Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bumps, Bruises, Bugs, and More: Natural Remedies--PART ONE

Springtime is here! And summer is around the corner!  Beautiful days ahead.  Days when we spend more time outside--gardening, grilling, exercising, and enjoying our lunch breaks in the fresh open air. And when kids look forward to staying outdoors all day, often until the last of the sunshine finally slips away.  And with the warmer weather and outdoor play, also comes the not-so-fun events, like falls, scrapes, bruises, and stings.  Fortunately there are some natural remedies for the stings and bruises, as well as for some other pesky skin problems.

ALERT: We can possibly have an allergy to any product, even natural ones. I would do a patch test before an incident occurs and of course, DO NOT USE if you have a known allergy to an ingredient.

Minor Abrasions:  After assessing the cut or scrape to ensure that the damage to the tissues does not necessitate a trip to the hospital or medical clinic, the next step when one receives a cut or scrape is to stop bleeding with pressure, clean the area by flushing with water, and treat to prevent infections.  My favorite natural antiseptic is TEA TREE OIL.  It is one of the few essential oils that can be used straight from the bottle without a carrier oil (like almond oil or coconut oil), and it is now easily purchased at the local drug store.  Apply tea tree oil to the abrasion with a clean cotton pad (or pour into a small sterile spray bottle and spray the wound) to kill germs and prevent infection from setting in.  And it does sting a bit, so be prepared to apply a sterile ointment afterward, like the great salve I will talk about next time OR if you are not going "all-natural" a triple antibiotic cream with pain relief such as Neosporin.  The cream is not greasy, so bandages may stick better as long as you apply only to the wound.

TEA TREE OIL is a natural extract of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca) leaf, and is also an effective anti fungal.  I have used it successfully to get rid of a fungal infection behind my fingernail that I got from a not-so-sterile manicure.  It needs to be applied to the affected area three times a day until infection clears.  Another trick, add a half of a teaspoon to a quarter cup of shampoo when you wash your hair to dismiss dandruff and to give itchy scalps some relief.

Bruises:  Abate bruises quickly with ARNICA, also called Melissa.  ARNICA comes in gel form as well as in a homeopathic pill form (tiny edible beads).  I like to get the Arnicare combo pack from The Vitamin Shoppe.  When a bruise forms, or even before it forms, apply the gel to the area and take the beads as directed.  You will see the bruise change color and "break up" faster than normal, often within one-three days.  You can also just buy the gel. ARNICA gel has helped many an accident victim get incredible relief from inflammation and bad bruising. And it works great for minor bruises too.

COMING SOON...Treatments for bee stings, a natural bug repellent, and more.

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