Make Your Own Herbal First Aid Kit

DIY Herbal First Aid Kit

Some time ago I used to hold workshops on herbal medicine making. One of my favorites was putting together an herbal first aid kit.

For those who know me I used to be an avid backcountry camper, in fact many of the products in our Matter: outdoors collection is based on the things I needed when heading out on a backcountry adventure. The All Heal Salve was for cuts, scrapes, mosquito bites and any type of wound that needed healing. The Heat Rub was for those long portages that caused achy muscles. The bug dope (now Eucalyptus Body Oil) was for mosquitoes and blackflies, and the Biodegradable Bodywash/ Shampoo was a multipurpose lake-safe washing soap for hair, body and dishes.

Herbs truly shine in this area of minor injuries, ailments, and physical discomforts that can occur whether indoors or out. Its super fun to put together your own personal first aid kit to have on hand so you are stocked and prepared for any little mishap that may occur.

In this post I have dug up my old notes from making your own Herbal First Aid Kit workshop. I will mainly focus on key herbs to consider and highlight their properties and uses. The herbs used in your kit may come in various forms of medicine making including tinctures, salves, capsules or the fresh or dried herb itself. 

Denise Williams Camping

Denise Williams and Friend Camping

My Favorite Herbs to Consider For Your First Aid Kit:

Used as a topical cream. Arnica is primarily used externally for injuries and bruises, muscle or joint pain and inflammation, or wherever there is pain and aches. You can make an arnica oil from the flowers, or you can find it in our Leg & Back Creme. I like to buy a homeopathic arnica cream from Thompsons Homeopathic.

Internally arnica can only be taken homeopathically. Bach Flower Remedy’s Rescue Remedy is essential for your first aid kit for trauma, anxiety, and stress. It is safe for kids and a helpful aid for trauma after falling or hurting oneself or even for nightmares.

Calendula Flower

One of the best herbs for treating local skin problems. Calendula is safe to use where there is inflammation on the skin. Used in the form of an ointment it is especially good for slow to heal wounds. An ideal first aid treatment for minor burns, it is also an effective anti-fungal (combine with black walnut). You can make your own calendula ointment or find it in our Nappy Ointment.
Learn more about calendula.

All Heal Salve

Another primary herb for healing the skin, comfrey’s impressive wound healing properties are due to presence of allantoin, which helps to stimulate cell proliferation. Its demulcent properties also help soothe wounds and irritated skin. A poultice of comfrey is good for mending broken bones. It is best in salve form or fresh or dried leaves. Our All Heal Salve is a good option if you do not want to make your own.

Prime remedy for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. Echinacea is effective for both bacterial and viral infections. Used in tincture form echinacea is excellent to have on hand when feeling under the weather especially during cold and flu season. As it is an anti-microbial you can add a couple of drops to your calendula or comfrey salve to give it anti-microbial action like a Neosporin.

Heat Rub

Cayenne Pepper:
This may seem like an odd herb to have in your first aid kit, but cayenne is one of the best first aid remedies to help stop bleeding immediately on open wounds. Be warned however, it will sting so may not be good for little ones. Internally it is excellent tonic for circulation and digestive system. Externally it is good for rheumatic pain and poor circulation — cold hand and feet & frostbite. For laryngitis it makes a great gargle combined with myrrh. You can have a few capsules on hand to use the dried herb when needed. Externally our Heat Rub is an excellent salve for aches and pains and poor circulation.
Learn more about cayenne pepper.

An amazing herb with an endless list of uses, I will often have dried chamomile tea bags on hand or chamomile in tincture form. Internally it is a gentle sedative useful and safe for children. Its calming actions are thus helpful for anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile is also an excellent digestive aid and will help with indigestion especially due to stress. A perfect before bedtime tea. Our Tummy Ease Tea is combined with chamomile and other digestive herbs to help upset tummies.
For first aid uses, chamomile is helpful for eye irritations and inflammations. A warm chamomile tea bag can be used for boils or irritated eyes. It can also be used in a steam for colds and nasal congestion, combined with eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil.

Plantain combines well with comfrey and can be used in a salve or as a dried or fresh herb. A common weed, you can find it growing up through the cracks of sidewalk and most likely in your garden bed. Excellent for healing, itchy skin, mosquito bites and poison ivy chewing the fresh leaves and using as a poultice with help take the sting out of a mosquito bite. You can find plantain in our All Heal Salve.
Lavender & Tea Tree Essential Oil:
Two indispensable essential oils. I like having both as part of my first aid kit as they are both healing, antiseptic, anti-fungal and can be safely used directly on the skin. Lavender is also great for warding off mosquitoes and is a helpful stress aid. Add a few drops to your pillow at night as a sleep aid.

Slippery Elm:
Having Slippery Elm in capsule form or as lozenges are a helpful aid to upset tummies as well as sore throats. They are highly demulcent so will soothe the lining of the throat, tummy and the skin. Externally it can be used as poultice for boils or abscesses.  

One of my favorite herbs, peppermint in the form of dried herb and essential oil have a multiplicity of uses. The dried herb in a tea is ideal for upset tummies and nausea. I love it combined with chamomile to further aid in digestion and calming the tummy. Peppermint essential oil can be used also as an anti-nauseant as well to aid with headaches and for anything that needs cooling down. I love using peppermint oil and witch hazel as a cooling mist on hot summer days. You can find this combination in our Cooling Spray for Mom.

I can't wait to see how your herbal first aid kits turn out, be sure to take a pic and tag @mattercompay on Instagram!