Healing Wounds with Essential Oils
Essential oils have a broad range of uses that can be used throughout the healing process of a wound. There are some hydrosols that can be useful as well, and are a better option for little ones.
Let's first look at the roles essential oils and hydrosols can play in healing wounds, and then go into further detail.
- Clean wounds of dead cells and debris
- Prevent and treat infections
- Reduce inflammation and pain
- Increase the rate of healing
- Help the body form new skin and construct new tissue
- Reduce scarring
Cleaning Wounds and Preventing Infection
Hydrsols are great for this purpose as they can wash away any debris and dirt that has gotten into the wound. Lavender hydrosol would be a great option for this purpose.
If a lot of bleeding is present and you have already cleaned any dirt out of the wound, Rock Rose would be my next choice. This hydrosol is very astringent and will help stop the bleeding.
To prevent infection, Tea Tree and Thyme hydrosols are good options because of their antispetic properties.
The trifecta: Witch Hazel is a wonderful option to add to a blend to cleanse a wound as it is wound healing, antiseptic, and astringent. Add this hydrosol to your blend to boost its properties. Note: Most witch hazel products on the market have alcohol in them. This is not necessarily bad in this case as the alcohol would further clean the wound. However, this product can be overly drying and irritating to sensitive skin.
My top essential oil picks to clean wounds would be Lemon, Tea Tree, Thyme, and Niaouli. These oils effectively rid the wound of dead cells and contaminants that might cause an infection. They are also antimicrobial and can treat any infection that is present.
Directions: Shake before damping a cotton pad and gently cleaning wound. Can be used as a compress with a clean cotton pad after wound has been thoroughly cleansed. For children, skip the essential oils and use just the hydrosol blend.
Reducing Inflammation and Pain
Lavender and German chamomile hydrosol are great choices, as they are anti-inflammatory and analgesic. These can be sprayed on the wound throughout the day or used as a compress.
Likewise, Lavender essential oil is a wonderful choice as well and possess the same therapeutic properties as lavender hydrosol, but in a more concentrated form.
Tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory and analgesic, if you are also worried about infections this might be a great option.
German chamomile essential oil is highly anti-inflammatory and could thus reduce pain and discomfort. This oil is also regenerative to skin cells, so would be a good option when healing and reducing inflammation is the top priority.
Increase Healing Rates and Promote Cell Growth
Many essential oils have actually been shown to have cicatrisant properties, they facilitate cell regeneration and therefore decrease the time it takes for a wound to heal. Most resinous essential oils have this therapeutic property. These include: Frankincense, Myrrh, and Opopanx. Flowers are also a leading choice for cicatrisant effects. These include: Lavender, German Chamomile, Geranium, Helichrysum, Jasmine Absolute, and Rose Absolute. Patchouli and Cedarwood are other oils that are healing to the skin, due to their high quantity of sesquiterpenols.
Hydrosols can also play a roll in promoting cell growth and increasing healing rates. These include but are not limited to: Calendula, Rose, Rose Geranium, Witch Hazel, Frankincense, German Chamomile, Blood Orange, Myrrh, Helichrysum, and Yarrow.
As you can tell, many plants are skin healing in both hydrosol and essential oil form.
Carrier oils and bases for wounds
Herbally infused oils can be a great option for those looking to amp up the healing effect of their blend. Infusions such as Calendula, Comfrey, Arnica and St. John's Wort have a long standing history of being used for wound treatments. Fixed oils such as Tamanu, Evening Primrose, Rosehip, and Borage are great options as they are anti-inflammatory and facilitate healing actions.
Children under the age of 3 can especially benefit from herbally infused oils, as they do not contain essential oils but are powerful healers on their own.
Aloe Vera is also a wonderful option is you need a base that is fast absorbing, cooling, and anti-inflammatory. Sunburns are a great example of a wound that would benefit from a base of aloe vera gel.
Directions: Apply to wound 2-3 times a day with clean hands. Cover with new bandage every time you apply the wound healing blend. For children under 5, use only the Trauma Oil and Tamanu Oil. Always patch test the blend first. Consult your primary healthcare physician before starting any holistic practices.
As with any essential oil blend, it is important to patch test to check for any irritations or allergic reactions so the wound is not exacerbated. Place a small amount of the blend onto the forearm and wait 15 minutes to check for any signs of discomfort or reaction. It is also important to take special care in not using oxidated essential oils, as this will cause irritation.
Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.