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First Aid

Home Remedies for First Aid

When our forefathers needed First Aid, they didn’t have a handy little box filled with all sorts of over-the-counter medications for any emergency. So what did they do? Nowadays, we are so used to popping into the nearest pharmacy and finding what we need conveniently laid out on a shelf that most of us have forgotten the remedies used by our grandmothers, and their mothers and grandmothers before them. You might scoff at these remedies and dismiss them as old wives tales, and in some cases, you might be right. But don’t be too quick to dismiss them. There are ‘old-fashioned remedies’ out there which most of us can find on our pantry shelves, and which really work! Believe it or not, one of the most popular and trusted home remedies is the potato. From my own experience, I can tell you that potato remedies really work. My son is very susceptible to insect bites. When he was bitten by something (we think it was a spider) as a small child, the bite swelled up and became very inflamed. On the advice of his grandmother, I put a potato poultice on the bite, left it overnight (not easy to accomplish with a small boy!) and in the morning the swelling had gone down, and the bite was just a ‘normal’ red spot.

How does it work?

Anyone who cooks can tell you that potatoes have very powerful absorbing qualities. So, doesn’t it make sense that they would be useful in any condition that requires the drawing out of toxins or other unwanted substances? Potatoes have decongestant, soothing and anti-irritation properties. Also, because the potato juice is alkaline, it has an antiseptic effect, and the potato pulp is acidic, which helps in getting rid of dead skin cells. There are different ways of making potato poultices (also called compresses). I am going to describe two of them, but you may find other ways. You could try different types of potato poultice and see which one works best for your problem.

1. Cold potato poultice.

Method 1: Grate the raw potato, with or without the skins, spread it on the affected area, and place a gauze cloth or bandage over it to keep it in place. Or you may find it easier to spread the grated potato on a gauze pad first, and then tape the pad to the affected area. Some ‘recipes’ suggest adding a few drops of milk to the grated potato. I’m not sure what that’s for, but if you don’t mind the mess, do it, ‘just in case’. Other recipes say you should sprinkle the potato with baking soda. Again, I’m not sure why, but it’s worth a try. Leave the poultice on as long as possible, preferably for 24 hours. You can replace it after 12 hours if you want to. When you remove it, you’ll see that it has turned black. Useful for:

  • acne
  • pimples
  • bruises
  • swelling
  • inflamed insect bites
  • boils
  • burns
  • any other skin condition that needs draining

The cold poultice can also be used to treat eye conditions (such as conjunctivitis symptoms, like redness and tearing, watery or thick discharge, a “night crust” or swollen eyelids), but in this case, leave the poultice on for 30 to 60 minutes in the morning and again in the evening for 2-3 days. After each session, wash the eyes with a weak solution such as 20% boric acid.

2. Warm potato poultice

Chop two unpeeled potatoes into 1 inch cubes, then boil and mash them. Spread the potatoes between two sheets of thick gauze (or one sheet folded over). Make very sure that it’s not too hot by testing it with your hand, and then apply it to the affected area and use tape, a bandage or a towel to keep it in place. Leave the poultice on until it gets cold. Useful for:

  • relieving congestion and inflammation
  • healing skin.
  • arthritis
  • eczema.

This is just one of the many home remedies available in your kitchen. I hope it has been useful to you. Look out for more articles on home remedies from your kitchen.


Source by Cynthia A Murray

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