Herbal First Aid

Many natural products can help you soothe minor cuts, scrapes, burns and bruises — safely and naturally.

| February/March 2005

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  • Aloe
    The gel inside this aloe plant’s leaves can help heal minor cuts and burns. You can buy skin-care products with aloe, or just keep one of the plants around the house.
    Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS
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  • Honey
    Honey is a natural antiseptic and can help burns heal faster.
    Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS
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  • Aloe
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  • Honey
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An estimated 80 percent of minor injuries occur at home. While some cuts, burns and blisters require immediate medical attention, others can be effectively treated with simple first aid.

When stocking a first-aid kit to deal with these inevitable accidents, don’t overlook the many natural products that can speed healing and reduce the risk of infection. These include items you may already have on hand, such as vitamin C, aloe and honey.

When the Skin is Broken

To treat minor wounds, it’s helpful to understand how the body responds to injuries. The skin, which is the body’s largest organ, has two layers — the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the thin layer (about five cells deep) that’s in direct contact with the environment; it is also host to millions of bacteria and other microorganisms. Ordinarily, these residents cause no problems, but that can change quickly when you suffer a minor wound that breaks the skin.

Beneath the epidermis is the dermis. When a wound tears the dermis, microorganisms from the epidermis invade and threaten infection, and the immune system works to close the breach and kill the germs. Blood vessels around the wound dilate, and extra blood rushes into the area, rinsing the wound and cleaning it. The extra blood also carries a small army of white blood cells that attack infection-causing microorganisms. This process causes inflammation — swelling, redness and pain around the wound. Cells injured by the wound die, but before they expire, they release a protein that triggers blood clotting, which eventually forms a scab that closes the wound.

After about 24 hours, other white blood cells release proteins that stimulate the repair of injured blood vessels and the creation of new skin cells and collagen. Sometimes the process is less than perfect, and collagen forms where you should have skin, resulting in a scar.

Wounds also can get infected — in this case pain and inflammation can persist or increase, and pus, made up of dead bacteria and white blood cells, may ooze from your scab. However, if all goes well, minor wounds should heal completely, and the simple remedies below can help speed that process.

2/2/2016 12:38:06 AM

This is a very informative article. Vitamin C has hundreds of uses in the body. How it aids in http://www.beautyandhealthcentral.com/

Ron Glasgow_1
10/13/2005 12:00:00 AM




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