First Aid - some useful remedies to have at home

Chamomile flowers ( Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile flowers have many uses, being antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. The flowers can be brewed for 5 minutes in boiling hot water (cover to keep in the beneficial steam). Use this hot tea for indigestion or sleeplessness. Cool the infusion and it can also be used to bathe inflamed eyes, or as a mouth wash for gingivitis.

Clove oil ( Eugenia caryophyllus)
This essential oil is made from the flower buds of the clove tree. It is anti-bacterial, antiseptic and analgesic and very strong. Can be used as a quick aid for toothache by putting 1 drop on cottonwool and applying to the gum around the tooth. (Caution! Not for internal use! Also do not use this essential oil on the skin.)

Cramp bark tablets ( Viburnum opulus)
This remedy helps to relax muscular tension. It is useful in cases of muscular cramp or period pains. Take 2 or 3 tablets up to 3 times per day.

Garlic ( Allium sativum)
Garlic has a wide range of uses. The volatile oil leaves the body via the lungs and has antiseptic effects in bronchitis, colds and influenza. Also helpful for the digestion by supporting normal bacteria and protecting against the growth of pathogens. Reduces blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Take up to 3 perles per day. The oil can be used externally for ringworm.

Lavender essential oil ( Lavendula officinalis)
This essential oil is made from the flowering tops of the plant. It is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, sedative, detoxifier and anti-depressant. Many uses including relief for insect bites and stings - apply 1 drop neat. For minor burns apply ice cold water for 10 minutes followed by 1 or 2 drops of lavender oil and cover with gauze. For cuts and wounds bathe the area in a cup of warm water with 2 drops of lavender oil. For earache add 2 drops of oil to 1 teaspoon of warm olive oil and soak a plug of cotton wool. Headaches benefit from massaging the neck and forehead with 2 drops of lavender oil mixed in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. For neuralgia or rheumatism use ice or a cold compress to relieve inflammation and then massage with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil plus 6 drops of lavender oil. (Note that lavender oil is not for internal use, but is safe to apply direct to the skin.)

Marigold ointment ( Calendula officinalis)
Useful for skin problems such as dryness and eczema. Can be applied to a bleeding wound or skin ulcer especially if slow to heal. Ideal for first aid treatment of burns, scalds or bruises. Due to its anti-fungal activity this ointment can also be used for Athletes foot.

Meadowsweet tea ( Filipendula ulmaria)
A digestive remedy which soothes the stomach. An infusion can ease nausea and help in heartburn, hyperacidity and gastritis. Safe for use for diarrhoea in children. This remedy may also help to reduce fever and pain in the joints due to its anti-inflammatory action. (Contains natural aspirin.)

Senna pods ( Cassia angustifolia)
These dried fruit pods have a strong laxative action and may be used occasionally for constipation. Steep 6 dried pods in a cup of warm water for 6 - 12 hours or overnight and then strain and drink the liquid.

Slippery elm powder ( Ulmus fulva)
The inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree is demulcent, emollient, nutrient and astringent. It is used to soothe and astringe in diarrhoea and gastritis. Use 1 part of powdered bark to 8 parts of water, mix and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drink half a cup up to 3 times a day to line the digestive tract.

Thyme ( Thymus vulgaris)
Antiseptic and carminative. Pour a mug of boiling hot water on to 1 teaspoon and cover for 5 minutes. This infusion is used as a soothing tea for coughs in bronchitis, asthma or whooping cough. Colled it also makes a gargle for a sore throat or laryngitis.

Valerian tablets ( Valeriana officinalis)
A relaxing nervine which safely reduces tension and anxiety. Use 1 or 2 tablets to help in insomnia. Can also be taken for its antispasmodic effects to help cramp, intestinal colic or period pains. May be used in migraine and rheumatic pain.

Witchhazel, distilled ( Hamamelis virginiana)
Distilled witchhazel is a widely applicable astringent. It can be dabbed on to reduce swellings, sprains and to soothe bruises. May ease haemorrhoids and is also helpful in stopping bleeding from a nose bleed or cut.