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NZ Lifestyle Block - - FEATURE -

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.

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