I started studying medicine and natural healing from a very young age and am very passionate about natural health and first aid. I’m glad to see it gaining popularity today – especially in the mum brigade who want healthy safe treatments for their children – but I’ve noticed that although many writers focus on herbs and plant based oils and products, there are a few simple things that are being overlooked.
Here is a list of the natural products I have kept in my first aid kit and medicine chest for years Your Natural First Aid Kit that I blogged a few years ago, and I still swear by them, especially:
Calendula I want this to be used for bites, stings, bruises, open skin wounds, and even burns that don’t require medical attention. I would rather you use calendula than aloe vera, simply because many people have been told to snap open a leaf of aloe vera and rub it directly on the skin – this is far too strong for most people’s skin, espeically children. If you aren’t an experienced healer, and you want to sue aloe vera, at least buy a commercial aloe vera gel, that will be much kinder to the skin. Calendula (or English Marigold) is one of my all time favourites for versatility and effectiveness.
Castor Oil I don’t ever use this internally, its not that it is unsafe, it is just unnecessary to be used for constipation when there are much better options. What I wish you knew is how powerful this oil is at drawing debris and foreign bodies from wounds – from grit, splinters, and glass fragments, I haven’t met a match for castor oil. Putting the castor oil on a clean dressing leaving it overnight you will be amazed how much muck comes out of wound painlessly. This should really be used more often in emergency rooms rather than forceps and tweezer removal of debris.
Just this week I have recommended to two friends that they use an oat bath for rash and chicken pox, in both cases the people responded that they had rolled oats but no muslin cloth. So here we go…
Muslin Cloth I can’t emphasise strongly enough how great a supply of clean muslin cloth is. It is fantastic for compresses, especially chesty infections and fever compress. And when you need an oat soak for rash, skin irritation, and even chicken pox, you are going to want to place your oats in a firmly wrapped muslin draw string bag or fabric parcel so that you don’t have to pick all the oats out of the water before you pull the plug! I’d be lost without muslin.
Wheat Heat Pack I love to use my gel hot/cold pack, it is kept in the freezer at all times, ready for an iced application, and can go directly into the microwave when heat is required, but that doesn’t mean I’d toss out my wheat heat packs. These I use for stabilising a limb, especially legs, when you need to elevate your leg or foot especially, nestle it into a wheat heat pack (whether you’ve warmed it or not) and you will have a steady little nest to keep your limb still. Its almost like a splint except you haven’t splinted it at all!
Flannels I keep 4 in the kit at all times. One for each paw of my dog! I always had clean flannels in the cupboard of course, but I increased the number in my first aid kit when I adopted Fizzy, because if he overheats, I can put a cold wet compress on each paw, this is where dogs cool down. You can also use a cold wet towel on a dog’s neck and head (but keep their face uncovered). A supply of clean flannels also helps you quickly clean up after an incident requiring first aid.
Salt The first aid enthusiast might have a weak saline wash in their kit or cupboard – these are usually dilute – and are used to rinse an open wound. That’s great if you have one, but you are going to need to replace it each time you use it up. I like salt. Real, pure, salt, ready for me to use in any strength I like. I can make a mouthwash or gargle when I have a sore in my mouth or a sore throat. I can use salt directly on a wound in a stronger wash or soaked dressing any time I like. Salt is a natural antimicrobial agent, using it on wounds reduces the ability of infection to take hold, and can help reduce swelling and discharge (as it can be very drying, good if you have a weeping, sore wound). It stings but it works!
There are many surprising and underrated first aid and health supplies out there, and if you want to share one that you feel strongly about, I’d love to hear it.