This section will help you select herbal preparations and essential oils for minor burns, cuts, abrasions, insect stings, sprains and strains.
Serious injuries, however, need urgent medical attention. Orthodox medicine is extremely good at treating such injuries. Use your common sense and get help when needed.
The Basic First Aid Kit
Apart from the basic equipment common to any first aid kit such as sterile dressings, waterproof plasters, scissors, bandage, tweezers and so on you can also include the following:
- A bottle of Bach Rescue Remedy
- Calendula ointment (with or without the addition of St. Johns Wort (you can make your own)
- Lavender and tea tree are the best (and least expensive) essentials oils
- Eucalyptus essential oil – as an alternative to tea tree
- Bicarbonate of soda – for treating bee and ant stings
- Cider vinegar – for treating sunburn, wasp stings, mosquito and horsefly bites
- Distilled witch-hazel – valued for its astringent properties for minor burns, cuts, sprains and bruises
Side note: The remedies listed below are first aid remedies and will not necessarily be used in the followup treatment of the injury. Visit the Herbal Therapeutic Index for remedies for followup treatment.
Burns and Scalds
Herbs: Infused oil of St. Johns Wort, distilled witch-hazel, calendula ointment, calendula tincture
Essential oils: Eucalyptus, geranium, frankincense, lavender, tea tree
Important: Serious burns need urgent medical attention
Cuts and Grazes
Herbs: Diluted tincture of calendula, distilled witch-hazel. Yarrow poultice to help staunch minor bleeding. If the cut is quite deep, use diluted tincture of St. John’s wort.
Essential oils: Eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, lemon, pine, tea tree
Important: If there is any risk of infection such as tetanus, seek urgent medical attention
Insect Bites and Stings
Herbs: Calendula and/or St. John’s wort (tincture or ointment)
Essential oils: Eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, cedarwood, patchouli, rosemary
Important: Bee and wasp stings affect some people seriously. If this is the case, summon urgent medical attention
Methods of use:
Bee stings: To neutralize the acidic venom, apply bicarbonate of soda (an alkali) made into a paste with a little water. Bicarbonate of soda also neutralises acidic ant venom.
Wasp stings: wasp venom is alkaline, so an acidic remedy is necessary. Dab with cider vinegar or lemon juice (also for mosquito and horsefly bites).
Most other insect bites and stings can be treated with neat essential oil, diluted herbal tincture or herbal ointment.
Sprains and Bruises
Herbs: Arnica (tincture or ointment), Calendula (tincture or ointment), elder (decoction of leaves), distilled witch-hazel
Essential oils: Chamomile (German and Roman), eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, marigold, pine, rosemary
Methods of use:
Start with a cold or icy aromatic or herbal compress (witch-hazel is excellent), then apply an aromatic or herbal ointment. For sprains, after the ointment, apply gentle massage above towards the heart and below the injury (not directly on it) to drain off extra fluids.
Side note: A sprain occurs at a joint such as a wrist or ankle when the ligaments and tissues around the joint is suddenly wrenched or torn. Symptoms are pain and tenderness around the joint, often followed by swellings and bruising. Rest the injured part and raise it to prevent accumulation of excess fluids (support with pillows).
Herbs: Infused oil of calendula, or a 50/50 blend of infused oil of calendula and St John’s wort
Essential oils: As for sprains and bruises
Methods of use:
Begin with a cold or tepid essential oil compress. Once the swelling has subsided take a hot aromatic bath (up to 8 drops essential oil and 4 tablespoons sea salt), followed by a massage with an infused oil or an aromatherapy blend.
Side note: Rest is essential. If you have strained the muscle of an arm or leg, raise the injured part above the level of your heart to prevent the accumulation of excess fluids (support with pillows).
Herbs: Aloe vera juice, bulbine juice, calendula (infused oil or ointment), St. John’s wort
Essential oils: Chamomile (German and Roman), geranium, lavender, rosemary, tea tree
Orthodox: Voltaren gel is a ‘wonder cure’ for sunburn
Methods of use:
Take 2-3 cool (preferably cold) aromatic baths throughout the day, adding up to 8 tablespoons cider vinegar and 8 drops essential oil. Afterwards, pat dry and apply an appropriate aromatherapy massage oil, or infused oil of calendula, or calendula ointment. For very sore patches it is less painful to use than ointment; paint it on with a small, soft bristle brush. Aloe vera or bulbine juice will prevent sunburnt skin from peeling. It also takes out the heat and sting, stops blistering and converts minor sunburn into a tan. Put some into a cosmetic spray bottle with distilled water and mist the skin several times a day.
What are your favourite natural first aid remedies? Share them in a Reply below.