WHY AN HERBAL FIRST AID KIT? A great first aid kit should handle more than just cuts and scrapes. The medicines inside should be all-natural, potent, and effective.
Include remedies needed to prepare for a variety of issues, including:
• Bleeding and bruises
• Bug bites
• Contact rashes
• Cuts and scrapes
• Diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach
• Muscle aches
• Poisonous plant contact
• Sore throat, colds, & flu
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT: BASIC ITEMS: band aids, gauze, bandages, 1/2-inch surgical tape, small scissors, single edged razor blade, ace bandage, tweezers, cold pack, bandana, an eye cup or shot glass, and a soft-sided and water-proof carry case.
White Willow Bark, Meadowsweet tincture, or aspirin are fast acting, soothing, and anti-inflammatory, painkillers.
Herbs to keep on hand include Calendula, Chamomile, Fennel Seed, Ginger Root, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marshmallow Root, Nettle, Oats, Peppermint, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Yarrow.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis): also known as Pot Marigold, the natural anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties in Calendula make it a wonderful choice for soothing skin irritations, bites, scrapes, sunburn, rashes, sore throat, and urinary tract infections.
Calendula Infused Oil Recipe:
Ingredients: calendula flowers, almond oil, vitamin E oil, and a quart mason jar with lid.
Directions: Heat almond oil gently in a water bath until it reaches body temperature. Remove from heat.
Stir in as many calendula flowers as will go in the oil.
Pour mixture into the jar and infuse for 7 to 14 days in a dark and warm place. Strain with cheesecloth, add vitamin E oil as a preservative, and store in clean, dry glass jars.
Chamomile: (Matricaria recutita): Beautiful daisy like flowers that smell mildly fruity like an apple, chamomile is a useful medicinal tea herb. It’s traditionally used to induce calm and sleep and improve symptoms of insomnia.
The anti-inflammatory properties found in Chamomile make it a gentle and natural treatment for arthritis, rheumatism, sprains and swellings. Use wet, cool chamomile tea bags every couple of hours on eyes or rinse them with cooled chamomile tea to clear and soothe pink eye infection. Use chamomile oil to soothe skin irritations, scrapes, scratches and rashes.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Fennel seeds are used to prepare a medicinal tea that has a delicious licorice taste and is very beneficial for digestive disorders.
Fennel seed is one of the most effective digestive aids. It is highly beneficial to reduce digestive cramping, nausea, gas, and bloating. The volatile oils contained in the seed stimulate the mucus membranes in the digestive tract, encouraging motility. The aromatic oils also exert smooth muscle antispasmodic and carminative actions. The seed tincture or tea is effective for treating intestinal spasms that result from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut syndrome, Celiac’s disease, and intestinal yeast overgrowth. Fennel’s properties pass through breast milk, reducing infant colic. It also anesthetizes pain resulting from a hiatal hernia and indigestion.
Ginger: (Zingiber officinale): Ginger tea is popular, especially in South and East Asia. Use of ginger tea is praised in ancient Chinese medicines and Ayurveda as an antioxidant that contains antibacterial properties. It cures diseases like cold, flu, eases nausea, and improves digestion and appetite.
The healing properties in Ginger come from the volatile oils gingerol and shogaol. These oils cause more digestive enzymes to be produced, which helps with the whole digestive process and neutralizes the acids that can cause nausea, cramps and even diarrhea. It also decreases bacterial infections in the stomach. As a stomach-calming agent, ginger can also reduce gas, bloating, and indigestion. It is also a valuable deterrent to intestinal worms, particularly roundworms.
Lavender: (Lavandula angustifolia): The floral taste of lavender tea is amazing! A delicious cup of this herbal tea is sweet and fragrant in taste and is perfect for calming the mind, reducing tension, and alleviating headache.
Lavender helps reduce microbial activity and has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which make it useful for bumps, bruises, burns, muscular injuries, bites, stings, burns, sunburn, eczema, exhaustion, hot flushes, and swollen joints.
Lemon Balm: (Melissa officinalis): has a citrusy and slightly minty taste that makes for a delicious tea. It is also thought to have stress-reducing properties and helps calm the mind.
Lemon balm is a favorite for herbalists treating symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, headache, stomachache, nausea, depression, anxiety, cold sores, chicken pox, shingles, mono, roseola, colds & flu.
Marshmallow Root: (Althaea officinalis): its healing and medicinal properties come from the mucilage, a sap-like substance, produced by the plant. Marshmallow tea relieves coughs, improves dry mouth, protects against ulcers, soothes skin irritations, heals wounds, and protects the throat from gastric reflux.
Marshmallow is a valuable addition to the herbal first aid kit as it has tissue healing properties. It is a nutritious, lubricating, soothing demulcent, and anti-inflammatory herb that softens hardness and encourages tissue repair and regeneration. It soothes and heals any tissue it comes into contact with, and its cooling properties take down heat and inflammation. It forms a slimy coat over damaged membranes which protect from further damage. Use externally for wounds, skin abrasions, sunburn, itchy rashes, psoriasis, eczema and other dry and/or irritated skin complaints.
Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica): is packed full of vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, D, E, K, calcium, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. It also contains an abundance of chlorophyll, which is responsible for much of its color and high mineral content.
The high iron content of nettle makes it useful in building the blood. It also helps maintain balanced blood sugar levels, aids the body in nutrient and protein assimilation, neutralizes acid, and aids in waste elimination. An infusion of nettle leaves is used to support the body in cases of hay fever and allergies due to the herb’s anti-inflammatory action, which may be attributed to its histamine content. The leaves are also tonifying and strengthening to the kidneys and supports overall vitality. Nettle leaves may be used as a tea, tincture, or capsule. Used topically in salves and creams, studies show that nettle may be useful for easing joint pain.
Oat Straw (Avena sativa): abundant with vitamins and minerals, protein, soluble fiber, beneficial oils, polysaccharides, and steroidal saponins, oat straw is a powerful healer. Oat Straw is used as a long-term tonic to nourish, rebuild and revitalize a worn-down nervous system. It is especially useful in recovery from illness, weakness, overwork, poor nutrition, chronic pain, sleep deprivation, insomnia, and stress.
The rich and hydrating milky nature of oats is welcome relief for soothing itchy skin conditions such as poison ivy, chicken pox, or other stress-related skin conditions. For a soothing bath, tie a muslin bag full of oats in the running stream of bathwater to add milky emollients to the water, and then squeeze the oat milk from the bag directly onto the skin, rubbing gently.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita): a most favorite tea herb and popular among herbal tea lovers. Peppermint tea soothes digestive disorders, abdominal pain and stomach cramps, stimulates the appetite, reduces flatulence, and is very refreshing in flavor.
Apply peppermint on the forehead, the back of the neck, and the solar plexus to relieve migraine. Inhale peppermint to ease stomachache and nausea. If summer's pollens cause sinus congestion, peppermint is a wonderful treatment for either stuffy noses or sinus Cool the heat of a sunburn or fever by adding about eight drops of Peppermint oil to a tepid bath. It also can be used to ease the itch of poison ivy and other skin rashes.
Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus): known as the woman’s herb, red raspberry is naturally high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B, A, C, and E.
The high levels of B vitamins found in Red Raspberry make it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep. Its high concentration of vitamin C make it great during illness for immune system support.
The specific combination of nutrients in raspberry leaf makes it extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system as it strengthens
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): grows from 1-5 feet tall, and has many rough, hairy stems sprouting from a rhizomatous root. Bipinnate leaves branch off the stem in a spiral pattern with larger leaves at the base of the plant and smaller leaves at the top. The leaves are finely segmented giving them a feathery look, and the creamy white, daisy-like flowers grow in flattened, terminal, loose heads, or cymes.
Yarrow can be used in fresh or dried form in teas, tinctures, oils, salves, and syrups. Use yarrow to increase circulation, open the pores, and induce sweating to gently lower body temperature. It is also an excellent first-aid herb to slow internal and external bleeding, to relax cramping of the digestive and reproductive organs, and as an antiseptic wash for wounds.
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT: BLEEDING: Cayenne capsules are a proven styptic. Open and apply externally to stop bleeding. It does burn, but it works! It will also warm cold feet when sprinkled inside boots.
Alternative styptics include comfrey and yarrow. Comfrey is perhaps the finest internal anti-hemorrhage and is great when used externally as well.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum): Cayenne is used to help digestion, including easing an upset stomach, slowing intestinal gas, stopping stomach pain and diarrhea, and as a natural remedy for cramps.
Cayenne is also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including improving poor circulation, reversing excessive blood clotting, lowering high cholesterol, and preventing heart disease.
When consumed, cayenne pepper has the power to relieve a toothache, seasickness, alcoholism, malaria, and fever. It’s also used to help people who have difficulty swallowing.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): is a tall and low maintenance perennial plant that is grown for its beauty and medicinal value. It has a deep taproot, is extremely drought tolerant, produces multi-colored flowers on forked cymes, and has pale flowers and dark green leaves. Comfrey is widely adapted, and will thrive in rich, organic soil. It is a rapid grower that needs a lot of nitrogen, therefore, adding organic matter to the soil is essential. Plant crown cuttings three-to-six inches deep. Plants that are grown for harvesting should be spaced three feet apart.
Comfrey leaves, flowers, and roots are used medicinally, with the root being a bit more potent and mucilaginous than the leaves. Leaves are gathered from the healthy plant any time during its growing season, although the best time for a leaf harvest is during flowering. Bundle the leaves in very small hatches and hang upside down out of the sun in a spot where there is good air circulation. Comfrey root can be dug in early spring, just as shoots emerge from the soil, or in the fall after frosts have cut back leafy material. The roots should be dug, cleaned, and cut into thin slices. Store leaves and roots when dried in airtight container out of the sun.
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT: BRUISES: Bruises are wounds where the skin is unbroken and often accompanied by discoloration. Useful herbs, typically applied topically in tincture form, include ginseng, hyssop, myrrh gum, prickly ash bark, cayenne, calendula, comfrey, and arnica.
Helichrysum essential oil: when applied neat, works very well on bruises, and is non-irritating. Application of the tincture combination or essential oil immediately following the injury may prevent the bruise from forming. Do not use these remedies on the eyes or mucous membranes and wash up thoroughly after use.
Arnica (Arnica Montana): a plant found in the northwestern parts of the U.S. and central Europe. The fresh plant has been chewed to reduce inflammation and bruising for centuries. Today, arnica can be used in the form of pills, creams, gels, and ointments.
Arnica has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, and hepatoprotective properties, making it an excellent choice for decreased bruising, reduced swelling, and pain relief. It aids in speeding up the healing process for bruises and stimulates the production of white blood cells which helps clear out congested blood and fluids from the affected area.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng): a perennial herb with sturdy taproots. The plants generally die back in the fall and reemerge from the root system in the spring. The leaves are palmately compound with 3–5 leaflets, the margins of which may be entire, toothed, or lobed. The inflorescence is a solitary umbel, a flat-topped cluster of flowers, with both bisexual and male flowers. The fruit is a drupe. Cultivated ginseng plants usually require 5–7 years to mature from seed.
Ginseng has the ability to stop bleeding, both internally and externally, promote normal circulation, assist in the dispersal of congealed blood, and enhance the re-absorption of blood clots. It also assists with a wide range of bleeding conditions such as soft tissue injury and bruising.
Hyssop (Hyssop officinalis): an aromatic, semi-evergreen, woody-based, shrubby perennial that grows in an erect bushy clump 18-24” tall. It is frequently grown in herb gardens and is native to the northern Mediterranean coast and Asia Minor. Hyssop features narrow, stalkless, toothed, aromatic, shiny dark green leaves 1” long. Fragrant, two-lipped, tubular, purple-blue flowers with protruding stamens bloom in whorls on long dense terminal spikes in mid to late summer. Foliage, flowers and plant oils have a long history of culinary and folk medicine uses. Leaves are used in cooking to flavor such things as meats, soups, sauces, salads or stews. Hyssop oil is currently used as a flavoring agent in Chartreuse liquor. Plants are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Hyssop’s anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for treating muscular rheumatism, bruising, wound healing. As a poultice, Hyssop can be used to treat bruises, scarring, frostbite, pink eye, insect bites, and dental cavities. The leaves are used to cleanse and purify the skin.