I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet, this is just a list of what we keep on hand for first aid here at the Traditional Catholic Homestead, because accidents happen every day when you’re living that rough and tumble homestead lifestyle! Anything from having your leg run over by the ATV (“I’m OK, I’m Ok…. Grandma I got ran over!”), being stepped on by a cow, having chicken poo flung in your eye, the common cold, and cuts and bruises, living a self-sufficient lifestyle necessitates being able to handle these minor incidents on your own, at least until you can make the trek into town and get proper medical care.
With the disclaimer out of the way…. on to the top 10 list:
1)Prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the best prevention that I know of for the most common ailments (along with many chronic diseases), is proper nutrition. This, I believe, is a universal truth for both human, pet, and livestock inhabitants of the homestead. An appropriate diet will do wonders towards keeping everyone healthy by supporting a strong immune system. Now with that out of the way…
2)Essential Oils: The oldest son calls these “sorcery oils”, and for good reason… they literally work magic! Peppermint, Tea Tree, Frankincense, Oregano, and I guess Lavender would be the top oils to keep on hand. With these five oils you will be able to combat infection, nausea, induce calm, and a myriad of other ailments.
3)A properly concocted Comfrey Salve is invaluable for healing most any skin affliction. From minor cuts and scrapes, to excema and other skin rashes comfrey slave can save the day!
4)Neti Pot: Seriously, if you haven’t tried one of these things they’re freaking awesome!! Ok, so you’ve never even heard of one well here you go: A neti pot is used for sinus irrigation. You just fill the pot with body temperature distilled water, salt, and perhaps an essential oil of your choice (if you’re feeling brave, and tough) then poor the water from one nostril, through the sinuses, and out the other nostril. I know it sounds kinda weird, and it can be messy, but if you can handle it, they can work great for clearing up minor sinus infections, congestion, can help with hay fever, cleaning out after a dusty day on the tractor or cleaning the chicken coup. Just try it, you won’t be sorry…. probably!
5)Elderberry Syrup: This traditional remedy for colds and flu really works wonders! You can buy it or if you can wild craft your own from locally sourced elderberries. As a plus it tastes pretty good on pancakes or mixed with kefir or soda water. We use quite a bit of this as a preventative measure, and then kick up the dosage if illness strikes. It has really helped in our household.
6)Epsom Salts are great to have around. They help to speed healing of sprains, strains, and bruising, as well as alleviate muscle soreness after a long day bucking hay or digging garden beds. The magnesium in epsom salts is a fine mild laxative (should the need arise), and works pretty well as a soil amendment (especially for tomatoes to help stave off blossom end rot).
7)Herbal Teas: Chamomile tea for relaxation, ginger tea for digestion, mint teas for nausea, there are even special herbal blends to fight off colds…. herbal teas should be one of those items in the chest of homestead first aid tools that never goes neglected!
8)Vitamin C: a good natural source of vitamin C is invaluable on the homestead. Wild crafted rose hips, growing your own seaberry, or even purchased vitamin C supplements are essential to overcoming those nagging colds in a reasonable time frame.
9)Echinacea Extract works great on all sorts of infections both internally or as an external wash. It’s great to have on hand!
10)A basic OSHA approved first aid kit, everyone should have something like this (homesteader or not). This will have bandages, gauze, medical tape, burn cream, alcohol prep pads, antibiotic ointment, Asprin, latex gloves, etc. This is the standard first aid kit you should be able to find at any work place. Your local pharmacy, Home Depot or Ace Hardware usually cary some form of this type of kit. Do yourself a favor and pick one up, along with a couple extra boxes of Band-Aids (you’ll use ’em trust me!). Along with this some basic CPR training and a first aid manual would be good.
Honorable mention: Aloe Vera, enough said! It’s a nice low maintenance houseplant, as well as first aid essential in treating most skin ailments. Oh yah, and hydrogen peroxide, and ….