Honey is a time-honored wound healer because of its natural antibacterial properties, and kids and pets love it. Use a good quality raw honey
cover with gauze and tape in place. You can also be prepared with herbal oils, salves and balms that are soothing,
anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial - these homemade preparations can heal
wounds of all kinds very effectively.
Knowing which plants and
leaves make the best field dressing can save the day as well as save money. Most of these handy plants grow freely in any yard not drenched with herbicides. Speedwell makes a simple and effective lotion or skin wash that speeds wound healing and relieves itching. The fresh leaves of plantain, a common plant found growing in many backyards has potent antibacterial beneftis and quite is soothing when applied to a burn or a cut. Like comfrey, plantain contains allantoin, an anti-inflammatory phytochemical that speeds wound healing, stimulates the grow of new skin cells. Both of these plants seem to give the immune system a boost to fight infection. (Duke,James, Ph.D.) Chickweed poultices are useful for cooling and soothing minor burns and skin irritations, and rashes particularly when associated with dryness and itching. This tender young plant often volunteers in planters in early spring and has the added benefit of being a salad green as well as a first aid plant.
These colors of these old fashioned garden flowers bring joy to the eye as well as being very important and useful members of your herbal first aid kit.
The classic red Rose is astringent that helps staunch bleeding. Yarrow is a good first aid herb for nosebleeds, wounds and cuts. Both are best when used from fresh cut flowers and leaves.
Strong Agrimony tea is often used as a herbal skin wash and can effectively stop bleeding from cuts and scrapes. Agrimony is also considered a very useful agent in skin eruptions and pimples,rashes, blotches, etc. (Grieve, Maud)
Anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antiseptic, calendula is the queen of garden flowers that are used in skin care and first aid. Calendula creams, lotions, and infused oils promote new skin growth and slow down bleeding. Use calendula tea made from the fresh flowers as a skin wash to heal even the most sensitive of skin.
Comfrey salves and ointments
are one of the best known herbal remedies for just about any skin irritation: burns, skin ulcerations, abrasions,
lacerations, flea and insect bites. Comfrey works to heal skin so quickly that it is a good idea to add
berberine containing herbs to to kill bacteria that could cause infection that could be trapped in a rapidly closing wound. Coptis,
barberry, or Oregon grape are all good subsitutes for the endangered species of
Goldenseal. All of these herbs have wide spectrum antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties and make a good topical antiseptics for minor injuries.
Essential oils contain natural antibacterial compounds to prevent and treat infection and reduce inflammation. Tea tree oil, Chamomile, Lavender
essential oil are mild enough to use without diluting and work wonders
on rashes, burns, cuts, skin abscess and boils. They also make good antibacterial
skin washes in either herbal tea or oil form.
Cinnamon and clove reduce pain and disinfect wounds. Geranium oil can be applied to stop excessive bleeding and hemorrhaging. These essential oils make a great addition to your first aid kit. (Ericksen, Marlene)
Aloe gel and witch hazel are the two most basic items to always keep on hand as they can be used alone or as carriers for essential oils and herbal tinctures. Aloe vera gel is soothing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial and can be used liberally on cuts, scrapes and wounds of all kinds. You can find aloe gel on the shelves of most pharmacies and stores, but be aware than most is diluted which alcohol gel and other ingrediants. Aloe is especially hydrating for dry, irritated skin. Witch hazel is one of the best general and all purpose remedy for scrapes, cuts and abrasions, scalds, sunburns and other inflammatory conditions of the skin.