First and foremost, if you sustain a serious injury while pursuing outdoor activities always seek professional medical help. If you sustain a mild injury while exploring the beautiful outdoors you may want to try treating it with natural herbs you can forage for wherever you are. There is nothing more satisfying than successfully treating a mild injury with nothing but your knowledge of the natural world and a plant that you knew how to identify.
Whether you encounter a simple injury that your medical kit simply doesn’t have a treatment for, or if you are trying to learn to live completely off the grid, this article explores several plants that can be used for minor rashes, indigestion, burns, and cuts.
Best Plants to Treat a Rash:
Skin rashes and inflammation can result from many different factors. A rash could be a sign of an allergy, an infection, a symptom of a medication, or simply a result of excessive heat. The pain and itch of a mild rash can be treated with natural remedies like:
Also known as the German Chamomile, this is the most common medicinal plant for treating skin inflammation. You can easily identify it by its large yellow flower heads and white linguiform flowers. The plant contains essential oils that are effective in reducing inflammation.
Camomille can be boiled into a tea and taken orally or can be extracted into an oil to be applied topically. Never consume a plant that you are not 100% confident in your ability to identify.
Also known as pot marigold, this beautiful plant is antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties making it exceptional at treating skin rashes and other skin irritations.
Calendula can be turned into a gel, tincture, or oil.
Best Plants to Treat a Burn:
Campfire flare-ups, scalding burns, or simply getting too much sun can give you painful burns. Treating the burn will not only alleviate the pain, allowing you to be more effective in your outdoor activities, but it will also reduce the likelihood of an infection.
Aloe Vera contains a naturally hydrating gel that is commonly used to treat sunburns, but it is also great on a variety of other burns. Aloe vera promotes blood circulation and hinders the growth of bacteria, not only reducing the likelihood of infection but also speeding up your recovery. Aloe vera’s fantastic skin hydrating properties also make it a great choice to alleviate irritations and inflammation caused by rashes.
While you can simply cut open an aloe vera plant and use the gel inside, you may want to prepare a long-lasting aloe vera gel to keep on hand in case you aren’t able to find this succulent when you need it.
Lavender oil can be used to help heal minor burns as well as bug bites.
Best Plants to Treat a Cut
Expect to get a few scrapes and cuts anytime you are active outdoors, but be mindful to keep any wounds, no matter how minor, clean to reduce the risk of infection. The following plants can be used to not only keep your cut clean but also to help speed up your recovery time.
Yarrow is hemostatic, astringent, antibacterial, and antifungal. The plant’s leaves and flowers can be crushed and made into a paste with warm water. You can then apply this poultice directly to your wound. The yarrow will encourage blood clotting to reduce or stop any significant bleeding and the properties of the flower will help reduce the risk of infection.
Goldenrod, also sometimes referred to as woundwort due to its heightened ability to treat wounds. The plant reduces inflammation and when the leaves are powered and applied to a wound will aid in sealing the wound. The plant is also effective at treating bruises.
Calendula is a great rash treatment, but also has properties that make it a powerful treatment option for minor cuts and wounds.
Best Plants to Treat Indigestion:
If you are camping anywhere near a riverbank, then you can be sure to spot this perennial plant. Apart from being a flavoring agent, fennel seeds can be used to treat indigestion. A simple remedy for indigestion can be found by grinding or crushing fennel seeds and adding them to hot water to make tea.
The Anethum graveolens, popularly known as dill, were traditionally used to treat abdominal conditions. While this aromatic herb is used as a spice, you can extract the essential oil from the seed or eat the seed as a whole to relieve intestinal spasms.
Best Plants to Treat an Infection
Cuts and bruises are common sources of infections while outdoors. If left untreated infections can lead to very serious medical consequences. Keep your wounds clean and apply the following natural remedies to reduce the likelihood of infection.
The Echinacea is not hard to identify, as its flower is identical to the daisy flower. Its basic components, caffeic acid, glycoproteins, and carbohydrates, have excellent fungal and antibacterial properties that prevent the spread and growth of bacteria.
To make an echinacea tincture, you’ll need dried ¼ cup echinacea flowers and roots and spirits combined in a jar.
Thyme is yet another spice that not only adds flavor to your food but also treats an infection. It boasts high antimicrobial levels, which have proven effective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escheria Coli bacterias.
You can extract thyme oil and prepare it for treating an infection.
Preparation and Application
We realize this guide was a very brief introduction to medicinal plants and that there is so much more to learn both about the plants and how to use them. We hope this guide was able to give you an idea of where to start your journey into foraging for medicinal plants.
Throughout this article we provided suggestions on how to use the plants for their medicinal properties, however, we highly suggest you check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac for advice on how to create tinctures and read through Chagrin Valley’s advice on how to create essential oils.
While we still recommend having a fully stocked emergency medical kit on hand, we also encourage you to spend some time learning about natural cures and experimenting with them when it is safe to do so. As always, never ingest any plant that you cannot identify with 100% certainty, and if you sustain any type of significant injury seek medical attention immediately. Your well-being is our number one priority.
Be safe. Be prepared. Be Prepared4X!