Health & Wellness

Nature’s healers

All-natural remedies for summer ailments.
By Jennifer Campbell

Summer is for family time and fun, but unfortunately, some of the season’s most common ailments can lead to uncomfortable (and grumpy) family members. Here’s how to remedy them — the natural way.

Ease the effects of sunburn
It is, of course, best to try and avoid sunburn as much as possible, but if you or your children do end up spending too much time in the sun (it is holiday season after all), you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of natural remedies that can help to reduce discomfort. If your little one gets sunburnt, make sure that they drink plenty of water to rehydrate and give them a cool bath to soothe the skin. If you need a remedy in a hurry, raid the kitchen cupboards — honey can be applied to burnt skin to aid recovery in children over the age of one-year-old, while finely ground oatmeal mixed with water acts as an anti-inflammatory. Some other all-natural solutions include aloe vera, which moisturises the skin and speeds up the healing process; coriander oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties; and witch hazel, which reduces itching.

Soothe itchy insect bites
If you spend time outdoors this summer, you’ll know that insect bites are often an unavoidable reality. While most bites are harmless, they can cause unpleasant itchiness and swelling. The good news? It’s possible to whip up your very own remedy to ease discomfort. Studies have shown that a chemical compound found in the basil plant could help soothe itchy skin.

Make your own basil rub for mosquito bites by boiling two cups of water and adding around 15 grams of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it’s cool enough and rub it directly onto bites with a cloth. Another helpful herb, thyme has both antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can help to reduce the risk of irritation and infection around insect bites.
Chop the leaves into fine pieces and apply them to the skin for around 10 minutes. Alternatively, make a concentrated rub by boiling the leaves in some water and applying to the bites with a cloth as you would the basil.

Calm heat rash
Heat rash, sometimes known as prickly heat, affects people of all ages but is particularly common in babies and young children. It generally occurs in humid weather and is characterised by a red rash that becomes inflamed and itchy. If your child is affected by the condition, try applying aloe vera to the inflamed area — the natural ingredient effectively soothes the skin and is packed with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Keep it in the fridge so that it’s cool when you apply it.

Deal with summer colds
There’s nothing like a snotty nose to dampen holiday spirits and unfortunately, the common cold can spread just as easily in the summer as it does in the cooler months. Herbal remedies can kill a
cold-causing virus and there are a number of natural ingredients that can support the immune system to better fight off illness and ease some uncomfortable symptoms.
One of the most popular herbal remedies is Echinacea, a plant whose roots and leaves are used for their antiviral and immune-strengthening properties. You can find it in the form of tablets, tea and liquid drops. To deal with some of the common symptoms of the common cold, consider giving your child honey to help ease coughs, while frozen berries can serve as natural lozenges to relieve scratchy throats (just make sure your child is old enough for this one).

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