It’s the summer season, bringing with it a bounty of banquets and outdoor gatherings – and itchy discomfort from the elements. When the bugs bite, the sun burns, or the poison ivy comes creeping, simply use these all-natural remedies for sweet relief from nature’s sting.
Take the Itch Out Of Bug Bites
Summer’s unwelcome guests include: fleas, mosquitoes, gnats, fire ants, wasps, bees, and ticks. It’s humans versus bugs and, unfortunately, most of the time we lose.
Though the bug bite itself is usually not painful, the body’s inflammatory reaction may cause pain, itching, redness, and swelling.
Try these all-natural remedies for a quick anti-itch fix:
• First things first: Remove stinger, if any, and clean the area with water. If it’s a tick, you must safely remove the tick with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp as close to your skin as possible, and pull straight out without twisting.
It’s not a bad idea to keep the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol; if you feel ill, this may help your doctor identify the illness and treat more effectively.
Wash the bite with soap and water. An ice pack can provide temporary relief of pain and swelling. If you begin to feel achy, nauseous, fatigued, or otherwise ill seek a doctor’s care.
• Apply honey to a bug bite to bring relief and prevent infections. Honey has long been known for its antibiotic properties; in fact, honey-soaked gauze bandages were once used to heal burns and wounds.
• Be as cool as a cucumber. Place cucumber skins on top of the bites to soothe the itching irritation. You can also cut round slices from a fresh eggplant and place on top of the bite to draw out toxins and appease irritation.
• Apply tea tree oil to bites every two to three hours to relieve itching and aid healing. Tea tree oil possesses antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial actions and has been recognized by recent studies as playing a supportive role in skin care. In some cases, a serious allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock occurs, which can involve breathing difficulties and requires immediate medical attention.
There is a fine line between a suntan and a sunburn. We all know that prevention is your best method to avoid the skin damage caused by the sun.
That means sunscreen with SPF factor of 30 to 50, a wide-brimmed hat, avoiding peak sun hours, and sitting in the shade.
But once the damage is done, try these natural home remedies to heal sunburn:
• Help yourself to this rehydrating, refreshing beverage.
Mix equal parts of pineapple and black cherry juice together.
Why does this work? Pineapple is packed with bromelain, which contains active substances helpful for reducing inflammation. The deep red skins of cherry juice contain the antioxidant compound anthocyanins, which help the body relieve inflammation. Drink two or three cups daily to cool the burn.
• Apply a thin layer of plain yogurt to sunburn to cool and moisturize the skin.
• Aloe Vera gel is a tried-and-true remedy. Fresh from the leaf or from the bottle, apply directly on the sunburn.
Pacify Poison Ivy
A neighbor of mine came to me with an unbearable itchy case of poison ivy over his entire face, so swollen that his nose was nearly shut.
Without hesitation, I pulled up a couple of dandelion plants from my backyard and put them in a blender with honey and the aloe leaf gel.
I applied this poultice to his face, and by the next morning his itching and rash were 75 percent better!
Try these all-natural remedies to relieve poison ivy and poison oak:
• Make the amazing remedy that worked wonders for my neighbor.
In a blender, mix one cup of fresh dandelion greens, half-cup aloe vera gel, and one tablespoon of honey. Apply liberally to the affected area.
Want instant relief, sans blender?
You can use just the dandelion greens. Crush and apply to the rash as poultice. Change every hour.
• Scrape aloe gel directly from the plant and apply generously to the affected area to lessen the symptoms of burning, itching, and pain.
• Mash plantain leaves and apply to affected skin, changing every hour to relieve itching. Banana peels work almost as well.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected] To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com.