scraped elbow - non-toxic healing

Summer is the peak season for playing outside without the wrappings of protective layers of clothing. Our skin exposed to the sun and warm breezes just feels… inspiring.

And, of course, with all that running around and fun comes the inevitable bites, bruises, scrapes, and stings.

Although the essential oil community does not entirely agree with what age is appropriate to start and some oils should not be used with children, professional aromatherapists (and herbologists) do believe there is a place for conservative use of certain essential oils (or herbs) in a healing first aid kit.

Note: by “first aid” is meant the attention usually administered immediately after the injury occurs and at the location where it occurred; a one-time or short-term treatment that requires little technology or training to administer. It does not replace the need for full medical attention if appropriate.

Minor “owy’s” and “boo boos” can be soothed and comforted with healing salves and sprays containing very dilute amounts of essential oils. Again, not all oils are safe for use with children; an excellent guide is the safety data found in The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless.

Recipe: Soothing cuts, scrapes, and bite spray

Blend in a 2 oz (60 ml) glass spray or pump bottle.

For children under five:

  • no more than 2 drops of the essential oils and consider omitting the Tea Tree oil. Certainly watch for any sensitization and discontinue if observed.

Apply immediately after the injury or bite and then 3 to 5 times a day until healed. While these essential oils are anti-microbial, this is not preserved. Store in the fridge and make fresh every few weeks.

Aloe vera gel is soothing for cuts and scrapes and a wonderful carrier liquid with natural emulsifiers. A quick note of caution when purchasing aloe vera gel or juice: make sure your product is pure, free from fragrances and artificial colors. Read the labels. Much Aloe gel is thickened with other ingredients and/or includes chemical preservatives.

These three essential oils help reduce germs and the risk of infection. Safety data is from The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless.

Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) when it comes to scrapes, bruises, and bites, the medical literature supports Lavender as an analgesic (reduces pain), antiseptic, antimicrobial and antitoxic. It is also enjoyed for it’s calming and pleasant fragrance. It is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing.

Frankincense essential oil (Boswellia carterii) has been used since antiquity for a wide range of conditions including skin diseases and wound healing. Frankincense is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been used by the aboriginal people of Australia and extensively researched. Tea Tree oil is unusual in that it is antimicrobial against all three of the main types of infectious organisms: bacteria, virus, and fungi (yeast). Tea Tree oil acts directly and also appears to enhance the body’s own immune response against infection. Although Tea Tree oil is non-toxic and non-irritant, it may cause sensitization in some people.

Sensitization is a developed allergic (immune) response that appears with continued use of a substance. With essential oils, it typically appears as a red bumpy rash (eczema) even in places where the oil was not applied. Please watch for this.

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Disclaimer: None of the recipes on these pages are intended to be taken as any medical advice whatsoever. These are fun and aimed at giving safer options than their chemical counterparts.