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When you’re getting sick, do you go to your doctor immediately or do you treat yourself with natural remedies?

While you may think that mainstream medicine is winning this battle, data doesn’t support this notion. Several studies have shown that about half of Americans avoid modern medicine and turn to natural alternatives.

But, relying exclusively on one or another option is wrong.

The truth is that modern medicine can cure some ailments, usually serious ones, that natural remedies can’t. Yes, there is a big business behind our health system and I don’t really believe in the altruism of Big Pharma.

Nevertheless, you can’t have heart surgery with herbs and natural potions. Nor can you treat cancer or autoimmune illnesses with herbal teas. So, dismissing mainstream medicine is risky and even foolish.

On the other hand, we often underestimate natural remedies and medicine. And that’s the only way we used to fight illnesses for thousands of years. Plants and herbal products can’t miraculously heal every ailment, but they can be helpful.

Home remedies can alleviate many (usually mild) problems. Be careful, though! While there’s ancient wisdom behind some natural recipes, there are also many myths about some remedies that don’t work.

And some of them can be dangerous in larger quantities.

Whatever you think about modern and traditional medicine, there might come a time when you have to rely on nature. Just imagine any disaster scenario and you’ll see it’s possible that you won’t have safe access to hospitals. And what then?

There are two things you can do, and I recommend both. First, you should have a backup of your prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Second, make a supply of natural remedies to provide relief if you get sick.

Also, don’t forget to get your IFAK and first aid kit ready.

Must-Have Herbal Remedies

1. Peppermint

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Mint herbs have been used as remedies for thousands of years. They owe their name to Minthe, a nymph from Greek mythology.

Peppermint oil helps with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You can also use peppermint leaves for the relief of itching or mosquito bites.

This natural remedy has cooling effect so it’s good for muscle and nerve pain. People also use peppermint leaves and oil for several other minor ailments and headaches, but I’ll stick to these proven uses. 

2. Garlic

In the ancient times, garlic was a cure-all medicine. It even offered protection against vampires!

While you probably won’t have to deal with vampires, garlic has some undeniable benefits. It contains allicin which reduces inflammation and has some antioxidant properties.

Also, garlic might help with common cold, flu, and arthritis.

3. Cinnamon

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Cinnamon is a very potent spice. It is cheap and easily available.

Cinnamon can lower your blood sugar, it inhibits the growth of some bacteria, reduces inflammatory processes, and contains a lot of antioxidants.

Since this herbal remedy grows in Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam and other Far East countries, you can’t just pick it in the backcountry or grow it in your survival garden. So, it’s probably the best idea to buy and stockpile it.

4. Cranberry

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Cranberries are loaded with phytochemicals.

Cranberry juice helps with urinary tract infections. It might not be enough to cure it, though. To be specific, cranberries contain active ingredients that prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. But, they might not have it enough.

Anyway, it can’t hurt to add it as a supplement to your therapy.

Dried cranberries are a good choice, too.

5. Aloe Vera

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You probably won’t prioritize skin beauty in an SHTF situation. But, aloe vera offers much more than beauty treatments.

There’s evidence that it helps with rashes, psoriasis, and acne. It also might help with burns and wounds.

By the way, it’s very easy to grow as a houseplant.

6. Chilly Pepper

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While it might feel like molten lava in your mouth, chillies are great to have for a variety of reasons.

They contain capsaicin, the culprit for burning sensations.

But, capsaicin topical ointments can provide relief of pain caused by arthritis, strains, and sprains. Also, chilly pepper can stop minor bleedings. Pepper is a rich source of vitamin C.

7. Ginger


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Ginger is a popular spice with powerful properties. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

While it’s best known as a treatment for several kinds of nausea and vomiting, it offers many other benefits. It lowers blood sugar and heart disease risk factors.

Furthermore, it is helpful to reduce muscle pain and soreness.

8. Prunes

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A change of diet in SHTF scenarios can easily cause digestion issues. You’ll probably eat a lot of dry food, so you can guess  – constipation commonly occurs.

3.5 ounces or about 10 prunes will solve the problem.

Prune juice is also helpful. Moreover, prunes are a rich source of vitamin K, potassium, and iron.

A Few More Home Remedies

Improvising is an important ability in disaster scenarios. While many herbs can provide more or fewer benefits, you can use a couple of other things for homemade remedies.

9. Hydrogen Peroxide

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You may not want to bleach your hair, but hydrogen peroxide has a variety of uses. It can kill viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. Because of this, it is a good disinfectant.

Historically, it was often used as a solution for disinfecting wounds. Be careful, though. A couple of studies have shown that only a 0.03% solution is useful.

Higher doses would disinfect the wound but impede the healing process.

10. Petroleum Jelly

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Petroleum jelly creates a barrier on your skin and prevents moisture loss.

This simple property is helpful in many situations. It supports skin healing and reduces scarring.

If you have a baby or a toddler, it can prevent diaper rash or provide relief from the existing one. 

11. Ice Packs

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Ice helps to heal and prevents or decreases swelling.

Also, it speeds up muscle recovery tremendously. By the way, that’s why professional athletes dip themselves in ice baths. So, in the case of sprains and strains, it will reduce swelling and pain.

Don’t apply it directly to your skin, though. Use a towel or something, use it for up to 10 minutes, and repeat the process several times a day. If you’re out of power, cold water is the second-best alternative.

12. Honey

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Last but not least – the “food of the Gods”.

Honey strengthens the immune system, helps healing wounds, and many more. It’s a phytonutrient powerhouse.

Make sure that you buy raw honey from a trusted local producer, though. Technological processing may destroy some nutrients.

The ways honey works are not well understood due to complex mechanisms and a wide variety of types. But think about this: it can virtually last forever!

Several 3,000 thousand years old honey pots were found in ancient tombs in Egypt. And they are still perfectly edible!

Conclusion About Natural Remedies

The list of useful herbs and home remedies doesn’t stop here. There are dozens of plants and recipes, but you can’t keep them all at the same time.

Many of them also require extensive botanical knowledge to put it to good use. So, we made an essential list of easily available remedies with proven properties.

And make no mistake: long-term survival without the convenience of modern medicine is challenging. But, Mother Nature still has some tricks up her sleeve to help us to endure.

After all, we did so for thousands of years before unraveling advanced science!