For many nature lovers, escaping into the wilderness to go fishing, camping or hiking is the perfect way to rack up some much-needed R&R. Here, you'll find wild and beautiful specimens that aren't your average red rose plants or housewarming plants. While these unique flora are aesthetically pleasing, they can also be used for highly practical purposes - a distinct advantage should your outdoor explorations take a turn for the worse and you're forced to survive on your own. Here are some of the most useful wild plants in terms of food and medicinal value.
According to Mother Nature Network, cattails are often called the "Wal-Mart of the swamp" due to their sheer abundance and nutritional benefits. Found in wetlands around the world, cattails are essentially tall grasses that sport brown seed heads. This plant has both edible and medicinal qualities. Stranded explorers can eat the roots in spring and the corn-like flower spikes in the summer - good both raw and cooked. The news source also reports that cattail pollen can function like flour. Should you experience any injuries in the wild, the plant's leaf gel and roots can be used to treat minor scrapes, burns and stings.
Cold and Fever Remedies
When dealing with unpredictable weather conditions and exposure, developing a cold or fever can be catastrophic in the wilderness. Luckily, Mother Nature has remedies to help treat and relieve these common illnesses. Wilderness-Survival.net reports that brewing a "tea made from willow bark, an infusion of elder flowers or fruit, linden flower tea or elm bark decoction" are all effective remedies. For colds and sore throats, a decoction of plantain leaves or willow bark or teas made from burdock roots. A similar mixture of mallow or mullein flowers or roots or mint leaves will provide much-needed relief.
You might be surprised to see this grocery store staple growing in the wild, but asparagus is common throughout North America, ArtofManliness.com reports. While wild varieties are somewhat thinner than their store-bought cousins, this plant provides essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6. You can eat wild asparagus raw or prepare it however you normally would in your kitchen.
This multifunctional plant is abundant in many grassy fields across North America. If you're bleeding from a cut or scrape, yarrow leaves will help the blood clot to seal the wound, according to Mother Nature Network. A tea made from its leaves is also helpful for common conditions like colds, fevers, diarrhea and stomach pains.