caution-warning-funny-signboard-danger_zombies-run(or any another kind of disaster situation)

Knowledge about how to use wild plants as food and medicine may not be common to the average city dweller, but with my quick guide, you too will be better suited to survive a zombie invasion or another post-disaster scenario.

1. Burdock root

Burdock root makes for an excellent wild food to give you enough energy to get from a to b, run away from zombies, or be the first to get to that stash of chocolate bars at the not-yet-looted convenience store. It also contains inulin, a prebiotic fibre, to keep your digestion running smoothly.

Yarrow, photo copyright Cyndi Gilbert 2. Yarrow

Yarrow is an astringent herb that you can apply directly to cuts and other wounds to stop bleeding so that the smell of blood doesn’t attract predators. It will also slow down menstrual flow so that you won’t be slowed down when your stash of tampons and pads runs out.

3. Hawthorn

Hawthorn leaves and berries are a great tonic for your heart to keep your cardio up to speed. There’s nothing worse than being outrun by a zombie. The sharp thorns on hawthorn are also great for throwing at your attackers or creating a protective barrier around your base camp.

Mullein, photo copyright Cyndi Gilbert4. Mullein

Mullein leaves make for soft, plush toilet paper. Mullein also tonifies your respiratory system, allowing you to breathe easy even when everything is on fire. The flower stalks of mullein can be dipped in oil and lit, creating a torch to light up dark alley ways or scare away roaming packs of wild dogs.

5. Lady’s mantle

Lady’s mantle is the plant to look for when your water supplies have run out. Morning dew accumulates in the folds of the leaves, perfect for sipping if you’re dehydrated.

Echinacea, photo copyright Cyndi Gilbert6. Echinacea

I have no idea if echinacea will help your immune system fight against zombie bites. It probably won’t. But it will help you stay healthy and prevent everyday illnesses like colds and flus.

7. Dandelion

It’s everywhere and it’s edible. You might as well eat it.

8. Ginseng

You’re stressed. Lots of bad things have happened. More than likely, some of your friends and family have been eaten. You fear for your life. It’s almost a given that you have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). You need an adaptogenic herb to help you deal with life as you now know it, to help you adapt to your post-apocalyptic surroundings. This is what ginseng does best. It’s also a stimulant, which will help you manage the fact that you’re on night watch and can’t afford to fall asleep.

* For a guide to surviving the modern (sub)urban experience, please see my book The Essential Guide to Women’s Herbal Medicine.

* Please note that the herbs listed in this article may only apply to certain climates and conditions. If you live in Asia, Australia or the Arctic, you will need to consult a guide specific for your area. Good luck!