Episode-1343- 11 Medicinal Herbs that are Also Perennial

 Comfrey - A Proven Medicinal Herb, With a Undeserved Bad Reputation.

Comfrey – A Proven Medicinal Herb, With a Undeserved Bad Reputation.

After two days of fishing shows I decided to change things up a bit with a show on medicinal herbs.  I have done a lot on this in the past, mostly sticking to very safe herbs that are both medicinal and culinary.  The reason being is I am NOT a master herbalist, period.  I am also not a Doctor or even a Nurse, I am not qualified to give medical advice and that is a big time disclaimer today.

Some of the stuff I will cover today can be toxic if used the wrong way or it may have bad interaction with other herbs or medications.  Some of it should not be used during pregnancy, etc.  I will also state today that it is not only impossible for me to mention all possible negative side effects but I am also not qualified to do so. The use of any herb on this podcast is done so at your own risk and should only be done with proper research and consultation with a qualified professional.

Now with all that, you may wonder why I have abandoned sticking to herbs that are very safe and pose little to no risks even if eaten like candy.  Well, the reality is we may need these herbs in a grid down scenario.  A Doctor, Herbalist or other professional may know how to extract and herb but can’t do it if they don’t have it.  Additionally some are good cash crops to sell to herbal product makers.  Some like Black Cohosh are actually endangered due to over harvesting in the wild.

Some can be safely used with proper research and I leave that choice up to you.  Some are great niche plants in your overall systems and attract predators and pollinators.  Comfrey for instance is  the preferred plant above all others for spiders to overwinter in.  Some are also great dynamic accumulators, etc.  Additionally given the option many species of animals including livestock will eat a bit of a so called, “toxic plant” when their internal intelligence tells them to.

Frankly there are many ornamental plants such as Oleander that are highly toxic if consumed but people plant it all over, you don’t see children or pets dying form eating it.  So I don’t feel we should fear using a plant that MIGHT be dangerous IF used IMPROPERLY.

One final note though for those with highly edible landscapes.  It is important (ALWAYS) to tell visitors that not everything is edible.  Some people are morons, they think if most things can be eaten, all things can.  So make sure you tell people that visit your property not to eat anything unless they know exactly what it is.  I can just see some tool, devouring foxglove or destroying angel mushrooms and ending up dead due to such foolish behavior.

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36 Responses to Episode-1343- 11 Medicinal Herbs that are Also Perennial

  1. Jack wrote: I can just see some tool, devouring foxglove or destroying angel mushrooms and ending up dead due to such foolish behavior.

    I got a hearty laugh from reading this.

    Always best to have home owners insurance to help protect against accidents with tools. Especially the reckless self-destroying kind.

    I look forward to listening to the podcast on the way home!

  2. Jack,
    Ive grown valerian for a while now, and I started it from seed. If you don’t remove the flower heads you wont have a propagation problem 🙂 I started with 2 plants out of 20 seeds, and the next year I have over 30 plants that came up by themselves. Just an FYI. Loved todays show.

  3. Hyssop is also a super beeplant, commonly used by beekeepers. Never heard of anyone having a reaction to the honey, if there had been it would undoubtedly been reported.
    It’s also a very pretty plant so good for the soul even if you never do anything with it but look at it.

  4. Lab rats are feed ‘rat chow’ – basically junk food. Should a rat eat a healthy diet in order to make projections about the impact to our lives? Now do a test on it and…..

  5. Regarding comfrey, don’t forget seeds. I am in N. Central TX and my comfrey from seed in one month has caught up with my store bought plants. Also the seed plants are doing far better.

    • Modern Survival

      Like many things “it depends”. Comfrey that produces from seed is non hybrid stuff. Good? May be? It can also spread from seed, if that doesn’t bother you and it might not, it isn’t a problem.

      Bockings like 4 and 14 are sterile clones that only produce from cuttings. So they are easier to control. 4 is also highly palatable as livestock fodder, more so than most clones and “wild comfrey”. So it depends.

      • Are there pros and cons of blocking 4 versus 14?

        thanks

        • Modern Survival

          Yes, 4 is generally considered better for fodder. Some animals seem to shun 14 and others will eat it. 14 Tends to be very popular with gardeners and permaculturists for fertility use.

          14 is also a bit higher in PAs so those that are going to use the leaf internally should choose 4 over it. 4 is very low in the leaf, something like .02% or lower. That is 200ths of one percent.

          14 also tends to be a bit better about staying put and not running. So again small space people seem to prefer it. I grow mostly 4 as I find it more universal.

    • I’m going to try out the seeds as well. I’m actually interested in the self-propagation (I’m a lazy gardener). My uncle has chickens, ducks, and pigeons who are in constant need of stuff to munch on. I’ve needed an alternative to honey to provide him in return for his continued supply of eggs. From what I’ve seen, his chickens are not too picky.

      In Mississippi and will update on progress on the forums.

  6. Great info Jack, we’ve got a huge patch of bloodroot here on the farm.

    If you need any rhizomes just let us know.

    We’ve also done a lot of business with horizon and would highly recommend them.

  7. “The fake power of Feminism” can you elaborate on tgis statement please?

    • Modern Survival

      I shouldn’t have to. May be I will on a future show but feminism in modern form isn’t power, it is a deception.

      • that show could be on ANY group that is formed with the stated goal of ’empowering the individual’.

        such groups are ‘borrowing’ power from their members.. often with the result of dis-empowering them, as they hand over their self-efficacy & response-ability in joining the group.

        (see ‘unions’, etc.)

  8. moonvalleyprepper

    Awesome show man!

    Another +1 for Horizon Herbs I ordered from them last fall and they are a great company to do business with.

    I’ve been having good luck with my Valerian from seed and crowns. I’d be more than happy to mail you some cuttings if you want, just PM me on the forums.

    Thanks for the show!

  9. Iatrogenic disease is 3rd leading cause of death in USA

  10. I loved this podcast…I really enjoy your attitude of self-sufficiency in medicine and I totally agree with you. I have another plant to add (for those who live in the Southwest) – Ephedra viridis Coville, a natural source of ephedrine. You can make a tea or tincture from it to treat asthma or anaphylactic shock. Unfortunately though, I believe it is an endangered plant (a good reason to cultivate it at home) so it might be difficult to find in the wild. Thanks also for mentioning homeopathy! For anaphylactic shock from bee stings or such I would use homeopathic Apis or Ledum. I know my herbs, and have made tinctures from local wild plants, but I mainly rely on homeopathic remedies since I find they work just as well, if not better, and they are easier to store. And if you buy your remedies while we still have access to online shopping, easier to procure. But it’s important to do your homework, take a class or buy some books and learn it before you have a serious need for it. It’s safe and not difficult to learn, but there are a lot of different remedies so it’s necessary to have some good references and some practice under your belt. It’s best to start out practicing on yourself or you family or friends with things like headaches, colds, upset stomach, flue, ear infections, etc. Anyway thanks for helping us become more knowledgeable and better prepared!”

  11. Awesome show Jack, thanks for all the info. i would love for you to expand on using herbs and natural remedies. Maybe discuss how to make tinctures, medicinal teas etc….

  12. I couldn’t find comfrey seeds at my normal sources but amazon (sourcing through Outsidepride) did have some. 100 seeds for $4.99 plus $2.00 shipping.

  13. Alex Shrugged

    In this episode Jack quips that almost anything might be harmful if taken in large quantities and then mentions corn as an example but he seems to be pulling a silly example out of the air. In fact, there is a disease associated with eating too much corn…. PELLAGRA. It is a niacin deficiency and can result in death.

    Check out Wikipedia for really gross pictures of people with pellagra.

    From WebMD… “In the 1800s, pellagra was common among poor Americans whose diets consisted mostly of corn, molasses, and salt pork — all poor sources of niacin.”

    Nowadays alcoholism is most common way to get a niacin deficiency. In the 1970s and 1980s it was recommend that alcoholics take high doses of niacin. I don’t recommend doing this without checking with your pharmacist because it may surprise you when you start blushing like teenage girl after her first kiss. Your face will heat up and when you look in the mirror you will see you have turned bright red. Don’t worry. It goes away after a while.

    Just so you know. If you are growing a mono-crop of corn and expect to make it through any long-term disaster or job loss, you had better keep up with your vitamins.

    Hey. There is a reason they “fortify” your milk and bread with extra vitamins. They do this automatically so now we forget that when we grow our own food, the food may not contain all the vitamins we need to survive. That is why it is recommended that we eat a variety of foods from a variety of physical places.

    Same thing with salt. Salt is in just about everything… meaning “every processed food” but if you are growing your own food you must make sure you are getting enough salt. Otherwise you will get terrible cramps and possibly a heart attack.

    As always… remember that I am just some guy on the Internet. I do not claim to be an expert in anything and in fact I may not exist at all. (A disclaimer I read in a technical magazine and I liked it so much, now I use it myself.)

  14. Just yesterday a friend gifted me a seed packet from Horizon Herbs:

    Comfrey, True (Symphytum Officinale), Lot# 7561

    Today I sent him a link to this episode.

  15. The plant I would add, while NOT a perennial, is Calendula. Calendula self seeds so well that you dont need to replant, so acts like a perennial. Calendula flowers when tinctured are good internally as anti-viral, anti-bacterial. Externally to clean wounds or soak a wound in will stave off infections (anti-bacterial). Works better than the anti-bacterial creams when we use it around here, YMMV. Can also just soak it in olive oil to extract and then use that thickened with beeswax to make a cream to apply to wounds. The flower petals are edible and good in salads in the spring. Look up its many uses. It is also good as a companion around the food garden as it is good to have a diversity of flowers there to house beneficial insects, feed bees, etc…

  16. PermaEthos, why not give the paid in full for the PDC a free comfrey cutting? I am ready when you open the sign-up.

  17. I just wanted to clarify something that Jack said about dental plaque (I am a dental hygienist). You don’t need to go to the dentist to have a dental hygienist remove plaque from your teeth that is above the gumline. Brushing and flossing will do the job. If plaque is deep under your gums you need to have it removed by someone who knows what they are doing and has the right instruments (AKA a dental professional) and this is called a scaling and root planing or peridontal maintenance. If you need this type of cleaning you have periodontal disease and need regular dental visits. The instruments we use during normal cleanings that go buzz, whir, and scrape are removing calculus (also called tartar) which is a crystallized mineral deposit that sticks to teeth. It doesn’t sound like Blood Root which he refers to in this podcast addresses calculus deposits and I don’t see how anything besides mechanical removal would work. The best dental tool to add to your preps is floss. Hands down. I would pick floss over a toothbrush any day.

  18. Jeff Stremel

    Can anyone recommend a good book on herbalism? I want to start growing these things, but need to know the most effective means to use them. I am thinking of the Western Botanical’s book as they are a sponsor, but does anyone have any other recommendations?

    Olaf

    • I really like the Western Botanical book, but it didn’t offer as much herbal information as I thought it would. Don’t let this discourage you though, because when it does talk about herbs, it provides actual ingredients and recipes for the application.
      Rosemary Gladstar’s books are pretty straightforward and have a beginner-friendly feel to them. They didn’t do it for me personally, but you should still give them a shot.

      • I can’t hit reply to the original poster for some reason…sorry! Anyway, as someone that collects herbal resources I would suggest checking out a few from the library and see what you like. One that I use more as a reference/overview as it’s quite comprehensive on growing and has some info on use is “Growing 101 Herbs That Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies” by Tammi Hartung. I heard about it through Rosemary Gladstar and she said she uses it as a reference as well. I personally love Matthew Wood’s herbals. But there are a lot of them I value greatly including the works of Juliette de Baïracli Levy, James Green, Maude Grieve, Rosemary Gladstar, Susun Weed and Stephen Harrod Buhner (mead/herbal beer book) to name a few. I would encourage you to start with the first one mentioned then find the herbal that best fits your style.

      • I can’t hit reply to the original poster for some reason…sorry! Anyway, as someone that collects herbal resources I would suggest anyone looking for good herb resources check out a few from the library and see what you like. One that I use more as a reference/overview as it’s quite comprehensive on growing and has some info on use is “Growing 101 Herbs That Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies” by Tammi Hartung. I heard about it through Rosemary Gladstar and she said she uses it as a reference as well. I personally love Matthew Wood’s herbals. But there are a lot of them I value greatly including the works of Juliette de Baïracli Levy, James Green, Maude Grieve, Rosemary Gladstar, Susun Weed and Stephen Harrod Buhner (mead/herbal beer book) to name a few. I would encourage you to start with the first one mentioned then find the herbal that best fits your style.

  19. As someone from South Africa I just wanted to put forth a few phonetic corrections. “Xhosa” is pronounced “Co-za”, the “co” being like the co in core. Daga was close, but usually we say it “Dugh-ah”, the ugh part being said like you were grossed out about something or as you might say it if it was written without the D in front.

    Great show Jack, surprising how many of these are native to my home country!

  20. This was a really informative show, Jack, and I’m going to listen to it again with notepad in hand. Also appreciate some of the very helpful comments posted by your listeners above.

  21. Jack, Thanks for doing this show. I know some of your listeners don’t want permaculture stuff; but some of us eat it up – like me! I really believe the only way to survive is through Permaculture; and this is a part of it! Thanks! Gale

  22. I just ordered most of the herbs you talked about and a couple of more seed packets. I left a message that I found them through thesurvivalpodcast. I hope that helps

  23. In all fairness to the medical professional who may advocate natural remedies, herbals and conservative approach to wellness; there has to be a degree of CYA when it comes to some of these recommendations. Though it is absolutely true there is quite a bit of “tainted” research published by big Pharma (and fed like candy to the medical community), but Americans are far too quick to sue (hungry lawyer nipping at their heels) when a complication arises, whether related to the medical care or not. Reporting the possibility of seizures in children taking hyssop maybe just as much a way to cover their butts from an possible lawsuit as it is a genuine warrning. As we know Americans need hot coffee lids to be labeled “hot coffee”, may cause burns! We medical professionals have been told that we can be held responsible for the medical complications of obesity in children if we do not thoroughly document that the family was counseled and nutrition consultation offered. Yet I hear parents EVERY DAY Say things like “Johnny, if you’re not good, we aren’t going to McDonalds!” Really!? If I wasn’t good at a doctors office, I got a pretty good butt warming right then and there….oh, but that’s right, kids can sue their parents if they even threaten a spanking…. I don’t even give out lollipops in the office as I don’t advocate sugary snacks as “reward” and haven’t eaten fast food myself in almost 40 years…Nuf said.

  24. Every time injured children were mentioned as a side effect all I could think about were vaccines (since there is a vaccine damage fund fee built into the cost of the vaccines and children are the easiest to vaccinate…) and the fact that they have a laundry list of side effects but they aren’t banned…Hyssop (with the single injury in a child) is obviously far more dangerous.

    First time poster (aside from above) great podcast!