Summer goes hand in hand with outdoor adventures. With the sun shining and the lure of swimming, kids out of school are free to spend their days playing outside. But burns, bites, and stings can stop that summer fun dead in its tracks. Thankfully, several natural remedies will have you back to enjoying summer activities in no time!
Of course, it’s best not to get a burn in the first place. Despite our best efforts, burns are just part of summer. From sunburns to minor burns from cooking or campfires, these remedies will get skin on the road to recovery.
Water and Cold Cloths
It amazes me how many people go directly to creams and lotions without cooling the burn first. As long as the burn is hot, skin will continue to burn, even if no longer in contact with the sun or heat source! So first things first, cool the burned skin by submersing it in cold water or covering it in dampened cloths.
Aloe vera is disinfecting, cooling, and healing. It is probably the most well-known burn treatment, and one of the easiest to use. Simply grab an aloe leaf, slice down the side, scrape out the gel, and spread it on the burn for soothing relief. If you don’t use all of the gel at once, the remaining will keep well in the fridge.
Aloe is such an easy plant to grow indoors, and you can have it available for use all year long. You can purchase aloe gel if you don’t have a plant, but it may not be as effective as fresh.
Peppermint and Honey
Mix 2 or 3 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1/4 cup raw honey, and spread the mixture over the burn. Honey has natural healing properties and the peppermint oil provides cooling relief.
This garden weed is the antidote to many summer ailments. It can be brewed into a tea, cooled, and sprayed on to any burns.
For faster relief, create a poultice from the leaves and cover the burn. Make an easy poultice by chopping, crushing, or even chewing cleaned leaves and mixing with water to create a paste.
If you are not familiar with plantain, you can read all about this amazing plant as part of our Forgotten Plants series.
Early summer easily becomes synonymous with scratching — especially if you live in wooded or damp areas where black flies and mosquitos thrive. Here are a few things to relieve the itchiness of bug bites.
Pop a plantain leaf in your mouth, chew it up, and place it on the bite for instant relief. If you don’t want your saliva mixed in, cut or bruise the leaves and mix them with a little water.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is both soothing and relieves itching. Some apply the oil directly to the bite while others recommend mixing a few drops with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) first. As a bonus, lavender is also known to help repel insects such as mosquitoes.
Although I have never been stung by a wasp or bee, I know it can be a painful experience. Here are a few ways to bring relief. In all cases, if a stinger has been left behind, remove it before the remedies are applied.
Once again, this humble weed comes to the rescue. It reduces redness, itching, pain and swelling. As mentioned above, chew it up and put it on the sting.
Understandably, it’s a bit odd that something made by bees counteracts their sting! Raw honey is a natural healer, however. Spread it over the sting and leave on for a good 30 minutes.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is just as soothing for stings as it is for bites. It helps to neutralize the poison. As mentioned above, either apply it directly to the sting or mix it with a carrier oil first.
Crush one or two cloves and place them over the wound.
As you can see, with just a few simple plants and remedies, you will be ready for whatever summer throws your way! Remember though, in the case of a serious burn, an infected bite, or an allergic reaction to a sting, it is best to seek professional medical attention.
What are your favorite tried-and-true remedies for burns, bites, and stings?
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You are responsible for your own health and for the use of any remedies, treatments, or medications you use at home.
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