How to Treat Sickness While in the Wild, Pt. 2

In the last segment, I talked about the medicinal properties and application procedures of tannins, yarrow, and cattails. These are some easily recognizable staples north of the tropics and valuable if you’re lost in most of the USA or Europe. Wherever you decide to travel, there are sure guides aplenty for the local flora.

For now, let’s stick with here at home.

1. Willow

(Willow (Salix spp.))

Willow trees are usually found in very moist areas of the country and can be recognized by their narrow leaves. There are a dozen different types of willow from the weeping willows in the Southern US to the white willows in the Northeast US and Europe. While different species may contain varying amounts of the active medicinal component (salicin) they all contain it to some degree.

Salicin is a pain reliever and was the basis for modern aspirin. Chew on small green twigs and allow your saliva to leech the salicin from the bark. While the effect on aches, pains, and headaches may not be as immediate as over the counter aspirin, the effects will last longer. This is also useful if you feel yourself becoming feverish.

2. Dandelion

Yes, those weeds in your garden are actually a fairly useful supplement in a survival situation. While many of its more drastic medicinal claims have yet to be backed up by reputable medical studies, it’s dense nutritional content has been long known. It was a widely used as an easy to cultivate food source by European settlers and is still used in some salads and dishes.

(Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale))

Apart from food, dandelion leaves are known to be a mildly powerful diuretic. The roots can be dried and crushed into a powder then added to water or tea to add a caffeine-like effect to substitute coffee. The powder can also be used as an appetite stimulant if you’re recovering from stomach problems or sicknesses.

Why would you want to be hungrier? Because that’s your body telling you what nutrition it needs, and if you can’t eat, you can’t survive. Some teas, such as sassafras are good if you need to suppress hunger pains for a while, but don’t starve to death in the process.

3. Peppermint

Yet another plant that grows like a weed and has many medicinal applications for long term survival but is not proven to be a “cure” for any medical condition. It does, however, add to your comfort during your time in the wilderness both internally and externally.

For internal digestive issues, boil the leaves into a tea and sip as needed. The vapor from the tea and the oil can help with congestion if you find yourself with a cold or flu and you have trouble breathing.

(Peppermint (Mentha × piperita))

External use is easy. Simply take the leaves and run them on your temples if you are experiencing tension headaches. While, again, this isn’t a cure for whatever is causing the headaches it is a way for you to push past an obstacle to ensuring you are properly setting yourself up for survival and success.

Another use is as an insect/arachnid repellent. Spiders and biting insects hate menthol (the active, oily ingredient in peppermint). Rub the leaves on your clothes and skin every few hours to repel them. If you have an ample source of peppermint nearby your campsite, spread the leaves around your shelter to make sure you spend the night alone.

More to come from different parts of the world! Stay healthy and stay safe.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Bryan Bintliff

Bryan Bintliff

Bryan is an Army veteran, Masters Student at NYU, and a freelance writer dabbling in travel advice and survival tips... sometimes both at once. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and is enjoying his new weekend warrior status.
Bryan Bintliff

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