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Everyone should have a well stocked first aid kit. Knowing that you have the items on hand to be able to handle medical issues at home and immediately is simply priceless.
Know what you can treat at home and what you need to see a professional for is also essential. But, in this post we will talk about what you should have in your first aid kit. Herbs and essential oils have been effectively treating people (and animals) for thousands of years. But, which ones should you use for what? Read on to find out.
In the event of an emergency or disaster having all the items you need close at hand can make all the difference. A word of caution when selecting herbs and oils, always make sure that you are getting your herbs from a trusted source, they need to be clean and organic. Growing your own is a great way to stay stocked up. For Essential oils, you need to make sure that you are using therapeutic grade essential oils. NOT perfume oils, this is not something that you should try and skimp on. We like Young Living Essential Oils.
All of the remedies are available at any well-stocked health-food store and online.
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.
Calendula-comfrey salve: The bright yellow-orange blossoms of calendula (Calendula officinalis) have astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) contains allantoin, a compound that stimulates the growth of new tissue and helps heal wounds.
Chamomile tea bags: With its delicious distinctive flavor, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) makes a tasty tea. Gentle enough for children, chamomile has mild sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It promotes relaxation, relieves indigestion and, when applied topically, soothes skin irritations.
Echinacea liquid extract: Rich in immune-stimulating chemicals, echinacea (Echinacea spp.) can be used for any type of infection. Liquid extracts are the most versatile because they can be used both internally and externally.
Elderberry capsules or liquid extract: Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is essential for stopping a cold or flu from ruining your vacation. The berries contain compounds that prevent cold and flu viruses from invading and infecting cells. If you’re flying or otherwise potentially exposed to viruses, taking elderberry is a good preventive. If you do come down with a cold or flu, taking elderberry can hasten your recovery time.
Eucalyptus essential oil: A potent antibiotic and antiviral, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is excellent for treating colds, flus and sinus infections when used as a steam inhalation. Dilute with oil or witch hazel extract before applying to the skin, and do not take internally.
Ginger capsules, tea bags and crystallized ginger: The antispasmodic and gas-relieving properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) soothe digestive upsets. Ginger also has been proven to relieve motion sickness better than Dramamine, the conventional drug treatment.
Goldenseal capsules or powder: A powerful antimicrobial, goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is effective against a variety of microorganisms that cause traveler’s diarrhea. The powder has antiseptic properties and can be sprinkled onto cuts or wounds to stop bleeding. Do not take goldenseal internally during pregnancy.
Grindelia poison oak/ivy tincture or spray: Grindelia (Grindelia camporum), also known as gumweed, contains resins and tannins that help to relieve the pain and itching of plant rashes. It’s available as a tincture and also as a spray specifically for treating poison oak/poison ivy rashes.
Lavender essential oil: Virtually an all-purpose remedy, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has sed- ative, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It’s helpful for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, wounds and burns. For most people, lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the skin. Do not take more than 1 to 2 drops internally.
Laxative herbal tea bags: Travel constipation is a common complaint. Most herbal laxative teas rely on senna (Cassia senna), which contains compounds called anthraquinones that stimulate intestinal activity. Because senna has a bitter, unpleasant flavor, it’s often combined with tasty herbs such as cinnamon, fennel, licorice and ginger.
Peppermint essential oil and tea bags: With its high concentration of menthol, peppermint (Mentha xpiperita) soothes an upset stomach, clears sinuses and curbs itching from insect bites. If you have sensitive skin, dilute peppermint oil before applying. Taken internally, peppermint may aggravate heartburn. Valerian tincture: The sedative properties of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) make it useful for relieving anxiety, insomnia and tension; it’s also a mild pain reliever.
Witch hazel extract: Distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) has mild astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for insect bites and skin irritations. It’s also an excellent base for diluting essential oils for a variety of simple, topical herbal first-aid remedies. Do not take it internally.
Additional First-Aid Essentials
- Adhesive bandage strips: Various sizes, including butterfly closure bandages.
- Alcohol: Small plastic bottle for removing poison oak/ivy oils from the skin.
- Bandage materials: Sterile gauze pads, a roll of gauze, adhesive bandage tape.
- Cosmetic clay: With drying and drawing properties, clay is useful for healing skin rashes and insect bites. Store in a small plastic container.
- Elastic bandage: For sprains or strains.
- Electrolyte replacement: Powdered drink packets such as Emergen-C.
- Moleskin: Blister treatment.
- Scissors: Small pair for cutting bandages, adhesive tape, moleskin.
- Thermometer: Instant-read type.
- Tweezers: For removing ticks and splinters.
- Waterless hand sanitizer: Travel-size bottle.