How to Build an Herbal FirstAid Kit
Whether you’re a beginning naturalist, a parent, an expert herbalist, or a just another human in love with plants, keeping a natural first aid kit is a great idea! I’ve written this list as a sort of basic guideline, but I highly recommend doing a little research about the plants that grow wild in your area and what their medicinal benefits are to personalize your own natural medicine cabinet. Studies have shown that the plants native to an area tend to have healing properties correlating with the types of ailments that are common in that area. This concept is super interesting, if you’re an herb-nerd like me, and it’s so much fun to learn about! If you do the research, tell me a little bit about what you find out in the comments below. I love hearing from you!!
And now, here it is!
9 things to include in a natural first aid kit!
1: THE BASIC TOOLS: COTTON BALLS, COTTON SWABS, AND COTTON WRAPS, TWEEZERS, SCISSORS, A NAIL FILE...
These are essential for applying the salves and poultices and for bandaging and applying pressure to major injuries, pulling out stingers and splinters when they emerge, and more. And don’t judge- you just never know when a nail file will come in handy, okay? Okay.
2: BAKING SODA
A go-to remedy for stings and bites, it helps to draw out toxins and bee-stingers! (Extra bonus, it soothes the pain from bee stings!) Baking soda mixed with a little water or witch hazel should be applied to a sting or splinter; it draw out that painful little bugger quickly!
(By the way, this also works for animals! I’ve used baking soda to draw out bee stingers from my sweet puppy’s paw and my kitty’s swollen little cheek. Works like a charm! Teaching a cat not to eat bees, on the other hand, not as simple...sigh...)
3: WITCH HAZEL
A natural astringent that is excellent for soothing skin irritations and inflammation. It can also slow bleeding. Witch hazel should not be used on burns as it will dry out the area even more.
4: PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
A natural cooling herb, peppermint is great for all kinds of things! Peppermint itself can be applied to burns and blisters to soothe, and the essential oil is a superstar when it comes to relieving migraines! Apply a couple drops to the base of the neck, the temples, and directly behind the ears- magic.
Note: pay attention to proper dilution when it comes to using essential oils. The neat treatment (applying directly to skin) is only safe with certain EOs and even then should be done sparingly.
5: YARROW FLOWERS
These cooling, anti-microbial plants are known for their healing properties. When made into a tea, the herb can also induce sweating and help to break a fever.
This plant is ideal for scrapes and cuts as it increases cell production, reduces inflammation, slows bleeding, and reduces scarring.
7: LAVENDER FLOWERS
If you know me at all, you totally saw this one coming. Lavender is my go-to for all things herbal and medicinal. It’s just such a powerful, pleasant little plant, I am completely in love. Lavender can be used to soothe and cool. Lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which help with all sorts of wounds. Lavender is also commonly known as a treatment for mild anxiety and can provide a sense of comfort and security in a particularly stressful situation.
8: PLANTAIN LEAVES
Nature’s band aid, my friends. Unlike manufactured band aids, plantain leaves don’t add unnecessary heat to wounds or trap infectious materials in. Instead, plantain leaves work to provide healing moisture to the tissues, draw out toxins in cases of bites or stings, and provide a natural but breathable barrier between the affected area and the germy outside world.
9: ST. JOHN’S WORT
Not just a mood-balancing herb, St. John’s Wort is great for treating burns and dirty wounds thanks to its strong antibacterial properties! It works as an astringent but is mild enough to clean and treat burns without drying them out further. When applying to burns, it can be helpful to cover the area with a thin layer of aloe as well to rehydrate the tissues.
Note: Be wary of consuming St. John’s Wort if you take prescription medications or have known health issues. St. John’s Wort is known to interfere with the absorption of quite a few medications.
Do you have other herbs to add to this list? Tell me about your own natural first aid kit in the comments below!