We have used antibiotic ointments for years, those like Neosporin and other similar brands. But having antibiotics in a base of petroleum jelly is not the best way to heal ourselves or our children and we knew there was likely a more natural way. After a bit of research we found an excellent alternative. This alternative also keep us from contributing to antibiotic resistance which is already a growing issue today.
It’s time to toss out the Neosporin and make your very own safe and effective natural version!
It is a slow process for us, but the more we use herbs and homemade herbal remedies in our everyday life, the more we are convinced that many OTC medications aren’t necessary.
We've been using elderberry now for quite some time as well as arnica salve and drawing salve. Our medicinal herbs in our cottage garden are getting more use each year as we learn and grow in our knowledge of using them. So take this as one more step you might add to YOUR herbal medicine cabinet.
Why Bother Avoiding Neosporin?
Neosporin has been shown to contribute to antibiotic resistance. In addition, some people suffer from allergic reactions to Neosporin. According to some physicians, the neomycin in the Neosporin causes a skin reaction called dermatitis. It can cause the skin to become red, scaly and itchy. The more Neosporin you use, the worse the skin reaction becomes.
Natural Antibiotic Salve
We have started making an antibiotic salve that is comprised of two main herbs, along with a few other ingredients. If you’re not already growing these herbs at home, you can start now and reap the benefits for years to come as these two primary herbs are perennials, which means they return each year without us having to replant them. Here they are:
Monarda (aka Bergamot or Bee Balm)
We call this Bee Balm when referring to it in our garden. This plant is absolutely amazing. Native Americans used Bee Balm extensively for its antiseptic properties; it’s a natural source of thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern mouthwash formulas. They brewed a tea to help with mouth and throat infections.
Bee Balm is an antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It supports the immune system, and many people use it to treat colds and the flu. The leaves are used as an infusion in tea to help relieve insomnia, menstrual pain, nausea, and flatulence.
This makes Bee Balm a great herb to use on any wounds that are inflamed or angry. And it grows abundantly! It tries to take over our cottage garden each year. We are certain it took us so long to learn this because the Pharmaceutical companies would rather we did not know that these powerful herbs can do as well or better than what is on the shelves at the local pharmacy.
Yarrow is another herb we have in our cottage garden. It is incredible for wound care, and can be used often for first-aid. It stops bleeding fast, helps heals wounds, and reduces inflammation. It also includes some antibiotic properties.
Scientists have actually been able to replicate these findings in a lab setting. A randomized controlled study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology examining the use of yarrow as a topical inflammatory found that, after seven days of continuous reapplication, “The application of tested oil extracts on artificially irritated skin in vivo demonstrated the ability to re-establish their optimal pH and hydration of skin to the values measured prior to the irritation.”
According to Herb Rally, yarrow’s “antiseptic and anodyne properties coupled with its ability to coagulate blood and stop bleeding make it the perfect ally in this case. These properties also make it useful in cases of hemorrhoids, post-partum care, bruises, and mouth sores, as well as internal bleeding.”
A great thing about yarrow is you can use both the leaves and the flowers. So if our yarrow hasn’t bloomed yet, we can still grab some and use them in our herbal recipes.
An additional herb we would like to start growing but for now have in only a dried form is...
Our plan is to start growing Comfrey under our fruit trees. It has a great tap root that sends nutrients down to help the soil making them more accessible for fruit trees. That's in the works for next year.
Comfrey is a fantastic wound healer. It actually speeds up your cell regeneration, making cells heal and repair much faster than they would on their own. Comfrey is one of the ingredients we use in our drawing salve.
Comfrey is also a great skin soother that decreases inflammation and thereby decreases pain.
You may have heard of other herbs that have antibiotic and soothing properties such as calendula, oregano or chamomile. Any of these herbs will also work well in an antibiotic salve.
Making the Salve
To make a salve, the first step is to make an herbal oil. We take wilted or dried herbs from our garden and combine them with a good olive oil or avocado oil for at least 1 month. We carefully shake this mixture every day to ensure no mold is developing and all the great nutrients from our fresh herbs are getting into the oil.
After 4-6 weeks, this oil is strained and we add vitamin E oil to the mixture. Vitamin E aids in healing the skin and reducing any scarring that might occur from a minor scratch or scrape. It also acts as an excellent preservative which helps our oils and salves last around 2 years.
The herbal oils we create are then added to natural bees wax along with a variety of essential oils such as lavender (natural soothing) and tea tree oil (natural antibiotic).
Using the Salve
To use your homemade antibiotic ointment, use just as you would Neosporin. Put it on minor cuts, scrapes or bruises to speed up healing. But remember to avoid adding it to deep puncture wounds.
We will soon have this salve available at our online store. If you don't want to make your own at home, you can pick some up from us and give it a try! Watch for more info on this salve here at our website: Antibiotic Salve
Always consult your doctor or a clinical herbalist before trying any new herbal remedy, as there’s always the possibility of unintended consequences, allergic reaction, or interactions with other medication. If you’re harvesting wild plant material, make sure you’re 100% confident in your identification and consult multiple sources for your ID. The following is based on my research and experience, but I don’t claim to have any certifications that would qualify me to advise you on your health. Please do your own research and always verify with multiple reputable sources.)
Yarrow tends to close wounds quickly, so don’t use it on puncture wounds, and obviously severe wounds should be treated by a doctor or emergency room. This salve is more for minor cuts and scrapes, like skinned knees.
Yarrow should be avoided if you have an allergy to plants in the Asteraceae family (like daisies, ragweed, marigolds, or sunflowers).