Your Backyard Medicine Cabinet

Your Backyard Medicine Cabinet

( – In the aftermath of a large-scale disaster scenario, many modern conveniences will go the way of the Dinosaur (at least for a while). A trip to the pharmacy could become a dangerous proposition and may be utterly pointless once their inventory is depleted. A trip to the backyard, however, might be just what the doctor ordered – so long as you know what to look for…

Most people have no idea that many of the plants growing in their backyards actually hold medicinal value. In truth, there are many common plants that have been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of health issues. Here are a few:

Red Clover

Red clovers, despite the name, are actually not red at all. Rather, they’re a deep pink-purple color. They typically grow upright and in clusters, unlike white clovers, which cover the ground. Thanks to the red clover’s tolerance to moisture and temperature, they can be found throughout the US.

Red clovers are good for treating rashes, sores and other minor skin irritations. The benefits don’t stop there though; red clovers can also help relieve the symptoms of menopause, improve fertility and give the body a hefty dose of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

There are a few different ways to use red clovers for medicinal applications. One is to create tea from the flowers, or you can use the flowers and leave as a garnish in a salad. You can also infuse the flower into oil and turn it into a salve for topical use.

Stinging Nettles

This one may not seem very user friendly, but don’t fret, there are benefits to using stinging nettles. This plant grows mostly in temperate areas, but it’s established itself all around the world. Usually reaching a height of 2 to 4 feet, these plants’ leaves are covered with teeth and are fuzzy; the stem follows the same pattern with tiny, spiny, hollow hairs filled with a chemical mixture that causes irritation and itchiness, earning it the name “itch-weed.”

Stinging nettles are actually one of the most nutrition-packed vegetables you can find. They contain high amounts of iron, protein, vitamins and other minerals. These plants have several medicinal properties including astringent, diuretic, hermetic and alterative. Sting nettles have been used as a blood purifier, in urinary tract issues and in combating anemia.

Tea is the most common way to benefit from nettles, although juvenile leaves are edible and can work in several dishes. Soaking the leaves in olive oil or high-proof alcohol can provide you with a tincture or infused oil, which you can drink like a tea or use topically.


Having trouble sleeping? Valerian may be an answer to your problem. The plant has been spotted more and more in the vitamin and supplement section of stores, proving to be just as effective as prescribed drugs, but with none of the side effects. Native to temperate Europe, valerian has become naturalized here in the US and North America. It’s hard to find wild, but you can cultivate this herb easily at home. Valerian grows in small clusters that are flat and have white flowers.

Valerian has been used for hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years as a sleep support aid. You can buy this in a capsule form at your local drug store, but that kind of defeats the purpose of backyard medicines. The root is the part you want to use, and the easiest way to use it is to let it dry, cut it up, and brew into a tea. The tea, however, isn’t exactly the best tasting, so add some licorice or honey to make it more tolerable.

Nature holds all the secrets to life, but we seem to have forgotten that everything we need to survive can be found and doesn’t need to be bought. Whether it be for medicine, food or shelter, Mother Nature takes care of us all. We just need to remember how to utilize the gifts we’ve been given.

~Copyright 2021,