Mother Earth Living

Build an Herbal First Aid Kit: Natural Remedies for Burns, Food Poisoning and Other Ailments

Treat common ailments at home with an herbal first aid kit packed with natural remedies.
By Melissa Corkhill
December 2011 Web

"Natural Remedies" offers advice for treating common conditions and illnesses at home using remedies provided by Mother Nature. In this book you'll discover how to treat complaints such as coughs, colds and sore throats, as well as suggestions for easing the strain of more permanent conditions such as eczema, arthritis and asthma.
Photo Courtesy Skyhorse Publishing


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The following is an excerpt from "Natural Remedies: Self-Sufficiency" by Melissa Corkhill. The excerpt is from Chapter 1: Getting Started. 

It is a good idea to put together a pack of remedies that can be used for first aid at home. There are many natural treatments that can easily be administered to treat the body in times of shock and distress. As well as having a good selection of remedies at home to treat emergencies, it might be worthwhile enrolling on a first aid course where you can learn the basics of administering first aid, such as how to deal with broken limbs and resuscitation skills, before medical help arrives.When putting together your natural first aid kit, you will want to have items such as bandages and a small pair of scissors as well as medicines made from plants.

You may want to make up a smaller kit for taking out and about. A portable kit that fits easily in a backpack is a good idea for holidays, walks and days out. Items that I would recommend for your portable first aid kit are marked with an asterisk.

* = recommended for your portable first aid kit 

Bites and stings

Stings are fairly common and easily dealt with using natural remedies. If an allergic reaction occurs seek the advice of a doctor.

• Plantain can ease the pain and reduce swelling. Chew the leaf in your mouth and apply the masticated leaves as a poultice to the sting.

• Lavender oil* can be applied directly to a sting.

• Rescue remedy* If the person who has been stung is in distress, five drops taken on the tongue will work to calm the patient.

• Aloe vera can be applied to the affected area. Split a leaf and spread the juice onto the skin.

Mild shock

Mild shock can be successfully treated with natural remedies, however this condition should not be confused with medical shock which always requires medical attention.

• Rescue remedy* to treat a patient who has experienced trauma.

• Chamomile tea can be calming for the nervous system. Brew a cup and encourage the patient to take small sips while still warm.

• Lavender oil* can be used to aleviate shock. Place a few drops onto a handkerchief and inhale until the shock subsides.

• Aconite, Arnica* and Ignatia are all homeopathic remedies that can be used to treat shock and distress.

For cuts and wounds

If possible, raise the cut above the level of the heart (e.g. if the cut is on the arm, lift the arm above the head).Apply direct pressure to the area and continue until the flow of blood stops, or in more serious cases until medical help arrives.

• Aloe vera can be applied to cuts and grazes and will help skin to heal and prevent infection.

• Tea tree* or Lavender oil* are used to clean wounds with a few drops of each diluted in warm water.This will also act as an antiseptic.

• Hypericum and Arnica* are homeopathic remedies that can be used to help the body to heal.

• Rescue remedy* can be applied directly to a graze to promote healing.

• Comfrey ointment* can be applied to inflamed cuts.

Comfrey Ointment 

500 g (1 1/4 lb) soft beeswax
60 g (2 1/4 oz) dried (or 150 g / 5 oz fresh) comfrey leaves, finely chopped

1. Melt the beeswax in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water.

2. Add the comfrey leaves and simmer, stirring continuously, for about 1 hour.

3. Pour the mixture into a muslin bag. Wearing rubber gloves, squeeze the mixture through the bag into a jug.

4. Pour the ointment into a jar before it sets. Place the lid on the jar, without securing it.

5.When cool, tighten the lid and store in a refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Burns and scalds

First pour cold liquid onto the burn or scald for at least 10 minutes, then use whichever of the following treatments you have available.

• Aloe vera will cool the area and prevent infection. Split a leaf and gently apply the juice to the affected area.

• Honey will help the skin to heal. Apply to the affected area.

• Lavender oil* can be used neat on a burn to promote healing and prevent infection. Gently massage a few drops into the affected area.

Sunstroke

This is a type of heat exhaustion resulting from prolonged exposure to sun, often accompanied by headache, shivering, nausea and dizziness. Rescue remedy* will help the patient to recover.Take five drops in a glass of water and sip slowly.

Food poisoning

Warm water mixed with the juice of half a lemon will help to cleanse the system.

• Honey can be dissolved in a glass of warm water and sipped frequently to increase strength and boost the immune system.

• Bio live yogurt can be eaten after the vomiting has subsided to help repopulate the stomach with beneficial bacteria.

• Chamomile tea can be calming and soothing for the digestive system. A tonic can be made using herbs from the kitchen cupboard, which will help to cleanse the system.

Cleansing tonic 

1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp cumin seeds
pinch salt
600 ml (1 pint) water

1. Place the ingredients into a pan and boil until the liquid is reduced by half.

2. Drink twice a day to help cleanse the system and to treat diarrhoea.


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