Money doesn’t grow on trees but remedies do grow on plants, or in them, as it were. Over the years I’ve grown quite a few different medicinal plants from all over the globe. The diversity has been very interesting to study and has been a great diversion. However in a pinch when I need a medicinal plant to treat traumatic injury and I run to the garden, the plants I am most seeking are very common ones and frankly they are the best.
For instance, if someone in my family has a canker sore or is trying to recover from dental surgery, I turn immediately to Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris) and I don’t know of anything else that works better to resolve the inflammation and ease the pain. If I am to treat a deep cut, I go immediately to the Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) patch where it is growing dense and green on the landscape. Very little preparation is required — the clean and turgid plant is worried to a juice and applied directly. I do this prior to washing the wound, as an immediate poultice to stem bleeding and kill pain. Later, more involved therapies like Epsom salt soaks may be needed, but for the purpose of first-aid, there is nothing like the plain plant. Then, when the stimulation of life overcomes me and another kind of emergency begins to occur — psychological stress that can drive one crazy, I turn again to plants to make life more immediately, what, reasonable? Wild lettuce (Lactuca sativa) makes a fine salad and when I eat this, it relaxes me. Bodily pain diminishes. If I’m looking for an even bigger dose of relaxation, then Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) takes my hand and leads me to dreamland. I have even been known to nap in the valerian patch, chewing on a leaf… All these herbs, and other common ones I haven’t yet mentioned (see below) are easy to grow in the summer garden. These kinds of herbs stay usable in one form or another for an unusually long period of time, often proffering several harvest windows: winter roots, spring greens, and in the summer, flowers. Learning to use all the different parts of the Valerian plant, it can be enjoyed in one form or another for 12 months out of the year!
Here are the herb seeds included in our new seed collection, Survival Medicine Garden.
Burdock, Gobo (Arctium lappa) traditional usage (TWM): tea, tincture, elimination of toxins, infections. Fresh root, nutrition.
Calendula, Orange (Calendula officinalis) traditional usage (TWM): tea, tincture, oil and salve, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory.
Comfrey, True (Symphytum officinalis) traditional usage (TWM): external use in salves, oils, poultices for the purposes of cell proliferation, rapid healing.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): traditional usage (TWM): fresh or dried root and leaves, direct consumption, tea or tincture, blood cleansing, micronutrients, nutritional value.
Lettuce, Wild (Lactuca virrosa) traditional usage (TWM): tea, tincture, extracted lactucarium, direct consumption of fresh leaf, pain relief.
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris): traditional usage (TWM): tea, tincture, oral lesions, sore throat, general astringent, pain relief.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) traditional usage (TWM): tea, tincture, direct consumption, sedative.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) traditional usage (TWM): tea, tincture, direct application, styptic, anti-inflammatory, deep wounds, first-aid.
The above are the main herbs that I consider to be most useful for first-aid and emergency use. These are all fast-growing medicinals that can be ready for harvest in a single season or less. It is even reasonable to expect that these could be planted at a time of great need and soon give great help!
13 thoughts on “The Survival Medicine Garden”
Total noob here trying to get into growing my own medicinal garden at home. I see this term a lot and can’t find a good answer on Google, but what does (TWM) mean? I see it on a lot of postings and would like to understand this terminology. Love this site! Cheers!
Hi Kaleb, TWM means “Traditional Western Medicine.” It is my own shorthand, picking up the thread from “TCM” which is a more universally recognized shorthand for “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” TNAM is my short for “Traditional Native American Medicine” and so-on. You can get my book “Making Plant Medicine” at http://www.herbalreads.com and shipping is free.
How are these plants are growing in containers in doors with the morning sun
hi there, not particularly good, they really do best in a home garden situation. r
What is the climate Zone these grow well in?
Will thy grow in the Texas Hill Country with alkaline soil?
A major criteria for choosing these plants was their general hardiness and applicability to gardens across the temperate zone, east west north and south. I think the burdock will work very well for you and probably make huge roots in that soil. Dandelion is a good one to introduce and may serve you best as a winter green. Valerian and Yarrow are widely adaptable. You can just go to the individual monographs to read more about each plant.
Will these seeds automatically reseed themselves so that next spring they’ll grow again or are they one season and done? Heirloom?
There may be some reseeding from some of the species, but I wouldn’t really rely on it. Is dandelion an heirloom? I would be more inclined to call it a native land race.
Yes, yarrow for deep cut with heavy bleeding stops the bleeding, prevents the swelling and speeds healing.
Have used many times while gardening at the historic village where I am the gardener and visitors are always amazed.
Valerian is great for sleepless nights.
Using Heal-All now for a canker sore.
Yes, very good!
Do the emergency herb collection come in a group? If so, how much? Thanks! Billie
Survival Medicine Garden is a new seed collection we offer. It includes 8 organic seed packets listed here and is priced at $19.95.
Burdock, Gobo (Arctium lappa)
Calendula, Orange (Calendula officinalis)
Comfrey, True (Symphytum officinalis)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Lettuce, Wild (Lactuca virrosa)
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
To purchase Survival Medicine Garden, you may follow the link below.