So far this month we’ve filled our DIY Summer Survival Kit with an easy to make Mosquito and Tick Repellant, a quick Bug Bite Remedy recipe and a DIY Sunburn Care and Peeling Prevention Balm. To complete our Summer Survival Kit, I suggest adding my three favorite herbs for healing and first aid. There are hundreds of herbs that can do amazing things to heal and comfort you. These are my Top 3 and they are pretty easy to find, in fact, you may have them already.
Pure Aloe Vera Gel
As we start to get outside more during the warm summer months, there’s always those inevitable minor burns, cuts and scrapes that can occur. Whether it’s a sunburn or a minor burn from those 4th of July sparklers, aloe can soothe and heal it. Aloe is also a great salve for those minor scrapes and cuts that come from hiking, biking and failed attempts at rollerblading (yeah, I’m that poor girl). As you have already seen, I adore Aloe Vera Gel, it has so many wonderful uses and is so soothing and pure. If you don’t have a fresh aloe plant in your home, then you can purchase pure aloe vera gel at most health food stores. To use Aloe Vera Gel, apply it directly to your minor injury 2-3 times a day. Allow the gel to dry and absorb before covering with clothing or a bandage. Aloe can also help reduce the itching that accompanies some bug bites.
If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend getting an aloe plant for your home. They do well in pots and should be placed in a sunny location. Water occasionally and watch it flourish! You can remove one of the leaves and place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for several weeks. Just squeeze a bit of the gel out of the leaf each time you need it. Nothing feels better on a burn, scrape or cut than smooth, cool Aloe Vera gel.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another great all-purpose herb for first aid. It’s antiseptic properties make it a great cleanser and disinfectant for your minor cuts and wounds. To use tea tree oil for cleaning wounds, mix together 1/2 cup of witch hazel and 4 drops of tea tree oil. Keep this solution in a bottle or jar so you have it handy when needed. Shake well before each use. Using a clean wash cloth or cotton pad soaked in the tea tree disinfectant solution, gently wipe the area and follow with an application of Aloe Vera gel.
Tea tree oil, also called tea tree essential oil can often be found in your local health food store.
Plantago major and P. lanceolata
This is different than the fruit Plantain that looks similar to a banana. This is a common plant found throughout the world and sometimes viewed as a “weed”. You may not have heard of this herb up until now, unless you’re an herbalism fan, but you’ll definitely want to get to know it! This stuff is amazing and is virtually a first-aid kit all by itself and is often referred to as “the green bandage”. You can buy this herb dried for just a few dollars. Keep it in an airtight container, like a mason jar and use it as needed. To make a healing poultice mix together enough dried plantain leaf and filtered or distilled water to wet the leaves and rehydrate them. Pack the leaves on the injury and allow it to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes. During this process you can cover the area with a bandage if needed. Remove the leaves and follow with Aloe Vera gel. Plantain will draw impurities from the wound and will help it heal. If you have an insect bite, a bee sting or even a splinter, the plantain will draw out the poison and/or stinger from the affected area.
You can grow plantain in your home and it makes a lovely green plant that requires little care. If you’ve got a yard, then you can sprinkle some plantain seeds outside and let a little patch of this healing herb grow so it is always ready when you need it.
I hope everyone has a wonderful summer!