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Your Natural First Aid Kit

Most of us have a first aid kit at home, full of things we never use, but it's worth having a Natural First Aid Kit too. I'm not suggesting natural alternatives to crepe bandages or wound dressings, but there are plenty of things to have to hand just in case.

Garden herbs

There are plenty of things growing around you that can be used to help with minor ailments.

  • Peppermint - for mint tea. Peppermint is an anti-spasmodic, it reduces muscle spasms so relieves indigestion, headaches, menstrual cramps, blocked sinuses and even helps you sleep. Peppermint essential oil relieves headaches and can be used to settle IBS symptoms such as stomach cramps.

  • Sage tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats but it an also helps with wound healing, blood sugar control, improving mood and supporting women's health, especially during menopause.

  • Rosemary tea is great for improving concentration and mood and can also help maintain eye health and help lower your blood sugar.

  • Lavender is best known for helping with sleep and being calming, but it also boosts immune health and helps with detoxification.

  • Marigold or Calendula has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. Marigold tea can be used to treat conjunctivitis and eye inflammation, and gargled to help with mouth and throat infections and mouth ulcers.

  • Nasturtium leaves are not only delicious and spicy but also can be used on wounds as they are strongly antiseptic. There is some evidence that eating the leaves helps with bronchitis and lung infections. The seeds can be ground to a paste and used on fungal toe nails.

Supplements to have in the cupboard just-in-case

  • If you suffer with cold sores then it's a good idea to have some L-Lysine to hand. As soon as you start to feel a cold sore starting take between 500mg and 1g 3 times daily. Taking 500mg to 1g daily will help prevent them coming back. You can also buy lysine in cream form and apply that directly to the sore.

  • Vitamin C and Zinc are both essential for your immune system. At the first signs of a cold or infection take 1g of vitamin C (in split doses) and 10mg of zinc per day. Research has demonstrated that this combination reduces the symptoms and duration of colds. Zinc can be taken in lozenge form, which is especially helpful if you have a sore throat.

  • Quercetin is a natural antihistamine. It is found in many foods including apples, onions, capers and parsley but can also be bought in supplement form. Take to relieve itchy insect bites, rashes, hay-fever and pet allergies.

Other things to have to hand

  • Aloe Vera - the gel from a cut leaf is great for burns and to speed up wound healing. It's also great for prickly heat rash. You can buy aloe vera gel, or simply grow a plant (they are easy to grow) and cut a fresh leaf as needed.

  • Ginger. Ginger is simply amazing, it's so good for you it has its own blog. It is best known for helping with nausea, but give it a try for headaches, pain, inflammation and even a hangover! The capsule form is good for travel sickness.

  • Activated charcoal - for food poisoning.

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