Herbal Wound Care
Honey is a great way to speed up wound healing. According to some findings, honey is actually more effective than antibiotics! In lab tests, honey has been found to kill off the majority of bacterial cells and can prevent infections from occurring in the first place. Make sure you use raw honey to dress your wound (honey that is cooked will not have the proper enzymes to do the trick).
When honey gets diluted with the blood and tissues of the wound, hydrogen peroxide is produced via a glucose oxidase enzyme reaction. This is released slowly, and provides antibacterial activity, while keeping tissue healthy and un-damaged! Spread some honey on a dressing and apply this to the wound. If the wound is deeper, the wound bed should be filled with honey, then wrapped with a dressing pad.
Allicin in garlic has been shown to be as effective as a 1% penicillin solution! It is a great anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal and can help heal almost any wound. Garlic can cause damage to the skin, however, so making sure you don’t leave it on the skin for longer than 20-25 minutes. You can make a mix of 3 crushed garlic cloves and 1 cup of wine, blended, let stand for 2-3 hours and strain. Apply to the wound with a clean cloth 1-2 times a day.
This beautiful little flower is considered a vulnerary agent (a substance that promotes healing). This plant is an anti-inflammatory too, and is slightly anti-microbial. It can be used topically to help heal abrasions, skin infections and internal infected mucous membranes. You can buy calendula salves at health food stores, and you can use this to apply to your wounds. For internal infections, make a calendula tea with 1 cup warm water and 1 tbsp. calendula flowers.
Another flower with great wound healing properties – chamomile! Also known for it’s awesome relaxation properties, chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind! The dried flowers contain many terpenoids and flavonoids, making it a powerful herbal medicine. Chamomile has even been found in some studies to be much faster at healing
wounds than some corticosteroids. Make a chamomile press for your wound by soaking some chamomile tea bags in water, lightly draining some of the liquid, and then wrapping these tea bags around your wound with some gauze. Alternatively, you can likely find chamomile tinctures or natural ointments in your local health food store.
5. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root is not the same as the sugary white cylinders you can find in the candy section at your grocery store – this plant is actually incredibly to healing wounds inflicted on the body. Marshmallow is great for drawing out toxins and other bacteria found in wounds when used as a poultice, and it can shorten the healing time by drawing out impurities. It can also be used to heal burns and bruises! Creating a poultice with marshmallow and applying it to your wound can speed wound healing!
6. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is great for helping blood to clot faster at the site of your wound, and also disinfects the wound due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Cayenne pepper will stop wound bleeding in 10-12 seconds, and if the wound is more severe, having the afflicted individual consumes an 8-oz. glass of water with 1tsp. cayenne can significantly help out too!
Potatoes can heal wounds? That was the first thing I thought too! Potatoes have this type of gravitational pull which draws out infections from any type of wound or abscess. Make a raw potato poultice with shredded potatoes and maintain this throughout the day, changing it every 4 hours or so (and rinsing with salt water in between). This will ensure that inflammation is reduced and that there will be no chance of infection! To make a poultice, shred raw potato with a grater, and spread this onto a clean cloth. Apply to the affected area, and cover with gauze and then some saran wrap or other material of choice. Leave overnight and remove in the morning. Clean affected area with salty water, cover with clean dressing and continue until healed.
The amazing benefits of lavender were accidentally discovered by a French scientist, René, Gattefossé, who found that this oil promoted hasty tissue regeneration without any scarring! Use lavender essential oil to help promote natural wound healing. Use topically 2-5 times per day by applying 2-4 drops on the wound area. Dilute as required!
9. Aloe Vera
We all know aloe vera can help heal burns, but the sap from an aloe vera plant can also be used to treat cuts, scrapes and other sores. Simply cutting off a stalk of the aloe vera plant and applying it to the wound every couple hours can significantly reduce healing time.
This plant is known for its antiseptic and astringent properties. It can be used for cuts, wounds, infections, bites and stings and is also used internally to help treat sinus infections and inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract. The main components of goldenseal are alkaloids called berberine and hydrastine which help destroy many types of bacterial and viral infections. Use goldenseal ointment on your wounds (found in local health stores), and watch your healing time drastically reduce!
11. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree essential oil is one of the best ways to treat a wound to help prevent infection. It is a great antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Tea tree oil is so effective that is can actively attack and eliminate staff infections such as MRSA. The aborigines of Australia used tea tree leaves to heal skin infections and wounds and burns by crushing tea tree leaves and holding them in place with a mud pack. We can just use tea tree oil applied 3-5 times a day to effectively heal our wounds quickly and efficiently.
12. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, amongst a million other things it can do, can effectively heal wounds! It has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties and can even prevent scarring of wounds too! Use coconut oil on your wound to help speed recovery – apply coconut oil under a band aid and re-fresh 2-3 times a day. Watch your cut heal in no time!
13. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a wonderful astringent that contains procyanidins, resin and flavonoids, all of which make it a very soothing, anti-inflammatory plant. Soaking a cloth in some with hazel and applying it to cuts, bruises and other wounds can significantly reduce swelling and speed up recovery time. Witch hazel can also control bleeding – to help reduce bleeding, apply witch hazel to a fresh wound and wrap it up in gauze.
14. Juniper Leaves & Berries
Juniper berries, which were also used as a flavouring for gin back in the 17th century, are also very useful in the treatment of inflamed joints and wounds. These berries are very rich in B vitamins and vitamin C, which make them great for speeding up recovery time of cuts, scrapes and other wounds. Juniper berries contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties as well, so they are great for treating numerous wounds or sores like psoriasis, eczema and other skin problems!
15. Comfrey Root
The genus name for comfrey is Symphytum, which literally means to “unite or knit together.” Comfrey contains a substance called allantoin, which helps cells grow faster, and so it literally improves healing time of broken bones, mends wounds quickly and helps burns heal quickly with little scarring. In fact, comfrey is often called knitbone! Allantoin is also found in the placenta of pregnant women to help the baby grow and develop in a decent amount of time. Use comfrey as a poultice next time you break a bone or get a bruise, cut, scrape or other wound.
16. Activated Charcoal
In terms of being able to draw infection or foreign matter from wounds, activated charcoal can’t be beat. A drawing salve, a topical application with charcoal and herb infused oils as the active ingredients, is the easiest and most effective way to apply it to a wound. For wounds such as having a splinter stuck in the skin, apply a layer of salve to the injury and cover loosely with a clean bandage for a least a few hours’ time in order to draw out the object or infection. Despite the salve’s black hue, it will not stain the skin or clothing.
17. Silver Oxide
Silver oxide, in the form of nano colloidal/ionic silver or chelated silver oxide, may not be a treatment that everyone has in their medicine cabinet, but it is a worthwhile addition. A common treatment before the advent of modern pharmaceutical antibiotics, silver is a powerful antibacterial agent. To speed healing of injuries such as rashes, burns, cuts and scrapes, the easiest application method is to apply a chelated silver cream to the affected area.