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NATURAL FIRST AID
TIPS FOR GARDENERS

Disclaimer: These remedies do not take the place of professional medical attention in serious situations.

Everyone is going to have a mishap or two while tending the garden: insect bites, cuts, rashes, sunburn and bruises. Use mother nature and some other aids to help you heal!

Bee Stings or Insect Bites: Carefully scrape the stinger out with your fingernail or a credit card. Pulling on the stinger will only inject more venom. The number one gardeners friend for insect bites is pure Neem oil! Just rub a small amount of Neem on the area as often as needed: it draws out the venom, pain and swelling. I react very badly to wasp and bee bites with extreme swelling and pain that would last for 7 to ten days. Neem has been a miracle for me. After applying it all symptoms are usually gone within hours! Other aids are mixing straight apple cider vinegar with baking soda to make a paste and applying to the bitten area. Use an ointment containing the herb comfrey as a soothing salve. Wasp venom is on the alkaline side. To counteract the venom rub some onion juice or vinegar on the bite. Split the leaf of a leek and apply the inside surface to your skin. Ant bites and bee stings are more acidic in nature. For these you want to neutralize the effect of the venom with a paste of baking soda and very cold water. Apply straight lemon juice. A clay or mud paste can also be used to draw out the venom and is usually on hand! Use a wet tea bag as a poultice: the tannic acid in tea helps with swelling. Meat tenderizers contain enzymes that when applied as a paste also draw out the venom and swelling. Put a slice of cucumber over the area, this is especially effective for ant bites! A Poultice using winter or summer savory leaves helps with bites & stings. To reduce swelling put on a drop of lavender or eucalyptus oil.

Bruises: Note: Comfrey should not be used by pregnant women. Comfrey AKA bruisewort and knitbone leaves can be used as poultice for its' remarkable healing properties on bruises. Use the comfrey leaves between two warm damp cloths as a cover over the bruised tissue. Recharge with fresh comfrey leaves every hour or so. You can purchase a comfrey based ointment and smooth directly onto the bruise.

Use a cloth soaked in vinegar and cold water as a compress. Immediately apply distilled witch hazel to the injured area using sterile cotton. Witch hazel will stop swelling in a remarkable hurry. Use fennel or hyssop leaves in a compress to reduce swelling. Another alternative is to use calendula petals. Calendula is commonly known as "pot marigold."

Chiggers: When you have been "chigged" take a shower first then try these: Rub pure castor oil on your skin. Pure odorless castor oil is available at pharmacies. Grow the herb pennyroyal (a member of the mint family) and use the leaves by crushing them in your hands then rubbing it on your skin. Apply a poultice of cooked and cooled oatmeal.

Cuts & Wounds: Clean very thoroughly getting all dirt out. Have on hand a salve containing the ingredients: calendula, comfrey and goldenseal to apply topically for speedy healing. Rubbing on some vitamin E oil helps healing too! Apply pure honey directly to the open wound!Honey has been proven to act as a natural antibiotic and can keep the wound sterile by killing off many infectious bacteria. A poultice of organically grown mashed garlic applied directly to the wound has the same properties as using honey. Use a leaf of soft lambs ear to hold it in place. Garlic is widely known for its' antibiotic properties. An infusion of lady's mantle applied as a compress will stop bleeding. Fresh leaves or flowers from the common white flowering yarrow act like a styptic pencil to stop wounds from bleeding. Just crush between your fingers and apply to the cut. Make a tea from spearmint or peppermint leaves, cool and apply.

Heat Exhaustion: If you feel dizzy and/or stop sweating you are in trouble. Quit all activity and get out of the sun fast. Drink cool, not cold water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it. The vinegar helps to replace electrolytes and minerals like sports drinks do. Drinking raspberry or peppermint teas produces a natural cooling effect on your overheated system. Tea made from sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is said to provide tremendous relief from overheating. Drink 3 cups a day to help. Very high in vitamin C too. Take a cool bath. A cold bath could cool you down too fast and really tax or stop your heart.

Insect repellant: Here again pure Neem oil is highly recommended as a topically applied insect repellant. I am one of those people that mosquitoes love and earlier this summer I was the recipient of repeated yellow jacket attacks! Thanks to the advice of a friend I use Neem in a "homemade" lotion that I apply in the morning before going to work and I remain unbothered by insects all day long! Yes I do work in a profession that keeps me outside everyday and I run into every type of insect we have in Colorado. Neem does have a rather offensive odor. With the following formula I have had no complaints from my customers or friends!

Neem Insect Repellant and Skin Softener
6 ounces of almond oil
2 ounces of aloe vera gel
3 ounces of pure Neem oil
a few drops of ylang-ylang or whatever aromatic oil you prefer Blend all these ingredients together, put in a lotion dispenser, apply to exposed skin as needed. If you have been sweating a lot you may need to reapply after awhile. Works like a charm!

If you want to try some other repelling methods try topical applications of tea tree oil (a great disinfectant too), essential oils of citronella or eucalyptus work quite well and smell nice. Splash some mint tea on your skin to repel ants and ticks. Chamomile tea is another option. Steep 2 tablespoons of chamomile blossoms in 8 ounces of water, let cool, strain and splash on your skin before going out. Again: Grow the herb pennyroyal (a member of the mint family) and use the leaves by crushing them in your hands then rubbing it on your skin.

Mosquitoes: The previously listed neem oil lotion works to repel mosquitoes. Some other options are taking garlic oil capsules and vitamin B complex supplements daily. Again topical applications of oils of citronella, tea tree oil and eucalyptus may be used.

Muscle Strains: Vigorous gardening can often give your body a real workout and it is easy to overdo it, your enthusiasm resulting in sore muscles. For some relief try these:

Soak in the tub adding 10 to 15 drops of rosemary oil to the water. Put a little grated ginger in the bathwater. Don't use more than a teaspoons' worth. Ginger is excellent for soothing muscle and joint pain. It helps improve blood and oxygen circulation to the injured area. The slippery inner layer of bark from a weeping birch tree used as a poultice over the sore muscles will bring pain relief. Be sure to use length wise strips from the tree trunk, if you remove a circular strip around the tree trunk you will kill it.

Poison Oak & Ivy: Carefully wash the affected area and apply Swedish Bitters to the skin. Take a handful of plaintain leaves (the common "weed") and 16 ounces of water. Puree this in a food processor to make a slurry. Use cotton balls to swab it on the affected area. Make and apply a paste of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Another jewel for rashes is jewelweed! Conveniently it often grows right beside poison ivy. All you do is pick a some jewelweed, slit the stem and rub the juice on your skin.

Rashes & Sunburns: Put 2 cups of apple cider vinegar in your bathwater and soak for awhile. A cup of oatmeal in the bath also has very soothing properties for skin rashes. Pure aloe vera gel topically applied can help heal a rash. Ointments containing goldenseal are great for rashes. For psoriasis or eczema: juice pressed from common chickweed will soothe the skin.

Rough, Dry Skin: Milk bath: place in a square of fine gauze the following: 3 tablespoons of regular powdered milk and 2-3 ounces of chamomile blossoms. Fold the cloth and contents into a little bag, tie the top with string and add to the bath. The milk and blossoms help sooth rough skin. Put blossoms from the linden tree in the bath to soften skin. Refer back to the neem oil lotion for powerful skin and callus softening.

Snakebites: To avoid receiving one (shudder!) rub garlic oil on your legs to repel them. If you should get bitten get medical help ASAP and apply a salt pack.

Splinters & Thorns: For thorns use a piece of pantyhose to snag and pull them out. Works great for small thorns like those of cactus. Apply ice to the area to numb the nerves and use the old sterile needle and tweezers.

Sunburn: Lavender oil has strong healing properties to it and will help heal sunburns.
Lavender & apple cider vinegar for sunburn:
1/2 teaspoon of iodine
10 drops of lavender oil
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix all the ingredients together very well. Pour into a clean glass bottle, cap it. Rub very gently onto sunburned skin as needed.


Smooth on plain yogurt containing live cultures.
Simply spray apple cider vinegar on a sunburn and get fast relief.
Use buttermilk as a sponge bath.
Take cucumbers, cut them up, mash them and apply for cooling relief.
Make a compress using sorrel leaves (Rumen acetosa). Written by: EcoMall


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