The second widely available and brilliant plant God made that will be useful in a SHTF situation is one I recommend my patients use instead of aspirin, which according to research can damage and weaken the body. It is white willow bark, which has been used in medicine for 6000 years, since the time of the Egyptians, and has been used effectively for reducing pain and as an:
It also has immune boosting capability to keep your body from getting sick. It has been used on a wide range of problems, such as headaches, including migraines, and for dental problems, like disinfecting infections, bad breath, and toothache. My patients use it for backaches, other soreness, and rheumatic and arthritic problems. My female patients use it for lady things like the time of the month and cramping. It is used for almost everything having to do with the heart and cardiovascular. It is also used externally for wounds, burn healing, disinfecting, and skin conditions. Let’s not forget general sicknesses, like the cold, flu, or general fever.
Research is showing it may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, cataracts, and age-related eye degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. There are more benefits, but my point is white willow bark has been a go-to for a great deal of health-related problems for many people for millenia. My wife always carries a bottle with her. White willow is the very plant that aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid comes from. The white willow tree has a large range all over the world. In a pinch any willow tree has salicylic acid in the bark. You can boil and drink it in a tea or you can literally just chew it and get the effects. Slightly bitter and sour is the best way I could describe it. My daughter would disagree. She described it as horrible, as she made a face and spit it on the ground.
I can not say enough about chia seeds. Chia was used by different Indian groups as a staple to keep them alive. Chia seeds are much more potent and nutritious than corn. The seed is where all the nutrition is, but you can also eat the plant. Chia is a very hardy plant not prone to disease, drought, bugs, or animals eating them. It grows all year long. It is self pollinating. This is great in case all the birds, bees, and ants are killed off by something. Indians would take a teaspoon full of it to sustain themselves for a day on a journey such as a hunting expedition. Yes, I did say teaspoon. It has been used for 5000 years. I had a hard time including this one because of one problem, which is the range where it is found. Chia has only been grown, until recently, in places like Mexico and Central America, so it is harder to find. It was banned by the Spanish due to its association with Aztec gods. It has just recently been reintroduced as a cash crop into the United States because people are starting to discover its benefits and demand it. Chia is awesome to include in your diet for a multitude of reasons. One of them being it contains good amounts of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc. Another reason is that it is a great source of proteins, carbohydrates, and a good healthy fat substitute when you can’t find another source. So, what is the solution to not being able to find Chia everywhere? Chia is of the sage and mint families, such as spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, and catnip. So, I decided to include all of them, because the nutrition value of the sage and the mint seeds is slightly less but comparable to chia. Familiarize yourself with mint and sage, if chia does not grow in your area. You will know you have it when you grab a leaf and crush it; the smell of the plant will overwhelm you a little with minty, lemony, and other strong smells. They are all thought of as weeds and grow heartily and quickly. Most people will not be looking for these, and they should be easy to find. They produce all year until hard frosts.
Different forms of mint, sage, and chia can be used for antiseptics and bug repellents for mosquitoes and ticks. They can also be used successfully to repel other pests, like mice and moles, so they don’t get in your cache. I have used them successfully in my trailer for mice. They can be used as bug killers including wasps, hornets, ants, and cockroaches. More pleasant uses are mouthwash, air fresheners, and flavorings. Believe me when I tell you that you are going to miss spices. MREs get awful dull, and they make you have body odor. Whew! I can still smell the tent I shared with ten other Marines in Desert Storm. Medicinally they have been used as a sedative, and also to increase brain alertness, for digestive problems, chest pains, and nausea. Really, there are so many things they do that I can’t put them all in this paper.
My third selection for all you wine connoisseurs is grapes. Almost everyone likes some form of grapes. Grapes are healthy and taste good. Grapes will be a go-to for everyone that is thrust into a survival situation. In other words, there will probably not be any cultured grapes to eat. What will be left over will be the leaves and you will probably be able to find wild ones. Grapes are found wild and cultured in most places all over the world. There is even a farmer in Alaska, U.S.A. trying to be the first to produce wine from grapes he has been growing there. The actual grape may be hard to find, but the vines and leaves will not be. You get 93 calories from a 100g of leaves according to the USDA. This is about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. You also get almost 6 g of protein, 2 g of fat, 17 g of carbs, plus vitamins A, E, C, which are all good for cleaning up radiation, and all the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and more. The grape leaves are mineral and vitamin store houses.
Grape leaves can be cooked, dried, pickled, stored, and eaten as a salad. I have stored them for two years dried and then re-hydrated them; they still taste the same. They’re awesome as pickles. Grapes are easy to find all over the world. In all climates and soil types, they are easy to identify and use. All grapes are edible. However, I have one word of warning when identifying grapes: Do not eat them if they have only a single seed, as this may be a poisonous moon seed and some poison ivy can look similar to wild grapes as well. Familiarize yourself now before SHTF. Grape plants are your friend in the survival situation. In a pinch, the vines can be used for many different things, such as rope and weaving containers, and they can be used to collect fresh drinking water. Simply cut the vine a few feet above the ground and put the cut end into a container. It will continue to draw water like a hose; just make sure you keep the soil wet.
My final suggestion is nuts. Nuts are found everywhere in the world. Peanuts don’t count, but coconuts do. It’s not that peanuts are not a great survival food, if you can find them; it is just that they are a legume rather than a nut. The nuts I am talking about are Acorns, Macadamia, Beechnuts, Chestnuts and Chinquapins, Coconuts, Walnuts, Butternuts, Hickory nuts, Pecans, and Pinenuts, Pistachios, Hazel, Brazil, Buckeyes, and so forth. They are always a great source of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Most of the time, nuts are a source of minerals needed for healing, unless you have an allergy to them. One of my patients is being treated for an allergy right now. Do you know what she is doing? She is being slowly exposed to nuts. They are feeding them to her and slowly increasing the amount she eats. You need to know a little about preparing some of them. For instance, you need to learn how to take the bitter out of the acorns or the toxins out of buckeyes. I probably would leave buckeyes alone, unless desperate or turning them into jewelry or art to trade. You will have to know when to pick nuts to beat the squirrels, mice, and deer. You may have to raid the squirrels’ stash to get the pine nuts. Squirrels hoard and steal pine nuts before you get to them. Most nuts can be made into flour, bread, and mush. You can use the tree as a bait pile. When the nuts drop off the deer always seem to know. You can use the hulls for smoking meats to preserve them longer. The hulls can be ground up and used as slug repellent around plants or put into water to purify it. Some nuts, like walnut, can be used as permanent ink or dye for cloth, wood, or hair (your wife will appreciate it or think camouflage). Nuts are good for a time but not long term; the oils in them turn rancid. If they go rancid and you can no longer eat them (they will start to taste bitter), you can burn them for heat or as a light source. Start them on fire right in the shell and you have a candle. Hulls of walnuts can be mixed with alcohol and water and used as a tincture for digestion. The tincture can be used internally and externally, and it is anti-parasitic, antiseptic, and anti-fungal. Walnut oil can be used on the skin as oil or made into a soap for eczema, ringworm, inflamed tonsils, and thyroid. I have watched scars disappear in three weeks that had been on a lady for more than three years. I started recommending all nut oils to my patients. The American Cancer Society says it is thought that nuts help shrink tumors. One study by Yu-bin Ji showed it promoted the die off of digestive cancer cells. Most nut trees, like walnut, are strong wood for building and making rifle stocks, furniture, or other tools. I have never tried, but it is said the sap can be collected and turned into a sugar source like the maple tree.
An extra little piece of advice. Almost any fruit, vegetable, or plant, even if it is not edible, can be turned to vinegar just by letting it sit. Vinegar can be used for thousands of things externally that will help you to live, including disinfecting wounds and foods that you eat, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces so you don’t spread sicknesses, and more. If it is something that is edible, such as apples or grapes, it can be taken internally to help with digestion. It has probiotics in it to prevent other bad things, like bacteria, from growing and hurting you. Go to this website for 1000 ideas http://vinegartips.com/. Any one can make vinegar; just let a watered down, mashed up plant sit for a week or two. The vinegar makes itself with no help. You can still use that spoiled fruit that you find and can’t or won’t eat.
Remember: Never stop learning. Never give up. Just when you think you are at the end of your rope, God will provide a solution. I hope this is a start. One thing at a time.