Herbal First Aid: Basic Natural Supplies
By Tamra Speakman - August 06, 2014
First aid is an often overlooked area of herbalism. As mom's we know how often children experience cuts, bruises, injuries or other illnesses. Because of this it is wise to be prepared. During a life threatening emergency the hospital is often the best choice. There are times however that are less serious but immediate where we can use natural remedies in a non life threatening acute situation. Many normal first aid kits are filled with bandages and antibiotic ointment and very little to actually assist with other situations. Today we are going to go over a list of basic natural supplies to put inside an herbal first aid kit.
Basic Medical SuppliesMake sure that you have any necessary supplies for remedy making near your first aid supplies. Here is a quick list of things to consider having on hand. Some of the items in this article will need to be prepared and then stored in your first aid kit. Karli covered some of the basic supplies more thoroughly in her article Basic Medical Supplies for a First Aid Kit.
- Jars, scale and batteries, funnels, strainers, muslin cloth, droppers, bottles, tins, pans, tea bags, eye cup, squirt bottles, spray bottles, measuring cups-spoons, labels, pen, tape, bags, cups, bandages, ace wrap, sling and gloves.
Menstruum For Herbal Medicine MakingAlthough most situations you will want preprepared herbal medicines it is also important to have small amounts of necessary menstruum for mixing any remedies. A Menstruum is another word for solvent, a liquid substance used to extract medicinal qualities from herbs. Alcohol- Though you won't be making a tincture in a first aid situation 80 proof vodka can be beneficial to have on hand for sanitizing and mixing with remedies to put in spray bottles. Apple Cider Vinegar- Vinegar is a natural antiseptic. Topically it can clean wounds, reduce itching, soothe sunburns, and alleviate stiff muscles. Taken internally it is often used to assist digestion. It can also be mixed with herbs and honey taken as an oxymel. Glycerin - A good menstruum to use for children's remedies as it adds sweet without a lot of sugar. In a first aid situation it can be mixed with herbs and made into pastilles to soothe the throat, digestion or to get children to take herbs. Raw Honey- *This delicious sweet treat can be mixed with herbs to make pastilles, an oxymel or to sweeten tea. It is naturally antimicrobial and has been used to dress wounds and burns for centuries. Manuka honey has been specifically studied for it's antibacterial and wound healing affects. Oils- Used as carriers for essential oils, and tinctures. Natural oils can also be used as a lubricant and to mix with herbs to make a paste. A few good choices are all--natural olive oil, grape seed oil and coconut oil. Water- Known as the universal solvent it is important to have on hand for wound cleaning, dehydration, tea making, and for mixing with herbs to make tea and other remedies. Bulk Herb Store carries a variety of Berkey water filters to assure that your water is pure and safe to use. Sea Salt- A great source of minerals sea salt can be mixed with honey and herbs to make homemade electrolyte drinks. It can also be dissolved in water and essential oils to clean or soak wounds, or as a gargle.
Bulk HerbsWhile pre-made remedies are handy in an emergency there are some bulk herbs that are beneficial to have in a first aid kit. I am going to share the actions of each herb and a brief description of potential uses. Please educate yourself on the proper form, and dosage especially for children, as well as any contraindications. Yarrow - Anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, hypotensive, diuretic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, astringent, styptic. The powdered form can be applied to a wound to stop bleeding. A poultice can be made from the cut herb or powder for wound healing and antimicrobial effects. Yarrow is a go to diaphoretic herb when dealing with fever. It has a history of use for respiratory and urinary tract infections as well as a digestive aid for diarrhea. It has also been taken internally for free bleeding of bright red discharge, bleeding ulcers and uterine bleeding. Anti-inflammation and pain relief is another one of this amazing herbs qualities. Cayenne- Stimulant, anticatarrhal, antimicrobial, rubifacient, styptic. Cayenne is another herb that will stop bleeding from a wound when applied topically. Used topically it can also stimulate blood flow and assist in pain relief from rheumatic pains. Internally it is a stimulant, general tonic, and stimulates circulatory and digestive system. White Willow Bark- Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, astringent. Beneficial for pain, fever and inflammation. Calendula- Anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, wound healing. Calendula flowers make a great healing poultice or infusion for bites, wounds, and eyes. Plantain- Wound healing, astringent, diuretic, antispasmodic. This herb can be used to help heal wounds, and bites as well as help sprains and bruises. Beneficial for mucous membranes that are sore, infected, inflamed, or damaged. It has also been used to draw out splinters. Comfrey- Astringent, wound healing, demulcent. Comfrey is used topically for wound healing on clean wounds that are not deep. It has also been used to help heal broken bones and sprains. Should not be taken internally. Slippery Elm- Demulcent, emollient, nutrient, laxative, wound healing. Slippery elm can be used in herbal pastilles, as a gruel, and mixed with other herbs for wound healing. Peppermint- Diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, calmative. Peppermint is a great herb to use as a tea for relief of digestive upset as well as for fever reduction and respiratory difficulty. Can be used topically for cooling, headache, muscle pain, or cramps. Chamomile- Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, relaxant, carminative, antiallergenic, mild bitter. Another great herb as a tea for digestive upset as well as calming. Has antiinflammatory properties beneficial for topical use and as an eye wash. Double E-Imunne Booster- Contains Nettle Leaf, Peppermint Leaf, Echinacea Root Echinacea Tops, Elderberries whole, Eleuthero Root and Rosehips. This is a nice immune boosting tea or tincture blend in the event of illness or infection.
Essential OilsThis article contains links that take you off Bulk Herb Store. Some of these links are affiliate links, by purchasing through them I earn a small commission. Essential oils can be beneficial in a a first aid kit especially for their antimicrobial properties. Used topically it is important to properly dilute essential oils. For aromatherapy purposes essential oils can assist in sanitizing the air. Lavender- Calming when inhaled. Topically reduces pain and itching of bites or stings. Tea Tree- Antimicrobial especially anti-funagal when applied topically. Clove- Anesthetic properties especially used for oral pain. Myrrh- Pain relieving, antiseptic. Anesthetic and healing when used as a gargle for gum infections. Eucalyptus -This is a strong oil that can help alleviate respiratory difficulty and wheezing. It is important to use care when using on children under the age of ten. Eucalyptus globulus should not be used on children. Eucalyptus smithii is said to be the mildest and is considered by some safer for children. Some aromatherapist feel Eucalyptus radiata is safe for children, while other aromatherapists do not use any form of Eucalyptus on children under ten years old.
Homeopathy/Flower RemediesArnica- Anti-inflammatory, wound healing. The herb arnica has amazing pain relieving qualities. It is also used to heal bruising, trauma, breaks, and sprains. The herb itself is toxic used internally but can be used safely in it's homeopathic form. Rescue Remedy-This is a flower remedy that can help alleviate stress and calm the nerves especially during trauma. It is flavorless and is only taken in a few drops so it is safe for the entire family.
Other Natural RemediesBentonite- Mixed with water clay can be applied externally to bites, and stings or used for itching. Internally it is often used to stop diarrhea. Activated Charcoal- Powdered charcoal is taken internally used to detoxify poisons. It can also be used topically as a poultice for bites and scratches.
Prepared Natural RemediesTinctures and glycerites are an easy herbal form to use in the event of a first aid situation. Here is a list of herbs that would beneficial to have in tincture form. Wormwwod-This is a powerful herb and must be used very carefully internally. It is beneficial for parasites and food poisoning but must be taken in small doses. One normal dose is 3 drops in water, hourly for up to four hours. Do not use while pregnant. Echinacea- Beneficicial for infections and inflammations both topically and internally. Valerian-It is important to have a calming and sedating herb in first aid situations. Valerian can calm nerves, relax smoothe muscles, sedate, and calm anxiety. Cramp bark- Sedative, astringent, and antispasmodic. This herb can help relieve tense, painful muscles as well as calm respiratory muscles during an asthma attack. White willow bark-White willow bark is good for pain and fever reduction.
Healing Salves and BalmsSalves and balms are great to have on hand for topical use. This is a list of different salves you can consider keeping in your first aid kit. Some of these are pre-made and some are herbal blends that need to be made and stored in your kit. Eden Salve- Antimicrobial, wound healing, anti-inflammatory. Contains a blend of herbs and natural ingredients to numb and heal wounds, bites, and stings. Goldenseal Frankincense and Myrrh Healing Balm- A healing balm mini course that uses the herbs brought to the child Yeshua by the wise men in addition to calendula. Wound healing, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-rheumatic. Useful for dry cracked skin. Green Salve Mix- A salve mix with that contains Plantain Leaf, Calendula Flowers, Comfrey Leaf, Yarrow Flower, Rosemary Leaf, Echinacea Root, and Echinacea Herb. Beneficial for wounds, and skin issues. Muscle Salve- This salve mix contains several herbs beneficial for muscle pain, bruises, and sprains. Contains St. John’s Wort, Arnica Flowers, Lobelia Leaf, Comfrey Leaf, Peppermint Leaf, Cayenne. Hand Sanitizer- Keeping hands free of germs while caring for emergencies is important. This is a recipe for an herbal vinegar hand sanitizer. An herbal first aid kit can be a blessed relief to have prepared and ready. These are just some of the natural preparations you can put in your kit. It is a great idea to also place a list of uses for each remedy as well as safety information, normal doages, and contraindications. Remember to label all of your herbal creations with ingredients, and the date. Keep your herbal first aid kit away from children.
What natural remedies do you have in your first aid kit? Please share with us in the comments below.Sources: