Putting together an herbal first aid kit doesn’t need to be overwhelming or expensive. When you make your own natural remedies you’ll be able to control how much and what is in each remedy. This means you can make several first aid kits – one for the home, one for the car, and one for traveling – that are filled with effective remedies very inexpensively.
If you grow a medicinal herb garden, you’ll have all the herbs you need to treat common first aid issues.
Regardless of how big the first aid kit is, there are several things that every kit should have – bandages, scissors, sanitary pads, cleansers, and pain relievers come to mind.
After the basics, what you have in your first aid kit will be determined by where it’s located. A car first aid kit really only needs a few things while a home first aid kit needs more things.
Assembling an Herbal First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is really for treating minor injuries and being prepared for emergency situations, not for dealing with long term issues. In our home, I keep my first aid kit in a separate bucket labeled “First Aid” in my apothecary (or medicine) cabinet which is part of our linen closet. This helps us grab just what we need during an emergency and not have to rummage around looking for a bandage.
Here are the things I like to be prepared for…
- Cuts and scrapes
- Bug bites and stings
- Poison Ivy and Poison Oak rash
- Contact rashes
In our car first aid kit we keep herbal remedies for nausea, allergies, and diarrhea because you never know when you’ll need support for those issues. Depending on the season we’ll also add herbal cold and flu remedies. These are things we always keep in our apothecary but not in the first aid bucket in our home.
Natural First Aid for Cuts and Scrapes
When you cut yourself, your first instinct is the put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding, and that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. While the bleeding does help clean the wound out, you don’t need to let it bleed long.
According to the University of Rochester, if the bleeding can’t be stopped within 10 minutes, if the blood is spurting out, or your see bone or fat in the cut you need to seek medical attention.
If the bleeding is excessive, you can use a sanitary pad and neckerchief on the wound to help stop the bleeding. I know it sounds odd, but it works. For regular cuts and scrapes you can use gauze, a clean rag, or cotton squares to absorb the blood while you apply pressure.
Once the bleeding has stopped you’ll want to clean and dress the cut. To clean the cut you can use soap and water or witch hazel. To dress the cut, a healing salve and bandage are all you need.
Help for Bruises
I used to think it was silly to treat bruises because they really just go away on their own. Then I go spurred in the calf by our rooster. For the next week, every time I put boots on I wished I had treated it instead of blowing it off “because there was no blood.” Bruising is internal bleeding and can be very painful.
Some herbs that help with bruising are arnica, comfrey, and yarrow. It’s easy to make a salve with any of these.
Solutions for Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings are easy to care for, but you need to take care of them immediately. If it’s a sting, you need to make sure the stinger is out. We usually scrap over the sting with a plastic card (debit card.)
I like to keep a bug bite roll on in my gardening basket, my purse, the cars, and by the front and back doors. These are simple to make and very effective on mosquito bites, bee and wasp stings, and even fire ant bites. We have a recipe and video for making bug bite roll-ons in our subscriber library. Just fill out the from below to get access to it.
Herbal Remedies for Burns
Aloe vera has a reputation for being the best herbal solution for minor burns, which is great because it’s easy to grow indoors or out. But aloe vera isn’t the only herb for burns, you can also use other skin soothing herbs such as comfrey, calendula, and plantain.
The sooner you can slather the burned area with aloe vera or a skin soothing salve, the sooner it will heal. You’ll need to apply the aloe vera or salve several times a day.
You will also want to keep the area cool to help minimize the likelihood of blisters forming. If you’ve burned your hand, no washing dishes in hot water for a few days. If you have sunburned shoulders, no steamy hot baths for several days.
Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Help
Prevention is probably the best defense against poison ivy, oak and sumac. And that begins with identification.
All three of these plants have an oil called, urushiol, that most people are allergic to. Therefore, early intervention means getting the oil off your body.
The most effective thing we’ve found is showering and using dish soap instead of bath soap. Dish soap is designed to cut grease and break up oils. Also, washing the clothes by themselves in hot water and dish soap will help avoid a re-occurance.
Jewel weed is known to help with poison ivy. If you have it growing in your yard, you can just rub it directly on the poison ivy. Jewel weed grows wild in many damp areas making it a good herb to forage and preserve for using later.
Rashes and Contact Dermatitis
Rashes and contact dermatitis are usually caused by touching or eating something that you’re allergic to. Obviously, the first step would be to avoid those things. But sometimes we don’t know until it’s too late.
When that happens having a plantain infused oil or salve will help heal and soothe the skin. Other herbs that can help rashes are comfrey, calendula, burdock root, and lavender. Infusing witch hazel with some of these herbs is a good way of having them on hand year round.
Using herbs for first aid is a great beginning step toward using herbal remedies. However, it’s important to get your information from reliable sources. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book is a great place to start and so are the classes from The Herbal Academy.