As a naturopathic doctor, I turn to natural products first to help treat minor aliments like scrapes, bruises, and cold/flu. There are a number of great natural products that can be found at your local health food store or even your kitchen. Here are my six favourite natural products (technically five products plus two pairs of socks) that can be use to create a wellness kit.
6 natural products for your first aid kit
This is a great all-purpose item that has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a great product to apply to minor wounds or superficial burns to prevent infection as well as support the body’s healing process. You can also add a teaspoon of manuka honey to tea to soothe a sore throat. (Note: manuka honey is not suitable for individuals with bee allergies. Children under the age of one should not ingest honey. )
Arnica gel or cream
Arnica cream is made from a botanical plant called Arnica montana (mountain daisy). It has anti-inflammatory properties that can be used for sore muscles, sprains, strains, and even bruises. Do not apply arnica to broken skin and always do a patch test first when trying a new product.
Eucalyptus essential oil
This is a great product to have during allergy and cold/flu season. For adults, you can add a few drops of the essential oil to hot water to make a steam inhalation. For sick children, you can add eucalyptus to a humidifier as a natural decongestant. You can also make a petroleum-free version of Vick’s by adding 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil. (Note: never ingest essential oils, always dilute them in a a carrier oil when applying them to the skin, and make sure to do a patch test first.)
Ginger tea or capsules can help relieve an upset digestive system due to its carminative properties (reduces gas and bloating) and spasmolytic properties (relaxes intestinal muscles). Ginger is often used for motion sickness, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting.
Adding table salt to a glass of warm water as a gargle can help with sore throats. Salt is also used with Neti pots to help prevent and treat sinus infections. You can also use warm salt water as a soak to remove splinters.
Magic socks is a treatment children love because it sounds like a magical item from a Harry Potter book. All you need is two pairs of sock (a cotton and a wool pair), warm water, and cold water. Magic socks increase circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory tract, which makes it a great at-home treatment during the cold and flu season.
To learn more about magic socks, click the following link: http://www.drlukaskond.com/#!untitled/cx5z.
Directions for Magic Socks:
- Take the cotton socks and soak them in very cold water. Then wring the socks out until they are no longer dripping.
- Warm feet up. It’s best to have a warm bath first before starting the magic sock treatment. You can also soak your feet in a warm foot bath for 5-10 minutes. Note: warm feet will increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Put the cold wet socks on your feet. Then apply the dry wool socks over the cold socks.
- Keep socks on overnight or while sleeping. Avoid getting chilled during the treatment.
- The socks will be dry in the morning.
*Please note that this information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice nor does it replace the advice of your medical doctor or other healthcare practitioner. Never delay seeking medical assistance. Always consult a doctor prior to starting a new treatment.*
Photo credit: Miran Rijavec