It’s been a crazy, tumultuous summer so far. Much like a petulant child, the weather in California has been teetering between extreme humid heat to cold, blustering mornings. When my family and I went on a recent retreat up north, not only did the realization that this summer’s climate is unpredictable but that we are also unprepared for the fluctuating temperatures.
Luckily, I had my friend’s trusty natural homemade skin remedies on hand when we encountered some not so friendly enemies. Not so friendly enemies. Is that even a thing? What I mean of course, are the poison oaks and ivy, the bees, the mosquitoes, and other wild and native breeds we happened upon. That’s the beauty of being outdoors – the other natural and indigenous plants and insects that inhabit our environment. We don’t want to be hurt by them but we can also learn to cohabit with nature in a safe and pleasant way.
I’ve learned that the best way to combat unfriendly fire is to use natural remedies. Sure you can use generic products you find on supermarket shelves. But those conventional products are also made with toxic ingredients that can actually hinder you from getting better. The toxic ingredients seep into your skin and prolong use can cause more damage than benefit.
Natural remedies might sound daunting and unbelievable because most of us are conditioned to buy big name brands that our grandparents grew up with. But in truth, generations before us relied on natural remedies because it was easier and less expensive. Plants such as herbs and flowers were easy to grow and maintain and were readily available in the gardens or on the windowsill planters. Plus, when you make your own, you can make them in abundance and save them for gifts later on.
Let’s start with some simple and natural remedies for when those bug bites or poisonous plants get in your way.
Lavender – known for healing and relaxation properties. Lavender has been used for centuries for its high quality abilities as a bug repellent, stress reliever, sleep inducer, and many other wonderful health benefits. Lavender can be used topically and in food. This wonderful scent can naturally calm and soothe you and is great for any age. How to use: lavender essential oils and lavender leaves work best for relieving itching and inflammation.
Calendula – known for skin healing abilities such as insect bites, cuts, and scrapes. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant for both internal and external uses. This light scent and gentle healing capabilities is a favorite for children and those with eczema. How to use: calendula essential oil(mixed with a carrier oil) or the plant itself can be rubbed on affected areas.
Citronella – this plant’s main function is its extraordinary anti-inflammatory benefits. Widely known for its ability to repel insects such as mosquitoes, lice, and flea. The strong and pungent scent confuses mosquitoes so they are unable to find their targets nearby. How to use: citronella oil or the leaves of the plant works well in preventing mosquito bites. If you plan on being outdoors for any length of time, burn citronella candles or keep citronella plants in your garden.
Aloe Vera – one of the most versatile plants in the world. Aloe vera includes a wonderful combination of helpful supplements and minerals in its entire plant. It’s great for soothing burnt skin and insect bites and works wonders for relieving poison oak and poison ivy itching. Rub a fresh plant on the affected area of the skin for instant relief. How to use: use aloe vera plants directly on the affected area of the skin. Or keep pure and natural aloe vera gel handy for instant relief.
Peppermint Essential Oil – the essential oil of the peppermint herb is great for soothing itchy skin as well as keeping away certain insects. Rub peppermint essential oil mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, or sesame) directly on skin. Never use essential oils directly on skin as it can cause irritation due to its potency. How to use: peppermint essential oil mixed with a carrier oil can be applied topically. You can also gently rub the plant leaves on the affected area.
Tea Tree Oil – the essential oil of the tea tree plant works effectively against poison ivy as it helps prevent secondary infections. Tea Tree Oil’s strong scent also helps repel certain types of insects. Be sure to mix Tea Tree Oil with another carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, or sesame). How to use: tea tree oil can be applied topically on the affected area or used as a prevention from insect bites.
Coconut Oil – coconut oil is great for soothing bug bites and itching as it creates a thicker layer so the skin can heal. It can prevent further infections on the skin and help promote production of new skin cells. Rub pure coconut oil on the affected area on the skin for instant relief. How to use: use high quality coconut oil directly on the affected area of the skin. It can also be used as a sunscreen.
Baking Soda – baking soda mixed with water to create a paste works well in relieving itching from insect bites and many other mild infections from plants or bugs. When I was bitten by a brown recluse once, I immediately mixed baking soda and water to put over the bite after first treating the bite and to prevent infection. Baking soda draws out the toxins from your body and helps relieve pain and inflammation. How to use: mix equal parts baking soda to water to create a paste. Rub paste on affected area and allow to dry. Repeat process throughout the day until affected area is better and healed.
Tea – green or black tea in the pure form can be applied topically on itches and skin irritations. The tannin in the tea is great for preventing and reducing inflammation and bacteria growth on the skin. How to use: use tea leaves directly on the affected area. Leave on skin until leaves dry and change to fresh leaves. You can also use tea bags but be sure there is just enough water in the bags to place on the affected area.
Being outdoors is a wonderful way to connect with nature and have fun. Carry any of these suggested remedies in your bag or backpack for instant medicinal relief. I always like to keep aloe vera gel and some kind of essential oil in my backpack whenever we go outdoors. When in a pinch and you don’t have any medical help then using any of the remedies mentioned above can greatly help reduce inflammation and infections.
*Please note that with any natural remedy, always do your own research and check with a health expert if you have any specific health issues. Use with caution if you have certain allergic reactions and always dilute 100% essential oils with a carrier oil. Buy high grade essential oils for pure potency and efficacy.
Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.
Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.