The tag line on the can of Burt’s Bees Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment reads, “Bumps, bruises, burns, stings, and scrapes need Doctor Burt’s green goodness.” Having tried it on all of those except stings (I haven’t been stung since Res-Q Ointment became available), I agree.
The ointment itself is a dark green color with a noticeable woodsy, herby scent and a consistency similar to lip balm in a can. It comes in 0.6 ounce (17 g) cans, small enough to slip easily into a pocket, and enough to last several years, even with regular use.
Its ingredients are listed as sweet almond oil, olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), lavender oil, comfrey leaf, and root extracts. The most active ingredient in healing injuries is likely the comfrey – comfrey is well known to help skin wounds, such as bruises, burns, and small cuts heal – though lavender oil and vitamin E are also known for healing and skin soothing attributes. This ointment is more than the sum of its parts.
Rubbing Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment on a cut or burn helps it heal faster and with less scarring. It is at least as effective in this as antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin or Bacitracin, perhaps even slightly more effective. Unlike those antibiotic ointments, however, Res-Q Ointment has no chemical ingredients. Whereas they use petroleum jelly to get the right consistency, Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment has beeswax instead.
As well as helping cuts, burns, bruises, and stings heal, Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment is also reputed to ease the itching of mosquito bites. This is no surprise: comfrey is also commonly used to treat itching from bites or rashes. It is an antidote to poison ivy and poison oak.
Someone I know claims that daily applications of Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment made a possibly cancerous skin lesion go away (reader please note, this is anecdotal evidence only, no substitute for medical treatment or advice. If you think you have skin cancer, see a professional.) For obvious reasons, the manufacturer cannot claim the product cures cancer. Yet its uses may reach beyond treatment of minor injuries.
Once available mainly in health food stores, Doctor Burt’s Res-Q ointment is increasingly available in mainstream drug and grocery stores as well. It may be shelved with first aid supplies, with other Burt’s Bees products, or right next to the cash register. A can costs approximately five to six dollars (as of 2010), but that is not such a high price considering that it can last for many years. Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment has no expiration date. It is not tested on animals, but cannot claim to have no animal ingredients because of the beeswax.
If you want something that will soothe all kinds of injuries and ward off infection, but would never put gasoline on your or your loved ones’ cuts, burns, or bruises, consider Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment as an alternative to Neosporin and its ilk. Natural, soothing, and healing, Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment belongs in every first aid kit.