I was talking to an Internet acquaintance earlier today, and she’s a nurse doing palliative care. She talked about changing dressings on wounds that won’t heal, and how painful that is. That set me on the path of writing this post. Although I don’t have anything that helps against flesh-eating bacteria, I do have some advice on using herbs for more treatable wounds.

Cuts & Scrapes

These are the regular stuff; paper cuts, splinters, smaller cuts that don’t need more than a band-aid, scraped knees etc. You can use Yarrow, Chamomile, Basil or Thyme to make a wash, and they will also make an antiseptic compress if needed. Selfheal is also a good one for smaller wounds. In addition to being astringent, it’s also an antiviral. Meadowsweet has also been used for smaller cuts. For bites that itch, I recommend using Chickweed. Smaller stuff really only needs cleaning, they rarely need more attention than that. If it’s a splinter or a scraped knee, make sure you get any splinter, dirt and gravel out. If you want it to heal fast, don’t put a bandaid on it. It’s better to let it have some air.


By wounds, I mean wounds that need bandaging, but not stitches because of bleeding. If it needs stitches (i.e. the edges won’t come together, or it won’t stop bleeding) go see a doctor immediately!

As for herbs, Plantain is a given here. It works both to prevent and stop an infection and to speed the healing of the wound. The underside will pull any infection out, and the top side will help it heal. Yarrow is also very well known for its wound healing properties. If you’re outdoors you can even take the leaves straight off the plant, crush them, and put them on the wound. It may also stop bleeding, but remember what I said at the beginning of this section.

Another alternative among the herbs is Stinging Nettle. Its tannins are astringent and will help the bleeding stop. It’s also been used to treat infected wounds.

Stubborn Wounds

For more stubborn wounds, there are only a few herbs that might help. A friend once got good results on her father’s diabetic wound using a poultice made from Colt’s Foot. It didn’t heal it all the way, but it made it shrink considerably. Stinging Nettle, Selfheal and Plantain might also help here, because of the reputation of treating infections. There seem to be a lot of people talking about Echinacea being used for this purpose as well. Some also recommend washing the wound with Chamomile between dressings.

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