inding food and eating it can be a great pleasure in life. While it is satisfying to grow and nurture vegetables in the well-tended garden bed, there is an excitement about finding plant food that has similarities with a successful hunt. Gathering naturally-growing wild plant foods can be a rewarding hobby, provide real health benefits, and also be a great tool to add to your ‘survival preparedness’ toolbox. While it is said that there are close to 200 native edible plants in New Zealand, many of these are unpalatable or require extensive preparation.
However, the usefulness of New Zealand native plants goes beyond their edibility and while in a survival situation some of them can be deemed as significant survival food, their medicinal purposes are also good to know if you’re a long way from home.
The medicinal value of many wild plant foods has been known to humanity for eons. Many of our current pharmaceutical products stem from the beneficial properties first identified in wild plants. For example, in the early 1800s scientists discovered that the abundance of salicylic acid in willow bark meant that an infusion was good for reducing fever and also functioned as a pain reliever. This led to the development of what we now commonly refer to as aspirin.