Although I love the summer, there is something special about the arrival of the chilly days of Autumn with its sprinkling of sunshine. Today seemed a perfect day to head out into the garden to see what needed to be done. I am still trying to figure out where to place my compost heap/bin in our garden since we moved here 3 weeks ago, as my poor mini compost bin is starting to get full of scraps. Pulling at some timber and then some weeds, of course I had to get a few a cuts and bruises. After washing my hands, it was time to apply some antiseptic and it got me thinking do you know what natural antiseptics are available and how to use them.
Today my antiseptic of choice is Tea Tree oil, but there are many more that are handy to keep in your first aid kit that are safe to use and won’t harm the environment. With winter not too far away, we are more prone to having colds and flu, as well as having scrapes, cuts, chapped and dry skin, making it easier for bugs to invade our body. Maybe you need to get a hold of some natural antiseptics.
Before I give you a list, do you know what is an antiseptic. An antiseptic is an external application that reduces the growth or kills the microorganism (bacteria, fungi and viruses). Some antiseptics are antibacterial only, some are antifungal, some are antiviral only, but there are a few that are both. However, most people when talking about antiseptics, usually think about chemical based antiseptics, which are not good for your skin or body long term. Some can disrupt hormonal balance and have toxic effects. They can also have a devastating effect on the environment, both during their processing and their disposal. So, what are natural alternatives?
Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic that is antimicrobial and antifungal. We always have this in the house as it is great for minor cuts and wounds, as well as insect bites. It is even great for foot conditions like athlete’s foot and nail infections. Always use 100% natural oil onto cleaned skin dabbing onto a tissue and gently applying to affected area or spraying onto the area.
Lavender oil is not only great for relaxing in the bath, but it is a great antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent. Also, it is an anti-inflammatory and has pain relieving properties, making it a great oil to use treating burns and scalds. Lavender should not be used during the early stages of pregnancy.
Manuka Honey contains enzymes and anti-viral substances that make it a great antiseptic. The indigenous people from both Australia and New Zealand have been using Manuka in their traditional medicines for centuries. Honey is naturally antimicrobial arising from factors such as the osmolality, pH, hydrogen peroxide content and saturation of sugars. Active honeys have a far greater antibacterial capability to normal honey, so make sure you are using raw manuka honey. It can be used on cuts, scrapes, and bug bites.
Coconut oil is great for cooking and amazingly it is also a natural antiseptic, being antibacterial and antifungal. It will prevent infection on some minor wounds, as well as aiding with scarring. Apply coconut oil under a bandage and reapply 2-3 times more in a day and you will see your skin heal quickly.
Vinegar is great around the house as a surface antibacterial. When diluted in water vinegar is gentle enough to used topically on the skin and on most furniture.
Lemon juice is another natural household sanitiser for most surfaces, often used in combination with bicarbonate soda. Lemon juice when diluted, is a great natural astringent for the skin when diluted.
Garlic contains Allicin which has been shown to be as effective as a 1% penicillin solution! It is a great antibacterial and antifungal, but it needs to be crushed and diluted before applying to any wound Leave on for approximately 20 minutes only, as it can cause damage to the skin.
A word of caution: Always with any new oil or treatment for the skin, do a spot check first to make sure you are not sensitive to the essential oil or treatment before applying over a larger area. Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
I hope this gives you a few ideas of what oils and treatments to keep in your home, making it easy to have a less toxic and eco-friendlier antiseptic alternatives than the processed versions of antiseptics. If you have some other natural alternatives, we would love to hear what they are.
Attracta & the earthly passion team