The Herb Stop Blog
Top 8 Natural Remedies For Your First Aid Kit
Everyone knows the importance of a first aid kit. Besides band-aids, sterile gauze, and other common items, you may want to include a variety of herbs and other natural remedies, so that you are prepared to treat common ailments and injuries. Most emergencies respond very well to herbal treatments.
An aloe vera plant is a must in every home. Bring it inside during the winter months, as it does not tolerate temperatures below 32 degrees. Aloe vera is an amazing plant to relieve superficial and more serious burns, as well as burns from radiation during cancer treatments. Aloe vera accelerates tissue repair and normal cell growth. Research has shown that aloe vera penetrates human skin almost four times faster than water. Applied topically, the thick gel that oozes from the cut leaves is soothing and pain relieving. When combined with other healing agents, aloe vera helps these substances penetrate the skin more effectively, carrying them to the deeper layers of the skin. Internally, aloe vera has the capability to heal the whole digestive tract. Take one ounce of aloe vera juice every night before bed for about two weeks or longer.
How To Prepare The Gel
Cut a firm leaf from your aloe plant. Slice it open on a plate. The gel will start oozing out. Use a spoon to scoop out the inner gel. If you want a smooth gel you can puree it in a blender. Apply the gel directly to a burn, wound, or skin irritation. It will feel cooling and soothing, as it instantaneously repairs and heals damaged tissues. Aloe gel does not keep well; therefore it is best to use it right away.
As a replacement for an aloe vera plant, you can purchase prepared aloe vera juice or gel from your health food store.
Arnica, also known as arnica montana, is a perennial plant that grows up to 1 – 2 feet tall with bright yellow daisy-like flowers. Arnica is actually toxic when ingested at full strength, but perfectly safe in a homeopathic dilution. Homeopathic remedies have been used for hundreds of years, and arnica has grown to be one of the most popular homeopathic medicines throughout the world. It is trusted by professional athletes to soothe sore muscles, by prominent surgeons to relieve post-surgical pain, bruising and swelling, and by savvy moms to treat playground bumps and bruises. Arnica is available as gels and creams for topical use, as well as small little pellets for internal use.
Arnica gel or cream is used topically for injuries that result in soft tissue damage and inflammation. Apply arnica on bruises and swelling associated with sprains and fractures, sore or strained muscles, and for arthritis pain. A study in Switzerland has shown that arnica gel is as effective as ibuprofen gel to reduce joint stiffness in people who suffer from osteoarthritis. Arnica gel is an effective healing remedy in minimizing bruising, controlling inflammation and speeding up the healing process after injury or strain. It is generally mild and safe to use on children and babies. Do not use arnica gel or cream on broken skin as it can irritate an open wound or rash.
Arnica is also available in small little pellets to use internally for injuries and pain, as well as for arthritis, fibromyalgia, neck and back pain, and whiplash. Overexertion and strains from unaccustomed tasks are likely to cause sore muscles, such as when taking up a new sport or an exercise routine, gardening, or home improvement project, arnica can prevent and soothe sore muscles.
Clays are for topical applications for sprains, strains, and swellings, due to injuries, as well as for any type of insect stings and critter bites. My little dog stepped into a cat claw bush. Thorns were deeply embedded in his paw. He was limping and in some pain. For two days, mornings and evenings, I placed clay packs on his paw, making sure it was secure. He actually liked this treatment and was quiet content hobbling around with his clay pack. The clay drew out the thorns, controlled any possible infection, and his paw was back to normal again on the third day. This treatment can also be used for those nasty embedded foxtails. If you can’t get a splinter out with tweezers try a clay poultice. I have also clay packed my swollen feet after a long hike.
How To Make A Medicinal Clay Pack
Combine and mix your clay with enough water, herb tea, or extracts, into a paste. It should be the consistency of tooth paste. Make sure it is not too runny or too hard. Apply directly to the affected area, cover with a clean cloth and secure with a plastic bag and/or other bandages. You may leave it on for several hours or overnight or until the clay is dry. If this is your first time, please check for skin sensitivity. Do not apply this pack if the skin is broken. Do not leave bandages on overnight around the neck or face.
What Kind Of Clay To Use
My favorite clay is Bentonite clay, because it has the strongest drawing action and can be used for such situations as mentioned above. Bentonite clay can also be used internally, mixed with water, during a cleanse or fast to draw out poisons, or for food poisoning. The other clay I like is rhassoul clay. Rhassoul clay is a super fine ancient clay and is excellent to use as a facial mask to detoxify and exfoliate the skin. Rhassoul is used by the finest spas around the world.
Many people grow lavender in their gardens for its loveliness and its wonderful aroma. This beautiful flower has cooling and nervine properties, useful for emotional upsets, anxiety, depression and pain. One lady told me that whenever she gets a headache she goes into her garden, sits next to her lavender plant, inhales the aroma, and within a few minutes her headaches go away.
But, what is lavender essential oil? The essential or the volatile oils in lavender are extracted through steam distillation, which produces a very concentrated and healing essential oil. What can lavender essential oil used for?
Lavender essential oil can be used for stings/bites from mosquitoes, spiders, scorpions, poisonous fish, and all other known and unknown poisonous critters, as it has the capability of neutralizing poisons. It also contains antiseptic as well as pain-relieving properties. As soon as you notice you have been stung /bitten apply lavender essential oil directly to the site of the sting. You can re-apply the lavender every minute, or you can simply place a few drops on a clean cotton ball and leave it on the affected area. For bee and wasp stings, make sure to remove the stinger first before applying lavender essential oil. At one time I have also applied lavender essential oil to my friends hand and arm, after my Siamese cat scratched her. She healed within 2 days without scars.
My favorite way to relieve sunburns or kitchen burns is to apply cooling compresses of aloe vera and/or witch hazel, adding a few drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender can also be added to a cool bath, a wonderful way to cool a burn and calm the nerves.
Stress and Tension
Lavender relaxes the mind and body. Keep a little bottle in your purse/pocket and inhale it whenever stress rears its ugly head. It is a strong nervous system strengthener and a mild antidepressant. It is one of the best essential oils to add to a warm Epsom salt bath to alleviate depression, tension, irritability, impatience, stress, anxiety, grief, and insomnia.
The scent of lavender diffused in the air has also been used in airplanes to calm a nervous passenger. Some hospitals and birthing rooms use lavender. For gallbladder attacks, an essential oil blend of one part lavender and one part rosemary in a little olive oil, massaged over the gallbladder area, can be most helpful to relieve the pain. People who are on a spiritual path have used lavender to help them make a stronger connection to the divine.
Echinacea is also known to gardeners as the purple coneflower. It is also one of America's most popular herbal product to prevent and treat the common cold, influenza and infections. Echinacea stimulates the immune system, it triggers the production of white blood cells, interferon, leukocytes, T-cells, and B-lymphocytes, as well as directly inhibiting the growth of most bacteria and viruses. USDA botanist James Duke, Ph.D. says that “echinacea is so powerful that root extracts of the plant have shown to act like interferon, the body's own anti-viral compound." Echinacea tincture is definitively my first choice for countering any type of illness or infection.
Echinacea is always more effective if taken at the onset of an illness, before the illness has the opportunity to “settle in”. An adult can take 60 drops for the first dosage, then 30 drops every hour. If this does not work increase to 30 drops every half hour. Decrease the dosage when you start feeling better, which is usually within two to three hours. These high dosages are perfectly safe and are used to mobilize the immune system to fight off the initial acute stages of infection. Although please note, these high dosages are not recommended on a long term basis, not because the plant is toxic, but because it’s generally not necessary. Children need smaller dosages, please ask your herbalist or qualified healthcare practitioner.
As a note: Echinacea is also known by Native Americans as “snakeroot” and used extensively to counter poisons, such as from scorpion and spider bites, even snake bites.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used for over 10,000 years and the benefits are endless. The word “vinegar” comes from vin aigre, French for “sour wine”, but other ingredients can be used to make vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is made from the juice of fresh apples. Apple cider vinegar is rich in enzymes and potassium. It is a natural antibiotic, germ fighter, fights E.Coli and other bacteria. Helps control and normalize weight, improves digestions and assimilation, improves immune system, helps soothe dry throats, and removes body sludge toxins. Take one to two teaspoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar, add a sweeter like honey, maple syrup, or molasses, and add it to 8 oz of distilled water. Take it two to three times daily and see an increase in energy, soft skin, and decreased muscle and joint stiffness. Because of apple cider vinegar’s antiseptic properties, it can be used topically to treat dozens of common conditions, including, sunburn, bruises and cuts, aches and pains, body odor, ear infections, yeast infections, dandruff, hair loss, and to restore ph levels to skin and hair. Apple cider is also helpful for animals. It is great for maintaining a healthy, shiny coat. It also works as a repellant for fleas, ticks and other insects because they don’t like the acidic environment of the skin. Apple cider vinegar also alleviates hot spots, constant wound licking and skin allergies.
Garlic is also known as “Russian penicillin”, because of its strong antibiotic properties. Many people have cured their cold or flu eating fresh garlic. Garlic stimulates the lymphatic system to throw off waste materials. Do not use garlic herbal supplements also known as “social garlic”, because they are devoid of “allicin” (the sulfur smell), where its medicinal properties lie.
Research has shown that when an onion is cut open and left in a sick room, it will absorb a person’s illness, as well as bringing the person back to good health. Here is an old and time tested remedy for a sore throat, cough, or respiratory congestion, even for an earache. Cut up an onion into small pieces. Place into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Fry for about 1 – 2 minutes, just enough to heat up the onion. Place onto a towel or paper towel and make a pouch, so that the onions cannot slip out. Apply to affected area, secure with a towel or bandage, and leave it on for several hours or overnight. The onions will turn black as they absorb the illness. CAUTION: Before applying the onion pack to the affected area, make sure it is not too hot, or it will burn the skin. This is especially true for children, as they are more sensitive.
Happy & Safe First Aid Kit Building!
Leilah & Natalie
**Consult your healthcare practitioner before using any herbs in this article if you take pharmaceutical drugs or have a medical condition.