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Cuts & Grazes
by Gillie Whitewolf

Everyone suffers the odd graze or cut at some point in their life - and certainly not only during childhood. For minor cuts and grazes help is never too far away in the form of a natural remedy. In the case of serious wounds, or excessive blood loss, professional medical attention should be sought immediately.

Lavender and Tea-Tree essential oils are the two most useful first-aid kit oils I keep stocked up on and are excellent for treating minor cuts and scrapes - both are antiseptic, antibacterial and will help soothe any associated pain. They will also help stimulate your immune system. Lavender and Tea-Tree essential oils can both be used neat, in small quantities, but if you to find that you are sensitive to the pure oils try diluting them in a vegetable base / carrier oil [discontinue use if you find the diluted version still irritates your skin]. The name Lavender
derives from the Latin ‘Lavare’ - meaning to wash, and it was used to cleanse wounds, as well as being widely used in personal bathing and laundry washing. A French army surgeon, Dr. J. Valnet, used Lavender oil to treat war wounds and serious burns - indeed its analgesic, antibiotic and antiseptic properties make it an ideal choice for treating all kinds of skin wounds.

Calendula [Marigold] is an excellent antiseptic and will reduce inflammation and promote wound healing. An effective wash can be made from the Calendula petals infused in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. This can be used to wash a wound or for a compress. The cream or ointment is available in most heath-food shops and can be applied to cuts, grazes, burns and minor wounds.

Cloves have powerful painkilling properties and are extremely antiseptic - they have a long history of use in the dental world, and are considered by many to be one of the best natural anaesthetics available, and personally I'd have to agree [I went on a bit of crazed orange-and-clove-pomander making session one year... I use my thumb and finger to push the cloves into the orange - rather than being practical and piercing holes with a cocktail stick first - my thumb and finger were numb for several days and the tingling lingered on for well over a week. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling, and it's certainly given me confidence in the anaesthetic properties of the humble clove!]. Powdered Cloves can be sprinkled on a cut or graze to keep it from becoming infected and to help numb any local pain.

Comfrey has a long history as a wound, tissue and bone healer. It contains allantoin which helps heal wounds and promotes the growth of healthy new tissues.
Comfrey should only ever be used on clean wounds, to prevent dirt or pus being trapped and possibly causing abcesses. To be safe you may prefer to use comfrey once a scab has formed over the wound, or use it only at the edges of a wound. An infusion of the leaves could be used to swab the [clean] area, or a comfrey ointment or cream can be applied. Fresh Comfrey leaves can be rubbed directly on to minor wounds which are slow to heal [I've not personally used the fresh leaf method yet, but I'd give it a try].

Garlic is one of the plant kingdom's finest antibiotics, reducing infection and inflammation. Raw Garlic can either be sliced thinly and placed over the affected area or mashed up and used as a poultice. [Garlic can cause skin irritation in some individuals, should this happen discontinue use].

Honey has a long standing folk tradition as a wound remedy and can be applied directly to the affected area. Whilst forming a natural plaster, which stops any infection getting in, studies have also shown Honey to accelerate healing. Use the best quality natural Honey you can find.

Plantain [also known as ribwort] contains allantoin, a proven healer of injured skin cells [as does Comfrey]. Susun Weed cites plantain as "A first-aid kit in a leaf!" and uses plantain oil or ointment on "sprains, cuts, insect bites, rashes, chafed skin, boils, bruises, chapped and cracked lips, rough or sore hands, baby's diaper area, and burns." Ensure that the wound is clean before treating.

Salt water is a great way to cleanse a wide variety of wounds, and is my first approach when cleansing a wound on one of my cats! Boil some water and dissolve the sea-salt crystals in the water, allow to cool before using. This saline solution can be kept in a clean glass bottle in the fridge to keep it cool - handy for the odd emergency. Use it to wash out cuts, grazes, open wounds, abscesses, tired or irritated eyes, insect bites or stings, weeping blisters, splinter wounds etc... If you have no water to hand [and don't mind the wound stinging a little] you could try rubbing in / sprinkling on some sea-salt crystals.

The herbal remedies mentioned in this article are not intended to replace professional advice. Any medication you are on should also be taken into consideration - always check with your healthcare professional if you are on prescription drugs before taking herbal remedies. In the case of serious wounds, or excessive blood loss, professional medical attention should be sought immediately.


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