Summer is here! It’s a time to get outside, and for many, enjoy more freetime with friends and family. Camping, swimming, and beaching (I'm sure that is a word), all give us the opportunity to get out in the sun and enjoy more outdoor activities. The flip side of this is  it is time to combat sunburn, pesky insects and noxious plants, and bumps, bruises, and sprains. Not to worry, our plant friends are here to help. Use of essential oils and herbs will not only ease discomfort, it will promote recovery and healing. Here are some of my favorite recipes that come up summertime, after summertime. As I have a rather rambunctious boy and who seems to need these the most, please know the recipes listed below are appropriate for use on children.  

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun

Helios, our sun, while vital to life and our existence, is like a fine wine. Completely fun and even considered healthy in moderation, but when used in excess can be a disaster. I for one am one of the adults with fond childhood memories of who could peel off the biggest chunk of burned skin.  Here are some helpful recipes for your skin after you’ve imbibed in too much sun. 

A note on ingredients. Over and over in these recipes you will see the following ingredients: Chamomile tea, aloe, lavender essential oil, honey, and witch hazel. These are all readily available and easy to find. A further note about aloe. Aloe is very easy to grow. You can use fresh aloe directly on a burn. If you do not have the plant, I prefer aloe vera juice to gel. The gel bought in stores has alcohol in it, and I find that drying to the skin, which is what we’re trying to fix. 


With sunburns, and any burn in general, we are looking for anti-inflammatories, cooling plants, and rehydration for the skin. 


Anti-inflammatory, and easy to use, chamomile tea is one of your best friends after too much sun. One very simple way to bring relief to a sunburn is soak a chamomile tea bag and lay it over the burned area.


If you want to get fancy with it, or have burned a large area, like your back, do the following:


Make 1/2 a cup of a very strong chamomile tea. Use 1 part water to 1 part tea, meaning use ½ cup chamomile tea, and ½ a cup water.  Boil the water and turn off the heat. Add the herb and let it steep, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain the tea into a jar or bowl. Add ¼ cup aloe vera juice to the mix. 
In 1 tsp honey mix in 12 drops of lavender essential oil and mix the aromatic honey into the tea and aloe. 

Cool this mixture in the refrigerator. You can store this in the refrigerator for 2 days before you need to make a new batch. 

To use- You have three options:

1) One lovely way to use this mix is to soak a cloth in the cool water and lay it over your burn. As the cloth heats up, refresh it in cool tea. This is a wonderful way to relax after a full day in the sun, cool off, and start the healing process.


2)If the day is not over, and it’s not time to sit and rest, you can store this in a spray bottle in the fridge, and mist yourself periodically throughout the day.


3)The third way you can use this is to double the recipe, and add it to a cool bath and soak. To the bath you can also add ½ cup apple cider vinegar. 


As for the rehydration portion of treating the burn Miracle Salve, Blessed Balm, and Tattoo juju are all excellent choices, I’m just sayin. Each of these are packed with anti-inflammatories and are all designed to rehydrate your skin and lock in that hydration. Tattoo Juju is the most healing salve we make, and is more appropriate for more serious sunburns. 

***A note on burns, well any injury, and salves.***

If you have a weepy burn, or injury it needs to dry out, and you don’t want to lock the moisture in yet. Use a tea, or a cool compress to get the skin healed past the weepy state. Once the skin is not oozy anymore, use a salve to help it rehydrate. 

**Another note on burn**

If you are burned to the point of having a weepy injury you should seek medical attention.


I live in Houston. I have no words for the mosquito problem in this area. They already have the ability to bite you through your jeans. If they get much bigger they’re going to fly away with the dogs. One of the main reasons some plants make essential oils is to repel pests. Certain plants are highly unsavory to mosquitos and that is something I, for one, am happy to use to my advantage. One way to protect yourself around your yard is to plant these pest repelling plants in the areas you spend time outside in. These plants include lemongrass, geraniums, citronella, rosemary, and catnip. When you want to spend time in your yard, crush up some of the leaves to release the oil into the air. There are of course other, more concentrated ways to use these oils. 

One good mosquito repellent

Let’s start with a good “blood sucker be gone” essential oil blend:

20 drops each Thyme, Lavender, Lemongrass, Citronella, and Patchouli essential oils

Now, here’s how we can use it. 

As a spray

Make a tea using 1 cup water, with 3 tbsp each of dried  lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary. Combine the dried herbs in a bowl or jar. Boil the water and add it to the herbs. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the tea and put it into a spray bottle
Add 1 tsp mosquito away blend
Shake before each use. You can spray this all over.  Do not get it in your eyes. 

As an oil

Dilute 10 drops of essential oil in 1 TBSP carrier oil. Almond oil, or sunflower oil would be a good choice as a carrier. This is potent dilution, and only for spot treatment. It is best to test it to see if you have any allergies to these plants before use. 

Bug Bites

Bug bites

You did your best, but the damn bugs got to you anyway. Swelling, itching, and pain are common reactions. In this case your anti-inflammatory and analgesic oils are your best friends. 

Easy Way- Never use essential oils directly on the skin. They can cause reactions and sensitization. There is one exception, lavender essential oil. Lavender is the ONLY oil that is generally safe and gentle enough to use directly on the skin. As both a powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory, the fastest and easiest relief for bug bites is to apply 1-2 drops of lavender oil directly on the bite or sting. 

For stings a poultice of clay is a wonderful choice. Mix 1 TBS clay powder with enough distilled water to make a mud. Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil and mix well. Apply directly to the sting and cover with a cloth. You can also use tea tree, or peppermint essential oil in this. 

Poison Ivy

I love my salves. A poison ivy rash, however, does not love these salves. With poison ivy you need astringents that will draw the moisture out. 

In this case, mix ½ cup witch hazel with 1-2 cups cool water. Add to this 8 drops of tea tree essential oil. You can also use something like  rosehip or rose tea instead of water. You need astringents that will draw the moisture out. Cool the mixture and soak a cloth in it. Cover the area with the cloth and try to relax.

Some people have strong reactions to poison ivy or oak; they need medical attention and a steroid cream to recover. 

Have fun this summer!

Hopefully some of these recipes will be of use to you and your family. This along with the Aromatherapy 101 article will provide a good jumping off point for the everyday use of essential oils. Let me know your favorite summertime recipes in the comments!