A number of years back, I found Gaye’s recipe for an essential-oil based DIY Miracle Healing Salve that she found effective on everything from cuts and rashes to sore muscles and eczema. I made the recipe, and have been using it ever since as my go-to first aid salve, replacing Neosporin, Cortisone, aloe vera gel, and other relatively pricey products from the local pharmacy.
In a survival or bug-out situation, however, essential oils may not be available. Once your existing stock runs out, it could easily become difficult or impossible to replace them. That’s why knowing a few common wild medicinal plants can be a life-saver.
A whole array of plants with medicinal qualities grow commonly in yards and urban areas, giving you a surprising bounty of raw material to make your own DIY Miracle Healing Salve even without any essential oils.
Using Common Medicinal Backyard Weeds
To help you be able to make your own medicine regardless of essential oil availability, I’ve re-imagined Gaye’s original recipe with some of these common medicinal backyard weeds. I have listed a number of plants for the ingredients that all have similar healing qualities, so finding and using any combination of them will make a potent salve.
If you’re in a survival situation and don’t have coconut oil, you could make a liquid rub with olive oil or any other fat that is safe to spread onto skin. You could conceivably even process animal fat for this purpose.
The thing I use this stuff for most is mosquito bites, which I get all over my body in the form of itchy red welts. Mosquitos are a scourge during southern summers, and aside from a momentary cooling sensation, nothing I’ve ever bought at the store seems to help the itch.
After rubbing on a generous amount of this wild plant-based miracle salve, on the other hand, I completely forget about the bites after about five minutes. The itch is erased.
I use it in any of the ways I’d use Gaye’s original healing miracle salve: cuts, scrapes, wounds, boils, rashes, you name it! After giving some of it as a gift, I even got feedback that it helped relieve itching associated with menopause. It’s also pet-safe!
- 3-4 cups coconut oil
- Half a teaspoon of olive oil infused with vitamin E (optional, but adds nutrients and acts as a preservative)
- 5 tablespoons beeswax
- 1-2 cups slightly crushed medicinal leaves and flowers
Below is a quick listing of the plants that you can use, with some identifying characteristics and images. Look for these in your yard and around your property, and you’re likely to find many of them just beyond your door. They even grow in parking lots!
For details on the medicinal properties of each of these, take a look at this great resource. I’d expect a salve that used any combination of 2-4 of these plants to be effective, but at the risk of overkill, my version uses them all:
1. Common Plantain Leaves (Plantago major)
Common Plantain has nothing to do with the banana plantains you see in stores. It has tough ovoid leaves with distinctive veins, and grows in a basal rosette. Tiny flowers form on a stalk.
Once a mainstay in native Indian medicine, homeowners from California to Maine now work all spring and summer trying to vanquish this powerful healing plant from their yards.
It is very similar to the common broadleaf variety, except the leaves are lanceolate instead of ovoid.
2. Narrowleaf Plantain Leaves (Plantago lanceolata)
This cousin of the broadleaf plantain has tough, lance-shaped leaves that grow in a basal rosette near disturbed lots, roadsides, and lawns.
3. Ground Ivy Leaves (Glechoma hederacea)
Ground Ivy is a creeping plant with scalloped leaves and small blue flowers. All parts smell minty when crushed.
The stem is square, not round, and leaves are alternate, meaning the leaf pairs appear in a staggered pattern along the stem.
4. Wood Sorrel Leaves (Oxalis)
Usually mistaken as clovers, wood sorrel leaves have a shamrock-like appearance.
The flowers are small and can be either white, yellow, pink, or purple.
5. Red and White Clover Flowers (Trifolium pratense/Trifolium repens)
For most newbie foragers, this common weed is as easy to identify as a dandelion. The flowers have been prized for centuries for their medicinal qualities.
Step 1: Gather and Crush the Plants
I used about two cups’ worth of total plant material for a liter or so of salve, using approximately equal amounts of each plant with the exception of wood sorrel, which I only used a very small amount of.
You can make a smaller recipe and the amount of plant matter doesn’t have to be precise, just err on the side of too much to ensure your formula is potent enough. Once they are gathered, use a colander to rinse them thoroughly.
Then use a mortar and pestle or other technique to crush them slightly, just enough so that those membranes are broken and the leaves release a bit of juice.
Then I put them into a pot with the coconut oil.
Step 2: Patiently Simmer
Melt the coconut oil at extremely low heat, and make sure you’ve used enough oil that the plant matter is submerged once it melts. Now all you do is simmer, simmer, simmer.
I left mine on for about three hours, but it might be better to leave it on even longer to ease out more of those active chemicals from the plants. The oil should turn a nice green color.
After a few hours or more of simmering, strain the liquid out. There may be some plant matter that finds its way through, which is fine. I didn’t have cheese cloth, but it would have helped to keep some of that extra plant material out of my final product. I like to really try to squeeze the plants to get out as much of the oil as I can.
Step 3: Cool Down
Now just let it cool for about 24 hours. It should keep fresh for a long time – I’d say up to a year or longer in the fridge.
If you’re going to refrigerate yours, just rub your fingers on the salve until the warmth from the friction softens it enough to be applied.
Wild plant-based healing salve is cheaper, fun to make, and is even stronger and more effective (in my experience) than the myriad over-the-counter products it replaces. See what plants you find in your yard, and make a salve that renders store-bought first aid ointments obsolete!
Author Bio: Eric is a nature-loving writer, experience junkie, and former Boy Scout who never forgot that time-honored Scout Motto: Be prepared. Aside from camping and survival, he loves writing about travel, history, and anything he finds strange and unique!
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