Many of us are making a shift over to more natural foods and health care products as we try to eliminate toxins, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and petroleum bases. A natural first aid kit will give you peace of mind as you travel, hike, camp, or just deal with the day to day bumps, bruises, and accidents. Here is a short list of what I keep on hand. I’ve also created miniature kits that slip into backpacks for hiking and camping trips.
The best place to get aloe vera is from the plant you have in your garden or growing in your kitchen, but a small bottle may be needed for the travel kits to soothe sunburns and other minor burns.
Arnica Gel, Cream, or Oil
This flower fights inflammation and improves circulation, making it one of the best all-purpose first aid necessities. Apply it to sprains, strains, bruises, and sore muscles for quick relief and faster recovery.
Activated Charcoal or Bentonite Clay
Both of these absorb poisons and toxins internally or topically. They help with food poisoning or traveler’s diarrhea or can be applied as a paste to insect stings or bites.
The blossoms of this plant have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. The cream soothes and speeds healing for wounds and burns. Often calendula is combined with comfrey for even more benefits.
Cayenne improves circulation, increasing blood flow to damaged tissue to speed recovery. It helps with just about any injury and is also very good for sinus or respiratory infections.
Chamomile Tea Bags
These can be used topically—moistened to soothe skin irritations—or internally as tea to work as a mild sedative with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes relaxation and improves digestion.
Citronella Essential Oil
This natural insect repellant doesn’t contain DEET and still works well if applied often. Eucalyptus, cinnamon, rose, orange, and neem oil are several other essential oils that repel insects. Mix them with a carrier oil or with hazel and apply them to exposed skin.
Echinacea and Elderberry
These both stimulate the immune system and shorten the duration of colds or the flu.
Ginger Capsules, Tea, or Crystallized
Ginger eases the symptoms of motion sickness, indigestion, acid reflux, gas, or morning sickness. It is a must have for long car or boat rides.
Also called gumweed, this herb relieves the symptoms of poison oak and poison ivy.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender helps with headaches, insomnia, skin irritations, anxiety, wounds, and burns. Apply it where it hurts, on the chest, and the feet.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil is a natural antiseptic that helps prevent infection of wounds. It also has a tingling, soothing effect. Dilute it in a carrier oil or witch hazel before using on the face or other sensitive body parts, but it can be used undiluted on stubborn infections like ringworm and athletes foot.
This essential oil is antibiotic and antiviral in nature and helps open congested airways. Dilute with oil for a petroleum free vapor rub or use with steam inhalation for respiratory problems. Do not take it internally.
Honey can serve as an antibacterial treatment for minor cuts and scrapes. It is also a natural cough syrup.
Witch hazel is an astringent, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory that helps soothe insect bites, skin irritations, and bruises. It is also an excellent base to dilute essential oils for topical use.
Don’t forget the other basics of a first aid kit. You will need multiple sizes and shapes of bandages, tweezers, gauze, moleskin, alcohol wipes, scissors, an elastic bandage for sprains, and an instant read thermometer. Keep glass bottles away from one another, wrap them in fabric or paper if need be.
Learn more about Charlie Pulsipher