As a fairly active and very clumsy person, I am no stranger to bumps, bruises, and cuts. I often get scratches on my skin, whether they are from working in the garden, hiking on the trail, or cooking in the kitchen.
Fortunately for accident-prone people like me, there is a wide selection of natural products that can help heal wounds. If you want to know how to heal a cut fast, look to things like honey, zinc, chamomile, and more.
First-aid 101: What to Do When You Get a Cut
When an accident occurs, it can be hard to know what to do in the moment. And there are many misconceptions about proper wound care. As always, if your injury is severe, call 911 or visit the doctor for help getting appropriate and safe care.
But with minor, common injuries, you’ll likely be able to care for the wound yourself. These simple guidelines will help you to be better prepared next time you or someone around you gets a cut:
1. Stop the bleeding. The first, vital step in caring for a wound is stopping the bleeding. Hold pressure onto the wound, preferably with a clean material such as cloth or gauze. Keep the pressure for several minutes until the bleeding stops completely. Elevating the affected area may help.
2. Clean the wound. This step is often a source of confusion for many. Should you pour hydrogen peroxide on the wound? Use soap? What about tweezers? The safest, most effective way to clean a cut is to use water. Do not, under any circumstances, pour hydrogen peroxide onto the wound, as this can further damage the tissue. Soap can also irritate the injury. You may need to use pressurized water, such as from a faucet or showerhead (or a syringe), to help clear debris from the cut. If needed, use clean tweezers to remove rocks or other debris from the wound, but be sure not to dig into the damaged tissue.
3. Use a natural antiseptic. To prevent infection, try using a variety of natural options, such as those listed below.
4. Cover in a sterile bandage after applying an antiseptic. Change the bandage daily, as well as when it gets wet or dirty.
5. Monitor your wound to make sure it doesn’t become infected. Signs of infection include puss, yellow coloration, and spreading of redness after a few days. If these symptoms persist or worsen, visit a doctor.
Speed Healing with These Natural Remedies
A variety of herbs, supplements, and plants can speed up healing and prevent infection naturally.
1. Honey has proven antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities. Honey has been shown to help speed wound healing by numerous mechanisms. It is an ideal dressing for wounds as it fights infection, reduces inflammation, and provides a moist healing environment all in one natural substance. Manuka honey may be the best option. To use, spread a thin layer of raw honey on your bandage before covering the cut.
2. Chamomile. Several studies on various types of wounds show that chamomile is extremely effective in speeding the rate of healing; it has even been shown to be as effective as hydrocortisone creams.[2,3] It helps to kick start the body’s natural healing processes and regenerate tissue. Look for tinctures or natural products containing chamomile at your local health foods grocery, or make a compress out of chamomile tea (you can even put the teabags directly on minor cuts).
3. Aloe vera. This plant has many healing properties. It is a great treatment for burns, but it can also be good for cuts and scrapes as well; aloe promotes formation of collagen, prevents infection, and more.[4,5] You can buy creams or gels that contain aloe vera, but my favorite way to use it is straight from the plant. Cut off a tip of the plant and spread the gel-like insides over your cut, then cover with a bandage. Mixed results show that aloe vera should not be used on very deep cuts, so stick to shallow scrapes to be safe.
4. Zinc is essential to wound healing. People who are zinc deficient often show delayed healing rates. Topical application of zinc to a wound can help speed up the process. It is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and it also helps to stimulate the growth and maturation of cells to rebuild the damaged tissue.[6,7] Look for a zinc ointment meant for wound care at a natural grocery store.
Other natural remedies for cuts include tea tree oil, echinacea, and calendula.[4,8,9]
Eat well to promote faster healing. If you want to know how to heal a cut fast, it is important to take into account your diet, as your body needs a variety of vitamins and nutrients to support the healing process.
Vitamin C, for example, helps make collagen, stimulates the renewal and growth of skin cells, modulates inflammatory processes, and helps turn on genes that promote wound healing. And protein is in extra high demand when your body needs to rebuild tissue. Make sure to get plenty of vitamin C, E, and A; protein; omega-3 fatty acids; zinc; and antioxidants to support your body.
The next time you get a cut, follow the five steps above, and then choose some of the natural products listed above to help speed up healing. Remember to also eat a well-rounded diet to support your body’s healing process.
For more natural healing tips, read:
1. Best Home Remedies for Burns
2. Natural Tips for Recovering from C-Section Surgery