It's summer. And if you have children in your life, you know that bumps, bruises, bites and burns go with summer about like watermelon and corn on the cob. When I first became a mom (over nine years ago), I learned everything I knew about caring for childhood illnesses and injuries from the paper handouts the pediatrician gave me at my child's well check visits. I never even thought to explore alternative or complementary options for treatment. I assumed conventional, medical approaches were it. However, as time went on and other moms came in and out of my life, I discovered that my approach was really quite narrow, and I was missing out on countless natural remedies and treatments to care for my child's acute medical needs. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. There are certainly numerous reasons to seek and utilize conventional medical care. However, there are many common home remedies for childhood illnesses and injuries that we (as caregivers) can take advantage of to save time from unnecessary trips to the doctor, to avoid co-pays, and to be more empowered as moms/dads/grandparents/etc. In fact, many of these natural, "alternative" options are simply common practices that were utilized readily before the expansion of conventional medicine. So really it is a return to commonsense care using gentle, natural treatments like herbs and other plants, essential oils, homeopathic remedies and food as medicine.
Since it's July, I'm going to be sharing some of the common summertime remedies we use for bumps, bruises, bites and burns in our home.
We use Arnica Montana in its homeopathic (oral) form as I've found that application to be most effective. Arnica is my always-have-on-hand, go-to remedy for bumps and bruises. We use it in 30c potency for minor injuries like scrapes from falling on concrete, mild collisions, and the many bruises that kids seem to get from being wild and crazy kids. For more severe injuries, like when Gabby fell of the swing going extra high this summer and we thought she maybe had a mild concussion, we use a stronger potency (200c). Arnica is also great for sore muscles, which is another common occurrence around our house from all the running, jumping and swimming that goes on during the summer months. I know many people use Arnica for headaches, swelling and joint pain as well. And parents, it's also great for shoulder soreness after carrying around a kid who's really too big to be carried. Not sure what homeopathy is? Learn more by clicking here.
Calendula is our family's replacement for Neosporin. Calendula has been used for centuries for minor skin irritations. It is a versatile botanical that can be utilized in baths, creams, compresses, washes, salves, ointments, massage oils, baths, tinctures, and teas. The great part is it is gentle enough to use for babies and children. My preferred application is salve for calendula as it works as a great skin protectant and barrier while allowing the skin underneath to heal from minor scrapes and scratches. It also works great for patches of eczema, blisters that have broken open, and on skin that has peeled after sunburn.
Lavender Essential Oil-
Speaking of sunburn, lavender EO is a great oil to have on hand for burns. Like calendula, it is mild enough to use on children (in diluted form). At home, I have a lavender spray that I use on our skin as a post-sun cooling mist. Lavender is wonderful for healing skin that has been damaged by burn. In addition to a cooling mist spray, I also mix lavender in with calendula salve or coconut oil to spot treat burns that are slightly more severe, especially if blisters are involved. Lavender EO is also a relaxation oil, so mixed into body oil after the bath it can help children (and caregivers) settle down in the evening. A couple other favorite oils of ours for relaxation are Cedarwood and Sandalwood.
Apis and Ledum-
A couple more homeopathic remedies. These remedies are for bites and stings and I always try to remember to carry them along on outings to the park, beach or gardens. Apis I tend to use for bee and wasp stings when there is substantial swelling and pain involved; whereas, Ledum is something I've used for mosquito bites and tick bites (I've also read it is useful for preventing sepsis from animal bites as well).
Garlic Ear Oil-
Swimmer's ear. It's inevitable when your kids are in the lake or pool nearly every day. The good news is that I've found earaches and early ear infections can be effectively corrected with garlic oil. This is something you can purchase or make yourself. I recommend treating both ears even if the pain is only in one ear. I have found that oil in the ears a couple times a day (when a child is having problems with her ears) is a fast, cheap and effective solution. Interested in making your own? Learn how.
DIY Electrolyte Drink-
One of the dangers of summer is dehydration, especially among children and the elderly. The baseball games in 100+ degree weather certainly don't help either. And unfortunately, many of the electrolyte beverages available contain substantial amounts of sugar, food dyes and artificial sweeteners. I have found that this homemade drink works wonders for preventing and reversing dehydration--whether from the heat or illness. See recipe here.
Hopefully some of these home remedies will be useful to you. I know they've helped empower me as a parent, and have saved many of our summer days from disaster. Although summer injuries are inevitable, it's nice to know there are effective, inexpensive options to address them. We love being able to help others discover new complimentary care options--to bring wellness within reach here in North Iowa. If you have questions or want more information about any of these remedies, shoot us an email or stop in to Simply Nourished during business hours.