Originally published January 13 2015
Make your own antibacterial bandages with these garden plants
by Jennifer Lilley
(NaturalNews) When most people accidentally cut or scrape themselves, the first item they reach for is a store-bought bandage. After all, they're convenient; just pluck them out of a box, peel off the protective covering and slap them on. Plus, many of them come in bright colors or feature images of cartoon characters, making them appealing not just to children, but even to some whimsy-loving adults.
Now the downside.
According to self-sustaining expert Kendra Lynne, a great deal of these bandages are made in China. Most people know that products from China are questionable at best, spelling trouble for the health of people who come into contact with them. The decision by Petco to pull China-made pet treats from their stores, as well as the numerous warnings that exist about products exported from China, reinforce this. Even Chinese officials themselves have said, "as a developing country, China's current food and drug safety situation is not very satisfactory."(1,2)
In addition to bandages that come from China, other problems clearly tamper with people's overall safety. The issue of a world gone awry has made many people turn to preparedness measures to ensure everything from food security to medical necessities. Of the latter, Lynne, who is successfully in the process of turning her one-acre property into a self-sustaining garden, says that certain plants are essential.
"I have two requirements for every single plant I consider putting in the ground," she said. "They must be either edible or medicinal. Preferably both."(1)
Home-grown antibacterial bandages healthier than store-bought onesIn fact, for those wanting to tend to their cuts and scrapes naturally, one has to go no further than their own garden. Antibacterial bandages need not come in a box; Lynne explains that one of her favorites, woolly lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) does the trick. She explains that the plant has multiple healing benefits.
"Woolly Lamb's Ear... has been used for centuries as a wound dressing on battlefields," she explained. "Not only do the soft, fuzzy leaves absorb blood and help it to clot more quickly, they also contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties." Their leaves can even be bruised so the juices leak out. Those juices can then be applied to the skin to lessen swelling from bug bites or stings.(1)
They're easy to purchase; simply look for them at gardening centers. Others may want to start growing them from seed, which is a simple process. Simply fill a well-draining container with a seed-starting mix, wet the soil and plant no more than two seeds one-quarter of an inch deep (if using a larger container, plant up to six seeds). Be sure to keep the soil moist and avoid placing the planted seeds in direct sunlight. Once the seeds germinate, put them in an area that receives a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day (use a grow light if necessary). Finally, transplant them to a slightly-shaded area in the garden once the plants show at least three sets of leaves.(1)
Many other plants can function as alternatives for store-bought bandages.
Beyond Woolly Lamb's Ear: other plants with antibacterial propertiesAccording to Lisa Lynn, another expert in self-sustaining practices, several plants offer antibacterial and antiseptic properties and are well worth exploring.
Among her list of choices are aloe, horseradish root, thyme, tarragon, basil and blueberry. Each have varying degrees of antimicrobial compounds and phytochemicals that help kill fungi, viruses, parasites and bacteria. Blueberry, for example, helps guard against E. coli, while aloe helps fight Salmonella and Streptococcus. While many of these are edible, not all of them are meant to be consumed, or at least not always in large amounts. As such, Lynn suggests crushing the plants and applying topically, and being mindful of ones that are ingested.(3)
"Just because you can safely consume a sprinkle of thyme in your spaghetti does not mean that you should eat a huge bowlful to treat an infection. So be careful to use items sparingly if there is a notation such as 'safe in small quantities,'" she explained. "Amounts to use to treat infections or illness are unknown. In an emergency situation, I suggest using small amounts first and increase (as long as they are safe to use) as needed."(3)
As the need to become more self-sufficient is becoming increasingly important in today's times, growing plants with medicinal properties is an avenue that more people should consider.
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