Natural Remedies for Summertime First AidBy Dr. Trevor Holly Cates, ND
Summer is quickly approaching with its sunny weather and fun outdoor activities. Along with summertime, comes the possibility of insect bites, poison oak rashes, injuries, and sunburns. Even with these possible “risks,” you don’t need to stay cooped up indoors. Homeopathy offers safe, natural remedies that can put your mind and your body at ease this summer. Stocking your medicine cabinet or first aid kit with certain homeopathic remedies keeps you prepared for common summer ailments.
Homeopathically prepared remedies are commonly available in health food stores and many drug stores and are safe for people of all ages, including children and seniors. These all-natural medicines are easy to use, do not have side effects, and do not interact with other medications. They can be used day or night without causing drowsiness or stimulation.
There are numerous homeopathic remedies for first aid. Below you will find some of the top remedies to keep on hand this summer.
- Too much fun in the sun can often lead to sunburns. Preventing sunburns with sunscreens, hats, and other cover-ups is essential. In case you miss a spot and still get sunburned, try applying Aloe Vera gel or Calendula spray to the affected area. In addition, homeopathic Cantharis can be taken internally to help soothe the pain and promote healing.
- Watch where you step to avoid an uncomfortable rash. Hiking and camping is on many people’s list this summer. Be sure to look out for poison oak and poison ivy on the trails. Some people are more sensitive to these plants than others, and if you do end up with an itchy rash, try homeopathic Anacardium. If the rash continues with no reduction in itching or swelling, switch to Rhus tox.
- Bugs are unavoidable in the outdoors. Avoid synthetic insect repellants that are full of harmful chemicals. Instead, choose natural essential oils such as neem or citronella oils. For bee stings and insect bites, homeopathic Apis melifica can provide relief when there is pain, redness and swelling. Ledum is helpful for insect bites and stings when the skin is punctured and the affected area feels cold. If you have an allergy to bees, do not delay treatment, seek healthcare immediately to prevent an anaphylaxis reaction.
- All-natural relief can soothe minor injuries. For minor scrapes and cuts, use topical Calendula ointment, salve or spray. Calendula heals and soothes the skin and is anti-microbial. An alcohol-free spray such is convenient and easy to use, but, also, it does not sting like other alcohol-based products. For deep wounds, visit an urgent care center or emergency room for proper wound care. Once a deeper wound is beginning to heal, you can apply Calendula to help speed the recovery.
- Accidents happen, but homeopathy can help. Arnica is the single most important remedy for trauma when there is soreness and tenderness especially to touch or pressure. It is useful for any kind of trauma including bruises, black eyes, and sore muscles. Arnica can be taken internally as a homeopathic and used externally as ointments, salves or sprays.
- There are multiple remedies for sprains and strains. Arnica should be taken first to help the pain and swelling. Other helpful remedies are: Bryonia when the slightest movement causes pain; Ruta graveolens which is indicated for more severe strains and sprains; and Rhus tox for sprains and joint aches with stiff, painful restless feeling that is better with continued motion and heat.
- For fractured bones, take Arnica immediately for the pain and to help heal bruised tissues. Then, once the swelling and bruising reduces and the fracture has been set, switch to Symphytum to promote bone growth and repair. If you suspect you have a fracture, always visit a healthcare provider who can properly assess and set the fracture.
Want to learn more about natural first aid? Find a naturopathic doctor in your area today by visiting our Find a Doctor page and schedule an appointment.
Dr. Trevor Holly Cates received a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. Co-founder of the Santa Barbara Center for Natural Medicine, Dr. Cates practices as a primary care doctor with a focus on women and children's healthcare.