As the weather heats up, my natural remedies shift from cold-weather issues, like ear infections, to things like sunburns and bug bites. Much as we love getting outside to enjoy God’s creation, there are quite a few uncomfortable things to deal with. Here are some natural and easy ways to get over the discomfort and get back to enjoying the great outdoors!
I think this tends to be the number one problem that people have to deal with in the summer. We seldom use any kind of sunscreen, since most of it is actually carcinogenic. There are many natural ways to help reduce sunburn risk, but if you do get burned, what can you do? Our favorite remedy is aloe juice with lavender essential oil.
- Mix 8 ounces of aloe juice (make sure that’s the only ingredient!) with 15 to 30 drops of pure lavender essential oil.
What we love about this remedy is that it does more than just cool the skin. The lavender oil actually helps to numb the pain while speeding the healing! You can mix this up in a squirt bottle and keep it in the fridge to have on hand for burns. Not only is it amazing for sunburns, but it helps with mild burns from all that summertime grilling. Just apply a squirt or two, as needed. On young children, keep the lavender oil down to 15 drops.
Along with burns, the sun can lead to dehydration, if we aren’t careful. Instead of turning to “hydration drinks” that are full of nasty artificial flavors, colorings and preservatives, try the original: Coconut water! Coconut water is the liquid from inside young coconuts and it is full of electrolytes for re-hydrating. Supposedly, in World War II, medics used coconut water IVs to save soldiers, because the electrolyte balance is a match for human blood. Not only is it healthy, fresh coconut water is delicious! During my homebirth, my hubby opened up a couple of young coconuts and I sipped on the water to stay hydrated and keep up my energy. This summer, we plan to make home-made lemonade using coconut water in place of some of the liquid.
With all of the picnics, camping and just eating “al fresco”, food poisoning can happen. When you start feeling like something you ate was a bit “off,” reach for the bentonite clay. We like to take two capsules every three or four hours until we feel better. If you prefer, you can just mix a spoonful of the clay powder in a glass of water and drink it down. I’m not crazy about that method, but for small children or people who don’t like swallowing pills, it’s a good alternative. If you mix it into water, just be sure not to use metal. What makes the clay work is that it is “charged”. The charge attracts the nasty stuff that made you sick (bacteria) and then it binds to it and carries it out of your system. If it comes in contact with metal, the charge will be lost. Bentonite clay is a fabulous, non-toxic alternative to the pink stuff at the store.
Stings and Bites
From mosquitoes to wasps, the bugs can really put a damper on our outdoor fun. Plantain is our number one choice for treating bug troubles. Not only is it non-toxic, it grows almost everywhere! Once you learn to identify plantain, you can usually just look around and pick a leaf when you need it. You can buy dried plantain from a health-food store, but why do that if you can get it for free?? Our favorite way to use it is to pick a leaf and just start rolling it around over the bite/sting until the juices come out (be sure there isn’t a stinger still in the skin, first!). Repeat as often as needed. I can personally assure you that this does work for wasp stings, assuming you’re not allergic to wasps. I managed to upset an entire nest of wasps which then attacked my foot and ankle. Baking soda did absolutely nothing, but the plantain provided instant relief! As a side note, in that situation the long and thin plantain worked a lot better than the shorter and rounder leaves.
Summer fun can quickly lead to injuries. For scuffs, cuts, bruises and even broken bones, we use comfrey. Comfrey is an herb that “knits” the injury back together. My dad used it for a broken toe and it healed in record time. I have used it for a sprained hip and it worked when nothing else did. We use it all the time on everyday bumps, bruises and scrapes. The only caution is that if you have an open wound, don’t use it until you are certain that there is no infection and that you don’t have any debris left in the wound. It heals skin so quickly that it could trap dirt and germs in the wound, if you haven’t cleaned it well. We have dried comfrey for making poultices for serious wounds, but we also keep comfrey salve on hand for quick applications on minor injuries. You can buy the salve ready-made, or use dried comfrey to make your own!
Now that you have some natural remedies in your arsenal, get out there and have some fun in the sun!
**This post has been entered in Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days and Sustainable Ways.**
Do you have some favorite natural remedies for summer problems?
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