A first aid kit is something every household needs, but it doesn’t have to be a store-bought and generic one – you can put together a homemade, herb based and natural first aid kit for your own family. If you don’t want big pharma involved when there’s a problem at home, rest assured that there’s a natural solution for most of the everyday issues.
Some people worry that natural first aid doesn’t have the same effectiveness as mainstream drugs.
It’s true that there are many situations in which mainstream medical care is unavoidable. I mean, as a brain tumor survivor, I am very grateful to modern medicine. But for minor issues, why turn to mainstream drugs with all of their side effects when there are safe, simple (and inexpensive) natural remedies?
Natural and herbal medicines have been used for centuries to treat minor health problems, and here’s the shocking truth – “going herbal” can sometimes be more effective than using over-the-counter drugs. In fact, when it comes to minor problems like shallow wounds, sore throats, cuts, bug bites and uncomplicated rashes, your best option is to turn to Mother Nature’s pharmacy.
As I am placing my order from Amazon to fill up MY family’s first aid kit, I thought you might be interested in what I am stocking.
How to Fill Your Natural First Aid Kit
Your natural first aid kit isn’t just for your home. You can customize one for traveling, camping or for in your car. You can create a tiny one just to carry around in your purse or diaper bag or school bag. I was recently at a women’s retreat and as we unpacked our bags, one lady said, “If anyone needs essential oils, here’s my kit!”
There are many different medicinal plants and recipes for natural remedies passed on from generation to generation, and it’s up to you to create your own perfect combination for a first aid kit. Let’s take a look at some of the more obvious choices.
This coal-black dust is most often found in the form of capsules, and it’s unsurpassed in the home treatment of poisoning and ingestion of toxins, or just dealing with a disturbed stomach in general.
It’s even used in mainstream medicine, especially in emergency trauma centers around the world, and it’s most certainly a great addition to your homemade first aid kit. Just don’t mix it up with the barbecue charcoal – that stuff is full of chemicals and toxins and should definitely never be consumed.
Activated charcoal is a completely natural antidote to most poisons, like arsenic, hemlock, strychnine and mercury, just to name a few, and it can also be applied topically on a snake or spider bite.
However, if you suspect poisoning or you have been bitten by a poisonous animal, it’s best to use activated carbon as a means of first aid only and seek the help of a doctor immediately.
In case of food poisoning, or vomiting and diarrhea, rely on activated charcoal to help the problems go away.
Aloe Vera gel
The gel found in Aloe Vera plants has a soothing and cooling effect on skin, and it’s perfect for treating cuts, scratches, sunburns or rashes. My mother always kept a big aloe vera plant on the windowsill.
The Aloe Vera gel not only calms the skin and eliminates irritation, it also has anti-inflammatory qualities and promotes healing. It can be used for blisters and smaller burns, too. Rich in antioxidants and beneficial vitamins, it will help regenerate skin faster and more efficiently than mainstream topical gels. Aloe Vera gel can be either directly harvested from the plant (if you have one) or bought in most stores and pharmacies.
It’s one of the most widely used natural remedies, and it’s easily available. This is one product that I buy in the biggest bottle I can find!
Arnica gel or cream
Bright yellow flowers of mountain arnica are revered for their antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties.
What does that mean, though? It means that you can apply it on painful joints, sore muscles and bruises – as long as the skin isn’t broken – to speed up healing and decrease pain and bruising. This makes it something every mother should have around the house. Luckily, it’s easy to find arnica gel or cream to deal with the many bruises of childhood. (Maybe my children are just unusually clumsy?) I have to admit – I first discovered this when my sister sent me a tube of arnica cream.
Another great tip is to apply arnica gel to insect bites. It stimulates circulation, which minimizes the swelling and eases the irritation.
This spice isn’t handy only in the kitchen, it’s also indispensable in a natural first aid kit.
While I have heard that cayenne can stop a heart attack if consumed when the first symptoms appear, I can’t confirm it. The every day power of cayenne, though, is the powerful affect it has on bleeding. Applied to a wound, cayenne can stop the flow of blood in seconds.
No, despite what you might think, it won’t sting at all and it’s one of the most efficient, natural ways to stop bleeding.
Anti-bacterial and anti-viral, colloidal silver is an all-around great addition to your homemade natural first aid kit. Despite widespread use, anyone stocking this in their first aid kit should recognize that the FDA has made a statement that colloidal silver is neither safe nor effective when taken orally.
Still used in mainstream medicine for treating burns, it’s especially effective for treating sunburn or blisters, and its powerful properties will speed up your recovery.
When I was younger, menstrual cramps saw me running to the pharmacy for pain medication. My daughters, though, will be getting raspberry leaf tea and the amazing cramp bark.
Unlike those painkillers, cramp bark doesn’t just treat the pain. Instead, it regulates the monthly cycle and relaxes the uterine muscles that were causing the painful cramps.
Now this isn’t a plant to mess around with. Remember what Spiderman says – with great power comes great responsibility. Echinacea is great for boosting the immune system but definitely should not be used daily. There really IS such a thing as too much when it comes to herbal remedies.
When you have a nasty cut or are coming down a cold, though – dose up on Echinacea tablets or tincture and start feeling better quickly.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus smells great but it’s also effective for respiratory problems. Sinuses clogged, or you have a runny nose that won’t go away? Put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil into a big pot of hot water and steam your face over it.
Sorry, you’ll need to put your phone down while you’re doing that.
If you really can’t handle hiding your head under a towel for a steam session, try mixing a bit of eucalyptus essential oil into coconut oil or your favourite carrier oil. Rub this salve on your chest to open up your nasal passages.
When I was young, my mother had one remedy for tummy troubles. She would stir a cup of ginger ale until the bubbles went away and then have us sip it slowly through a straw.
She’s a smart lady, and I’m increasingly being told by doctors to do things that mom was teased for when we were children. I’m not sure fresh ginger root was as easily available to mom as it is now, so don’t knock her for the ginger ale. Today I give my children warm ginger tea or some homemade ginger beer to calm their bellies.
Dried ginger root capsules are available, which is great for motion sickness when traveling, as are ginger lozenges. But don’t forget the soothing comfort of some warm ginger tea!
Having goldenseal powder on hand is great if your family is prone to cuts and scratches. It has antibacterial properties which will help to prevent an infection.
The best use of goldenseal, though, is for intestinal parasites. It has strong anti-parasitic properties and internal parasites like pinworm and Giardia are more common than you might think. It will also help out if your stomach problems are caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.
Do you go camping? Make sure to keep jewelweed salve or spray in your kit. This is nature’s cure for poison ivy and it completely neutralizes the substances that cause irritation.
A must-have for all your camping trips, jewelweed (in the form of a salve, spray or fresh) is nature’s cure for poison ivy. It completely neutralizes the substances in poison ivy that cause irritation, but it’s not the only thing this amazing plant is good for- it will also neutralize other irritating plants, such as poison oak and stinging nettle, as well as help with a variety of skin rashes, from eczema to heat rash.
Lavender essential oil
Other than being one of my favourite scents, lavender essential oil has the amazing property of easing headaches. Gently massage a few drops into your temples and tension headaches should ease quickly.
Not too much, though – in this case ‘a little dab’ll do ya’!
If you have sensitive skin, dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil in an oil that you can tolerate and use that.
Lavender is also great at helping you to relax and even go to sleep. Use it the same as treating headaches, or put a bit on a cotton ball and place it in your pillowcase under the pillow.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, which comes from Australia, is quite the overachiever. It can be used to treat a wide range of problems from sore throats to fungal infections. It eases gum and tooth pain and repels insects.
Try diluting a few drops in water for a sore throat gargle and mouth rinse, or dab gently behind the ears to help ease the pain of an ear infection. As a note – when my eldest was young, the doctors pushed antibiotics now for ear infections. Now that they’re realizing that most ear infections will go away on their own and are encouraging natural treatments.
And in between applications of tea tree oil, don’t overlook the power of plain old honey for easing that sore throat. It was about ten years ago that a nurse first told me to head for honey before commercial products, and an ER doctor recently reinforced that. It doesn’t have to be raw honey – even your pasteurized honey will soothe and help heal sore throats and coughs!
Important Miscellaneous Items for a Homemade First Aid Kit
A well-stocked homemade first aid kit isn’t only packed with herbal and natural remedies – you’ll have to include some other goodies, too. Keep in mind the potential situations you’ll be needing the first aid kit for, and add the items accordingly. For example, a hot water bottle probably won’t find its place in your compact traveling first aid kit, but it’s good to have in your home.
Here’s a list of important items to consider for your first aid kit:
- Cotton pads
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- Hand sanitizer
- Hot water bottle
- Bulb syringe
- Wound glue
- Cold pack
Without some of these items, treating injuries would be very difficult. These items, combined with natural remedies mentioned above, are a winning combination for treating minor injuries and health problems at home, from scraped knee to belly ache.
Assembling Your Natural First Aid Kit and Storing It
Ideally, you should make more than one first aid kit and customize their contents for their specific purpose. For example, create a smaller one for your car or workplace, customize a first aid kid to bring with you on your travels, and keep a fully stocked one at your home.
Of course, when it comes to storage, it’s all a matter of personal choice. You can buy plastic containers, repurpose a makeup bag or an old first aid kit bag, or keep the items securely tucked in a drawer.
For your home first aid kit, you can even buy a small wall-mounted cabinet. This way, you’ll have enough space for all of the essentials, and have your first aid kit easily accessible and neatly displayed.
When choosing a place for your first aid kit, have in mind that most of the herbal remedies need to be kept in a dark and cool space to retain their medicinal properties and potency.
Regularly check the items in your first aid kit and replace the ones that have gone bad or are running low. The trick is to keep your natural first aid kit stocked with fresh, potent items that are always on hand.