I heard a bang followed by a cuss word and guessed some first aid would be needed. He came down the hall with a bleeding finger. The cut wasn’t life threatening but it was big enough to require a bandage.
After applying pressure to stop the bleeding, I cleaned the cut, applied some healing salve and put on a fresh band aid. This is not an uncommon occurrence in our house.
It is estimated that 80% of healthcare is done by family members in our own homes. These cuts, burns, bruises, colds, coughs, diarrhea, indigestion, sore throats, headaches, sinus issues and other simple ailments are handled at home.
The key to handling these ailments quickly and correctly is in the preparation.
You need to have the right things on hand before the ailment strikes.
In our house, we prefer to use natural remedies. Our herbal first aid kit is a combination of herbs, tinctures, handmade salves, essential oils and other holistic medicines.
Herbal first aid kits are a little different than the prepackaged kit for sale at the drugstore. Filled with plant based products, herbal first aid kits are more earth and people friendly.
You can assemble your own herbal first aid kit with just a few items or a bigger kit with more choices. Some things to consider are the ages of the people in your household, the type of ailments that happen and what remedies you feel comfortable administering.
All first aid kits should contain certain basic tools and necessities such as bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, cold pack, ace bandage and gauze. Then there’s the kit itself to consider, a container the keeps everything securely organized in one place. Some ideas include a small padded nylon lunchbox, a fishing tackle box or art and craft supplies storage box.
Here are some suggestions for your herbal first aid kit:
Aloe vera gel: cooling and healing, soothes the inflammation of sunburn and common kitchen scalds and burns. (See my video “Using Aloe Vera” here)
Calendula-comfrey salve: calendula is astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing. Comfrey stimulates the growth of new tissue and helps heal wounds. (Purchase Herbal Healing Salve here)
Chamomile: gentle enough for children, chamomile has mild sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It promotes relaxation, relieves indigestion and, when applied topically, soothes skin irritations.
Charcoal, Activated: used as a remedy for digestive problems including acid reflux and heartburn. Activated charcoal is a fine black powder, tasteless and odorless, taken in a capsule or pill form.
Clay: carried in a powder form it can be mixed with water and used as a paste to draw out stingers and splinters.
Echinacea tincture: immune-stimulating, echinacea can be used for any type of infection. Liquid extracts are the most versatile because they can be used both internally and externally.
Eucalyptus essential oil: A potent antibiotic and antiviral, excellent for treating colds, flus and sinus infections when used as a steam inhalation. Dilute with oil or witch hazel extract before applying to the skin, and do not take internally.
Ginger: antispasmodic and gas-relieving properties soothe digestive upsets. Proven to relieve motion sickness better than conventional drug treatment.
Lavender essential oil: sedative, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Helpful for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, wounds and burns. For most people, lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the skin.
Peppermint: soothes an upset stomach, clears sinuses and curbs itching from insect bites.
Rescue Remedy: homeopathic flower remedy used as emotional support to ease anxiety after trauma. Safe for children and pets.
Tea Tree Oil: antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Used topically for infections such as acne, fungal infections of the nail, lice, scabies, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. It is also used topically as a local antiseptic for cuts and abrasions, for burns, insect bites and stings, boils, toothache, infections of the mouth and nose, sore throat, and for ear infections.
Yarrow: astringent, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. Used topically to stop bleeding and internally to soothe digestion and menstrual cramps.
Valerian tincture: useful for relieving anxiety, insomnia and tension; also a mild pain reliever.
Witch hazel extract: astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for insect bites and skin irritations. It’s also an excellent base for diluting essential oils for a variety of simple, topical herbal first-aid remedies. Do not take internally.