Eighty percent of burns occur in the home. Common causes are overexposure to
the sun or direct contact with a hot oven or cooking surface, hot water or
steam, electricity, or certain household chemicals. The following burns require
immediate medical attention:
- Burns that have been caused by electricity or chemicals
- Burns that look severe and involve parts of the body where the skin is
thin, such as the face, neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, genital area, ankles, or
- Burns that have left the skin charred, white, or brownish yellow, and
leathery—even if there is no
Most burns, however, can be treated effectively at home. First, cool the
burned area with cold water or ice. After the pain subsides apply an antibiotic
cream (available without prescription) or an herbal remedy (see below) to aid
the healing process. During this time (usually from 3 to 5 weeks), drink plenty
of juice and water to help hydrate the skin. The internal herbal remedies
included here may also help promote proper healing.
Herbs can speed wound healing, reduce the risk of infection, and possibly
prevent scarring. Make teas with 1 teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep
covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots.
Tinctures are preparations made from alcohol (or water and alcohol), containing
an herb strength of 1 part herb to 5 parts solvent or 1 part herb to 10 parts
- Apply gotu kola (Centella asiatica) to the burn site daily to
help prevent scarring and to promote skin healing.
- Make a strong comfrey leaf (Symphytum officinalis) tea (use one
heaping teaspoon herb per cup), let cool, and cleanse the burn area with the
- Combine powders of slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), marshmallow root
(Althea officinalis), goldenseal, and comfrey root. Apply to burns to
promote healing and reduce the risk of infection.
- Combine equal parts of tinctures of coneflower (Echinacea
purpura) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Take 30 to 60 drops
every three to four hours to stimulate the immune system and reduce the risk of
infection during the period right after the injury.
- Combine equal parts of the following in a tea (drink 4 to 6 cups a
day) or tincture (30 to 60 drops three to four times a day): yarrow (Achillea
millefolium), cleavers (Gallium aparine), prickly ash bark
(Xanthoxyllum clava-herculis), marigold (Calendula officinalis),
plantain (Plantago major), and ginger root (Zingiber officinalis).
This remedy promotes healing by enhancing blood circulation to the skin.
Integrative Medicine Access: Professional Reference to Conditions, Herbs
& Supplements. Newton, Mass: Integrative Medicine Communications;
|Review Date: June 2000|
|Reviewed By: Integrative Medicine editorial|
Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc
The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of
the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse
of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage
to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or
otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents
of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds
currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a
guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information
provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare
practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts)
regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications
before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed