This article describes the use of herbs for the treatment of minor burns at home. It comments on the benefits of herbal remedies and introduces nine herbs that are suitable for treating burns: aloe vera, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, echinacea, lavender, slippery elm, St. John’s wort, and witch hazel. It also offers a recipe for a homemade burn paste. Finally, the article encourages the reader to seek professional treatment in case of severe injury.
Minor burns are relatively common occurrences around the house, especially for the aspiring cook. These first-degree burns affect the outer layer of skin but leave it unbroken. While not life-threatening, they can be quite painful and take some time to heal, so they should be treated immediately, initially with cold water then with a more efficient remedy.
There are several herbs you can use for that purpose. These are usually applied topically in the form of an herbal wash or a compress. Herbal remedies can be useful in pain relief and skin reparation, and they can assist in fighting off infections, as well as prevent scarring once the burn has healed. Here are some examples of herbs commonly used to treat burns:
1.) Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)
It is always a good idea to keep a potted aloe in your kitchen for emergencies, like burns, scalds, or cuts. Aloe gel contains various chemical compounds that reduce inflammation and swelling, relieve pain, and prevent infection. It also helps the skin’s collagen to repair itself faster, so it takes the burn less time to heal.
2.) Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Calendula, more commonly known as marigold, has been used throughout history as a remedy for burns and skin inflammations. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal herb for treating skin burns, razor burns, mild sunburn, and windburn. You can apply calendula as a compress, cream, ointment, or infused oil to the affected area.
3.) Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile)
Chamomile is a prevalent multi-purpose plant. The flower tea is often a remedy for insomnia and other nervous conditions, as well as digestive ailments. Herbalists also recommend chamomile as a topical treatment for inflammation and various wounds, including burns. You can use it in the form of a compress or salve.
4.) Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis)
Comfrey is another herb with a long history of use as an external treatment for minor and major wounds. The roots and leaves contain allantoin, a unique chemical compound that assists in new cell growth and tissue regeneration.
5.)Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea)
Echinacea is a common herbal remedy for colds and the flu. It is also traditionally used for wound treatment. Its active ingredient, echinacea, prevents germs from penetrating tissues and helps damaged skin knit faster. Echinacea decoctions can be applied to cuts and burns and used to treat various skin conditions.
6.) Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is one of the most versatile plants in existence. It has analgesic and antiseptic properties that make it an ideal remedy for burns and minor wounds. The pure essential oil of the herb is the only one that can be applied directly to the skin without dilution. Lavender instantly reduces inflammation, prevents infection, and promotes healing without excessive scar tissue. It also soothes and calms the nerves after a painful experience, like burning a hand.
7.) Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva)
Slippery elm has many soothing properties that make it appropriate for an irritated and inflamed skin. It is ideal for the treatment of burns, boils, ulcers, and splinters or other foreign bodies within the skin. When mixed with water, slippery elm bark powder acquires a paste-like consistency and can work as a poultice on a wound.
8.) St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s Wort is a popular contemporary natural remedy for depression. However, it has also been used for many centuries in traditional herbal healing for the treatment of wounds. The herb’s red oil contains hypericin and other antibiotic and anti-inflammatory substances that enhance repair and prevent infection.
9.) Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch Hazel was a traditional Native American medicine used for cuts, bruises, and insect bites. Its antiseptic, anesthetic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory actions make it suitable for the treatment of burns. It is also used to stop bleeding and reduce bruising. You can make an herbal ointment with 5ml witch hazel extract and 95 ml ointment base.
A Final Note of Caution
Herbal remedies can be effective in the treatment of many minor ailments, but it is imperative to always check for interactions and contraindications before using them. Bear in mind you can deal with first-degree burns at home, but second- and third-degree burns are medical emergencies that require immediate professional care.