A major concern in an emergency or survival situation is the tending of injuries and illnesses, but it is often difficult to lay in supplies for these potential needs.
Many of the “conventional” supplies for health care are controlled by prescription requirements, or access is otherwise limited to healthcare professionals. To be perfectly honest, many modern techniques are not the best options available, and are more dictated by the current whims of large pharmaceutical companies than by real world efficacy.
Fortunately, there are time-honored traditional means of treating almost every injury or illness known to man, and many of these remedies and treatments revolve around a group of substances known as essential oils. Soon, the ability to tend to your own health needs may very well become a matter of every day necessity as opposed to a prep for extreme situations.
My wife is an aficionado of essential oils, and by association I have absorbed a small amount of the vast store of knowledge she has acquired through several years of research and experimentation. At times, our kitchen table looks like a chemistry lab, as she perfects a new formula with either a specific or a general purpose. Some of her advanced projects have yielded relief for psoriasis and eczema, and have produced hand sanitizers which are totally effective and yet gentle enough for sensitive children who can’t even be in the same room with commercial alcohol based sanitizers. The field of study is vast and multi-faceted, to say the least. For my part, I have tried to pick her brain and come up with a short list of common injuries and ailments and their essential oil treatments.
First, the caution and the disclaimer: Not all essential oils are created equal! Through the years, the fragrance industry has co-opted much of the essential oils industry. Many “oils” are mere fragrances with absolutely no medicinal value, although they smell great.
What you are looking for is pure essential oil. Words to look out for include “aroma,” “reconstitution,” “isolates” and “nature identicals”. Only pure oils extracted by steam distillation, solvent extraction, expression or maceration are suitable for your first aid kit. Buy from a health food store or reputable online dealer; steer clear of vendors who cater to the smelling good market. True essential oils are so concentrated that they must be used with a base or carrier oil, and many seed and vegetable oils, including sunflower, olive, corn and grape seed oil can be used for this purpose.
Here are my picks for the essential oil beginner to get your first aid kit going:
- For grazes and abrasions you will need lavender oil. Cleanse the affected area with five drops of this oil diluted in warm water. After cleansing, apply one drop of straight oil and allow the injury to heal.
- For bruises and bumps prepare two bowls of water, a hot and a cold. To each bowl add two drops of lavender oil, three of rosemary oil, and one of geranium oil. Soak a washcloth in each bowl and apply alternately. Following this treatment, add two drops of geranium oil, two of rosemary, and one of lavender diluted in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and apply directly to the affected area.
- For scalds and burns, including electrical and corrosive, lavender, yarrow, and Roman or German chamomile are effective treatments on their own or in synergy. For common burns, first cool the area with ice cold water for at least 10 minutes and then apply two drops of pure oil directly to the burn area. Then place 5 drops of oil to a clean dressing and loosely wrap the area. The blend for a synergistic treatment is 10 drops lavender, 10 of German chamomile, and 5 of Roman chamomile, two drops of this blend can be added to a tablespoon of Aloe Vera and applied three times a day to a burn. For corrosive burns, first neutralize the compound and wash thoroughly before applying your oil or blend. Take 100mg of vitamin C each day to aide in healing.
- For cuts and wounds, clean with warm water with five drops of lavender oil and two of tea tree oil. This is an effective disinfectant and antibiotic. Apply three drops of lavender oil to a sterile gauze pad and place it over the wound, change this dressing twice a day.
- To control bleeding apply a compress a drop of geranium oil, one of Lemon oil, and one of chamomile. Apply direct pressure, and elevate the limb if needed.
- For an abscess make a compress with two drops of lavender oil, two of tea tree oil, and three of chamomile and apply it to the swollen area twice a day. For a dental abscess put a drop of chamomile oil on a cotton ball and apply to the affected tooth or gum area and also rub the cheek and jaw with three drops of lavender oil and two of tea tree diluted in a teaspoon of vegetable oil.
- For toothache place a drop of clove oil on a cotton ball and apply to the tooth. Massage the cheek and jaw with one drop of clove oil, three of chamomile, and one of lemon oil diluted in one teaspoon of vegetable oil.
- Blisters receive a drop of lavender oil and a drop of chamomile directly to the blister. Carefully pat the oils in.
- General headaches can be treated by massaging the temples and the base of the neck with one drop of a blend consisting of three drops lavender oil and one of peppermint oil in one drop of vegetable oil. For nervous or tension headaches substitute one drop of chamomile for the one drop of peppermint.
- To kill a cold at early onset, take 3 drops of oil of oregano diluted in the beverage of your choice. This really kick starts the immune system. Use this in conjunction with large doses of Vitamin C.
- Hay fever can be relieved by putting two drops of chamomile oil, two of lemon, and one of lavender on a tissue and inhaling.
- To alleviate upper abdominal pain dilute three drops of peppermint oil and two of clove oil in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and massage over the painful area in a clockwise motion. For lower abdominal pain dilute two drops thyme oil and three of eucalyptus oil in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and apply in the same manner.
These are just a very few of the uses for essential oils in common first aid applications. There are hundreds more, and a good book on the subject is an absolute must for any preparedness library. Now is the time to do your homework and gather your supplies.
In addition, essential oils can be used in aromatherapy, in homemade cleaning products, insect repellents, and in personal hygiene products. The health, psychological and emotional benefits are tremendous. Essential oils are nature’s pharmacy, and will care for you when the corner pharmacy’s doors are closed.