Stings and Bites
During the summer months it can be easy to find yourself or someone around you on the losing end of an encounter with a bee or wasp. Try using witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) to ease the discomfort and heal the wound. Witch hazel is a liquid distillation of the leaves, bark and twigs of the tree Hamamelis virginiana which may be found on most drugstore shelves in the areas near to rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
To treat stings and irritation, douse a cotton pad with witch hazel and apply to the affected area. This treatment is also good for insect bites, sun and wind burn and may also be used in the same manner to disinfect minor cuts and abrasions. Witch hazel has no drug interactions and may be used safely by both children and adults.
If sneezing and itchy eyes have become part of your day-to-day life through out the summer months you may have allergies. The following herbs may be added to your diet and you can see if they have any beneficial effects on your allergy symptoms:
- Try making a strong tea with stinging nettles and butterbur and drinking it daily. Both herbs are reputed to perform as well as antihistamines, without the drowsiness.
- Eliminate dairy from your diet to avoid immune-system irritation. I know, that’s a hard one, but there are some soy and rice substitutes for ice-cream that are really yummy!
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, for example wild Alaskan salmon, freshly ground flaxseeds or fish oil supplements.
- Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries and cherries to help modify the body’s inflammatory response.
- You may also want to try nasal douching with a warm saline solution (purchase a neti bottle from your health food store) and drink plenty of water to keep nasal passages hydrated and to flush out your system.
Sometimes during the summer we drink more alcohol than our body is used to: beers at the barbecue, coolers at the cottage, exotic cocktails when we travel. If you are more frequently using alcohol I suggest you take milk thistle (Silybum marianum) regularly. It is available in capsules, but I believe you get more from using a tincture. Purchase from a reputable health food store and follow the instructions on the label. The use of this herb for liver health comes from the European folk medicine tradition. It is said to enhance the metabolism of liver cells and help protect them from toxic injury. (Milk thistle may also help those with chronic hepatitis, abnormal liver function, and those using pharmaceutical drugs that are hard on the liver, including cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy). This herb is considered non-toxic and you can stay on it indefinitely.
However, if your alcohol consumption does not reduce at the end of the summer or you perceive it to be affecting your quality of life please call me at 206.201.2764 for an appointment. We’ll assess your health and get you on a personalized wellnessProgramasap.
Babies and Young Children in the Heat
- Diaper or Nappy Rash Mix 1 drop each of lavender and Roman chamomile essential oils to 20 ml of calendula oil and apply to baby at every change until completely healed. (Also, be sure to take special care to wash and dry baby well after each nappy or diaper change. Be especially careful of using powders with mineral oils as they clog the skin. Avoid plastic pants and disposable diapers or nappies as they discourage the circulation of air around the baby’s body, while retaining body heat and moisture.)
- Heat Rash Bathe baby in a bath in which 2 drops of lavender essential oil has been added to one litre of cooled chamomile tea.
- Insect Bite and Burns Use 1 drop of lavender essential oil in 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and mix into a paste with a little cold water. Apply as often as necessary.
Essential oil blends may be purchased from the School of Complementary Therapies or specific blends may be made for your personal needs. Contact us with your requirements.
Of course, I have only covered a few things that can benefit from herbs and aromatherapy in the summer time. If there are other issues you would care to discuss or that require a more in-depth consultation, please contact me.