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Wild Survival: 6 Medicinal Plants You Should Know

Next to feeding and hydrating yourself, survival in the wild could come down to preventing injuries going from bad to worse. Antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, and coagulants abound in nature. Identifying them could mean the difference between life and death in a real emergency.

Everything from aspirin to antacid has its roots in botanical medicine.While advancements have developed new compounds, the plants from which modern medicine evolved can still be found in the wild.

A new pocket guide for travelers to the Rocky Mountains outlines endemic flora that can be used to treat common maladies when roughing it through the mountains. We got a look at six useful medicinal plants and their applications, including natural anti-virals, bug repellents, poultices, and more.

Trembling Aspen (anti-inflammatory, sunblock)

trembling aspen

Aspen leaves and inner bark contain salicin, an anti-inflammatory similar to that contained in aspirin. Chew raw or make a decoction for relief of pain, fever and diarrhea or to reduce inflammation due to injury. The powdery coating from the bark of aspen has an SPF of 5. Rub it on your skin to prevent severe sunburn.

Habitat: Foothills to Subalpine Zones. Alaska to New Mexico.

Harvest: Leaves, inner bark, powdery substance on outer bark.

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