You would not be here if our ancestors did not use plants for first aid and medicine. Using natural remedies for minor injuries and ailments is effective. The key is listening to your body and honoring what it is telling you. Many essential oils are powerfully antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. They are a powerful tool to add to your first aid repertoire for cuts, scrapes, and minor injuries. Many also have properties that will help with indigestion, muscle sprains, and other common first-aid needs.
Natural remedies work well, but there are very real times and places that require the attention of a medical professional. If you are experiencing serious injury or illness skip the tea tree and get to the hospital! It is also important to inform your doctor of anything natural you are using as some essential oils can interfere with or neutralize medications. Known medical interferences are noted in the precaution section of each plant profile in our resource list.
The essential oils listed in the following recipes are great for the listed purposes. They are also not the only option. If you don’t have one of the oils listed or are allergic to it, sub it. In making this article I did try to keep the number of essential oils used down. No one wants to go buy 30 different essential oils. I’ve also included a shopping list at the end of the article.
If you’re going to try any of the following recipes please do an allergy test first. If you have a reaction to something you made, stop using it immediately. There, I said all the common sense, take care of yourself things.
Cuts and Scrapes
Booboos are no fun. Minor scrapes and cuts will happen and when they do, it’s best to be prepared. The first thing to do is stop the bleeding. Next rinse the area. You can use water, or the following recipe. Apply an antimicrobial oil or ointment, and cover the area with a bandage. If the injury is bad, you’re bleeding through bandages, or haven’t had a tetanus shot in a while get yourself to a Dr.
To make an antiseptic rinse add the water and vinegar to an 8 oz bottle. Then mix the essential oils in the honey. Add the oil to the bottle and shake well.
Wash- .5 c Distilled Water
.5 c Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp honey
5 drops lavender
3 drops tea tree
2 drops Frankincense
To make an antiseptic oil do the following. I prefer coconut as it is antimicrobial in itself and it penetrates deeply. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Heat the coconut oil just enough to melt it and mix in the essential oils. This formula is VERY concentrated. Only use it to help disinfect cuts or abrasions and only for a short period of time.
2 oz Coconut oil
40 drops Lavender
25 drops Tea Tree
15 drops Frankincense
Tattoo Juju is marketed as a tattoo aftercare, but it’s really a first aid salve. This salve is packed full of antimicrobial, healing goodness.
Insect stings are an unpleasant surprise for sure. They range from annoying to freaking painful. Insect stings are the one time I waive the “never use undiluted essential oils neat on the skin” rule. Even now I only bend it specifically with lavender or tea tree. Applying one drop neat to lavender to a mosquito bite will give instant relief to the itching and swelling.
We’ve all been here. Too much fun and too much sun. The first thing to do when you get too much sun is to get the heat out of your skin. Get a cold compress on it! Pump it up adding some lavender to the mix. If you wanna get really fancy chill some lavender hydrosol and spray it on the offending area. Taking a bath in some healing herbs is also a good remedy. Mix all this goodness together, draw a cool bath, and relax.
½ c Witch Hazel
4 c Chamomile or Calendula tea
½ c Baking Soda
½ Aloe Vera Juice
2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Peppermint, 1 drop Frankincense
Tattoo Juju gives relief from sunburns and expedites recovery. This is not FDA tested but has been proved by my Irish partner that didn’t need sunscreen at the beach because it was a cloudy day.
Poison Ivy/ Oak
Urushiol is evil. This is what makes Poison ivy, oak, and sumac the devil. Believe it or not, these plants serve a purpose in the plant kingdom, but they can be a beast. Urushiol is an oil. A very transferable, potent, ever-lasting oil. There are 100-year-old samples of poison ivy whose urushiol will still make you react. If you have tools or equipment that have come in contact with these plants you have to wash them extremely thoroughly or the next time you garden, or even camp years later it will still cause a reaction. Best just not to touch these plants, and for heaven's sake NEVER burn them. That will unleash the unholy urushiol into the air and no one wants that.
If you do, however, get into these irritating monsters, do the following:
Wash the area with cool water and soap. Do not use hot water or anything else that will open up your pores. Try your best not to scratch. This can really mess up your skin and spread the irritant further. An anti-inflammatory, astringent poultice is the way to go. Get the dry clay and mix in enough witch hazel to make a paste. Add in the essential oils. Apply the paste to the area and wrap it with a cloth. Leave it there until it dries out. Anywhere from 30 minutes, to a couple of hours. Once it dries wash it off. Feel free to reapply it throughout the day.
10 drops lavender
5 drops tea tree
5 drops peppermint
I love them, but I am mildly allergic to my dogs. If I am suffering from any seasonal allergies, mild food intolerances, or stress and one of those ladies licks me, it’s hive-o-clock for me. The area puffs up and it itches like the devil. When an irritant comes in contact with your skin the first thing to do is wash the area with soap and cold water. Next, a cold compress can be used. Here we’re going to use astringents instead of water to help draw the allergen out. Note: if this is a reaction to poison ivy or oak, follow the instructions above as that is its own kind of evil!
Mix the cold water, witch hazel, and the EO in a bowl. Saturate your cloth and wrap the area. Cover that with a towel. You can also place an ice pack over this for more cold power. When it gets dry or warm saturate the cloth again. Stay in it for about 20 minutes. Do this around 3 times a day until it goes away.
½ c Witch Hazel or Apple Cider Vinegar
2 c cold water
2 tsp baking soda
4 drops Lavender
3 drops Peppermint
1 drop Cedarwood
Eczema is a tricky little monster. It presents as inflamed, scaly, itchy skin, sometimes with tiny blisters. More often than not eczema is caused by an underlying allergic reaction, and can often be triggered by stress. Anti-inflammatories are the name of the game here, along with something to reduce dryness and increase circulation.
A cold compress can ease symptoms when eczema flares its ugly head. For this put cool water and the EO in a bowl. Saturate your cloth and wrap the area. Cover that with a towel. You can also place an ice pack over this for more cold power. When it gets dry or warm saturate the cloth again. Stay in it for about 20 minutes.
8 oz cold water and a bowl, cloth, and towel.
2 drops Bergamot
2 drops Lavender
1 drop Patchouli
It’s not FDA tested, but customers who have suffered from eczema have reported symptom relief with Miracle Salve.
Being sick sucks. Essential oils can give our immune system added support, speeding recovery. Many plants produce essential oils as a means to fight diseases themselves. This is why so many are anti-bacterial and viral. Lucky for us we too can benefit from their power. Inhalation is always a good choice for any respiratory ailment. Make friends with your diffuser!
Any of these blends can also be added to a diffuser when sickness is in your home. They will clean the air and help prevent anyone from coming down with anything. Most of the treatment methods listed below can be mixed and matched between respiratory ailments. Our Simbi Anpaka blend is another good choice. It is the most potent antimicrobial we make. Each oil in it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.
There are few things that feel better when you’re fighting a cold than a good old hot bath. When I start to feel run down, this is the first thing I do. Do not ever go over 12 drops of EO in a bath. That is more than enough. Mix all of this stuff up and dump it into a bath that feels like a good temperature to you. Relax with a nice cup of tea. When ready, pat yourself dry and then get your butt into bed. As much as I love herbs and essential oils the best thing for your body when fighting infection is sleep.
2 cups of Epsom salt, you can also add milk, honey, or yogurt to really feel pampered and indulgent.
1 tsp carrier oil (if you wish)
4 drops Lavender, 3 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Ginger, 2 drops Frankincense
There are a couple of different types of coughs. One is a wet cough, the other is a dry cough. For wet coughs, you want some expectorants. For dry coughs, you want antispasmodics.
Blend for Wet Coughs
1 part each Hyssop, Peppermint, Tea Tree. Eucalyptus
Blend for Dry Coughs
4 parts Lavender, 4 parts Bergamot, 2 parts Ginger
Steam is a wonderful tool to break up congestion and get that congestion evicted. Get a bowl with hot water and drop the essential oils in. Throw the towel over your head to make a tent and, put your face over the bowl. Keep it up for 5 -10 minutes. It’s best to keep your eyes closed.
4 cups hot water
1 drop EO of wet or dry cough blend
You can also shower with a small dish of essential oils. Put the dish in the bottom of the shower to disperse them. Just don’t step on it.
This is a good remedy for either wet or dry coughs. Mix these up and massage them over your chest, upper back, and neck. Do this a couple of times a day until your cough eases.
1 tbsp carrier oil
12 drops EO of wet or dry cough blend
I live in Houston. Allergies are real. Essential oils are wonderful at opening up airways and calming your system down. This being said, they are made from plants, and if you are prone to plant allergies be very careful about the oils you choose. If you are allergic to ragweed, there is a good chance you are also allergic to chamomile. When seeking relief from allergies you want anti-inflammatories, oils that will purify the air, and antimicrobials.
One of my favorite ways to ease allergies and congestion is to use oils in a diffuser. Make this blend and add about a dozen drops to your diffuser. Use any or all of these oils, this is just a suggestion. If you don’t have grapefruit, skip it.
1 part Grapefruit, 2 parts Lavender, 3 parts Peppermint, 2 parts Tea Tree, 2 parts Frankincense
Facial massage can be a godsend when you have cement stuck in your face. With an aromatic massage blend, you are not only benefiting topically and through inhalation from the essential oils, but you are also increasing circulation around your sinus cavities, encouraging anything in there to GTFO. Mix all the ingredients together and massage over and all around your face, neck, and shoulders. If there are tender points, you know that's where the offending allergens are hiding.
1 tbsp carrier oil
3 drops Lavender, 1 drop Peppermint, 1 drop Frankincense
Ugh, nausea. We’ve all been there. There are so many things that can cause nausea and vomiting. Here are some things that will help you feel better until the underlying condition passes. As a general note, your heroes here will be ginger or peppermint. For me, I find peppermint eases my nausea more when inhaled and ginger works better for me internally. I don’t use essential oils internally, but ginger chews and ginger beer can be a lifesaver. If you diffuse oils in your home it is a good idea to have an anti-nausea blend on hand. It’s better to have and not need than need and not have!
Note: If you are projectile vomiting, or experience nausea or vomiting after hitting your head skip this and get your butt to the ER.
Sometimes your stomach is just angry. A soothing massage can help ease nausea and vomiting. Here we’re using oils that keep smooth muscles from spasming, relax you, and ease the feeling of nausea. Mix these up and massage them on your abdomen. Start on the lower right side, go up to the top right, over to the top left, down to the bottom left, then back to the lower right. This is the direction you naturally digest in.
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil (I like coconut because it penetrates deeply)
3 drops Litsea cubeba, 3 drop Peppermint, 2 drop Lavender, 2 drops Ginger
Altiods, the original big peppermint ones are made with peppermint oil. When I’m worried about motion sickness I ALWAYS make sure to have a tin with me. I also highly recommend carrying peppermint essential oil with you. Simply inhale it along your journey for relief. Our Vishuddha blend is an excellent peppermint-based blend to use if you suffer from motion sickness.
If you’ve never had ginger beer, ginger ale lovers hold on to your pants. Ginger beer is what ginger ale wishes it was. More potent than ginger ale, ginger beer is made with real ginger, not ginger-flavored syrup. Ginger beer got me through my first trimester. If you are pregnant you need to do some thorough research on what oils you can use and which you can’t. There are so many that are contraindicated it’s best to assume an oil is off-limits, especially during your first trimester.
Strains and Sprains
Muscles make us move. Ligaments hold your muscles to your bones. A strain is a tear in the muscle. A sprain is an injury to your ligament. Sprains suck and are slower to heal because they are not vascular. Strains heal in days to a few weeks. Sprains can take 2 - 12 weeks to heal. If either happens to you remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. Get all pressure off of the area. Apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes. Wrap it with an ace bandage, but not tight enough to cut off the circulation. Elevate that sucker above your heart. For the first 24 hours, you want to use ice and cold. After that, you want to add in some heat to get the circulation going. It’s also important to rest the injury at first, but slowly add movement and weight to the area. Above all else listen to your body!
Sprains and strains are tricky and it’s easy to underestimate the damage that was done. When in doubt seek a medical professional. If you can't move or bear weight on the area, have pain over the bone, or have numbness in the area feel free to ice it while you go to the ER. Some medical professionals also recommend not using OTC painkillers that can increase bleeding like aspirin and ibuprofen for the first 48 hours.
If the injury is self-treatable and you’re busily RICEing, feel free to add massage to the mix. Mix up the following ingredients together. This is a very potent dilution and is to be used in a small area only. Rub it over the area a few times a day. Increase the pressure you use as you feel up to it. Massage encourages circulation in the area and speeds healing, although sprains and strains always operate on their own timeline.
2 Tbsp carrier oil
24 drops 8 drops Marjoram, 8 drops Lavender, 4 drops Rosemary, 4 drops Frankincense
It’s a special kind of hell to have a sudden toothache in the middle of the night. Dentists and drug stores are all closed. Clove is the best stopgap until you can get your butt to the dentist. Clove was actually used by dentists to numb pain in the early days of dentistry. What they use now is a distilled form of Eugenol, a naturally occurring component in clove. Not only that it is highly antimicrobial. If your toothache is due to infection, clove helps you start the battle before you get to the dentist. You can either rub a ground clove or chew a couple of whole cloves to provide relief. Alternatively, dilute about 5 drops of clove essential oil in a carrier like olive oil and massage it on the area. Clove is potent and can cause irritation. Use the essential oil cautiously and sparingly.
You can make your own mouthwash, using antimicrobial essential oils to fight infections such as gingivitis. Myrrh, the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial powerhouse is your champion here. If you experiencing bleeding of the gums you need to be seeing a dentist. The following mouthwash is something that can help in-between visits.
1 c sage tea or Vodka
1 tbsp witch hazel
1 tsp honey
2 drops Lavender
1 drop Peppermint
1 drop Myrrh
Essential oils are used daily in my household. I use these recipes, and ones like them all of the time. Whenever I’ve suffered a minor injury or am starting to feel under the weather I turn to my plant friends. Essential oils are powerful allies when speaking of minor injuries, bumps, and pains. In regards to illness, I find these remedies are helpful when they’re used either when you first start to feel run down, or alongside treatments you get from your Doctor. As I said, just make sure your doctor knows you’re using essential oils as some do interfere with medications.
Hey, I’m not a Doctor. Nothing in this article is intended to be medical advice. Consult your physician with anything you are concerned about. As with anything you use topically, stop if you are having an allergic reaction.
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