Written by contributor Donielle Baker of Naturally Knocked Up.
We normally think of natural remedies come winter time, fending off and treating colds, flus, and those terrible little stomach bugs that get passed around.
But what about summer?
The warm weather and a new season can bring about problems of its own, and with a few basic natural remedies on hand, you can meet the summer months with confidence that you can treat your family and any minor issue naturally.
Six common summer ailments and their remedies
- Cold water – this works just like how cold water can help relieve a burn you receive on your hand from a hot pan; it lessens the burn by cooling the skin. So after a long day out in the sun, if you or your kids are feeling the heat, finish out your day with a nice cold shower or bath.
- Cold cucumber can help cool the skin as well. You can also blend the cucumber and apply to the skin as a mash if you’ve burnt a larger area of skin.
- 100% aloe vera gel is a common go-to remedy for sunburns and great to keep on hand, just make sure the only ingredient is aloe. (this video from Vintage Remedies includes both aloe and cucumber to make a gel for sunburnt skin!)
One thing to make sure to remember is that the skin will also need healthy nutrients to heal, so use some natural oils like evening primrose oil or coconut oil as a moisturizer. This can prevent peeling and also speed healing, but use caution if the skin is still hot to the touch – it may keep the heat in.
Photo by Donielle
Herbal Insect Bite and Sting Relief
- Plantain – one of the best herbs to use for bug bites is plantain as it tends to pull out the toxins and irritants the bug injects into your skin. You can make a paste of plantain and warm water, or think ahead and start now to make your own salve, oil, or even an apple cider vinegar extract with plantain. If you’re out hiking and and need something fast – just look around, plantain tends to grow everywhere!
- Comfrey and calendula can help speed healing, though use comfrey only if a puncture wound is not present.
- Bentonite Clay – mixed with a touch of water or apple cider vinegar to form a paste, this is also helpful in pulling out irritants. (Renee at FIMBY also makes an herb powder with plantain, comfrey, and clay)
And of course the best remedy for mosquito bites are prevention! Look for natural bug sprays (check out the Environmental Working Groups list of safer alternatives) and choose products like MadeOn Hard Lotions Bug Block Bar or if you’re camping you might want to check out the Don’t Bite Me Patch.
Help for Poison Ivy
While you’re out playing in the poison ivy…….if you actually happen to notice it while you’re busy gardening or hiking, take a look around for jewelweed and bring some home with you. It almost always grows right near poison ivy and it’s a great herbal remedy for the itch and future sores that accompany it. Just split open the plant stem and apply the liquid from inside.
Summertime often brings busy schedules and strenuous activities. You can easily sooth those sore muscles at home without worrying about chemicals. And you definitely don’t have to “tough it out” like my husband usually tries to do. Cause you know, he’s all tough and what-not.
- Peppermint makes a great sore foot soak. I love to make a strong ‘tea’ with it and (after straining) mix it with some nice sea salts in a warm foot bath.
- Make your own sore muscle oil with arnica, ginger, and calendula.
Photo by martin_thomas
Salve for Scratches and Sores
When treating a minor cut (always head to the doctor for anything seemingly major) always make sure to rinse the cut clean, allowing the blood to flow for just a bit to also push out any dirt that may be trapped inside.
Follow up with some plantain or calendula salve if you have it premade or just use crushed plantain and enough water to make a paste.
Ahhh…..the fun of summer. Also tends to bring out a bit of stress, whether it’s because your toddler has skipped naps everyday this week or a wrench got thrown into your weekend plans. Stress happens.
My favorite go-to remedy is called Rescue Remedy, a bach flower remedy. I don’t know how it works, but it does.
You can also head to the tea aisle and grab some chamomile. Sip it warm with a touch of honey (hopefully after that toddler finally falls asleep) or brew and chill to have over ice if you end up stuck at home instead of the beach.
If you have at least plantain, calendula, chamomile, jewelweed, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar you have a great start to a natural summer care kit!
If you’re not the “do-it-yourself” type, you can easily purchase a ready made natural first aid kit to have on hand.
And of course, use common sense along with any natural remedy – if symptoms get worse or life threatening, call a doctor immediately.
What do you keep on hand in your summer care kit?