Health and Fitness

Published on October 29th, 2009 | by Derek Markham


Family First Aid Kit: Natural Antibiotics

This comes straight from the pages of Natural Papa, from our friend Derek Markham.

The best natural topical antibiotics are simple, widely available, and cheap to purchase. They can be used to treat everything from umbilical cords to skinned knees, from splinters and blisters to infected sores, and even athlete’s foot.

Natural Antibiotics for Your First Aid Kit

Natural Antibiotics for Your First Aid Kit

Raw Honey

Raw honey is different from your generic honeybee-squeeze-bottle honey from the chain supermarket that looks like Karo syrup, but rich flavorful honey from a local or regional beekeeper. There’s a big difference. The heating and filtering process changes the properties of the honey, leaving little but the sweetness (and even that has a bland flavor). Find some at a health food store or co-op and check it out for yourself…

Honey as a topical antibacterial agent:

“Honey is an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds, which has recently been ‘rediscovered’ by the medical profession, particularly where conventional modern therapeutic agents are failing. There are now many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey in rapidly clearing infection from wounds, with no adverse effects to slow the healing process; there is also some evidence to suggest that honey may actively promote healing. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to have an antimicrobial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi.” – World Wide Wounds

When a wound is dressed with honey, hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced in contact with body fluids, and has an antiseptic action.

Honey is also used to treat antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, and can be safely applied almost anywhere on the body. It can be stored virtually forever, and a small vial or tin of honey should be in your first aid kit/diaper bag/go bag/under the seat in the truck or wagon.

Goldenseal Powder

Powdered goldenseal root makes an excellent umbilical cord treatment for newborns. Sprinkle it directly on any wound, or make a paste with a small amount of water for injury or cut that is festering. Goldenseal powder tea serves as an excellent gargle and mouthwash, and can be used as an eyewash for a stye or pinkeye. The price may seem high, but a little goes a long way. Available at your local co-op or natural foods store.

Tea Tree Oil

A powerful antimicrobial and remedy for fungal infections, the oil of the melaleuca tree of Australia is a versatile natural first aid treatment. Use topically for any wounds, athlete’s foot, or even ringworm, but be sure to keep it away from your eyes – it’s strong stuff. Tea tree oil is also said to be effective against lice, so it may keep you from using the harsh drugstore treatment if your kids bring it home from school. Be sure to buy 100% Tea Tree Oil, or a lavender and tea tree blend, not tea tree oil blended with a carrier oil.

These three natural antibacterials, plus my favorite salve, Apitherapy Honey House Healing Salve, have been sufficient for healing any wounds or sores in our house for years. We don’t buy Neosporin or waterless antibacterial soap, and we aren’t phobic about germs. For a day trip first aid kit, I add some basic band-aids and a needle and thread, a tiny bit of duct tape, a blade, and a book of matches.

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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

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