Cuts - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Cuts. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Plaintain and Slippery Elm Powders

Posted by Mama to Many (TN) on 10/02/2021

My family was at a wedding reception last evening at our friend's home. When things were winding down I was helping in the kitchen with some clean up. While putting away a knife on one of those magnetic knife holders, something jerked and my finger grazed another very sharp knife which effectively carved off much of my fingernail, leaving the nailbed open and bleeding.

In spite of ice, elevation and pressure, the wound bled for 2 hours. Bandages were useless. Once I was home my husband mixed up a teaspoon each of plantain leaf powder and slippery elm powder. We sprinkled the dry powder on the still oozing nail bed. I covered that with a bandaid with a salve on it. It did not bleed or leak another drop of blood.

Even with ibuprofen, I had to sleep with the finger iced and elevated.

I am sure my friend had cayenne pepper and I considered trying it for bleeding, but I knew it would initially sting and I was already in a lot of pain. I was afraid I would pass out at my friend's house. I don't usually get faint but was feeling ill over the cut. Fingers are so sensitive.

Today I am keeping a bandage and healing salve (made with plantain, comfrey, mullein, and burdock). I will keep this up for a while. I assume the rest of the nail will fall off. Ick.

Possibly just plantain would have stopped the bleeding. And the powder did honestly hurt quite a bit.

Moral of the story? Keep some plantain powder on hand and don't keep your knives too sharp. :)

~Mama to Many~

Potato Poultice

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 09/10/2020

My daughter was running barefoot and cut the bottom of her foot. She didn't clean it and kept doing what she was doing. It didn't really bother her until the next day when she showed it to me. The site around the cut was red and inflamed and she was in pain.

Over the next few days I alternated different types of poultices, Epsom salt soaks and essential oils.

I used poultices overnight - charcoal one night, clay one night. I had her use tea tree essential oil and frankincense essential oil on it during the day. She also took turmeric twice a day.

The inflammation, redness and pain had improved, but when the results aren't coming as fast as I want, I change tactics. I decided to try a potato poultice. I have read about them with fascination but never tried them.

I grated some potato. I mixed in a little raw honey. I placed that on her foot and covered it with some plastic wrap and a bandage. I do think I saw the most improvement in one night with the potato poultice. She continued with the essential oils during the day a couple of more days.

She now has a healthy scab and normal color.

I love having another remedy up my sleeve (or in my pantry! )

You never know where you will be or what you will have on hand. Lots of possible remedies is always a plus.

~Mama to Many~


Posted by Teena (Melbourne, Australia) on 06/23/2019 233 posts

Cayenne powder for cut:

I received an awkward injury in the fleshy part of my palm, I decided on Cayenne powder to assist the clotting. Once bleeding had stopped I got assistance to add some castor oil, it was the closest healing one, to create a bit more of a paste.

Ultimately the paste formed with the scab, attempts to wash off after 6 hours proved this, and has healed well.

Olive Leaf

Posted by Teena (Melbourne, Australia) on 04/20/2019 233 posts

My son's (10) thumb became severely infected, had swollen to three times the size, and a large yellow mass of infection was clearly visible in the centre. I was giving the occasional vitamin C, but unable because of work to do the usual two hourly dose, also increased zinc and attempted to soak in mineral rich water, again he would not sit still for the required 6 hours, which was what it took for healing to begin for mine previously.

The pain was increasing so I took him to our doctor, who very carefully pieced each side of the swollen thumb and expelled much pus and infection, until the pain became too great. The skin also split between the two piercings, flesh extruded, it looked quite horrific. He wrapped it in gauze. I enquired, "Will you put some iodine?" "No point." he said, "it is already infected, he needs antibiotics." I thanked Dr, and left with the script.

At home I decided on olive leaf. I could have chosen many things, garlic, GSE, ginger, oregano oil, the most important factor is the frequency it is given.

Gave him the 2 olive leaf capsules (antibiotic), one Bromelain capsule (for tissue trauma and pain) added about a half tablespoon colloidal silver to his drinking water, and gave a heaped teaspoon of organic coconut oil. To the fleshy mess of his poor thumb, I applied a paste of castor oil and turmeric, because I know turmeric is great at pulling out infection, applied fresh guaze swab and bandaged it well. I changed the dressing every 24 hours after shower, and I am pleased to report the infection was drawn out and significant healing has occurred. We are at day 8 and there is only a small hole in his thumb, and after 4 days it was well enough that the intensive regimen below was stopped, both internally and externally. Olive leaf capsules every 4 awake hours, with alternating vitamin C, zinc, Bromelain, colloidal silver or probiotics X3 capsules. This was for the first two days, days 3,4 was olive leaf and vitamin C 1000mg. There was no pain from the first treatment on.

*If I had not had such immediate improvement I would have used the Dr's antibiotics, well no, I would have first given OLE every 4 hours including waking up at night to administer, and increased the probiotics intake. Fortunately for my little boy's gut health, this was not required.

Best to you and yours

Iodine and Honey

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 05/18/2018

An adult son of mine cut his finger at work with a utility knife. The blade was a new one and the cut was to the bone. He had a hard time getting the bleeding to stop but eventually taped it up and kept working.

I dressed the wound each night with iodine an honey. A friend of mine had cautioned me that a bone infection could result if the bone had been nicked.

Each night, when he got home from work and after showering, I put one drop of 5% iodine in the wound and then a few drops of honey. I covered this with a fabric adhesive bandage and secured it with cohesive tape. He wore a splint on the thumb for the first 5 days because movement was likely to re-open the wound. I think I did the iodine and honey treatment for 6 or 7 days total.

For the first two nights I also applied a cooled, blanched plantain leaf before the adhesive bandage since that would not stick to the wound at all. Plantain also helps with pain relief and wound healing.

He does have a scar but the wound has healed nicely and never had a single sign of infection. And he is currently working outside in the heat, so the bandage would be wet all day from sweating.

He was making sure he had full motion of his finger. With deep wounds there are many risks, including nerve and tendon damage, infection, etc. I did ask if he wanted to go get stitches but he did not.

Iodine is a great antimicrobial and so is honey. Honey is also excellent for wound healing.

~Mama to Many~


Posted by Teena (Melbourne Australia) on 11/21/2017 233 posts

Honey for Healing of Wound With Grit

I recently went on holiday to Thailand with the family and thought my health kit was well stocked. I had tea tree oil and Vicks for bug bites and repellant, also tto is antiseptic, magnesium malate for magnesium and as an apple cider vinegar replacement, Olive leaf for antibiotics should anyone develop sickness, a wholefood multi vitamin to replace the many tablets I use at home, borax for laundry and head to toe body wash inc teeth brushing (add water) rosehips for wholefood vitamin c, beet root for my husband's blood sugar, kids organic multivitamin and melatonin for sleep assist with the added benefit of gut health. I thought I had every situation covered! Until I fell in the street (narrow foot path) directing all sorts of filth into the soft part of my inner ankle and foot. I had twisted my ankle in the fall as well but did not realise for a few days.

Not in much pain but embarrassed and bloody, I returned the short walk to the hotel and passing the bar collected some salt. In the room I soaked my foot in the salt and water, cleaning it was difficult it now hurt sooo much and to my dismay I saw grit embedded in the wound. I hobbled to the couch whereas before treatment I was walking normally, albeit slowly, the attention I had paid to my injury had been rewarded with large pain increase. I applied the tto oil and researched poultice that I could access in Thailand. If I was at home there would be at least twelve plants in my garden I could use for this purpose, my husband calls some of them weeds. I could have really used one of Mama's charcoal poultices!

I found that honey could be used as poultice which I was not confident of but thought at least it has healing properties, so when hubby and kids returned from foot massage (! ) I asked him to get the purest honey they had at the chemist. I applied the honey, covering with tea bag wrapper (limited supplies) so it wouldn't stick to the wound, and a sock to hold it in place. I rested it by having a few days just watching the kids in the pool. Twice a day I applied the honey, I didn't have to touch the tender skin which was a plus, just plopped the honey on it till it was covered. The grit was still there though, but I couldn't touch it still and would not allow my husband to either.

When the wound scabbed over I was a little concerned because I knew the grit had not come out, but I had put my faith in the healing properties of the honey. I stopped applying the honey once the scabs formed. Couple weeks later when the scabs came off, the skin was pink and healthy. I guess that as much as I thought I was prepared you cannot prepare for everything, but EC got me through.

Mama's Scalp Wound Remedies

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 11/20/2017

My husband cut his scalp a couple of weeks ago. I used the principles of moist wound healing to treat it. We took pictures to monitor the progress. I have posted at the bottom; sorry the first one is pretty icky! He took the picture with his phone and texted it to me to ask what he should do for it. We didn't begin treating it until he got home from work and showered. In the shower, he removed the piece of skin that was still sticking to the wound. (He scraped off a layer of skin climbing into a work trailer.)

After the initial cleaning and removal of dead skin, all we did was use a dressing of a healing salve I make (we keep it on hand for daily use) and a large fabric bandage. We usually changed the bandage every evening. He would leave it open for an hour or two after his shower each night and then we would re dress it. Once or twice we left the bandage on for 2 days. We did this for a total of 10 days. Perhaps the dressing was not needed the last few days but we wanted to give that tender skin a little longer to heal. He is hard on his head at work (He keeps it shaved) as you will see by the additional cut in latter pictures.

I messed with the wound as little as possible. He was rinsing it in the shower. I would apply a very thick layer of healing salve to the bandage – not the wound, so I wouldn't have to mess with the wound. The layer of salve was probably 3-4 mm thick. The salve and bandage never once stuck to the wound. New skin cells and evidence of healing were noticed within 24 hours!

Some advantages to moist wound healing include less pain, faster cell regeneration, reduced tissue death and dehydration, and reduced scarring. Pretty nice advantages!

Additionally, herbal healing salves contain nutrients that the body can use to heal. The salve I used has plantain, which helps with pain and comfrey which promotes skin cell regeneration. The olive oil and coconut oil base contain nutrients also.

We have seen other things used for moist wound healing with great results as well.

Honey is amazing for wound healing. When my mother was elderly and near death, she had bedsores that were not healing. The nurses used honey on the sores and there was actually an improvement in the wounds, even in my mother's severely compromised state of health.

Lanolin is used for breastfeeding moms to heal cracked nipples with a great reduction in pain and faster healing.

I have not tried it but I suspect that lanolin and honey mixed together would make a nice wound dressing.

Herbal salves and honey are also used for burn treatment with great success.

A dozen years or so ago my daughter had a bike accident. She basically tore many layers of skin off of the bottom of her foot as it rubbed along a bike tire. (She was about 4.) It was very, very painful. The doctor I took her to introduced me to Advantix bandages. Daily I changed the dressing. I was only using those bandages that did not stick to the wound (and pull of new skin cells as dry dressings do.) (I think I had a layer of Advantix then gauze then cohesive tape, but not positive.) This dressing worked well and she was not experiencing pain with it and her healing was pretty easy.

Deeper wounds are more complicated because of fluids the wound produces – they need a place to go. But there are protocols to benefit from moist wound healing from them, but I am not suggesting that my methods here would be appropriate.

There are manuka honey bandages and colloidal silver bandages available too. It is good to know about these options before the need arrives. I try to keep a decent supply of first aid supplies at home.

Picture 1 - right after the injury

Picture 2 - 48 hours later

Picture 3 - 4 days after injury

Picture 4 - 10 days after injury

~Mama to Many~

Frankincense Essential Oil

Posted by Myway (Usa) on 10/27/2015

One of my cats took a swipe at my face yesterday morning and left a scratch about 3/4 inch long beside my nose. He was mad I had not fed him yet....anyhow, I cleaned up the scar with some soap and water, dried my face, then mixed one drop of frankincense essential oil and about 1/8th teaspoon of virgin, organic unrefined coconut oil in the palm of my hand. I applied this blend to my face and scar. I just rubbed it in to my whole face.

This morning I woke up - No visible sign of the scratch! I knew frankincense was powerful - but I sort of can't believe my eyes.

I purchased some frankincense and myrrh essential oils to make some organic face and body creams and tested my sensitivity to these oils on my skin with sweet almond oil a couple days ago but had no idea of the power of healing these oils had until I watched "The Truth About Cancer". I thought to myself, if frankincense could help people heal from cancer, it should work on a cat scratch! Wow!

From here on out, my skin care routine will always include organic lotion I make with frankincense and myrrh. Dr. Josh Axe has a recipe on his site that I will be using.

I'm sitting here....I still can't believe it.

MyWay :D