For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, Summer time is in full swing. Although we are loving the longer days and the joy of getting outside and enjoying our wonderful planet more, there are certain things that cause hiccups in the midst of the good stuff.
I’m not throwing a damp blanket on your Summer, just supplying some simple to use holistic tips and advice for when you encounter the odd blip in the Summer time fun…
During the summer months it’s easy to find yourself or someone around you on the losing end of an encounter with a bee or wasp. Yikes! For me, that’s a rush to grab an EpiPen. But for all my friends and family, try these holistic tips: use witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) to ease the discomfort and heal the wound.
Witch hazel is the liquid distillation of leaves, bark and twigs of the tree Hamamelis virginiana and it can easily be found on most drugstore shelves. You’ll find it near the 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.
Itchy Eyes & Sneezing Bringing You Down?
If sneezing and itchy eyes have become part of your day-to-day life through out the summer months it may be that you have seasonal allergies.
As a herbalist and holistic health geek, I’ve found that the following herbs and healthy food choices may be added to your diet. Try them and see if these holistic tips make you feel better:
- Start with tea, always. Head down to the local health food or nutrition store and grab some stinging nettle tea. Honestly, it doesn’t sting once it’s dried. Try making yourself a nice strong pot each day and drinking it. (Butterbur can also be used, but it’s not as easy to find). If you are an iced tea fan, make a strong pot and cool it, top with sparkling water and add some fruit. Both Stinging Nettle and Butterbur are said to perform as well as over-the-counter antihistamines. Tastes good and is good for you (contains super amount of trace minerals). Super bonus…no drowsiness.
- Eliminate dairy from your diet to avoid immune-system irritation. More and more people are becoming sensitive to milk and dairy products. That’s milk, yogurt, cheese etc. Not eggs, as I’m often asked. I know, that’s a hard one, with ice-cream season upon us. But there are some soy and rice substitutes for ice-cream that are really yummy. And coconut ice-cream is my absolute fave at the mo!
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, for example wild Alaskan salmon, freshly ground flaxseeds or fish oil supplements. Salmon on the BBQ; can’t get much easier and yummier than that. I can’t take fish oil supplements, so I always opt for the fish. But I can put freshly ground flax seeds into the blender. Or as I have a Vitamix, I just throw in some seeds and let ’em get whizzed straight into a green smoothie. (Don’t buy ready ground as flaxseeds go rancid seconds after being ground up…rancid food just isn’t good for you.)
Cherries & Berries
- Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries and cherries to help modify the body’s inflammatory response. Yes, that’s right, eat up your cherries and berries as they help you stop itching and sneezing. Well worth a try, or is that just a good excuse?
- Neti pots are not just for us crazy hippy yoginis anymore! You can pick them up at the drugstore nowadays. So, you may want to try nasal douching with a room temperature saline (salt) solution. It may seem weird at first, but as long as you relax, keep your mouth open to breathe and let gravity takes it course, you’ll be fine. You pour the salt water in one nostril and let it flow out the other. Of course, your sinuses get a nice little rinse and you’ll maybe spit up some icky, but you’ll be cleaner and happier. Use distilled water. I keep a big jug under the sink in the bathroom. And I use the pre-measured, recommended salt packets. Rinse your Neti pot and let it air dry and then once a week at least, run it through your dishwasher. Oh, and super bonus tip: my ear, nose, throat doctor suggests using Neti in the shower, if you are a bit messy! And drink plenty of water to keep nasal passages hydrated and to flush out your system.
Summer Time is Party Time
It’s easy to use Summer parties as a fab excuse to down a few adult beverages. No, you are not alone! Let’s see, this may include, but not be exclusive to: beers at the barbecue, coolers at the cottage, exotic cocktails when we travel. And wine. There is always wine.
So, if you find you are imbibing a little more than usual, my fave holistic tips: I suggest you take Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) regularly. It is available in capsules, but I believe you get more from using a tincture. (Ask at a nutritional supplement or health food store.) Purchase from a reputable store and follow the instructions on the label. This European folk medicine tradition has been embraced by big-pharma companies, so its easy to find.
Apparently, it enhances the metabolism of liver cells and helps 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 wellness program ASAP!
A Few Quick Holistic Tips for Babies and Kiddies in the Heat
The heat can be hard on little bodies, so make sure they get lots of fresh water each day. You can sweeten water with fruits and encourage little ones to start right with water. Keep them off the sugar and crap filled sodas…please! They don’t need Gatorade, honestly. Water and fruit will replenish the fluids and give them some vitamins and minerals. Stay away from the evil mineral and vitamin waters. ‘Here’s a glass of water and an apple.’ Much healthier combo.
And their little bodies are more sensitive in heat, so here’s my top faves:
Diaper or Nappy Rash
- Take extra special care to wash and dry baby well after each nappy or diaper change.
- Be especially careful of using powders which contain mineral oils. They clog the pores and the skin cannot breathe.
- If you can possibly avoid plastic pants and disposable diapers or nappies, please do so. They discourage the circulation of air around baby’s body, while retaining body heat and moisture. If you have to use them, then make sure baby has some bare bum time each day. Lie baby on a changing mat and have some nudey-dude time. Baby will be happy, and if you have some little accidents, you’ll have a few giggles.
- 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.,
Make a big pot of chamomile tea (save a cup to drink if you like) and pop the rest in baby’s bath water. Make sure you have a nice cool bath, but not cold! Room temperature is good. If you have very good quality Lavender essential oil on hand, you can add one or two drops of that too. Always make sure you swish it around and it disperses through the water. Always! Even neat good quality lavender on little bums can be stingy! Bathe baby and dry gently.
Alternately, pop a handful of oats into a cloth. Tie up, so you don’t make porridge, and pop into the bath water. Use the cloth to gently wash baby. Oatmeal has a very soothing effect on the skin and your little one will have instant relief.
Insect Bite and Burns
Mix 1 drop of lavender essential oil with 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Make a paste with a little cold water. Apply as often as necessary to bites and/or sun burns. No essential oil, just use the bicarb and water.
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. As an Aromatherapist, Herbalist and generally a geek with tons of study and certificates in Complementary and Alternate Medicine, I could go on and on…teehee! If you have any questions about other approaches, or if there is something I haven’t covered here, just drop me a line.
And of course, I’m available by phone or Skype and even in-person in SnoValley, WA to discuss further or for a more in-depth consultation. I’d love to help you with a personalized consultation, holistic health tips just for you.