Herbal First Aid Kit

When we consider putting together a first aid kit, most of us will assemble the usual over-the-counter products such as insect repellent, pain relief, stomach upset treatments etc. However, 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 seen a resurgence in recent years as people are looking for natural remedies, especially for minor ailments. Herbs such as Lavender, Chamomile and Peppermint are now frequently used medicinally to treat conditions such as insomnia, indigestion and stress. Many herbs and herbal remedies are easy to source and very effective. So what better place to keep these all natural medicines than in an herbal first aid kit.

Some herbs are best used in essential oil form in a first aid kit. One such oil is Lavender. This oil provides relief from headaches as well as relief from minor burns, scalds and sunburn. It has a long established tradition for healing and comfort, generally regarded as the most versatile 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. It can also be used as an insect repellent as well as on insect bites and stings. It has very effective anti microbial properties and can be used on cuts and grazes.

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. This oil is unusual in that it is active against all three varieties of infectious organisms: bacteria, fungi and viruses. It can be used to treat cuts and grazes, as well as warts and cold sores. It is also an 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.

Witch Hazel is another multi-purpose herbal remedy for a first aid kit. Distilled witch hazel can be used on minor burns and sunburn. Use 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, but make sure it is clearly labelled.

As well as 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 odour, rubbed onto acne and other infected spots can be very beneficial. Slices of a fresh onion 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.