You might not think of a cut or wound as a particularly big problem, but the reality is, even the smallest of injuries can affect your health. If a small cut leads to an infection, you could end up seriously ill. Cuts expose your body to harmful bacteria, and with no protection from the skin, you’re at risk of getting worse before you get better.
For this reason, it’s important that you treat your cuts and wounds right away by disinfecting them. Beyond that, you should aim to naturally heal your cut as quickly as possible to help you get better faster.
Open wounds are painful and messy, and helping to speed up the healing process will reduce the risk of a cut or scrape leaving permeant damage on your skin in the form of a scar. While applying an over-the-counter ointment might help somewhat in wound healing, you can save money and use the sorts of kitchen ingredients that most people have lying around in their cupboards. If you don’t know what these are, we’re here to teach you.
Here are 10 of the best home remedies for naturally healing wounds and preventing infection:
There was a time not long ago when turmeric was only ever used to flavour Indian curry dishes, and we weren’t really aware of its endless health properties in the way we are now. While turmeric has always been used by herbalists for its medicinal uses, it’s taken a lot longer for it to become a mainstream natural remedy.
According to the experts, turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent, containing an ingredient called curcumin, which boosts wound healing by regulating collagen and forming blood clots. If you have a wound that won’t stop bleeding, applying raw turmeric to the area will soon put a stop to it. Turmeric powder and turmeric tea also have their uses.
Add a tablespoon of the spice to your meals or drink a cup or turmeric tea a day to speed up wound healing.
If you’ve got a cut or a scrape, onions will help to prevent infection from forming at the site of the wound. This is because onions contain a compound called allicin, which is antimicrobial. Onions also have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation and help wounds to heal faster.
The simplest way to use onion to treat a wound is to apply it directly to the injured area. Make a paste by finely chopping, crushing or blending onion, then layer it over your wound.
It might sting a little, but try to leave it on your skin for as long as possible. This will kill bacteria that attempts to enter the wound. Bonus points if you add some garlic to your onion paste for extra effect.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils we know of, but its benefits go beyond its culinary uses. Coconut is a fantastic moisturiser, and the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil make it an effective treatment for open cuts and scrapes. If you’re worried your cut will lead to scarring, coconut oil should prevent this from happening.
Applying coconut oil to a wound is as simple as it seems. Simply layer a couple of drops of the oil over your wound and cover with a clean cloth. You might need to heat up your coconut oil in advance to liquidize it, but make sure it’s cooled somewhat before applying it to your skin.
Try to keep the oil on your skin for as long as possible, and re-apply two to three times a day for the fastest wound healing. You can purchase coconut oil here
4. Aloe vera
You might have seen aloe vera listed in popular skin products, and this is because the gel extracted from the natural plant makes a fantastic soothing, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory skincare ingredient. Aloe vera gel contains phytochemicals, which have been scientifically proven to ease pain and reduce inflammation, making it ideal for treating cuts and scrapes.
You can buy aloe gel from most pharmacies and health stores, but you’ll get the most out of owning your own aloe plant. Apply a small amount of the gel to your wound, then let it dry onto the skin. Next, clean the area with warm water and carefully pat dry with a towel.
You can also drink aloe juice to speed up long-term healing. You can buy aloe vera here
It might be a stickier home remedy, but applying honey to a superficial cut or wound is one of the easiest ways to effectively speed up healing. Honey helps to dehydrate bacteria, preventing it from causing infections in an open wound. It’s also well-known for its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to ward off infection.
You don’t need to make a fancy honey concoction to heal your cut or scrape faster. Simply apply a coating of honey over the affected area and leave for as long as you can before washing it. Repeat this several times a day to encourage the wound to close up and repair itself at a faster rate.
Most of us already know that garlic is a fantastic natural remedy for coughs and common colds, thanks to its anti-microbial and antibiotic properties. Unsurprisingly, it’s these properties that make garlic such an effective treatment for cuts and wounds.
Like turmeric, garlic can stop a wound from bleeding instantly, as well as reducing pain and promoting healing. Because garlic also boosts the body’s natural defenses against infection, it’ll help you to heal faster from the inside.
Make a garlic paste by crushing a few garlic cloves, then apply it directly to your wound. If your wound is bleeding, garlic should stem the blood flow straight away. You should also aim to add more garlic to your diet while your wound is healing to help your body fight infection and ward off harmful bacteria.
7. Lavender oil
The majority of essential oils are good for your skin in some way, but lavender is especially helpful in promoting faster wound healing. Lavender can help to reduce swelling, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, which encourages a wound to heal faster. It’s also antimicrobial, preventing bacteria from causing extra damage to the affected area. As a side bonus, lavender’s relaxing properties will help you to de-stress.
You can buy lavender oil from health stores or online. It’s one of the most popular aromatherapy oils, so if you don’t already have it in your cupboards, it’s time you made the investment. To treat a wound, dab a couple of drops of the oil on the area and leave for as long as possible for the most instant healing.
Cinnamon is more than just a fragrant Christmas spice – it’s also effective at fighting infection and reducing inflammation. In recent studies, cinnamon has been found to have strong antimicrobial properties that can help to heal wounds.
Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, both of which have antioxidant properties that help with pain relief. Cinnamon is particularly useful for curing burns, by healing the skin and cooling it down.
You can make a simple cinnamon paste by mixing a teaspoon of cinnamon with a dribble of honey or water and apply it directly to your wound. The cinnamon should get to work immediately in wound healing. For even faster results, add cinnamon to your tea or breakfast dishes to help your body heal from the inside.
9. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is another ingredient that’s commonly found in hair and skin care products, and it’s known particularly for its ability to treat acne and blackheads. Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also make it a great natural resource for treating wounds and scrapes. According to the experts, tea tree can provide relief from pain, especially in wounds caused by bacteria.
A little goes a long way with tea tree oil. Just one drop of oil can speed up the wound healing process. You might want to mix tea tree oil with a carrier oil, like coconut, to double the healing properties. Let the oil sit on your skin for as long as possible before washing off, and apply once a day until the wound is fully healed. You can purchase tea tee oil here
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10. Chamomile tea
A popular floral herb, chamomile is most commonly consumed as a tea. The natural oils found in the chamomile plant can help speed up the rate of wound healing by encouraging your skin to quickly regenerate new tissue.
Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties have given the herb a top spot as a natural remedy, and it’s been used for years as an at-home medicinal treatment for injury.
For the best effects, moisten a chamomile tea bag with lukewarm water and press it against your sore area. The chamomile can help to numb the area, providing immediate relief. Hold the teabag against your skin for as long as possible before rinsing and gently dabbing dry with a clean towel. Repeat several times a day as necessary.
What to avoid
There are a couple of myths related to wound healing that is worth mentioning in this video.
You might have especially heard that salt is good for treating wounds when actually, saltwater can worsen the state of wounds and encourage the growth of some bacteria. Think twice before treating a wound with a saltwater solution.
Another agent to avoid when treating a wound is sugar. While some studies have shown promising results relating to sugar’s effects as a wound healer, it’s clear that more research is needed to understand sugar’s true capabilities. If you’re looking for a sugar alternative, honey has proven far more effective at healing wounds.
Finally, there’s an old wives’ tale that says butter is a good coating for protecting wounds, especially burns. This definitely isn’t the case – butter actually creates a space for bacterial growth, which can lead to a higher risk of infection and other side effects.
So, if you don’t have anything in your medical cupboard to treat a wound or scrape, you can quite easily use a natural alternative – for results that are just as effective! Make sure to use these ingredients regularly to see the quickest results. All of them work to a slightly different effect, so find the one that works best for you and continue to apply until your wound is healed.
The time that a wound takes to close up is important, and there may be a host of reasons as to why your wound won’t properly heal, including smoking, poor nutrition, or certain medications. If you think your wounds are healing at a slower rate than they should do, or you’re getting cut a lot more easily than you used to, book in an appointment with your GP to discuss the issue and get it checked out.
Don’t forget, these natural remedies are only capable of healing smaller cuts and wounds. If you’re dealing with a more serious injury, visit your doctor or nearest emergency room for the best course of action.