Herbal First Aid – Assembling a Kit

Herbal First Aid - How to Assemble a Kit :: Five Little Homesteaders

Like most of you, I like to keep things as natural as possible around our little homestead.

I’m not afraid to break out our family’s first aid kit when a particularly bad cut comes across my motherly-path but for minor cuts, bruises and other common ailments, the big guns aren’t always necessary.  For a lot of complaints, items in my herbal first aid kit can easily soothe and fix the problem.

I buy most of my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I find their products to be of high quality, well packaged and easy to obtain.  My local health food store carries many varieties of herbs, as well, but honestly, unless I’m in a bind, I still prefer the quality I get from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Also, before I start, I’m going to remind you that I’m not a doctor.  Nothing in this post about herbal first aid should be used as medical advice.  I’m just sharing what we’ve come to know, love and use in our little family.  There’s a lot of information out there in the big, wide world.  If you’re unsure, research!

Herbs in my Herbal First Aid Kit

  • Arnica – I’ve used this herb to help treat minor bruises.  It can also be helpful for joint pain and strains.
  • Calendula – Said to have antiseptic properties, calendula is a good herb to use to treat minor cuts and scrapes.
  • Chamomile – Most of us know about the calming properties of Chamomile.  What you might not know is that it can also aid in digestion and settle the stomach.
  • Comfrey – Comfrey is a very powerful herb.  When applied to cuts, scrapes or other wounds, it is said to aid in the healing process and possibly help stop bleeding.
  • Eucalyptus – Both an antiseptic and an expectorant, eucalyptus can help with congestion related to mild to moderate colds and flus.
  • I’ve sung the praises of lavender in the past - http://edge.affiliateshop.com/public/AIDLink?AID=133322&Redirect=/bulkherb/l.php" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', 'http://edge.affiliateshop.com/public/AIDLink?AID=133322&Redirect=/bulkherb/l.php', 'Lavender']);" >Lavender
  • Plantain – When I recently posted on Facebook about my son getting stung by a bee, many people said to use plantain.  It is also helpful when used against splinters or other foreign bodies in the skin.
  • Yarrow – When applied to a fresh wound, you may find that yarrow flowers will stop the bleeding.  Yarrow may also help with soothing skin irritations and itchiness.

Modes of Application and Use of Herbs in your Herbal First Aid Kit

So, now you know which herbs to have around on a regular basis but do you know what to do with them?

There are many ways to apply, ingest or otherwise use an herb to heal whatever is ailing you.  Here are some of the top modes of application and use:

  • Salves – A type of ointment, herbal salves are generally made with an infused herbal oil and beeswax.
  • Oils – This may be an essential oil or a product made by infusing the whole herb in oil.
  • Teas/Infusions – Usually ingested as a beverage, but may be applied topically, teas are made by pouring boiling water over a whole herb and allowing it to steep until it reaches a desired strength.
  • Tinctures/Extracts – A tincture is usually made by infusing a whole herb in alcohol over a period of time.
  • Whole Herb – In some instances, using the whole herb alone is helpful. This is often the case when herbs are taken in capsule form.

This is a really basic overview but should give a jumping off point to learn more about herbal first aid.  If you’ve already thought about it, which of these topics would you like to learn more about?  I love this stuff and would love to share more if there is interest!  Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you’re already familiar with this topic, what herbs would you add to my herbal first aid list?

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

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Comments

  1. excellent post! i have most of this, but i’m going to bookmark it and make sure i have a complete kit! thank you for sharing 😉

  2. awesome post! going to get started on this now…was always a goal of mine, but i didn’t know where to start until now!

  3. I am not too well-versed in using herbs and this is a great intro for first aid! Thanks!

  4. This is such a great guide! I hadn’t heard about using plantain for bee stings. That’s good to know!

  5. St Johns Wort, and a good elderberry syrup for colds. I would also have some of my homemade Fire cider. The recipe is below. I also have really ‘tricked out’ my first aid kit with something for really serious trauma in case of a natural or other disaster: a field surgery kit, with all the necessary items for doing ‘war-time field surgery’. Blood stop material for serious bleeding,and a military filed surgery handbook which details exactly HOW to do this type of surgery in an emergency. You never know!
    FIRE CIDER: (from Mountain Rose Herbs blog):
    Ingredients
    1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
    1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
    1 medium organic onion, chopped
    10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
    2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
    Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
    Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
    1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
    organic apple cider vinegar
    raw local honey to taste
    Directions
    Prepare all of your cold-fighting roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart sized jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus opening experience! Use a piece of natural parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for one month and remember to shake daily.
    After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Next, comes the honey! Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup until you reach the desired sweetness.
    Ingredient Variations
    These herbs and spices would make a wonderful addition to your Fire Cider creations: Thyme, Cayenne, Rosehips, Ginseng, Orange, Grapefruit, Schizandra berries, Astragalus, Parsley, Burdock, Oregano, Peppercorns
    Mmm…mmm…how I love this hot and sweet, zesty, vinegary recipe!
    Fire Cider is a traditional cold remedy with deep roots in folk medicine. The tasty combination of vinegar infused with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers makes this recipe especially pleasant and easy to incorporate into your daily diet to help boost the immune system, stimulate digestion, and get you nice and warmed up on cold days.
    Because this is a folk preparation, the ingredients can change from year to year depending on when you make it and what’s growing around you. The standard base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, but there are plenty of other herbs that can be thrown in for added kick. This year I had lots of spicy jalapenos and vibrant rosemary in the garden, so I used those along with some organic turmeric powder in the cupboard and fresh lemon peel. Some people like to bury their fire cider jar in the ground for a month while it extracts and then dig it up during a great feast to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
    Fire Cider can be taken straight by the spoonful, added to organic veggie juice (throw in some olives and pickles and think non-alcoholic, health boosting bloody mary!), splashed in fried rice, or drizzled on a salad with good olive oil. You can also save the strained pulp and mix it with shredded veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh herbs to make delicious and aromatic stir-fries and spring rolls! I like to take 1 tbsp each morning to help warm me up and rev the immune system, or 3 tbsp at the first sign of a cold

  6. We have an article about herbal first aid in the first edition of our new Australian permaculture magazine; Pip Magazine.
    There are a couple of recipes in there for herbal first aid treatments.
    http://www.pipmagazine.com.au - http://www.pipmagazine.com.au/

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