The Natural First Aid Kit

herbs, mortar and pestleHere are some good treatments to have on hand for general first aid care:

Arnica. Used for bruises, sprains, and sore muscles, this remedy is available in a cream or ointment, or can be given as a compress (apply a clean cloth soaked in a solution of one tablespoon of arnica tincture in one pint of water to the sore area). Homeopathic arnica can be given internally.

Tiger Balm. To treat muscle cramps and headaches, rub this salve on the affected muscle or temples, avoiding the eyes.

Calendula. This herbal remedy is anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antiseptic, and it inhibits bleeding. You can find it in salve form, often in combination with comfrey and other healing herbs. Use it for cuts, scrapes, rashes, burns, bruises, strains, and sprains.

Aloe vera. Have this plant handy for wounds and all types of burns, including sunburns. Slice a leaf and apply the gel to the skin, or buy pure aloe vera gel.

Lavender oil. Providing immediate relief for the sting or itch of insect bites, this remedy also helps in healing burns. Use lavender oil undiluted on the skin, or put a few drops in a lukewarm tub. For bruises, apply a compress dipped in equal parts cool water and apple cider vinegar with a few drops of lavender. Once the heat and swelling have subsided, massage the bruise with lavender and chamomile in a carrier oil.

Tea tree oil. Wash a wound with one part tea tree oil–a natural antiseptic–in 10 parts water. For an insect repellent, fill a spray bottle with three ounces water, one ounce witch hazel or aloe vera juice, and 24 drops tea tree oil. Tea tree oil can also be applied to insect bites to stop the itching.

Chamomile. This herb is an anti-inflammatory as well as a digestive aid. For diaper rash or other rashes, soak the affected area with a washcloth dipped in cool chamomile tea, or add chamomile tea to bath water.

St. John’s Wort. Herbal St. John’s wort has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used topically on wounds and burns, or blended with oil to massage sore muscles. Homeopathic St. John’s Wort (Hypericum) can be given internally after head injuries, puncture wounds, and animal bites.

Witch hazel. A good topical treatment for bruises, bites, stings, and burns, it is also useful for leg aches accompanying growing pains.

Rescue Remedy. This Bach Flower remedy can given internally to ease feelings of shock or panic following a trauma.

Tummy Tincture. Fennel and chamomile are soothing to an upset stomach. Put a few drops in water to take when tummy-aches strike (add a few drops clove, caraway, or anise oil for a pleasing taste), or massage your child’s tummy with chamomile and fennel in a carrier oil.