Natural first-aid is easy and inexpensive when you know what to use. If you’re looking to replace over-the-counter drugstore remedies with natural ones, this list gives our top 5 items you should always have in your natural first-aid kit.
People often ask us about how to start using natural substances for general first aid at home. It might seem complicated to figure out, especially if you don’t have much experience with natural remedies. For most people, their first-aid kit is filled with over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications that are supposed to resolve minor issues. These would include minor burns, bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes, aches and pains, indigestion and tension.
One of the problems with over-the-counter meds is that they often don’t work as advertised, or they might work, but have unpleasant side effects. Before Jay and I met, each of us had already shifted our focus to more natural living, so we had experience using home remedies. Once we got married, we continued that momentum together. Over many years, we gained practical experience with a huge variety of herbal and natural remedies that work amazingly well for every day common health issues.
There are so many profound herbs, spices and natural substances around the world and we are always intrigued to discover yet another. But for this article, we’ll focus on just five important items that you need in your natural first-aid kit. Obviously, five items will not cover everything that could possibly happen, but these five cover a lot of ground!
This list also only has one item that is ready made… because we believe that the closer to basics we can keep, the better. There are beautiful and effective products on the market, but they will be more expensive than simply using natural substances. In order to make it into the top five, we’ve considered that each item should:
Be easy to find
There is no point in telling someone that they absolutely need an obscure and hard to find natural remedy. From experience, I know that it’s very frustrating to be told that you need “whatever”… and then you have a difficult time finding that “whatever.” Although there are many lesser known items that may be effective, we want to give you a list of basic materials that you can find easily.
When we try to switch out some of our over-the-counter medicines with natural ones, another road block is the price point. Truth? Over-the-counter health products are mass produced and cheap and it’s difficult to justify spending more money on something natural.
That’s why our list of 5 items for your natural first-aid kit only includes those things that are inexpensive compared with their drugstore counterparts. Additionally, they are powerfully effective, unlike many over-the-counter items that promise a lot but don’t deliver.
Have multiple uses
We try to keep things simple, and that means choosing natural remedies that serve more than one purpose. Sure, specialty items can be powerful and important for an ailment that can’t be otherwise easily treated with more common ingredients. But for daily health issues, many natural items have multiple uses and that cuts down on your initial investment in your natural first-aid kit.
Top Five Items For Your Natural First-Aid Kit
Turmeric has so many uses for first aid and for health that I actually wrote another very long and detailed post just about turmeric, as our number one choice for all-round herb. So please check that article out if you want to know more.inflammation.
For wounds or cuts
Turmeric can be used for minor cuts and scrapes, because it is a powerful anti-bacterial agent. Just make a thin paste of turmeric powder and water and cover the cleaned wound and let it dry. This keeps it from becoming infected and also helps to decreas
For pain and inflammation
Turmeric can be taken in capsules or by the teaspoon or as a hot “tea” beverage (or as a turmeric “latte” with milk). Known for its analgesic (pain relieving) effects, turmeric can be taken to relieve headache, body aches and pain from arthritis and sciatica. For pain relief, it is recommended to take 300-500 mg of curcumin (turmeric’s most active ingredient) 2-3 times per day. With about 200 mg of curcumin per teaspoon of pure turmeric powder, that would be about 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder taken 2-3 times per day, depending on the severity of symptoms. Always use whole turmeric powder, not isolated curcumin powder, as traditional medicinal systems tell us that it is the synergy of an herb’s components that gives us the maximum healing results.
For acne or blemishes
Turmeric can be mixed with water and applied as a face mask or as a spot treatment for painful, red and unsightly blemishes. Allow to dry and then gently rinse off. For more details about using turmeric for facial treatments this article about ubtans, natural facial treatments is helpful.
Note: Turmeric is bright yellow and can temporarily stain lighter skin tones. Just wipe off any remaining tint with an astringent (like witch hazel or vinegar) after washing turmeric off of skin. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent. You can also try mild soap for removing turmeric residue or itches and skin rashes: A paste of turmeric and water is also good to soothe insect bites and sunburned skin.
You can add turmeric powder regularly in cooking for extra health benefits and for that brilliant beautiful golden color. It has a mild flavor, so will not change the taste of most soups and casseroles if you use less than ¼ teaspoon. Turmeric is inexpensive and easy to find and can be purchased in bulk (I usually buy organic turmeric in bulk ✓) or in capsule form ✓.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is another must for natural first aid. Universally known as a mood elevator and calming agent, lavender essential oil is perfect for relieving tension, anxiety or stress. Essential oil of lavender can be diffused into the environment via an aromatherapy diffuser in times of stress or upset. It can also be added to bath water or to body soap while showering.
Or, more simply, it can be breathed in by just passing the open essential oil bottle under the nose and inhaling. It smells wonderful! Great for calming down fussy or temperamental children. (Rub on soles of feet or on wrists to promote sleep and soothing.)
The second amazing use for lavender essential oil is to treat minor household or kitchen burns. In my vast years of kitchen experience, I have burned my fingers, hands and arms too many times to count and I have probably tried every natural remedy out there! Although there are many that work well, in my experience, nothing is so effective as lavender essential oil for minor burns. I have even found it to be more effective than the highly acclaimed aloe vera, although aloe vera is quite wonderful in its own right.
I use organic lavender essential oil ✓ mixed with a few drops of a carrier oil, such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil, rubbed directly onto the burn as soon as possible, with excellent results.
The oil can be reapplied as it is absorbed, as often as is comfortable. I have found that burns heal more quickly with less pain, and scarring is much less. Some people opt to put drops of pure essential oil directly from the bottle onto a minor burn, but that would depend on your skin and how it reacts to pure essential oils, which are very potent and might damage delicate skin.
You can also used a diluted version of lavender oil in the form of a roll-on.
For more info and instructions for how to make a lavender essential oil roll-on, please check out this article on essential oils for anxiety, which includes a section on lavender and also gives the DIY recipe at the end of the article.
Important point: The use of lavender essential oil for burns is only suggested for minor burns! For 2nd or 3rd degree burns, please! Seek medical attention. Deeper burns can effect the nerves and can also become infected more easily.
3. Arnica Salve
Arnica salve is probably the most important natural remedy you can use for bruises, bumps, sprains and other minor injuries that include swelling. This useful remedy, made from the flowers and rhizome of the Arnica plant, can be gently rubbed into the affected area for a soothing result. Additionally, homeopathic arnica tablets can be taken internally to speed up the healing process.
Arnica is also effective for pain and swelling due to arthritis.
While arnica is exceptional for bruises and bumps, it should not be used for open cuts and wounds. Arnica salves usually include a variety of topical pain relieving herbs and oils, so I suggest buying a good quality prepared salve like this excellent one from Mountain Mel’s ✓, if you don’t want to make your own (which is also quite easy, if you’re into DIY).
Echinacea is a powerful natural remedy for colds and flu symptoms and other ailments. Echinacea purpurea and echinacea angustofolia use has been recorded since the time of the Native Americans, hundreds of years ago, and are still highly effective today.
Echinacea is not recommended to be taken as a preventative, but rather, is most effective when taken at the first signs of cough or cold. Taking echinacea will alleviate symptoms and shorten the time and severity of sickness.
Echinacea tincture can also be applied to wounds to prevent infection and used as a skin soother for rashes and eczema. Plus, echinacea can be mixed with water and used as a throat spray during colds and to relieve coughs. It’s always smart to have a good quality echinacea tincture like this one ✓on hand in your natural first-aid kit. Echinacea can also be taken as an immune-boosting tea ✓at the onset of a bout of flu.
For more details about echinacea and how to make your own echinacea tincture, please read this article about the many uses of echinacea.
5. Baking Soda
This last item may come as a surprise, but common baking soda is a wonderful and inexpensive natural remedy!
This 100% natural substance, also known as bicarbonate of soda, has long been known for its many healthful and practical uses. In fact, in 1925, Arm & Hammer, encouraged by prominent physicians of the time, produced a booklet, “A Friend In Need” (Tested Medicinal Uses of Bicarbonate of Soda), to educate the public on the many therapeutic uses of baking soda.
You can sometimes even find a vintage original copy of the booklet for sale online.
Here is a quick list of baking soda’s important uses:
So many people today suffer from acid indigestion or heartburn, and as a result, become addicted to over-the-counter acid relievers. Baking soda is alkalizing and reduces stomach acid, so adults can easily take from ½ up to 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and get fast results. This can be done every few hours until the situation improves,but it is usually fast-acting. Plus, it is incredibly inexpensive!
The alkalizing effect of baking soda is beneficial to avoid numerous ailments that are associated with high acidity in the stomach.
Baking soda can be used to brighten teeth and to remove tooth plaque. Just a sprinkle of baking soda on a dampened toothbrush will help to polish and shine the teeth.
You can also take a mixture of salt and baking soda (½ teaspoon each) in a cup of water and rinse the mouth and gargle with this mixture every morning. This will destroy bacteria in the mouth associated with tooth decay and help to maintain fresh breath.
Help to dry pimples and soothe itchy skin
Baking soda can be made into a thin paste with water and dotted onto pimples to dry them out. Allow the mixture to dry and gently wash off. This paste can also be applied on the entire face for exfoliating.
For bug bites (or swelling bee stings) or itchy skin, the paste can also be applied to skin to soothe irritation.
Stop both diarrhea and constipation
Baking soda is adaptogenic, which means it has the ability to resolve imbalance that manifests differently in different people. So, it can both stop diarrhea or relieve constipation depending on what is needed, and can be taken safely for either issue.
You will have to try baking soda to see how this age-old remedy works for you… you may need to adjust the amounts for your particular symptoms, but here’s a start point:
For diarrhea: add 1/3 – ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 2 tablespoons of water. Add the juice of one lemon into the baking soda/water and stir. Quickly drink the mixture down while it is foaming.
For constipation: mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in ¼ cup warm water and drink down quickly.
To soothe sore throat
Gargle with a mixture of 1 teaspoon baking soda in ½ cup warm water. Gargle for a few seconds with a mouthful of the mixture, spit out and repeat until the glass is empty.
DIY natural deodorant
Mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda and add enough water to make a paste. Coat your armpits with a thin layer of the paste and let dry. Once dry, lightly rub off excess dried baking soda. This natural deodorant absorbs odors and Jay says that it works better than any other deodorant he ever used.
This is important, because most commercial deodorants products (particularly those that are also advertised as anti-antiperspirants) contain aluminum, which is toxic when absorbed directly into the blood stream. Aluminum is known to cause breast cancer and other cancers, reproductive issues and Altzeimer’s.
If you stock your first aid kit with these five simple items, and begin using them regularly, you will be well on your way to treating everyday aches, pains and other common issues naturally. It takes time to get used to something new, but if you want to avoid chemicals in your everyday first-aid kit, it’s worth the effort.
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