There’s a certain appeal in turning to the natural world when looking to heal yourself. Of course, there’s the deep need to get in touch with a long-lost part of yourself. But, natural treatments have been a part of history since… well, since human beings became a part of history. There’s even some evidence that the great apes use herbs to self-medicate.1
But the reasons to use nature to heal aren’t just esoteric, there are really good practical reasons too.
Now it’s true, the organic movement sprouted as a way to push back against the many chemical additives in food. And this movement has since extended to household products and the like.2
And, of course, if you need serious medical treatment, you should always contact your healthcare professional. But, in certain minor situations, a natural first aid kit can offer a whole new set of easy, affordable, and efficient treatment options.
So consider yours an ADDITION to your existing first aid kit — and remember: if you’re unsure of how to care for a wound or illness, talk to your doctor.
Checking Out Your Options
So, what are the types of situations in which you might consider using natural first aid tools?
Generally speaking, minor scrapes and injuries are a good place to start. Turns out, most of the studies out there on natural first aid are related to healing smaller wounds. These types of wounds can include –
- Bug Bites
Combined with conventional bandages and other items, using natural treatments can have you feeling better in no time.
So, here are some of the most important additions to your…
Natural First Aid Kit
The first item you’ll want to make sure to stock up on for your kit is aloe vera. There are two significant reasons for this.
First, aloe vera is one of the most versatile plants around. In fact, when its juice is consumed, aloe vera can even support your oral and digestive health.5,6
Second, aloe vera gel can be really helpful in a variety of ways.
Aloe vera gel is the clear, thick gel found inside the aloe vera leaf. You can apply this to help heal wounds and burns – especially sunburns.7 Aloe vera gel is simple enough to use easily, too. Just apply a liberal amount to the affected area and let it do its work. Aloe gel is a common component of many skincare products.
How can one little plant do so much? Well, aloe vera is 99% water, so it’s really useful when it comes to hydrating your skin. But it’s that other 1% that makes all the difference.
That 1% contains about 200 active compounds like –
- Amino acids8
Just remember, when it comes to wound healing the most important components are called glycoproteins. These substances help your body fight pain and inflammation. But the other substances in aloe gel can help stimulate new skin growth and repair. And some folks even report that aloe can provide immune support too.9
Tea Tree Oil
Now, much like aloe vera, tea tree oil is a common component in many body care products. In fact, you can find this derivative of the Australian Narrow-leaved Paperbark in the following types of household items –
- Lip Balm
- Topical Creams
- Essential Oils
And lots of people use strong, pure tea tree oil to create their own cleaning solutions or as a repellent for bugs.10
But the main reason people love tea tree oil so much is that it has great antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. And there is reliable scientific evidence that does suggest tea tree oil can help prevent and treat infections.11
Tea tree makes a perfect addition to your natural first aid kit. But remember that with tea tree oil, a little can go a long way. If you overuse it, you may notice irritation. Consider starting small or diluting tea tree oil with another type of oil – like olive or almond oil. And you should know that tea tree oil is not considered safe for oral consumption.
Tea tree oil is just one of many beneficial essential oils. Essential oils are basically compounds that are extracted from good-for-you plants. They’re commonly used for aromatherapy or to simply make your house smell delightful. However, certain essential oils could fit well into your natural first aid kit.
For example, you may be able to use certain essential oils to help deal with that nagging headache. In fact, studies have shown that a peppermint oil and ethanol mixture applied to the temples can relieve headache pain. The same has been discovered with chamomile and sesame oils. Interestingly, the latter was a traditional remedy in Persia.12,13
Lavender oil also bears mentioning because it has a pretty interesting function – it can help support better sleep quality. While it may not be an emergency issue, sleep quality informs your health in so many ways. Go ahead and give this essential oil a try.14
Just remember — straight essential oils can be irritating to the skin, so consider diluting them with almond oil or olive oil if applying them topically.
Witch hazel is another really useful herb that predates modern medicine. For instance, Native Americans have used witch hazel for a long time for its astringent and antioxidant properties.15There is potential for even more use, though.
One German study showed that witch hazel has antiviral properties that may be able to help inhibit the spread of cold sores. This is due to the presence of an active chemical called tannic acid. Some believe that tannic acid may be able to treat a wide variety of skin issues.16
Putting Your Kit Together
Now, when you’ve got your winning ingredients all picked out, it’s easy to put together a natural first aid kit!
- Find a green equivalent for common staples like bandages, tape, or blankets.
- Add first-aid kit essentials like scissors, tweezers, and an instruction booklet for how to use your various items.
- Don’t forget contact information like emergency phone numbers.
- Ask a doctor you trust to help you fill in the gaps.17,18
It’s also important to make sure that you find good sources for the herbs that you use. There are a lot of commercial products out there that contain the right herbs and oils.
But it could actually be better – and more fun – to buy loose herbs and prepare the tinctures and salves yourself.
And if you run up against a hurdle, just go online and ask for help. There’s a pretty big organic online community. Some of its members would most likely be able to help you out with specific instructions and advice.
The Natural First Aid Kit In Review
People have been using natural remedies for centuries. And even now, it looks like these old methods have been given new life. Of course, you shouldn’t replace conventional treatments completely or ever ignore the advice of your healthcare professional. But a natural first aid kit can help you travel lighter, rough it in the wilderness, or free you from spending on and supporting major brands.
Make sure to keep your doctor in the loop, and always ask your doctor before adding new things to your healthcare routine. Who knows, they might be able to help you find the best items for your kit!
For more health tips, read on here:
Ayurvedic Secrets: Health Benefits of Fenugreek
5 Ways to Improve Your Digestive Microflora
The Importance of Gut Health & How It Affects Your Brain