An Introduction to Herbalism – Using Natural Plants to Become Less Reliant On Doctors




Many people, even in the preparedness community, are confused about what a prepper or modern survivalist really is.


We could go on all day debating the likelihood of a SHTF disaster, what the government is or isn’t doing or even the flat out end of the world as we know it, but in reality, being a prepper has nothing to do with any of these things at all.


Being a prepper simply means that you are striving to be less reliant on outside systems of support…That’s it.


These systems of support include things like public utilities, grocery stores and yes, even your employer. These systems are things that are out of your control. Utilities can fail. Grocery stores operate on about 3 days’ worth of food and can get wiped out during a disaster. Even your employer (unless you’re self-employed) is a system of support. You rely on your employer for a paycheck. If they up and closed tomorrow, you’d be out of a job, without a paycheck, and it’s likely you’d have no say or control over any of it.


Being a prepper simply means that you’re uncomfortable letting someone or something dictate the important decisions and situations in your life… And you’ve simply decided to take back that control.


Risk management.

Hedging your bets.

Not putting all your eggs in one basket.


In short… it’s called being SMART.


Many of us use some form of alternative energy to be less dependent on grid power. We store food to protect us from shortages and to prepare for disaster situations. We train to defend ourselves to ensure that we don’t have to rely on outside systems of support to keep our families safe.


Modern medicine is probably one of the most persistent systems of support that we have today. Most of us aren’t planning on enrolling in medical school any time soon and it’s not like we can write our own prescriptions when we get sick. Pharmacists and police officers tend to frown on that!


So how exactly do we become more self-reliant when it seems we’re stuck with all the hoops of our modern medical system? Are we doomed to be completely reliant on doctor’s visits, co-pays and prescriptions?


That’s a hard question to answer. On one end, barring some kind of cataclysmic event, modern medicine is here to stay. If I break my leg, PLEASE take me to a doctor. On the other hand, do we really need to be going to the doctor and paying ridiculous amounts of money for prescriptions and co-payments month in and month out?

Half of the time when someone in my family goes to the doctor, they don’t really do a whole lot besides tell us to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids blah blah blah.


May favorite line from the doctor’s office:

“It’s viral…there’s nothing we can do.” ….as the receptionist runs my debit card for the copay.


Herbalism was the first line of defense against pretty much every sickness for thousands of years. Even today over 25% of all modern pharmaceuticals are made from medicinal plants. The World Health Organization has even said that in some areas of the world that as much as 80% of the population still relies solely on herbs and other medicinal plants for their primary medical care.


There’s a reason why modern medicine has evolved from the days of apothecaries and witch doctors. Advancements in medical technologies have allowed us the ability to treat conditions and maladies that were guaranteed death sentences 100 years ago.


That being said, as a society we have become far too complacent with modern medicine. We are taking prescriptions that we don’t need, paying billions of dollars every year for unnecessary medical treatments; and worst of all, the practice of herbalism, the practice that kept our ancestors alive for thousands of years before modern medicines has been resigned to nothing more than a quaint history lesson with little to no place in the lives of most people today.


As preppers, I think it’s time that we change that.


Herbalism can reduce our reliance on modern medicines significantly. Over 25% of all pharmaceuticals today are still made from plants and herbs. Most of the pharmaceuticals we use regularly are either made from plants or have a plant equivalent that can be just as effective.


So what can we do as normal people to integrate herbalism into our daily lives in a realistic and practical way?


One of my goals for 2014 is to introduce more alternative medicines into our household. Hopefully this will make some sort of difference in how much money we are spending in medical costs each year and if the day ever comes that we are unable to rely on a doctor, we will at least have some sort of alternative to them and the knowledge to use it effectively.


What I am doing is isolating the most common issues in our household that we have relied on doctors and modern medicine for. This has been colds, the flu, respiratory infections and ear infections.


I have no expectation of being able to completely “cure” all these ailments from our household, but there are plants and herbs out there that can help prevent and these ailments from getting out of hand and requiring a round of prescribed antibiotics. Most of the time it’s simply about starting treatment at the first sign of symptoms, which will often clear these issues up before medical assistance is required.


Here are the 4 herbs and plants I am using to start my own apothecary kit, their uses and effectiveness against common ailments.




The Thyme plant is a common culinary herb that also doubles as a medical plant. It is an expectorant, which means that it helps loosen mucus in your lungs. It is useful in helping combat colds, flu symptoms and is especially effective in preventing respiratory infections. You simply mix 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme with a cup of boiling water, let it steep for 10 minutes and drink it down. Within the 1st or 2nd dosage you will notice that your coughs are bringing up much more mucus than before, which will in turn prevent infections and let you breathe much easier.


Licorice Root


This plant is pretty amazing. After doing a lot of research I’ve found that licorice root is actually used in a large amount of highly effective antiviral medicines. It has been used to combat the common flu (even some strains of the avian flu) and even more serious viral infections like the SARS and HIV virus.


Licorice root tea is made just like thyme tea with 1-2 teaspoons of root per cup of boiling water.


**There are some potential side effects of using Licorice root and it should not be used by pregnant women. Be sure to do extensive research into the side effects of licorice root to see if this plant is right for your family.



Garlic gives a natural boost to your immune system. Studies show that taking a garlic supplement will help fend off viral infections and reduce recovery times of viral infections. In 2001 a study showed that volunteers that took a daily garlic supplement were less likely to develop a cold than those who took a placebo. In fact, the patients that did develop a cold recovered 50% faster than those that didn’t take the garlic supplements.


The antiviral components of garlic break down with high heat. Since eating chunks of raw garlic doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, the easiest way to take garlic is to mash it raw into other components that make it palatable like sugar or honey.




Elderberry is another plant that can significantly reduce the duration of the cold and flu. Studies have shown that after just a few doses of elderberry extract tea, symptoms of the cold and flu can be shortened by an average of 4 days. It is also effective at fighting off over 10 different variations of the flu virus.



Herbalism is just one of the many paths to becoming more self-reliant. As we move forward with 2014, I urge everyone out there to find a few things they can do a little differently this year; whether that’s putting in that first garden to grow some of your own food, learning more about alternative energy to be less dependent on public utilities, buying your first firearm to protect your family or maybe even turning one of your hobbies into small side-business to help you become more financially independent.


Regardless of what you do, I urge you to do SOMETHING differently this year to help take back true control over your life. Despite what some people out there in this community might think preparedness isn’t about global disasters, SHTF or the end of the world as we know it.


Preparedness is about taking back control and responsibility over our own lives. It’s an endless quest that none of us will ever fully achieve. It’s a calling for everyone out there that thinks that there just might be a better way to do things…a better way to live.


Herbalism isn’t going to take the place of modern medicine, just as a garden isn’t going to completely rid you of the need to go to grocery stores. It will however, do SOMETHING to bring you closer to self-reliance.


That’s all it really takes guys. If every one of us out there this year simply does SOMETHING to become more self-reliant, we truly can change our world for the better…and maybe, just maybe, it might help us avoid some of the tough times we have ahead of us.



Until next time everyone,






  1. kyle

    I really enjoyed the article and would like to get more information.

  2. Rob

    Hooray..time to learn about the medicinal plants all around us…burdock root, dandelion and root, plantain, mullein, sheep sorrel, etc.also, most Americans are hypothyroid. Get some Lugol recipe iodine drops. Put a couple drops on your belly, and run out to about the size of a silver dollar. If it disappears within 12 hours, apply again. Hypothyroidism has a lot of symptoms..learn about it. Example, iodine is a halogen, and has the same chemical similarities as fluoride, bromide, and chlorine. These are commonly ingested and if there isn’t sufficient iodine..they will bind chemically, and leave you hypothyroid. Study and learn this simple cure. There is an herb for everyday illnesses, and even things like Lyme..get busy and blessings to you all

  3. Rebel

    Okay but I have a bit of a problem how am I going to do this with the financial world so broke not.only that but I have auto immune diseases and competitive joint deterioration, so my pain is outrageous please I am.open to anything anyone has to offer when it comes to information to do this I am.more than happy to try anything I just don’t know Jack diddly besides teas that are calming and over the counter natural vitamins and minerals my email is listed with this comment.

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