Grab The Cobwebs, STAT!
What, this is NOT something you can imagine yourself saying while treating a minor burn? Well then, read on. There are a lot of weird home-remedy recommendations for burns floating around – cobwebs, mustard and toothpaste to name a few – but there’s little evidence to show they actually work. Even worse, some folk remedies like butter may actually trap heat in and cause burns to reach deeper layers of tissue.
Fortunately, studies show the main ingredient in this salve works better than antibiotic creams, and research supports the use of a few other ingredients to relieve pain and speed recovery. It can be used on common kitchen burns, sunburns and more. [Note: Though the Mayo Clinic says most first and second degree burns can be treated at home, serious burns should be treated professionally. Please do not use any home remedies on serious burns.]
So what is this magic formula, you ask? Honey with optional lavender essential oil, and a special tonic used between applications to speed recovery. Here’s why:
Honey Works Better Than Antibiotic Creams For Burns
According to this PubMed review, “As a dressing on wounds, honey provides a moist healing environment, rapidly clears infection, deodorizes, and reduces inflammation, edema, and exudation. Also, it increases the rate of healing by stimulation of angiogenesis, granulation [tissue growth], and epithelialization, making skin grafting unnecessary and giving excellent cosmetic results.”
The best part? A 2006 study found that “small, nonserious burns healed faster when treated with gauze and a dash of honey, on average, than those treated with antibiotic creams and other dressings.” (source) A Cochrane Review of 19 trials with over 2,500 participants supports their analysis.
This is seriously awesome stuff, huh?
When blended with honey, lavender can help quickly reduce pain and fight infection. “Lavender contains Linalyl Acetate (24-45%) and Linalol (25-38%) which have local analgesic and anesthetic effects. It also contains Terpinen-4-ol (2-6%) which, like Linalol, is an antibacterial agent. These two contribute to Lavender’s anti-bacterial properties, which in the case of a burn is very important.” (source)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Though there is not a consensus on why this works, my experience and at least one study show that diluted apple cider vinegar can rapidly accelerate the healing process while reducing scar tissue. Some say it is because the apple cider vinegar restores the damaged skin’s pH, while other’s say it’s due to the high percentage of “pectin, succared, vitamins (B1, B2, B6) (A, E, C), salt, mineral[s such as] as (sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, phosphor, cobber, silicon, chlor).
Whatever the reason, it works!
Mama’s Homemade Soothing Burn Salve
- 1/4 cup raw honey (manuka honey is particularly prized for its healing properties in some cultures)
- 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil, optional. Reduce to 1/8 teaspoon if this salve will be used on children. (Concerned about the “estrogenic” effects of lavender. You might be interested in this article)
If this is something you’d prefer to mix up as needed, here are the ratio’s for a smaller amount:
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1/8 teaspoon lavender essential oil, optional (use half this amount on children)
Homemade Burn Tonic
- 1 part purified water
- 1 part raw apple cider vinegar
Mommypotamus’ Method For Treating Minor Burns
- Immediately run cold water over the area to bring the temperature down and prevent heat from penetrating deeper into the tissue
- If available, drench a soft clean cloth in burn tonic and lay it gently over the burn area until pain begins to subside. Repeat if needed.
- Remove compress and allow area to air dry a little. Smear a little burn salve over the wound and then dress the area with clean gauze.
Shelf life: Honey will keep indefinitely. If lavender oil is added the shelf life will still be very long – perhaps years – provided it is stored in a dark place to prevent oxidation.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Please talk to your trusted healthcare professional for advice regarding personal health conditions and situations. See my full disclaimer here.
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