Family First Aid Kit: Natural Antibiotics

Family First Aid Kit: Natural Antibiotics

Injuries happen. Kids get hurt. We get hurt.

Having a family first aid kit with natural antibiotics can really make a difference when you need one. You’ve got yours all sorted out, yeah? Or you’re going to put one together this week?

I was a Boy Scout as a kid, and as silly as it sounds sometimes, ‘be prepared’ is most excellent advice to a parent. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it, right? We have a basic natural first aid kit that goes with us camping or traveling, and mama always makes sure we have the means to deal with most common situations. I also have a tiny first aid kit that goes in my everyday bag.

Band aids and bandages are good basic components, but you don’t have to stock your first aid kit with just drugstore remedies – you can easily add a natural one as well. We have some basic herb tinctures for immune help, plus some arnica gel for bruising, and Bach’s Flower Essence for shock. Then we have a couple of other key substances that can give relief and healing to many of life’s smaller injuries, including some natural antibiotics.

These items are among the best natural topical antibiotics, and they are simple, widely available, and cheap to purchase. They can be used to treat everything from umbilical cords to skinned knees, from splinters and blisters to infected sores, and even athlete’s foot. You can start to build your natural first aid kit by picking a couple of the below and seeing how they work for you.

Raw Honey

Raw honey is a great natural antibiotic. Raw honey is different from your generic honeybee-squeeze-bottle honey from the chain supermarket that looks like Karo syrup – it’s a rich flavorful honey from a local or regional beekeeper. There’s a big difference. The heating and filtering process changes the properties of the honey, leaving little but the sweetness (and even that has a bland flavor). Find some at a health food store or co-op and check it out for yourself…

Honey as a topical antibacterial agent:

“Honey is an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds, which has recently been ‘rediscovered’ by the medical profession, particularly where conventional modern therapeutic agents are failing. There are now many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey in rapidly clearing infection from wounds, with no adverse effects to slow the healing process; there is also some evidence to suggest that honey may actively promote healing. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to have an antimicrobial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi.” – World Wide Wounds

When a wound is dressed with honey, hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced in contact with body fluids, and has an antiseptic action.

Honey is also used to treat antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, and can be safely applied almost anywhere on the body. It can be stored virtually forever, and a small vial or tin of honey should be in your first aid kit/diaper bag/go bag/under the seat in the truck or wagon. It can be tricky to keep honey in a container (the sticky factor), but we usually have it with us as our food supply.

Goldenseal Powder

Powdered goldenseal root makes an excellent umbilical cord treatment for newborns. Sprinkle it directly on any wound, or make a paste with a small amount of water for injury or cut that is festering. Goldenseal powder tea serves as an excellent gargle and mouthwash, and can be used as an eyewash for a stye or pinkeye. The price may seem high, but a little goes a long way. Available at your local co-op or natural foods store. If you have a tiny tin to fill with it – like a lip balm tin – it only takes up a tiny amount of space for such a great natural antibiotic.

Tea Tree Oil

A powerful antimicrobial and remedy for fungal infections, the oil of the melaleuca tree of Australia is a versatile natural first aid treatment. Use topically for any wounds, athlete’s foot, or even ringworm, but be sure to keep it away from your eyes – it’s strong stuff. It may also irritate genitals, so be careful where you choose to use it.

Tea tree oil is also said to be effective against lice, so it may keep you from using the harsh drugstore treatment if your kids bring it home from school. Be sure to buy 100% Tea Tree Oil, or a lavender and tea tree blend, not tea tree oil blended with a carrier oil.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is another natural antiseptic, and can relieve pain or irritation on the skin. When we travel, we like to know that we’ll be able to wash up even without running water, so we use a plastic spray bottle filled with water and lavender oil, using the mist to wet and scrub our faces and hands – it works great for traveling with kids. Headaches in mom and pop can be lessened by rubbing a drop of lavender oil into their temples.

These four natural antibacterials, plus my favorite salve, Apitherapy Honey House Healing Salve, have been sufficient for healing any wounds or sores in our house for years. We keep band aids on hand, but use them only when really necessary. We don’t buy Neosporin or waterless antibacterial soap, and we aren’t phobic about germs. For a day trip first aid kit, I add some needle and thread, a tiny bit of duct tape, a blade, something with tweezer action (multi-tool usually) and a book of matches.

More Natural Remedies:

Natural Remedies for Earaches

Natural Fever Relief

Papa’s Picks: Natural Wound Care With Honey House Propolis Salve

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

21 thoughts on “Family First Aid Kit: Natural Antibiotics

  • About honey I never heard, but I will keep it in mind. About tea tree I’m not so delighted. It can irritate the skin and especially people with excema (is this english? I mean a réally dry skin) must be carefull. And some extra information: fresh herbs have anti-viral compounds, using fresh herbs is very benificial.

    Greetings from Holland (my english is not that good, sorry)

  • Tea tree oil is the best treatment for mosquito bites! I have sensitive skin and have never had irritations. Also, dab a few drops onto the skin to keep mosquitoes away. Great against pimples too.

  • Pingback: NewsEco: Crayons vs. markers, earaches and big green lies - Blog.HowYouEco - Green. Health. Life.

  • Great post, I use tea tree oil on a regular basis but had no idea about the honey. thanks!

  • I’d be a little scared at first to dab honey on a cut but maybe I should buck up and just try it next time. Do you know if there are any scientific papers or research supporting any of these methods? I’d be interested to see them if there are…

    • Michelle

      I am not a doctor or a nurse. What I say here is only based on what a “wound care nurse” told me when I worked in home health. I make no recommendations. Anyways, that being said a very good home health wound nurse is the first to tell me of using honey for care of deep wounds that won’t heel through convention medications. Keep in mind this is a honey that she would get through the hospital pharmacy but it did wonders with a particular patient. So, yes, I do believe a raw honey would work very very well as a topical antibiotic. In my humble opinion.

  • Neem. I’ve been using it on my cuts it’s great. Research the Neem Tree it might surprise you. : )

  • Love this post, it’s full of great information!

    My Father keeps bees on his organic farm. It’s a symbiotic relationship – the bees have tons of pollen and we get delicious raw honey. We use the honey to dress wounds, as a cough syrup for the kids (over the age of one), with lemons and hot water for sore throats and to sweeten sauces, etc.

  • I love the honey idea. I wonder if I could grow golden seal in my herb garden? I’ve heard it is endangered because of over-harvesting.

    A friend of mine makes an all natural product that I hope will one day replace polysporin (and you can make it in your home) she calls it Ouch! and it is great stuff. I get her to make me batches and give it away to friends. Earth Mother Naturals is her site.

    • Goldenseal is not a plant that would do well in a traditional garden plot. It is a plant that grows on a northfacing slope, shaded and is a companion plant with Ginseng.

      I used it on a nasty Brown Recluse spider bite I had on my wrist some years back. I packed it into the neurosis and I feel it really helped. I have no scar to this day.

  • We are big fans of both plain TTO and then the TTO/Lavender blends. I used them when the kiddos had chicken pox (thanks to a chicken pox party), on scrapes, etc. I also use the drops in our laundry, it makes our towels and sheets smell divine. It was also a good laundry tool when my kiddos were still in diapers (cloth).

    I, also, didn’t know about the honey. We have some great local sources for raw honey locally so I’ll have to pick some up.

    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..The H1N1 Virus, Asthma, and a Severe Case of Croup =-.

  • Of all the natural remedies I’ve heard of to end H1N1 is colloidal silver. This is explained in detail at
    It has excellent qualities and is without side effects.

  • carmen

    Great to see honey’s magical healing powers being shared. I have been treating my husband’s fishing injuries for a week using honey, very successfully! He got bashed against some rocks and had some nasty wounds. After washing it, I mixed honey, a little rosehip oil and 2 drops of Kunzea essential oil (an awesome Australian newly discovered oil comparable to Lavender or Tea Tree) and put it on a gauze pad to dress the wounds. I renewed this every day for three days at which time we let the wounds dry out. It has been amazing, no bruising or infection and rapid healing. Hubbie is stoked! His mother, who is a nurse, is very impressed! Lavender could be substituted for the Kunzea oil, and olive oil for the rosehip if that is all you have. Cheers.

    • Derek Markham

      Carmen – That sounds like a good treatment. Thanks for sharing it with us!


  • I never thought that Raw Honey can be a great natural antibiotic. The difficult part of this is that its hard nowadays to find pure honey.

  • Oil of Oregano:
    Just found out about this and a friend has been using it for asthma! Works great and is antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal! Google it and see all the uses.

  • Instead of only using raw honey, a mixture of cinnamon and raw honey seems to be better natural antibiotics. What do you think about this?

  • Grapefruit seed extract has proven to be an excellent natural antibiotic! It is a potent multipurpose (broad spectrum) compound made from the seeds and pulp of organically grown grapefruit. Grapefruit extract is capable of inactivating countless pathogens in comparison to conventional antibiotics that is limited to bacteria alone!
    According to studies, the activity of the active ingredient of grapefruit seed extract appears to develop in the cytoplasmic membrane of the microorganisms. The active ingredients of the extract disorganize the cytoplasmic membrane, thereby preventing the uptake of amino acids. At the same time, there is a leakage of the cellular contents with low molecular weight through the cytoplasmic membrane. The pathogen is then inactivated. The time for this is generally shorter than that of most comparable preparations.
    Grapefruit seed extract does not allow germs to build up a resistance. To date there is no evidence that any type of organism has ever built up a resistance to grapefruit seed extracts active ingredient. Due to the mode of its activity it is believed that this resistance is impossible as grapefruit seed extract disrupts the organisms cytoplasmic membrane. What is not known is how GSE can affect the cell membranes of such a diverse group of microbes with virtually no toxicity toward human or animal life.
    The greatest benefit of grapefruit seed extract is due to its broad spectrum anti pathogenic effect! Grapefruit seed extract remains effective even if the cause of an infection is known, misdiagnosed or unknown, since we rarely know for sure the individual pathogen or mix of pathogens responsible for our infection. No other known compound can demonstrate such versatility.

  • Ashleigh

    Garlic is also an effective antibiotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. I slice 2 cloves of garlic very thin and brew a tea with it at the first sign of a cold. It smells and tastes nasty but I always feel 100% better within a day or two. I have also used it topically on an infected navel piercing and cellulitis on my hand (just mashed and made into a poultice).

  • Have you tried doTERRA Certified Pure Essential Oils? I use them and I think they are the best quality I have found on the market. I litte more expensive but they are so powerful they go much further.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *