First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

A first aid kid is one of the must-haves for every homesteader/prepper's stash. Below are items you will want to have just in case the SHTF.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is used for drawing out toxins and is used for food poisoning, intestinal microbes and for bites (drawing out venom). In a pinch, you can make a crude version of activated charcoal.


Comfrey

An antifungal that is also known for its cell regeneration properties, comfrey is very soothing to irritated skin, which makes it ideal in treating diaper rashes, cuts and scrapes. As comfrey is a cell regenerator, do not apply to a deep wound, as it will heal the top layers quickly, while the deeper layers may remain open. Use for rashes, minor skin injuries, bruises, sprains and fungal infections.


Duct Tape

What? Duct tape?! Yes, duct tape! This is an extremely versatile item to have in your first aid kit. You can use it for wound wrapping (do not place directly over wound, but over a gauze/cloth covering), to splint a broken bone (use for attaching boards/sticks), a waterproof cup for drinking, waterproofing and even snakeproofing clothing, and "steristripping" wounds. You can also place a piece of duct tape on a plantar's wart for a very effective removal method (remove tape once a week, wash wart area, scrap off dead skin, let skin breathe overnight, then reapply tape in the morning. Repeat until wart is completely gone).


Elderberry

Not only is elderberry a pleasant tasting cough syrup, it is also a powerful antiviral. It is effective in reducing the duration of an influenza infection. During cold/flu season, take daily to prevent infection.


Honey

Raw honey is nature's antibacterial ointment and is a terrific burn and deep wound healer. When it is used on a wound, honey begins to make hydrogen peroxide, which provides a slow and constant dosage of hydrogen peroxide right into the wound. Honey is also a great cough suppressant.


Peppermint

Arguably one of the best-tasting herbs—as evidenced by the rampant use in candy—peppermint is considered one of the go-to herbs in every herbalist's kit. In fact, it is often added to bitter preparations to improve flavor. Highly versatile, the essential oil is used to soothe headaches and cramps and can be rubbed into sore muscles for relief. Tea made from the leaves can soothe upset tummies and relieve indigestion and heartburn. The mint family is not only easy to grow almost anywhere, it is actually difficult to kill and will often take over gardens, so be careful where you plant. Safe for children, pregnant and nursing women.


Shepherd's Purse/Yarrow

Used to stop bleeding, both of these herbs also have astringent properties. Tinctures are the most common method of delivery. Useful for treating excess bleeding (hemorrhaging), venomous bites (slows spread of toxins by constricting blood vessels), urinary tract infections, and for fever reduction (although, it is generally best to let a fever run its course, as it is the body's natural way of fighting infection. Of course, this is not the case for high fevers, which can cause seizures).


Skullcap

Used for anxiety and stress, this plant is also helpful in relieving insomnia and to return the body to normal after a "fight or flight" episode (adrenaline).


Usnea

Known as “Old Man’s Beard,” this is a lichen that is found hanging off trees almost anywhere in the USA. The tincture is used as an herbal antibiotic. (The process is slightly different than with other tinctures, in that it must be powdered and macerated in water over low heat, and then alcohol is added for a maceration of 2-6 weeks.) Very useful in vaginal infections and other fungal infections, as well as respiratory infections and skin abscesses (the powder may be applied directly to abscess).


White Willow Bark

The bark of this tree is the origin of aspirin and can be used in the same way. However, the same precautions need to be taken when using white willow bark. While the bark takes a bit longer to at than aspirin, the effects are longer-lasting. It is also easier on the stomach than it's commercial counterpart. Warning: Do not give to children with a fever, as this could lead to the potentially deadly complication Reye's Syndrome.


Witch Hazel

This age-old astringent is used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is best to make the extract yourself, or order from an herbal store, as commercial witch hazel does not contain high enough amounts of tannins to be effective. Use witch hazel as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, astringent, bites, burns, rashes and to wash wounds.

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