During the past week, I have decided on a goal to obtain an education from an herbal school. I want to be able to proficiently know how to identify, grow, and (most importantly) use medicinal herbs. Now, I know a formal herbal education isn’t for everyone, or maybe even not for most people, but there are some very good reasons why every prepper should obtain and keep some kind of working knowledge of herbs.
Herbal knowledge has been around for thousands of years. Before conventional medicine was commonplace, most folks would rely on the power found in certain plants to help treat and heal different kinds of ailments and injuries. Back then, it was necessary knowledge. There weren’t several drug stores around the corner like there are now. Instead, people would learn how to identify a variety of wild plants and learn for what uses they were most effective. If certain plants were found to be especially beneficial, our ancestors would then make the effort to grow and cultivate such herbs to ensure that they would have them around in time of need. For many centuries, different cultures around the world had built up a vast working knowledge of herbs. Many historical writings on medicinal plants have been compiled on the subject, and there have been many traditions that have been passed down. This great accumulation of herbal know-how can benefit us today.
There are several reasons why the prepper should acquire some of this knowledge.
One reason, which is the primary reason for many, is that herbs are all-natural. There are many who prefer organic solutions instead of using man-made chemical formulas for treatments. Many also feel that they are more in charge of their healthcare when they prepare their home remedies themselves. For example, they can hand-select their ingredients, adjust the strengths and limit the dosages as they see fit. In addition, because herbs are natural, some choose this option over pharmaceuticals to avoid the common undesirable side-effects of drugs.
Another reason that some choose herbal remedies is the cost. In many instances, herbal medicines are less expensive than their drug-store counterparts. This is especially true if they learn how to harvest the wild plants around them, or if they choose to grow their own. Such options also make herbal treatments more easily available than some drugs since no prescriptions are necessary.
The last reason I will mention of why herbal know-how is so valuable has to do with preparedness. Picture in your mind some kind of long-term disastrous event. Most likely, the normal distribution of goods would be disrupted, (at least temporarily.) This includes any prescription and over-the-counter medicines. While it is imperative that you should store an adequate supply of necessary medicines before any such event were to happen, what if something also happened to that supply? Unfortunately, stored medicines could still get lost, spoiled, or even stolen in such critical circumstances. Therefore, you should have a back-up plan…with the skills to go along with it. This is where herbal knowledge would come in handy. With this set of valuable survival skills, one could find, harvest, and use the plants around them to help replace the medicines of which they were in need.
So how can we obtain the skills to harness the power of herbs?
There are many avenues you can try. Here are some suggestions:
You can take a class, a course, or even get a formal herbal education. There are many herbal schools out there. Some teach in person, some online, and some do a combination of both. The costs vary widely from being free to being very expensive. If you choose this route, carefully consider your goals and needs before investing any significant amount of time or money.
- You can also read a variety of books on the subject. There are many good books available. Your local library could be a great place to start.
- You can purchase a field guide of the plants in your area and learn about them first-hand. This is especially critical for wilderness survival. Also, since it’s likely that the only herbs you would have on hand (after a social collapse) would be that which you have already stored, it will be necessary to know what resources you would have available to use from your environment.
- You can explore a botanical garden in your area. Many of these places have herbal specialists on staff that might be willing to share some of their knowledge.
- Of course, the best way to learn is by actually doing. Choose one or two herbs at a time to learn about and to personally experiment with. (Just make sure you learn all the benefits, safe dosages, and dangers of each herb as you do.) As you gain more experience with different herbs, you can build up a home apothecary for you and your family. By doing this, you would be able to rely more on your own remedies rather than having the need to run down to the corner drugstore for every headache or sniffle.
There are several good reasons for the prepper to gain herbal know-how, and there are many options available on how to do it. What is great is that there is bound to be a path to that knowledge that would work for you. You may not choose to enroll in an herbal program as I did, but whatever herbal know-how you achieve is sure to be a benefit to you.