6 Easy Herbal Remedies For the Summer
Summer is in full swing in the northern hemisphere. Nature abounds with plant and animal life. This is great for us outdoorsy folk but there is also the problem of heat, insects, sunburn, and poison ivy.
Here are six herbal remedies that can be made with common plants and household items. Just make sure that you make an absolute positive identification on plants collected for use.
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). This is a pretty little native plant found in damp, shady places across most of North America. It is used by gardeners who like to include native species in their landscaping. Use the fleshy stems like aloe leaves, breaking them open for the juice, to soothe dry or sunburned skin. If you come in contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, jewelweed juice can be rubbed on the area immediately after contact to prevent or reduce a rash. It can even be refrigerated or frozen as a tea for later use.
Common chickweed (Stellaria media). Found all over North America, this is considered a weed by many but is useful for a variety of reasons. Chickens love it as forage. This edible and nutritious mat-forming plant can be chopped into salads and cooked dishes for human consumption. Make a paste with its leaves and stems to soothe skin irritations, bites, and stings.
Plaintain (Plantago spp.). A weedy perennial of disturbed and compacted soils, plaintain was introduced to North America by European settlers. The young leaves are edible and highly nutritious, and the plant is well-known for its medicinal properties. Chew some leaves and apply it to areas affected by insect bites or stings, sunburn, skin irritation, minor cuts, infections, or boils. For a better treatment, make a poultice by grinding and adding to water then apply the paste to the affected area for 15 minutes. Brew as a tea for coughs and bronchitis.
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita). Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh peppermint growing in a pot out on the patio? The hardy perennial will spread rapidly by underground stolons in garden soil, so it’s a good idea to keep it contained. The tasty tea of peppermint leaves is good for fighting headache, indigestion, bloating and gas. Cold tea or a poultice can soothe itchy, irritated skin. Keep a cold spray bottle of peppermint tea to spray on a hot face or irritated skin.
Ginger. The amazing and revered ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale and has been cultivated for thousands of years for its edible and medicinal properties. It is also an ornamental plant used for landscaping in warm regions. While there are many folk uses, ginger is well-proven to be effective at preventing motion sickness. Make a tea with minced ginger root, eat candied ginger, or even drink a natural ginger ale with real ginger.
Oats. Soak in a hot tub of oatmeal. Seriously. But first, put the organic oatmeal into a blender to make it into a fine powder. Use 1 cup of oatmeal, blend into a powder, then mix in a regular bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. This will provide all-over relief for prickly heat, sunburn, multiple bug bites, or poison ivy rash, while unplugging skin pores.