Healthy Remedies for Common Summer Ailments

bee flowerSummer spells fun!  What a bummer to spend it under the covers because of colds, or to cancel that long-awaited trip because of motion sickness.  The waters are most inviting when the sun is hottest, and it’s frustrating to just sit in the pool sides because something throbs in your ear.  Setting up camp would have satisfied your wanderlust if not for the assortment of bugs and insects that eat up your quiet moments.  You may not always have a drug store or first-aid kit when you need it, so this is a good time to break away from the monopoly of pharma-companies and browse your pantry for alternative remedies to common summer complaints:

  • Sunburn:  Too much sun worship will leave you red and itchy all over.  Swab with aloe vera gel, or dab the affected area with cooled chamomile tea.  If the sunburned area is widespread, submerge it in lukewarm bath mixed with one cup of baking soda.  Don’t forget to rehydrate with more than two liters of water.  To minimize getting burned, apply sun block 30 minutes before exposure, and reapply every two hours.  Seek shade during the hottest time of the day;
  • Heat rash or prickly heat: Chilled chamomile tea topically applied to the affected area provides relief.  Or, add a mixture of one cup of baking soda and four drops of lavender oil to tepid bath.  You can also mix one cup of baking soda to cool bath.  Soak affected area for 10-20 minutes.  Wear breathable clothing, like cotton;
  • Athlete’s foot:  A warm foot bath of Epsom salts do wonders against fungal infection.  Nip fungus at the bud by changing the pH level of the skin.  This can be done by soaking feet in foot bath of diluted apple cider vinegar.  Afterwards, rub feet with the undiluted kind.  You can also rub garlic which has antibiotic properties that kill fungus.  Or slather feet with tea tree oil.  Keep feet dry before putting on breathable socks.  Where possible, use open-toed foot wear;
  • Swimmer’s ear:  For middle ear infection, use mullein oil.  Garlic oil infusion can be used in place when infection has become acute.  Further, when swimming, use ear plugs and avoid prolonged sun exposure after staying in the water for too long;
  • Hives, poison ivy and poison oaks:  Banish itch and irritation by topically applying peppermint to the affected area.  For widespread itch and infection, steep 5 bags of peppermint tea for 15 minutes, and add tea to warm bath.  Irritation due to poison ivy can be minimized by applying a poultice of cooked and cooled oatmeal.  Wrap affected area with cotton cloth;
  • Insect bites:  Make a paste of baking soda and apply to bitten area.  Keep mosquitoes at bay by applying lemon-scented citronella on skin and clothing.  To relieve itch, make a paste with one teaspoon salt, and apply to affected area (covered with gauze) for 30 minutes.  Warm salty bath can bring additional relief;
  • Bee stings:  Rub onions over bitten area before pain and inflammation make you cry;
  • Car sickness:  Drink one-half tablespoon of vanilla extract diluted in 2 tablespoons of warm water mixed with honey.  Or steep a section of ginger root in hot water for 10 minutes.  A few drops of vanilla extract added to your massage oil soothe anxiety.  Cinnamon can be sprinkled to food or beverage to calm down nervous stomach;
  • Induced headaches:  Chamomile, ginger and peppermint teas provide relief.  In addition, drink plenty of water;
  • Summer colds:  Boost immunity by including the following in your summer diet: shiitake and maitake mushrooms, garlic and onions, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, spinach and leafy greens, orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and squash, and spices like ginger and turmeric.

It pays to stock your pantry with these home remedies.  What you can’t use, you can eat.