Weeds for the Survivalist
Someone once described a weed as “A plant growing where it is unwanted”. I like this definition because others such as “useless plant” are pretty far from the truth.
Early pioneers actually brought plants that we consider weeds today with them from the old country so that they could enjoy the benefits of having that plant around.
With that in mind, here are some weeds that are useful, and not just to preppers.
A Bit of Warning
Please do not try to self diagnose and treat serious ailments without a doctor. I have heard and seen first hand some very bad effects of trying to do this.
The mother of all yard weeds, the dandelion is the scourge of suburban retiree’s that want that perfect yard. For some it is natures wonder weed.
Dandelion is a diuretic that increases the production of urine, and is also an anti-inflammatory. This means it is useful for everything from hypertension to sore joints.
Dandelion also makes good regular eating. The young greens for salad or potherbs, the blossom for wine or fried in batter and the root dried, ground and brewed like coffee.
Bitterness can be combated some by picking plants that have grow in shaded conditions as well as picking young greens.
All willows contain the same ingredient as aspirin, so anything you use aspirin for you can use willow for.
Usually the bark is brewed to make a tea that is drunk, but you can just chew on a twig and get relief in some cases.
Young stinging nettle is a fine addition to soups and makes a fine cordage when old.
The medicinal benefits of nettle are claimed to be many with just about any malady imaginable being cured by it at one time or another.
There are two species of plantain in my yard (narrow leaf and broad leaf) and they both are claimed to have the same benefits.
The Amish make a plantain salve that is supposed to be really good. Plantain is good for the skin and can be used to stop bleeding. Internally it is taken for irritable bowels, and it has claims of being a decongestant and expectorant.
If you plan on eating plantain in a salad or cooking it as a potherb you will want to remove the tough central vein on each leaf.
Purslane is a crunchy addition to salads and can be stir-fried. It is high in vitamin C so it will ward off scurvy.
It is used to treat internal parasites and is good for the skin externally to treat minor injuries or blemishes. It is also said to be effective for insect bites and stings.
Love it or hate it wild rose is another useful weed.
The hips are good fruit and high in vitamin C. The petals are used in potpourri and sachets along with being additions to salads and teas.
Another benefit for preppers is that you can make good arrow shafts from the shoots.
If you are running a survival homestead wild rose can be planted as a hedge to separate fields and keep livestock contained.
As you can see there are many uses for the weeds that most people overlook in their everyday lives. You don’t even have to be a prepper to appreciate and take advantage of the benefits these weeds have to offer.
The weeds I have mentioned are only a small portion of the weeds that are available to most of us if we take the time to do a little research and then spend a little time outside just looking for them.Weeds can be good for you and they just may save your life some day.