Make Your Own Natural First-Aid Kit

Hit the road with herbal remedies.


| July/August 2004



map

Along with a good map, a well-stocked first-aid kit is essential to enjoying the outdoors.

I love to travel, and experience has taught me the benefits of packing light. But no matter how lightly I travel, I always carry along an herbal first-aid kit. Being prepared with my favorite remedies gives me peace of mind on the road or trail, and keeps me from having to search out herbal products in an unfamiliar town — or from having to resort to padding my heels with mullein leaves to ease the agony of a broken blister while on a backpacking trip.

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to put my first-aid kit to use, from treating blisters and bug bites to motion sickness and colds. I choose simple, multipurpose remedies and store them in a small padded nylon lunch box that’s always ready to toss into the car. For backpacking trips, I pare my kit down to arnica gel, echinacea, peppermint and chamomile tea bags, crystallized ginger, insect repellant, a tin of herbal salve, a tiny bottle of lavender essential oil, and an assortment of bandages and moleskin.

With the following herbs and essential oils, you should be able to treat just about any common condition you are likely to encounter in your travels.

The Herbal First Aid Kit: What to Buy

These are my favorite remedies — the ones I consider indispensable for a travel first-aid kit. All of the remedies are available at any well-stocked health-food store and by mail-order. Be sure to buy pure essential oils, not fragrance oils. To prevent breakage, wrap glass bottles in small pieces of thick flannel. 

• Aloe vera gel: Cooling and healing, aloe vera (Aloe vera) soothes the inflammation of sunburn and common kitchen scalds and burns.

• Arnica gel or cream: Arnica (Arnica montana) flowers have anti-inflammatory and circulation-stimulating properties; the gel or cream is excellent for sore muscles, sprains, strains and bruises. Do not apply arnica to broken skin. 





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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