Botanical First Aid Kit
Plant medicine offers effective and inexpensive solutions for everyday ailments. Botanical remedies comprised of herbs, oils, and plant allies help treat and heal minor injuries, wounds, bug bites, and burns. These remedies are safe for the body and promote deep healing while simultaneously nourishing the body on an internal and external level.
Cuts and Scrapes
Calendula– is an incredible herb for cuts and scrapes and can help to speed up healing and recovery time. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and analgesic properties.
Try: applying a calendula cream to cuts, scrapes and burns for soothing relief. There are many homeopathic formulas available for topical application.
Plantain– plantain is a common herb that is helpful in relieving pain, soothing inflammation, and healing wounds. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal treatment for cuts, scrapes, burns, and skin rashes.
Try: applying the leaf of the plant directly to the skin, using a tincture, or adding to homemade body butter.
St. John’s Wort- herb with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, meaning it will help resolve inflammation and prevent infection. Especially great for deeper cuts or wounds involving nerve damage as it contains nerve healing properties.
Try: a salve of St. John’s Wort alone or combined with soothing herbs such as calendula or plantain.
Arnica- is an inflammatory herb used for topical application to relieve muscle pains, sprains, bruises and aches. This powerful herb has active ingredients to reduce pain + swelling and promote healing.
Try: For topical use, create a paste by placing the leaves in a food processor to mince the leaves, and then add some olive oil to create a paste. This mixture can be added to the affected area 2-3x/daily. There are also many homeopathic formulas available for topical application. Arnica can also be taken internally in homeopathic form.
Turmeric (curcumin is the active compound) – is an anti-inflammatory superstar which can help soothe sore muscles.
Try: taking a curcumin supplement or tincture, or use turmeric in muscle salves and apply topically. You can also add turmeric powder to your food or enjoy in a golden milk latte or turmeric tea.
Comfrey- a soothing option. Great for resolving inflammation and relief of bruising and pain.
Try: a comfrey salve rubbed into the affected area
St. John’s wort- Can be used topically or taken internally to ease muscle tension & pain.
Epsom Salt or Magnesium flake Baths - Warm epsom salt or magnesium flake baths deliver magnesium to help relax muscles and relieve pain.
White Willow Bark – is a very effective pain reliever & helpful for headaches, body aches and menstrual cramps. It's active ingredient, salacin, is gentler on your stomach than taking aspiring and other over the counter pain relievers. Aspirins effects come from salicylic acid, the salacin in willow is converted to salicylic acid after being absorbed by the body making it the perfect option for pain relief while putting less stress on other organs.
*not to be taken during pregnancy
Lavender Essential Oil – helps promote relaxation, eases anxiety, increases calmness and is a big stress reliever.
Try: Massaging lavender essential oil on your temples & forehead.
Peppermint Essential Oil - cooling & uplifting, peppermint helps to relieve tension headaches.
Try: Diffusing peppermint or breathing in a few drops of peppermint oil.
Indigestion /Stomach ache
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)– ACV is a great trick for heartburn and acid reflux relief. If you are experiencing heartburn, it is often the case that your body actually isn’t producing enough acid to properly break down food. This leads to food fermenting in the gut, and these fermented gasses making their way up the esophagus in a painful burning manner.
Try: taking 1tbsp of ACV with water when you feel heartburn, or alternatively, try taking before each meal to prevent reflux.
Peppermint – is a soothing carminative for indigestion, gas, bloating, and a sore stomach.
Try: sipping on peppermint tea at the first signs of a stomach ache.
Ginger– is a miracle herb for nausea, indigestion, gas and bloating.
Try: keeping fresh or powdered ginger on hand. When needed, it is best consumed as a warm tea with a bit of honey if desired.
Ginger - effective anti-nauseant, particularly with motion sickness. Try either a cup of ginger root tea, or prepare small sticks of ginger root to chew on while travelling.
Probiotics– probiotics are great to have on hand after digestive distress. They help to rebuild the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Try: a high quality multi-strain probiotic supplement for 1-2 week/s post illness.
Activated charcoal– activated charcoal is useful for incidents of food poisoning because it has the ability to absorb toxins in the body and help to remove them faster.
Try: keeping activated charcoal capsules on hand for emergencies. It is best used ASAP after a toxin is ingested.
*always helpful to keep on hand while you’re traveling
An Anti-Parasitic tincture is helpful to have on hand when traveling in 3rd world countries
Try: wormwood, cloves, and black walnut in equal amounts. Or wormwood alone.
Take a dropper full (1ml), 3x per day as desired (or before questionable meals)
Insect bites and stings
Many people turn to insect repellants to protect them from mosquitoes and other bothersome biters. However, traditional bug sprays contain toxic chemicals, such as DEET, which are harmful to the body and can cause allergic reactions in some. The problems are multiplied when we apply them directly to the skin, which is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Although there is growing concern about mosquito and tick transmitted viruses, there are many natural substances that help to repel insects and don’t leave you smelling of chemicals and suffering their side effects.
Homemade bug spray
Useful essential oils include:
Our favorite blend: 20 drops Lavender, 10, drops cedarwood, 10 Drops Eucalyptus, 5 drops peppermint + 1 part witch hazel and 1 part spring water. Combine in a sprayer bottle & spritz from head to toe!
*optional additions - 10 drops citronella, lemongrass or tea tree oil
Any of these oils can be combined in a spray with witch hazel or vinegar + water and some optional glycerin to create a safe and effective bug spray.
To treat itchy bug bites
Tea Tree oil– good for relieving the itch
Try: applying a spot of tea tree oil directly to insect bites.
Baking soda– a little baking soda mixed into a paste with water is an excellent remedy for painful bee stings and spider bites.
Try: applying the paste to the affected area, allowing it to dry. Reapply as necessary.
Vinegar– useful in relieving painful stings.
Try: applying vinegar directly to the affected area and allow it to dry.
Treating/healing Poison Ivy/ Poison Oak
Baking soda baths and pastes - baking soda is a great remedy for the itchiness associated with poison ivy. Try: 3 tsp of baking soda mixed in 1 tsp of water to form a paste - apply and leave to dry. Or, try ½ cup of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak.
Oat paste - very soothing. Cook a small amount of oatmeal and apply it to the infected area as a paste.
Apple cider vinegar - has a toxin-pulling action that helps to suck the poison out of the pores. Apply 1 tsp directly on the affected area or try a warm apple cider vinegar compress using a thin cotton towel.
Natural remedies for sun protection
Natural Sunscreen – many natural brands of sunscreen are available on the market today and can be found at your local natural health stores. look for those without icky additives.
Try: creating your own.
Natural Sun protection sources:
Red raspberry seed oil
Carrot seed oil
DIY Sunscreen (SPF 20-25)
The sun protection factor (spf) is achieved by combining zinc oxide & raspberry seed or carrot seed oil, which creates a barrier on the skin - experiment with using one or a combination of both to see what blend works best for you & your body. Integrating the zinc oxide will generally provide more sufficient protection.
Although this recipe will protect from the sun, it is advised to use caution and common sense while in the sun for prolonged periods of time. Re-apply often and always after swimming.
4 tbsp unrefined shea butter
4 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
2 tbsp organic jojoba oil
2 tsps raspberry seed oil or carrot seed oil
2 tbsp zinc oxide
*optional to add beeswax for thicker consistency.
*Note to achieve about 20 SPF, you need to mix 4 parts lotion + 1 part zinc oxide powder in weight
Gently melt the shea butter & coconut oil using a double boiler
Remove from heat and add in the jojoba oil, mixing well, until fully combined
Mix in the raspberry seed oil or carrot seed oil
Slowly stir in the zinc oxide powder, until fully combined. Mix everything really well for a few minutes to ensure even distribution of the ingredients
Let the lotion cool for 3-4 hours & then store in a glass jar for future use.
Aloe Vera –obtained directly from the plant is an excellent soothing demulcent for sunburns - you can also purchase pure aloe vera gel.
Try:using the gel from an aloe vera plant or a store-bought pure aloe vera gel. Mix with a couple drops of sea buckthorn, lavender, and peppermint for speedy healing.
Cloves– cloves are a natural pain killer and numbing agent which are particularly useful for toothaches.
Try: gently chewing on a clove or applying diluted clove oil to the gums.
DIY Saltwater Mouthwash for Toothache Relief:
Salt has pain relieving and numbing properties. Salt is also antimicrobial.
¼ tsp of non-iodized sea salt or himalayan salt dissolved in ½-1 cup warm water
You may mix in cloves and/or garlic essential oil or fresh juice for added benefits
Keep in mouth for a total of 1-2 minutes.
Gargle with probiotics - Break open a probiotic capsule, place in a small amount of water & gargle for 1 minute. This will help to support a recolonization of positive bacteria in the mouth & throat.
Apple Cider Vinegar- The acidity in ACV helps to kill germs & bacteria.
Try: Adding 1 tbsp of acv to a splash of warm water and gargle for 1 min.
Raw Organic Honey - is a healing and soothing antidote for sore throats.
Try: mixing a tsp of raw honey in a bit of warm water with or without lemon - gargle & spit or sip and enjoy.
Other useful things to keep on hand
A pair of tweezers
A pair of scissors
Hot water bottle
An antiseptic/wound cleanser such as hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, or lavender oil
Bandages for wrapping sprains