God’s Perfect Bounty: Our Natural Survival Garden- Part 1, by D.M.

When God made the heaven and earth, he made them perfect. He provided everything we need for our survival, from nutrition to medicine for both humans and animals, from knowledge and natural instinct to even giving us beauty to behold.

Knowledge of Survival Lost And Forgotten

The knowledge of survival using God’s perfect bounty has been lost and forgotten over time. While gaining new knowledge with the advent of modern grocery stores and medicine we’ve forgotten God’s natural survival garden.

There are many varieties of plants that grow naturally without any help from us. Many are disease-, drought-, and pest-resistant, and they have multiple uses.

Everything on Earth Put Here For Our Survival

Everything on earth was put here for a reason– our survival. God made those for us, and it is up to you to take advantage of it.

Do Research While You Still Can

I urge you to do some research as I have done, while you still can. Experiment now rather than later. Find out about native varieties of plants, bushes, trees, algae, lichen, and even the wildlife in your area. Talk to friends, neighbors, and old timers. Look on the Internet while we still have it, and read books. You can never have enough knowledge, especially when SHTF.

Then, pass the knowledge along so you can help others learn of the bounty and love God has for us. This is the reason I decided to write this article.


I saw beautyberries growing wild in our yard. we had heard of beautyberry jelly, but I’d also heard they were poisonous. I decided to do some research, because if God put them there then there must be a reason and his bounty should not be wasted. So, I’ll start there.

Not Poisonous

The American beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) aka the French Mulberry is not poisonous. In fact, the American beautyberry has multiple uses. It is medicinal, edible, and decorative. You can use all parts of it. Animals love it too!

Grown in Zones 6-10 West As Far As Texas

They are native in USDA hardiness zones 6-10 from Maryland to Florida and west through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas. Check to see if it grows in your area. A member of the Verbena family, American beautyberries grow on shrubs in clusters on long soft woody stems with green leaves.

Large Brushes Produce Bright Magenta To Purple Berries

American beautyberries are distinctive with bright magenta to purple berries (var. Lactea has white berries). They’re propagated by seed, tip cuttings, and soft wood cuttings, or they’re dug up and transplanted. They grow along roadsides, in pinelands, and hammock forests and like partial shade but will grow in sunnier locations if watered. You may even have a bush or two growing wild in your yard. The bush grows 6-10 feet tall and as wide, more often 6-8 feet. They grow well in a container and are both beautiful and decorative.

Hardy To Grow In Most Soils

They grow in most soils. You can prune them in winter or spring down to a foot from the ground for a bushier look. beautyberries are heat and drought tolerant, and cold hardy even in frost, freeze, and snow.

Ripe Berries Are Easy To Pick in Fall

Berries are easy to pick when ripe, during the period of September through November. I just put a basket underneath a branch, comb the berries with my fingers, and the ripe ones will just fall into the basket.

American beautyberries provide food for wildlife and your chickens will love them too! We give ours the mash leftover from making the juice, jelly, et cetera, but they also like the branches with leaves and berries on it right off the bush. Birds dine on the fresh berries, seeds, and raisins. Opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals eat the fruits, whitetail deer browse the leaves and bed down because the leaves have the ability to repel insects. (You can learn a lot from the wildlife. And imagine all this animal meat protein in your bushes when SHTF happens.)

Folk Remedy For Insect Repellent

The beautyberry has been a traditional folk remedy for repelling mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, ticks, fire ants, and other biting insects. For over a century, the folks in Mississippi used to cut leafy branches, crush the leaves, and place the branches between the harness and horse to keep the bugs away. (Garden.org)

More recent scientific studies have been done to confirm the leaves contain compounds that definitely repels mosquitos and other biting insects. It’s as effective as DEET without the worry of chemicals. (newswise.com) Crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your skin and clothes works. The following recipe is not only a great lotion for the skin but is also used to repel fire ants, though it doesn’t work as well on mosquitos as the spray repellent or leaves. My mom made this lotion, and we all have used it. It smells good too! I sent some to my step-mom in South Carolina, who says, “After putting on the lotion before going to work in the garden, the fire ants for the first time doesn’t bite me.” (chron.com)

Recipe For American Beautyberry Repellent Lotion

American beautyberry Lotion

(Recipe makes three portions of lotion.)

  1. Put water into pot; add leaves; simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Then strain liquid into a canning jar.
  3. In another canning jar add wax, grapeseed oil, and set jar in a pot of water on medium.
  4. As soon as wax is melted, remove jar from heat and add vitamin E oil and 1\2 c. of beautyberry liquid into oil, stirring constantly with a whisk until it becomes creamy.
  5. Let cool, then add Citronella and Lemon oils.
  6. Cover jar and shake.
  7. Remove cover and cool.

(rev. from lifewithkeo.com)

Native American Indians Used All Parts of Beautyberries

All parts of the American beautyberries were used by many tribes of Native American Indians. They used roots, leaves, berries, and stems as a base for various teas. “Root and leaf tea was used in sweat baths to treat rheumatism, fevers and malaria.” (garden.org) Root tea was used for dysentery and stomach aches. Roots and berries were used for fevers, colic, and a wide variety of common ailments. “Bark from stems and roots were used to treat itchy skin.” (garden.org) Poultices were used to clean wounds, treat skin rashes, and may ease pain as well. (All About American beautyberry/Garden.org)

Beautyberry Tea for Skin Ailments

  1. Bring 8 oz of water to a boil.
  2. Mix in a mixture of dried bark from roots, fresh or dried leaves, and ripe berries.
  3. Simmer 20 minutes and then strain.
  4. Serve hot.
  5. Repeat daily until the skin ailment is gone.
  6. Note: (This tea can be refrigerated for up to a week.)

Beautyberry Tincture

Make a tincture with a mix of leaves and berries. American beautyberries are anti-bacterial and a detoxicant. The tincture is said to be effective for the treatment of piles, bleeding both internally and externally, burns, sore throat, and nosebleeds.

Some of the nutrients found are Flavonoids, Calcium, Carbohydrates, Hydroxyl C, and Magnesium (Herbapathy.com)

Ripe Berries Off The Bush

The ripe berries are edible but not very tasty off the bush. However, I’ve found they make an excellent glaze for pork (especially ham) and chicken. I made a syrup for French toast, pancakes, waffles and over vanilla ice cream. It was a delicious with a distinctive flavor.

Juice and Liqueur

I canned some juice to drink by boiling six cups of berries with eight cup of water for 20 minutes and then straining by mashing through a strainer. Then, I added honey or sugar to taste. My mom made a beautyberry liqueur using beautyberry juice, simple syrup, and vodka. There are also recipes out there on the information highway for beautyberry wine. Experiment, as we have!

Tomorrow, I will share my beautyberry jelly recipes and tell you about another of God’s provisions for our survival. So, we will see you then.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 73 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
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  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
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  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value), and
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Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
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  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 73 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. My grandmother, Julia Shaw Lockett 1881-1963, told me she used Beautyberry to dye her wool. I have her carding combs. I wish I had talked more to her about the things she did as a pioneer into Arkansas. Julia

  2. D.M.
    I love reading your posts!
    Thank you for such valuable information.
    Do you or anyone else here know much about juniper berries? Are there particular species that are poisonous? I have heard they were used medicinally during the plague, is that true?

    1. Juniper berries are fine to eat, unless you have allergies to cedar or other similar plants. They are a very strong flavor. The flavor sweetens with cooking. They are used in tea throughout much of Europe, and are very nice as a flavouring for wild meat. Bears will eat them in vast quantity as well.
      The ‘berries’ are more accurately called a fleshy cone, and they take 2 years to fully ripen . Only the purple/blueish berries are ripe. The green ones are not, but will ripen the following season.

      1. Thank you Norm! Are there different varieties of juniper berries? I have seen them for sale in natural food stores but not sure which variety of juniper these are harvested from.

  3. They must be hardy to zone 5 as well as I saw some at my mother’s place over Thanksgiving. They were in an ornamental planting that was planted by a commercial firm.
    We are big “weed” eaters here. I often wonder why we bother to grow a garden!

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