While we’re not knocking cold compresses and Band-aids (though we have a natural replacement for those, too); many of the items found in a standard first aid kit can easily be substituted with natural products like essential oils. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to create your very own essential oil first aid kit using 6 individual essential oils plus a carrier for blending. We’ll also show you 17 of the most common situations plus step-by-step instructions for using the oils in the kit.
First, Choose A Carrier Oil
Before you get started selecting your essential oils, you’ll need to pick out a carrier to use with them. This oil will be the base you will use to dilute the other oils in your first aid kit. Choose from Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil or Grapeseed Oil, these would work well.
Remember, while everyone loves coconut oil, you’ll need to select a carrier which stays liquid at room temperature just in case you don’t have time to warm or melt a semi-solid oil.
6 Must-Have Essential Oils For Your First Aid Kit
Of the hundreds of different essential oils in the world, there are quite a few which are known to be useful for healing and first aid. However, a select few of these oils are especially helpful and will cover the majority of injuries minor enough to treat at home.
The 6 essential oils listed below will provide an excellent, basic kit that will easy handle the majority of your first aid needs.
After your chosen carrier, lavender is absolutely the most important oil to include in your essential oil first aid kit. In fact, if you could have only one essential oil in your kit, this would be the one to choose. Lavender has a very wide range of applications.
It is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. It is a natural pain-reliever and anti-itch remedy. Lavender can help to prevent scarring, encouraging healing, reduce inflammation, tame stress and ease anxiety. It may be used on insect bites, cold sores, rashes and blisters. Lavender is good for healing minor burns, scrapes or cuts, bumps and bruises, boils, abscesses and carbuncles. It is a natural remedy for diarrhea caused by nervous tension or stress, earaches, headaches (including migraines), hay fever and sinusitis. Lavender essential oil can also help to relieve pain caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuralgia, tendonitis, and muscular sprains or strains.
You can read more about the many amazing uses of lavender essential oil in this article.
2. Tea Tree
One of the strongest and safest natural antiseptics known; tea tree oil is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Considered by many Australians to be a “first aid kit in a bottle”, it is used to prevent and treat many types of infections. Tea tree oil is extremely effective either alone or as an ingredient in blends. It is helpful for treating cold sores; rashes; blisters; minor burns, scrapes, or cuts; bumps and bruises; boils, abcesses, and carbuncles; dandruff; fungal infections of the nails, candida, and athlete’s foot. It can also help to ease the symptoms of colds, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, and other infections of the respiratory tract.
If you want to learn more about the wonders of tea tree oil, check out this article.
3. Chamomile (German or Roman varieties only)
Chamomile essential oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reliever). It is also valuable as one of the few essential oils gentle enough to safely use on children. Although it also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties; Chamomile is most useful in the treatment of burns, rashes, sprains and strains, fever, nervous tension or stress, asthma and hay fever, nausea and diarrhea, headaches (including migraines,) and the pain of fibromyalgia, arthritis, or tendonitis.
Keep in mind that there are several different kinds of Chamomile essential oil. However, only two of them possess the healing properties which make them fit for use in your essential oil first aid kit. These are German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile.
Rosemary essential oil is a mild stimulant which makes it ideal for increasing alertness, mental clarity, and concentration. Conversely, it also has a calming effect and may be used to ease stress-related symptoms or for stress management in general. Rosemary is also great for easing muscle spasms and for relieving pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, sprains and strains.
Be sure to read up on these 21 ways to use rosemary essential oil – not only for first aid, but in every other aspect of your life as well!
Another powerful natural stimulant, peppermint essential oil increases alertness and promotes clear thinking. It can be used to ease nausea and indigestion; relax tense muscles; reduce muscle spasms; and relieve muscular aches, pains, sprains and strains.
Peppermint oil is also one of the most useful essential oils around. You can read all about it in 43 Unbelievable Peppermint Oil Uses For Health, Home & Beauty!
Eucalyptus essential oil is used in many over-the-counter preparations for the relief of pain and inflammation caused by muscle sprains and strains, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. It is also a common ingredient in cough drops. Eucalyptus eases the symptoms of colds, flu, and sinusitis; encourages the healing of burns and cuts; repels insects; and reduces irritation caused by insect bites.
Additional Items For Your First Aid Kit
In addition to your carrier and essential oils, there are several other basic items which every first aid kit should have. These include sterile gauze pads in various sizes, first aid tape, a roll of sterile gauze for wrapping areas not easily bandaged. Additionally, it should contain a selection of adhesive bandages in various sizes and at least one elastic compression bandage for wrapping sprains.
17 Most Common Uses For Your Essential Oil First Aid Kit
1. Healing Minor Injuries
Treating minor injuries with essential oils is very much like treating them with over-the-counter products, you are simply replacing antiseptic and/or pain relieving products with essential oil blends. (You should go to the emergency room immediately if the injury is a puncture wound, a large open cut that might need stitches, you can’t stop the bleeding quickly, or blood is spurting from a wound. Even if it is only a small open wound, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you haven’t had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years.)
2. Small Cuts or Abrasions
Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, stop the bleeding, apply a few drops of the oil or oil blend, and bandage. A drop or two of lavender, either alone or blended with tea tree, is an excellent substitute for antibacterial creams or ointments. It will also ease the stress of being injured, as well as reduce the pain.
3. Strains, Sprains, Bumps, and Bruises
Applying an essential oil treatment in addition to the standard “RICE” (rest, ice, compression, elevation) treatment will speed healing and reduce the pain of these minor injuries. Before wrapping the injured area, apply a blend of 2 tsp base oil, 4 drops of lavender oil, and 1 drop each of chamomile and rosemary oils. Rub over the painful area, and repeat two to three times a day until the injury has healed.
4. Minor Burns
Submerge the burn in cold water for 5 minutes (or use a cold compress,) then apply one or two drops of lavender oil. Reapply lavender oil, or use a blend of oils, two or three times a day until the burn has healed. (In many cases, one application is all that is needed.)
NOTE: Never attempt to treat a burn that immediately blisters, that has broken the skin, or that appears charred. Call 911 immediately, and follow their instructions to the letter while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
5. Insect Bites or Stings
If there is a stinger in the skin, use your fingernail, the edge of a credit card, or something similar to scrape it out (using tweezers will inject more of the poison into the skin and make the reaction worse.) Apply a single drop of lavender oil to relieve the pain and itching.
6. Colds, Headaches & Other Minor Illnesses
Wasting time and money on doctor visits for minor illnesses that will resolve on their own in a few days is totally unnecessary when you have essential oils available. Colds and flu are usually self-limiting and recovery time is the same whether or not you see a doctor, unless you develop complications. Using common sense and knowing which symptoms are dangerous and require medical attention can save you a lot of money, since you can ease your symptoms without expensive prescriptions. (Antibiotics are completely useless for colds and flu, which are caused by viruses, not bacteria; and most other prescriptions will only treat your symptoms, not reduce the amount of time you’re sick.)
7. Bleeding Gums and/or Gingivitis
Instead of toothpaste, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt, ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger, and 2 drops of peppermint oil. Dampen your toothbrush and dip it into this mixture, using it at least twice a day instead of toothpaste, and being careful not to swallow it. (It could upset your stomach if you swallow an entire mouthful.)
Follow this with a mouthwash made by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of ground sage and allowing it to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter, pour it into a bottle, and add 1 tablespoon of vodka or Everclear to preserve it. (If you are an alcoholic, or live with an alcoholic, replace the vodka with ½ teaspoon of sea salt.) Swish it around for at least 1 minute, and spit it out. After one week, pour out any unused mouthwash and replace it with fresh. (Even with the alcohol or salt, it can spoil and cause a problem if you keep it longer.)
It will take a few days of regular use, but this regimen will tighten your gums and stop the bleeding, as well as treating gingivitis.
8. Cold Sores
Put 1 drop of tea tree oil on a cotton swab or cotton ball and apply it to the sore as soon as you feel the first tingling that indicates you’re getting one. (The sooner you start treating it, the more quickly it will go away and the less painful it will be.) Repeat twice a day until the sore is gone. Read more about natural remedies for cold sores.
9. Cold Symptoms
Drink plenty of liquids, and rest as much as possible. If you’re achy and feverish; put two drops of lavender oil and one drop of chamomile oil in a bowl full of cool water. Stir to break up the droplets. Then apply the liquid topically using a sponge. (If you must take over-the-counter pain-relievers, Tylenol will work better than an anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen.)
For coughing, congestion and sore throat; mix 3 drops of eucalyptus, 2 drops of rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Massage over the chest, back, throat, and sinus area. Be very careful to keep the mixture away from your eyes.
To soothe your throat; mix one tablespoon of honey with half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and stir into a cup of hot water or chamomile tea (using the chamomile tea will also help with aches and fever.)
For sniffling, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness; put 2 drops of lavender oil and one drop of peppermint oil on a hanky or tissue and sniff as needed.
10. Flu Symptoms
Follow all the suggestions for colds, but use two teaspoons of carrier oil, 3 drops of eucalyptus, 2 drops of peppermint, and 2 drops each of rosemary and lavender.
The peppermint will help with the nausea and aching that comes with flu. The addition of lavender will increase the pain relief as well as helping to counteract the stimulant properties of the other oils.
11. Tension Headache
Mix 3 drops of lavender oil and 1 drop of chamomile oil. Use one drop of this blend, combined with 1 drop of carrier oil, to massage your temples and around the base of your neck along the hairline.
Mix 3 drops of lavender oil with 1 drop of peppermint oil. Use one drop of this blend, combined with 1 drop of carrier oil, to massage your temples and around the base of your neck along the hairline. If you are nauseous, rub 1 drop of this blend, combined with 1 drop of carrier oil, over your stomach. Wet a washcloth with cool water, wring out, and use as a compress over your eyes and forehead. Lying flat can increase the pressure and make the pain worse, so prop yourself up with pillows if you lie down. Read more about migraines and how to cure them here.
For general earaches, warm a teaspoon of olive oil to barely above body temperature (test it on the inside of your wrist, like you would a baby bottle.) Add 1 drop each of lavender and chamomile essential oils, and blend well. Wet a cotton ball with this mixture and use it to plug the outer ear canal (be very careful not to insert it too far, you just want to plug the opening and leave plenty to grip when you pull it out.) Massage the area behind and under the ear and across the cheekbone with a blend of 1 teaspoon olive oil, 3 drops of chamomile oil, and 1 drop each of lavender and tea tree essential oils. After massaging the area, applying a warm compress will help ease the pain.
If you suspect an ear infection, substitute 3 drops of tea tree oil and 2 drops of lavender oil for the lavender and chamomile in the blend for the ear plug. For the massage oil, use 3 drops of tea tree and 1 drop each of the lavender and chamomile oils. If the pain is severe, continues for more than 24 hours, or gets worse instead of better, see a doctor.
14. Fibromyalgia or Arthritis Pain
Blend 2 drops of rosemary oil, 1 drop each of lavender, peppermint, and chamomile oils, and 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Massage into the painful area, and apply a warm compress. (You can substitute an ice pack if that feels better.)
Apply an ice pack to help numb the pain, then blend 2 teaspoons of carrier oil with 5 drops each chamomile and lavender oils and 2 drops rosemary oil. Massage well into the affected area.
Use the steam inhalation method with 3 drops of rosemary, and 1 drop each of tea tree and peppermint oils.
In addition, blend 2 drops of rosemary oil and 1 drop each of lavender and eucalyptus oils. Put 1 drop of this blend on a tissue and inhale.
Finally, blend 5 drops each of lavender and rosemary oils, 3 drops of peppermint, and 2 drops of eucalyptus. Mix well, and add 5 drops of this blend to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Massage over the forehead, cheekbones, and nose; behind and in front of the ears; and around the neck.
Mix 2 tablespoons of carrier oil with 10 drops of chamomile oil, 7 drops of peppermint oil, 5 drops each of rosemary and eucalyptus oils, and 3 drops of lavender oil. Massage into the painful area.
Essential Oil First Aid Kit Storage Ideas:
With some essential oil mixtures, you may wish to blend them in advance so they’re ready to use when you need them. In those cases, you’ll need to keep your mixed oils in resealable glass containers. The following are some good ideas to start with:
Small Glass Jars
These jars hold a little over 7 ml of liquid – Clear Glass 0.25 oz Thick Wall Balm Jars (6 per pack).
For those mixtures you use more frequently, these jars hold up to 30 ml – Clear Glass 1 oz Straight Sided Jar (4 per pack).
Glass roller bottles are great for storing cold & flu mixtures, or other topical essential oil mixtures. You can get a pack of 6 Roller Bottles with Funnels here.
These blue glass spray bottles can hold up to 30 ml of oil / water mixtures – Blue Glass 1 oz Spray Bottles with Labels (6 per pack).
(Remember to shake the contents well before each use. Then simply spray on as needed!)
Zippered Carrying Case
For storing your essential oil first aid kit, consider using a compact toiletry bag like this one. With it’s many compartments, the case will help to protect glass containers from breakage during transport or storage.
This bag (or another one like it) will keep your oils consolidated in one location. That way you can find them when you need them most.
Storing oils in a zippered case will also make your first aid kit much more portable. This way you can take it with you everywhere you travel, long and short trips alike.
Furthermore, because essential oils are easily damaged by light, the enclosed case will protect them from spoiling between uses. That said, always remember to store all essential oils in a cool, dark location to extend their lifetime as long as possible!