Nurture with Nature: Band-Aids and Boo-Boos

Whether it’s a cut, bruise or bug bite, childhood is filled with minor emergencies. What’s a smart parent to do? Put together an herbal first-aid kit to handle those inevitable accidents.

| May/June 2008

  • St. John's Wort comes in handy for those bumps and bruises.
    Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock


While it’s tempting, never pop a blister. Doing so just invites infection. If a blister breaks on its own, wash the area with soap and water, then dab the blister with tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil. Dubbed a “first-aid kit in a bottle,” tea tree oil is a strong antimicrobial with antiseptic properties. Cover with a gauze bandage and change the dressing daily.

Bug Bites 

If you live in a humid climate, you’re all too familiar with the drone of mosquitoes and other flying insects. The best way to deal with these hungry critters is to thwart their attack with an herbal repellent. But forego commercial brands formulated with deet (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), a pesticide that studies show can be neurotoxic to children. Instead, look for a natural herb-based insect repellent or make your own by combining 2 ounces of a carrier oil (like almond or grapeseed oil) with 1/2 teaspoon of lemongrass (Cymbopogon spp.) or citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) essential oil. Or try fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), which Korean researchers have found offers up to 84 percent protection for 90 minutes.

If your child suffers a minor bite or sting, use a poultice made from equal parts echinacea (Echinacea spp.) tincture, water and bentonite clay to draw out the poison. You also can add a few drops of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil to boost its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. While most bites are just a temporary nuisance, take your child to the doctor if she suffers from a headache, fatigue and body aches, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash, since these can be symptoms of West Nile virus.

Bumps and Bruises 

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