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 six important items that you need in your natural first-aid kit. Obviously, six items will not cover everything that could possibly happen, but these six cover a lot of ground!
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 six, 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 6 items for your natural first-aid kit only includes those things that are fairly inexpensive. 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.
Note: This article was (updated and the title changed accordingly) to include iodine (making 6 items in this list!). Iodine is inexpensive and very useful for so many reasons that we felt to include it in this list of “must-haves” for natural first-aid.
Top Six 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 decrease inflammation.
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 ✓.
Iodine is one of the most important trace elements that humans need for health. As such, it’s a “must-have” to keep on hand in your natural first-aid kit.
Iodine has a long, successful history as a powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic agent. Iodine is excellent for putting on wounds, cuts and scrapes as a disinfectant, for treating bacterial infections like shingles and for eczema and psoriasis. It’s also great for purifying water in emergency situations.
As most people are iodine deficient these days, iodine can be used not only for first-aid, but also as a supplement. Iodine deficiency is the cause of numerous conditions and diseases. (see below)
For topical use, most people use povidone iodine that is usually sold in pharmacies. But that contains Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), a synthetic polymer chemical that some people are allergic to… it can even cause life threatening anayphalactic shock! It doesn’t happen that often, but why take the chance?
Rather than putting synthetic carrier chemicals in your system, we suggest using a 100% natural iodine supplement that works for topical and internal use. This one is a good product; it’s water based and totally safe!
If you want to learn what diseases are cause by iodine deficiency and see if you have any health symptoms that coincide with iodine deficiency, check out my in-depth article all about iodine here:
3. 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 ✓ rubbed directly onto the burn as soon as possible, with excellent results. Lavender essential oil is considered a “neat” oil, one that is safe for most people to use directly on the skin without diluting. However, if you have sensitive skin, you can mix lavender with a few drops of a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil.
Lavender essential 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.
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.
4. 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 arnica salve like this excellent one by Boericke & Tafel ✓ that is homeopathic, non-greasy and works wonders – 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.
6. 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.
Baking soda is important to have on hand because it can treat many little minor annoyances that come up in daily life. The most common use for baking soda is as an antacid. Just drinking ½ up to 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and can bring fast results from heartburn and indigestion.
Baking soda also works very well to relieve bug bites and bee stings and to soothe sunburn when made into a paste. It also stops both diarrhea and constipation, is a natural toothpaste, soothes sore throats and can be used as a natural deodorant.
If you stock your first aid kit with these six 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.
Thank you for reading! If this post has piqued your interest and you find it useful, inspiring or otherwise magical, please pin it and follow us on Pinterest and/or share it on Facebook via the icons to the left… And we’re always happy to hear from you via the Contact page.*This Article First Written: June 22, 2021