The Seven Essentials of First Aid.
So, summer is in full swing and the great outdoor, weekend warrior, extreme sports enthusiast inside you has been awakened. The warm sunny days have triggered that primal need to get outside, fix that fence, spruce up the gardens, water-ski, cannonballs off the dock or just get on a bike and ride. In between here and the bliss of action and accomplishment are a few potential speed bumps which reveal themselves as sunburns, bug bites, cuts, scrapes and bruises.
Our skin is the largest organ of the body providing protection, temperature regulation and is critical to a healthy immune system. So, when suffering cuts, burns, bug bites and other skin traumas, it can cause tremendous strain on our ability to resist infection. A simple wound can deplete the system by up to 40%. Many over the counter remedies are harsh, expensive and not necessarily effective.
So what to do? Take control of the situation! Yes, we’re talking DIY first-aid. Now we don’t advise that you stitch up those nasty wounds with a needle and thread after a few swigs of whisky, but we do have some effective essential oils and other natural ingredients that can help with minor wounds and to aid a speedier healing process when you have really done a number on yourself…
Here are seven key essential oils which directly support the healing process of wounded skin. We’ve added in some other notable carriers and ingredients that are great to add, along with a few recipes and helpful tips.
Myrrh – The first of what I refer to as the “Three Kings” of wound healing. This oil is a resinous wonder mecca extracted from trees native to the Middle East, North Africa and India. It demonstrates tremendous ability to stop bleeding and start the coagulation process. Its versatile chemistry includes lindestrene, bouralene and ocimene which provide anti-microbic properties to help keep the wound clean as well.
* May be used one time as an undiluted direct application to a wound combined with bandage and pressure to stop bleeding. Always disinfect wound first.
Immortelle – Once bleeding has stopped, the second of this incredible trifecta, immortelle can step in to stimulate the white cell production necessary to accelerate healing and fend off further infection. Significant levels of nerol acetate combined with functional alcohols such as geraniol and linalol make this very gentle and skin friendly, but also a great anti-ageing solution. This oil is also notorious for drawing out hidden bruises associated with wounds for better all around therapeutic results.
Lavender – Once the heavy work is done to stop bleeding, and healing is well on its way, the all dependable third member of this dynamic threesome – lavender can take over to support long term repair of the skin, and at a lower price. That reliable combination of linalool and linyl acetate makes it a first aid kit in a bottle.
Ti-tree – Still considered one of the most anti-microbial substances on earth, this gift from down under keeps on giving with it’s plethora of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, oxides and alcohols. Other countries are now producing this oil, but Australia still has the best chemistry and quality. Not the most beautiful smelling oil but it can be used on its own or added to any other oil combinations to boost resistance to infection and relieve itching.
Benzoin – Here is another underrated oil for first aid and general skincare. Just like myrrh, it is a precious resin which oozes from trees and has been used for hundreds of years to stop bleeding and control inflammation. The gentle chemistry is mainly composed of vanillin and esters, most notably benzyl cinnamate, coniferyl benzoate. It has a sweet vanilla aroma which is gentler and appealing for children.
Chamomile (German) – Most varieties of chamomile are soothing for the skin, but we specify the German or blue chamomile for first aid. The significant presence of chamazulene gives this oil a deep blue colour and provides antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties not found in other chamomiles. No wonder the spa and aesthetic industries love this oil so much to sooth post waxing trauma!
Camphor – While it was difficult to pick one more to complete the seven with so many more good choices, we’ve settled on the simple fresh effects of camphor. A heavily medicinal oil comprised of 1,8 cineole, pinene and camphene that’s great for cooling, inflammation, soothes insect bites and can even be used in place of smelling salts to help with shock.
Other Helpful Ingredients
Aloe vera gel / extract
Green tea extract
Witch hazel hydrosol
Rosehip seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
St. Johns Wort oil
Natural plant based creams / lotions
Non petroleum ointment or salve
Cooling First Aid Serum
5 Drops Peppermint essential oil
10 Drops Ti-tree essential oil
20 Drops Lavender essential oil
Directions: Pre-mix all essential oils with glycerine thoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in aloe and witch hazel. Fill bottle with small dispensing cap, disk cap, or dropper top. Shake before each use. Use as spot treatment for small cuts, abrasions, minor burns, insect bites.
To make a disinfectant / cooling spray, mix all ingredients listed above, add 50 ml peroxide and 100 ml water. Fill spray top bottle for wider applications such as rashes, abrasions, sunburns etc. Makes 250ml
** 5-10 drops camphor essential oil may be added or in place of other oils listed to provide extra cooling for pain.
First Aid Cream
200 g natural unscented cream (lotion can be used for a thinner consistency)
10 drops myrrh essential oil
10 drops immortelle essential oil
10 drops German chamomile essential oil
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pour into clean container. Apply to wounds liberally using a spatula, or other sanitary utensil. Vinyl gloves are recommended as well for sanitary reasons. Creams and lotions are useful as they will absorb well and still allow the wound to breathe.
Healing Protection Balm
20 drops Benzoin resinoid
10 drops Myrrh essential oil
10 drops Lavender essential oil
5 Drops Ti-tree essential oil
Gently melt the ointment to liquid state (or make your own base if you have a recipe ). Add in all other oils and essential oils. Stir till thoroughly mixed and then pour into containers. Allow to cool and harden.
This recipe is meant to be used as protection and soothing application while wounds are healing to stop itch and keep skin supple and soft. Makes approximately 8 oz.
The information contained in this article is not meant to be a replacement for medical treatment or advice and refers to some simple applications for minor cuts, wounds and abrasions. If you have suffered a wound or injury which is potentially serious, are diabetic or have any other illness which compromises the immune system or interferes with the process of natural healing, proper medical attention is advised.