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Alternative Medicine Chest: Cuts, Scrape, and Burns


a blogumn by Elise Rodriguez

The greatest healing agent to have in our alternative medicine chest for cuts, scrapes and burns as well as irritated and chaffed skin is the herb Calendula.

Calendula is an unprecedented healer for all types of wounds and skin irritations, suitable for everyone including kids and animals.  It is considered a bacteriostatic which means it prevents bacteria from living, thus keeping puss from forming and allowing the wound to heal cleanly and rapidly.  The timely use of Calendula can even prevent the formation of scars.

Calendula is also a remedy for swollen and stagnant lymphatic glands which suggests it works on the lymphatic structures beneath the skin, healing wounds from the inside out.  This also indicates its use in healing wounds that are constantly exposed to water or are closed up.  The kind of wounds Calendula is most useful in healing look like or are cat scratches: red, swollen, tender, puffed up, infected.

Careful observation of plants show us that they give clues to their uses.  Being a kind of marigold, Calendula is known as the “flower of the sun.”  This leads us to Calendula as a remedy for burns, especially sunburn.  I’ve found Calendula a superior remedy for burns, far better healing than aloe.

Calendula can be used in all of its forms: gel, ointment, lotion, cream, oil, tincture or homeopathic pills:

The gel is best used on superficial cuts, scrapes and burns.  However, it has a small amount of alcohol in it, so if the wound is pretty deep or raw, it will sting like a mother.  Cat scratches are just the type of scratch for which the gel is useful as well as scratches and irritations on your cat and other animals.  If they lick at the gel, it’s harmless.  When I have painful cuts on my fingers, I put Calendula gel on them and then put a band-aid on before bedtime.  In the morning they are usually closed, the red is gone and they are less painful.  Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 nights depending on how deep or infected the cut is.

The gel is also great for sunburn, prevention of sunburn and prevention of sun damage.  If you have been in the sun, wether or not you are burned, apply a thin layer of the gel to the exposed areas.  Usually the next day you won’t be burned or peel.  If you undoubtedly received a sunburn or other type of superficial burn, apply the gel in a thin layer to the burn.  It can sting a little because the skin is so irritated by the burn, but in a moment the Calendula will take the burning sensation away, cool the burn down and make that ill feeling bad sunburns give you go away.

In cases of deep or raw wounds it’s better to bathe the wound with either an infusion (a tea) or a lotion (an herb mixed in water or alcohol) of Calendula.  An infusion is made with one cup of boiling water over a teaspoon of dried herb steeping for 10 minutes.  A lotion is simply made by putting 10 drops of Calendula tincture in a ½ cup of steaming water.  Let the alcohol burn off with the steam as the water cools down.  When it is warm but not steaming it’s ready.  I like to also add equal amounts of St. John’s Wort to the infusion or lotion for these kinds of wounds.  It will take the pain out of the wound and works nicely with the Calendula to promote healing.  The wound can be bathed by dabbing it with a cotton ball or pad soaked in the tea or lotion.  Once the wound has healed a bit and is no longer deep or raw, the gel works nicely to continue the healing.

The ointment is usually petroleum based so it is not to be applied to wet wounds because petroleum can trap moisture.  It is best used on dry irritations of the skin like chapped lips or chaffed areas.  If your lips are very chapped, put some Calendula ointment on before going to bed and in the morning they will be like new.

The oil of Calendula is useful on dry as well as superficial wounds and irritations.  Oil can wick bacteria into wounds so it is not to be used on deep or infected wounds.  The oil is great for dry skin in general, peeling sunburned skin and scabbed up wounds that are dry and itchy.

Homeopathically prepared Calendula is good for healing wounds where local application of the herb is impossible, wounds that are severe and will take some time to heal like those received in accidents or surgery and closed up wounds.  For these types of wounds I prefer to use the 12X potency but that can be difficult to find in stores.  This potency usually requires ordering from an online homeopathic pharmacy such as Hylands or can be found at homeopathic pharmacies.  If you cannot get 12X, the 6X potency can be used.  Take 3 tablets under the tongue 2-4 times a day to heal deep wounds and burns.  Taper off the daily frequency as the condition heals.  It would be recommended to take the homeopathic Calendula for 1-3 weeks depending on the severity of the wound.