Most American households are stocked with some sort of over the counter, topical antiseptic and antibiotic. Antiseptic sprays and ointments are used to prevent infections in cuts, scrapes, and wounds, while antibiotics destroy micro-organisms already inside the body. But according to MedScape, reports of infection from the use of over the counter antiseptics have led the Food and Drug Administration to re-evaluate how these products are labeled.
Instead of relying on store-bought products when treating a cut or wound, we recommend opening your kitchen cabinet and using products you already have at home to prevent and treat infection. DermNet NZ explains antiseptics prevent infection by reducing the number of micro-organisms living on the surface of the skin or tissue. However, if the micro-organisms get into the tissue, then antibiotics are necessary for treatment.
1. Potato. This might seem seriously weird, but applying a poultice made from raw shredded potato to the wound can reduce inflammation and prevent infection, says Live Love Fruit. To make a homemade poultice, spread shredded raw potato onto a clean cloth. Apply the cloth to the affected area and cover first with gauze, then with plastic wrap. Leave the poultice on overnight and remove it in the morning. Be sure to clean the affected area with salt water before dressing it again.
2. Honey. Enzymes and anti-viral compounds found in honey make this a sticky, sweet solution. According to Health 911, researchers at Waikato University in New Zealand found that honey is so effective as an anti-bacterial agent, it can completely stop the growth of every major species of bacteria known to infect wounds.
3. Tea tree oil. Regularly found in grocery stores, tea tree oil is “an exceptional natural antibiotic,” according to Health 911. It is also an antiseptic, making it a first line of defense against infection. To use tea tree oil, dilute it by mixing 1 1/2 teaspoons of the essential oil in 1 cup of warm water. Use gauze to apply the diluted solution to the cut or wound.
4. Garlic. A single clove of garlic can make a world of a difference in the fight against infection. Live Love Fruit recommends mixing 3 crushed garlic cloves in one cup of wine. Let the solution sit for 2- 3 hours and then strain. Using a clean cloth or gauze, apply the anti-bacterial mixture to the wound 1- 2 times daily.
5. Cayenne Pepper. This hot spice is a sizzling disinfectant with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It is a little known fact that applying cayenne pepper to a bleeding cut could stop the bleeding in an amazing 10- 12 seconds, according to Live Love Fruit. To treat a wound from the inside out, drink 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of water.
6. Coconut oil. This magic antibacterial and anti-fungal is effective not only in healing wounds and preventing infection, but also in preventing scarring. Live Love Fruit recommends applying coconut oil to the wound and then covering it with a bandaid. The bandaid should be refreshed 2- 3 times daily.
7. Oregano oil. Not only can you put oregano oil on your salad, but you can also use it to treat a cut or wound, says Health Wire. This is because oregano is an anti-microbial, anti-bacterials, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and ant-fungal.
8. Onion. Like its counterpart garlic, onion is a fabulous antibacterial and antiseptic. Natural Society says in addition to rubbing raw onion directly on the wound, you can simply leave a raw onion out in your kitchen to protect against unwanted bacteria.
When treating a cut, scrape, or wound, there is no need to run out to the drugstore. Remember, the essentials you likely keep in your home, like garlic and onions, are potent defenses against infection.