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Accidents happen. And, at this time of year, so do those unforeseen run-ins with insects and poison ivy. Are you prepared?
Having a first aid kit at the ready—a complete one that contains all of your emergency preparations in one place—only makes sense. With a do-it-yourself kit, you control what goes into it and avoid the worries about all those unpronounceable ingredients in conventional drugstore products.
“Many people are trying to take more responsibility for their health and their environment,” says Mary Bove, ND, a Vermont-based naturopathic physician and the author of An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants. “Some people want to be ‘green’ in all aspects of their lives. Some are eager to avoid the chemicals you find in conventional products. Being able to do that is empowering,” says Bove, who integrates homeopathic and herbal medicines in her practice at the Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic.
Natural products come in a variety of forms. How to choose? “If you have an upset stomach, you may not be able to handle a pill or tea,” Bove explains. “Dissolving a pellet in
your mouth will be more tolerable than putting something in your stomach.”
Here are the remedies Bove recommends for your natural first aid kit:
Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy
Used for: Relieves stress, anxiety, and trauma after an accident.
How to use: Take 4 drops in a small glass of water; sip at frequent intervals. Alternatively, place 4 drops on the tongue.
Used for: Bruises, cuts, sprains
How to use: Rub topical preparation (gel or cream) on sites that are not bleeding (sprains, burns, swollen areas and cuts which have scarred and healed). For bruises, place 3 pellets under the tongue, repeat 3–4 times a day between meals.
Used for: Immune system support, acute illness
How to use: Take 1–3 capsules daily, preferably with a meal. As a tea, brew according to label instructions.
Fenugreek seed capsules
Used for: Hay fever and sinus congestion
How to use: Take 1–2 caps daily, preferably with a meal. As a tea, brew according to label instructions.
Yarrow and calendula wash
Used for: External bleeding (cuts, scrapes, bites, stings)
How to use: Mix half an ounce of each of the tinctures. Add 30 drops of combined mixture to 1 tablespoon of water; apply to pad and use to wash cuts, stings, bites, or scrapes. “Tincture of yarrow can be used by itself,” adds Bove. “If you’re out in the woods, put 10–15 drops into one ounce of water and apply to a pad. Keep the pad on the wound for several minutes.”
Used for: Poison ivy, hives, respiratory allergies
How to use: Take 1 or more capsules per day with meals, or as directed.
Used for: Bee stings and bug bites
How to use: Dissolve 5 pellets in the mouth 3 times a day until symptoms are relieved, or as directed by physician.
Calendula salve or wash
Used for: Minor burns, cuts, scrapes, poison ivy, chapping
How to use: (ointment) Cleanse and dry wound. Apply thin layer up to 3 times daily.
Tea tree oil
Used for: Burns, scrapes, cuts and wounds; as an antiseptic
How to use: (oil) Place 2 drops on a pad and apply to wound.
Used for: Sinus congestion, airborne allergen exposure, itchy eyes
How to use: Take 2 capsules twice a day during high allergy time. “If you plan to
cut the grass tomorrow, start taking nettle leaf the night before,” advises Bove. “It’s best to get it into your system 8 hours before exposure to allergens. You can also begin taking nettle leaf before the start of hayfever season.”
Caught short? Effective remedies may be closer than you realize! “A slice of raw potato easily removes a bee stinger,” says Bove. Learn more tips in Bove’s interactive Food Pharm Guide app. Read about it at http://foodpharmguide.com/.
aw good buys
BOIRON CALENDULA OINTMENT For minor cuts, scrapes, chaps, and burns. Apply a thin layer to affected area 3 times per day or as needed.
THE VITAMIN SHOPPE STINGING NETTLES This perennial herb has a long history of use for hayfever, allergies, rashes, and burns. Take 1–3 capsules daily.
BACH RESCUE REMEDY SPRAY alleviates stress and trauma after a fall or other incident. Convenient spray can be carried in a purse or pocket.