Summer Woes

Most people anticipate the arrival of summer with great pleasure. I consider it my least favorite season: a time of sunburn, heat prostration, mosquitoes, and bug bites!


Do I respect them…yes. Do I like them…not really. Despite my daily intake of supplements reputed to be bug repellents (garlic, B vitamins, etc), I am still sweet meat for the little critters. Oil of pennyroyal, a more pleasant scent than the more familiar citronella, is an effective repellent. A chemical-free pennyroyal cologne can be made by adding 6 drops pennyroyal to 1oz almond oil. This can be carried with you at all times, ready to be rubbed on exposed areas such as arms, neck, legs and feet.

How To Stop The Itch!

If you ventured out without protection and the bugs got you, the juicy cut surface of an onion rubbed on the bite will bring immediate relief. If you are outdoors and onion is not available, look for plantain in the grass, chew it up (be certain that what you’ve found is, indeed, plantain and not chemically treated) and apply to the bite as a poultice. If chewing the weed does not appeal (although its quite sweet and delicious), break down its capillaries by bruising the ribs in the leaf with a rock.

The Not So Friendly Sun!

Peppermint tea warms the body in the winter and cools it down in the summer. For the electromagnetic drain of a hot summer sun, try a peppermint bath. Steep a cup of peppermint leaves in a covered pot of boiled water 30 minutes. Strain and add to bath. Collect the leaves in a washcloth with a rubber band and rub all over your body. Oil of peppermint, if blended with a carrier oil, can be rubbed on the body to restore energy.

The health food store carries many wonderful sunscreens so there’s no good excuse for a sunburn. If you are negligent and wind up with one anyway, aloe is the universal treatment. Split a spear and gently apply the gelatinous juice or buy pure aloe gel in the tube. Why do you think aloe plants proliferate in the hot tropics? To soothe the skin of foolish sun revelers!

Make it an enjoyable summer with your botanical preparations and be sure to share them with others!