5 plants to use as medicine found in the Midwest (and beyond)

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

What would you do in a disaster and you don't have access to medicine for all your aches and pains? For most people, you will be out of luck, but for the Minimalist Prepper, you will know just what to do. Minimalist prepper's learn what they might need before they are in a survival situation. Today you will learn about 5 different plants and trees found in the mid-west to heal your ailments.

1. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Most people know of sage as an herb for cooking, but don't realize the powerful health benefits it provides. The leaves are what is used for harvest of this plant You can use them in a tea, as a gargle, or use it topically.

Habitat: Well drained soils, grasslands, sunny areas.

Helps with:

  • Oral Health

  • Menopause symptoms

  • Blood Sugar Levels

  • Memory and Brain Health

  • Lower ‘Bad’ LDL Cholesterol

  • Preventing certain cancers

  • Skin aging

  • Bone health

  • Diarrhea

  • These and other benefits can be found here.

2. Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatorium)

Agrimony is mainly used as a tea with the leaves, flowers, and roots. Although it can be used topically as well. It is supposed to help clear up blemishes on the skin due to bacteria. Some lotions are infused with Agrimony for it's topical benefits.

Habitat: Fields, roadsides, sunny areas.

Helps with:

  • Upset stomach

  • Mild diarrhea

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Diabetes

  • Gallbladder disorders

  • Fluid retention

  • Preventing certain cancers

  • Tuberculosis bleeding

  • Corns and warts

  • Heart tonic

  • Sedative

  • Antihistamine

  • Alleviate sore throat

  • These and other benefits can be found here.

3. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum)

Solomon's Seal can be ingested or used topically. The beneficial part of the plant is the root. Once you harvest the root, you can dry it out to be used for long term use. The flowers may be of use as well. There are reports of using the dried flowers and crushed roots as a snuff to get rid of headaches.

Habitat: Woodland areas, dry to moist soil, part shade to full shade, and some sunny areas.

Helps with:

  • Skin conditions

  • Boils (furuncles)

  • Bruises

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Lung disorders

  • Skin irritation

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Wound healing

  • These and other benefits can be found here.

4. Elder (Sambucus nigra)

There are about 12 species of Elder trees, so it shouldn't be hard to find them. Many people use the fruit for making pies, jelly, and jams as well as for health purposes. Make sure to boil the berries for 20 to 30 minutes before consumption or they can give you an upset stomach.

Habitat: Woodland, roadsides, ponds, lakes, some shade, but thrive in sunny areas.

Helps with:

  • Respiratory diseases such as influenza

  • Colds and catarrh

  • Diaphoretic

  • Diuretic

  • Laxative

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • These and other benefits can be found here.

5. Willow (Salix alba)

There are several varieties of the Willow tree that is used for medicinal purposes. The active substance in the bark is called salicn. This is actually the the key ingredient in aspirin. you can also boil the leaves and branches as a growth hormone for root growth in other plants.

Habitat: Rich soil areas near streams, lakes, rivers, or marshes.

Helps with:

  • Arthritis

  • Common cold

  • Fever

  • Flu (influenza)

  • Gout

  • Headache

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Muscle pain

  • Swine flu

  • Back and joint pain

  • These and other benefits can be found here.


Make sure to thoroughly research any plant, tree, or fungus before ingesting them. Some species have different varieties and may not produce the same medical benefits or may even cause harm. The more knowledgeable you are the more you can help yourself and others.

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