Wilderness First-Aid Plants

The last thing you need when already fighting for survival in the wilderness is to have your strength and abilities diminished by illness or infection.  Knowing how to make use of some of the plants around you for medicinal use can more beneficial than knowing how to forage for wild edibles since infection can kill you in days but one could last weeks without food.  Here are a few of the common plant sources of medicine that you can find in wild and how to make use of them.



A common plant usually thought of as a weed that has beneficial medicinal properties is plantain.  Plantain can be used to help fight off infection in open wounds or sores.  To use, simply pluck off a few leaves and chew them into a pulp to make a “spit poultice” and apply directly to the injury.  When it dries out, reapply.


Yarrow, like plantain, can help fight off infection in open wounds or sores.  In addition, yarrow also assists in coagulation and healing.  This makes yarrow valuable if you are having trouble getting bleeding to stop.  It can also be used as a spit poultice.


Resin from trees can be used to seal a wound to assist in healing and keeping it clean to prevent infection.  Resin that is still wet and pliable is best, but hardened resin can be warmed until it becomes soft and tacky.  Spread this over a cleaned wound to seal it.  Make sure you do not apply resin that is too hot if you are using resin that was hard.

Pine Needles

Pine needles, and other evergreen needles such as spruce, can be boiled to make a tea that helps with colds and sore throats.


These are only a few examples of medicine that is available to you while you are in the wilderness.  Don’t pass up on the opportunity to treat injury and illness quickly, allowing it to get worse.  Treat illness at the first signs of onset to maximize the effectiveness of these medicines and to keep you in the best shape possible so you can face the unavoidable hardships of wilderness survival with all you have.

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