Tips for treating burns and bruises with home remedies like Aloe Vera

1st degree burns can be treated at home. Minor burns should be immediately cooled by rinsing with cold water for at least one minute and then treated with Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera is a well-known remedy for burns, sunburns, and bruises -- especially minor burns in the kitchen. Whenever I get burned, I immediately run to my Aloe Vera plant. I split a fresh aloe leaf apart and scrape out the gel, applying often to relieve pain and speed healing. Prepared aloe vera gel can also be purchased at health food stores if you don't want to grow your own. More about Aloe Vera later.

Matches can cause burns. Treat 1st degree burns with herbs.
© Dreamstimedk | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Playing with matches might be fun, but don't get burned. If you do get a 1st degree burn, herbs can help.

Burns and scalds can be life-threatening.

3rd degree burns are the most serious. 3rd degree burns show extensive tissue damage, oozing, and charring. Serious burns require immediate medical attention. Go to a hospital or call 911 and elevate burned area above the heart until help arrives. 2nd degree burns have serious blisters with underlying tissue damage. 2nd degree burns also require a visit to a healthcare professional. 1st degree burns - or minor burns - have redness with some pain and small blisters. These less serious burns can be safely treated at home.

Tips for using Aloe Vera in herbal medicine and home remedies

If you look closely, the plant world is full of nice surprises. Who would expect the dry desert lands of Africa to produce a moist herbal remedy like Aloe Vera? Thick Aloe Vera leaves are made up of rich moisturizing gel that soothes and heals -- one of its first medicinal uses was probably for sunburn. Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used herbal remedies in the world and is especially suited for treating minor burns and bruises.

Aloe Vera has a long history in herbal medicine.

The healing properties of Aloe Vera have been documented by many ancient civilizations including the Egyptians and Greeks. It was used to heal burns, to cleanse the stomach, and to loosen the bowels.

When burned, reach for Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera should be growing in every kitchen. When burned by a touching hot pan or other heat source, immediately put the burned area in cold water. Every second counts when stopping the heat that causes tissue damage. After running cold water over burned area for two minutes, break off a piece of Aloe Vera and apply liberally. Aloe Vera stops pain, speeds healing, and reduces scarring. In case of severe burns or charred skin, seek professional help.

Use calendula or comfrey on burns.

Other good herbal remedies for minor burns and bruises are calendula and comfrey salves. Calendula promotes growth of new skin cells and comfrey speeds tissue repair. Comfrey can actually heal skin so quickly that infection is trapped underneath the new skin. Use calendula and comfrey on clean burns where no sign of infection is present. If infection is present, use antibacterial ointment or seek professional help.

Honey and essential oil can help heal burns.

Another good recipe for applying to burns calls for two drops of peppermint essential oil, two drops of lavender essential oil, and a teaspoon of honey. Blend the essential oils into the honey, dab on burn, and loosely cover with a gauze pad. Leave on for up to 8 hours. Reapply as needed until skin heals.

Other home remedies for burns

Vinegar compresses can be used to soothe a burn. Freshly brewed black tea or ginger juice can also be used to relieve pain. An old remedy for scalded skin is an application of egg white or raw potato.

Burn patients should drink lots of water.

Burn patients should drink plenty of liquids and eat antioxidant foods such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes and bell peppers to speed healing and prevent dehydration. A good diet with lots of water helps the whole body to stay healthy. Visit the Mayo Clinic website for more information on burns and when to seek medical help.

Tips for treating bruises with medicinal herbs, essential oils, and home remedies

Medicinal herbs that discourage swelling and promote quick healing are good for treating bruises. Arnica, chamomile, lavender, Saint-John's-Wort, or calendula should be applied as soon as possible for best results. Place crushed leaves or petals on bruised area for three hours.

Boxers get lots of bruises.
Photo of boxer ready to fight -- courtesy of

Bruises can be treated with medicinal herbs and essential oils.

Parsley and pineapple can help heal bruises.

Parsley is good remedy for bruises and can be used as a poultice or in a compress. Powdered burdock root also helps heal bruises. Sprinkle on purple area then cover with warm, damp cloth.

Placing a slice of fresh pineapple on a bruise can speed healing. Other things to try include orange slices, yellowroot tea, vitamin E oil, and tea tree essential oil. Ice packs are helpful for soothing a bruised area and cold witch hazel compresses can also bring relief.

Using tinctures and essential oils to treat bruises

One recipe calls for a tablespoon of tincture of arnica flowers, Saint-John's-wort flowering tops, chamomile flowers, and/or witch hazel bark, mixed with 4 drops of lavender essential oil and two tablespoons of ice water. Soak in a clean cloth and apply to bruised area as soon as possible after injury.

Lots of bruises? Add vitamin K to your diet

Vitamin K is recommended for people that bruise easily. Add alfalfa sprouts, sea vegetables, green peppers, citrus fruits, and leafy greens like kale and collards to the diet. The USDA publishes a list of food with high levels of vitamin K.

Many times frequent bruising is a sign of a more serious problem and a health care professional should be consulted.

Aloe Vera grows on a screen in porch in Georgia
Aloe Vera grows on the front porch at Payne Mountain Farms - Photo by Janice Boling

In the humid south, Aloe Vera is happy on a sunny porch. People grow it for its beauty and its healing properties.

More information about using Aloe Vera in home remedies

Aloe can treat many conditions, not just burns. Aloe Vera, a bitter herb, soothes burns, promotes bile flow, relieves chronic constipation, heals wounds, helps expel worms, moisturizes the skin, and can act as a sedative. It is useful in the treatment of dry skin and is safe to use on sensitive skin around the eyes. It is also used in the treatment of ringworm. Aloe can even help get rid of warts. Apply often for best results.

Aloe is great for the skin.

Aloe Vera contains enzymes that open pores and slough off dead skin cells. Regular use can greatly improve a sallow complexion. Aloe Vera is often used in cosmetics, lip balms, soaps, and energy drinks. Aloe Vera contains enzymes that are responsible for new cell growth, healing, and pain relief. The plant gel is great for scrapes, skin ulcers, insect bites, rashes, acne, psoriasis, frostbite, eczema, scabies, radiation burns, sunburn, and reducing scar tissue. When the soft, pulpy leaves are cut or broken, the transparent thick juice flows freely and should be applied to the affected area while fresh. As the gel dries, it provides a protective covering, relief from inflammation, and promotes speedy healing.

Aloe Vera is useful in colon treatments.

Aloe Vera juice is sometimes taken internally for various digestive problems. It can soothe colon problems, pancreas problems, and liver diseases but can also loosen the bowels.

Other uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is often used as a home remedy for arthritis. Aloe Vera helps increase the body’s uptake of oxygen. It is even used in the treatment of skin cancer, HIV, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. Studies are currently underway to test the medicinal properties of Aloe Vera. Preliminary results suggest that the plant may be useful in building immunity.

Aloe Vera is a succulent that spreads by offsets.

Leaves are thick and fleshy, usually light to gray-green in color. Aloe Vera can survive extreme growing conditions including everything from arid deserts to humid, tropical jungles (although it cannot tolerate standing water or freezing temperatures). Aloe is in the same plant family as lilies, tulips, and garlic. There are over 500 aloe species! Aloe Vera plants are often grown indoors. Water aloe plants only when dry and make sure that the plants get plenty of sunshine with some shade. Aloe will grow in poor soil but must have good drainage and temperatures above freezing.

Grow your own Aloe Vera so you have it when needed.

This video shows how to pot and take care of your new aloe plant:

* Do not take arnica internally. If you are taking blood thinners, consult with your doctor before eating lots of vitamin K rich foods. Do not try to treat 2nd and 3rd degree burns at home. Do not pull stuck clothing away from serious burns. Do not use Aloe Vera internally during any stage of pregnancy. Do not apply Aloe Vera to surgical incisions, 3rd degree burns, or deep wounds. High doses of Aloe Vera taken internally can cause severe cramps and vomiting. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy.


Jan's notes

I get 1st degree burns every now and then while cooking. I think it comes with the job. All kitchens should keep an Aloe Vera plant growing nearby for just this reason.

When burned, I immediately stop whatever I am doing, run to the sink and run cold water over the burned area for a minute or so. Then I turn to Aloe Vera, cutting a section of leaf off with a pair of kitchen shears. A knife also works. Don't worry about cutting a leaf -- the cut will seal over after a few hours. Pick a lower leaf that is hidden if you worry about how the plant will look.

Next I squeeze the Aloe Vera gel on to the burn. In seconds the searing pain is gone. I apply Aloe Vera gel every hour if my burn is more severe but usually one application is all it takes for healing to begin.

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