All natural summer first-aid

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Elenathewise

Summer is here—and that means it’s a great time to get outdoors! Inevitably, getting out and getting active means more potential to get hurt. Here are some tips and tools from Whole Foods Market to handle those summer scrapes, bites and burns—in a natural way!

Sunburns

Prevention

  • Cover up with a hat, clothing and sunglasses, and head for the shade during peak hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
  • Re-apply sun block every few hours, and don’t forget that some medications make the skin more sun-sensitive.

Relief

  • Peppermint oil, calendula oil or St. John’s Wort extract help reduce body heat and promote a healthy inflammatory response. Add a few drops to lotion or a cool bath.
  • Witch hazel or green, white or black tea (brewed and cooled) contains tannins for promoting healing and a healthy inflammatory response.
  • Aloe vera gel (undiluted) soothes and promotes healing—look for a high percentage in products.
  • Lavender essential oil (diluted in water or carrier oil), Vitamin E or avocado oil all promote healing.

Insect bites

Prevention

  • Taking B-complex vitamins and eating garlic and onion may make skin less tasty to mosquitoes.
  • Avoid floral and sweet-smelling scents, whether artificial or natural—including dryer sheets!
  • Disguise your body scent and change the taste of your skin with essential oils that bugs don’t like. Dilute essential oils in water or a carrier oil, then rub or spray on skin and clothes. Reapply often.
    • Essential oils for mosquitoes: citronella (lemongrass), evergreen and/or eucalyptus.
    • Essential oils for biting flies: lavender, basil and/or geranium.
  • Try a natural and DEET-free insect repellent, such as Jāsön’s Quit Bugging Me repellent spray.

Relief

  • Lavender or peppermint essential oil soothes itching and promotes healing. Administer one undiluted drop on each bite.
  • Garlic soothes pain. Hold one crushed clove on a sting or bite for 20 minutes, then rinse.
  • A colloidal (or crushed) oatmeal bath soothes and promotes healing.
  • Basil leaf (crushed or extract) and topical clay soothes itching and stinging pain.
  • Homeopathic remedies include Ledum (wild rosemary) for swelling or Apis (honey bee) for stings.

Poison ivy, oak and sumac

Prevention

Relief

  • Homeopathic remedies include Rhus tox, Anacardium Orientale, Graphites, Urtica urens and Sulphur.
  • Jewelweed, eucalyptus or witch hazel essential oils promote healing. Use undiluted drops or a compress.
  • Calamine lotion or topical clay soothe, help relieve itching and promote healing.
  • Oatmeal (colloidal crushed) baths soothe and promote healing.

Minor cuts, burns, scrapes and splinters

Relief

  • Tea tree oil or witch hazel in products, or diluted, cleans and soothes.
  • Lavender or calendula ointment promotes healing and a healthy inflammation response.
  • Comfrey ointment or a compress promotes healing.
  • A slippery elm compress may help dislodge splinters.

Motion sickness

Prevention

  • Take ginger capsules, crystallized pieces, power or extract 20 minutes before (and during) travel.

Relief

  • Peppermint essential oil calms the stomach. Sprinkle on a tissue and inhale the aroma.
  • Drinking raspberry tea helps to soothe symptoms of nausea.

Muscle soreness, bruises and swelling

Prevention

  • When playing with your kids, avoid the “weekend warrior” scenario by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  • Stretch with deep breathing and warm up muscles slowly before activity.
  • Herbal supplements such as ginger, turmeric, holy basil, green tea and rosemary support a healthy inflammation response, both preventatively and for relief.

Relief

  • Homeopathic Arnica gel or cream relieves swelling and pain.
  • Bromelain (pineapple enzyme) helps soothe sprains and bruises.
  • Capsaicin cream (from cayenne pepper) helps soothe aches and pains.
  • Homeopathic remedies include: Arnica Montana, Magnesium phosphorus, Hypericum perf, Ruta grav, Ledum pal, and Rhus tox.

Do you have tips to share? We love to hear from you! E-mail editor@green-living.ca

Whole Foods Market is one of the world’s leaders in high quality natural and organic foods, with more than 310 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. Find a store near you!