Editor’s Note: The relative safety of natural antiseptics came up in a debate with a close cousin of mine, a practicing Wiccan. Bringing it to you online is guest blogger Jennifer Kardish who shares her thoughts on the matter and lists a few natural antiseptics for your review.
Unless you have an allergy to a natural antiseptic agent, natural antiseptics are completely harmless. In fact, note the ingredients on most chemical antiseptics and you’ll find that they are fairly safe.
You may have become wary about using chemical agents because of common side effects, dryness or irritation to the skin (although hexachlorophene has the potential to cause damage to the nervous system). While solutions like iodine and alcohol are often used simply because of their potency, why rely on synthesized antiseptics in the home when there are so many options in nature to fall back on?
Here are a few natural antiseptic alternatives:
- Honey. This substance does a body good, both inside and out. For cuts, scrapes, and burns (that are not of a severe or life-threatening degree) you can smooth on some honey before adding a bandage to kill bacteria and other microbes in and around the wounded area. It is also a good treatment for colds, since it kills bacteria in the mouth and throat (helping to ease a cough or sore throat), as well as digestive problems like diarrhea (it promotes hydration).
- Lemon. This is another good all-around option as an antiseptic. You wouldn’t necessarily want to put it on wounds since it is likely to sting quite a bit, but it can be beneficial to the skin, especially as a treatment for acne (when mixed with water and used for cleansing). It can also be used to treat sunburns, sore throats, and digestive upsets like nausea and heartburn (since it is actually alkaline). As a bonus, you can use it to sterilize and clean surfaces in your home.
- Lavender. This is best used on the surface of your body to treat bug bites, sunburn, or infection (in short, minor skin irritations). It is a natural astringent that can be used in lotions or infused in oils.
- Pineapple. This hearty fruit is best suited to use for internal ailments such as digestive disorders and colds. Not only is it antiseptic, it also has anti-inflammatory properties due to an enzyme called bromelain, which is why some people use it to treat arthritis.
- Tea tree. Often found in the form of an oil, it is an effective antiseptic for topical use (on the skin). Although it can be used on wounds, it is a lot better suited as a therapy for skin conditions like acne, athlete’s foot, eczema and dandruff (or dry scalp).
- Echinacea. This herbal remedy can be used for both internal and external antiseptic needs, but it is more often ingested. It is most commonly used as a medication to prevent or treat colds (since it is effective at boosting the immune system), but it can also help in the treatment of gingivitis. Many people prefer it over antibiotics, which generally kill off good bacteria along with the bad.
- Aloe. This succulent has been aptly branded the “first aid plant” by those who use it for medicinal purposes. It is most commonly used as a treatment for sunburns, but it can also be used on cuts, scrapes, blisters, burns, and even ongoing conditions like athlete’s foot and eczema. It can also be ingested as a prepared powder, liquid, pill or gel to treat constipation.
About the Author
Jennifer Kardish writes for Lawn Care Business where you can find information about how to care for your lawn and browse through do-it-yourself lawn care tips.
What do you think? Are natural antiseptics dangerous? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!