Natural wound care includes traditional methods of wound care that use the healing knowledge that has been used for generations. These natural healing methods may come from many different cultures and have been proven effective through decades of use.
Today, a growing number of people use homeopathic wound healing methods to avoid the overuse of antibiotics. Frequent use of antibiotics causes some infections to become resistant to antibiotic use, leaving antibiotic users few choices when fighting infections.
When treating any wound, be sure to cleanse the area thoroughly before treating the injury. Wash the wound, then gently pat it try with a clean cloth. Next, apply the treatment of choice to the injured area. Lastly, use a covering to the wound area to protect the wound while it heals, and to keep the traditional healing agent on the injury.
Natural VS Standard Wound Care
When you are going more “natural” in your wound care, it doesn’t mean you will use 100 percent holistic products. It is simply a matter of making the switch to more natural options when they are available.
Types of Products You Will Use
For example, you might make your own salve to apply to burns and scrapes instead of using Vaseline, which can have a lot of added ingredients. You often use herbs, coconut oil, essential oils, and natural pain relievers.
Going natural is about reducing as many toxins and artificial ingredients as you can.
There is also an added perk of saving money as you do so. Some natural ingredients often used in wound care include:
- Coconut oil
- Essential oils
- Aloe vera
- Activated charcoal
- Witch hazel
How to Use These Natural Remedies for Wounds
Now let’s look at some of these specific ingredients and how they can be used for different wounds. This isn’t a complex description of every ingredient you might use, but it gives you a good idea of what to stock up on.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onion have been used for generations for medicinal purposes in general and in wound healing. Historically, garlic has been used to assist in wound healing during World War I and World War II for its antimicrobial and antibiotic properties. The soldiers of the Russian army substituted garlic as a wound-healing agent when antibiotics were not available. Also, medical personnel in the field used garlic to aid in the triage of injured soldiers.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the active ingredient in garlic that promotes healing, called allicin, has been shown to increase the speed of wound healing and prevent infection as well.
Scientists testing garlic’s ability to assist in healing wounds discovered that wounds in rats showed an increased rate of healing when a garlic salve was applied to their injuries as compared to rats whose wounds were treated with Vaseline alone. Onion also contains allicin, whose healing properties resemble garlic’s wound care benefits.
Beyond the more recent use of garlic for disinfecting and encouraging wound healing, the herb increases immunity and has been used in ages past to speed recovery in various types of injuries and lacerations. People in modern times also have begun to use crushed garlic placed on and around a cleaned cut to enjoy its health-giving benefits without overusing antibiotics and antimicrobial medicines.
To use garlic to its most significant benefit for wounds, here are some simple steps to follow:
- Clean the area of injury with soap and water.
- Mix mashed garlic or onions with enough water to create a paste.
- Place the mashed garlic or onion on a sterile cloth or gauze.
- Place the gauze over the injured area, so it has contact with the wound.
- Wrap the wound with more sterile gauze and loosely secure the bandage.
- Leave the garlic or onion bandage on the wound for about two days.
- Take the dressing off, wash the paste from the injury and reapply if necessary.
Honey and Wound Healing
Honey has been used down through the ages as a wound-healing agent. A combination of sugars and bee enzymes seem to work together to create a substance that has been used to speed injury healing since biblical times. The Ancient Egyptians documented the use of honey to heal wounds and as a beauty treatment since about 2000 B.C.
Honey contains fructose, glucose, sucrose, and water as its main ingredients. Some of the other ingredients in this golden elixir include:
- Amino acids
- Glucose oxidase, which in turn produces hydrogen peroxide
Individuals using honey for wound care advise that honey should be sterilized before use.
Honey provides a moist healing environment for a wound, which can speed healing time. It also has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that help a wound heal faster. Honey also relieves pain and stimulates collagen synthesis to give healthy, normal skin an excellent environment in which to recover.
Medical grade honey remains available for purchase for those who want to use it to promote healing while avoiding antibiotic use. Honey has been tested and used around the world and found to be successful when applied to heal wounds of various kinds.
Aloe vera looks like a spiky cactus without needles. This lush green plant makes an excellent houseplant for those individuals who have a warm, sunny window to encourage the plant’s growth.
The juice of the aloe vera plant contains vitamins E, C, B, A as well as natural amino acids, minerals, and sugars that aid in healing the skin and wounds. Individuals who have used Aloe Vera to injuries have had a variety of results. However, healing rates increased in general when aloe vera was applied to wounds.
The juice of the aloe vera plant may increase the speed with which a wound heals. Further testing is needed to determine whether aloe vera speeds wound healing or aids in treating injuries according to science and research. But people have been using the plant for skin healing purposes for generations.
If you use natural healing remedies regularly, you are probably no stranger to the magical power of turmeric. Here are some of the top healing properties of this orange spice:
- It is anti-bacterial
- Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory
- It has lots of vitamins and minerals
- It is used with essential oils
- You have healing properties like curcumin
- It can be an antioxidant
There have been studies that indicate the curcumin in turmeric enables a cut or other type of wound to heal more rapidly as well as prevent the incidence of infection. When applied topically, turmeric’s use is indicated for the successful, natural treatment of wounds.
Caring for These Common Wounds
Now let’s look at some wounds that you can help treat with natural treatments. Disclaimer: These are not meant to replace medical intervention. With more mild wounds, they can treat them very well, but severe wounds may still require a doctor.
Basic Wound Care
For basic wounds like cuts and scrapes, such as what you might get while on a hike or when playing outside, you first want to stop the bleeding. Even something that looks superficial can bleed quite a bit. You also need to stop the bleeding so you know how bad the wound is and how best to take care of it.
Use a clean material like gauze or even cloth to apply light pressure to the wound, allowing the bleeding to stop. In some cases, you need to elevate the part of the body with the gash or cut.
Clean the Wound. After you have stopped the bleeding, you will need to clean the wound. If you see any big debris that won’t cause more pain to remove, use a pair of tweezers to very gently remove it. You then need to clean it out, but do not use hydrogen peroxide or soap! This can dry it out further.
Instead, use a natural antiseptic, such as honey, tea tree oil, or grapefruit seed extract. Use another gauze or clean cloth with some water when cleaning out, and be sure you are very gentle.
Once it is cleaned out, cover it with a sterile bandage, and monitor it closely.
Treating a Burn
The only types of burns you should be treated with at-home remedies are mild or minor ones. A light sunburn or simple burn, like from accidentally touching a hot pan, can be treated at home. However, if the burn has discoloration, blistering, or covers more than a few inches of skin, you should consult a doctor.
Burns can be treated first by cooling the skin. This is done simply by running cool water over it, but make sure it isn’t extremely cold. Once the skin has cooled, apply some aloe vera gel to it.
Caring for a Bee Sting.
Bee stings can be extremely painful for a few minutes, then start to subside. However, if the pain is too intense (such as with a child), there are ways to reduce the discomfort. The treatment can also help to reduce itching after a bee sting. Immediately after being stung, remove the stinger, then cool off the area with cool water or apply an ice pack. If that doesn’t work, there are a few home remedies that help reduce the pain and itching, including apple cider vinegar and just regular toothpaste.
If you don’t mind using hydrocortisone cream, that can also help tremendously.
As long as you have your natural first aid kit stocked up with these and other natural ingredients, you should have all simple wounds covered. In some cases, these will actually help to treat the wound and help it heal without ever visiting a doctor, but in others, it simply gives you a temporary solution before heading to urgent care.