Herbal First Aid
There are any number of herbs that would work very well in a herbal first aid kit. The following simple everyday uses are for some more well-known garden herbs. These include lavender, sage, peppermint and marigolds.
Lavandula angustifolia – lavender
The healing effect on burns for lavender essential oil was discovered by French chemist Gatefosse quite by accident. He was working in his laboratory. When his arm caught fire he quickly plunged his arm into a vat of neat lavender oil. To his amazement, not only was the fire extinguished, his burns healed without scarring.
We may not all have a vat in our kitchen but a bottle of lavender essential oil is a herbal first aid necessity in every home for burns. It is also very useful for sunburn, bites and stings.
Salvia officinalis – sage
So many of us have sage growing in our gardens. We love it to accompany our Sunday roast potatoes or roast pork dinner. A wonderful culinary herb but a great medicinal ally too.
Infuse sage leaves as you would making herbal tea. Allow to cool for use as an antiseptic gargle for sore throats or as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers.
Sage leaves chewed help alleviate the pain of a tooth abscess until you reach the dentist.
Mentha piperita – peppermint
Peppermint plants often take over the garden. Definitely best grown in a pot! Make a refreshing herbal tea, great for digestion, from the leaves.
Peppermint leaves added to a foot bath ease tired, hot feet after a long day at work. The essential oil provides a temporary anaesthetising action. A few drops of peppermint essential oil added to a basic or plain lotion or oil for aching muscles is a welcome, and cooling, relief. Ideal for post exercise use.
Calendula officinalis – marigold
An ointment, infused oil or cream made with marigolds is a useful household remedy for rashes, wounds, cuts and grazes.
But what if you run out of cream or oil? Not enough time to make a new batch?
Bartram recommended adding a handful of petals and florets to a pint of boiling water and leaving this to infuse for 15 minutes. Use as a poultice on broken skin to aid healing.
A few drops of tea-tree essential oil added to the marigold cream or oil is useful for cradle cap and ringworm.
Oops we sneaked in another plant there. Okay the Melaleuca alternifolia tree isn’t likely to be in your garden. Unless you live in Australia! The essential oil is easy to come by though and relatively cheap.