Herbal First Aid Kit
I am sitting here on a Sunday afternoon with cold rain outside and am considering putting together a first aid kit for the coming winter. I think that it is true to say that most of us will assemble the usual over-the-counter products such as insect repellent, pain relief, stomach upset treatments etc.
However we must not forget that herbs have been used for centuries to treat an enormous variety of ailments and their importance for healing should not be forgotten.
Many herbal remedies have made a comeback in recent years as people are look again at natural remedies, particularly for minor ailments. The main herbs are Lavender, Chamomile and Peppermint they are often used medicinally to treat conditions such as insomnia, indigestion and stress. What make it easier is that many herbs and herbal remedies are easy to grow and can be very effective. So what better place to keep these all natural medicines than in an herbal first aid kit.
One of the best ways of using herbs is as essential oil form. One such oil is Lavender. This oil provides relief from headaches as well as relief from minor burns, scalds and sunburn.
Lavender has a long established tradition for healing and comfort, generally regarded as the most useful herb in healing. Add 2-3 drops to a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and massage into the temples or nape of the neck for a headache or directly onto the skin that has been affected. Lavender can also be used as an insect repellent as well as on insect bites and stings. The herb is very effective anti microbial properties and can be used on cuts and grazes as well.
Another herb to put in your first kit is Witch Hazel. Distilled witch hazel can be used on minor burns and sunburn.The herb is used to staunch the flow of blood from wounds using a soaked swab of cotton wool. For sprains and bruises, keep an ice-cube tray of witch hazel in the freezer, do make sure it is clearly labelled.
Tea Tree is another extremely useful herbal oil to keep in a first aid kit. The properties and uses of tea tree have a long history of use by the Aboriginal people of Australia. Tea Tree oil is unusual in that it is active against all three varieties of infectious organisms: bacteria, fungi and viruses. The oil can be used to treat cuts and grazes, as well as warts and cold sores. Tea Tree is also very effective treatment for head lice, acne, dandruff and insect bites. If diluted it can also be used as a mouth wash to combat bad breath.
Another good practice is keeping ready prepared oils and lotions for your herbal first aid kit, raw ingredients from the kitchen store cupboard such as garlic, ginger, and herbal teas provide some of the most beneficial first aid remedies.
A stock of dried herbs or herbal teas is a useful addition to a first aid kit.
Chamomile is well known for it's calming properties and taken just before bed can aid a good night's sleep as well as used for shock and nervous upsets.
Peppermint will help to ease indigestion, travel as well as morning sickness and stomach upsets.
Ginger is a very natural way to ease nausea as well or prevent travel sickness. This can be kept for some time if you buy crystallized ginger.
Garlic is highly antiseptic and if you can stand the odor, rubbed onto acne and other infected spots can be very beneficial.
Onion slices placed on insect stings can bring rapid relief. It can also be used to relieve nettle rash or hives (urticaria) caused by food allergens.
Common sage is an herb of ancient repute, valued not only for it's culinary flavors but for it's medicinal properties too. It has been used for a variety of disorders including respiratory infections and digestive complaints. It is also believed to strengthen the senses and the memory. The leaves have a special affinity with the mouth and throat. A weak gargle/mouth wash can be made for sore throats, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers or gum disease.
When making up your herbal first aid kit always ensure you know what the herbs are for and how to use them. While most herbs are harmless, there are some that should not be used by pregnant women or children. Herbs are an extremely useful natural aid to day to day ailments, many of the ingredients you will probably already have in your cupboard or even your garden. Some times this can be faster and more available than over-the counter medicines.