If you are intrigued by herbal first aid but simply don’t know where to begin, start slowly by stocking your medicine chest with a dozen or so basic, versatile herbs and herbal products that can be used to treat minor injuries. Most of the things you will need can be purchased at a natural food store. Or, if you prefer, you can make your own herbal remedies.
The herbs suggested for first aid are safe and effective. As with any medicine, though, you should keep these remedies out of the reach of young children, who often eat anything that comes within their reach.
Insect Bite Oil
1 teaspoon lavender essential oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Combine essential oil and vegetable oil and dab mixture directly on bite as needed. Store in a bottle with a tight lid. A glass container is best, but if you prefer a lighter plastic container, choose one of oil-resistant plastic, which you can find in camping-goods stores. Make sure you keep the Insect Bite Oil away from your eyes.
Homemade Aloe Gel
1/4 cup peeled aloe vera leaves
150 IU vitamin C powder
Purée aloe leaves in an electric blender, using enough leaves to make 1/4 cup of purée. Stir in vitamin C powder as a preservative. Store in the refrigerator; cold helps burns to heal.
Lemon and Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray
1/8 teaspoon each lemon and tea tree essential oils
1/2 ounce tincture of goldenseal, Oregon grape root, or bayberry bark
11/2 ounces aloe vera gel
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well twice daily for a week to help disperse oils. Keep in an atomizer.
Adapted from Herbs for Health and Healing, by Kathi Keville. Copyright © 1996, Kathi Keville. Permission granted by Rodale Press, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available in your favorite bookstore or by calling (800) 848-4735.