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Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies: Self-Care Treatments for 100+ Common Conditions

Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies: Self-Care Treatments for 100+ Common Conditions

by Stephanie Marohn

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When faced with common health emergencies, many of us automatically turn to over-the-counter medications. But we have another option--easy-to-use, safe, inexpensive, and highly effective natural medicines.

Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies provides everything you need to know to treat a range of ailments and health concerns, including burns, muscle


When faced with common health emergencies, many of us automatically turn to over-the-counter medications. But we have another option--easy-to-use, safe, inexpensive, and highly effective natural medicines.

Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies provides everything you need to know to treat a range of ailments and health concerns, including burns, muscle cramps, hot flashes, shock, sore throat, toothache--100 common health problems in all. (Next time you get a headache, try rubbing peppermint essential oil on your temples before you reach for the aspirin.)

Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies tells how to equip your medicine cabinet with the ten most essential natural remedies including arnica (for pain and stiffness), echinacea (for colds), tea tree oil (for skin infections), aloe vera gel (for burns), activated charcoal (for food poisoning), and more. It explains how homeopathy, herbs, diet, essential oils, flower essences, nutritional supplements, reflexology, and gem therapy can provide healing benefits for various conditions.

Written by health journalist Stephanie Marohn, Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies is based on medical research and draws upon protocols used by dozens of health care practitioners. Informative and unique, it is a reference that you will want to consult whenever faced with one of life's everyday medical emergencies, injuries, or discomforts.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Marohn's Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies covers many of the same situations as the ACEP manual but draws on complementary medicine therapies rather than traditional medicine. Marohn, a former senior editor of Alternative Medicine magazine, has included remedies from homeopathy, reflexology, essential oils, herbal medicine, and stone/crystal therapy, as well as nutritional supplements and food therapy. This is home care, not emergency first aid; no instructions are provided on setting broken bones or evaluating open head wounds. The author states clearly that this manual includes coverage of "ailments that can benefit from self-care as the first line of treatment," acknowledging that some health problems will need further treatment by a medical practitioner. The strength of this book is that it provides alternative medicine information to treat some common conditions. Covering the topic of first aid from different perspectives, these books are both recommended for consumer health collections. Marge Kars, Bronson Methodist Hosp., Kalamazoo, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies


By Stephanie Marohn

Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

Copyright © 2001 Stephanie Marohn
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57174-218-6


Part I The Top Natural First Aid Remedies

The Top Ten Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies

Based on a survey of natural medicine literature and the practitioners who contributed protocols to this book, here are the top ten remedies, runners-up, and honorable mentions for a natural medicine chest or first aid kit. These remedies are the basics for safe, effective, natural treatment of common ailments at home, at work, and during travel. As you use protocols in the eight different therapies presented throughout this book, you will likely discover many other remedies that you want to include in your natural medicine apothecary.

1. Arnica

Arnica (Arnica montana) reduces swelling, stiffness, pain, and bruising. Stock both oral homeopathic Arnica (30c pellets) and topical ointment (arnica gel or homeopathic arnica ointment) to treat sore muscles, back pain, joint pain, sprains and strains, torn ligaments, and bruises.

2. Five Flower Formula (Rescue Remedy)

A flower essence formula indicated for physical and / or emotional trauma or shock, it brings immediate calm and emotional neutralizing. The five flower essences in this formula are Rock Rose, Clematis, Impatiens, Cherry Plum, and Star of Bethlehem.

3. Echinacea Tincture

An all-purpose internal and external antibiotic, echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. spp. [several species]) tincture can be used to clean wounds, support immunity, prevent a cold from coming on when taken at the first sign of symptoms, and treat flu and other infections, rashes, and fever blisters. You can also use echinacea internally and externally to treat snakebite; it has a long tradition of use for this purpose in Native American herbal medicine.

4. Healing Herbal Salve

A salve containing some combination of the herbs calendula (Calendula officinalis), comfrey (Symphytum officinale), and / or St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) can be applied to sores, cuts, scrapes, burns, or other skin injury as a disinfectant, to soothe the area, and to speed tissue repair. Calendula is antimicrobial, and comfrey has a remarkable ability to promote cell growth and close over a wound (for this reason, you shouldn't use comfrey on a puncture wound). Some salves include Lavender essential oil in the mix.

5. Lavender Essential Oil

An antiseptic, bactericidal, decongestant, analgesic (pain reliever), and sedative, Lavender essential oil has broad application. It can be used topically to treat burns, sunburn, insect bites and stings, and muscle aches and pains. Inhaled or applied topically, Lavender can relieve headaches (combine with Peppermint essential oil for extra headache-relieving benefits), reduce stress and jet lag, and promote relaxation. It is also an insect repellant.

6. Tea Tree Essential Oil

A powerful antiseptic and broad-spectrum antimicrobial, Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil (also known as Ti-Tree) can be used as a topical treatment for cuts, scrapes, burns, cold sores, acne, and fungal or bacterial infections. Equal parts of Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils make an excellent topical antiseptic and antibacterial solution.

7. Peppermint

You may want to stock both peppermint (Mentha piperata) tincture and essential oil. The tincture can be taken orally, while the essential oil can be inhaled, as treatment for headaches and digestive complaints such as indigestion, gas, nausea, and motion sickness. Peppermint also has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Peppermint essential oil is a good insect repellent. Lavender and Peppermint essential oils work well in combination, enhancing each other's effects.

8. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is highly soothing and healing for burns, sunburn, rashes, and insect bites and stings. It can also be used for chapped lips and to soften rough skin. The gel fresh from the plant is best, so for your natural medicine chest at home you can keep the houseplant on hand. Buy a high-quality gel for your travel first aid kit.

9. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal binds with toxins and bacteria and escorts them out of the body, which makes it an excellent remedy for food poisoning and diarrhea. In fact, charcoal has a long history of use not only for food poisoning, but for poisoning by deadly substances as well. It is not, however, a replacement for medical care when poison has been ingested. Activated charcoal is the pharmaceutical equivalent of the scrapings from burnt toast, and is widely available in drugstores and health food stores.

10. Homeopathic Belladonna

While there are many homeopathic remedies for fever, depending on the characteristics of the individual case, Belladonna is a common one. It is indicated for a fever with a sudden onset, flushed face, restlessness, and a pounding pulse. The fever may be accompanied by sore throat, cough, headache, or earache. Stock Belladonna 30c pellets.

Natural Medicine Runners-Up

The following five remedies were not cited as often as the ten listed above, but came in close behind.

11. Cayenne Capsules

Cayenne (Capsicum minimum) powder can be used to stop bleeding, improve digestion, stimulate the appetite, relieve gas, and help sweat out a cold or bronchitis. Cayenne also has pain-relieving properties, due to its active constituent capsaicin. You can mix the powder into a lotion or oil and massage into sore muscles or joints to ease aches and pains.

12. Ginger

Stock ginger capsules for motion sickness, nausea, stomachaches or other digestive problems, and sore throats. Ginger can also help sweat out a fever. The capsules can be swallowed as is or broken open to make a tea. You may want to keep some candied ginger on hand as well, as nibbling on a piece while traveling in a car or other moving vehicle can help prevent motion sickness.

13. Homeopathic Apis

This remedy is indicated for bee stings or other insect bites charactized by red swelling and stinging pain, and for conditions with hot, red swelling, such as hives and skin irritations. Stock Apis 30c pellets.

14. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

This essential oil (Eucalyptus radiata) is an antiseptic, decongestant, expectorant (loosens phlegm), anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-bacterial agent. It can be used as an inhalant to clear sinus congestion, colds, coughs, and other respiratory ailments. Added to a lotion and applied topically, it can ease muscle and joint aches and pains.

15. St. John's Wort Tincture

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is another herb that has a wide range of uses. Although it is perhaps most commonly known for its antidepressant qualities, it is equally effective as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory and in speeding tissue repair. It is useful for sprains, bruises, swelling, cuts and other wounds, and insect bites and stings. The tincture or the oral homeopathic remedy Hypericum can also alleviate neuralgic (nerve) pain, and is indicated for shooting pain, such as that experienced when you shut your fingers in a door or drop something heavy on your toes.

Honorable Mentions

Witch hazel and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent H2O2) are good additions to a home medicine chest or first aid kit. They make excellent disinfectants for cuts, sores, and wounds, and have healing properties as well. Use them rather than rubbing alcohol, which should be avoided as it contains toxic denaturants (substances added to alter the alcohol) that only contribute to the body's toxic load.

Witch hazel is a distilled extract of the bark of the bush or small tree witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Alcohol is used to preserve the extract, but you can get alcohol-free witch hazel. Witch hazel has been a home remedy for over a hundred years, and is widely available in drugstores and supermarkets. As a healing agent, it is an astringent, which means it tightens tissue, reduces secretions, and checks inflammation. Witch hazel can be used to stop bleeding, reduce the inflammation of bruises and other injuries, and heal burns and rashes.

Hydrogen peroxide provides a form of oxygen therapy, flooding tissues with healing oxygen and killing bacteria in the process. The foaming you see when you pour hydrogen peroxide on a cut is the oxygen at work. Due to its lack of toxicity, it can be used directly on mucous membranes, such as the lining of the mouth. Diluted and used as a mouthwash, it can help heal mouth and gum tissues.


Part II Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies for 102 Common Conditions


Bacterial Infection


Dental Abscess, for an abscess in the gums

An abscess is a collection or pocket of pus in a cavity formed by disintegrating tissue and surrounded by inflamed tissue. Pus itself is a product of inflammation, accumulating where infection is present. Abscesses can arise in any part of the body, but occur most often in the skin. Bacteria are frequently the source of the infection, but other microorganisms or an injury can also cause abscesses. Recurrent abscesses can be an indication of weakened immunity or toxicity in the system.

Symptoms include swelling, heat, redness, and throbbing of the affected area. The abscess increases in size as it fills with pus, and decreases when the pus is drained. If untreated, the abscess can spread, resulting in the formation of other abscesses, or the tissue can become fibrous, leaving a lump. A red line extending from the abscess is a sign of blood poisoning; seek medical care immediately.

Essential Oils

Chamomile, Lavender, and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) are "the most effective oils for treating an abscess," says Patricia Davis, founder of the London School of Aromatherapy. They can be used singly or in combination. Put a few drops on a hot compress and place it over the abscess to draw out the infection and reduce the pain and inflammation. Leave the compress on until it cools. Repeat as needed.

Flower Essences

Patricia Kaminski, an herbalist and flower essence therapist from Nevada City, California, recommends Self-Heal, used both topically and internally. For topical treatment, apply the flower essence and/or flower essence cream directly on the abscess 2-4 times daily. To speed healing, take 4 drops of the flower essence under the tongue 2-4 times daily. Continue treatment until the abscess is resolved.

Food Therapy


Garlic, kelp, yogurt/kefir, pineapple (eat it by itself), foods high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. (For a list of foods containing these nutrients, see part 3, "Food Therapy," p. 374.)


Sugar (including fruit and fruit juice), simple carbohydrates such as white flour and white rice, and fried foods.

Herbal Medicine

Antibacterial herbs can be effective in resolving bacterial abscesses, including those caused by staph (Staphylococcus bacteria), says David Winston, A.H.G., a clinical herbalist and consultant from Washington, New Jersey. He suggests the following applications, which can also be used for boils.

Poultices: To open and drain an abscess that is red, hot, and inflamed, use one of the following poultices.

• Flaxseed: Put 2 tablespoons of flaxseed in a piece of cheesecloth and pour boiled water over/through it. The flaxseed will become gelatinous. When it is cool enough to apply to the skin without burning, spread it on the abscess and leave it on until it is cold. Do this twice daily for as long as necessary.

• Burdock (Arctium lappa) leaf: Put fresh burdock leaves in a blender with enough water to make a paste. Apply to the abscess and reapply when it dries out. Do this twice daily for as long as needed.

Topical antibacterial: You can use one or a combination of the following for as long as needed.

• Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium) root: Make a decoction by putting 2 teaspoons of the herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover, simmer for 15-20 minutes, and steep for another 20 minutes. Soak a cloth with the decoction and lay it on the abscess. Wrap gauze around it and leave it on all day. Alternatively, you can use a tincture of Oregon grape root, but it can be painful to put that on an open abscess because of the alcohol in tinctures. Note: Oregon grape root will stain clothing yellow.

• Echinacea (E.spp.): Crush up the fresh root and add water to make a paste that resembles applesauce in consistency. Put it on the abscess, with a bandage on top of that so you can leave it on all day.

• St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) infused oil: This is known as hypericum oil, but the product label may read St. John's wort olive oil extract. Note that an infused oil is distinct from an essential oil or herbal tincture. It is the herb in a carrier oil such as olive oil, rather than an extract or an essential oil preserved in alcohol or glycerin. Dab the infused oil on the abscess 2-4 times daily, and cover with an adhesive bandage.


Homeopathic physician Michael G. Carlston, M.D., of Santa Rosa, California, recommends the following remedies:

If the skin abscess is lingering, feels better with warmth, but does not produce much pain, use Silica (Silicea) 6c, 12c, or 30c. During the acute stage, take 2 or 3 pellets, or a couple of drops if taking in drop form, 2 to 3 times per day. You may need to take it for a week, but let your symptoms guide you. As they lessen, reduce the frequency of dosage. Don't keep taking the remedy when the abscess is gone.

If the abscess feels better with warmth but is painful, take Hepar sulphuris calcareum 6c, 12c, or 30c. It is likely that you'll need to take it 4 times a day. Again, let your symptoms be your guide. Reduce the frequency as your symptoms abate, and stop taking the remedy when the condition is resolved.

Nutritional Supplements

In addition to taking a multivitamin/mineral as a general practice, taking zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin A can help prevent the abscess from becoming a systemic infection, says Kathi Head, N.D., a naturopathic physician from Sandpoint, Idaho. Take 30 mg of zinc twice daily and 1,000 mg of vitamin C 3 times daily for a week or so. The dosage for vitamin A is 25,000 IU twice daily, but take it only for a week, and do not take it if you have any liver problems.


Treat the area of the foot corresponding to the part of the body where the abscess is located.

Stone/Crystal Therapy

For an abscess, use petrified palm, states Melody, author of the crystal reference series Love Is in the Earth. With hypoallergenic tape, secure the stone on or near the abscess, and leave it on for 2-3 days, until the condition is resolved.

Other Remedies

Applying warm compresses can ease the pain and swelling of a skin abscess, and speed drainage.

Putting a charcoal poultice on the abscess to draw out the infection works really well, says Dr. Head. Use activated charcoal powder or crush tablets and mix with hot water to make a paste. Put it on the abscess and cover with gauze. Alternate the charcoal poultice with a poultice made from the powder of Oregon grape or other berberine-containing herb (barberry, Berberis vulgaris, or goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis) mixed with hot water. Berberine has antibiotic effects. By alternating the charcoal and the herb poultice, you both draw out and fight infection. Apply a new poultice 2-3 times daily. Continue the applications for a few days.


Acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin in which the sebaceous (oil-secreting) glands and hair follicles become infected, manifesting as blackheads, papules (red bumps), and/or pustules (pus- or lymph-filled bumps, or whiteheads). Common areas of acne eruption are the face, chest, back, and shoulders. Severe cases of acne can lead to scarring.

Acne is most associated with the increased hormonal activity of puberty, which increases the size and activity of the sebaceous glands. The elevated production of sebum (the fatty secretion that lubricates the skin) can cause the glands and follicles to become clogged, leading to inflammation and the eruption of acne. Similarly, the hormonal changes of pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can produce brief flare-ups of acne, as can stress. Toxic buildup in the intestines can also be a factor.

Essential Oils

Dab Lavender or Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil on pimples, says Mindy Green, A.H.G., M.S., an herbalist from Boulder, Colorado. Both are antibacterial and can help resolve a blemish quickly.

Flower Essences

For acne, take Crab Apple and Pretty Face essences, says Richard Katz, founder of the Flower Essence Society. Take 4 drops of each 2-4 times daily, or more often during acute episodes. You can also add the two essences to a base of Self-Heal cream (6-10 drops of each essence per 1 ounce of cream), and apply them topically, as needed. In extreme cases, induced by pronounced psychological stress, add Glassy Hyacinth and Star of Bethlehem to the protocol, in the same amounts as the other essences.

Food Therapy


Fiber, raw and steamed vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, yogurt, foods high in beta-carotene and zinc. (For a list of foods containing most of these nutrients, see part 3, "Food Therapy," p. 374.)


Excerpted from Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies by Stephanie Marohn. Copyright © 2001 Stephanie Marohn. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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