Family First Aid Kit: Natural Antibiotics
Injuries happen. Kids get hurt. We get hurt. Having a family first aid kit with natural antibiotics can really make a difference when you need one. You’ve got yours all sorted out, yeah? Or you’re going to put one together this week?
I was a Boy Scout as a kid, and as silly as it sounds sometimes, ‘be prepared’ is most excellent advice to a parent. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it, right? We have a basic natural first aid kit that goes with us camping or traveling, and mama always makes sure we have the means to deal with most common situations. I also have a tiny first aid kit that goes in my everyday bag.
Band aids and bandages are good basic components, but you don’t have to stock your first aid kit with just drugstore remedies – you can easily add a natural one as well. We have some basic herb tinctures for immune help, plus some arnica gel for bruising, and Bach’s Flower Essence for shock. Then we have a couple of other key substances that can give relief and healing to many of life’s smaller injuries, including some natural antibiotics.
These items are among the best natural topical antibiotics, and they are simple, widely available, and cheap to purchase. They can be used to treat everything from umbilical cords to skinned knees, from splinters and blisters to infected sores, and even athlete’s foot. You can start to build your natural first aid kit by picking a couple of the below and seeing how they work for you.
Raw honey is a great natural antibiotic. Raw honey is different from your generic honeybee-squeeze-bottle honey from the chain supermarket that looks like Karo syrup – it’s a rich flavorful honey from a local or regional beekeeper. There’s a big difference. The heating and filtering process changes the properties of the honey, leaving little but the sweetness (and even that has a bland flavor). Find some at a health food store or co-op and check it out for yourself…
Honey as a topical antibacterial agent:
“Honey is an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds, which has recently been ‘rediscovered’ by the medical profession, particularly where conventional modern therapeutic agents are failing. There are now many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey in rapidly clearing infection from wounds, with no adverse effects to slow the healing process; there is also some evidence to suggest that honey may actively promote healing. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to have an antimicrobial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi.” – World Wide Wounds
When a wound is dressed with honey, hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced in contact with body fluids, and has an antiseptic action.
Honey is also used to treat antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, and can be safely applied almost anywhere on the body. It can be stored virtually forever, and a small vial or tin of honey should be in your first aid kit/diaper bag/go bag/under the seat in the truck or wagon. It can be tricky to keep honey in a container (the sticky factor), but we usually have it with us as our food supply.
Powdered goldenseal root makes an excellent umbilical cord treatment for newborns. Sprinkle it directly on any wound, or make a paste with a small amount of water for injury or cut that is festering. Goldenseal powder tea serves as an excellent gargle and mouthwash, and can be used as an eyewash for a stye or pinkeye. The price may seem high, but a little goes a long way. Available at your local co-op or natural foods store. If you have a tiny tin to fill with it – like a lip balm tin – it only takes up a tiny amount of space for such a great natural antibiotic.
Tea Tree Oil
A powerful antimicrobial and remedy for fungal infections, the oil of the melaleuca tree of Australia is a versatile natural first aid treatment. Use topically for any wounds, athlete’s foot, or even ringworm, but be sure to keep it away from your eyes – it’s strong stuff. It may also irritate genitals, so be careful where you choose to use it.
Tea tree oil is also said to be effective against lice, so it may keep you from using the harsh drugstore treatment if your kids bring it home from school. Be sure to buy 100% tea tree oil, or a lavender and tea tree blend, not tea tree oil blended with a carrier oil.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is another natural antiseptic, and can relieve pain or irritation on the skin. When we travel, we like to know that we’ll be able to wash up even without running water, so we use a plastic spray bottle filled with water and lavender oil, using the mist to wet and scrub our faces and hands – it works great for traveling with kids. Headaches in mom and pop can be lessened by rubbing a drop of lavender oil into their temples.
These four natural antibacterials, plus my favorite salve, Apitherapy Honey House Healing Salve, have been sufficient for healing any wounds or sores in our house for years. We keep band aids on hand, but use them only when really necessary. We don’t buy Neosporin or waterless antibacterial soap, and we aren’t phobic about germs. For a day trip first aid kit, I add some needle and thread, a tiny bit of duct tape, a blade, something with tweezer action (multi-tool usually) and a book of matches.
Derek Markham is a freelance writer and creator of Natural Papa. Learn more about Derek here.