20 Edible and Medicinal Survival Plants to Grow

Survival situations demand resourcefulness and knowledge of the natural world. Edible medicinal survival plants offer a sustainable source of food and medicine when conventional resources are unavailable.

This comprehensive guide explores 20 key plants that every prepper should consider growing or learning to identify in the wild.

In this article, you’ll learn how to identify, cultivate, and utilize essential edible medicinal survival plants that can provide both nutrition and natural remedies in emergency situations. We’ll cover their edible uses, medicinal properties, and cultivation tips to enhance your self-reliance and survival skills.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Discover 20 versatile plants with both edible and medicinal uses
  • Learn how to identify and safely harvest these plants in the wild
  • Understand the nutritional and medicinal benefits of each plant
  • Gain practical tips for cultivating these plants in your survival garden
  • Develop skills to prepare and use these plants for food and medicine

Introduction

Survival situations demand resourcefulness and knowledge of the natural world.

Wild edible plants and medicinal herbs offer a sustainable source of food and medicine when conventional resources are unavailable.

This article presents a curated list of 20 plants that serve dual purposes as both edible and medicinal resources.

Foraging guides and wilderness survival skills are crucial for identifying and utilizing these plants effectively.

By cultivating these species in a survival garden or learning to recognize them in nature, preppers can enhance their outdoor emergency preparedness and increase their chances of thriving in challenging environments.

  • Learn to identify these plants in various growth stages
  • Practice sustainable harvesting techniques
  • Develop a working knowledge of each plant’s uses and preparation methods

1. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelions are ubiquitous plants with multiple survival applications.

The entire plant is edible, from the roots to the flowers.

Dandelion leaves provide a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium.

Edible Uses

  • Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens
  • Flowers can be used to make wine or fritters
  • Roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute
See also  Top 10 Edible Plants to Grow Indoors Year-Round

Medicinal Uses

  • Diuretic properties aid in detoxification
  • Liver support and digestive health improvement
  • Anti-inflammatory effects for joint pain relief

Learn more about using household items as garden fertilizers to enhance your dandelion growth.

2. Plantain (Plantago major)

Plantain is a common wild edible plant with significant medicinal properties.

This hardy plant grows in various environments and is easily recognizable by its broad leaves and distinctive seed heads.

Edible Uses

  • Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Seeds can be ground into a flour substitute

Medicinal Uses

  • Poultices for wound healing and insect bite relief
  • Tea for respiratory issues and digestive problems
  • Antimicrobial properties for infection prevention

Discover how to grow plantain in small spaces for maximum efficiency.

3. Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed is a nutrient-dense plant that thrives in cooler climates.

This delicate herb offers both culinary and medicinal benefits for survival situations.

Edible Uses

  • Raw leaves and stems in salads
  • Cooked as a spinach substitute

Medicinal Uses

  • Anti-inflammatory properties for skin conditions
  • Diuretic effects for urinary tract health
  • Cooling herb for fever reduction

Learn about winter gardening techniques to grow chickweed year-round.

4. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Stinging nettle is a nutrient-powerhouse with a wide range of survival applications.

Proper handling and preparation neutralize its stinging properties, revealing a versatile and beneficial plant.

Edible Uses

  • Cooked leaves as a nutritious green vegetable
  • Dried leaves for tea

Medicinal Uses

  • Joint pain and arthritis relief
  • Allergy symptom reduction
  • Blood sugar regulation

Find out how to incorporate nettle into your container garden for easy access.

5. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is a hardy perennial with a long history of medicinal use.

This plant is particularly valuable for wilderness first aid applications.

Edible Uses

  • Young leaves in salads (in moderation)
  • Flowers and leaves for tea

Medicinal Uses

  • Wound healing and blood clotting
  • Fever reduction
  • Digestive aid for upset stomach

Discover how to attract beneficial insects to your yarrow plants for natural pest control.

6. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Mullein is a distinctive plant with large, fuzzy leaves and a tall flowering stalk.

This plant offers several survival benefits, particularly for respiratory health.

Edible Uses

  • Leaves can be brewed into tea

Medicinal Uses

  • Respiratory support for coughs and congestion
  • Ear infection relief
  • Skin healing properties

Learn about growing mullein in raised beds for optimal growth.

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7. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea is renowned for its immune-boosting properties.

This beautiful flowering plant is a valuable addition to any survival garden.

Edible Uses

  • Flowers and leaves can be used for tea
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Medicinal Uses

  • Immune system stimulation
  • Cold and flu symptom relief
  • Wound healing acceleration

Discover how to grow echinacea indoors for year-round access.

8. Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic is a potent medicinal plant with strong antimicrobial properties.

This easy-to-grow herb is essential for both culinary and medicinal purposes in survival situations.

Edible Uses

  • Cloves can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Leaves and scapes are edible

Medicinal Uses

  • Natural antibiotic for infection prevention
  • Cardiovascular health support
  • Immune system boosting

Learn how to grow garlic in buckets for space-efficient cultivation.

9. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Comfrey is a fast-growing herb with remarkable healing properties.

This plant is particularly useful for treating injuries in survival scenarios.

Edible Uses

  • Young leaves can be cooked (use sparingly due to potential liver toxicity)

Medicinal Uses

  • Accelerated wound and bone healing
  • Skin condition treatment
  • Anti-inflammatory effects for joint pain

Discover how to incorporate comfrey into your vertical garden setup.

10. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile is a gentle yet effective medicinal herb.

This plant’s calming properties make it valuable for managing stress in survival situations.

Edible Uses

  • Flowers for tea

Medicinal Uses

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Sleep aid
  • Digestive comfort promotion

Learn about growing chamomile in water for a space-saving solution.

11. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry is a versatile plant with both edible and medicinal uses. The berries and flowers of this shrub offer valuable resources for survival.

Edible Uses

  • Ripe berries can be cooked for jams or syrups
  • Flowers can be used for tea or fritters

Medicinal Uses

  • Immune system support
  • Cold and flu symptom relief
  • Antiviral properties

Discover how to grow elderberry in containers for small spaces.

12. Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Burdock is a hardy plant with edible roots and medicinal properties. This plant’s deep taproot offers nutritional and detoxifying benefits.

Edible Uses

  • Roots can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked
  • Young leaves can be cooked as greens

Medicinal Uses

  • Blood purification and detoxification
  • Skin condition treatment
  • Digestive health support

Learn about companion planting with burdock to enhance your garden’s ecosystem.

13. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a cheerful flower with powerful healing properties.

This plant is easy to grow and offers multiple survival benefits.

Edible Uses

  • Petals can be used as a saffron substitute
  • Leaves can be eaten in salads

Medicinal Uses

  • Wound healing and skin repair
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Digestive system support

Discover how to use calendula for natural pest control in your garden.

14. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s Wort is a yellow-flowered herb known for its mood-enhancing properties. This plant offers psychological support in challenging survival situations.

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Edible Uses

  • Flowers and leaves can be used for tea

Medicinal Uses

  • Mood improvement and depression relief
  • Nerve pain reduction
  • Wound healing acceleration

Learn about the potential risks of St. John’s Wort and safe usage guidelines.

15. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)

Aloe vera is a succulent plant with remarkable healing properties. This plant is particularly valuable for treating burns and skin conditions in survival scenarios.

Edible Uses

  • Inner leaf gel can be consumed for nutritional benefits

Medicinal Uses

  • Burn and wound healing
  • Skin condition treatment
  • Digestive health support

Discover how to grow aloe vera indoors for year-round access.

16. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is an aromatic herb with calming properties. This plant offers both psychological and physical benefits in survival situations.

Edible Uses

  • Flowers can be used for tea or as a culinary herb

Medicinal Uses

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Sleep quality improvement
  • Headache relief

Learn about growing lavender in drought conditions for water-efficient gardening.

17. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a fragrant herb with multiple survival applications. This plant offers both culinary and medicinal benefits.

Edible Uses

  • Leaves can be used as a culinary herb

Medicinal Uses

  • Memory and concentration improvement
  • Digestive aid
  • Antimicrobial properties

Discover how to grow rosemary in small spaces for urban preppers.

18. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is a versatile herb with potent medicinal properties. This plant is particularly useful for respiratory health in survival situations.

Edible Uses

  • Leaves can be used as a culinary herb

Medicinal Uses

  • Respiratory support for coughs and congestion
  • Antimicrobial effects for infection prevention
  • Immune system boosting

Learn about growing thyme as a perennial for long-term sustainability.

19. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is an aromatic herb with strong medicinal properties. This plant offers multiple benefits for survival preparedness.

Edible Uses

  • Leaves can be used as a culinary herb

Medicinal Uses

  • Cognitive function support
  • Digestive aid
  • Menopausal symptom relief

Discover how to incorporate sage into your vertical garden setup.

20. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is a calming herb with a pleasant citrus scent. This plant offers both culinary and medicinal benefits in survival situations.

Edible Uses

  • Leaves can be used for tea or as a culinary herb

Medicinal Uses

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Sleep quality improvement
  • Digestive comfort promotion

Learn about growing lemon balm indoors for easy access.

Conclusion

Edible medicinal survival plants offer a sustainable source of nutrition and natural remedies in emergency situations.

These 20 plants represent a diverse array of species with multiple applications for survival and outdoor emergency preparedness.

Preppers should familiarize themselves with these plants, their identification, cultivation, and uses to enhance their wilderness survival skills and bushcraft abilities.

  • Develop a survival garden with a selection of these plants
  • Create a personal foraging guide for local wild edibles
  • Practice preparing and using these plants for food and medicine

By incorporating these plants into your survival strategy, you’ll increase your self-reliance and ability to thrive in challenging environments.

Remember to always practice proper identification and sustainable harvesting techniques to ensure the long-term availability of these valuable resources.

Discover more about creating a survival seed bank to preserve these essential plants for future use.

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