If you've tried home remedy treatments for cuts and scrapes and feel like you'd like to speed up the healing even more, you might want to consider some of these tired and true home remedies you'll find in your kitchen.
Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Garlic. Garlic is an old folk remedy for healing cuts, scrapes, and sores. It contains an antimicrobial agent called allicin that protects against infection. But be careful, as fresh garlic can be irritating to the skin and should never be left on the skin for more than 20 to 25 minutes. Mix 3 cloves garlic with 1 cup wine in a blender. Let it stand for two to three hours, then strain. Apply to the well-cleaned wound with a clean cloth one to two times a day. Discontinue if the treatment is irritating.
Honey. If you think bees are attracted to honey, you should see germs flock to the stuff when it's applied to a cut, scrape, or sore. Honey dehydrates the bacteria in a wound, making it clean and free from infection. Place honey on sterile gauze and apply it directly to the cleaned wound area.
White vinegar. Use a mixture of 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 pint water to soak off scabs. This will help kill bacteria and get rid of the scab gently without picking. Just remember: Vinegar stings!
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Onion. The same antimicrobial component of garlic, allicin, is found in onions. And onions don't irritate the skin like garlic does. Crush half an onion in a blender. Mix with honey and apply to a sore. Do not leave in place more than one hour. Repeat three times a day.
Plantain leaves. The leaves of this plant (plantago major) are well known in folk medicine for their cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties. Crush the leaves to get the potent juice. Apply the leaves to the cleaned wound.
Home Remedy from the Windowsill
Aloe. In addition to healing burns, the sap from an aloe vera plant can be used to treat sores. Break off an aloe vera leaf and apply the sap to the sore. Repeat every few hours.
When in Doubt, See a Doctor
Many cuts and scrapes can be safely treated at home, but see your doctor if:
- You notice signs of infection (increased redness, red streaks, swelling, pus, enlarged lymph nodes).
- The injury is located on the face, where even minor scarring will be noticeable.
- The cut or scrape is very deep or you are unable to clean all the dirt out of it.
- The cut is wider than 1/4 inch or the edges of the cut skin are too ragged to close evenly.
- You can't stop the bleeding.
- The injury occurred in the area of tendons and nerves, and you can't feel the area or you can't move it.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.
Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist (www.the-scientist.com). He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide (McGraw-Hill, 2004), and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at PennsylvaniaState University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
ABOUT THE EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS:
Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.
Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.