As a kid of the 1950’s, I have memories of Doc Brown coming to the house to check on my sister, Doctors still made house calls in those days. My sister suffered from tonsils and adenoids troubles and had to have a shot once a week for several weeks. Eventually, she had to go to the hospital and had them removed. It was so cute to watch my 4-year-old baby sister when she would suddenly spy the good doctors car pulling into the driveway and dash off to our shared bedroom and slam the door. Once safely inside she quickly slid the child sized dresser in front of the door so Doc Brown couldn’t get her, so she hoped.
Times sure have changed, and so have our choices for self-reliant first-aid. Shelves in your favorite box store are over loaded with thousands of brightly colored packaged remedies all competing for your dollars. My dear mother shopped at the corner Kresges’ 5 and dime, for a simple but effect tincture of iodine. I had lots of scrapes because I was a typical tomboy. We were free range kids, climbing trees, riding on the tailgate of my fathers truck and chasing frogs. I got a my share of iodine tincture on my boo-boos, and because of it I was getting enough iodine absorbed through the skin from which ever body part that got the brown liquid. It helped keep us healthy long before commercially manufactured supplements and triple antibiotic ointment.
The following is a list of products that are still available at popular drug stores and health food retailers. These products were used by young mothers of the past era because they were what was available, made in the USA and stored in the cupboard for an indefinite period.
Bag balm– ingredients–8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate 0.3% (antiseptic) in a petroleum jelly USP and lanolin base. Bag balm has been documented as being taken to the north pole by Admiral Byrd, it was used by allied troops during WWII (to protect from rust), it was also used at ground zero after 9-11 for the paws of cadaver sniffing dogs. American troops used it in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally it was for cows’ udders, but farmers wives noticed the softness of their husbands’ hands, and began using it themselves. Other users claim to use it for squeaky bed springs, psoriasis, dry skin, cracked fingers, burns, sits, diaper rash, saddle sores, sun burn, pruned trees, rifles, shell castings, bedsores, and radiation burns.
L-Lysine– ingredients– L-Lysine, Vitamins A,D& E, tincture of Benzoin, Menthol, & Camphor in a petrolatum, Lanolin, Cocoa Butter & Wax base. Aids in relief of cold sores, fever blisters, dry chapped lips, minor skin irritations.
tincture of iodine 2%– first aid to help prevent infection in minor cuts, scrapes and burns.
Mercurochrome (brand name Mercuroclear) — ingredients–Benalkonium Chloride 0.13% and lidocaine HCL 2.5%…..Antiseptic/Anesthetic. To help prevent skin infection and for the temporary relief of pain and itching in minor cuts, scrapes and burns and insect bites.
Gentian Violet (topical solution 1%) — antiseptic/anti-infective
Castor oil– stimulant laxative, has many other uses also.
Burnfree– This product is newcomer to the first aid scene. I believe it deserves recognition because it works wonderfully at reducing pain after a sever burn. Unlike other burn care products, BURNFREE actually removes the heat from the burn while it cools, soothes, and as a moisturizer. Provides immediate relief from the pain of minor burns including sunburn.
Porter’s Liniment Salve– A soothing first aid salve containing Chlorobutanol, cresylic acid, zinc oxide,oil of cloves, camphor, ammonia, oil cajeput, oil sassafras, myrrh: in a base of petrolatum, lanolin and beeswax.
Kanka– Mouth pain liquid– Benzocaine 20.0% (w/w)
Vicks Vaporub, Visine, Hydrogen Peroxide — rubbing alcohol — witch hazel– These products have been around forever.
Chiggerex — is a medicated ointment for chigger, tick and other bug bites. It’s active ingredient is Benzocaine 5.0%
Grapefruit seed extract and thieves essential oil — commercially prepared essential oils are another couple of newcomers to the first aid black bag. I mention these two here because they are work horses. GSE has been found to be effective in cleaning hospital equipment in 3rd world countries when alcohol is unavailable. It has also been used in veterinary practice, swimming pools and drinking water supplies. GSE has a broad spectrum antibiotic activity also, works against yeasts, fungi and many other organisms, surpassing garlics’ range by a considerable margin even at minute doses.
Theives oil– Is an old world blend. It was first created from a group of 15th century thieves and grave robbers who rubbed oils on themselves to avoid contracting the plague while they robbed the bodies of the dead and dying. This blend of therapeutic-grade essential oils was tested at Weber State University for its potent antimicrobial properties. Thieves oil was found to have a 99.96% kill rate against airborne bacteria. The oils are highly antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-infectious and help to protect the body against such illnesses as flu, cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats and more.
Epsom salts– When given orally, Epsom salts is not absorbed but attracts water into the colon which moves things along and acts as an effective laxative. However, when used as a bath or foot soak Epsom salts are absorbed slightly and are very relaxing. For injury, a concentrate solution is used as a compress to help drain toxins.
Charcoal– activated charcoal has been a fairly new development, however, campfire charcoal has been used for centuries. Activated charcoal is in most every emergency room in this country, used to treat poisoning cases especially in children. Some other uses are digestion complaints, venomous bites, bees stings, infections, inflammation, Idiopathic chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, jaundice in newborns, liver and kidney failure and much, much more.
I have added;
Today I have enhanced 1950s’ first aid cupboard with a couple 2015 first aid items.
Gluosamine, MSM & Arnica– Liposome lotion delivery system. Supports over worked and sore joints and muscles. Liposomes are bi-layered, membranous spheres that are similar in almost every way to small cells. Recent advances in liposome delivery systems have improved the ability of these phospholipid vessels to deliver vital nutrients through the epidermis and deeper layers of tissue. Relieves soreness and stiff joints exceptional fast.
The capsule machine and “0” or “00” gel caps– People are accustomed to taking pills and capsules. If a few doses of charcoal need to be administered, but charcoal can be messy and it’s black color rejected. Capsules would make a better delivery than a glass of water with charcoal in it. These little homemade capsules work well with other herbs and spices such as cayenne pepper or kelp powered as well.