The first thing to assess when looking at your own natural first aid kit is which conditions benefit from a simple natural treatment and which situations need more urgent attention. Obviously, if you have a broken bone, a laceration that requires stitches, a puncture wound or other symptoms that require professional help you must seek it.
There are, however, many excellent herbal and other natural preparations that should be in your first aid kit, e.g. Echinacea tincture, a tincture of yarrow, calendula cream or ointment, a topical horse chestnut extract product (in a gel or cream formula), arnica tincture or ointment for bruises, a few simple herbal teas, such as peppermint and chamomile, and a combination herbal salve for minor bites and scrapes. Also, keep Bach Rescue Remedy in your first-aid kit, along with a good muscle balm and a chest rub.
However… If in any doubt about the safety of the herb DO NOT USE IT!
Echinacea – for any kind of cut or minor wound. Echinacea speeds healing by preventing infection and developing new tissue at the site of a wound.
Yarrow – to stop bleeding It also acts as a local anesthetic. The oil is anti-inflammatory and stimulates the formation of healing wound tissueCloses wounds quickly, therefore make sure the wound is clean before applying.
Calendula – to soothe the skin and accelerate healingTo treat minor burns and scrapes. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and immune-stimulating properties. Good for taking the discomfort out of excema.
Horse chestnut – for bruises or sprains, reducing pain, bruising, and swelling of sprains and sports injuries. Diminishes the number of tiny openings in capillary walls, which helps to “seal” the outflow of fluid surrounding tissue.
A good general herbal salve – including comfrey, chickweed, Echinacea, calendula, goldenseal, plantain, essential oils, and a host of other herbs.
Bach Rescue Remedy – combining star of Bethlehem, rock rose, impatiens, cherry plum and clematis flower essences. The flower remedies work on a mind-body level, centred around life force energyIt is harmless and could help in many stressful situations.
Peppermint tea – for any mild upset stomach or nausea.
Chamomile tea – to calm an upset stomach and help children fall asleep. To soothe irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. An excellent anti-inflammatory.
Slippery elm – a teaspoonful in a cup of hot water, stirred vigorously, is an excellent beverage when recovering from the flu or when the stomach is unable to hold down any other food. It’s also used in lozenges to soothe a sore throat.
Muscle balms and chest rubs – including ingredients such as camphor, menthol, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil or other essential oils that will penetrate and help relax muscles. Also helps to relieve chest congestion.
Aloe Vera Gel
Use fresh gel from the plant or f you have to buy the most pure gel you can find, the Lilly of the Desert brand is good. Aloe Vera is invaluable for treating burns, sunburn, inflamed skin, rashes and acne. It also makes an excellent toning, anti aging moisturizer. However if you have an aloe vera plant you can cut a piece of the plant and squeeze the gel inside straight onto the above wounds.
Arnica Cream/Gel/Ointment/Infused Oil
Excellent for applying to bruises (where there is no broken skin), mild sprains and aching muscles. Can’t stress enough how good arnica is for preventing bruising…it can be amazing!
Available in both adult and children’s versions, echinacea is an essential herb to help the body to fight off any infection. Use as instructed, continuing for a week or two after infection subsides.
Anti bacterial, anti-inflammatory oil good for calming inflammation and helping to induce relaxation.
Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal powder, which can be can be dusted onto wounds, abscesses, ulcers and boils. Can be held in the mouth but not swallowed.
Tea Tree Oil
One of the best anti-fungals with antiseptic action too. Use diluted on sensitive skin or young children, otherwise use neat.
Available in white (cooling) or Red (warming). The red can stain clothes so beware! Excellent as a rub for aching muscles, cooling down insect bites and soothing headaches.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Good for fungal infections especially thrush and candida.
Lavender – I use for spots, cuts and any broken skin because it helps to rebalance the skin and prevents scarring. Also good for insomnia.
Tea tree – Head lice (urgh), athletes foot, put in the hair to stop gnats and midgies biting, also as an antiseptic.
Aloe vera – For burns, scalds and sunburn.I use a bought prepartion gel even though I have the plant because the smell is not nice. I once stood on my hair tongs in bare feet and the pain was horrific but thanks to aloe vera I didn’t have a single scar or mark.
Arnica – Is wonderful! It takes away swellings and bruisings almost over night. Before I found arnica my legs would be covered with bruises from the steroids but I can put arnica on and now have bruise free legs. It is also amazingly good for arthritis. I keep the flowers and make a bath tea for a soak they really help with aches and pains. I use a muslin cloth tied with wool and hang it in the bath.
Peppermint – a tea made from peppermint is is really good for indigestion and upset stomaches.
Mennuca oil – is one of the best anti-itch oils I have ever found, brilliant for dermatitis and excema.
Cloves – toothache also clove oil is good for mouth ulcers.
Callendula (marigolds) – heals broken skin beautifully we keep it for Paul’s excema. Use a small handful of marigold flowers, about half a pint of hot water steep and use to wash the broken skin, helps healing and prevents scarring. I also have a bought jar of callendula gel.
Eucalyptus Oil – As a steam inhalant. Really clears the nose ..strong though so only use a drop or two at most.
Eyebright – Use a teaspoon of eyebright and pour on hotwater to make a tea, strain with a tea strainer and allow to cool. Once cool bathe the eyes either with an eye bath or if the eyes are just strained and tired use a cotton ball and leave on like a compress. I particularly like it chilled cos it is lovely and refreshing on sore eyes. But must be used up within a day or two, even if kept in the fridge.
A cold remedy I use – a little fresh ginger about half an inch-ish, a broken stick of cinnamon, 4 cloves, some lemon slices or a teaspoon of lemon juice, some honey to taste. Simmer in a pint of water for 15 minutes with the lid on drink a cup three or four times a day.
A sore throat gargle – 3 tsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp honey, a small handful of sage leaves. Make a tea with the sage then strain and add the vinegar and honey, gargle 3 times a day.