Symptoms of summertime begin to occur with the onset of the season; you feel the sunburn on your skin, the irritating itch of poison ivy, mosquitos and ticks, and some of the swimmers experience Swimmer’s Ear. True signs of summer! I'm going to walk you through Mother Earth's Medicine Cabinet to show you how you can naturally remedy some of the season’s most well-known ailments.
Sunburn - We have all either had it, or known someone who has had to deal with it. It can be so uncomfortable and at times excruciating, making it hard to sleep. Aloe Vera is commonly known and is used by many people for burns and other skin irritations. The Aloe Vera plant contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. The antibacterial and antioxidant properties help to prevent the growth of any harmful bacteria. The plant is good to use for first and second degree burns.
Cowslip is a perennial flower in the Primrose Family. You can make or purchase an ointment made with the flowers of cowslip to use for your sunburn. It helps to cool the skin and helps with healing. Just like Aloe Vera, Cowslip has many uses. The flowers are said to be a remedy for vertigo, nerve pains, nightmares, cramps and convulsions. The root is used to ease lower back and bladder pain.
Prickly Heat - This rash can be quite annoying and is commonly seen on infants and toddlers, although it can affect everyone. It appears when you are sweating a lot and the moisture gets trapped under your skin instead of evaporating, causing an irritation of the skin. Aloe Vera (that's right you'll see this one in here a few times) helps ease the redness and decrease inflammation. You can use an aloe gel lotion or the gel straight from the leaf. An Oatmeal Bath will also help you with prickly heat. To make your bath, simply use about 2 cups of raw oats (either whole or ground into a powder) to your bath water, let them soak until the water looks a little milky, and then soak in it for about 10-20 minutes. This will ease the irritation as well as help any inflammation.
Chickpea Flour & Ginger are two more natural ways to deal with prickly heat. You can make a paste using the chickpea flour, apply it to the area, and rinse with cool water after 15 minutes. Ginger can be grated and boiled in water to make a soothing antimicrobial wash. You want to dab, not wipe, the affected area with the ginger juice as needed.
Dehydration – Becoming dehydrated in the summer is easy and painful. Your body dries out, becomes weak and causes exhaustion. It can begin to cause other health issues if not dealt with appropriately -- seek medical attention if necessary. In the heat of the summer it is wise to prevent dehydration by increasing the amount of water you drink.
When dehydration hits, increase your water intake and drink often. Fresh Fruits & Vegetables can be one of the fastest ways to recover. It's been said that fruits and vegetables can be 2 times more effective than water when it comes to rehydrating. Watermelon, melons, cucumber, oranges, grapes, lettuce and any other produce with a high water content are all great for recovering and rehydrating. Yogurt can be used for dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting. One cup of plain yogurt eaten 2-3 times a day will provide electrolytes and digestion support.
Swimmer’s Ear – Swimmer’s ear occurs when there is an infection in your lower ear canal. It can be brought on by getting water in the ear while swimming (hence the name), but is not limited to that cause. When it comes to the ears, the best remedies are often found in bottles of essential oils. When using the oils NEVER put them in your ear unless instructed to do so on the bottle. There is a two-oil combination for Swimmer’s ear: Eucalyptus and Rosemary oil. First, you will use 2-3 drops of the Eucalyptus oil and wipe it in a line starting behind your ear, wipe the oil from behind your ear, down the side of the throat and to the chest. This specific oil will open up the Eustachian tube allowing the inner ear to relax and get ready. Give the Eucalyptus a minute or two to soak in and then repeat the same steps with the Rosemary oil. The Rosemary oil will fight off any bacterial or viral infection. Use this on both ears, even if one is healthy because it will help to balance the body and prevent infection.
Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac - While some people are not affected by the triple threats, others are highly allergic. It is the oils in these plants that, when in contact with the skin, create the annoying, itchy bumps that spread like wildfire. You want something that is going to dry out the toxins in the skin. Organic ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) is one of those things. One teaspoon applied straight to the area will draw out the unwanted toxins. Aloe Vera's antibacterial properties can prevent and heal any infection. It will help heal the skin rather quickly as well as soothe the skin and irritation. Cucumber sliced or mashed and applied to the affected area will help cool the skin and soothe the itching.
Summertime Symptoms can sometimes cause the blues. I hope this walk through Mother Nature's Medicine Cabinet has been of use to you. If you enjoyed this, look out for my next article on essential oils and how to use them. Included will be information on mosquito and tick repellent. If you have any natural remedies you would like to learn about, feel free to drop me a line in the comments and I will be pleased to take you on that cabinet sections tour.
*Much of this information I am sharing was obtained through personal training with medicinal plants and through various cases of first-hand experience.*