It’s summertime and the living is—well, a little hazardous, now that you’re out and about more. But with the right supplies in hand, you can deal with bumps, bites, and bruises gently and effectively. “Most minor first-aid conditions can be treated well with natural medicines,” says Karen Barnes, ND, owner of the Burlington Naturopathic and Wellness Clinic in Ontario, Canada, and author of Naturopathic First Aid (CCNM, 2004). Include the following must-haves in your own first-aid kit; all are available at natural products stores.
Aloe vera. The gel from this succulent plant soothes sunburns and other first-degree burns, Barnes says. It also relieves itching from poison oak or ivy, helps prevent infection and speed tissue healing, and even soothes frostbite pain, says Brigitte Mars, professor of herbal medicine at Boulder, Colorado-based Naropa University and author of The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine (Basic Health, 2007). Be sure to get the topical gel, not the ingestible kind.