How To Grow Your Own SHTF Pharmacy

Growing your own SHTF pharmacy, or perhaps more accurately, apothecary, should be near the top of your medical preps. You will not be able to call 911 or rush out to the emergency room during a doomsday disaster, you will be your own first-responder.

Having a natural apothecary growing on your prepper retreat or bug in location will allow help you stay healthy and treat a host of likely ailments that will affect you and your loved ones.

There is absolutely no reason to wait until the SHTF to start using natural remedies to treat routine medical issues and injuries.

Ridding your body of potentially harmful chemicals that are commonly included in over-the-counter medications, salves, and ointments, should help you build a stronger body and help you to become more physically prepared for the demands that will be placed on it during a long-term survival scenario.

Replacing prescribed antibiotics for a chronic medical condition might not be necessary today, but learning how to grow and make natural alternatives would be a wise preparedness choice, indeed.

There are two superb and distinct advantages to growing your own pharmacy. One – you know exactly what is going into your medicine and will be able to pronounce the name of all ingredients. Two – you can prevent illness and help your body heal for mere pennies on the dollar.

Although herbs, spices, bark, and roots typically are used in alternative home remedies, because they are natural materials, that doesn’t mean they are all safe for children to consume, or will not cause allergic reaction in some people.

Research any item which will be grown in your SHTF pharmacy, consult your doctor and tell them exactly which plants you intend to take.

If they give you the OK, try the natural remedies in very small doses at first to ensure you will not have a negative reaction to the ingredients.


The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page.

Always seek the help of a professional when delivering a baby. Neither the author nor or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.

How to Grow Your Own Pharmacy

Pick Your Spot

Most herbs, spices, and roots do not require a lot of space to grow. The space and type of sunlight needed to grow the apothecary will depend upon what you will be growing.

Make sure to research companion plants for each item placed in both your indoor and outdoor natural pharmacy to ensure not only a bountiful harvest, but also so you will known what shouldn’t be sharing the same plot.

Growing your pharmacy around and intermingled with your traditional garden may garner benefits for both.

Some herbs make great companion plants for specific crops – and help keep some bad bugs away from the growing area.

To conserve space and churn out a maximum yield, consider growing colorful and fragrant herbs, spices, and medicinal plants in decorative planters and traditional landscaping areas around your home. This will keep the natural medicine ingredients close at hand while they valuable preps are hiding in plain sight!

24 SHTF Pharmacy Herbs, Spices, Roots, and Bark


1. Garlic

Plant ample garlic in your survival apothecary, even if you live in an urban dwelling and have very little room to cultivate crops. Garlic is one of the most potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial agents offered by Mother Nature.

There are many ways to use it to combat cold and flu symptoms using garlic, but one of the simplest involves finely chopping one clove of garlic and putting the tiny pieces into a shot glass.

Fill the shot glass all the way to the top with olive oil (or your favorite carrier oil, like coconut or almond oil) and let the garlic infuse into the mixture in as warm a place as possible for at least 5 hours.

Rub the mixture thoroughly onto both feet, cover them with socks, and go to bed. In the morning, the garlic and oil mixture should have pulled a ton of germs from your body. Repeat this process for several nights, if necessary.


2. Onions

Add a few extra rows of onions to your traditional garden so they too can be used as a part of your SHTF pharmacy. Like garlic, onions pull germs and toxins from the body and also help enhance our immune systems.

You can slice one onions thinly and sleep with a few slices on your feet beneath socks or make a natural cough syrup to drink when your feel a sore throat, cold, or flu coming on.

To make the cough syrup, thinly slice one large onion, put the slices in a skillet along with 2 cups of honey, and simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes.

Feel free to throw a few garlic cloves and a little bit of ginger root or cinnamon into the skillet as well – the ginger and cinnamon will not only improve the taste of the cough syrup, but help kill germs and soothe congestion relate pain as well.

The natural cough syrup home cold remedy will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture up to 4 times per day to combat cold and flu symptoms.


3. Elderberry

This herb has been used for centuries to fight the common cold and flu symptoms. Elderberry will help fight germs while booting your immune system and soothing sore throats.

To make a simple elderberry cough syrup. Mix together ½ cup of dried elderberries with three cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the natural cold remedy for 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a Mason jar and ad 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and 1 cup of honey.

Allow the syrup to cool enough to drink before sipping on the natural mixture several times per day until the symptoms subside.


4. Tulsi or Holy Basil

This herb has been used in Indian natural remedies for centuries and has truly earned its “Queen of Herbs” nickname. Holy Basil is not the same herb as the basil commonly found in the spice section on grocery store shelves.

Tulsi boasts high amounts of iron, calcium, chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. It has been used in recipes to treat stomach ulcers, bronchitis, joint pain, eye diseases, diabetes, and malaria.


5. Yarrow

This herb pack a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral punch. In addition to being a common ingredient in a plethora of salves, syrups, and tinctures, yarrow can also be rubbed directly onto the kin to help heal cuts and minor to moderate wounds.

To make yarrow poultice, tear apart and steep the leaves of the plant (preferably the young leaves) with about 1 cup of hot water for approximately 20 minutes.

Dip a clean cloth into the mixture to coat it thoroughly, wring it out only slightly and then place it on the wound.

If you don’t have access to water and a heat source, crunch up the leaves in your mouth, coating them liberally with saliva, and then place them onto the wound and press them into place as firmly as possible.

You can also put yarrow leaf bits into a Mason jar filled with vodka or rubbing alcohol and let the mixture infuse thoroughly for six weeks to make a topical liniment to have on hand for wound care purposes.

6. Turmeric

This dandy orange spice seems like it can do just about everything! Its anti-inflammatory properties help heal sprains and strains.

Make a muscle or joint turmeric poultice by mixing two parts of the herb to one part salt, and only enough water to make a paste.

Spread the paste onto the inflamed or inured area and allow it to harden against it, while the body absorbs the compounds for about 20 to 45 minutes daily until the injury has healed.

Add some turmeric to your homemade natural toothpaste mixture to help heal the gums and keep them healthy while whitening your teeth – it seems teeth are about the only thing turmeric will not temporarily stain orange!

Turmeric can also be added to soaps and lotions to help infuse moisture into the skin and combat damage caused by free radicals.

This spice is also used in natural medicines designed to treat stomach aches, cirrhosis, Alzeimer’s Disease, arthritis, and when brewed into a tea with some honey and ginger, might even help increase your longevity.


7. Echinacea

Dried leaves from this herb are often mixed vodka to make a common cold symptom reducer. Echinacea naturally help to boost the immune system and fights infections.

Teas and tinctures comprised of echinacea can help fight respiratory infections and urinary tract infections.

st johns wort

8. St. John’s Wort

This herb is known to help reduce or eliminate inflammation of the muscles and the soreness that accompanies such conditions. St. John’s Wort also often helps calm nerves and reduce stress.

Because the herb also boost circulation and enhances blood flow, the leaves are often rubbed gently onto bruises to facilitate healing.

willow bark

9. White Willow Bark

This bark is often referred to as nature’s aspirin. White willow bark is comprised of salicin compounds that are converted to salicylic acid once they reach the stomach.

Way back when, Hippocrates instructed his patients to chew on the bark from the white willow tree when they suffered from various types of pain, inflammation, and fever.

two oregano plants growing in two pots

10. Oregano

Both the dried and fresh oregano have anti-bacterial, expectorant, antioxidant, diuretic, and antimicrobial properties. The herb boasts a high content of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron, manganese, vitamin E, copper, niacin, and zinc.

If you feel a cold coming on or are struggling with a sinus infection, mix together one teaspoon of a carrier oil (coconut oil or olive oil are recommended) with about 2 drop of oregano oil into a pan of water and soak your feet in them to help alleviate the symptoms.

You can also mildly heat and inhale the mixture or rub it onto your hands and feet to draw out the infection.

To stave off the flu, or to get rid of it more quickly, use the anti-viral component in oregano to rid the body of the sore throat, general stiffness, headache, and vomiting that usually accompanies the sickness.

Mix several drops of oregano oil in a glass or water and drink it once each day for up to five days.


11. Ginger

The leukotrienes and prostaglandins compounds in ginger enable it to act much like ibuprofen. It helps to reduce inflammation and in pain reduction. Ginger has also been known to help eliminate acid and fluid around the joint of people who suffer from arthritis.

The root of ginger can help reduce morning sickness, treat various stomach problems, curtail nausea, prevent motion sickness, and reduce pain.

Ginger can be used a an ingredient in natural remedies as soon as it is harvested, or when dried into a spice or turned into either juice or oil.

To make a ginger flu treatment tea, steep about ½ of a teaspoon of dried vinegar in 1 cup of hot water for approximately 10 minutes. Strain the mixture, add honey to sweeten if desired, and drink up to two cups per day.

Some folks have found that ginger can cause heartburn or an upset stomach if taken too frequently or in high amounts. Pregnant and nursing women should not consume in excess or 1,000 milligrams of dried ginger a day.


12. Cloves

The 36 different compounds in clove help make it a potent antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant natural remedy ingredient.

Cloves are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acid, iodine, calcium, and phosphorus.

Rubbing just a small amount of clove essential oil (or chewing on a clove) will reduce or eliminate tooth ache pain and gum pain. Pregnant women have long used cloves as a natural means of combating morning sickness.

You can either inhale the smell of clove oil that has been poured upon a rag for a few moments, or chew on several cloves for a minute or two before spitting them out, to help get rid of morning sickness.

To reduce or stop vomiting, mix equal part of cloves and honey in a glass of Luke warm water and sip on it slowly until the nausea passes.


13. Angelica Root

The root helps to reduce or eliminate pain from menstrual cramps naturally and may also help a woman struggling to deliver the placenta after giving birth.

Angelica root can also work as a pain channel blocker and a stimulate for the lungs when the body is battling chest congestion.

birch bark

14. Birch

Bark from the birch tree can be brewed into a tea or made into a tincture and used to treat psoriasis, kidney stones, bladder infections and problems, and gout.

Birch bark, due to its betulinic acid composition, is used by some cancer patients in alternative natural treatments.

rose hip

15. Rose Hips

This beautiful bush contains more vitamin C than oranges and is a great natural immune system booster.

Rose hips are also often used alone or as ingredients in natural remedies created to treat urinary tract infections, high cholesterol, stomach ailments such as diarrhea, gall bladder problems, constipation, gout, kidney infestions and problems, as well as leg and back pain.

You can eat the rose hip fruit raw, but not until they have been washed and crushed in a food processor or blender.

Typically, rose hips are soaked in a pot of water overnight and then cooked over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes before being used in a home remedy, brewed into a tea or turned into wine.

aloe vera plant ready to harvest (2 year old)

16. Aloe Vera

Not only does aloe vera juice from inside the leaves help ease the pain of burns and heal wounds, the plant can also be used as an ingredient in natural remedies to treat viral, fungal, and bacterial issues.

black walnut

17. Black Walnut

While you do not want a black walnut tree growing anywhere near your garden (it will kill or harm a host of crops, including tomatoes and peppers) you should cultivate the trees somewhere on your survival retreat or bug in location.

The bark and leaves from the black walnut tree can be used in natural poultices and salves designed to treat poison ivy, poison sumac, warts, an a variety of fungal infections.


18. Dandelions

Common to popular opinion, dandelions are definitely not useless weeds. They can be used in natural remedies designed to treat the symptoms of menopause, menstrual cramps, and various ovarian problems. Dandelions also taste great when turned into either a hot or cold tea and wine.

stinging nettle

19. Stinging Nettles

This weed grows almost everywhere in the United States. Even though you have to wear gloves to pick it and clean it, the benefits far outweigh the time it takes for the added precautions.

Stinging nettles have a high fiber and calcium content that helps to promote strong bone health. It is often used in natural remedies, or eaten alone, to treat common season allergy symptoms, skin rashes, kidney infections, and urinary tract infections.

20. Lavender

This colorful herb is known to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. Lavender is often used in natural remedies to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and to help heal both bug bites and minor wounds.

pure honey in a bowl

21. Honey

Raising your own bees has many benefits, the copious amount of medicinal uses of honey being chief among them. Honey is one of the best wound healers nature has to offer.

Honey has been known to help speed up the healing process of both burn and wounds due to its hydrogen peroxide and glucose properties.

The two compounds are released from the honey after it is diluted in bodily fluids or water.

By applying the honey to the wound, there may be less chance of scarring, and the dressing will be able to be removed with a smaller chance of sticking and pulling away scabs or healing skin.

Take 1 teaspoon of honey each day to bolster your immune system and help reduce fatigue. Honey may help increase blood flow and improve blood fortification and harden capillaries as it distributes glucose throughout the body.

Honey consumption may also help heal a damaged colon and strengthen the body against colon disease.

Mix together three tablespoons of honey with a ½ of apple cider vinegar and drink it to help expel parasite from the body. Make honey “bombs” or natural cough syrups to alleviate sore throat pain.

The antioxidant compounds in honey may help prevent heart disease and cancer. Put a dab or two of honey on a bug bite or lip sore to foster healing and prevent infection.


22. Calendula

The petals from this hardy flower can be used in natural remedies to treat conjunctivitis, minor wounds and skin rashes, to bring down fever, and to treat amenorrhea.

Calenula flowers boast strong immunostimulant and anti-bacterial properties and may help folks with weak immune system from become sick or when battling an illness.

The medicinal plant also help decrease scarring thanks to its ability to stimulate collagen production.

Gargle some calendula petals mixed with water to help reduce sore throat pain. Use calendula petals in lotion and salves made to treat diaper rash, bedsores, varicose veins, and eczema.

Due to possible miscarriage issues, pregnant women should not consume calendula natural remedies.


23. Lemongrass

Both fresh pickings and the essential oil made from the plant are used in home remedies to treat painful joints, high blood pressure, symptoms of the common cold, vomiting, fever, exhaustion, and convulsions.

Lemongrass is also a great mild astringent for use in skin care and as a natural cleaning agent.


24. Ginseng

It helps to reduce or prevent fatigue: both physical and mental. Ginseng may also help correct erectile dysfunction and reduce both the severity and frequency of cols.

Make a ginseng medicinal tea by simmer 1 teaspoon of dried sliced ginseng root in 1 cup of water for approximately 10 minutes. Drink up to two cups per day as necessary.

16 thoughts on “How To Grow Your Own SHTF Pharmacy”

    1. David, You are very welcome! I keep researching natural medicines and trying new ways to expand what we grow in our apothecary. I am about to start growing natural chewing sticks for tooth brushing and soapberry trees to make laundry and hand soap. While those to things might not seem like typical apothecary items, keeping clean to rid yourself of germs and maintaining dental care after the SHTF will help keep us healthy.

    1. Patrick, it is great to virtually meet another dandelion admirer! It baffles me why folks mow over these little flowers instead of plucking them from the ground for their medicinal properties or to use them to make tea or wine. I don’t really have the patience for wine making usually, but dandelion wine is really delicious!

  1. Good article, many of which I am growing for that very reason although there are some that just won’t grow here.
    Also, that is NOT a picture of turmeric which is a member of the ginger family and looks almost the same as ginger. The picture looks like an echeveria but that is just a guess.

    I have also added these to the garden since they don’t grow naturally in my area:
    – wild lettuce for it’s non addictive narcotic like effect
    – Californian poppies to promote sleep
    – valerian ditto
    – plantain for skin problems and healing
    I’m hoping they will naturalise but our hot summers test even weeds.

    1. Ginny and Maria, not sure how the glitch with the pic happened, but we will get it fix. I LOVE turmeric!


      I didn’t think to add wild lettuce because it grows all over the place here, but thank you for the comment so other readers can learn of its great healing properties too!

      Wild Lettuce: As a natural substitute or opium, it can also be used as a natural treatment ingredient in remedies for urinary tract problems, whooping cough, menstrual cramps, the common cough, insomnia, restlessness, especially in children, to treat swollen male genitals – and if you really wanted to go that route, as a natural way to reduce a woman’s sex drive.

      I pick plantain from around our survival homestead often, great stuff!

  2. Regarding the onion cough syrup. Just dice the onion small, place in a jar with the honey and leave over night. The honey will draw the juice out of the honey. If you heat honey over 40 degrees C you risk distroying all the good enzymes.

    1. Fred, Thank you for the additional information about using onions and honey to heal. Getting the heat just right to activate the medicinal properties of some natural remedies, or keeping the heat low enough not to destroy those same healing properties can be quite tricky. I have been using diced onions mixed with bread and milk as an infection drawing salve for Pearl – our goat. She was the victim of a dog attack and had multiple puncture wounds to her leg that were hot, hard, and swollen. It has been a week now of Penicillin shots and natural remedies and even though she may never have full use of that leg again, she is happy, healthy, and jumping and walking on her three good legs just fine.

  3. I live in Rockhampton on the tropic of Capricorn in Queensland Australia. We cant grow any of the cold climate plants that you can. Summer is our worst time to grow veges because of the heat. Garlic will only grow in our winter if you can plant in autum (fall). The same with onions. If you plant to late it gets to hot in spring before they mature.

    1. Fred, you live in a beautiful area of the world, wish growing was an easier task to complete for you though. Have you tried any indoor gardening or container gardening to increase your yields? Growing small amounts of medicinal herbs in windowsill containers might be an option for you. What grows well in your area, both cultivated and wild varieties? Maybe you have some great medicinal plants, herbs, or roots growing nearby that we are not familiar with in America?

  4. Thank you. But take some of this with a grain of salt. For instance “Garlic draws out and removes germs from the bloodstream and our bodies in general. ”
    This statement has zero merit to it. As a medical provider I perform blood cultures all the time and no bacteria grow out. If there is bacteria, yeast, etc. in your blood stream you would be dead in hours to days. My point is if something is not referenced to a valid study it probably is folklore and antidotal at best. On a positive note, we use honey all the time for wound healing and there is studies to back up its use. Last word of advice, if a little is good, a lot is not.

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