Off-Grid Living

Living off the grid poses some issues which a person needs to be able to tackle head on, and do so successfully, in order to guarantee safety.

One of those issues could be medical treatment of situations that are not life-threatening, but may threaten your comfort, safety and health. With emergency sources so far from the “country,” and in some situations, off-grid locations being so remote and only accessible with a 4×4, you will need to know how to handle most emergency situations yourself. In order to do this, you need to have some basic and some intermediate knowledge of plants that can be used for medicine.

Mint family herbs.

Peppermint is probably the first thing you think about here. But it is not only hard to locate actual peppermint in the wild, but it’s also not the only member of the mint family you should have knowledge about.

Since there are many plants that are members of the mint family, you should know that they all do pretty much the same thing medically and are all safe to use. Remember that you can make a warm tea of any of the mint family plants and use the tea to treat almost any ailment with the digestive system.

Echinacea/purple coneflower.

This herb is well recognized on roadsides across Missouri with its tall purple/pink flowers in late summer. Use of this herb as a tea works like a natural antibiotic and has the ability to treat most internal infections such as bronchitis or upper respiratory infection.


There are many types of plantains growing wild in Missouri, and they all can be used to treat skin irritations such as poison ivy and bug bites. A simple infusion of the leaves can be used as a wash in this case.

Mullein/lambs ear.

Lambs ear leaves are so soft, thick, strong and absorbent that in World War II the leaves were used as bandages when the medics ran out of their usual material. Aside from that very useful fact, a tincture or infusion made of mullein leaf is a great poison ivy remedy as well.

Willow bark.

Most people have used aspirin in their lifetime and understand how to use it. But what would you do if you needed aspirin for aches and pains or – God forbid – to stop a heart attack and didn’t have any?

In Missouri we have willow trees growing. It is true that the inner bark of the willow tree is actually “natural aspirin.” A simple infusion made from a few tablespoons of the inner bark (paired with honey or sugar for sweetener if you have any) makes a very effective aspirin tea. 

Part of living self-sufficient, usually off-grid, means you have to be ready for anything. That means that medically, you should have more than just basic knowledge and experience or else you risk possible major issues with something as simple as the flu, or even a scratch that becomes infected.

So I recommend that people study natural medicine, herbology, native American medicine, etc., and learn how to treat things that don’t necessarily have to be handled by a hospital or doctor’s office – and thrive!

Texas County resident Merlyn Seeley (a.k.a. Spirit Walker) is a natural living expert, herbalist, Cherokee medicine man and author of numerous books. His blog address is


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