more research and experiment to determine whether it’s right for you too. Let’s look at #3 on our list- lavender.
Topically, Lavender can be effective at relieving pain caused by insect bites, stings, and burns (all things that you’re likely to experience when living off the grid). Simply apply it in oil form directly to the affected area, and you should begin to experience reduced pain within a few minutes. While it can be used to treat insect bites, I would recommend determining what kind of insect bite you experienced. For example, if you were bitten by a spider, you may need additional first aid that goes beyond the pain-reducing capabilities of Lavender. Remember, like all the medicinal herbs on this list, Lavender is used to reduce pain- it won’t “cure” you from toxins, viruses, or other things that can potentially kill you.Medicinal Herbs
I’m a big fan of Ginger for a few reasons. For one, it offers powerful anti-inflammatory properties (thus, helping reduce pain). But it doesn’t stop here. Ginger is well-known for a wide variety of benefits, including fighting indigestion, supporting brain health, fighting diabetes, and even preventing heart attacks. For therapeutic purposes, you can consume fresh or dry Ginger. Many people aslo enjoy it as tea. In either case, this is one of those medicinal herbs that I would highly recommend you learn more about. Let’s move on to talk about the final herb on our list.
I saved Arnica for last because, quite frankly, not a lot of people know about it (at least not many of the people who I’ve spoken to). Arnica can be very effective at treating general inflammation and bruises. Keep in mind that it’s for topical use only. Well, technically there are companies that sell Arnica pills for consumption, but when you’re harvesting it off the grid, the only way you’ll be able to utilize it is topically. This is one of those medicinal herbs that, when combined with Balm of Gilead or St. John’s Wort, can be very potent. So use cautiously!
Medicinal Herbs – Bottom Line
Let’s face it: OTC drugs are becoming more and more expensive. For this reason, why buy them when there’s an all-natural alternative that doesn’t cost anything? When living off the grid, relying on medicinal herbs like the ones above can be a good option for treating pain. Again, I’m not saying that you give up on modern medicine all together. For example, if you’re seriously ill then going to a hospital is your best option for survival. However, if all you’re feeling is a little pain, and you don’t want to use something like Icy Hot or other OTC, then the medicinal herbs above might be worth learning about.