Most burns are not serious and can be managed with simple care at home. Soothing herbal ointments such as aloe vera or calendula can be applied to mild burns. In addition, a number of vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can be taken orally to help promote healing and prevent infection.
Pain, redness, blisters.
Mild to moderate swelling.
No immediate pain or bleeding because nerves are damaged.
Charred skin or black, white, or red skin.
No blisters, but serious swelling.
When to Call Your Doctor
If a first-degree burn covers a large area or is very painful.
If a second-degree burn occurs on your face or hands, or covers two or more inches of skin.
If you have a third-degree, chemical, or electrical burn — go to the hospital.
If you have fever, vomiting, chills, or swollen glands; if pus forms in blisters; or if an unpleasant odor emanates from the burn — these may be signs of infection.
If you are in doubt about the severity of a burn.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is
A burn is damage to the skin caused by heat, chemicals, or electricity. Most burns occur at home, and occasionally they require hospitalization. Varying in depth and size, burns are classified as first, second, or third degree. Most sunburns, for example, are considered first-degree burns because they involve only the outer layer of skin, whereas second-degree burns injure part of the underlying skin layer. Affecting all the skin layers, third-degree burns cause harm to the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels below. They are always a medical emergency and require timely treatment, such as skin grafting, to aid recovery and minimize scarring.
What Causes It
Burns are commonly caused by scalding water, hot oil or grease, hot foods, or overexposure to sun. More serious injuries may result from fire, steam, or chemicals. Electrical burns, usually occurring from contact with faulty or uninsulated wiring, can be deceptive: Skin damage may be minimal, but internal injuries can be extensive.
How Supplements Can Help :
Self-care is most appropriate for first-degree and some small second-degree burns (more serious burns demand medical attention). To treat, immerse the burned area in cool water for about 15 minutes (be careful not to break any blisters) or apply cool compresses. Once the burn has cooled, apply aloe vera gel, a dressing soaked in chamomile tea, or lavender oil directly to the injured area to relieve pain and inflammation and soothe the skin. According to a study of 27 people with fairly bad burns, those patients who were treated with aloe vera healed in 12 days on average, versus 18 days for those who used a regular gauze dressing.
If you don’t have any aloe vera or chamomile on hand, try a potato instead. Put several slices of raw potato on the affected skin; replace them several times — every two or three minutes — before applying a dressing. The starch in the potato forms a protective layer that may help soothe the burn.
Then, use infection-fighting calendula cream or goldenseal cream on any raw areas and cover with a light dressing.
During the healing process, the body needs extra nutrients. These should be taken for a week or two, until the burn heals. In combination, the herbs gotu kola (which stimulates the growth of connective tissue in the skin) and echinacea, vitamins A, C, and E, and the mineral zinc all work together to boost the immune response, repair skin and tissues, and prevent scarring.
What Else You Can Do
Gently cleanse burns daily using mild soap, taking care not to break any blisters; rinse well. Use sterile gauze dressings to keep burns dry and protected from dirt and bacteria.
Soak a terry cloth towel or piece of cotton flannel in milk and use it as a compress for 15 minutes or so. Repeat this procedure every two to six hours. Be sure to rinse the skin between applications; soured milk can begin to smell.
Drink plenty of fluids while your skin is healing.
Avoid exposing your burned skin to hot showers or the sun.
Don’t use butter on burns. It traps heat, slows healing, and increases the risk of later infection.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera Gel
Dosage: Apply gel to affected areas of skin as needed.
Comments: Use fresh aloe leaf or store-bought gel.
Dosage: Apply cream to burns.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 2% calendula.
Dosage: 200 mg extract or 400-500 mg crude herb twice a day.
Comments: Extract standardized to contain 10% asiaticosides.
Dosage: 50,000 IU a day for no more than 10 days.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day until healed.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.
Dosage: 400 IU a day until healed.
Comments: Creams containing vitamin E are available and may prevent scarring when applied topically.
Dosage: 30 mg a day.
Comments: Do not exceed 150 mg zinc a day from all sources.
Dosage: Use a strong tea: 2 or 3 tsp. dried herb for each cup of hot water. Cool quickly in freezer or with ice cubes.
Comments: Apply tea-soaked cloth to burn for about 15 minutes.
Dosage: 200 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 3.5% echinacosides.
Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)