I earn my living working in a retail herb shop. This shop is a little different than most too, because we feel like knowledge is more important than the sale. In keeping with that notion, we have implemented a monthly class at the shop that is open to the public free of charge. One of our recent classes covered First Aid, and it just so happened I picked that topic to coincide with the Emergency Preparedness Fair we held for our Day of Service. The following information comes from that class.
Alternative First Aid Notes
When putting a first aid kit together, there are several types of ingredients to remember. If you chose to go ALL herbal for your kit, then you would include at least one item from each category, but if you aren't quite ready to go "all the way" yet, look through the list and choose things you are familiar and comfortable with.
- General Activator
- Immune Stimulant
- Natural Antibiotic
- Topical Analgesic
- Shock Remedy
- Burn Remedy
- Pain Remedy
- Tissue Healer
And of course, there are those items in the category we'll call...
- Cotton Balls
- Gauze Pads
- Enema bottle
- Bulb Syringe
- Emergency Radio
- The activators have the ability to enhance circulation and energy. By doing this, several things get accomplished at one time, which (of course) is good. One such activator is capsicum, or as you might call it, "cayenne pepper".
- The immune stimulants help the body fight infection by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies. Echinacea is a familiar and gentle herb that works this way. It's not something generally recommended for constant use. Using occasionally allows you to avoid becoming immune to effects.
- Natural antibiotics don't have the side effects of synthetic versions. You still need strength when fighting infections, and probably the most awesome choice here is garlic. The most potent of that is in its fresh and raw state. It's something you can use externally AND internally, giving it a broader spectrum.
- Topical analgesics are things you apply to the skin to relieve pain. Essential oils can provide that, and they can blended with creams, lotions, water, other oils,... and provide many ways to apply as needed. Lavender is one such essential oil that can be used for pain relief of insect bites, burns, scrapes, headaches and other needs.
- Astringents help to stop bleeding. They can do other things too! Cayenne pepper powder can stop bleeding (try it and see!) and so can other plants. One such plant is yarrow, and that's a plant that grows wild all over the place, making it fairly easy to locate.
- A mucilant is an absorbant material, meaning it will help absorb stuff. If you get food poisoning and go to the hospital, chances are they will give you some activated charcoal to absorb the toxin. It helps absorb toxins that promote diarrhea too. This is NOT charcoal out of your grill! It should already be in pill form.
- Shock remedies are important, because they help us "keep it together" under stressful conditions. The Bach flower remedy Rescue Remedy is a good one here, and helps bring relief to panic attacks.
- Expectorants break up mucus and congestion. This a job for more than one ingredient, and Nature's Sunshine has combined ingredients just for this purpose. One such product is called AL-J and can bring wonderful relief to allergies and colds by simply taking care of the mucus.
- Burn Remedies are important, because burns can come from so many sources: the sun, fire, cooking, under the hood of the car,... Aloe Vera gel is excellent to care for burned skin, and so is raw honey!
- Antispasmodics relax muscle cramps and spasms, which of course ease pain and anxiety. Lobelia extract is good here, but this herb also can induce vomiting if taken in large enough doses. This is not bad in some cases, but it can be if you aren't expecting it! Relaxing spasms can bring relief to coughs, muscle tension, asthma attacks, earaches and more.
- Including a pain remedy is an obvious thing. White willow is where aspirin came from originally, so including it in a first aid makes sense!
- A tissue healer eases pain, reduces swelling and promotes healing. Arnica gel is an option here (so long as it is NOT applied to broken skin). Nature's Fresh enzyme spray is another option provided by Nature's Sunshine.