I am going to be posting this thread in sequential posts as the information is prolific and long and will not fit all in one. Please hold questions and comments until I get the whole thing posted. Thanks. Botanical and Herbal Medicine (Note. The following is an introduction to Herbal and Botanical Medicine with a special orientation to preparedness and survival situations. It is written by an author with an interest in herbalism and preparedness. It is offered in good faith. The scientific evidence supporting some of the botanical preparations mentioned here is variable – from strong evidence to anecdote. The “bible” on scientific herbalism is “Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Human Health” by Lewis and Lewis, Published by Wiley 2003. This book deals in-depth with the evidence base for botanical medicine and cannot be recommended highly enough. It is not “how-to” book but a scientific treatise on the subject. We strongly recommend you consult a reputable herbal identification and medicine text prior to undertaking any treatments discussed here. Also note that this section has a slight North American bias due the chapter writer’s location, but much can be generalised) Many of the present day pharmaceuticals were derived from botanicals or herbs. They can be very complimentary to conventional medications and have a valid track record of treating, easing, and resolving many diseases. While some may have not therapeutic effect at all the reason most have been used consistently for centuries by various cultures is because they work – the efficacy may vary, but they do work to some degree or another. The incidence of serious side effects with herbs and botanicals appears to be low although like anything taken excessively or misused can result in serious adverse effects. There is also a small potential for interactions with conventional medication, and botanical medicines should be prescribed with the full knowledge of other medications the patient is taking. Botanicals and herbs work in several complimentary ways. Firstly they can treat illness and disease directly as with most medications. Many, however, work at building the body’s natural defences and effect the more root cause of disease. Most botanicals/herbs work slowly with the body and do their work for the most part gently, unobtrusively, and supportively. In order to utilise botanicals/herbs in a survival situation you need to plan ahead. Botanicals/herbs are not just another "prep" item to add to your list - planning ahead in this case most certainly will involve a little more work and time than just buying what you think you need and storing it away. Botanical/herb therapies and treatments seem to lend themselves more to a "Bug In" situation rather than a "Bug Out" scenario mostly because it would be difficult to have the added weight of a couple of quarts of tincture in your pack and in a long term lack of conventional medical facilities in order to continue to have the botanicals and herbs available you really need to grow them or know where to gather them in your local area. We strongly suggest you get at least one really good medicinal herb identification book. These are available for most countries and areas. A useful series of books in the US are the Peterson Field Guides. The older editions were two books; one for the Eastern U.S. and one for the Western U.S. There are now newer editions: A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America by S. Foster and James Duke and A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs by S. Foster. There many other excellent guides available some very localised to specific areas. There are two excellent books focusing on the pharmacology of botanical medicines. In addition to these text book styles there are many other excellent books on herbal medicine although there is some significant variation in how strong the science behind the books are. Don't buy any book blindly, get your local library to special order books for you to read, and then decide if that one would be of use to you. The next step is becoming familiar with what is growing wild in your local area. It can be as simple as taking Sunday afternoon nature walks with the family starting in mid to late spring. Do this again in early summer - same areas as before. As you identify herbs/botanicals make a mental or even paper map of these locations. Do your walk again in late summer/early fall and check locations because many herbs and plants need to be harvested before flowering, or after flowering, or after having died down. If you don't have a location map you may not be able to find that clump of purple coneflower (Echinacea) when it has no leaves and no purple flower.