Cuts and scrapes go hand and hand with outdoor adventures, and let’s be honest — we wear those wounds like a badge of honor, proof that the natural world is no match for our desire to explore. But cuts and scrapes can turn into potentially dangerous infections if left unattended, which reinforces the need to have some form of treatment on hand when venturing in the great outdoors. Antibiotic ointments and various preparations are readily available on the market, but did you know that there are several natural remedies that have the same effect? If you’re interested in treating minor wounds in a more natural way, here are some of the oldest tricks in the book for healing those little afflictions.
Honey is most commonly known as a natural sweetener, the end product of ardent nectar collection by masses of honeybees, but it is also a powerful anti-bacterial agent, destroying harmful bacteria around wounds that could otherwise lead to a nasty infection. It has even been used successfully in the treatment of skin ulcers and burns. However, it is vital that you never use food-grade honey to treat wounds, as this could aggravate your injuries. Only raw, unprocessed honey has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of minor wounds.
To stop bleeding, used tea bags are a very effective natural treatment. The tannins in the tea act as an astringent, causing blood vessels at the surface of the skin to rapidly constrict, which halts blood flow. Apply a cooled, soaked tea bag to a bleeding wound for several minutes, then rinse and apply a bandage.
The broad, hairy leaves of the comfrey plant have long been used as a natural treatment for burns, cuts, skin ulcers, insect bites, and various other skin irritations. Its healing properties are owed to the presence of allantonin, an organic molecule that is thought to aid in cell regeneration while suppressing inflammation. The leaves can be made into a poultice and applied directly to the affected area, but it is most commonly used in extract form. It is important to note, however, that comfrey should never be ingested, and should never be used topically in excess of 10 days consecutively.