Essential Items in a First Aid Kit

Image by Marcin Wichary

When we all got sick last week, we found out that we weren’t as prepared as we thought we were.  There were a few items that I really wished I had that I just didn’t.  This made us realize that having a well-stocked first-aid kit is crucial.  When you’re facing an acute illness or injury, it might happen at 4 am, when the stores aren’t open.  And maybe you aren’t in any condition to run to the store anyway!  It’s necessary to have what you need, just in case, at all times.

Luckily, I was able to run out and get several items before I got sick, too.  But I still was unable to help Ben much for the first few hours because I did not have what I needed.  And so, I thought, I would share with you what I consider essential in a first-aid kit and why.

  • Collodial silver
  • Aloe vera juice
  • Activated charcoal
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Eucalyptus essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Oregano essential oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Slippery elm losenges
  • Gauze pads
  • Bandages of varying sizes
  • Humidifier
  • Ginger root (fresh or dried)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Black tea
  • Raw honey
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Epsom salts
  • Arnica salve

Why these things?  I’ll put them into groups below!

Bumps and Bruises

Arnica salve, epsom salts, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, bandages, possibly colloidal silver. 

These items will allow you to clean cuts, soak sprains (epsom salts), stop bleeding, bandage wounds, treat for contamination (collodial silver) and soothe pain ( arnica salve).  Anything else that you might need, you would probably have to see a doctor for (like stitches).  But even if that were the case, you would still have what you needed to keep the cut clean and dry and keep pressure on it to stop bleeding while you got to a doctor.  For the usual injuries you would encounter, you would certainly be prepared.  Even for strains and sprains, you could soak in epsom salts or put on heat/ice, rub in some arnica salve, and keep still while someone got some ace bandages.  These items are definitely handy!

Colds and Flu

Lavender essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, humidifier, rosemary essential oil, coconut oil, slippery elm losenges, garlic, onion, raw honey, ginger, oregano essential oil.

All of these essential oils are used to either relax or help clear the sinuses.  They can be placed onto pillows, hot or cold compresses, into a bowl of steaming water (which you then put your head over with a towel and breathe the steam (which can be pressed to your sinuses directly to help them drain), or into a humidifier.  Humidifiers can help you breathe, too.  Additionally, if you mix eucalytpus and rosemary oils with coconut oil, it makes a salve similar to “Vicks” that does not have any junk in it, and can be used on the chest or feet.

Slippery elm losenges (which are expensive; but there’s a great recipe for them in Herbal Nuturing by Michele Augur!) will soothe sore throats and clear mucus.  Garlic and onion can be used to clear sinuses as well, either by vapor or eating.  Raw honey can be mixed into ginger tea to soothe throats and clear sinuses too.  Raw honey also works excellently to stop coughing naturally.

Digestive Distress

Aloe vera juice, activated charcoal, black tea, raw honey, lavender essential oil, epsom salts.

Tummy bugs are no fun.  Ask me how I know!  :)  But if you have some measures to help combat them, they’re not as awful.

Aloe vera juice, activated charcoal, and black tea + raw honey can all help to stop vomiting and diarrhea.  Lavender essential oil in a bath can help relaxation.  Epsom salts in a bath can help detoxProbiotics of some sort are also excellent, as is fresh stock.


Other Uses

Grapefruit seed extract and oregano oil can help to kill help to kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses.  Therefore, if any illness is hanging on, you may choose to use them interally or externally to help combat the illnesses.  They can be helpful for athlete’s foot or yeast infections as well.  Mixed with coconut oil they’d make a powerful salve for these conditions.  Raw honey has been shown, in some cases, to combat yeast when applied directly, as well.

I didn’t mention these, but some like to keep homeopathic remedies on hand too.  I’ve chosen just a few: arnica, belladonna, chamomilla, pulsatilla, and a couple others whose names I can’t remember.  They cover teething, bumps and bruises, diarrhea, vomiting, and colds (in general, although true homeopathy is very patient-specific).  Teething is our primary use for them.  Chamomilla works for most kids; belladonna works if chamomilla doesn’t (Daniel needs belladonna).

You may notice that I do not have, nor do I use, any type of fever reducers.  I don’t feel they are really ever necessary.  A warm lavender bath will usually relax a person enough to induce sleep, and if you can sleep, that’s all you need to get better ( chamomile tea, then valerian root, can be used to induce sleep if the bath doesn’t work).  Even high fevers, up to 106, are not dangerous.  A fever is helping the body to fight off whatever is wrong with it, and if you artificially lower it, then you are interferring with the body’s ability to heal itself and prolonging the illness.  Fevers are a good thing.  I have never treated a fever in my children, and never in myself since starting down this path of natural medicine.  We don’t own either OTC (Tylenol, ibuprofen) or even homeopathic fever medication, because we do not use them.

What is in your first aid kit?


  1. Danielel says

    Do you use colloidal silver while pregnant and nursing? I was told my by my mid-wife as well as the nutritionist at the heatlh food store that I should not use it while pregant or nursing. I really miss it! I am prone to ear infections and a few drops in the ear two or three times clears it right up… now i'm stuck with antibiotics.

  2. Meredith Lovell says

    Thank you SO much for posting. We just ordered some essential oils and are trying to "stock" up our first aid for home. I'm glad you posted uses along with the list. I have found lists but so many lack what to use each thing for. :) Xo

  3. Kelly says

    I second Merideth's appreciation of the uses for each item, rather than just a list. I have most of the items, and with details of what each is used for, I can determine what else to add.

    Anyone have suggestions for dumping the standard OTC treatments still lurking in the medicine cabinet? Is it safe to just toss 'em in the trash?

  4. Liesel Kautz says

    @Kelly- Ideally you should find a disposal site to return them to so the medication does not end up in landfills and in the water (by flushing them). I found this site:

    The other reason not to just throw them away is because of people possibly getting them out of your trash (highly unlikely though a lot depends on where you live as well as many other factors.) The "easy" drug for teens right now is to snort any type of pain killer :(

  5. Kelly says

    Thanks for the link, Liesel. I just learned last week that a couple from church is going on a medical mission trip and they can take OPENED and OUTDATED OTC meds, so I will be sending it with them.

  6. Nicole says

    What about headaches? My hubby and I get them occasionally, and they are the only thing I have not found a natural remedy that works for!

  7. Kendra says

    You have given one highly dangerous price of advice that OS scientifically and medically contradicted. I listed the two seperately because as you know medicine often avoids scientific evidence based care like it a plague.
    My concern is your fever advice. In children over one year of age a fever of up to 104 is of no real concern and they can sweat of out so to speak. At 105 and higher the risk of brain damage increases, as well as febrile seizures, and the possibility to stop breathing.
    Those are facts supported by science. So in short a fever up to 104 in a child over 12 months of age is ok. Above this it needs treatment. And a child 1 day to 6 months any thing above 99.9 should see a Dr and have a basic lab panel run to rule out anything serious. Even in breastfed babies they can gp from mildly ill to deaths door get quickly. Six months to 12 months the same protocol but only above 101.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Kendra, I have never heard that. I have only heard doctors say that children under 3 months need to call a doctor when the fever is over 100.5. I have NEVER heard of needing to call a doctor for a temperature at 100. And I have never heard to call a doctor for children over 3 months unless the child is acting sick. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny says that fevers up to 107.6 are typically not dangerous, and above that, they can cause permanent brain damage. But a fever that high due to illness (as opposed to drug-related or sunstroke) is highly unlikely. Febrile seizures generally are scary to watch but cause no permanent damage. My daughter’s pediatrician agrees with all of this too. So — basically, I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but I’ve never read any mainstream or alternative source that backs up what you’re saying. Could you cite your sources, please? If you’re going to scare parents, you need to show them evidence.

  8. says


    Excellent article! I solely use homeopathy so it is good to know about the different essential oils. One item I would like to point out is that essential oils, herbal supplements and treatments, mint and coffee can cause a homeopathic remedy to be void. So, if a specific remedy does not work the user should double check to ensure these items are not present. Many moms try Chamomilla for teething without realizing that there breastfed baby is ingesting mamas morning coffee! Just my two cents and thanks again for a great piece.

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