In the following series of post, I will show you some of the best plants that can be found in Michigan for various uses. In this case, 3 Plants that Heal. There are others, but these 3 are very effective, grow in large quantities and are easy to identify.
You never know when you will need to use a wild plant for an emergency situation. Anytime you don’t have immediate access to first aid kits or an emergency room, you are in a position that you might need the assistance of Mother Nature.
My family has used these plants even when modern first aid was available. Why? Because they work…even better than what you can buy. Use common sense please. Some wounds need medical attention…period! No plant can take the place of stitches, proper irrigation, or prescribed antibiotics when needed.
Yarrow: Possibly the best astringent in Nature or on the pharmacy shelves. An astringent contracts body tissue. The result is, it will stop bleeding. Use Yarrow on an open wound to stop the bleeding.
Yarrow is also an excellent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. It will not only stop the bleeding, but promote healing. It’s been known as a healing herb since ancient times and was even named after Achilles. Achilles was kept safe from harm in battle by being submerged in Yarrow by his mother. The problem was, his mom didn’t submerge his heal which Paris shot him in. Bleeding to death, Achilles left his names sake to your heal…the Achilles Heal. The scientific name for Yarrow is Achillea millefolium named after the man it protected and the water plant, Milfoil, which its leafs resemble. We have used yarrow on a sprained ankle. Yarrow is useful at reducing swelling and bruising. My buddy, Chris, also used it on a blister that resulted from a broken down walking shoe. 7 miles into a 10 mile walk, he was in major pain. Using a Yarrow poultice, held in place by his socks, he was able to walk the final 3 miles relatively pain free. The blister healed amazingly fast according to Chris and it never game him problems after. Available in June through August. If you have a good sustainable patch, pick some to dehydrate for use through out the year. Makes an excellent tea.
Plantain: An extremely good astringent. Maybe second only to Yarrow. Use Plantain (Plantago major or minor) on any open wound to stop bleeding. It is also a very good anti-bacterial and microbial.
Without question Plantain is a good plant to know in an emergency. My family has used it on open wounds with great success. Not only to stop the bleeding but to promote healing. We have used it after a pulled tooth to stop the profuse bleeding. We have also used it on bee stings. It works very good. The pain and itching was relieved almost immediately and the relief was permanent. We also use it in a sun burn solution that eases the burning pain very quickly. You can find that recipe in earlier posts. Because of its effectiveness, but also its availability, Plantain is actually my number one healing plant. It was so important to the settlers that the Native Americans called it “White Mans foot print”. They knew that where ever white man was, Plantain would soon be growing. Available most of the year. Narrow leaf can even be found under the snow. A very good and nutritious edible.
Purple Dead Nettle: Lamium purpureum, resembles nettles and therefore it’s namesake. It is actually a Mint. Purple Dead Nettle is probably best known as an anti-allergen, but it is also an effective astringent. Press the succulent stems between your fingers and drip the juice into the wound. It is also an effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Available in abundance in the Spring, dry some for later use. My family loves it as a tea, so I dry extra for that reason. That way, I have some on hand for emergencies and just to relax with a nice pleasant tea.
As mentioned above. Use common sense when it comes to treating wounds. If the wound is serious enough, use these wild plants as a temporary solution. Get the injured to a medical facility ASAP. Make sure you know 100% that you have the right plant. Also before applying any plant to an open wound, make sure the plant is as clean as possible. Don’t use contaminated material on your body.