Many kids are playing outside and probably scraping their knees as they fall off their bike or getting poison ivy as they go traipsing around through the woods. Perhaps after eating too many popsicles they have a stomach ache. Ever wanted to know a few herbal remedies to help with simple and all-too-common ailments such as these? Below are a few things that you can stock your first aid kit with that can help when you need it most!
Peppermint, Mentha x piperita, is a plant whose leaves and oils have been used for medicine for a very long time. It is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint, it is native to Europe. It has been used for the common cold, inflammation of the mouth and throat, sinus and respiratory infections, nausea (so take on your road trip if you get motion sickness), heartburn, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, gas, coughing, liver issues, and much more. Peppermint oil can be used on the skin to help with muscle pain and to repel mosquitoes. It is commonly used with eucalyptus oil rubbed into the temples for headaches. And of course, it is used in food for a wonderful flavor.
How effective is it for all of these maladies? The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence on this scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. It is Possibly Effective for Heartburn, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), tension headaches when applied to the skin as an oil on the affected area, and to help relax the bowel during exams or enemas. It is Possibly Ineffective for nausea that occurs after surgery. There is Insufficient Evidence to Rate for the following complaints: toothache, pain due to shingles, morning sickness, menstrual pain, spasms of the stomach and gallbladder, cough and cold, muscle or nerve pain, and infections.
Lavender, Lavandula, is a member of the mint family, has purple flowers and is cultivated extensively in temperate areas. It is used for insomnia, depression, restlessness, digestive complaints, headaches, sprains, nerve pain, and to promote menstruation. It has been applied to the skin during hair loss and used in baths to promote circulation and to relax. Lavender essential oil, undiluted, can be used for minor burns. If you mix equal parts essential oils of lavender, blue chamomile, tea tree, geranium, and helichrysum at a 2% dilution, it can be used as a general trauma oil.
For hair loss, or alopecia areata, it is Possibly Effective when applied to the scalp and used with oils from rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood. Some evidence shows a 44% growth when used for at least 7 months. There is Insufficient Evidence to Rate for depression, dementia, insomnia, migraine, colic, toothache, acne, vomiting, etc. The nectar is made into honey and is used in cooking, along with the flowers and oils.
There are two kinds of chamomile that are typically used- German and Roman. The German chamomile, Matricaria recutita, is more widely-spread used in the US and is part of the daisy family. It has been medicinally used for thousands of years for sleeplessness, intestinal issues, and anxiety. Chamomile is also used topically for mouth ulcers and skin issues that result from cancer treatments.
Chamomile contains a naturally-occurring anticoagulant called coumarin, so if you are taking other medicines that contain a blood thinner, please consult your doctor first. It should also not be taken during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. There is currently not evidence for its long-term safety.
Ginger is also good for nausea and some research shows that it is just as effective as conventional drugs for motion sickness. Arnica flower is used for rashes, sore muscles, eczema and bruises. Best used as a gel and applied twice a day for six weeks. Curcumin is a great anti-inflammatory, as is Calendula or better known as marigold. Calendula is also antibacterial and antifungal.
There are many different herbs that can help with any ailment, but these are a few that you may think about taking on your summer trip. Natural and organic herbs are far healthier and have fewer side effects than general over-the-counter drugs and here at Nana’s, we care about your long-term health. That is why our products do not contain trans fats, cholesterol, dairy and are all completely vegan.
From now until October 24th, get 25% off the No Gluten Lemon Cookies, Coconut Chip Cookies & all the Cookie Bites: Gluten Free Fudge Bites, Chocolate Chip Bites, Oatmeal Bites, and Peanut Butter Bites while shopping on our website plus get FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $50 by using the promo code "firstaidherbs".
So be sure to enjoy having fun the healthy way!
References: www.nlm.nih.gov, www.webmd.com, Amazing Wellness magazine Summer 2013 from the Vitamin Shoppe.