Grow Your Own Antibiotics

Drying Calendula for an antibiotic salve.

Dehydrating Calendula for an antibiotic salve.

Grow My Own Antibiotics? You’re Joking, Right?

If you are imagining someone in a lab coat bent over petri dishes, forget it. I’m talking about everyday plants that you can grow in your own backyard that have antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-parasitic compounds. Many of these are common plants you may already have in your garden. No matter where you live (as long as it’s not Antarctica or Death Valley) you can grow some medicinal plants that just might save your life in a survival situation.

Yarrow helps get rid of parasites.

Yarrow helps get rid of parasites.

>>Editors note: Did you know that soldiers used to carry crushed yarrow as part of their medic kit?  It was great for stuffing into a gunshot wound because of its medicinal value.  We’ve come a ways since then and developed more advanced things for our battle field medic kits, but yarrow would be one still worth keeping around.  I’m growing some of it right now in my food forest (which I’ll be releasing a video in a few days on by the way)

Regaining Our Lost Knowledge

Throughout history people have used plants for food, medicine, fuel, fiber, building, and much more. Our ancestors learned all the beneficial uses for the plants around them and passed that information down through the generations. In the last century, with our move away from an agrarian lifestyle, we’ve lost that knowledge and have become dependent on the grocery store, the doctor, and big business to supply all of our basic necessities.

If the SHTF and those luxuries are gone, what will you do to treat yourself and your family in the case of injury or illness? If you know where to look, food and medicine is all around you, growing along the roadside, in the woods and fields, even in your lawn (unless you spray with toxic crap).

Perennial onions - easy to grow and a natural antibiotic too!

Perennial onions – easy to grow and a natural antibiotic too!

Don’t Be That Guy

You know, the guy that ends up dead because he didn’t use common sense…don’t be that guy! This information is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. If you have a serious illness or injury, and there is medical help nearby, go get help! This article is intended to arm you with valuable information in the event that there are no medical facilities or doctors around to treat you. If you are lost in the wilderness or you are surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, you need this information. So start now learning to find wild remedies that grow in your area.

So, Lisa, you say that there are free medicinal plants growing all around us? What a deal! Food and medicine free for the taking! Now hold your horses, there Sparky. You need to make sure you know what the hell you’re doing before you start munching on weeds.

It is extremely important to arm yourself with information before you go out looking for free edibles and medicines. Invest in a good field guide so you know you are harvesting the right plants. Research those plants so you know which parts are safe to use. Make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or exposed to nasty pollutants. Then, and only then, are you ready to go collecting plant materials.

Before you get started, keep in mind that some of the plant material listed below should only be used topically, which means on the outside of your body. Don’t eat these plants! Crush them to make a poultice that is applied to external afflictions. Some of the plants are common herbs that we consume in small amounts as flavorings. Just because you can safely consume a sprinkle of thyme in your spaghetti does not mean that you should eat a huge bowlful to treat an infection. So be careful to use items sparingly if there is a notation such as “Safe in small quantities.” Amounts to use to treat infections or illness are unknown. In an emergency situation, I suggest using small amounts first and increase (as long as they are safe to use) as needed.

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The old saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ actually has some merit.

An Apple a Day

Many foods contain antimicrobial compounds that help prevent or treat illness. Apples, onions, garlic, basil, thyme, and blueberries all have phytochemicals that kill bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. The list is too extensive to share here. However, here is a list of some common plants and foods that contain antimicrobial chemicals and have been used through the ages as home remedies.

Plants with Antimicrobial Compounds

  • Aloe (Aloe barbadensis, Aloe vera) for Corynebacterium, Salmonella, Streptococcus, S. aureus 0 Use small amounts internally, topical.
  • Apple (Malus sylvestris) general – Safe to use internally or externally.
  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) for bacteria, protozoa – Use small amounts internally, topical.
  • Basil (Berberis vulgaris) for Salmonella, bacteria – Use small amounts internally, topical.
  • Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) for E. coli – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis) for bacteria – Use small amounts internally, topical.
  • Cranberries (Vaccinium spp.) for bacteria – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum) general – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Ginseng (Panax notoginseng) for E. coli, Sporothrix schenckii, Staphylococcus, Trichophyton – Use small amounts internally.
  • Green tea (Camellia sinensis) general, Shigella, Vibrio, S. mutans, Viruses – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) general – The root is safe for internal or external use.
  • Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) for Ascaris, E. coli, M. tuberculosis, S. aureus – Safe for internal use.
  • Olive oil (Olea europaea) general – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Onion (Allium cepa) for bacteria, Candida – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita) for general use – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Potato (Solanum tuberosum) for bacteria, fungi – Safe for internal or external use.
  • Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) for viruses, internal parasites – Use small amounts internally, topical.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) for viruses, bacteria, fungi – Use small amounts internally, topical.
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) for bacteria, protozoa – Safe for internal use.
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) for viruses and parasites – Topical use, can be toxic if taken internally.
  • Yellow dock (Rumex crispus ) for E. coli, Salmonella, Staph infections – Safe for internal use.
Yellow dock, named for the color of its root, is a good antibiotic you can forage for in the wild.

Yellow dock, named for the color of its root, is a good antibiotic you can forage for in the wild.

Don’t Take My Word for It

Hey, I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. However, I have been using garlic and other plant materials to help treat colds, flu, and minor scrapes and cuts for much of my adult life and I haven’t killed myself yet. I like knowing that I have a long list of all natural remedies in my garden, or out in the fields and woods that I can forage for and use to treat my family if there is ever a day when medical help is nowhere to be found. I encourage you to check out the complete list of antimircrobial plants and print it out for your survival library. Make sure you know how to identify and use them properly.

You can find a more complete list of plants that fight off infections at:

Clinical Microbiology Reviews – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88925/

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About Lisa Lynn

I grew up on 400 acres of farm and woodland, foraging for wild edibles, learning to preserve food and raise livestock. My favorite book was my Dad’s army survival manual. Everywhere I’ve ever lived I started a garden, stocked up on non-perishables, and planned my escape route. My husband, Tom, and I spent way too much time in the purgatory of suburbia before moving to a small agricultural property. Here we’re learning new skills to survive without the infrastructure that most people take for granted. We plan to move to a larger, off grid property where we can expand our efforts in self sufficiency. It’s my mission to share what I learn with likeminded individuals. I’m sharing my preps with my peeps here and on The Self Sufficient Home Acre

View all posts by Lisa Lynn

8 Responses to “Grow Your Own Antibiotics”

  1. Taylor Michaels Says:

    Thank, very interesting and useful. I may include a few of these plants in my dystopia/survival novel. Hopefully, it’ll be out by Christmas. I had also been planning on having my characters buy some fish antibiotics, but as you say, such things don’t last forever, even the toxic crap put on lawns eventually fades away.

    Reply

  2. Moz Wright Says:

    Hey thanks for the articles, gotta say though I never heard that about yarrow toxicity, in fact I when in my twenties when I first discovered herbs I used to drink yarrow / thyme tea for sore throat. It wasn’t a pleasant taste but it worked great.

    Reply

    • Katherine Jaks Says:

      Strong Yarrow doses of tea, tincture everyday can start to affect the liver. Some people describe a feeling of pain or sharpness in the liver area after 2 weeks, depends on your size. It is fine to drink for its internal benefits, but don’t over do it. If you start feeling pain, lay off it, don’t continue consuming it for a while.

      Reply

  3. karen Says:

    Great information! Thank you.

    Reply

  4. Lyn Says:

    My hubby and I have three acres and I am learning to grow so many things, I love having the extra room so I can add more each year… The Prepper Project is great, I am always learning something new from you… Thank you much for sharing… Lyn

    Reply

  5. Teresa Says:

    can you freeze plantain?If so will it keep it’s medicine properties?

    Reply

  6. Mary Buckley Says:

    The one thing I can remember is a summer my brother and I vacationed at my Aunt and Uncles farm. I will not get into everything. But, relevant to your medicinal article. I remember my brother getting a pitch fork in his foot. I am sure everyone can imagine the microscopic organisms on that pit fork from the barn
    My Aunt poured kerosene on his foot (no she did not light it). That is all she did and his foot was healed by the time we went home. This always amazed me especially when I went to nursing school. I can say to this day it has me in awe.

    Reply

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