Headaches, sore throats, upset stomachs, bug bites, burns and all sorts of boo-boos can be healed with some help from Mother Nature. Sometimes the simplest remedies are often the most effective, and stocking your home with a natural first aid kit helps you to be prepared for minor injuries and illnesses. You’ll save money, use less packaging and create very little waste when you opt for natural remedies first.
Consider adding the following items to your family’s first aid kit:
- Aloe vera gel (or aloe vera plant) – For sunburns, scalds and minor burns, gooey aloe vera gel is second-to-none for cooling the skin and healing inflammation. Apply liberally.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Gargle with this stout liquid to alleviate a sore throat, stop a sinus infection or decrease the duration of a cold.
- Arnica – Painful joints, sprains, bruises and sore muscles will respond to arnica cream or gel, which soothes deep-seated aches. Do not apply arnica to broken skin. A natural anti-inflammatory made from arnica flowers, arnica can also be taken in tablet form to reduce headaches and recover from trauma.
- Cabbage leaves – Pain from bruises and strains can be alleviated with the application of cabbage leaves. First dip them in very hot water, let cool slightly and apply to the effected area.
- Chamomile – This popular tea is a gentle sedative that relieves indigestion while it relaxes you. Chamomile tea bags can also be applied topically (when cold) to alleviate skin irritation.
- Coconut Oil – Heal chapped lips, dry skin and minor scrapes and cuts with this rich, silky oil.
- Gingerroot – Cut a few slices of gingerroot to make a tea that helps upset stomachs and feelings of nausea. If you like the taste you can also chew on the slices directly.
- Goldenseal – This herb has powerful anti-microbial effects and can be used as a multi-purpose remedy. It fights numerous microorganisms that cause traveler’s diarrhea.
- Epsom Salts – Relieve constipation, soothe sprains and bruises, and reduce inflammation with a warm bath in Epsom salts. Follow the package directions.
- Licorice – Made from the root of a legume, this sweet, slippery substance soothes sore throats and helps with digestion.
- Lavender – Use fresh or dried lavender flowers or lavender oil to reduce headaches and promote restful sleep.
- Peppermint Oil – This minty oil can clear sinuses and stop the itching from insect bites.
- Salt – Sore throat? Gargle with warm, salty water just like Mom says, for about 30 seconds up to eight times per day. Sodium chloride reduces swelling and soreness, and makes your throat environment less hospitable to bacteria.
- Tea tree oil – Pungent and smooth, tea tree oil is a natural antimicrobial that can be used on small wounds where you would put an antibacterial cream. You can also dilute the oil and use it as mouthwash,
- Witch Hazel – Sooth your itches with witch hazel. Apply a small amount on bug bites, stings and other scratchy spots with a cotton ball.
[Editor's note: Always consult with your primary care physician before taking any herbal remedies, especially if you're taking prescription drugs, are pregnant or breastfeeding.]
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