To handle minor, everyday emergencies, keep a home first-aid kit stocked with essential items (such as bandages, gauze, and tweezers) and natural remedies that can help treat a host of common injuries. Here, three plant-based medicines to consider including in your kit:
1) Aloe Vera
Anti-inflammatory aloe vera can prompt healing of first- to second-degree burns, according to a research review published in 2007. To soothe pain and stave off blisters and scarring, apply aloe vera gel directly to the burn once or twice daily until it's fully healed.
Remember that all third-degree burns (which affect every layer of the skin) demand immediate medical treatment. Second-degree burns (which involve the first and second skin layers) can call for medical attention if the burned area is larger than three inches (or if the burn is on the hands, feet, face, groin, or buttocks, or over a major joint). Affecting only the outer layer of skin, first-degree burns typically require no medical treatment. Of course, if you're in doubt about the severity of your burn, contact a medical provider immediately.
Another anti-inflammatory agent, calendula's antibacterial effects can help keep cuts and scrapes from becoming infected. When applied directly to the affected area, calendula (a flower commonly known as "pot marigold') can also speed up wound recovery.
3) Tea Tree Oil
An incredibly potent essential oil, tea tree oil possesses bacteria-killing and inflammation-fighting properties, according to a 2006 research review. Also known to offer antiseptic and antifungal effects, tea tree oil can help treat wounds, blisters, and insect bites when diluted and applied topically.
Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. "Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties." Clinical Microbiology Reviews 2006 19(1):50-62.
Chandran PK, Kuttan R. "Effect of Calendula officinalis Flower Extract on Acute Phase Proteins, Antioxidant Defense Mechanism and Granuloma Formation During Thermal Burns." Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 2008 43(2):58-64.
Maenthaisong R, Chaiyakunapruk N, Niruntraporn S, Kongkaew C. "The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review." Burns 2007 33(6):713-8.