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A guide to micronutrients and how wild herbs ensure your survival in an emergency situation

You need micronutrients for long-term survival. In this guide, you will understand how important it is to intake enough micronutrients.

from Martin Gebhardt | Plants / fungi | no comment yet | reading time 6 Min
Updated on 13 May 2024 12.371 views 100% found this guide helpful
A guide to micronutrients and how wild herbs ensure your survival in an emergency situation

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Wild herbs are edible and provide you with important micronutrients.
  • Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are essential for metabolic processes and the immune system.
  • Nettle, ground elder, chickweed, and comfy are some wild herbs that are rich in micronutrients.
  • Wild herbs are more nutrient-rich than conventional vegetables and available all year round.
  • Knowledge about wild herbs and their nutrients helps you to be balanced, supplied in survival situations.
  • Invest in your knowledge about wild herbs and use nature for a healthy diet.

When we face an emergency, we often forget the basics that can keep us alive.

This is where wild herbs come into play.

They may not look very edible, but most of them are.

And they are also extremely healthy, providing important micronutrients.

This guide helps you understand what micronutrients are.

It explains why they are essential for survival and how wild herbs ensure you get enough micronutrients.

During longer stays, micronutrients play an essential role

If you want to survive short periods in the wilderness, it is enough to be aware of the most significant nutrients.

Protein, fats, and carbohydrates are macronutrients that provide you with energy and strength.

If you are on your own in nature for a longer period of time, micronutrients should also play a role for you.

Anyway, you already rely on plants in an emergency, as the survival food pyramid shows:

Survival Nahrungs Pyramide

Especially for survivalists or someone is preparing for a crisis, it is not only essential to store food, but also to invest in their knowledge and make use of nature.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals and are involved in essential metabolic processes within the body and are therefore indispensable in the long run.

Fortunately, Mother Earth provides us with everything we need to meet our needs.

Wild herbs are here to help. Unlike conventional vegetables and fruits, they are true vitamin and nutrient bombs thanks to their originality.

Wild herbs are available all year round. You just need to know where to find them. However, in the depths of winter, you will need alternatives.

But be careful, normal grass is not an edible alternative and is not digestible by humans.

If you want to prepare for all eventualities and act confidently in a survival situation, you should definitely continue reading.

What micronutrients are essential?

You can already find many guides to different wild herbs and their fantastic properties here in the Survival Compass Magazine.

One of the most popular is my guide "Edible emergency rations: These plants can be found in the forest". You should certainly check it out later.

Therefore, I would like to specifically focus on the most important micronutrients and which plants can provide them for you:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is involved in the production of various proteins such as collagen in the body. Furthermore, vitamin C has antioxidant properties and strengthens our immune system.

Vitamin C is probably the most well-known vitamin and can also be easily obtained through wild herbs. Many wild herbs contain large amounts of this substance.

Particularly high amounts can be found in the versatile nettle. I highly recommend my detailed guide on this true powerhouse plant.

Sorrel or great burnet have comparatively high amounts of vitamin C but are less frequently found. Ascorbic acid can be found in almost all wild herbs in smaller quantities.

Nettle contains particularly high levels of vitamin C. The leaves contain about 1500 mg per 100 g, which is more than twice as much as in orange juice. Nettle and its stinging hairs have traditionally been used for a variety of medicinal purposes.
Nettle contains particularly high levels of vitamin C. The leaves contain about 1500 mg per 100 g, which is more than twice as much as in orange juice. Nettle and its stinging hairs have traditionally been used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

Vitamin A or Provitamin A

Vitamin A or provitamin A is necessary for several processes in the body. It is significantly involved in the process of vision as well as in the growth, function, and structure of skin and mucous membranes.

It also plays a crucial role in the nervous system and the formation of blood cells. Lastly, vitamin A also affects the immune system.

Once again, nettle is at the forefront. However, other plants such as ground elder, chickweed, and especially wild mallow have higher concentrations of provitamin A. Alternatively, garlic mustard can also be used - it just has less vitamin A.

Giersch is a plant that is rich in Vitamin A and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. The plant is common in dry areas and can be used to treat diarrhea and other intestinal diseases.
Giersch is a plant that is rich in Vitamin A and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. The plant is common in dry areas and can be used to treat diarrhea and other intestinal diseases.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine plays an important role in glucose metabolism and is therefore also responsible for energy production.

In addition to wild garlic and chickweed, comfrey has higher amounts of Vitamin B1.

Chickweed is not only a good source of Vitamin B, but also contains other vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, K and Folic acid.
Chickweed is not only a good source of Vitamin B, but also contains other vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, K and Folic acid.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is largely involved in our metabolism. The herbs mentioned for Vitamin B1 also apply here: wild garlic, chickweed, and comfrey.

Wild garlic contains particularly high levels of Vitamin B, which is important for the health and function of the human body. Consuming wild garlic can help keep the immune system in top form and stimulate metabolism.
Wild garlic contains particularly high levels of Vitamin B, which is important for the health and function of the human body. Consuming wild garlic can help keep the immune system in top form and stimulate metabolism.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin is also involved in our metabolism. We need it for blood formation, and it also contributes to the function of our nervous system.

The assumption that Vitamin B12 only occurs in animal foods is probably not entirely correct. There is even a wild herb that is said to contain B12: comfrey. However, this is not yet scientifically proven, but many people swear by it. Here you will find more information on where Vitamin B12 is contained.

Comfrey is a plant that many people use in their gardens to provide nutrients and structure to the soil. It is also a great plant for organic gardeners, as it is said to contain particularly high levels of Vitamin B12.
Comfrey is a plant that many people use in their gardens to provide nutrients and structure to the soil. It is also a great plant for organic gardeners, as it is said to contain particularly high levels of Vitamin B12.

Magnesium

The mineral magnesium is essential in the body and is involved in many processes. It is part of about 300 enzyme reactions and contributes to a functioning immune system.

Magnesium also plays a role in muscles and nerve cells. Here, the substance stabilizes the resting potential and a deficiency can therefore lead from nervousness and restlessness to heart rhythm disturbances and muscle cramps.

So, how do we get this essential mineral in nature? Here, the stinging nettle is also a good point of contact. But the white goose foot or the daisy also offer the mineral.

Daisies can be a good source of magnesium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
Daisies can be a good source of magnesium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Iron

Iron is an important element in oxygen transport and blood formation. It is also involved in some metabolic processes. In children, iron even plays a central role in brain development. In addition to nettle, wild garlic and chickweed are good sources of iron.

Chickweed is a common weed that is full of iron, with the herb about four times richer in iron than spinach.
Chickweed is a common weed that is full of iron, with the herb about four times richer in iron than spinach.

Calcium

99% of the calcium in our body is bound in teeth and bones. However, the mineral has many other functions in our organism.

Above all, we need the calcium influx in our muscle cells to trigger muscle contraction.

In addition to the bones, a calcium deficiency also affects our muscle function.

As so often, we can rely on nettle here as well. It has by far the highest calcium content. But the goose foot and chickweed are also reliable sources of calcium.

Want to get high-quality plant calcium? Add nettle leaves to your salad or soup. You also get protein and iron.
Want to get high-quality plant calcium? Add nettle leaves to your salad or soup. You also get protein and iron.

Potassium

Potassium is essential to many processes in every cell and is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and protein synthesis. This essential mineral can be found in many wild herbs, particularly in high concentrations in white goose foot, chickweed, and daisy.

The humble goosefoot plant is a common weed, but you might be surprised to learn that it is actually full of nutrients like potassium and should be eaten more often.
The humble goosefoot plant is a common weed, but you might be surprised to learn that it is actually full of nutrients like potassium and should be eaten more often.

Comparison of Cultivated Plants and Wild Herbs

The cultivated vegetables we find in our supermarkets or grow ourselves have been bred in a specific direction.

Their high nutrient density is not their main focus, but rather mild taste and long shelf life.

While these properties have their place, we need to eat much more of them to meet our nutrient needs. Here is a black and white comparison of how wild herbs differ from our vegetables.

Wild Herb Micronutrient Table

Cultivated Vegetables Water [%] Potassium [mg/100g] Phosphorus [mg/100g] Magnesium [mg/100g] Calcium [mg/100g] Iron [mg/100g] Vitamin C [mg/100g] Provitamin A [µg/100g]
Asparagus 93.4 290 52 14 21 2.2 24 1900
Broccoli (florets + stalk) 90.7 300 66 21 47 0.7 89 850
Brussels sprouts 87.5 370 69 23 42 0.8 85 800
Cauliflower (florets + stalk) 92.1 290 44 15 22 0.5 48 20
Celery 94.5 260 24 11 40 0.5 3 700
Chicory 94.6 240 44 15 19 0.4 11 700
Cucumber (with peel) 96.0 150 20 10 16 0.2 2.8 30
Eggplant 92.0 230 20 14 9 0.3 2.2 12
Lettuce (mixed varieties) 94.9 280 36 13 33 1.3 40 3300
Onion 88.8 160 40 10 29 0.3 7 0
Peppers (mixed colors) 92.0 200 19 11 10 0.3 140 30
Pumpkin 93.0 220 24 12 19 0.2 9 5100
Radicchio 93.8 250 47 23 19 0.9 8 2700
Radish (with peel) 93.9 250 30 10 25 0.3 18 0
Spinach 91.4 370 50 22 99 3.5 28 4900
Zucchini (with peel) 94.8 250 30 14 16 0.4 17 100

Table Wild Vegetables and Micronutrients

Cultural Vegetables Water [%] Potassium [mg/100g] Phosphorus [mg/100g] Magnesium [mg/100g] Calcium [mg/100g] Iron [mg/100g] Vitamin C [mg/100g] Provitamin A [µg/100g]
Cauliflower 91.6 328 54 17 20 0.6 70 6
Chicory 94.4 192 26 13 26 0.7 10 215
Chinese Cabbage 95.4 202 - 11 40 0.6 36 13
Endive 94.3 346 54 10 54 1.4 10 190
Lamb's Lettuce 93.4 421 49 13 35 2.0 35 650
Kale 86.3 490 87 31 212 1.9 105 680
Lettuce 95.0 224 33 11 37 1.1 13 130
Swiss Chard 92.2 376 39 - 103 2.2 39 590
Brussels Sprouts 85.0 411 83 22 31 1.1 114 67
Red Cabbage 91.8 266 30 18 35 0.5 50 5
Spinach 91.6 633 55 58 126 4.1 52 700
White Cabbage 92.1 227 28 23 46 0.5 46 7

Conclusion: Independence through Knowledge

It is fundamentally advisable to always keep an eye on your micronutrients and ensure that your needs are met.

This allows your body to function smoothly, and you can face the challenges of the day with a strengthened immune system.

This becomes even more important in a survival situation or a disaster scenario. While you can store root vegetables, canned and dried food, fresh vegetables are missing.

Vegetables and herbs contain many micronutrients that you could be missing in the long run.

With the knowledge that is presented here and can also be found in many wild herb books, you can meet your nutrient needs with the help of nature.

If you intend to take it a step further, then create your own self-sustaining garden or take care of your own herbal pharmacy.

This will make you even better prepared for any eventuality, and you can provide your family and yourself with a balanced diet despite extreme situations.

Take care, Martin
Sources for the guide

https://uebungenzuhause.de/wildkraeuter-naehrstoffreiches-unkraut/

https://www.slowfood.de/w/files/karlsruhe/info_wildkraeuter_sf-ka_160625.pdf

https://unkraut-liebe.de/ernaehrung/naehrstoffe-wildkraeuter

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riboflavin

https://vollwert-blog.de/10-gruende-wildkraeuter-liebe/

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisen-Stoffwechsel

https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/ernaehrung/vitamine-mineralstoffe/spurenelemente/eisen.html

Wildgemüse (Nr. 1182), herausgegeben von aid–Infodienst, Bonn, 1982 (https://www.ble-medienservice.de/files/downloads/leseprobe_1559_2009-2429002.pdf)

Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE