Your Home First Aid Kit
Too often we have forgotten that most of what you need you can make yourself at home. This is how my personal first aid kit came into being. I believe in simplicity. I don’t see the point in having a first aid kit so full of creams, oils, pills and potions that you can’t remember what to do with them. My first aid kit has the bare essentials in it so when it’s needed it swings into action immediately. There is nothing complex about it. You will need to buy the essential oils. The rest of the kit can either be bought or home made, whichever is easiest for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment yourself. It can be so satisfying to learn first hand how to care for yourself and others in simple inexpensive ways whenever help is needed.
LESLIE’S FIRST AID KIT
|Remedy||What it Does||How to Use|
To Make or Buy
|Arnica ointment||Contains anti-inflammatory helenalin, provides pain relief, is antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.||Apply to bruises and bumps, sprains and strains. Apply ice to the injury first to reduce swelling and follow with arnica cream. Repeat twice a day until healed.
Caution: Do not use on broken skin
|Aloe Vera Gel||Soothing, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. It contains carboxypeptidase and bradykininase that relieve pain.||Apply to minor burns and sunburn. Smooth it over the burn where it will take away the pain, reduce swelling and keep the skin moist to allow good healing.
If you have a plant, pick a leaf, slit it open and use the gel fresh. Or slit open a leaf and lay it, gel-side on the burn. Hold it in place with a bandage.
|Calendula & Comfrey Ointment||Comfrey contains allantoin that speeds skin healing. Calendula contains triterpenes that encourage new cell growth.||Apply to bumps and bruises instead of arnica ointment (see above).
Wash cuts and scrapes with diluted tea tree oil (see below) and apply ointment to speed healing.
Apply to burns once they have begun to heal to reduce scarring.
|St John’s Wort Oil||Provides pain relief when applied externally||
Apply to clean minor burns and sunburn to relieve pain.
|Tea Tree Oil||Tea tree contains the powerful antiseptic terpinen-4-ol (do not use internally)||Dilute 4 drops of tea tree oil in ½ cup of water to make an antiseptic wash for cuts and scrapes. Wash wounds well with clean water, then soak a piece of cotton wool in tea tree and water and swab the wound to prevent infection.|
|Willow Bark||Makes a pain-killing tea with the effect of aspirin||Make as a tea – pour a cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of crushed bark, steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink – to relieve pain. Good for injuries such as strains and sprains, and will relieve pain from minor burns and sunburn.|
|Tincture of Echinacea||Antiseptic. Although you can make your own tincture I would recommend buying some from a reputable supplier to ensure a good level of active constituents.||Take 1 teaspoon in a little water 3 times a day where there is risk of infection – cuts & scrapes, burns and sunburn.|
|Rescue Remedy||Dr Bach’s famous flower remedy. A few drops in a glass of water treats shock.||Any injury or emergency – for the patient and the carer! Put a few drops in a glass of water and sip.|
|Essential oil of Peppermint||Provides pain relief and is antiseptic (do not use internally)||Use a drop of the oil neat on insect bites and stings to relieve pain and itching.|
|Essential oil of Thyme||Anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic (do not use internally)||Use a compress to relieve sprains and strains. Add 10 drops of the essential oil to 1 tablespoon of cold water. Soak a length of cotton sheet in the mixture and wring it out. Fold the cloth so that it covers the injured part and loosely bind with a cotton bandage. Alternate ice pack and compress every 2 minutes.|
|Essential oil of Lavender||Provides pain relief, and is relaxing and soothing (do not use internally)||A drop of the oil neat on insect bites and stings will soothe pain.
For sunburn, take a cool bath with 2-3 drops of lavender oil to soothe and a tablespoon of cider vinegar to restore the skin’s natural acid mantle.
You can buy arnica, comfrey, and calendula ointments from health food shops and reputable herbal suppliers. I like to mix comfrey and calendula in the same ointment so I prefer to make my own. I tend to make double quantities of the base and split it in two, making one ointment with arnica and the other with calendula and comfrey. You can make a comfrey ointment and a calendula ointment if you prefer to apply them separately.
- 2 tablespoons almond or grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon beeswax
- 2 teaspoons of tincture (2 teaspoons tincture of arnica, calendula or comfrey. For my calendula and comfrey ointment add one teaspoon of calendula and one teaspoon of comfrey tincture.)
Put the oil and beeswax in a double boiler and allow the beeswax to dissolve into the oil, stirring well. Test by dropping a little on a plate and allowing to cool at room temperature. It should be soft enough to scoop from a jar. If it’s too runny add a little more beeswax until you have a good consistency. Stir in your tincture, allow to cool a little and pour into jars. Seal straight away and store in a cool, dark place. It should keep for up to a year.
Aloe Vera Gel
There are many aloe vera products on the market, some of which do not have a great deal of aloe vera in them. When buying aloe vera gel be sure you have the real thing.
Alternatively, keep an aloe plant on your window ledge. When you need aloe to apply to burns and sunburn you can simply cut off a leaf and scrape the gel out of the middle. Even more simply you can split the leaf and turn it inside out, placing it gel-side down on the burn.
For an instant supply, cut several leaves and scrape out the gel. Put in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer until you have a thick paste. Store in sterile jars, preferably in the fridge. Keep an eye on it for mould and throw it away if it begins to grow any.
St John’s Wort Oil
You can buy this bright red oil from good herbal suppliers. It is very simple to make for yourself, however.
To make St John’s Wort Oil, pick the flowers late in the summer, and be careful not to stain your fingers with its distinctive red oil. Leave them to release some of their moisture overnight so they are well wilted. Chop them up and put them in a glass jar. Cover them with olive oil, then add another 2 inches of olive oil on top. Cover with cheesecloth or muslin as the oil will go mouldy if moisture is not allowed to escape. Put the jar in a warm, sunny place for three weeks (a greenhouse is a good place). Pick the jar up and swirl the oil around gently each day. Strain the oil and bottle. Keep it in a cool, dark place.