These are my top 10 herbs to have on hand. I count on only what I can self sufficiently wild harvest or grow myself.
- Echinacea - (to be used only when really needed) anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral. - used internally and externally
- Calendula - used externally - very healing for wounds from simple scrapes to severe cuts and gashes, encourages tissue to knit and has mild antiseptic properties, (excellent alone but can have echinacea added for infections)
- Mullein - internally - wonderful for all manner of chest complaints … coughs, muscle spasm, congestion… also easy to take and has very few interactions with other herbs or medicines. Externally it can be added to salves and balms and used similarly to comfrey tho not as good. The two in combination are excellent for bruising if mugwort isn’t available.
- Feverfew - internally - for fevers, headaches and migraines. Can be used by young and old alike. Gentle and easy to use.
- Garlic - Internally - For general body maintenance. Repels insect and parasites internally and externally. Treats a great range of ailments and is easily used buy most people, 2 and 4 legged (never use raw garlic in animals)
- Lavender - Externally - Is excellent for calming 2 leggeds and 4 leggeds in stressful situations and can be used to prevent or reduce shock. Also has mild antiseptic properties. (I can’t grow Tea Tree here but the combination is the best antiseptic in my opinion). Internally can be used in calming teas but many people can’t take it internally and may cause nausea or vomiting.
- St Johns Wort - Use internally - to treat severe depression, temporary stress, helps rebalance chemicals in the brain over time, can be used in emergencies when convention medicine is not available to treat things like psychosis and bipolar disorders. It can help with insomnia (which is more prevalent during traumatic events - when sleep is most needed) ** Care should be taken when using St Johns, it causes sun sensitivity in most people.
- Chamomile - Used internally - for anyone but especially in treating children. It has it’s own benefits but can also be added to many other herbs to make them easier for children to take. Alone it calms, relieves stomach aches, mild headaches, relaxes and helps bring on sound sleep. Used externally - the scent (like lavender) is also calming and can reduce stress, can also be added to healing balms and salves.
- Peppermint - used internally - can relieve diarrhea, reduce and relive stomach cramps (even severe), aids digestions, relieves gas and nausea, calms and relieves minor stress. Good for children. It has both cooling and warming effects.
- Red Raspberry Leaf - used internally for 2 legged and 4 - For women it relieves menstrual cramps, can help balance the body and regulate moontime, helps strengthen the uterine muscles to prepare for childbirth, can ease and shorten childbirth, improves elasticity of the uterine muscles and tissues making tearing less likely, can relieve morning sickness and nausea. For everyone it can relieve nausea and car sickness. This is a very grounding herb and can be used in aftercare for shock victims. When preparedness is an issue both men and woman should consider such things. If you have sisters, daughters, granddaughters, nieces …. having Red Raspberry Leaf and cloth diapers (which can be used as diapers or moon pads) can make a world of difference to a young scared woman or mother.
Lemon balm & lady’s mantle needs to be on there too. I realize that would make it 12 herbs, but really why not make it 20. Or 30. Or 50. Not so simple anymore, but more the merrier for the polyherbarous. :D