When someone says “First Aid Kit” the first thing to come to mind is band-aids. But there is more to being prepared than having those convenient little adhesive bandages on hand. Previously, we discussed essential oils to keep in a first aid kit and using them for emergencies. In this post, I’d like to discuss a few conventional items to have, as well has some herbal preparations.
The following items are things no first aid kit should be without.
- Adhesive bandages
- 4×4 gauze squares
- Medical tape
- Anti-bacterial salve
I would also consider ditching the typical, petroleum-based antibacterial salve for something natural. If you tried making your own salve as instructed in last week’s post, use that. I have made ointments that worked more effectively than the highly recommended brand name.
Raw Honey—Honey has been used since ancient times for healing wounds. One of the active constituents in honey, inhibine, reacts with the glucose in our bodies to produce hydrogen peroxide, making honey an antibacterial treatment. For more information, I suggest reading The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World by the late Dr. Guido Majno.
Arnica— Using arnica immediately after a fall or injury virtually eliminates bruising. We like to keep several arnica preparations on hand—the homeopathic tablets to take orally, and the oil or ointment to apply topically. When our children were toddlers and prone to falling and bumping heads, arnica tablets soothed them faster than anything. We had a lot less “goose eggs” when the arnica tablets were on hand.
Rhus tox—This homeopathic preparation has prevented many outbreaks of poison ivy in our family. Take the tablets before being exposed and after your outing to fight the effects of the toxic oils in the plant.
Cayenne powder—Cayenne is a powerful styptic. When applied to a bleeding wound, the bleeding will immediately stop. I often wondered if this were true, and if the person would have to suffer burning in exchange, so I tested it. Treating an ingrown toenail on my daughter required that I cut away a piece of skin that was preventing the toenail from extracting. Realizing that it would bleed, I poured a little cayenne powder out of my spice cabinet onto a piece of paper before beginning. As soon as the incision was made, I poured the cayenne on and the bleeding immediately stopped. My daughter didn’t even know what it was because it did not burn at all.
Apple cider vinegar—In his book Folk Medicine, Dr. D.C. Jarvis shares how apple cider vinegar prevents the unpleasant effects of food poisoning. He recommends that after eating suspicious foods (like the wedding buffet that has sat out for hours in the garden) you put one teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Take one teaspoon of this liquid every five minutes until gone. If you develop symptoms, prepare a second glass and take two teaspoons every hour.
I could go on with treatments for flu, fever, or headache, but then I would be going out of the scope of the first aid kit and getting into the medicine chest. What about you? What are your favorite herbal remedies for an emergency situation? Please share in the comments.