Damages on the skin caused by fire, heat from physical or chemical combustion or due to the effects of electrical shocks are known as burns . Most burns heal easily, and are quite normal and most often take place at home, however there may be serious burns that require long periods of hospitalization and therapy. On the parameters of the damaged caused, and on depth and size of the affected skin, all burns are classified under three headings or degree's called first, second or third degree burns. Most common burns for example: sunburns, affect only the superficial outer layer of the skin and are called as first degree burns and are easily curable, the more harmful second-degree burns can affect and penetrate to some parts of the underlying skin layer, the dermis and are more serious and take longer to heal and can have scar tissue. The third and most dangerous degree affects all the layers on the victim's skin, the muscles, the bones, and even the nerves including blood vessels below them are seriously burnt in such cases and scarring is permanent and death may also result. Tissue scarring is extremely serious and these cases are always emergencies with the victims life almost always in danger and extensive plastic surgery and skin grafting techniques have to be used to repair damaged and lost tissue, and to decrease skin scarring.
The common causes of burns are almost always accidents involving spilled scalding hot water, a mishap with hot oil or grease, mishaps with hot foods, or cases of sunburns. The most serious burns can be due to fire, can involve accidents with steam, or with hazardous chemicals and acids. In a separate category are burns caused by electricity, these come about by mishaps involving accidental contact with exposed wiring and defective sockets, these burns are however very deceptive and even in cases where damage and injury to the skin is minimal, internal injuries may be extensive and complicated.
Supplements and herbs
Most first degree and some second degree burns can be treated by self administering appropriate drugs or ointments, however if the burns are very serious, one should immediately seek medical attention and care. In order to start the healing process prepare by first immersing the area that has been burnt for about 15 minutes in cold water, it should be remembered that if the burn has formed blisters, these should not be allowed to be open or ruptured, alternately you can soothe and clean the area using cold compresses by massaging the area gently with a soft cotton cloth. The next step after this soothing massage or cleansing is to use a gel of aloe vera as a topical ointment on the affected area, alternately you can also dress the burnt area in a cloth that has been soaked in chamomile tea, another option would be the use of lavender oil , the oil will serve both: a pain relieving analgesic function as well as an anti-inflammatory and will also greatly soothe the affected area. The next step would be to take care of the possibility of infection setting in a cream of the herb calendula or as an alternate the herbal cream of goldenseal can be used as an anti-infection ointment on the area with a light and porous dressing.
While the body is recovering from burns, it needs a lot of nutrients to speed up the healing process. All such supplements and herbs or vitamins should in the cases of first degree burns be consumed on a regular basis for about a week or two during recovery as the affected region is healed. A combination of the herb which stimulates connective tissue growth gotu kola and the herb Echinacea, can be very effective in this regard. Along with these herbs one should also consume the vitamins A, C, and E, which are vital nutrients and the essential trace mineral zinc in tablet form, these supplements will strengthen the immune system and speed skin reconstruction and tissue repair, they also have a role to play in minimizing the appearance of scar tissue.
For the therapy of first degree burns and during the recovery process certain homeopathic medicines can be administered at 6, 12 or 30th strength or in other strengths as determined. Dosage should be about once every fifteen minutes and these time period can be increased to once an hour or once in two hours as progress is made in recovery from the burn. A tincture made from a combination the herbs calendula and hypericum can be used as a topical ointment, this tincture can also be used by mixing or diluting in water in a ratio of 1 parts tincture to 5 parts water and the ratio can be increased or decreased depending on the symptoms and the healing process.
Treatment should proceed with cleansing the burnt area in cold water for a few minutes and let it soothe the burning sensation till some of the pain goes away. After which a dose of arnica 30C should be administered immediately as it is important to minimize the swelling in the skin and the shock that always comes with burns, following this immersion an ointment of calendula should be applied topically to soothe and relieve the pain the area burnt, a lotion of calendula can also be used in this process, the calendula will speed the healing process. There are other alternatives and herbs that can be used as ointments or as topical lotions, especially if there is a formation of blisters and severe pain in the area affected , in such cases both the herbs hypericum and the herb Urtica urens ( stinging nettle) can be used, these herbs are good bets in all cases in which blisters have formed after a burn.
If the pain in the affected area persists even after taking the initial dose of arnica, then it should be followed once every fifteen minutes by a dose of cantharis 30C s, until the pain has completely subsided. These substance cantharis is an animal product, it is really an insect product, being made from a type of Spanish fly, it is also believed to be an aphrodisiac and is used by some in high doses for this property alone. The aphrodisiac quality is probably attributed to it because it can cause a sort of burning or stinging sensation in the genitals that might stimulate sexual arousal, the treatment using this substance can be carried out for up to two days till the pain subsides; this substance is particularly effective against sunburns. If the sensations associated with the pain is predominantly of a stinging sort, the herb Urtica urens in doses of 30C can be prescribed for ingestion, for the scars of old burns or burns that take a long time to heal, a dose of causticum at about 30C may be prescribed and will prove effective. Phosphorus at a dose of 30C is effective against electrical burns and should be given in measured doses for about two days and twice to thrice daily.
Additional things you may do
Cleaning the affected area daily is a good choice, use a mild soap or solution to wipe and cleanse the area, and then rinsing it well while at the same time stay aware and be careful about open sores and breaking blisters that may have formed due to the burn. After cleansing the area it s important to keep it dry, for this purpose one can use dressings made of sterile and soft gauze that are also porous and will let the skin breathe while at the same time, will keep the area clean and dry, and will keep out bacteria and dirt. Make sure that you consume a lot of fluids, liquids are important to the healing process, avoid feeling dehydrated and do not expose yourself to the sun or take showers with hot water.
In the treatment of burns where kids or children are concerned aloe vera in a pulp, gel or in liquid form is an effective ointment for topical application, first aid procedures should include the application of the aloe vera extract onto the affected area to remove all sensations left by the accident, the aloe vera will relieve the burning or the stinging sensation. The pulp of the aloe vera herb is very soothing to skin, and readily cools down the stinging sensation of the burn and promotes healing, it has a long history and application to this end, and it is good for all kinds of burns as a topical cream. And aloe vera has been used even in hospitals to treat burns proving effective as a healing agent. When the stinging or the burning sensation in the affected region of the skin disappears, a preparation of calendula should be topically applied as to prevent the possibility of infection setting in, the choice of the calendula may either be herbal or homeopathic derived ointment. The roots of the comfrey contain a substance called allatoin and a salve or cream of this herb should be applied to the skin as this will stimulate tissue repair and will greatly speed the healing process and recovery of the affected layer of skin. Children also need their immune systems to be stimulated and a good preparation for this end is a combination of the herbs Echinacea and goldenseal, this combination will greatly boost immune system function, which will greatly aid in the body's fight against infection and will help the body fight off infection. The combination is ideal as the mixture will contain an anti-viral substance Echinacea and a bactericidal substance goldenseal. Dosage for the child should be about thrice a day, after the incidence of a burn and continuing for a week and perhaps as long as ten days as long as the burn is not healed.
Be aware that giving Echinacea daily and continuously for three days will make the herb lose its healing property due to over dosage. Another herb you might make use of is gotu kola which will increase the rate at which skin heals, while this herb is not appropriate for children under the age of four, the appropriate dose or other children is a single dose about thrice daily and in continuation for about a week or until the burned skin is healed.
Other beneficial herbs