Despite our best attempts to live a healthy, toxin-free life, there are times when illness or injury occurs. In some of these cases (like trauma) conventional medical treatment is certainly warranted, and I’m certainly grateful that medical treatment is available if needed.
But what about times when the illness or injury is not life threatening, but just uncomfortable or limiting?
Here is a list of what you will find in my “medicine cabinet”. It is a combination of remedies that I have tested myself, those suggested by a naturopath and those that I hope I never need!
Please note that I am not a doctor and do not play it on the internet, so this list is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in place of medical care.
Natural remedies and herbs in my first aid kit
Note: Since these are just loose herbs, they require preparation in some cases, but buying them here is a cheaper alternative to capsules or pre-made remedies. Personally, I get most of my herbs this way and make my own tinctures and ointments.
Activated carbon For acute use in food poisoning, intestinal illnesses, vomiting, diarrhea, ingestion of toxins, etc. Also keep the local poison control number handy in case a child ingests a poisonous substance and take the child to hospital immediately if they have swallowed a battery or magnet!
Arnica– Topical cream used for muscle pain or injury, bruising or any type of trauma. We have found that it dramatically reduces healing time or bruising and sore muscles when used topically right after an injury. Not for internal use or use on open cuts.
Cayenne powder– Although it is a good addition to many foods, it is even better to have it in a medicine cabinet. I also keep a few cayenne capsules in my purse. Topically, Cayenne powder helps stop bleeding quickly. I have read cases of being taken internally during heart attacks to increase blood flow and help clear the blockage, but luckily I have never had to test this one. It is also a useful remedy to take internally during illness as it increases blood flow and speeds healing.
Chamomile– I use it to make a relaxing tincture it helps calm children down if they are sick or just have trouble sleeping. The tincture also works wonders on teething gums. the dried flowers can also be made into a poultice with gauze and placed over one eye for 15 minutes every hour to quickly reverse pink eye (usually works in a few hours). Infused as a tea, chamomile is a relaxing drink in the evening and the tea can be chilled and rubbed into the stomachs of infants with colic to soothe them. I sometimes add infused chamomile tea to the child’s bath because it is great for the skin and promotes relaxation. I keep the dye in my bag at all times.
Comfrey– An external herb that promotes healing of wounds and fractures. A plantain-comfrey poultice placed over a wound can dramatically reduce healing time and help prevent and reverse infection. I make a homemade “Neosporin” with this and other herbs and use it on insect bites, cuts, bruises and poison ivy. It’s best to keep the dried herb on hand for homemade poultices and ointments.
Eucalyptus grass and Essential oils– I keep on site for respiratory type problems. We use eucalyptus herb in a steamer face for congestion or sinus issues and I do a gentle (and no oil) version of Vapo-Rub for cough and respiratory diseases. The essential oil can be diluted with coconut oil or olive oil and applied externally to the feet and chest to help open the nasal passages.
Ginger capsules– Ginger is great for nausea, reflux, upset stomach and morning sickness. I also keep some in the car for motion sickness. It helps soothe the stomach after digestive illness or food poisoning.
Echinacea– I keep a homemade echinacea tincture on hand for serious illnesses. I don’t use it as a first resort, but it is useful with prolonged illness.
Peppermint herb and Essential oil– Another great digestive herb. For stomach ailments or digestive ailments, the herb is made into tea. The tincture can be used internally or externally for headaches or digestive disorders and when combined with a few other digestive herbs it makes a very effective digestive aid and remedy for nausea. The essential oil applied behind the ears and on the feet helps relieve headaches or nausea and a weak tea made from the herb and rubbed into the skin can help soothe a colicky baby. We also use essential oil in our homemade toothpaste.
Plantain– You probably pulled it up like a weed without knowing it! I keep the dried herb on hand at all times to make it a poultice against poison ivy, bites, stings, cuts and infections. In a pinch, I plucked some from the ground, chewed it and put it on a bee sting… it immediately relieved the pain.
Slippery elm– Useful for sore or sore throat or when you lose your voice. These lozenges taste good and are useful for children with sore throats. The herb itself can be used in tinctures or teas to relieve sore throats.
Apple cider vinegar– I keep a bottle of organic apple cider vinegar with “the mother” on hand for digestive problems, indigestion, food poisoning, etc. Taken at a dose of 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water every hour, it helps shorten the duration of any type of illness, although it is difficult to convince children to take it on purpose.
Vitamin C– Useful for all illnesses, but especially flu-related illnesses. I keep the powder on hand as it contains no additives and can be mixed with food or drink for children to consume.
Aloe vera– We have one growing around the house for burns and blisters.
Epsom salt– Good as a bath tub for sore muscles. Dissolved in water, it can also be a good soak to help remove splinters.
Hydrogen peroxide– I keep several bottles on hand at all times. It is perfect for disinfecting, cleaning small cuts and in my Homemade OxyClean. Personally, I also use a dropper filled with hydrogen peroxide in the ear at the first sign of an ear infection (but see your doctor first). I leave the peroxide on for 15 minutes or until it stops bubbling, then repeat on the other side.
Homemade neosporin– I make my own “boo-boo” lotion as my kids call it (no petroleum needed). I keep it in small boxes and in lip containers for a size on the go. I use this on cuts, bruises, rashes, and any other antibiotic ointments that might be used.
Witch Hazel– I keep a gallon on hand for use on cuts, scrapes, and cosmetic uses. It makes a great skin tonic and is good for the postpartum buttocks. 🙂
Gelatin– I take gelatin regularly for its health benefits, but I also keep it handy for first aid and illness. Homemade chicken soup’s natural gelatin (from bones and tissue) is one of the things that makes it so nourishing during illness. During any type of illness, the patient receives gelatin in different ways: in food, homemade jelly, smoothies and hot tea.
Baking soda– Also a good remedy to keep on hand. For severe heartburn or urinary tract infections, 1/4 teaspoon can be taken internally to help relieve quickly. It can also be made into a poultice and used on sider bites.
Probiotics– Here are the the strongest probiotics I have found and we use them during any illness and after illness to repair gut bacteria. I have seen clients improve skin condition by using probiotics regularly, and I recommend them especially to pregnant women, as newborn babies receive their gut bacteria from their mothers. For kids who constantly suffer from ear diseases and infections, probiotics can really help too.
Coconut oil– From skin ointment to diaper cream, makeup remover and anti-fungal treatment, coconut oil is awesome! I keep some in the first aid kit to add remedies to take internally, use in tinctures, and apply externally to dry skin and chapped lips.
Better health drugs
The only drugs you’ll find in my closet come from Genexa and their line of drugs without coloring, preservatives and additives. They have everything from pain relievers to saline solutions, as well as homeopathic medicines. You may also be able to find them at a local pharmacy near you!
- Patch Bandages- These bandages are made from 100% organic bamboo and are enriched with coconut oil.
- Butterfly bandages
- Super glue– On minor to moderate skin cuts (not puncture wounds), use superglue and butterfly bandages. I have used this instead of stitches a few times and it healed faster and left less scarring than the places where I had stitches. This works especially for the face and other visible areas that heal easily or in the hair where other bandages may be difficult to apply. I have also used it on the fingertips or knuckles (I’m infamous for grating knuckles while cooking) or other places where bandages won’t stay well.
- Strips of sterilized muslin cloth in plastic bags to wrap wounds.
- Cut the woolen sleeves from old sweaters to cover bandages and hold ice packs
- Hot water bottle
- Enema kit
- Bulb syringe and Nose frida to help with congestion in children
- Homemade ice cream pack (Just freeze liquid dish soap or rubbing alcohol in a double bag ziplock bag and use it as an ice pack.
Are you using natural remedies for illness or first aid? Share your tips below!